Evil Cats

We have had serious animal drama around here, and it doesn’t even mainly have to do with the large gray animal I found heading into a large tunnel under our driveway.

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It all started with one small sweet cat on a Saturday afternoon. She didn’t seem like she’d bring anybody trouble; she was a beautiful calico drinking out of a salt water pool (which couldn’t have been good for her), and she was very skinny, obviously needing food. Greg was out of town, so the kids and I took pity on her and gave her some food and water. She hungrily ate up the food and drained the water dish at once. We let her in the garage, and she became particularly fond of a small space behind a pile of boxes. Saturday evening, I locked her out of the garage, and she had to stay out until Sunday after we returned from church. She ran in the garage then, and that’s when I found a two or three day old kitten wriggling his way out from behind the boxes. We think she already had the kitten when we met her and had brought it to our garage sometime when we weren’t watching on Saturday (we don’t know what happened to any others that might have been). The poor baby had been trapped in the garage all Saturday night and Sunday morning without his mother or her milk.

After that, we took care of the little guy and his mama as best we could, trying to keep them safe in our garage in a comfortable place. The kids and I played with them (especially the kitten) every chance we had. I was excited that the kids would get to watch a kitten grow up, and that they’d have more than an elderly thirteen year old cat (our indoor cat) with whom to play. They named the mama cat Pearl and the kitten Jack. The kids watched as his legs grew a little more stable every day, and as he first started to open his eyes, purr, clean himself, and play. Jack was just like any other tiny kitten you’ve seen or heard of–a fuzzy, tiny, wobbly, impossibly cute little guy.

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Then, when Jack was a little more than two weeks old, on a Saturday night as well, a male cat came in the garage and killed him. Since then, two male cats (one of which was probably the one to have killed the kitten) have not left Pearl alone, yowling at her throughout the night. I hope we can catch one or both of those obnoxious feral toms in the cage the animal control people put out for the aforementioned large gray animal.

Now, I know animals get killed every day–that is a fact of life. I’ve had in my lifetime at least three beloved outdoor cats disappear, probably because of coyotes. I also know I only knew Jack for two weeks. But seeing him killed was truly horrible to me and not just because of the pain I knew my kids would (and did) feel when they would find out the next morning. I think a big part of it was just the absolute “wrongness” of it. He was a creature that gave only delight to those around him, perfectly innocent, vulnerable, and sweet. It was horrifying to see this tiny creature violently killed by an unknown unprovoked animal. I also know Pearl, the mother, is a cat and does not have human feelings, but it was heartbreaking to see her cleaning him as if he were still alive. After we had taken her baby away to be buried, she searched everywhere for him, calling for him all night, all the while being harassed by the relentless male cats. I also know these cats do not really have evil hearts–they are just animals following their instincts. However, I would say the result was evil nonetheless.

I hear about all kinds of evil on the news, evil that is much, much worse than what went on in our garage last Saturday night. However, it’s easy for me to turn aside from that evil and stop thinking about it–I can’t do much about it anyway, I have my own sphere that God has given me that doesn’t include that tragedy, and it feels a lot better not to think about it, that’s for sure. This little tragedy forced me to look evil in the face, though, and weep.

Why did this (and other evil) have to happen? I know some answers that involve the Fall of man, but ultimately, I don’t know the answer entirely, especially when it gets to particulars. I do know, however, a very comforting promise that says that one day the wolf will graze together with the lamb, that predators will no longer cause evil on God’s holy mountain (Isa. 65:25). No matter how much evil goes on now, it is not what God ultimately wants for us, and it will not continue forever.

On top of that is this verse: “Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows” (Lk. 12:6-7). My kids and I cared about a small insignificant kitten, and although he might not have been much to most people, God Himself noticed his tiny life. If He pays attention to kittens and sparrows, how much more does He care for each of us and the real evil we face?

