Something New

For the past four years, Adi and I maintained a certain morning routine.  We got up, ate, then settled on the chair near the front window.  While Adi enjoyed a post breakfast snooze, I enjoyed an hour of quiet time with the Lord.  That time was a balance of devotional reading, Bible reading, and journaling.  By the time I had finished my cup of coffee, I could hear my husband getting up and ready for work, which meant it was soon time to wake the kids before clipping a leash on Adi’s collar and heading out for our morning walk. 

This morning routine was interrupted when our puppy Summer arrived.  She had no interest in settling down after breakfast.  Who could blame her?  With a good night’s sleep and a belly full of food, she was ready for a round of puppy play.  So, Adi and I obliged. 

My quiet time took a direct hit.  At first, I tried to squeeze it in later in the day.  No success.  Next, I tried listening to podcasts by a favorite pastor.  Only refereeing a puppy and adult Lab meant I missed much of what was said. Finally, I tried to exhaust Summer as quickly as possible.  As soon as she fell asleep, I devoured a short devotional and brief portion of scripture before rushing off to get the household up and going.

As days turned into weeks, I could feel myself growing spiritually drier.  It began to affect my relationship with the Lord. In turn, my ability to handle the bumps of the day with grace, minister to my family, and offer encouragement to others was also impacted.

“Help,” I cried to the Lord one morning.  “I need to reclaim that first hour of the day for you.  I know our dogs are a blessing from you.  With Adi, you gave me the gift of a morning prayer walk.  Open my eyes to see the gift You are giving through Summer.”

My first step was to introduce Summer to the concept of quiet time.  After giving the dogs their morning meal, I began sitting on the area rug in the living room.  Adi joins me first and curls up for a nap.  Summer joins us a few minutes later.  Once I have her settled on my other side with a chew toy, I can allow my non-morning person brain to wake up over some devotional readings and a cup of coffee.

About the time I’m ready for my scripture reading, Summer is getting restless.  So, I rouse Adi, slip on shoes, and take the dogs outside.  Adi situates herself as sentry at the top of the hill while Summer explores the yard.  I downloaded the Bible app on my phone so I could read while shadowing Summer.  Only reading and keeping an eye on a puppy don’t go hand in hand.

One morning a verse in my reading arrested my attention.  I kept running the words through my mind as I played puppy fetch and supervised rounds of Labrador wrestle.  I realized focusing on one verse worked much better than trying to read a lengthy passage.  So, the next morning, I opened to that verse the moment I stepped outside and continued to meditate or chew on it.  As I turned it over in my mind, I was reminded of a photograph I had taken of Adi looking out over a mountain just as the sun broke through the heavy clouds, showering rays of light down on the treetops.  Later in the day, I pulled the photo up on my computer and added the verse.  Typing it onto the picture only etched it deeper into my mind and heart.  This would become the first of many photo-journaling entries that record the verses I have now memorized during those morning minutes shadowing Summer.

As days turned into weeks, I found my relationship with the Lord growing strong once again.  He had heard my cry for help and answered.  He knew that one of my weaknesses is sitting and memorizing scripture.  He also knew that if He put me outside in His creation with a block of time where I could only focus on one verse , my scripture craving spirit would easily commit His Word to memory.  Since paper, pens, and puppies don’t mix too well, He even provided a different method of journaling His Word. Through Summer, the Lord gave me the gift of time to indelibly write His Word on the tablet of my heart (Proverbs 3:3).  He also taught me that He takes the interruptions of life and makes something new. 

“See I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” 

Isaiah 43:19

What new thing is the Lord doing in your life?

Post Script

Later this month, I will share that first scripture photo.  It will mark the beginning of something new on this blog.  In addition to the “Lessons from a Lab” that are posted on the 1st of the month, I will begin sharing a scripture photo around the middle of the month. This new addition will hold true to the theme of my blog in that you will find a Labrador tucked into each picture. My hope in sharing my photo-journal is two-fold.  First, that you will take a moment to chew on God’s Word.  Second, that it will inspire you to create your own scripture photos.

© 2019-2021, Lessons from a Lab, Beth Alisan.  All Rights Reserved.

31 thoughts on “Something New

  1. Changed routine has tripped me too. I seize up when something unexpected interrupts my structure. I’ve grown in that area but it still happens. One thing that helps me is remembering Jesus was interruptable. I learned that in a Bible study. The speaker had pointed out various miracles and significant life-changing events that happened when He was en route from one location to another or in the midst of something and got interrupted.

    We were challenged to change our perceptions of interruptions and to begin to look at them as divine appointments. In essence that’s what you did. After calling out to God, you changed the way you viewed your morning routine and accepted what God presented. Thanks for sharing this testimony that many relate to. Blessings to you and your family.

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    1. Thank you Manette for sharing the wisdom you gleaned from your Bible Study! Your absolutely right, Jesus was interruptible. He took each interruption in stride, seeing its divine nature. I need to embrace that perspective. As the song goes, “He’s still working on me to make me like I need to be.”

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  2. This is a nice reflection because of life I take my quiet time at the end of the day when all is still and everyone is in bed. Untill my son became a teenager He became my distracting puppy as he likes to stay up very late. It took some time but we worked it out. Thanks for showing me the rest of the world
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    1. Mr. Ohh, I’m glad you and your son were able to work it out so you could maintain your end of day quiet time. My eldest is entering the teenage years and I’m watching her become a night owl. She asks the really important, lengthy discussion questions right about the time I heading off to bed. I don’t want to miss the opportunity so I prop my eyelids open with toothpicks and ask the Lord to help me engage in the conversation to its fullest.

