What can I say about the one who was with me through my darkest moments? One of the few who stood by my side through trauma, betrayal, rejection, abandonment, and loss. 

God gifted me with my loyal, beautiful, and happy dog for almost 13 years. Her name, Anaya, means “God answers” in Hebrew, and her life was filled with numerous answered prayers. 

She has taught me so much over the years. She was up for anything, complained about nothing, and helped me to become a better person. 

She taught me to be more selfless, she taught me to be stronger, and to rely on God more. She helped me grieve, and she was the best shoulder to cry on. She dealt patiently with my selfishness and never held a grudge.

I can’t thank God enough for the wonderful gift He gave me. When she almost died from being gored by a mountain goat, I could hardly bear it. But God gave me nine more years with her. 

Little did I know some of those would be the toughest years of my life. I think Satan knew that Anaya would be instrumental in helping me cling to God through my traumatic brain injury, and he tried to take her out two months before my injury. 

God knows our limitations, and He most definitely knows mine. He knows our weaknesses and helps us through the difficult times through His grace. Anaya was a remarkable example of God’s grace to me. 

From hundreds of mountain adventures to paddleboarding, to cross country trips, to seven moves, she always had a smile on her face. 

When I finally found my husband, she welcomed him and her new doggy brother, Toben, with love. She was able to spend 14 months with our baby girl, protecting and loving on her from the day we brought her home. 

She waited until she knew I was in good hands, and she helped me become a good mother to Zoe. I would never be ready for the moment she had to go, but I am trusting in God’s timing. He has been so good to me, and Anaya is just one of the many proofs of His goodness.

She is still teaching me lessons even after she is gone. Never take any of your loved ones for granted. Cherish every moment with them because it may be your last. Suffer well for the LORD, and He will redeem the time. 

I’ve been studying the book of First Peter with an online ladies Bible study, and more recently the Grace Evangelical Society annual conference. The book is on how to suffer well as Christians because we know we have eternal life, and in addition to eternal life, Jesus rewards us for suffering. 

The verse, 1 Peter 1:9 sums it up well, “receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.” A translation to better fit the context of the letter would be “saving your lives.” Anaya was instrumental in helping me save my life so that I didn’t waste it. 

Of course, this verse isn’t referring to eternal life. Peter’s readers already had that. It means making this life count for a lasting purpose that spans eternity as we follow God through our sufferings. Anaya helped point me toward her Creator, and keep my eyes on Him through my suffering. 

I know that I will be with Jesus forever because I believe in His promise of everlasting life that can never be lost, but I am hoping that Anaya will be there to welcome me home. She has been a great servant of God and did her job well.

The end of Revelation tells us that God will make all things new. I believe that includes our beloved pets. Death didn’t come from God, and all the animals had to face the consequences of Adam’s sin. When God makes everything new, I think that includes the animals that have died. 

Everlasting life is not simply “going to heaven,” floating on clouds and playing harps, but rather it is a perfect, physical world without pain, death, or evil. Our lives that are full of suffering can be redeemed and made right for the rest of eternity. Why wouldn’t that include having our closest companions by our side? I think it will.

He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” He said, “Write, for these words of God are faithful and true.”

Revelation 21:5

“Death, where is your sting? Hades, where is your victory?”

1 Corinthians 15:55

Although the pain of Anaya’s death is almost more than I can handle, the hope that I will see her again and that God is always good helps me through it. Even in her death, she is drawing me closer to God. 

Thank you Anaya for your love, sacrifice, and example. Thank you for expanding my capacity to love and helping prepare me to take care of Zoe. I love you, Little Girl!  Until we see each other again.

Discover more from Dr. Ellie Stevens, Christian Psychiatrist and Author

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