I Am Remembered

By Julie Rhodes

In recent weeks, I have launched a massive passive-aggressive campaign against my husband. Up until about six weeks ago in our 12-year marriage, there has been a quiet, mostly unspoken agreement that we would remain dog-less, much as some people choose to remain childless. But, like so many things in our particular marriage, Gordon has gotten more than he bargained for.

The truth of it is, I have simply fallen victim to the massive passive-aggression of our children, who have wanted a dog since before they were born. They forlornly drag around unhooked swings from the swingset by the chains, pretending to be walking their dogs. LOOK HOW PITIFUL WE ARE, they imply. WE ARE TURNING PLAYGROUND EQUIPMENT INTO PETS BECAUSE OUR PARENTS ARE MONSTERS.

After recently pet-sitting another more benevolent family’s Goldendoodle, the kids have been wearing me down like the nub of a pencil eraser. The passive aggression has evolved into actual aggression, and I am afraid of them now. 

And so, I decided on a breed, secretly. And on a name, secretly. His name is Randy and he is a pug.

I started following a pug breeder on Facebook. There are pictures every day of puppy pugs tumbling around in a kiddie swimming pool-turned-pug-playground. As fate would have it, my son’s third grade teacher happens to be a pug fanatic and rescuer, and has pictures of pugs all over her classroom. I have begun snapping pictures of them quickly, silently, like a stalker.  A month ago, I bought a pug pillow that now sits on our bed. The dog is dressed like a gentleman with round spectacles and a bowler hat.

And just about every other day or so, I text my husband a picture of the latest pug I have encountered that day. Here’s a pug in a cowboy hat. A just-born litter of pugs. The screensaver on my phone is now of one of Mrs. Johnson’s classroom pugs, with a hoodie pulled up around his head, earbuds in his ears, and a gold chain around his neck. Thug Randy, I call him. And I see him whenever Gordon calls ME to complain about all the pugs I send him. Last week, after seeing a stuffed pug in a toy store and texting his picture to Gordon, I received a text back: “Now THAT’S a dog I could get behind.” I’m not sure if Randy will ever be part of our family. I’m not sure what the future holds, but I’m sure of what I WANT it to hold, and so I make sure that the powers-that-be are FULLY AWARE. What else can I do? Besides act more like an emotionally balanced human woman?

I think we do this with God, just as we do it with our husbands, wives, bosses, and government employees. We continually send him mental snapshots of what we want. “Don’t forget!” we seem to say. “Don’t forget this longing of mine! Don’t forget ME.” We hound and we hound and we text and we hound and we crochet pillows for God’s bed.

But when God doesn’t respond, doesn’t fix it, provide it, or give us a reason for it, day after day and year after year, maybe the next step is for me to make a decision. And I think the basis of this decision is found in Isaiah 49.

God is responding to Israel’s assumption that he had forgotten them in their Babylonian exile. The Babylonian captivity of the Jews lasted 70 years — a long time to be sending God snapshots of your faraway home; a long time for longing. It would have been a lifetime for some. There were probably Jews who, every day, pled with God to take them home. Please, please, please, please. Has he forgotten? God responds:

Can a mother forget the baby at her breast     
and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget,     
I will not forget you!
See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;
your walls are ever before me.
(vs. 15-16)

If my incessant pug-ing of my husband makes it hard to forget my request, imagine a nursing baby, who, every two HOURS is crying for its mother’s milk in order to survive. How could she ignore that? And then picture God, who has carved our names into his hands with nails. How could he forget these names?

So my decision becomes: will I choose to believe I am remembered? That my name has been engraved? Trust must be on purpose, and sometimes it must be a desperate rebellion against the facts.

Will you pray a prayer of trust-rebellion with me today? 

Lord Jesus, giver of all good gifts,
You delivered your people from Babylon;
You deliver your people from sin. 

You hear my cries, my longings, my sighs;
You have compassion for me. 

You remember me; I rest.
You engrave my name; I exhale.

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