A Love Like No Other

I’ve lost many loves in my life, but none like this one. This pain is pure pain, with no anger or regret. Just overwhelming sadness. 

My Danny Boy passed from this life Tuesday, December 27, 2022. He was 12-years old, and the best boy a dog-mom could ask for. I’m devastated. 

Danny is my Best Friend, comfort, and constant companion. I’ve almost lost him three other times, but God spared his life for my sake. Why he didn’t spare him this time, I don’t know. 

I was holding him for a good 30 minutes before his breathing changed and we were putting him into the oxygen tank. I was petting him and talking to him gently, and he passed. I called the doctor. She was surprised. She checked him and confirmed my greatest fear. 

I started wailing. She asked me if she should bring him back. I said yes. So she did. She told me he was having agonal breaths, that he wasn’t really back. But then she checked again and said, no he’s here. He’s breathing. She took the tube out of his nose that she was going to use to feed him. 

I held him again for 20 minutes or more, sitting with my parents, singing, holding him. We started to cry out, and so did Danny. He was trying to bark, but it seemed he may have had a stroke, or was struggling to breathe. 

I was concerned and wanted him to have space. I took him back out to the doctor and we were taking him back to the oxygen tank, rerouted to an oxygen mask, he started to calm down again breathing.

I talked to him again. I was calm. He relaxed as I told him he was a good boy, and that I loved him. I kept talking to him, and he passed again. 

I could tell he was gone, and my heart was broken. The doctor confirmed. I picked him up and held him, my baby. I held him right there in the office, and then I took him back to the room where my parents were. 

I sat there holding him, rocking him. My mom held him some. I held him for hours. Crying. Praying. Grieving. He was laying on me just as he was when I was holding him before he passed the first time. Like a sweet baby resting on his mommy. 

I didn’t want to let him go. I couldn’t. My parents left. I was there alone. I bathed him. I held him as I lay on the floor. I rocked him. I couldn’t let go. I couldn’t think about leaving him in the room alone. I couldn’t walk out with him in my arms to my car. I couldn’t do anything but hold him and cry. 

I called my sister. She came about an hour later. She held him. I went to the bathroom. I prayed about what to do. I came back and held him again. 

My sister was the only one I could hand him off to. She held him and I kissed him. Then I called for the tech. She came. It was a sweet girl who had shared with me earlier. I said, “I’m glad it’s you.” I hugged her. Then I kissed my baby again, leaving him in my sister’s arms as I walked into the hallway closing the door behind me. 

She joined me and we walked out. I stood at the edge of a dark field, looking up at the night sky and the stars that were just beyond the trees. I prayed for peace. I felt connected to Creator as the tears fell. 

I climbed into the car and we went to a nearby hotel. I climbed in bed fully dressed and cried throughout the night.

Nothing has felt right since. There’s a huge hole in my life. I feel sick all of the time. I wake up with night terrors. I wake up crying. I take medication and I sleep. I become angry and quickly go back to sadness. 

I don’t want to turn off any lights. I don’t want the sun to set. I don’t want to close my eyes. 

But I did, and last night I dreamt of a little boy. A human boy who was about 5 or 6 years old. He was looking up at me. I was his mommy. He had brown hair and brown eyes. He looked at me and started telling me memories of times we had together. But these were memories that he shouldn’t have known. Only Danny would know those things. The child in my dream was my Danny, reincarnated as my human child. 

Though God answered my prayer to be with Danny when he passed, and though Danny came back for 20 minutes or so, and though I had this dream… None of it has calmed my heart. Maybe these things will continue and one day I will find peace. But for now, I look at my pictures with a broken heart and long for the day when I will be in Heaven with my little love. 


It’s good to know when to stop.

We have zero power over how others view themselves or us. We have zero power over how others handle their inner traumas. We can strive to make amends or to clarify, but we have zero power over if the other person will listen or respond.

But we do have the power to stop. We can stop trying when someone actively resists everything we are. We can stop commenting when everything we say is misconstrued. We can stop attending when we are disregarded or pushed away. We can stop opening ourselves to behavior that makes us uncomfortable.

It’s vital to know when to stop.

If you keep going and don’t heed the warning signs, you will get run over. You will hurt yourself and or others. You will damage relationships to the point of no return. You will regret not stopping if you don’t stop.

You have to stop trying. Stop fixing. Stop caring. You have to focus on you and what God has put in your hands. That is all you have to do.