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    1. Thank you so much Mary for your encouraging words! We were blessed this year with abundant rain late in the summer which brought a lush greenness to our region that we haven’t seen for many years. We should have a spectacular show of color in the trees this fall as a result. Our puppy is now fully vaccinated so we are looking forward to some fall hiking to enjoy the beauty of God’s handiwork.

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  3. Through the years, living in two third world countries, both with different culture, flexibility has been a huge part of my life. Now that we are back in the US and in a culture I am comfortable with I find I haven gotten lazy about being flexible. I like structure and organization and do not like change. I want what I want, when I want and how I want. God can move from culture to culture, through all the changes life brings and still minister to us. I don’t look for Him so much in the structure like I use to but more so in the change. I realized He is big enough to handle our changes and loves for us to learn from each one of them. We moved up to northern Mn. last year, another culture. We live seven miles from a very small town, different from city living which is what we had been doing since 2012. Before that we live on an island north of Australia, Papua New Guinea. Our life in southern Ca. was full of people, lots of travel in our ministry. Then Covid hit, shut our lives down like everybody else. I really like this post and how you are learning lesson all the time through you dog…God is so wonderful, He loves using those things near and dear to us. Blessings.

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing this Betty! I have much to learn from my brothers and sisters in Christ who have served on the mission field. We just spent an evening with a missionary couple, and I cannot express how much I gleaned from listening to their experiences. The Lord uses stories such as yours and other missionaries to challenge me to live seeking Christ in all things and at all times and not be lulled to sleep by the comforts and ease offered here. Blessings to you on this beautiful Sunday.

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    1. Good eye David:) Yes, they are dog eared, but thank goodness they are not puppy chewed. Both dogs learned very quickly that books are off limits to chewing mouths. However, there seems to be open season on loose leaf paper for Summer these days. When I pulled these pictures to use for this post, I noticed how the books show the crossover of seasons- Volume 2 ended with the summer and Volume 3 welcomed in fall.

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  4. scribelady

    Your post re-emphasizes something I believe God has been showing me: I need to be more flexible. My perfectionistic tendencies insist on doing things the “right way”, but thank God, He doesn’t share those ideas. He reminds me to be flexible, while still keeping in mind the general aim. For example, you needed to keep an eye on Summer, but have devotional time. God showed you a way to do both. It’s a new way, but you are still doing what you need and want to do. God didn’t say, “Well, only one way will do.” He came up with something different.

    When I worked an outside job, many things could bring me anxiety, and I didn’t have a Bible near. I started to say one simple verse of Scripture to myself (out loud if I could). Ps. 150:6 was a favorite: “Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord.” (KJV) Saying it gave me a mental break, reminded me of God’s sovereignty, and raised my spirits. The rest of the day was brighter.

    This summer I’ve been coloring in adult coloring books, when I need a mental get-away. I like the books with nature scenes. I thought I’d like to write Scripture verses below the scenes, and put the pictures up on some of the walls.

    I enjoy reading your adventures with Adi and Summer, and look forward to the scripture photos.

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    1. Oh, I am so glad that this post was an echo of what the Lord has been showing you. Thank you much for sharing how you took mental breaks using scriptures! Psalms 150:6 is perfect for refocusing the mind on the Lord. I love your idea of adding scripture to the scenes you have colored and framing them. What an encouragement they would be hanging on your wall. I hope that you’ll photograph and share one in a future Country Ripples post. Yesterday, we spent the evening with a missionary couple. They shared how vitally important scripture memory is in fighting the spiritual battle that rages around them in their host country. They said one of their team members memorized large portions of scripture as she colored in adult coloring books.

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  5. Reading this post this morning filled my heart with so much joy! God does hear our prayers and He opens our eyes to new things. We resist change, but many times, it is change that actually makes our lives better. I love that you have discovered this new and beautiful thing in your life, and I feel blessed that you will also share this photo/journal with us! 🙂

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    1. Thank you Linda! I am terrible about change. I like my routines and get out of sorts when they are consistently interrupted. I believe that is why I spiritually struggled for much of the summer- fighting to get back to my old routine. The Lord had to deal with me on that. His change is always for the best and is always fruitful.

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  6. I loved your post about how God has helped you in an area a lot of us struggle with (though not always with puppies). I do enjoy making scripture verses from my Bible app though I confess I memorize verse only by accident and no amount of concentration has seemed to help. Can’t wait to see your puppy-time Bible verses!

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  7. What a lovely post Beth, describing your daily routine encroachments on your personal Devotional time with God. I can relate to this; sometimes my daily routine changes based on health or other demands, and I need to juggle my Devotional time too. With the passing of Millie our cat life has been a bit unreal for all the family. But a renewed development is my podcast being restarted which I am excited about. I look forward to your new scripture photos! God bless you and your family, four legged included!

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    1. Oh Alan, I’m so sorry to hear of Millie’s passing. Each pet holds their own special spot in our heart and when they are gone it takes some time to grieve and allow our hearts to heal. My prayers are with you and your family. I truly love the new things the Lord is doing through your blog- the podcast and the serialized story of the Dundee Prodigal Son. God is so good.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you dear sister for your compassion and prayers, they are treasured. Thank you for your encouragement in the ongoing projects that I am involved in.
        I am doing a favourite hymns podcast for release some time, based on my testimony.

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  8. I like how you found a way to make adjustments to your morning devotional routine and still look after Summer. The idea of meditating over and memorizing key scriptures is a good one. I plan to try this too, Beth. I look forward to seeing and reading your scripture photos. Blessings! Doggie hugs to Adi and Summer. 🐾🐾

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