Sergeant had been beaten, starved and left outside in the elements. Ruger had been starved. While they were yet puppies, Annie and Duchess had been abused by young children. Annie never recovered from the damage to her shoulders and forever hobbled as she walked. Georgia was a stray. When she arrived, she was terrified, starving and her organs were shutting down. Her teeth have been ground down from eating dirt and gravel. Sophie had her leg chopped off. Jacks had been attacked by dogs, someone wrapped him in barbed wire, cut his ears off and then threw him from a car on the highway. Jazz arrived so badly beaten that she had brain damage and she could barely move. Sadie was thrown from a vehicle and had a broken back. Buddy was abandoned in a backyard for eight years and he had heart-worm. Cooper had been abandoned. Ted had been abandoned and on and on. We have cared for hundreds of animals like this over the years and we have spent well into six digits in vet bills but money can’t fix every problem. These fur kids arrive with baggage.

Baggage is all the bad things that have happened to us that we box up and put away but can’t seem to get rid of and everyone who has made the journey has baggage that they carry around.

I was once married to a clinically diagnosed sociopath. That’s a whole ‘nother story that I no longer wish to tell. I won’t tell you my wife’s background, that’s for her to tell but I don’t think she cares to discuss that either. Everyone eventually has a story and everyone eventually has baggage that they deal with. I remember one time shortly after me and the Missus got together and I was ranting. (I know! It’s hard to believe!) Out of exasperation she pointed her finger at me and shouted, “You’ve got baggage!” to which I shouted back, “Yes, and it’s my baggage, leave it alone!” That was many years ago and it would be nice if I could say I no longer have any of that baggage but that would be a lie. I still might have some of it but I’ve learned to deal with it. Mostly. Sort of. 🙂

I’ve been beaten, robbed and I’ve had people try to kill me. I’ve been messed with bad and the only good part of those stories is that we’re all still alive and I’m not in jail. You might have different but equally intense stories and you’ve got baggage. We all do.

Dealing with baggage takes a lot of patience and love. It was weeks before we could pet Jazz and months before we could hug her. I was eventually able to pet Jacks. After much love and patience, Ruger, Annie and Duchess came around and enjoyed a full life. Sophie still won’t let us pet her but she’s a happy little girl now and she plays with the other critters in the house. It took a LOOONG time for Georgia (Mumford) to relax. For the longest time no one could walk near her without her freaking out and it took a lot of work to get her to where she is today. She, along with several of the others, still has some left over baggage and quirks and we work around them just like my wife and I work around each other’s left over baggage and quirks. (Not that she has any) It’s called love. Love helps unload the baggage and build around what’s left. Remember, love is patient and kind? 1 Corinthians 13

You can’t look at Sophie, our three-legged cat, and say, “You’re safe now, get over it.” You can’t tell someone who has been abandoned that everything is okay now and they will go merrily on their way. You can’t raise your voice or your hand to someone who has been abused and not expect a reaction. Precious Moments Christians are quick to say, “If you get your spiritual act together you’ll have victory over that.” I see that you aren’t in jail yet so you obviously have patience with those poor ignorant souls.

You don’t know my story and I don’t know yours but God does and He’s been handling baggage for a very long time. He’s patient and He’s loving and He knows that we often need more than food, medical attention and a dry place to sleep. Talk to Him about your baggage and see if He’ll help you unload some of it so that you can live a normal life. It’s not like He doesn’t already know about it.

1 Peter 5:6-7
And God will exalt you in due time, if you humble yourselves under his mighty hand by casting all your cares on him because he cares for you.

Baggage is too heavy to be lugging around everyday. Now is as good a time as any to get rid of some or all of it.

Matthew 5:3-5
3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

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About the Author

Joyce Ellis is the CEO and Caretaker of WarmFuzzy's Animal Shelter & Sanctuary. She was born with the vision, the Energizer Bunny who keeps going and going. She is Fuzzy1 of all WarmFuzzy's.

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