I’m so excited to share this story with you. If you are a prayer, it’ll confirm the power of what you’re doing (or, actually, in the One you’re praying to)… if you’re not a prayer yet, hopefully this will encourage you to become one. ♥
This past Saturday, Gage and I were driving home from running errands and having a little Mama-Son date and as we drove along the road to our house, just before getting to our driveway we saw Matt’s pick-up parked on the side of the road. “Strange,” we thought. Now, as you recall, we live in the country, so “just before our driveway” is dense forest. I slowed down as I passed his truck, then glanced in my rear-view mirror and saw him, Cooper, Kaden, and Charlie emerging onto the road, out of the woods, waving us down.
Looking exhausted, sad, concerned, and frantic.
“GusGus jumped out of my truck and is lost in the woods,” Matt said.
“What was he doing in your truck??” I asked, figuring he jumped out of the window or something …
“Hiding in the engine, I guess. I starting picking up speed so the hay would blow out. I looked in my rear-view mirror to watch it, and told the boys to look back because it looked like a tornado flying out the back and then I saw him fly out from under the truck. He flipped a bunch of times and then got up and ran into the woods.”
My heart. Oh, my heart sank. Gage and I drove home quickly, changed into our boots, drove back and joined in the search. They’d already looked for 45 minutes, and we stayed out there until the boys were soaked up to their knees and couldn’t feel their hannies anymore from the cold. We’d searched, we’d called, we’d covered over an acre of dense woods who’s floor is covered one after another with downed trees, and thousands of huge bunches of ferns. The piece of land is on a steep hillside that slants down from the road and comes to a rest at the raging creek.
It was wet, it was cold and what had started as a hopeful, “we just have to find him” search turned into a “how can we possibly find him out here?” search. We prayed and prayed, I listened to my boys plead to God in their cries out for Gus to be found and my heart was full knowing they were turning to God, but aching in the reality that it just wasn’t looking good for our kitten. I took them back home, upacked all of the groceries and then returned to the woods on my own and searched until dark.
I hate being outside in the dark. I don’t hate many things, but that is one of them … especially out in the dark, in the woods, alone. But for that little kitty, I just had to. Picturing him out there was enough to keep me looking until I slipped and fell down the hill, heard some noises and freaked out. I scampered up the hill, scared and sad and a little bit ridiculous.
Backing up… if you’ve been around here for a few months, you know GusGus. He’s one of our 3 kittens that we rescued at about 4-weeks-old. He’s more like a dog than a cat, following us, coming when called, wrestling with Charlie… even preferring Charlie’s food over his own.
He is a unique, personality filled cat that had absolutely stolen our hearts. All 3 kitties have, actually. I do.not.like. how much I adore these kittens. They were supposed to be barn cats. Mouse-getters, out-side livers. Not melt-my-heart-with-your-purring-cats. Not snuggling-my-boys-to-sleep-cats. Not I-look-forward-to-seeing-you-everyday-cats. Not I’ll-search-for-you-in-the-cold-dark-rainy-woods-cats. But they are. And then GusGus climbed into the underside of Matt’s truck, got himself flung out of the truck onto the county road and friends, we were devastated. Crushed. I kept telling myself, “He’s a cat. A cat. These things HAPPEN, especially out HERE. He’s a cat.” But still…. we were devastated to know he was gone, to not find him, to not know if he survived or if he was just needing us to search harder for him.
Matt went out again after dark with his flashlight, hoping to see his eyes reflecting but saw nothing. And heard nothing other than the creek that separated where he was lost with the established property we live on. The creek that made us pretty certain that if he did survive he would not be traveling back the direction of home, but likely in the direction of thousands of acres of forest.
I parked on this verse that night:
We were distressed, the boys especially. And Cooper, particularly. He blamed himself for not checking to see where the kittens were before they drove away. He had the image of GusGus flying out from under the truck, flipping across the road in his mind and he tried to put on a brave face for me because he knew his pain fueled my sadness, but his ache broke through. Honestly, I was totally shocked by how much I immediately missed him.
