It all began with this deep seeded urge to get a cat. I have always admired the little fluff balls, but refrained because of the dreaded mess that accompanies them. If someone asked my answer was always “I am a dog person”. Dogs are loyal, go outside to potty (hopefully), and are great protectors. Well, the urge grew. Then grew some more. I am usually an impulsive person, almost to a fault, but I took my time and thought about taking the plunge or may I say commitment of cat ownership long and hard. I could try and explain the urge. I like to think it was God pointing me in that direction or maybe I am a lonely housewife and stay at home mom. After finally getting the privacy I craved when all my kids started school, maybe I just couldn’t stand to pee alone? Heck! Maybe my image as a book reading artist required a cat, right?! Whatever the reason, a cat it would be.

There was never any doubt that I would adopt from the local shelter. They say ‘don’t choose the pet, let the pet choose you’, well this beautiful Maine Coon cross kitten stole my heart when she “told me” with her eyes to take her home. I fell hard and fast! What do new pet owners do? That’s right! I went straight to Wally World and bought anything a cat may need, or want. I did some investigating and chose the best items I could. I brought my kitten and everything home and set her all up. I chose the name Mary Queen of Scots. Mary for short, of course. I had been on a ‘Reign’ binge watching kick and being a redhead, naturally I wanted to honor my Scottish DNA.

When you think perfect cat, that was Mary. She used her litterbox faithfully. She bonded with everyone in the household. She had a way about her that brought on affection from anyone. She had the cutest and neatest little quirks. I soon decided our friendship was Divined. I still believe so. It was a Divined lesson I needed in my spiritual journey.

Two months into our love affair Mary slipped out the door and our Lab killed her. I reclaimed her lifeless body and wrapped her in the pillow case I brought her home snuggled in. Then I placed her in a box with her favorite little red ball. She stayed there for two days before I was strong enough to go and bury her next to our faithful border collie mix JoJo. You see, I dislike labels but if I had one I am a perfectionist struggling with a diagnosed generalized anxiety condition. I tend to build up these perfect images in my mind and when life falls short, the guilt I put on myself creates anxiety. My perfect cat with our perfect bond is yet another lesson God blessed me with to help in my recovery. I had to accept her loss and move on without guilt, without letting the fear keep me from trying again. I mourned my little fur baby and am still mourning her, but I was brave enough to head straight back to the shelter and adopt another sweet baby.

On my way to the shelter I prayed to my awesome Heavenly Father that he might bless my trip and help me find the right cat to bring home to fill the void Mary left behind. Boy, did He bless me and that trip. It was all too easy. There was a beautiful baby that resembled Mary and she took up with me very quickly. Now, my Nori is not “perfect” like Mary in the way she has struggled to learn to use her litterbox, she is more timid and it took a bit longer for her to bond with the household. However, she loves her human mom, me. She and I are great friends, to the point I don’t even care about her messes. I lovingly clean them up.

Here is another lesson I am learning. The way I lovingly clean her messes I have been reminded to do the same with my three VERY BUSY kids. I am remembering to put my love for them first before a “perfectly” cleaned home. I am letting some chores slide so I can spend more time with my loved ones. I am learning to be forgiving with myself, even encouraging.

Yesterday, I was busy cleaning up some of the chores I am behind on. I opened the door a few times to take things out to the car. Then I came in and finished up and then went to lay down for a while. With my chronic illness it is important that I rest or I can’t complete the evening chores, like homework and dinner. That, too, is something I have learned through another hard lesson my caring Father has taught me. After an hour nap the kids came in from school and I got up to greet them. They usually head straight for Nori, next. Well, Nori is nowhere to be found!! We searched every tiny crack in the whole house, twice, three times, then a fourth. I start panicking thinking I let her outside during one of my trips earlier in the day. Come to think of it, she usually naps with me. So, I grab the flashlight and franticly search the whole neighborhood. Fun fact, it is easy to find cats by the shine of their eyes when hit by the light. I found many cats, but Nori was not one of them. Now keep in mind, we hollered and called and searched for two hours. During this time, my eleven year old son who has been having a hard year tells me he prayed for me and Nori and that he had been using prayer a lot recently. Yet again, God works in mysterious ways. I had finally given up the search and started to cook dinner for my husband who is on call and headed in to eat before the phone rings again. A peace had washed over me as I began to accept the moment, just then a sleepy little cat came out of her expert hiding place and calmly stretched. God waited for me to quit reacting to the situation before he blessed me with my gift.

Who would have thought a couple of sweet little fur babies could teach me this much? God is always shaping us with different and unexpected tools and situations. They may be hard to swallow at times or even barely noticeable, but you can bet there is a lesson in almost everything. I will continue to work on choosing faith over fear and thoughtfully responding over anxiously reacting. My Father stands with me and I can face it all. -Plus a little snuggling with a fur baby is always good medicine.

-with luv