When contemplating selling everything I own to move to a third world country, I’ve found myself often focusing on what I have to leave behind:  friendships, my church, my home, a career I love, being in the same timezone as my family.  But in all honesty, the hardest thing in my life to consider leaving was my dog, Picoult.

I rescued Picoult in June of 2012 right after completing my first year of teaching.  That was a rough year.  Hours away from family and friends, I’d never felt so alone and isolated.  My “Who rescued who?” car magnet feels like an appropriate statement completely without irony.

As any private school teacher knows, the duties of a teacher carry far beyond a normal 7:30-3 day with one season of extracurricular responsibilities.   My winter was filled with 10-13 hour days coaching cheerleading and directing school theater productions.  So, Picoult started coming to school with me.  She’s attended for six years without a diploma…some kids just take longer.  e-and-p1

After a short time in Kenya, I knew that the Kenyan culture doesn’t hold dogs at the quasi-family status they enjoy in the States.  So, I prepared myself to re-home my best friend and almost constant companion of six years.

Needing to do my due diligence, I asked, assuming the answer, if I could bring Picoult with me to Africa.  The response was without hesitation, “Of course!  Bring her!”

I’m finding over and over again in this process of preparation that things I’ve resigned myself to give up, God is restoring to me.  Even the seemingly small things.  This is not some morose and sorrowful, self-sacrificing season I’m called to.  It’s an adventure of abundance and joy!  Praise God for his unending kindness…even to this dog spoiler.