A few weekends ago my parents flew into Fayetteville for my sorority's “Mom’s Weekend.” It was so exciting to have them in town, show them my favorite spots, and celebrate my bdayyyy!! wut wut!! The last time we had all been in Arkansas together was when they dropped me off at the beginning of the semester #nostalgic. The night before my Mom and Dad left to go home, I decided to take them to the movies to see the movie La La Land. My parents don’t go to the movies a lot, and really haven’t seen too many recent movies, so to say the least, I was absolutely PUMPED that I was going to get to watch the movie that I am so in love with them. I think that La La Land is possibly one of the most beautiful storylines/pieces ever created. I recommend you watching it 100%. Anyways, we walked into the theater, and SHOOT lemme tell ya… for Fay being considered a pretty small town, the theater was packed!! Unfortunately, we ended up not being able to see La La Land because the tickets were sold out. Mhmmm. I was pretty disappointed because I had really hyped up the movie and knew that none other could match the emotion, beauty, and message that La La Land would have had on my parents (or that I had told them it would lol). This is literally becoming an entire essay about me going to the movies with my parents and not getting tickets to the movie I wanted to see… hahah okay.wow.awkward. Long story short, I settled for less, and we got tickets to see the movie, “A Dogs Purpose.” This was a stretch. Hate on me, despise me, call me strange...

I am such a cat person.

I love cats, have cat shirts, cat accessories, and will literally find any reason I can to bring stray cats home. I grew up having kitties and have always had much more of a connection with them, hence why we have 7 cats at my house. (we live on land and they live outside, so I promise I don't live in the midst of a furball. Our orange cat Frisco is an exception to the "no cats inside" rule.. or in my Dad's words, "No farm animals in the house.". Frisker lives inside most of the time because he's my Dad's favorite and he gets special treatment - aka his own water bowl, riding in the truck to get the mail, and getting canned cat food in secret so the other cats don't see) – I am starting to sound like a crazy cat lady now, and this is honestly really irrelevant to the point that I am eventually going to aim at getting across, so I am going to stop right there. Now that you know my obsession for cats, we'll bridge to speak of the other creature that falls in the household pet category - dogs. I have three dogs, and they're sweet and they're my babies. Now that you are fully informed of my thoughts on La La Land and Frisco's lifestyle habits, I think it's best if I go ahead and transition us into the meat of what I told myself I would talk about in this post. (Lord help me stay on task.)

I went into seeing the movie "A Dog's Purpose" with a pretty closed heart and mind, but by the end of the movie my whole family was in tears and I had made the decision that when I live in a place with a backyard, I will get a Corgi named Pancake. Basically, without completely spoiling it, I am going to give a brief summary of the movie and explain my thoughts and the impact it had on me besides wanting to adopt a new pet and name it after food. #typical

The main plot of the movie, "A Dog's Purpose" is the story of a dog who goes through five reincarnations as different dogs. He is seeking "a dog's purpose in life" in his different reincarnations. In his first incarnation, he is a mutt named Toby; in his second reincarnation, he is a Golden Retriever named Bailey; in his third reincarnation, he is a female dog with the name of Ellie; in his fourth reincarnation, he is a Corgi named Tino; and in the last reincarnation, he is a Saint Bernard named Buddy. While the dog is in his first form, he is mistreated, neglected, and basically abandoned. The dog becomes closest and finds his identity in his second owner when he is the Golden Retriever named Bailey. He has a special relationship with this owner. His owner raises him from the time he is a little boy and from the time that Bailey is a young puppy until the owner goes to college.  Each incarnation teaches the dog about himself by him facing different trials and obstacles, as well as having different owners. Throughout the movie, the dog loves each of his owners, although he still has a special connection with his owner who raised him when he was a golden retriever. The dog reverts back to this owner, comparing him to his current owners, but can't seem to find his way back to the one he has a true relationship and love for, and ultimately, the owner has mutual feelings the dog has for him. At the end of the movie, Buddy, a mutt (who still has the same soul as the original dog) returns to his previous owner who I mentioned earlier, (the one who had raised him when he was a golden retriever). This was the owner that ultimately loved him the most out of all of the other owners he had, and was the one who had brought him up as the dog he was meant to be. The owner is now an old man, but he recognizes the dog, even though he is now a different breed, with a different name. He sees the character and heart of the dog and the movie ends with the owner and a few other things that were once uneasy, at peace, and reunited. Wow. True beauty right there folks. 

Now why on the planet earth did I just tell you a summary of the movie and possibly spoil every beautiful part for you? I think this is an absolutely perfect parallel to modern day Christianity. As humans, we generally go through things that break and challenge us. We eventually find something to lean on (hopefully God). Due to whatever makes us hurt and leaves us feeling empty, we automatically look to something that will fill that emptiness and make us happy. We go through different seasons in our lives that teach us things about ourselves. This is just like what happens in the movie. The dog is at first, is a puppy. There is a special innocence and youth about the dog when he is young that is fresh and new. He hasn't learned anything yet, made mistakes, and he is super silly. As children, we are pure, playful, haven't learned a lot, and have parents or a guardian who help us out and makes a lot of decisions for us. We eventually grow out of this stage and begin to make our own decision and become our own person. Eventually, most people go through a turning point in their life in which something detrimental and "life changing" happens. Life events often leave us feeling unloved, neglected, treated unfairly, or abandoned. We even become enslaved to certain things and put things as a priority, that in reality, shouldn't be important in our lives at all. This is how the dog is underneath the ownership of his first owner. He goes through this stage of feeling unloved and enslaved to his owner, but eventually, he enters a new season of life where he is rescued and realizes his worth (or potential worth). The dog gets rescued by his second owner. This owner loves him dearly, cherishes him, understands him. Regardless of how many times he embarrasses the family he lives with by eating prized possessions or tearing up the house, his owner loves him unconditionally. This relates to us because after we are lost or broken, we turn to something that fills us. Something steps into our lives that fills the void of the feelings that we were previously having, and it satisfies us. In a Christian's life, this is usually where we begin our walk with Christ. We grow with God at first, and get on a "Jesus High" type of feeling. We realize that we are meant for something better than the previous life we had lived. This is a beautiful breakthrough for us. We learn that God forgives us regardless of the mistakes we've made. As our walk with God continues, we go through things that either bring us closer to God, or lead us away from God, depending on how we handle each situation. After the dog is owned by his second owner he reincarnates into different dogs, changing, learning, facing obstacles, and going through different seasons of life. The dog misses his second owner, but doesn't know how to find his way back to him, and feels like it is almost impossible. We get like this too. After starting our relationship with Christ, things aren't perfect, nor will they ever be. We go/will go through things throughout our lives that will challenge what we believe and determine where our relationship with God goes. God reveals to us our passions and purpose. Sometimes we don't continue a super steady walk with God and we get off track and make mistakes again, and sometimes, in a sense, become unrecognizable with the person we have become. At the end of movie the dog returns to the owner that truly loved him, and the owner recognizes him. This is us. We will hopefully find our way back with God, if we aren't with him already. He still sees us as the innocent puppy or the pure heart that we were created with. When we return to God, or while we walk with God, he is always there, whether we can fill his presence or not. We are at our happiest and feel the most content when we are walking with him and in a relationship with him. 

My prayer for this week is that if you are feeling lost in your walk with God, or have never started a relationship with him, that you pray for yourself and ask him to make himself known.

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." Matthew 7:7

xoxo, kailey