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Recently, as part of a children’s service at St Andrew’s Church Barnston, I thought it would be fun to bring my dog to church. I was trying to explain that God loves us 
unconditionally no matter what we look like, whether we are smart, successful, beautiful, or not and I likened it to the greeting I receive from my dog every day. Macy meets me in the morning happy to see me, showing her love no matter what. I like to think of that as just a tiny window into the way that God loves us. 

Given the obvious worries about having a dog in church, especially one which is not the most trained animal in the county, I had arranged for my teenage daughter to turn up at a certain time so that Macy didn’t have to be around too long, just in case it all went horribly wrong. At the appointed time, building up to the wow moment, I went to fetch the dog only to discover no teenager or dog anywhere in sight.

Once the service had finished I discovered a text from my daughter who was still waiting patiently with the dog outside St Mary’s Church, Dunmow.

Now, we had planned all sorts of contingencies, what to do ‘if’ moments and we were ready for them all, but had completely forgotten to discuss which church the service was actually in.

Macy sadly had missed her big moment.

I can think on a lot of things in my life that haven’t gone to plan, things I expected and wanted which let me down, arrangements which didn’t happen, relationships which didn’t work out but looking back sometimes things have worked out better than I could ever have planned. 

The biggest bits of life are not actually ours to plan and control. At such times we just have to let it be and leave it be, because, going back to the whole point of that service, God loves us no matter what and we might find life a lot less stressful if we can just trust in that.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3: vs 5-6. 

Elsie Bouffler