Monday, November 25, 2013

The lost get found

I never thought of myself as a crazy cat lady, but this October, I saw myself possibly becoming one. Over a year ago, my family adopted two beautiful kittens. We originally intended to adopt just one, but discovered our desired little kitty had a twin brother and they had been together since birth. Not wanting to separate them, we decided to adopt them both. Evan and Everett quickly became part of our family as we all loved on them and learned to take care of pets again (aside from fish, we were out of practice). Our son, the youngest, endured several scratches when he played too rough despite our warnings to play softer. Thankfully, both cats tolerated his torture playing pretty well.
Brotherly love
A year went by and the kitties grew into adult cats with large appetites. They settled into a nice routine of cuddling and playing with our kids, playing together, and sleeping a lot. Having matured some, they were less active than when we first got them. The only time they made much ruckus was at feeding time or when our son played too rough.

Our school routine got underway this fall, as well as all of the after school activities which seemed to increase tenfold this year. I thought we were doing fine, but by October, I was starting to feel overwhelmed with the new busy schedule.

It was a Wednesday night which was our craziest weekday evening. The kids got home from school at different times and we only had about 45 minutes to do homework, after-school chores, make dinner and then eat before heading out to church. I remember it being like a three-ring circus in the house and thinking it would be a miracle if we got everything done in time. I’m not for certain, but I believe it must have been around or during this hectic time that Everett made his escape. The saddest thing is that none of us realized he was gone until the next morning when he didn’t run to his bowl for breakfast.
The cat-hunt began.
In the days immediately following, I spent any time I had during the day and quite a few sleepless nights - sometimes in the rain, searching my neighbors’ yards and storm sewers. I made flyers and posted them all over. So much so that it was kind of obnoxious and embarrassing to my family. I didn’t care. I needed to find my poor lost kitty. I blamed myself for his escape and for not realizing he was gone sooner.

A funny thing happened during my searching. I felt God was sharing an important lesson with me. The story of the prodigal son kept coming to my mind. (…Yes, I know we’re talking about a lost cat here, but I believe God can and does use any circumstance to get His point across).
I kept thinking how much I would rejoice if we found Everett and how I would lavish him with love and attention if he would just come back to us. Then, I’d feel guilty that here I still had his brother Evan with us and I was neglecting him while searching for his brother. After my daily hunt, I'd finally go home and made sure to love on Evan and continued to pray for Everett's safe return.

So what was I learning? Here's the lesson: No matter how far we run or how much we try to hide, God loves us and relentlessly searches after us. He wants us to return home to Him so He can celebrate and pour out His love on us. For those who remain faithful to Him, we are never lost if we see that all that He has to offer is already ours. We are always able to receive God’s love if we accept His offer (His forgiveness and payment for our sins) and participate in a relationship with Him today.

I’m thankful for this life lesson even though it has come with much sadness and chaos, including driving my husband crazy by temporarily taking in two stray cats - one feral and one infected with fleas and ticks. We still have not found Everett, but I trust that God knows where he is and that ultimately He is in control. I'm sure I don’t have correct theology on animals and heaven so I won't even go there, but I know that God created our beloved kitty and in some way, He cares for him.

My heart still aches for our missing feline friend and I keep praying he's safe and will return to us someday. I'm not sure I’ll ever give up searching for Everett and will try to keep hope alive, even if it means my husband thinks I am a crazy cat lady.

I leave you with a few songs of encouragement and comfort.
I recently discovered this wonderful artist. Audrey creates such simple,
powerful, prayerful music. Check out her latest album Fortunate Fall!
Audrey Assad singing "I Shall Not Want"

I heard this next song on the radio last month and couldn't
get the catchy chorus out of my head. Great message!
(the lead singer reminds me of Michael Bublé)

Unspoken - Who You Are

Okay, you're probably done with reading and listening, but I can't resist sharing. Here's another great song from the Fortunate Fall album. (And in case you're wondering, I don't get anything from promoting Audrey's album other than the satisfaction of sharing her inspiring music with the world.)

Audrey Assad - "Lead Me On"