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Two Sides of Puppyhood

Two weeks into owning a puppy and I must say, it is much harder than I could ever have thought. Oh, I've had dogs before and we even got them as puppies, but let's be honest, I didn't do the work. Yes, the work. My mom did. I was at school for the bulk of the day and would come home to play with the puppy, nap with the puppy and whatever else fun you do with a puppy. I didn't pick up it's poop though. Or clean up it's pee. Or walk it multiple times a day. Or discipline it for chewing on everything from my hands to the carpet.

Walking Hailey daily has proved to be good for both her and me. She gets some exercise of both her legs and nose. I get rest when she comes home and sleeps afterward. Every time I'm out though, someone stops me and coos "She's so cute!" There are two boys on my street that freak out about her every time she comes down the street. They sit down and let her lick them and they love it. "She's so cute!" People will cross the street to exclaim, "She's so cute!" She is so cute, but that's only half the puppy picture.

The other half is picking up her poop when on walks and when she decides to poop in the house. The getting up in the middle of the night to let her out, because she can't hold her bladder all night. The nights where she cries in her crate all night and you don't sleep at all. The work that goes into taking care of her. Training her. Caring for her. Loving her. It's work and it's not always joyous.

I realized that this is a lot like the Christian life. The work behind the appearance. The picking up of poop behind being cute. The dealing with sin in private and displaying grace in public. Too often these are separated and not lived out. The poop-scooping is hidden. Sometimes it's just left to stink and attract flies. Too often we just put forth our cuteness and hide the crap. I've become convinced recently, though, that we shouldn't bisect our lives in such a way. But that we are to live genuinely bearing our sins publicly to one another to display the grace of Christ more fully.

After all Hailey can't separate her cuteness from her poopiness, why should we?

Tuesdays' Grace

Tuesdays, by far, are going to be the best and the worst day of my week this semester. My first class is at 8:00 am and the last one ends at 9:30 pm. It's a long day to go. To add to the length of the day, I also have both my worst and best classes on Tuesdays-- in that order, mind you. So I will definitely need a lot of grace to be able to get me through the Tues-day.

Klyne Snodgrass, my professor of Romans, said "Grace is the perimeter within which Christians live." As Christians, we are called to live lives that are within God's grace (not that it runs out), and that we fully rely on His grace on our lives. I can say it is pertinent that I remember this as I continue to work out my faith, as a baby begins to walk. It's not that we stay down after we've fallen (read: "sinned"), but that we have the courage to stand back up again. God doesn't stop loving us because we've sinned, but continues to pour out His grace on us, so that we can get back up and walk.

Tim Keller puts it this way, "God loves us, because he loves us." God doesn't love us because of what we've done, or who we are, He loves us, because He loves us. There's a circularity in that and there's no way around it. But it continues to show that we have not earned his love, nor can we earn his love, nor can we lose his love because we didn't do right. God lavishes his love and his grace on us because. And those of us who call ourselves Christians are called to live in that grace and extend it to those around us.