Listening

Sassy, 1 of my rescue Cats.

It seems I was born a rescuer and have been rescuing animals as long as I can remember. I can still recall with such clarity the neighborhood children bringing me little hurt birds to “fix”. I may have been all of 5 years old when I tried to help my first little sparrow patient.

Over the years my rescue efforts have ebbed & flowed & my rescued animals have included: llamas, sheep, chickens, goats, birds, snakes, dogs, cats, chipmunks & an assortment of other creatures.

Rescue work is emotionally, physically & financially draining & there have been times I wanted to just walk away from it all. The fact that so many people are very vocal about how they think animals should just fend for themselves or that those of us who take part in rescue are somewhat less than sane (or intelligent) makes what I do even more difficult at times.

It can be hard living in a society that believes if you rescue a horse, it’s a noble cause but if you rescue a cat, well it’s not so very noble & perhaps you should get a real life doing something meaningful. As my nephew Nathan put it, “Why don’t you get a real job?”

Fortunately, God has shown me over the years that no matter what I do someone won’t like or approve of it. He also recently showed me, once again, that what I really need to focus on in life is what He has given me to do for however long He has given me to do it in regardless of what others think of my decisions.

This latest God lesson came to me in the form of a kitten, yes, a kitten! What a surprise…

I already have quite a rescue cat collection on our farm & was lamenting to God about how much work it was, how expensive it was, how I could not take in even 1 more cat, etc. Immediately after my complaint I got a phone call about a kitten that was in danger & was asked to take it in. It was me or nothing & doing nothing likely meant death for the kitten.

I immediately got stressed & angry & complained out loud about how people need to take care of their own animals, how it’s unfair that I have to go around cleaning up after everyone else’s “messes” & other righteous anger stuff — all the while feeling totally justified in my complaining.

My quick (sarcastic) “Thanks a lot God” seemed justified too. After all, I had just finished complaining to God expecting Him to fix things quickly, easily, painlessly & in my way. Getting a phone call about yet another kitten hardly seemed like an answer or at least like an answer I was going to accept. It seemed more like a cruel joke.

After my pity party was over God said something to me. No, it was not audible, but it came straight from His heart to mine & there was no mistaking it was from Him (it certainly wasn’t from me).

In essence He said, “Jackie, have you ever thought that maybe I am bringing these things (namely homeless cats) into your life? Have you ever thought it’s My plan for you? Who do you think made you the way you were before you were even born? Are you going to trust what I have in store for you or are you going to keep fighting against how I made you to be & what I made you to do? Because of these animals you will come into contact with people you would have never met elsewhere. Tell them about Me & bring them into your life as you do the cats. That’s My plan for you.”

I can tell you that at that moment all the anger, stress & any negative thoughts about where I was at in life just vanished. I knew that the very thing He had for me to do (at least for now) was what I was already doing & that I had His blessing & assurance it was going to be OK. He had given me the faith to press on whether or not anyone else understood & the strength to stand up against the naysayers who would discourage me. I did not need their acceptance, I had His!

I realize now He had tried speaking to me about this very thing before but I had not been listening. Instead I had been complaining or too busy to hear or maybe even not any more accepting of what He wanted of my life than general society is.

I can also tell you that in that moment when He spoke & I listened my life has changed & I am different than I was. And I know without a doubt that the God of yesterday, today & tomorrow still speaks to us today. All we have to do is listen.

Angel, 1 or my rescue Kittens.

Copyright 2019 Jackie Deems

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Jackie Deems

Animal rescuer, farm manager, part-time shepherdess/full-time sheep, sometimes writer, cat wrangler, very blessed child of God.