AAC Women's Blog

The Pain of Getting What You Ask For

She begged. Prayed. Fixated for months over a singular heart’s desire—a new puppy.

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My daughter was certain a puppy would bring her joy. Fix her loneliness and boredom. Her therapy dog, we joked. Love in the time of COVID.

Okay, we agreed. We’ll get another dog.

But YOU—we told her—will be in charge of training it.

Of course, yes, I’ll do everything, she said. And for the most part, God bless her, she has. From the moment Bodie the mini Goldendoodle entered our family three weeks ago, my 14-year-old has taken the lead on all potty training, crate training, behavior training, and puppy acclimation tasks required.

She adores this pup. We all do.

Yet sometimes we want to drop-kick him into the neighbor’s yard.

{Not really. We’re dog lovers, not haters. But if you’ve ever potty trained a puppy (or a child) then you know what I’m talking about, so, no judging.}

Bodie is a puppy, right? So by definition he’s hilarious and huggable and so dang cute you want to gobble his furry face up. But he’s also a little ball of fire. Mischievous and untamed.

He grabs a mouthful of our daughter’s messy bun and yanks out the hair pins.

He chases our older pup through the house like a maniac, clamping his jaws around poor Prophet’s ears and tail and neck.

He spends 15 minutes romping in the muddy yard then comes back indoors to piddle on the kitchen floor 30 seconds later.

With a puppy to manage, there’s no time for a formerly carefree teen to lounge on the sofa scanning Instagram or texting friends or watching YouTube. This little dude needs constant supervision. Constant guidance. Constant trips out the door to go potty OUTSIDE, Bodie, we go potty OUTSIDE.

And this one refrain keeps slipping from my lips and rattling my daughter’s heart.

This is what you asked for. Didn’t you realize it would be hard?

Yesterday, for the first time since we welcomed Bodie home—after another visit to the yard resulted in four muddy paws, ignored commands, and no doggie pee-pee—our daughter held a squirmy puppy in her arms and confessed. I love him. But I need a break from him right now.

And with a gut full of sympathy, I looked her straight in the eyes and replied.

“I know, sweetheart. That’s parenting.”

Sometimes it’s the greatest gifts that cause us the most pain. The things we most desire are also what God will use to build our character, to teach us to deny ourselves, to trade our independence and selfishness for someone else’s needs.

We learn this the moment a baby comes home and wakes us hourly through the night.

Or when marriage gets hard, and the person you love deeply wields power to cut you deepest, too, with careless words or neglect.

It’s the lesson we face when the job we longed for comes packaged with a cranky coworker or a micro-managing boss.

Or when the basement floods in the dream house you waited forever and ever to build.

{I added that last one just to make myself feel better. I’m still waiting on the house.}

Do you see what God does? He might give us what we want, yes. But inevitably it cannot satisfy completely. And in the process of learning that, we unveil a vital truth.

Life in this world is filled with good things. But this world is fallen. So even the good things have a bad side—the capacity to cause distress.

Yet that doesn’t mean they’re not worth it.

Take you and me, for example. We’re God’s children. His dearly desired pups. And we mess up all the time—peeing on the carpet, so to speak—causing Him much distress.

Yet He still bothers to love us, guide us, train us, and save us.

It’s the craziest part of the Christian faith, really—hardest to believe yet the most wonderful, amazing, mind-boggling truth we could ever hope for.

God thinks we’re worth the hassle.

Praise Him all day long.

And so, even when the things of this world let us down, we have a Heavenly Father who never will. He fills us up when everyone and everything else drains us dry; “he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things” (Psalm 107:9, ESV).

We could wrap up this devotion right here with a tidy little bow. Life goes empty, God fills you up. End of story, amen and amen.

But we won’t. Because there’s more. It gets even better, I’m telling you. DO NOT MISS what comes next.

In response to God’s illogical, ridiculous heart for us—because we’re so stinking grateful to Him for loving us in spite of us—we get the honor of giving others that same benefit of the doubt. That same forgiveness and mercy and loyalty. Even through the hard stuff, the hurts, the exhaustion. We stick it out. We look ahead. We love and we love and we love.

Is it easy? Ha. No way.

But it IS worth it.

I’m proud of my daughter for facing a tough life lesson and managing the puppy with grace, perseverance, and hope. Hope for Bodie to be fully housebroken soon. Hope for her evenings to be spent snuggling her dog instead of scolding him to stop gnawing our shoes. And hope for all the love and persistence she pours out now to return to her later in companionship, faithfulness, and the joy she imagined in the longing.

What is your puppy situation today? What good and desired thing is causing you trouble or heartache? Will you hold on to your hope, too? God’s Word promises you can.

“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:21–23)

Much love to you, friends, as you raise those naughty puppies (i.e., kids) and love those ornery husbands and serve those imperfect churches, jobs, schools, neighborhoods. The struggle to persevere has eternal payoffs. Let’s face it together. You, me, Jesus—and one very blessed {and exhausted} teenager.

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Much love,
Becky

This article was originally posted on Becky's personal blog. To read more from Becky, click here.

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About the Author: Becky Kopitzke

Becky Kopitzke is the author of The SuperMom Myth: Conquering the Dirty Villains of Motherhood and the upcoming Generous Love: Discover the Joy of Living “Others First.” Becky lives in lovely northeast Wisconsin with her husband and their two daughters, where her home office is overrun with bouncy balls and tween craft supplies. For weekly, keeping-it-real encouragement, visit Becky’s blog.

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