Lather, Rinse, and Repeat.

Jeff and I have a special pup, Essie, with a very unique and fascinating personality. Small backstory, she’s the runt of the litter at just 5 pounds. She was a gift to me from very dear friends a year after my beloved Greyhound, Cry Baby (her racing name,) passed away. Essie’s parents and siblings are all quite bigger than her and our friends who gifted her to us said they’ve never seen a dog with such a personality. She is part of my joy in this awful world. A natural anti-depressant if you will.

As time goes by, it seems like we’re seeing more and more of her funny quirks and newest tricks. Essie is 3 and a half years old, yet she still looks like a puppy because she only weighs 5 pounds. Those 5 pounds pack in a lot of tricks and pranks which bring Jeff and me a lot of joy and laughter.

When she was just 4 months old, we moved into our forever home and she decided to pee in my bed. Right between my legs where I didn’t feel it until I moved to turn over. This was around 3 in the morning and so I was tired and decided to see what Essie would do if I “called her out” on it. So I pulled out my camera and started rolling. This precious girl, when I asked her if she peed in the bed, went and tried to hide under the pillows. She did this several times so I knew she knew what she was doing. She was taking purposeful action. Which, come on! How adorable is that!?!

Around 6 months old, she was laying with me and she wanted something that was on my bedside table. So she whined, making me think she needed me to take her outside. I’d get up, put my slippers on, walk around the bed towards the door, expecting her to be there, but nope! No Essie! Where was she? She was trying to get at the thing that was on my bedside table. I chalked it up to a fluke. No way she figured out such a detailed trick to get her desired goal. Nope! She did it 2 other times, both of those times it ended with me turning and finding her trying to get onto the table.

Fast forward to a few days ago. Now Essie is 4 years old and has turned into a 5 pound barking machine. We’re constantly getting on her about it. She gets a bone every day; and every day she eats it in the same spot. It went something like this: I tossed Essie her bone which she joyfully takes. Essie drops bone on the couch to bark at something she sees outside that she MUST alert her humans about RIGHT NOW or they may suffer a horrible and painful death by tinkling wind chimes. I go over, tell her to stop barking and to eat her bone, which she does while side eyeing me. As soon as I walk out of her line of sight, she starts barking up a storm…again! I then repeat the process for a second time. Same result, barking stopped, side eyeing of her human while gnawing on the bone. Out of sight, she barks again. This time I come back in and she sees I’m done so she decides to have mercy on her human, stops barking and enthusiastically gnaws on her morning bone.

I think you may now understand the title of this blog, “Lather, Rinse, Repeat.” Did you think it was going to be about shampoo?? Do you remember that phrase being on the back of the shampoo bottles and in the commercials? I wholeheartedly believe the shampoo titans gathered and said, “Yes, let’s still compete, but can we agree on the phrase. “Lather, Rinse, Repeat,” to be put on every bottle? This allows all of us to earn double while still having “friendly” competition.” They ran a racket for years getting us to buy double the shampoo!! BOOOOOOO!!!!

But…I digress! That’s the phrase that popped into my head when I started thinking about her trying many times over the years to get her way by tricks and subterfuge. She was trying to get her way; to get around her human. Her rule maker. She thought, “Out of sight, out of mind.” Now, did she really think that? If you watch YouTube you can see all kinds of videos of dogs that have been supposedly trained to push buttons that tell their owner what they want. Go check it out. HEY!!!! NOT YET!!! Finish the blog first!

So I got to thinking about her trying to get around her rule maker. Then I thought about myself, trying to get around my rule maker, God the Father. My Creator. Your Creator. The Creator of ALL. How many times have I, personally, done the lather, rinse, repeat dance in my walk with Jesus? How many times have I committed the same sin, thinking “It’s fine. It’s just a tiny thing and it isn’t doing any harm.” I’m only talking about a “small” sin. However, in the Word of God, we’re told that a sin is a sin. A little sin is the same as a big sin. How many of us think that our sin is hidden or that it can be contained? It isn’t possible. Why? There are always at least 2 involved in the sin. You and God.

Luke 8:17 For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad.

The word, abroad, means be made known to all. Our sin will find us out. A great example of this is when Cain killed his brother Abel. Cain didn’t see God there. He thought it was just Abel and himself and so he let his sin nature take over and he killed his own brother over jealousy. However, he was NOT alone! Just above I wrote that there are always 2 involved in the sin? Cain thought it was just him. His brother was dead, so who was going to rat him out? He was in the clear. Free as a bird, and yet…

And yet...God WAS there. Could he be physically seen? No, however that doesn’t matter because we know God sees ALL. He was there, He was witness to the brutality of His child’s murder. He felt the pain of disappointment in his other child who committed the act. How did He react?

Genesis 4:9 And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?

10 And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.

Not only did Cain kill his brother, he added lying to GOD as the cherry on top! God KNEW what Cain had done. He was giving Cain the opportunity to admit it. And yet…he didn’t take it. It was done in the dark, but God brought it to the light. He does that will ALL sin, even the smallest of them all. I often say that just as God has worked something out of me that doesn’t please Him, He starts on something else and that I’d just like a small break before the work starts again. Let me be real, these lessons aren’t painless. They hurt, make you cry, and make you doubt yourself. This process exhausts you, frightens you, angers you, and frustrates you. God is doing all of this to make us better people. To make us better servants to Him. To make us better wives, mothers, daughters, sisters, and friends. To be the best versions of ourselves. I once had a talk with a family member who I used to have long conversations with and, unfortunately, after I started growing in my faith those conversations are extremely rare and I miss them, dearly. During one of them we were talking and somehow we got to a point where we were talking about my faith and I quietly said, “I’m still me. I’m just a better version of me. Amanda 2.0.” It was after this phone call that I realized that this was the new normal for us and that’s something I have to accept, even though it’s painful. This falls under the painful, frustrating and angering department as listed above.

All I want afterwards is silence in my spirit for a bit, however the next lesson starts immediately. Huh…Interesting…I think I just got some insight God wanted me to have. As I wrote above, I also say…quite often…during Bible teaching or Church, that I would like a small break before He starts working on the next thing that’s within me that doesn’t bring honor and glory to Him. I say that because the process is hard and exhausting and I just want a small break. HOWEVER, I just realized that if, IF He allowed that, sin might grab a stronger foothold on my heart, my spirit. God is working in me to mold me into a woman who is pleasing to HIM and NOT me! I have nothing of value of this world with one exception, my devotion and desire to serve Jesus and be a light for Him to show others the way. I think…no…I now know….that if He were to allow that break I think I need, it would allow the darkness to creep back in, corrupting some of the work He and I have already done. I just had the phrase, “A rolling stone gathers no moss,” pop into my mind.

So! I guess I gotta be a stone that’s willing to keep rolling while God continues to work in my life and working into me all the qualities He wants me to have and removing those He doesn’t. No more LATHER, RINSE, REPEAT!!!

As always friends, seek to have a progressive spirit! One that is always yearning to grow towards Christ.