Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23) I thought I had experienced what it meant to die to myself. I have been on overseas missions trips, I moved to a different city to help start a church, and worked with inner city kids while sacrificing a lot of time, money and sleep to be a part of various ministries I felt God calling me too. I really thought I understood a lot about dying to myself, until I got married….
I know what you’re thinking, oh its a blog post about how refining it is to love your husband when he leaves the toilet seat up. Wrong, actually I am not even sure if my husband leaves the toilet seat up…I’ll have to check next time and report back…ha, ha…just kidding…
No, my refinement has come from two very hairy creatures, one large, one small, one cute, and one who reminds me of a wild tiger, two little voices that stand at my bedroom door every morning whining for their breakfast and a little attention …two little ones, I inherited the day I said “I Do”…yes, my husband brought children into our marriage…
Here they are…
Now, I know what are you’re thinking, “Those spots! How beautiful!” “Wow are those really ???“ Yes, they are bengals …and yes they are worth a small fortune!…a small fortune I found out about when we were having a new couple over for dinner…a fortune so vast I wanted to gasp and scream when I first heard the sum spent…but because I was in the presence of virtual strangers…I gasped, lost consciousness for a brief second and then told everyone we could start eating our tacos..
My husband bought the cats before we were dating…actually…. correction he bought them after I broke off our dating the first time (yes, God has a funny way of making us pay for our mistakes sometimes). My payment for being dumb enough to break up with my future husband is a lifetime of being…..the “Kitty Stepmom”
Let’s start with Jaxon.
Our relationship had a very rocky beginning. One of the first times I hung out with Jaxon I decided to sit with my feet under a blanket on the couch, unbeknownst to me Jaxon is an avid hunter of all things blanketed. This time it was my feet who were his prey, and his claws drew blood on my foot. There were some other claws that wanted to draw blood at that moment, mine!…but not wanting to get in a cat fight…with an actual cat…I just shrieked and said “Ow” a lot and Rene locked Jaxon in another room. In fact that happened a lot in our dating days, I came over and Jaxon would get locked in his room. Its no wonder that Jaxon has proved to be my most difficult “Kitty step child.”
After we got married and I became the queen of the casa, Sparta seemed to feel the need to remind me that she was the original queen of the casa.
Every time I turn around she is climbing something to be at the highest point in the room where she will perch, her head held high, looking down upon me her lowly kitty step Mom to remind me that she is the queen of the casa. I don’t mind her perching so much its just her whining in the morning that is so ANNOYING…err ummm….I mean… refining to me. See, I expect to be awoken before my alarm, if I had a rooster in my back yard, or a newborn down the hall, but not because I am the stepmom to a cat. What she needs so desperately in the morning, I can’t even begin to understand. She barely even nibbles at the breakfast I give her when I finally drag myself out of bed. I think she just wants me to be awake because she’s awake. Actually, I am getting quite good at sleeping through her incessant meows, which is good for now, maybe not so good when I have a real child.
Rene and I’s first fight as a dating couple was over the cats, and there have been many more. They have all come down to this: I don’t like the cats, and Rene likes the cats. I think they are pesky, annoying and hairy, Rene thinks they are fun, lovable and cuddly. Rene has bonded with the cats, I would rather bond with a gorilla.
Then one morning the Lord really convicted my heart about the cats. How I was complaining about them, talking meanly to them and whining about the role of care taker I had in their life. He told me the best way I could love Rene was to love the cats! “What Lord!, “ you are telling me the best way to love my husband is to love the cats! That is ludicrous! What about making his favorite meal, what about kisses, or doing his laundry, maybe I could leave an encouraging note in his car? Really…really….!!!!!” But I knew I needed too. If I showed love to the cats, I would be showing love to my husband, by valuing something he valued.
Now I know, every time I change Sparta’s water, scratch Jaxson’s belly speak in a sweet tone to them (although I cringe because it sounds like a weird cat lady) I am laying down my life, one cat at a time.
Do you have pets? What kind? In what way do you think God is asking you to lay down your life today?