“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.” Romans 12:6-8 (NIV)
Last time we were together I was sharing about how our first bearded dragon was more of an alpha dragon and our family does better with passive animals. The pet store was more than accommodating to help our family find the best fit for us, and today I want to share how God redeemed the entire situation and taught me a lesson that I am carrying over into the rest of my life. I love how personal God is.
It was approximately one month later when I was finally willing to try again. We had bought a different cage and different lights and while at a pet store 45 minutes away, God allowed an encounter with another worker who let me hold her personal dragon for about 30 minutes. This dragon was full grown and the most passive, gentle creature around; yet I was still scared. I was dreading starting over because I didn’t know if I could handle it; yet I loved my little boy fiercely enough to try.
We were schedule to go in a week prior, but I woke up with no voice and what was later diagnosed as bronchitis. We decided to wait one more week, which I know now was all part of God’s wonderful plan. We stopped at the pet store to buy one more item for the cage (in preparation for the following week) and while my husband looked at items, I stood in front of the bearded dragon cage realizing that one week from now I would be bringing another one home. And my pulse quickened at the thought.
That is when it happened. I was by myself. No workers around, my kids were back and forth looking at the dragons and other reptiles and it was just me and the selection in front of me. One particular dragon came up to the glass and looked at me with that adorable slanted head look. First one way and then the other. I slowly put my finger on the outside of the cage, and she licked it. Then she ran around the log in the cage and kept coming back, as though playing with me. I seriously felt peace settle into my body and I thought, “Wow, I think I might actually like having this one.” But, we weren’t buying one for another week so I started to worry. “What if she’s sold? What if I don’t remember which one she is?” (they all do look very similar).
Then I remembered, “We’ve been praying for our new bearded dragon for a month, for God to pick out the right one for us. If this one is it, then she will still be here and I will recognize her.” I started to look to see if she had any distinguishing features and it looked to me like she had a little more orange around where her tail and body meet. I nicknamed her “orange butt” and left that day content that if she was the one, we would get her.
One week later we met the store manager and she greeted us to help pick the best fit for our family. I asked her which of the ones they had would work well for us and she picked out two… then I asked her about orange butt. She said that particular dragon would also be great because she was a sibling to the two she picked out and also calm and quite friendly. She spent two hours with us while we held “orange butt” and her sibling and during that time I started to bond. Really bond. The manager was there to help me stay relaxed when I started to get anxious and interpreted the various moods and personality traits. We left there with a family member, not a pet. Even after we got home and the manager was still at the store, when my anxiety started to rise, I replayed her words in my head, quickly calmed down and our dragon felt the tension leave my body too.
It’s been a little over a month now, I think. I don’t keep track because she’s ours. Her name isn’t orange butt – it’s Julius, Jewel for short. She definitely has lived up to her description of best fit for our family. She loves being held and has even fallen asleep in my hands twice now. She loves to look out the window and watch the birds at the bird feeder and even will climb up on her ledge to let us know she’s lonely and wants to hang out.
She’s still a little squirrely (quite young yet) so I can’t wait until she matures a little more and I can trust her to ride on my shoulder or snuggle on me and sleep, look around or just be with us.
I’m so glad I didn’t resign myself to life with our first bearded dragon. The thought of ten years with him was pure torture, for our family. (Update: In less than two days, he stopped his temper tantrums because the right people were handling him and within a month or less, he was sold to his forever family who is extremely happy with him too).
God, in His infinite personal love, gave our family an added blessing through this whole experience: Not only did we get the best bearded dragon for our family but I feel like we’ve made a friend for life with the manager of the store!
Come back next time to find out the best lesson God showed me that I’m still using as my caliber test in all areas of my life.
© Cheri Swalwell 2017