This isn’t the post I had planned on posting yesterday. But I hadn’t planned on yesterday ending the way it did.
My oldest had a relationship with her cat, Lila, like I’ve never seen. I’m not much of an animal lover, yet it brought me such joy to watch my girl go outside and call, “Lila-kitty!” …And then watch this bundle of white and gray streak out of the woods and across the yard. Lila was a very small cat–only about 5 pounds full-grown–and she’d do this little thing where she’d hop up on her back paws so her head would touch the hand that reached down to scratch behind her ears.
Sometimes they’d come back up to the house, side by side while Lila’s tail twitched, and other times they’d settle down in the grass for some time together.
But yesterday evening, a car caught Lila unawares, right in front of the house.
We knew there were dangers to loving cats that lived outside. Lila was the last of the original three we got two years ago. And yet…even my sorrowful little girl knows that Lila wouldn’t have been happy kept safe in the house.
Lila was an amazing hunter…and she loved hunting in the rain, especially. (And boy did she look skinny sop ‘n’ wet!) Her balancing skills put the other cats’ skills to shame. (I never knew there were different degrees of feline agility.)
If we had kept her inside, safe and secure, then she would have been just like every other indoor house cat that sits in a window, wishing it could be out living the life God made it to live. If we’d kept her safe, she wouldn’t have been as special as she was, and she probably never would have become as beloved as she became when she was out, fulfilling the dangerous role that God created her to fill, and that she did so very well.
Last night, as I was laying in bed wishing all those things you wish at a time like this, God whispered something to me.
I’m gifting your children with strength.
My children are so amazing. Last night, when we prayed as a family, all three of them, with no prompting from us whatsoever, gave thanks. Thanks for letting us have two years with Lila. Thanks for giving my girl all those wonderful moments. Thanks that they “will never walk outside and find God dead on the road.” Thanks for “that verse that says we can hide in the shadow of His wings.”
This morning, my son did his sister’s chores for her, unasked, while she sought solace in her music on the piano. And my little brown-haired wonder asked me if we could try to find a grey-and-white stuffed kitty for her big sister. And the one who lost the most told me that she quit being afraid that Lila would get hit by a car, because she was always so careful crossing the road…and she’s glad she quit being afraid, because she enjoyed Lila’s life so much more.
My children are strong. They do not have hearts that shrivel up into self-pity when life strikes a blow at them. They cry, and they give thanks for the gifts that were, and the gifts that still are, and the gifts that will be. They reach out to each other. They turn to the God who is surely becoming much more than just the One their parents worship.
And they can still sit down on the piano and with a guitar as they are right now, playing, “My Savior, Redeemer. You lifted me from the miry clay…You lived, You died, You rose again on high…You opened the way, for the world to live again, Hallelujah, for all You’ve done.” And “As the deer panteth for the water, so my soul longeth after Thee…You alone are my strength, my shield…”
I have the same choice regarding my children that we had with Lila. I could go crazy working to keep them sheltered. I could put up walls and locks around them so that it is more difficult for life to hurt them…or rather, I can try. But I’ll never totally succeed. Sooner or later, they will lose the rest of their grandparents. They’ll lose me. They’ll be hit by other things that I cannot control.
And in the process of reinforcing my walls and locks, I would take from them the life they were created to live…the life that brings out what makes them special.
God is seeing to it that they’ll have the strength to face what He knows is ahead. He is showing them that His peace and joy are always there. He’s teaching them how to live in the midst of a world marred by sin.
And so, for yesterday’s Multitude Monday, I am thankful for:
313. Lila’s life
314. And her death
315. That her death was “clean” and quick
316. The way she came when my girl called her
317. That she was never once mean
318. That she was always willing to be picked up and cuddled, yet she wasn’t annoyingly insistent
319. That God led us to that particular batch of kittens to pick one out.
320. That my girl picked the scrawny little flea-infested thing Lila was, rather than the tabby that the rest of us would have chosen.
321. The pictures we have
322. The memories and stories that last.
323. My kids’ strength
324. Their love for each other
325. That God has already taught them to run to Him for comfort
326. And that their trust in their Heavenly Father’s love is already deep enough to survive this sorrow
3 thoughts on “Life without walls and locks…”
Katie, that was a beautiful tribute. Your kids are amazing. Got teary-eyed reading this. :') Love you!
I just got to read this now.
What a sad story – I couldn't help but shed tears. I grew up loving cats too.
But the story of your children's strength is also beautiful.
God is indeed giving them strength to handle life's hurdles.
This post really touched my heart. I just was amazed to read when you wrote about God whispering to you about "gifting your children with strength". What a loving God.
I am an animal lover and I didn't experience the death of an animal until I was an adult actually. Our dog got hit by a car outside our house…it was really heart breaking.
I'm sorry your little ones had to experience this but it seems as if God has used it for good as well.