Because This is the Only Thing We Know For Sure

by | Jan 29, 2012 | Saturday

I love you, Lord; you are my strength.

The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior;

my God is my rock, in whom I find protection.

He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety.

Psalm 18:2

My hands curl around the handles of the brown paper bag, I thank the lady behind the counter, walk out to my van and wipe the tears dripping from my sunglasses. I hold all that is left of my dog Winston, his ashes, in that brown paper bag.

I pull away and travel to the next place on my list, order my son a hamburger from Sonic. He stays at home sick while I run errands. When the girl behind the window hands me the warm white paper bag, she doesn’t see the tears behind the sunglasses, but she smiles when she hands me the change.

The bags sit next to each other in the passenger seat. Holding a hamburger and my dog.

And later, when Mary hands me my bag with the black cotton handles at the make-up counter she says she is sorry about Winston, then asks me if I know about Laura. I look over at Laura while she applies makeup to the face of the blond lady sitting in the tall chair next to the counter. “No, what about her,” I ask.

Mary says Laura beat breast cancer two years ago but now she has lymphoma and wears a wig. She has a big mass in her throat like Winston. Explains how she gets the drip of chemo all day every three weeks. Tears well in her perfectly lined eyes when she says, “It’s been hard.”

I tell her, that Christ is our hope. That knowing Him, it is our only hope.

And she walks around the counter right up to me and hugs me tight, holds me there for a while standing at the makeup counter and says, “ Thank you.”

In the midst of life that shifts like the tide, may you find security in the person of Christ who never changes. Happy Sunday!



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  1. Sandra Heska King

    Oh Shelly. All those bags. And all the baggage we carry. I’m so glad we can hand it all over to him. Lifting a prayer for Laura. And you. I’m so sorry about Winston. 🙁

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Thanks Sandra, I think you have a vantage point in this scenario. Appreciate your prayers.

  2. Child of God

    The baggage of life will wear us down to nothing. Thank God for Jesus and His willingness to take the baggage from us and give us Joy in suffering, Joy in loss, Joy in the hurt and pain of life that comes our way.

    Praying for your broken heart.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Yes, it will weigh us down if we let it. I am so relieved we don’t have to in Christ. Thanks for your prayers.

  3. charinabrooks

    Shelly this brought me to tears. Yes all those baggages we carry around, He is just waiting for us to hand it over to Him…Blessings!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I am ready to give my bags up for Him to carry, aren’t you? Thanks for being here.

  4. maggieeileen

    May that one thing comfort you. I am sorry about Winston; I know it hurts. I will pray for Laura.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      He is comforting, in more ways than one. One of them, the kind words left here on the blog. Thanks for praying!

  5. Shanda

    I was crying over your dog then praising for the opportunity you seized to be the arms and voice of Christ.
    Sorry about your dog.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Hi Shanda, I am determined to see Him in and through all of this. Even in the sadness of loss, He is so faithful to speak and reveal Himself. I am so grateful.

  6. Deidra

    Life does keep shifting, doesn’t it?
    Praying for you still…

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Thanks for the prayers and I am excited about the possibility of a blogging retreat! Keep me posted.

  7. hopesrising

    Praying for you and Laura…Sorry about Winston. Amazing in life the baggage we do carry and He reminds us to leave those bags with him .
    Beautiful verse and photos.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Yes, life is interesting isn’t it? The way it changes, twists and turns. Thankful He guides our steps in the way we should go. Thanks for your prayers and kind words here. Blessings!

  8. Patricia (Pollywog Creek)

    So, so sorry about Winston, Shelly, but so grateful for how God used you to bring comfort to others.

    The Lord IS our immovable rock through every storm.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Thank you Patricia. I am grateful for the opportunity that came at an unexpected moment. I was just running errands, trying to be quick but God had something else in mind.

  9. S. Etole

    Still miss my little dog and understand how difficult this must be for you.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      It is getting easier with every day but there is a part of me that doesn’t want to forget the way I remember him now.

  10. Barbie

    I am so sorry about Winston. I am sorry to hear about Laura too. When the shifting happens around me, I want to make sure that I stand on Christ the Solid Rock. I am handing over my baggage to Him. It’s been too heavy for too long!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Me too Barbie, no carrying excess baggage we don’t have to lug around!

  11. Joan

    And for all the baggage we carry, our Heavenly Father calls us to lay down our burdens, because His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
    Thanks for stopping by my place and sharing. I love your writing. It’s wonderful to meet you new friend.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      So nice to meet you too Joan. And I will take easy and light today, thank you!

  12. Lyla Lindquist

    When that one thing is the thing we can know for certain, it does assure me that I can let loose some of my grasping to know other things for certain. Somehow, it answers the questions that have no answers.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      I agree Lyla. And there is a whole host of things I am letting go of and trusting right now. It’s the only thing I know to do and the best thing I know to do.

  13. Floralba

    Perspective on this truth is what keeps me going……bless you….

    • Redemption's Beauty

      It’s all grace and that gives me perspective. Blessings!

  14. simplystriving

    First, I’m so sorry to hear about Winston and Laura. . .

    Beautiful post, Shelly. What a blessing you are to rise above your own baggage to encourage and bring His hope to another. Thank you.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Nikki, it’s all grace and thank you for your kind words . . . and for following the community here. It’s been a joy to find you. Really!

  15. Sharon O

    oh I have been there, so often. In fact all my ‘critters’ have been cremated I just can’t stand the fact that they could be ‘put away’ by someone other than ‘those’ who loved them. Not sure what to do with all the ‘bags’ yet, we have at least 4 now, our ‘old buddies’. I told my husband perhaps when I go you can put the cats with me and I will put the dogs with you? he just smiled. He knows they were loved. sorry for your loss.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Oh that cats and dogs with each of you made me smile. Thanks for your kindness and sympathy. You do truly understand!

  16. Elizabeth

    Beautiful photos and a great post! Thanks so much for your kind comment at my place.

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Appreciate your hosting the links at your place Elizabeth. I got more views from your place than the others. Thanks!

  17. patriciaspreng

    tender sympathies to you in losing your precious dog…
    I do love how he directed your very steps to that make up counter… oh that we would always be ready and willing in spite of our own grief to comfort others with his grace. Nice to visit you here. =)

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Patricia, Nice to get a visit from you today. Hope you had a good day with the lovely Sandra! Blessings to you.

  18. Lisa

    Wow, I have been lurking on your blog for a while now, and evertime, everytime it just blows me away how much your words speak to my heart! He truely is wonderful, thank you for letting Him use you, and for being willing to write from an aching heart!

    • Redemption's Beauty

      Lisa, so glad you un-lurked this morning because your words fill me up with joy and thanksgiving. A beautiful gift on this early morning. I pray God continues to speak to you, lead you, fill you up with all He is.

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