But one thing to never do, is never stop loving you. Never stop believing in you. Never stop trusting your gut. Never stop standing up for yourself. Never stop fighting the lies. Never stop caring for you. Because you are the only one who will be there until the end of every day, every moment, and every breath you take.


I will not pay your way

I will not make it easy for you

I will not go to you

I will not send a gift

I will not trust you

I will not love you

I will not feel sorry for you

I will not make excuses for you

I will not let you off the hook 

I will not pretend all is well 

I will not be lost in a wish

I will not fight a battle that isn’t mine

I will not look for you

I will not expect you

I will not allow your way

I will not speak to you

I will hold my head up high 

I will remain distant

I will sit on my throne

I will rest alone in my chamber

I will battle for truth

I will win my wars

I will rule my land 

I will care for what is mine

I will protect my rights

I will stand my ground

I will put me first

I will reign in power

I will surround myself with guards

I will leave a legacy 

I will fortify

I will be fierce 

A Queen or a Slave

Am I a Queen or a Slave?
I have the power to choose
From this point forward

I can be bound to the words spoken over me,
Or I can break the chains and set my self free

Am I a Queen or a Slave?
My circumstances do not choose
From this point forward

Will I look around me and believe what I see,
Or will I look within me and find greater strength?

Am I a Queen or a Slave?
I choose not to fall into default
From this point forward

I will speak my identity into existence
The power to raise my head is mine

An Ocean

You came in like an ocean full of words
Beautiful words that swept me away
I drowned in the warmth of the waves of your love

You cradled me, lovingly holding my head above the water
You cared for me like I was yours
You loved me

And I loved you
Love never dies
But oceans quiet for a time before the seas start to roll again

You came in like an ocean full of words
Then you left without a single one
And I drowned in the silence as waves of grief rushed over me

When the storm calms, may we find each other alive and well
And may the ocean of love wash over our hearts again
My drifting, lost Love

The Weed in My Garden

Two hands clasp in friendship, a mingling of souls
A fire burns away the past and
Paves the way for a new beginning

Beautiful feelings rage
Dreams, stories, pain, and anger
Are exposed in full daylight, nothing hidden

Truth and lies from
The bottom of the sea reveal a life full of treasure
Waiting gladly to be discovered

Until a storm of doubt, fear, and shame
Ascends and everyone takes cover
Darkness and isolation rain down like tears on a face

Violence and neglect, a refusal to water the plant
Brought home until it struggles gasping for breath,
For that one drop of water to ease its’ soul from hell

Is this where the story ends?
Is it where the road eternally forks?
Or is it what’s required to learn to plant a beautiful garden?

Choices we cannot control dictate the next move:
The number of thorns and rocks in the ground
The nearness to the River, the abilities of the caretakers

Dependence is not intimacy, separateness is not freedom
The war rages between hearts and inside the minds
Perfection is impossible, could anything less ever be accepted?

There is a beauty in the weed that arose despite the conditions
The hearty, strong, and lonely weed that will not go away no matter how I pull at it
The weed whose root runs deep has a name: Survival

Survival consumes my soul, but I know him and am comfortable with him
We are old friends, Survival and I; he will not destroy me, but will
Inspire me to push my head up and allow the Sun to look on my face

The Wind will blow out the dead leaves from my garden
The Fire will burn away the brush and burst open the seed
The Water will flow and renew youthful life again

And so I can see the beauty of my Weed
And appreciate the heartiness required to survive without care
And see it not as a Weed, but as my soul and life, and something to cherish

The Weed in My Garden

Rachael K. Hartman 9.25.20

The Battle

November 5, 2019
by Rachael Kathleen Hartman

The Battle

prayerwarrior7.jpgFear of forgottenness
Fear of the future
Regret of the past

Where you gonna run and hide
When you locked up on in the inside
How you gonna get outside

Feelings of unworthiness,
Feelings of unwantedness,
Raging of the mind?

