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Worth Every Effort
By Teresa Lee Rainey

"In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." (1 John 4:9-10 KJV)

"MOM, DAD, HELP … THE PUPPIES ARE DROWNING!!"

Andrew’s screams forced us into a mad dash for the front porch. As John and I raced outside, Tim was already lying in the mud, halfway under the stairs. He somehow stretched his arms back toward us with one of eight, three-week-old puppies dangling from his mud-caked hands. Despite the downpour, we began a saving chain of hope while Beauty (our Chow/Shepherd) ran back and forth between us, drenched and looking very worried.

Three weeks ago, we all thought Beauty was quite ingenious for digging out the perfect birthing place under the porch stairs. We forced our heads into her private nursery and watched in awe as she delivered her first litter successfully. She showed such concern for each pup. We thought she was the perfect mom.

Beauty’s nursery had now become a muddy pool of drowning infants.

Soon, four sopping-wet saviors were standing over eight freshly dried puppies. Beauty appeared relieved to have a new bed of blankets in the corner of the front porch. She lovingly nursed her litter as we celebrated by sipping sweet tea on the porch swing and listening to the sounds of an unforeseen shower.

Andrew looked up to us in exhaustion. "Mom, Dad, is it always this hard to raise children?"

"Oh boys," I held out my arms to Andrew as Tim took John’s lap. "You are worth every effort."

"Wow Mom", Tim sat up a little straighter as a thought hit him. "That must be what God thinks about us too."

"Can you expand that thought, Son?" John encouraged.

"Well Dad, He must have thought we were worth ‘every effort’ because He let His son, Jesus, die for us."

John patted Tim’s head as though he were one of Beauty’s pups, "You are exactly right."

"Hey Dad." Andrew would not be left out. "Guess that means we should try to stay out of deep, muddy water holes, right?"

John and I looked at each other, speechless for a moment.

Finally John was able to quietly reply, "From the mouths of babes."

Heavenly Father, it is impossible to express the gratitude I feel for the great sacrifice you gave through your son, Jesus Christ. During this time of year, I am continually reminded of the love you have for every person here on earth; how you felt each one of us was worth every effort. I pray that this knowledge of your love will continually dwell in our thoughts long after this Easter season is past. Please help us not only remember your sacrifice, but also try to stay out of those deep, muddy water holes of sin in an attempt to express our gratitude for your love. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Teresa Lee Rainey has been in love with the written word all of her life. Her passion for writing began as soon as she could form sentences on paper. As she matured, Teresa also fell in love with God’s Word and continues to strive toward a better understanding of all the treasures found within those pages. It is now her desire to help others grow in Christ through her stories. Teresa, along with her husband and two of their boys, were transplanted from her native home of Florida to the Nebraska plains in the spring of 2004. This move has given her time to pursue her passions. She is grateful for the time she now has as a wife, mom, friend, and inspirational author.
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