As I sat there on my knees, tears rolling, snot dripping, and my cat resting in front of me with one paw outstretched on my leg, I knew this was what grace felt like.
Funny, because Gerdie (my cat), is a holy terror most of the time. We’re still getting used to each other. Me being a recovering scaredy cat/dog only kinda gal. And her being barely 3 months old. But we get along alright…for the most part.
See, her original name was to be Grace. Why? Well my sister was getting pummeled by the number 5 everywhere she looked (which is the number of grace) and the kitten was in a litter of 5. Great logic, huh?
But she didn’t act, or look, much like a Grace. So she became Gerdie Grace. Part of that also being I didn’t think my future first born daughter would appreciate the name Gerdie; though I think it’s just the cutest!
Now a few months back I wrote a blog about being invested. Check it out here. I originally joked that I was talking myself into a dog. A dog because I’m terrified (yes presently) of cats. They seem unpredictable and hard to please. Now enters God’s sense of humor! God first introduced me to Gerdie towards the end of May. She was a little ball of fur running around my grandmother’s yard. All of her brothers and sisters were black and white and referencing the picture you’ll see why she caught my eye. That day I laid out a plate of food and she was the only brave one to eat. My heart melted.
Fast forward a couple of weeks and I was at my grandma’s again. That was the second time Gerdie and I crossed paths. I’ve always been an overly responsible person and knew I couldn’t keep the kitten. She needed more than I could give. I travel a lot for work and honestly the commitment terrified me. But ya’ll know how God is…you can’t tell Him no once He has a plan.
Through a mix of events, Gerdie came to live with me. The first week, I was a nervous wreck. You would have thought I was a single mom who brought home her first born. No seriously. I had multiple anxiety attacks. I got issues okay?! It didn’t help that I was about to travel 3 of the next 5 weeks. I called my mom. My aunt. My cousin. Someone had to take this cat! I couldn’t do it!! But they made me hold out. And with their support, I did.
For a while there it was hard to go home after work. During the day I was bombarded with “forced” interaction. Stimulated constantly. Coming home was like entering a black hole. Instant disconnection from the world. I felt myself drifting backwards. I felt lonely, not just alone anymore. Everyone around me had someone. And the idea of having someone still terrifies me, but I needed something. I prayed and prayed.
God, help me wake up earlier so I can have a routine. God, give me motivation. God, restore my joy and show me purpose. Help me!!
And what’s He go and do? Gives me a cat. Something I’m scared of! And can’t understand! And while those are true, He also gave me exactly what I needed.
For those of you like me, with little cat experience, let me break it down.
- You cannot manipulate a cat. Not Gerdie anyway. I can’t pet her if she doesn’t want to be touched. I can’t make her cuddle with me. In fact, it’ll result in sharp claws and/or nibbles. I come from a background of manipulating people to get or keep their attention, especially when feeling lonely. But not Gerdie. She calls the shots.
- There’s not a day where she isn’t happy to see me come home from work. I’m greeted with emphatic meows, which can only be translated to “Mom! You’re home, you’re home”. And don’t forget the purrs. AHHHH. For the first time in a long time I find myself bounding up the steps with a smile on my face, already feeling the softness of my Gerdie between my fingers.
- Cats mess with your emotions. One minute they love you the next they’re trying to escape or claw your face off. I have never understood the Gospel more than I do now. My heart can’t help but love Gerdie, even when she’s being a jerk face.
- Despite being a jerk face, Gerdie knows when I need her. The first week of anxiety attacks, she crawled on my chest and purred me to sleep. When I’m tearfully praising God on my knees, she rests her paw on me in support.
- And talk about motivation to get up early. I can’t remember the last time I heard my alarm. Gerdie is up early. Greeting me with toe attacks and chewing on my hair like yarn. But I “have” more time for God. Or should I say I use my time more wisely.
There are many more observations to make about her. But to sum it up, Gerdie is a blessing…despite her trying to help me type right now and climbing up my bare legs with her razor claws.
I can only count this as another unequivocal example of His grace. Only He could use something I’m scared of to grow me into someone I hardly recognize. I swore I would never own a cat. Now I walk around showing pictures and sharing stories of Gerdie constantly. She brings me joy (fun fact, as I typed “joy” she jumped on my leg and shredded it…now bleeding). But ya, joy…
Everyone sees a pet. But I see an instrument of God. I see how God can move in unpredictable ways. I see how God loves to use unexpected events to answer both the prayers you prayed and the ones you didn’t know you needed.
I sacrifice my fear daily to experience His grace through Gerdie. I’m stretched and thrown out of my comfort zone to love Gerdie. I learned that it’s hard to see grace for what it is. But it’s in the middle of everything, and oh how Gerdie Grace is symbolic of that.
Father, thank You for reminding me that I am not in control. Thank You for knowing what I need before I know I need it. Thank you for stretching me. Thank you for Your grace which is all sufficient and
meows abounds. Thank You for sending Gerdie JerkFace Grace to save me. You’re a precious God. You bring wonder into my life daily and I pray You allow me to always recognize it. In Jesus’ name, amen.