Tuesday, September 29, 2009

IOW: Rejoicing in Contentment

Believer...banish your fears;
cast out all doubts;
lift up the happy head;
clap the exulting hands;
give thanks,

Your heavenly Father cannot set you in wrong places.
Your loving Savior cannot lead you in wrong paths.

All is well.

~by Henry Law~

We have a little cat that wandered onto our property. I think she lived in the woods on the hill across the road for a while. She finally braved the scary highway and crossed into her own little 'promised land.'

She slunk around here for a couple months, always hanging on the fringes of whatever was going on, running away if we paid her any attention.

One evening as we enjoyed the warm spring air, she crawled under our chairs. My feet were propped up on a table so she settled down under my seat. Our other cats were around and insistent on attention, so there was no just sitting quietly. Finally they had given us the small measure they decided we deserved and walked off. The little cat stayed hidden under my chair the whole time.

After a bit, I put my feet down and she ran back until they were no longer moving. I think she must have been kicked by someone, judging by how afraid of feet she was. I reached my hand down and spoke nonsense in soft, soothing tones. The little cat worked up her courage and came over and let me pet her for a minute before her fear overcame her and she ran off.

I continued to try to win her over, thinking eventually to haul her away so we didn't end up with wild kittens born in the garage or under the storage building. I started setting food for her, separate from where our other two cats fed, since one, Muffin (the reigning queen of our little farm), would chase her away, and the other, Rocko, would scare her off with his rough play.

I named our little stray Patches, for the gray patches over her otherwise white fur. Patches gradually came to trust me. And surprisingly, her gentle nature won me over and she earned a permanent home in our cat herd.

For a long time, even with all the loving kindness she was given, Patches would still dart away in fear as we walked by. Then she started to run up as I walked in the yard and stroll with me. Now she rushes from wherever she is sleeping into the driveway when we drive in and escorts us to the porch. She will even walk ahead, then come back to see what is taking me so long to get there. She always stops at the top of the stairs and waits for me to bend over and give her a scratch between the ears. She trusts me and will even sleep under my big wicker rocker while I rock. She has learned that I will not hurt her and she seems to appreciate that I'm the one who takes good care of her.

But there is one thing about our little Patches that I have noticed. She never purrs. Even if she works up the courage to jump into my lap for a nice long pet session, she never utters the slightest rumble. It's almost as if she is afraid to completely give herself over to the pleasure of my attention and love, just in case it is taken away.

Aren't we like Patches sometimes? We skirt around God's lovingkindness until we realize it is really offered to us. Then when we accept His grace and salvation, sometimes we still hold back timidly waiting to see if we will be kicked for all the mistakes we make. We become more confident in His love as we spend time with Him and He reveals His nature to us. But for some of us, who have experienced disappointment and disillusionment with people in our lives, fully trusting in God's steadfast love never really takes hold. We struggle with our old expectations and never give ourselves up to just resting in His grace and enjoying the blessings of His presence.

Come on, dear believers, it's time to release old hurts and painful memories and curl up in the Father's lap to enjoy His gentle hand. He LOVES us with a LOVE that is forever. It's time to purr!!!
Thus says the LORD,
"The people who survived the sword
Found grace in the wilderness--
Israel, when it went to find its rest."
The LORD appeared to him from afar, saying,
"I have loved you with an everlasting love;
Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.
"Again I will build you and you will be rebuilt,
O virgin of Israel!
Again you will take up your tambourines,
And go forth to the dances of the merrymakers. ~Jeremiah 31:2-4~

P.S. More on Patches' life story: Her previous owner saw her sunning herself on our porch rail earlier this summer and stopped by to confirm it was her. She had been missing from their home for more than a year. Because of vicious dogs that live near them that had already gotten another of their cats, they decided to leave her with us. Patches agreed wholeheartedly, even struggling out of her former owner's arms to run and hide behind my legs. She is six years old, has had one litter of kittens when she was a year old and has been spayed. She gets to spend the rest of her days in leisure her here on Morning Glory Farm. (She doesn't even have to do the mousing jobs...Muffin is our resident varmint hunter. And poor little Rocko was overcome by curiosity and didn't make it safely across the highway back in early June, so she doesn't have to worry about him pouncing down on her from high places as she walks by.) The only person she has to run away from is the Dynamo, but she does so halfheartedly. She submits to his rough love, then makes her escape as soon as he loosens his hug.

<-- Jennifer at Scraps & Snippets is hosting this week's In Other Words. Visit her to view more posts and to add your own take on today's quote.


MiPa said...

Beautiful illustration of coming to trust. Thank you for sharing.

Jennifer said...

"It's time to purr." I love that! It's so hard to just let go and trust completely...and yet so wonderful. Thank you for participating this week!

Debbie said...

What a great example of little Patches. Somehow reading about this frightened little cat appealed to me and helped me understand even better. Thank you for this post.

Anonymous said...

Of all the things you could have used to teach me about contentment and the loving grace of our God... you just had to go and use a CAT!!

It was just what i needed for this Tuesday. I appreciate you!


Anonymous said...

Love the story about the kitten. We used to own a pet shop and had the same with puppies who would hide and tremble - until they felt loved.

THANK YOU for sharing in IOW this week.