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Judy Lair is a licensed counselor and owner of Counselorplace Christian Counseling. She is the author of “From the Other Side of the Couch: A Biblical Counselor’s Guide to Relational Living.” Judy’s personal struggles with fear led her through the valley of hurt and sorrow. She now embraces a joy-filled life grounded in God’s truth and freedom in Christ. Judy uses her professional counseling expertise to tell stories that help people find healing and freedom. Her vulnerable, godly approach helps people find courage to move from Fear to Freedom. For more information or speaking requests, email JudyLair@counselorplace.com or sign up for blog posts at http://judylair.blogspot.com

 “Freedom is attainable. Trust me, I’ve been on the anxiety side, gone through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, and now I’m praising God, eating at the banqueting table, and helping others make the same journey. Whether you find yourself stuck in anxiety, disappointment, grief, or confusion, your heart can be set free.” Judy Lair, “From the Other Side of the Couch.”

Monday, May 25, 2015

Me and GracieLu

The first time I met GracieLu, a woman was dragging her out of a van in a school parking lot. Matted hair, malnourished, terrified, this wire-haired Jack Russell had obviously lived a hard life. I answered an ad for a free dog not knowing what was in store for both of us. Anxious to leave, the owner shoved a bag of dog food into my hand, then quickly got in the van and left. Poor GracieLu, she had no idea who I was nor where she was going.

Gently picking her up, I drove to the condo where I lived with my son Ben. He was off to college soon and the house would be too quiet. I wanted to adopt a canine friend to keep me company, someone who was excited when I walked in the door. 

GracieLu stood still for a long time, trembling and uncertain. Sitting a few feet away, I talked to her gently, giving her the 411 on our home and family. Ben walked into the room, making a comment about the scraggly mutt I inherited. Hearing his deep voice, Gracie peed on the floor then rolled over submissively, her eyes begging Ben not to hurt her.

My heart broke seeing her fear, knowing there was no way for me to effectively communicate that she was safe. Over the next six months, GracieLu experienced consistent love and came to see we were different than her former owners. What a blessing to watch her excitement when I came home, unabashedly demanding my attention, showering me with kisses.

When people are treated poorly by others, we often shut down, hesitant to open up to others for fear of further hurt. Being made in the image of God, however, means we’re created as relational beings. Shutting off from relationship deprives us of comfort, encouragement, support, and enjoyment leaving us isolated, cynical, and bitter. You can be disappointed and rejected without being devastated and withdrawn. 

GracieLu gave me a chance to show my true character, and she joyously accepted all the love I offered. Spend time with God, share your sorrow and pain about those who’ve hurt you. Then step out in faith and open yourself up to the possibility of a new relationship, certain that God will be with you every step of the way, good or bad.

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