The last half of ’08 and early ’09 was a difficult year. It was one of those times that felt like i was always catching my life on a bad day. My grandmother, who helped raise me, passed away in September which though not unexpected, was a huge loss. A good friend’s younger brother died unexpectedly in a car accident in January, and it seemed every month brought more loss, stress, and sadness.
One, cold afternoon that winter, my girls were playing outside. It was just before dark when my youngest came into the kitchen with big, fearful eyes holding out her hand. “Mom,” she asked, “Do kitties have rabies?”
While playing, a black cat had come into our yard. As she went to pet it, it bit her on the arm. When I asked to look at it, the panic set in. We read a lot in our family, and had ‘done’ Old Yeller a few years before. At that moment, I could tell she was not too young to ‘get’ that story as I had previously thought. She began to cry as i inspected the bite. It had clearly broken the skin.
Though there are lots of strays around our house, there was a very good chance that it belonged to someone across the street. We polled the neighborhood, but no one claimed ownership of the little booger or knew of anyone owning a black cat. I had no choice but to call animal control. They said someone would be over right away to inspect the wound.
When my husband and i were getting to bed around 11:00pm, we heard a very loud diesel engine rumbling in our drive way. Sure enough…animal control had ‘promptly’ arrived. We woke up our child, so they could look at the bite and determine if it had ‘broken’ the skin, which of course it had. We then went through the entire story, and shared the most important piece….we did not know if this was a stray or if it was up to date on its shots.
AC told us that they would be by in the morning with a trap, and that we had one day in order to catch it for quarantine and inspection. If we were unable to do so, my 7-year-old would be off to the doctor for her first of three rounds of rabies shots.
We live in a cul-de-sac that has several cats wandering around during the day; the odds of catching one felt highly unlikely. But trapping “the one” felt impossible. I was so discouraged. Not just from this one event, but from the culmination of 5 hard months grouped together. So, i sat down at my computer, and sent out an email asking people to pray for us. To pray that we catch a cat.
I felt silly for doing so, but i was exhausted and desperate.
The next morning when AC showed up with the ‘trap’; i just had to laugh. It was the oldest, hoopty trap, i had ever seen. The woman kept trying to set it, and the spring would not hold, so it would shut right away. She put some canned food in it and set it in our natural area. Then it began to rain. I knew at that moment, we were getting shots. There was no way this was going to work. I walked past my computer and had 4 emails. All were in response to my request for prayer. I just snickered and said, “yea, right.”
Those words were still fresh on my lips when I got up and walked past the widow. I could not believe my eyes, but I saw a black cat. We had lived in the house for 4 years and never before had i seen any animal but my own strolling down our drive way. I ran to my back door and said, “Here kitty…kitty…kitty.” It walked right up my steps and into my laundry room. I shut the door, and began laughing like a maniac. My daughter came in and said, “yes, mommy…that is the one.” Animal control had been gone 20 minutes.
Since, I’m allergic to cats I wanted it contained, so I went outside to get the trap. While waiting for animal control to return, i was just going to stick the cat in the trap so it would be ready for pick up. Well, the cat wouldn’t fit. It was bigger than the trap. But, that’s ok, because it wasn’t too big for my laundry room.
I was reminded of this story several times this past week because Sunday evening found me once again feeling silly for emailing friends to pray for me. My husband would be gone for 7 days, leaving me alone with our girls. Thankfully, he never travels, so my deep fears of being alone at night are rarely challenged. Here i was though staring them down, and i was terrified. I could have easily had some friends stay with me, and had a list of people who were willing to do so. But, I just felt like i really needed to take advantage of the space that was offered to me. So, I asked for prayer instead.
I was simply amazed by how I immediately felt ‘covered’. Only one evening, did my fears get the better of me. And, even then, as i felt them bubbling up, i received an email from my friend at the exact moment i thought i was going to lose my mind. This is what it said, “I love this verse and it has always brought me comfort when I am scared. I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety. (Psalm 4:8) I’m praying for you tonight.”
I also had friends texting and emailing me throughout the week, checking on me and making sure I was alright. They were letting me know that they heard my desperate cry for covering and were praying prayers I was unable to make for myself.
So, thank you ladies, for making psalm 91 a reality for me:) i’m so glad i asked.
“Those that live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night.”