Some Bible verses automatically bring a certain person to mind. Now, I realize that the story in Luke 15 in which the good shepherd leaves the 99 to go in search of his one lost sheep is a picture of Jesus and His devoted love for each of us. Yet, whenever I think of my daughter-in-law, Dr. Marlee Lucius, I cannot help but think of her in terms of this Scripture passage.
Our Marlee is an amazing young woman. Not only did she work and study eight long years in order to become a licensed chiropractor, she decided to further her studies and become an animal chiropractor as well. Most people are not even aware that there is a field of chiropractic study dedicated entirely to animals; I surely didn’t until Marlee pursued her second chiropractic certification.
So, by day, Dr. Marlee works with hundreds of her human patients in order to help them achieve a higher quality of well-being. She takes a holistic approach with her patients; they become her family the minute they enter her office. She truly cares for each of them with the love of her Savior. People always remark about the strength and dexterity of her hands. I see them as a gift from God, a ministry extension of His hands. And she uses them well, praying for patients as she works.
Before and after her regular office hours, comes the most fun part for Dr. Marlee though—animal house calls. Those are the times when she gets to use her hands to minister to her furred and feathered friends. I call them friends because Dr. Marlee absolutely adores all animals. And I have never met an animal (or a person, for that matter) that did not adore her.
Not only do her animal patients adore her—they desperately need her at times. Whether it’s a beloved elderly pet dog with arthritis, an expensive rodeo show horse with a debilitating injury, a costly momma milk cow with postpartum problems, or a tiny newborn goat unable to stand or walk—Dr. Marlee comes to its aid.
The latter scenario was the latest of Dr. Marlee’s house calls. One evening, she arrived at a nearby farm to find a five-day-old goat totally sprawled out on its belly, with all four legs uselessly extended. The kid had repeatedly tried to stand without much success and had finally given up. Her owner was at the point of giving up as well.
But not Dr. Marlee. She used her hands, those amazing gifts from God, to work on her needy new patient. Almost immediately, the baby stood and took a few tentative steps. And as Dr. Marlee continued to assess and adjust the tiny goat’s spine, an idea came to her mind. She remembered the single rubber band that she had (for some reason) hurriedly shoved into her back pants pocket earlier in the day. She used it to hobble the kid momentarily. The results were amazing.
So amazing that the goat’s owner readily agreed to send the kid home with Dr. Marlee for several days of intensive care. So, the nameless baby was bundled up and lovingly bedded down in the Frontier Chiropractic barn—but not for nearly as long as anticipated.
Within 24 hours, the goat was totally mobile. Dr. Marlee decided that a baby goat with that much determination to live (plus the sweetest face and longest ears ever) had to be named Lola.
Lola quickly learned to run and jump and make mischief with her newfound friend, Sampson the bulldog. By the second day of treatment, it was obvious that Lola was ready to go home—before Lola and Sampson both got into some trouble that Dr. Marlee couldn’t get them out of. Before Lola left though, my husband and I decided we had to go meet her for ourselves. And what a treat it was to see Lola in action. We fell in love with her floppy ears and her laughing eyes. It was truly miraculous to see Lola playfully enjoying the gift of life.
As I watched Lola play, I found myself thinking of the infinite love of God, the amazing truth that He does indeed love each of us so very much. Even me! How can it be that He would leave all in order to come find me, save me, and heal me from my self-inflicted wounds? What mercy, what grace! What a blessing to be counted as a sheep under the loving protection of the Good Shepherd. And what a blessing to be able to catch a living, breathing glimpse of the Good Shepherd in Dr. Marlee’s loving care for Lola the baby goat.