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It’s Just A Cat

January 5, 2016

She was just a cat.

That statement could receive two different reactions.  The reaction of the animal lover: Pet’s are family too!!!  And the reaction of the apathetic: Yeah, it’s really just a cat.

I carry (quite proudly) the name of “crazy cat lady”.  I love cats!  Specifically, I love my cats.  Furgie and Figaro.  My cats are just the best.  But, unless you’re a cat fanatic as well, you won’t appreciate Furgie.  She’s feisty with a “my way or the highway” attitude.  Put her around a baby, and she transforms into a baby guard-kitty!  No one’s gonna mess with her babies!

Everyone loves Figaro.  And I mean that.  Everyone.  People who are allergic to cats still like her.  Sure, she’s picked fights with all of the neighbor cats; but if you’re a human, then you love her.

Thursday, December 31st, 2015, we had to put our little Figaro down.  She had a blockage in her intestines, and all signs were pointing to cancer.  We did not continue with testing to confirm it, because whatever it was, it was a death sentence.  Perhaps the surgery we could not afford would have bought her a couple more months; but the truth was, her time with us was at an end.  And I was crushed.

As I struggled with the loss of Figaro, an old familiar dialogue struck up in my mind:

 

I hurt

It’s just a cat.

My Cat!

Suck it up, buttercup.

Don’t I have a right to be sad?

It’s not a salvation issue.  Get!  Over!  It!

 

A massive headache quickly ensues after this inner dialogue of madness.

However, it did spark a thought which inspired deeper reflection.

I don’t mourn.  Or rather, I don’t give myself permission to mourn.

Really, Janna?  You got that over a cat?

Yes.  I really did.  I began thinking back to other times I had cried so hard I wanted to throw up, and hurt so badly I just wanted to shut off to the world and everyone in it.  Most recently, that has been my two miscarriages.

The thing about miscarriages, at least with mine, is that you’re not in control of any of it.  And with the first one, I had no idea what to expect – emotionally or physically.  I knew my baby had died.  I knew I would miscarry.  I knew I had another doctor appointment scheduled to make sure everything happened as it should.  That’s what I knew.

I wept the day I found out we had lost the baby and the day I actually miscarried.  Horrible heart-cry tears of hurt, pain, and loss.  It’s unfair loosing your baby.  The doctors had no answers for me as to what happened to cause this.  It was what it was.  So I cried, and then I was done.  The day we buried her brought fresh tears, (it was very too early to know what the baby’s gender was, but we called her Dot and thought she was a girl), but I did not want to face the pain again, and after Russell prayed, I pushed the pain down.

I would not allow myself to feel as deeply as the pain cried out.  I had Christmas to plan for, a church dinner to set up, and my sister and best friend were about to have their babies.  I needed to get my head clear!  So the day I miscarried, we called our best friends and invited them over, instructing them to behave as if I had never been pregnant and all was just fine.

My second miscarriage was almost exactly a year later.  This time I knew what to expect.  It wasn’t my first rodeo after all.  I cried at the doctor’s office at the confirmation that my baby had died, told the ultrasound tech “It’s okay” because I didn’t want her to feel bad, and then rather hostilely told my sister not to touch me as she tried to comfort me on the drive home.  It was what it was, and that was that.

The day I miscarried, I looked at it and said, “I don’t have time for this.  I’ll deal with you later.”  I then proceeded to host a planning meeting for church, and never looked back.  Because like the year before, there were things that needed done.  I had my daughter’s birthday to host and I had a church dinner to plan.  There were bigger things going on than my pain. (Or that’s the line I fed myself).

I trusted God’s wisdom through those miscarriages.  I still trust His wisdom.  I know the prayers of my heart, and though perhaps not fully, I see His answers and I see His mercy.  And I am grateful.

But I hurt.  And in those moments of pain – very valid moments – that inner dialogue was there.

 

I hurt.

It’s not that bad.

I lost my baby.

You miscarried early.  People have it worse than you.  Be grateful.

Don’t I have a right to be sad?

It’s not a salvation issue.  Get!  Over!  It!

 

So I told myself that trusting God’s wisdom was the same as giving Him my pain.  I dried my tears and wiped my hands of it, shutting down my mind to emotions.

Then this phrase kept dancing around: “Lean into God.”  It’s on the radio, it’s in conversations with women at church, in conversations with women I’ve just met!  And I’ve gotta tell you, I didn’t get it.  I thought I did…I was wrong.

The revelation happened the other night when I was working on my fiction writing.  One of my strong female characters needed to rid herself of pride and allow someone else’s strength to be enough to carry her through, physically and emotionally.  She needed to lean in to the other person, literally.  Like tuck in and just be held kind of leaning.

Sometimes I think God has me write fiction so He can thunk me over the head.

I don’t lean in like that.  Not with my pain.  I desperately want His will in my life.  I desire to know His heart and hear His voice.  I know He is my strength and fortress.  And I trust Him with my life.  But when it comes to that makes you want to cry so hard that you want to throw up, and hurt so badly you just want to shut off to the world and everyone in it kind of pain…I squirm.  I don’t want to be held just so I can weep in safety and rest in His love.  I want to show God that I’m brave; that I won’t let these things break me.

I get so caught up with wanting to be a “big girl”, I forget my identity as His daughter.  I forget He wants me to lean in.  Like tuck in and just be held kind of lean.  Just so he can hold me.  Because He loves me!  Pain, tears, struggles, failures, and all.

So I’m gonna lean in.  I’m not going to be ashamed of the tears that come, and the pain that overwhelms.  And as I lean, I want to remember these things, in my heart and in my mind:

  • God is good

“O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help.” {Psalm 86:5}

  • God sees my pain

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” {Psalm 34:18}

  • God blesses the mourning

“God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” {Matthew 5:4}

  • God is my comfort

“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort.  He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others.  When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.  For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ.”  {2 Corinthians 1:3-5}

  • Jesus is my peace and He has overcome the world

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me.  Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.  But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” {John 16:33}

  • God loves me a whole lot

“But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” {Romans 5:8}

 

It’s Satan who whispers those lies that tell me to take my hurt and hide it down deep where it won’t bother anyone.  And I’m done listening to the enemy.  If…when…that old familiar dialogue strikes up again, I’m just gonna tell Satan to shut up, and I’m gonna go snuggle with my Daddy.

 

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain.  All these things are gone forever.”

{Revelation 21:4}

 

…Yep…All that from a cat.  She was a special cat 🙂

 

best friends fig fig2 fig3 fig4

5 Comments

  • Reply carabouu January 5, 2016 at 8:53 pm

    Love, love, love this blog. It is beautifully written and all because of a cat.

  • Reply Stefanie C. January 5, 2016 at 10:27 pm

    So beautiful Janna. Thank you for sharing your heart and leading us to the beauty of Christ – even in sorrow or seemingly hopeless circumstances. Christ is our hope!

  • Reply Marjorie Hickman January 6, 2016 at 9:37 am

    Janna
    I wrote something earlier but it didn’t go through. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. It will help many that are going through the same thing. God will bless you. Love you

  • Reply Ash January 6, 2016 at 3:31 pm

    Love you

  • Reply Kelli January 13, 2016 at 6:53 pm

    Beautiful thoughts of God’s unfailing grace. Thanks for reminding us readers to “lean in”!

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