Look around, but see nothing
A seastorm, but no lighthouse
God is there, but you in the dark

Stuck in prison hell
Reaching, fighting, trying
To find an answer

Is it mental? Meditate
Is it spiritual? Pray in tongues
Is it biological? Take the oil or pill

Then sleep and dream
Dreams to interpret
For a clue to the waking world

The mind a battlefield
And you the Wounded Warrior
Prayer Warrior

Drowning it all in the Blood of the Lamb
Fighting the bloody battle of the soul
A battle only He can win

Suggested reading: Don’t Call Me a Prayer Warrior


The Chapter that Ends Well

I’ve been thinking about the next chapter of my life, where I will go, and what I will do. When you lose everything, that is a good thing, as it opens you up to receive everything. There’s nothing there to take up space and keep you from whatever it is that is waiting for you in the future.

Every time I have packed up and moved–which has been often–I have left a part of me behind. I can’t complain about that, as I have always found myself wherever it is I go. God is always with me, even when I am not with Him as I wish I were.

I am still a long way off from moving, about nine months. But I know somewhere deep within me that the apartment that I am in right now, this lovely place, will be difficult for me to leave. So much has happened here. I’ve loved and lost. I’ve grieved and found peace from my grief. I’ve broken down and learned to build myself up. I’ve cried, wept bitterly, and come to a place where there were no more tears.

I’ve had dreams, visions, and whispers from the Lord. I’ve had friends reach out to restore me. I’ve found a place of peace and a place of rest. I’ve found a lot of who I am.

I’ve gained and I’ve lost here. I’ve lost rebellion here. I’ve gained trust in God. I’ve lost unforgiveness here. I’ve found grace. I’ve lost friends. I’ve found new ones.

Something within my spirit feels like spring is about to burst forward. That the death I have died here is ripening my ground.

It’s not so much about what the next chapter holds, as it is that this one ends well. It-is-well.jpg

Please God, Love People

But just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts.

1 Thessalonians 2:4 ESV

I’ve had three particular situations over the past few days that I have stressed out over.  Today, I stopped and asked myself if I had made the right choice in those situations. Yes, I do believe I did. Then what’s the problem? Why was I stressing?

I’m empathetic by nature, so if I know another person is upset or stressed or mad about something I’ve done, I stress. I want other people to be happy with me. And that is my problem.

Several years ago, I heard a great quote that stuck with me. “I used to love God and please people, but now I please God and love people.” I needed reminding of that today.

As soon as my brain logically admitted the following truths, I felt a weight lift off of me.

  1. Did my choice please God? Yes.
  2. Did I do my best and admit my faults? Yes.
  3. Did I act out of a pure and honest heart? Yes.

That’s when I saw this post by Rachel Miranda Kerry as I scrolled Facebook. I shared it, of course. “Don’t let anyone try to convince you that there is something wrong with you when you are pursuing the heart of God. You are doing right.”

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Perfect timing. It’s honestly not even that other people are trying to convince me that something is wrong with me. It’s my own natural tendencies that I am fighting against. It’s the natural path of guilt and shame that I find myself on that I have to repent from.

Other people may not like our choices, decisions, responses, or boundaries, but it really isn’t about pleasing them. It’s our job to please the Lord, pursue His heart, and to take care of ourselves so that we have the capacity to love others.

I hope this thought helps you as it helped me. I am not perfect, but I am on the right path. I can let go of my stress and rest in the Prince of Peace, His grace, and His love. He loves me as I am, which makes me want to worship Him even more.

Jesus is good, kind, merciful, and full of everlasting love that endures forever.


A few days ago in a post, I wrote about my desire to buy a fish. Well, I did, and I named him Obadiah. Here he is, a little blue betta.


You may be wondering why such a small fish has such a large name. As I previously shared, while in Bible College I had a fish named Jonah. I love the name Jonah for a fish, but I think it’s pretty awkward to name every fish I own the same name, so I figured I would make my rounds through the Old Testament prophet names. If you want to learn about the book of Obadiah, watch this short video.

In the meantime, I discovered that the name Obadiah means “servant of God” or “worshiper of Yahweh.” The form of Obadiah’s name used in the Septuagint is Obdios; in Latin it is Abdias; in Arabic, it is عبداللّٰه ʿAbdullah.

Every time I see my little fish, I think about what it means to be a servant of God. Sometimes, it does feel like I’m trapped a bit in a little glass bowl with not much going on. But the cool thing is that I don’t have to have a lot going on to worship God. I don’t have to be something super special or extra. I don’t have to have everything in my life the way I ideally want it to be. I just have to be what God created me to be – myself.

A short post, but I have some other fun pictures of my dogs’ reactions to Obadiah that I’d like to share as well. Have a great day!