Jesus’ words in John 16:33 are words I meditated on last Saturday night. They are words that can stand up to much heavier trials than mine: “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

Third Verse; Same Song

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At first, for the most part, I was dealing with stress because of our upcoming move to Texas. Then, I was dealing more with chaos as a result of our impending move to Texas. Now, it’s mainly grief over the goodbyes we had to say because of our move to Texas.

As I said, third verse; same song.

Saying “anything” to God is not always easy. In fact, it can be downright painful.

It’s hard to leave a city with a great downtown and interesting restaurants, good weather, and rolling hills near the mountains.

It’s hard to walk away from a church that feels like home–a place where men and women have poured into me and my family in large measures, where I have so often worshiped God, studied His Word in depth, and prayed with others.

It’s hard to say goodbye to a community of like-minded women, like the women in my homeschool co-op or like a few other friends I recently started to get to know who share so many of the same interests with me. These are women I can talk to about struggles, and they will understand because they are going through many of the same ones. They are women I admire and want to be like. Although I haven’t had as much time with them, we grew together quickly due to our shared interests and ways of looking at life. I know our friendships would have gone deeper and deeper if I had been able to stay. Our kids’ friendships would have become closer and closer.

It is hard to lose the nearness of longtime close friends. Ten years is the longest unbroken time of friendship I’ve had with any friend–ten years of living life with the same person–and that is what I had with two friends in Knoxville. These girls became like sisters to me; our kids were like cousins. As none of us had family in Knoxville, we became family for each other.

I can’t count the times I have broken down crying over the loss of it all. Anyone who has made a big move like this knows what I’m saying, has felt what I’m feeling.

But I didn’t walk away from all of this on a whim. Greg and I did this as a result of saying “anything” to God. And Jesus said, “He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it” (Matt. 10:39) and “everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name’s sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life” (Matt. 19:29).

He is worth it. He is worth any pain He asks us to endure (and at times He asks us to endure much, much worse than what I’m undergoing). He has been good to me in my past moves, He has been good in this move (the stories of His goodness in this move just keep piling up), and He will be good to me again because He IS good. He always has been and always will be good and worthy of anything I can give Him. May I never hold anything back from Him that He wants me to give (like I often do). May I always remember His worth.

“You, O LORD, will not withhold Your compassion from me;
Your lovingkindness and Your truth will continually preserve me” (Psalm 40:11).

True Closeness

I have some amazing friends who I consider more family than friends, girls to whom I can tell almost anything, who would do anything for me (and have), and for whom I would do anything, as well.  However, true emotional closeness with a friend is still something for which I long, something I’ve wanted all my life, ever since my first best friend moved away when I was 8 or 9–not that I had true emotional closeness with that friend, but I think I was too young to realize yet that I didn’t.  I’ve been thinking about this again lately since one of my best friends found out that she would be moving across the country.   It’s a great move for her, and I’m happy for her and her family, but I have to say that her impending move has been very hard for me.  I’ve been grieving since I found out it was possible she might move.

But God met me today right in the middle of my pain.  He let me know that He’s using this hard time to draw me into closer intimacy with Him.  The closeness I long for will not be found here on this earth.  I had been thinking that, but it only drove me to hopelessness.  Today, He showed me that He is my hope–I can find intimacy in Him.  By directly speaking to a large number of my most recent thoughts and longings through a book and church, He made it very clear to me today that Psalm 139 is true, that He knows my every thought.  He is the only one who does and who ever will know me completely.

He could have left it there, but instead He made sure to make it clear to me that I am not only completely known by Him, but also loved and forgiven.  Lately, He has let me feel the weight of my sin, how far I fall short in all my relationships, not in condemnation, but just in loving truth.  Where else can I turn when I truly see myself for who I am except Jesus and His cross?  He has been showing me His cross in answer to my sin all week, but today, He showed me His love on the cross.

Now I’m asking what I can do in response to all of this.  How can I use my desire for connection with friends to glorify Him?  How can I love the people in my life better and engage with them instead of withdraw when I hurt?  I think He’s given me some glimpses of the answer to this, but I hope He continues to show me and help me.