A high school graduation gift from my parents, my Bible was simply engraved “Amy Lynn” because they knew my maiden name would someday change. I quickly dashed their hopes that I would love its words and embrace their Writer. Its leather was uncreased, its pages were stuck together, its advice went unheeded.

The only witness when I blew the dust off its cover many years later was my dog, Lily.

Holy Dog 1

I can’t explain how or why or when, but one day a small corner of my hardened heart cracked. My true crime books and homemaking magazines weren’t providing enough Truth to build my home on. I read the book of Matthew in my old Bible, then switched to a new-and-improved version with a fancy red cover. I told no one – not even {especially} my parents, so as not to get their hopes up or create any expectations.

Lily was wedged between the sofa and coffee table as I marked up the rest of the Gospels, and she was the only one who overheard my exclamations and explanations of how these old words could work in my modern life. I began the practice of reading the Proverb of the day (on the 6th day of the month you read Proverbs 6, etc.) and – lo and behold! – one day my reading fit perfectly a dilemma I faced at work. Lily barely lifted an eyebrow as I wrote in the margin, “Applied these verses to a business situation today. First time I have actually used the Bible.”

Lily was at my feet as the Scriptures seeped into my heart. She wagged her tail when I said, “I’d like to share what I’m learning with other people.” I had no idea what to do with the passion that was growing inside me, and no outlet for the praise that was stirring. Perhaps I was just going to have a very holy dog!

Lily inconveniently planted herself in the middle of our kitchen as my husband and I talked about enrolling in ministry school (and she didn’t take sides during our less-than-saintly conversations). She greeted each guest when we opened our home for our first Bible study. In fact, on the first night we met, Lily took a long, loud slurp from the toilet bowl then plopped in the middle of our prayer circle and let out a loud belch. Nice. She let children climb all over her without complaint.

Holy Dog 2

Our holy dog went to heaven last week. I am overwhelmed with missing this furry beast who barked at every neighbor walking past but never made a peep as our yard was toilet papered. I weep because she’s not laying on my slippers or tangled up in my computer cord. I’d give anything to help that tired old girl up the stairs one more time.

Holy Dog 3

The Bible doesn’t say if we will be reunited with our pets in heaven, but if Lily and I learned anything about God, it’s that He specializes in doing more than we can ask or imagine. I know there are animals in heaven (Isaiah 11:6-9), animals understand the glory of God (Job 12:7-10, Psalm 148:7-12, Revelation 5:13) and once God even allowed an animal to speak (Numbers 22).

I wonder what Lily would say? “I love you! I’m hungry! I love you! Let’s go outside! I love you! Wanna scratch my ears? I love you!”

Thank you, Lord, for 96 dog years of loving Lily.

This post was originally published at Not Quite Amish Living, a blog for women who want more peace in our lives, our homes, our families and our hearts.

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