Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Least of Us


 I think God spoke to me this week.  

Before you stage an intervention, it wasn't in an "I hear angels and need to wear a tinfoil hat on my head to block out the demons" kind of way.  It was the kind of way where He gives you a wink and says, "Pay attention! You're about to see my fingerprints on something."  

We had some drama at our house recently; the kitten variety, to be specific.  Those of you who read my inconsequential updates on Facebook already know the gist of it.  This little snip of a kitten was abandoned by someone and left on our street.  She was just as friendly as she could be, purring and circling my legs as I approached the gutter to investigate.  So... I did the only thing any decent person would do (see how I rationalize?). I put out food and water bowls on our porch and made a little fleece bed for the kitten.  Naturally, one must consider how cold and dark it is at night, so one moved the bed, food, and water dish to our garage.  Along with the litter box I purchased for her.  

To say that she was snug as a bug in a rug, is an understatement.  To say that my husband was unhappy about the new addition to our family, which already included an anxious dog and elderly cat, is like saying my Grandma enjoyed televangelists.  It just doesn't even begin to cover the situation.  Every time Hubby would catch me sitting on the garage floor snuggling with kitty or calling her (by name- oh yes, I named the kitty) to come in for the night, he would shake his head, while muttering under his breath, "I really don't need this s*&% right now."  

What's a girl to do?  You just can't drop a cutie like that off at the shelter when you live in the country.  She'd have zero chance of distinguishing herself among the litters of kittens that get dropped off daily.  I did the only thing I could.  I tried to pawn her off on anyone and everyone I could think of with no luck. As for Hubby, as long as she was an outdoor cat, how much could they really run in to each other (I'm doing it again)?  

Besides the fact that you could cut the tension in our house with a knife, things were going just peachy. morning after I let her our to do outdoor kitty things, she did not come back.  It was cold and rainy.  I kept hoping that she'd peep her little head out from behind a tree.  Me and the two little cat lovers in my house searched the neighborhood, calling her name.  No luck.  

I imagined wild dogs and the coyotes that could be heard outside our neighborhood at night licking their chops. By nightfall, I was whimpering like little Bo Peep who lost her sheep and needed a glass of wine.  Pathetic!  My six year old said, "Don't worry, Mommy.  Let's just pray for her to be safe and come home!"  Lilah, my four year old said, "How about we have a birthday party for her Mommy?  We can bake a cake for her and then she'll come home, for sure!"  

This just created more tears.  

By the time Hubby got home from work, I was puffy eyed and sullen.  Surely, it was his fault for not wanting her to hang around. Yeah, that's it!  

He sweetly spoke to the girls, who were pretty glum.  "I prayed for the kitty all the way home from work and I know that God is going to take care of her and make sure that she finds a good family."  


I'm not exaggerating when I say that ten minutes later I got a message from a mom in a nearby subdivision, who would just LOVE to adopt our little stray.  I'm thinking, "Why? Why couldn't I have gotten this message last night?! That would have been just too easy!" 

As we sat down to dinner, not ten minutes after that, guess what happened?  A neighbor pulled up in my drive way, after finding a sopping wet, angry kitten, who had wondered too far away from home.  Our sweet kitty had been rescued and returned to us after all!  I was just overjoyed.  And immediately, I contacted the wonderful family that had offered to give her a good, indoor home.  

"What did I tell you?" my Hubby said.  "I prayed about it and I knew that God would take care of her." At least he didn't say, "Ye, of little faith!!" But, he could have. 

It's so annoying when he's right.  

Sure enough, kitty is now settled into the perfect home, where she is the only pet and will be spoiled rotten, as any princess should be. 

This story means more to me than a happy ending.  It reminded me of something I had forgotten...something that every six year old remembers.  You see, when I was the same age as my oldest daughter, my kitten went missing as he was prone to do and I prayed first, worried later.  I had this unshakable belief that if I just gave the problem to God, it would be taken care of.  As an adult, I like to worry first, make some phone calls, analyze the situation to death, post a facebook update on it, and then pray. 

God answering our prayers about this tiny, insignificant creature was an awakening for me.  

"Oh, yeah... oh yeah... oh yeah. I'm supposed to pray first.  And then again.  And then some more."  

Because God cares about the least of us.  And if He can attend to the needs of one small, stray cat, then whose to say what He will do for you and me? I will leave you with a quote from Jesus, who said it best. 
Matthew 6:25-34

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?




Saturday, March 16, 2013

I Just Felt Like Running

I have often said that I have the best of friends.  It's true!  I have the kind of friends that would give me a kidney, or take a bullet for a flesh wound, not the bleeding out kind (they have kids, you know).  I'll tell you what they would do for sure!  They would run a 5K for me (because that's as far as I can run, not because they wouldn't go further).  

My friends, I have never, under any circumstances, been a runner.  I was the kind of kid that would run at a walking pace with arms flailing wildly, wishing I was dead, as I failed to grab the baton that some kid was desperately trying to pass me.  It was traumatic.  Thus, began my hatred of running.  Later, in high school, when we would approach a track unit, I would inform my mom that she could expect a phone call from the school office about my absence from several consecutive days of gym class.  She would stoically accept my decision because it meant that she did not have to be subjected to anymore embarrassing phone calls from the gym teacher, wondering how in the world I could have another written excuse to sit out.  I don't think she particularly minded picking me up from detention because I wasn't ditching to smoke pot or have sex.  Hiding in the parking lot during the track unit seems pretty great in comparison! 

Lately, however, I have been looking for a sense of purpose.  I needed to do something that was just for me!  And I'll be honest, I was feeling less than young and energetic.  I decided to do something totally out of the Kate box; something that I never thought I'd do.  Since hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro does not mesh with my duties as mom, it had to be a task that I could complete in my own neck of the woods.  Last March, I was completely in awe of my friend, Missy and cousin Annie, when they participated in the Atlanta Marathon/ Half MarathonAs I watched those girls cross the finish line, dripping sweat and smiling, I could see them finding a power within themselves that seemed superhuman to me.  I was so proud to witness it!  

Remembering this, I perused a running website that listed upcoming race events in my area.  I found this 5K on March 30th, in Athens.   The Cottage is an organization that provides intervention, advocacy, referrals, and support to families that have been impacted by sexual assault and child abuse.  This felt like a real God wink to me! You know, when something is evidence of a higher power at work in your life?  Because there is no cause that is nearer and dearer to my heart than advocacy for children who have been victims of sexual abuse.  Sexual abuse affects people from every walk of life and every socioeconomic level in this country.  Here are the facts:
  • One in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused by the time they are 18. That statistic becomes real when you step into your child's classroom and look at those little faces.
  • More than 90% of juvenile sexual abuse victims know their perpetrator in some way. These are people we trust: friends, babysitters, coaches, pastors, etc.
  •  About 80% of 21 year olds that were abused as children meet criteria for at least one psychological disorder.  The pain does not end when the abuse ends...that is only the beginning.  
  • The estimated cost for child abuse and neglect in the United States in 2008 was $124 billion.   
My point is, this is not a problem.  It's an epidemic.  I am a survivor, no longer a victim, of sexual abuse and I will be doing my small part to help the victims in my community, along side Annie and Missy, on March 30th, in the Cottage 5K.  I am running for the little girl that could not find her voice, but has found her power and won't be quiet now. Who can you run or walk for? If you are not available to run but would like to support the Cottage, you can click on the above link and become a "phantom runner." 

If you are local and interested in supporting this awesome organization, get your running/walking shoes on and join us!  I will be the one puffing on my asthma inhaler and sweating like a man.  See you there!