Sunday, the boys shared their story with their classes and their friends joined them in praying for GusGus. We looked again after church and after quite awhile, agreed that this would be our last search. We decided to think that GusGus was living the life of a wild cougar now roaming these woods, but just as soon as we said we were done, angst and sadness took over again. Maybe if you have pets you understand this … or maybe it is just overly sensitive types like myself (and apparently my children) that feel so extremely sad about the loss of a little critter, but boy oh boy did we spend some time crying. And comforting each other. We were quiet, and … kind. The beautiful thing about this experience is the way it softened all of us to each other. As we prayed together and just spent time around each other there was a tenderness in our home, between the boys especially, that has been missing.
And friends, this is where it is so clearly shown how God works all things together for good, for those who love Him. That ‘good’ isn’t necessarily material goodness or goodness in the blessing form that WE think is appropriate. But the goodness comes in the form of bringing us closer to each other, to Him, to His Kingdom. Sunday afternoon we went to a birthday party for our friends’ 90-year-old-grandma and my oldest had a conversation with his Mimi (Matt’s mom) about Gus. She told him that she has had LOTS of pets go missing over the years and each time she prays to the Lord that if it is His plan for that animal to be a part of her life that He’d show it the way home. And He had, many times. Two dogs, two different times, in fact, were missing for a week and both came home.
That night we watched War Room. If you’ve seen this, you know it sparked in me the desire to keep praying! Now, I know our situation is small beans compared to that in the movie, or in most people’s lives who are desperately seeking the Lord in prayer. But my prayer was shifting.
Shifting from not just bringing the kitty home if he was still alive, but that God would use this experience to SHOW these boys His presence … either by the miracle of bringing Gus home or … OR … in soothing their hearts and giving them the peace that they needed. So that no matter what they’d know He was with them and that He would receive the glory regardless. I did plea, however, for that miracle of Him bringing Gus home. 😉
Monday, we went about our day. We went about school. And the sadness began to lift.
Tuesday morning, Cooper and Kaden both told me they had dreams about GusGus coming home. I felt the pull though to keep praying that if he was still alive, that he’d find his way home. Out-loud, we’d all agreed that he was gone. We agreed not to talk about it anymore, because really, talking about him just made it worse. But my hope just wasn’t gone. I kind of wanted it to be, though so I could move on, but it clung.
At 12:00, I found out why. Our neighbor who lives across the street from the woods Gus ran into called us (for the first time ever) and said, “Mrs. Meyers, I have your little kitty! He was in my barn and my dog sniffed him out and now he’s in the cab of my truck waiting for you.” Matt had talked to him at the 90-year-old-grandma’s birthday party and told him about Gus, what color he is, and all that. Low and behold, when he saw him in his barn, he knew it was Gus!
I’ve never seen my boys get ready to go out the door faster! (And now that I know they can, no more excuses for doddling!). We zipped over, and with the boys crying and hugging our kind ol’ neighbor, got Gus out of his pick-up and brought him back home. God brought him back home.
Please hear me when I say this: God always answers our prayers … with a ‘yes’, ‘no’, or ‘not yet’. We received a ‘not yet’ so that we could receive the blessings of suffering together for a bit. The comforting each other, the discussions about loss and why we love even though loss may be inevitable, the prayers we said, the prayers the boys sought from their friends … all blessings. And also the blessing of us seeing that after suffering for a time, life can and will go on. I just have this feeling that that lesson will be very valuable and one I will remind them of at some point. And then, God brought Gus all the way home as a gift to these boys telling them “I HEAR YOU, AND I AM HERE.” It was God’s gift that that little kitten thought to run across the street and through property that homes 3 barking dogs. His gift that our neighbor was there at the party on Sunday and asked Matt specifically about the kitten. His gift that that neighbor made the trek up to his barn that day and His gift that our neighbor looked up our phone number and made the call.
We’re really, really happy that Gus is home. He’s right back at his goofy ways.
But we’re even happier (eternally happy!!) that we have a God who hears us and who is so powerful, yet tender, that He will let his mightiness be known to 3 little boys by bringing their kitty back to them. ♥
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