Paul is gone all day helping out at a men's ministry conference, Iron Sharpens Iron. The girlies and I were having a lazy morning. I had some bows to sew and they broke out a puzzle and some baby dolls and we put some Christian CDs on the player. I love how they ask me about the lyrics and we have some fabulous discussions. At first we listened to Mark Schultz and then they asked to hear Steven Curtis Chapman's Beauty Will Rise. I went and got the CD out of my car. We played the entire CD, which they have heard at least 30 times, and talked about the songs, about God, about His faithfulness. We had some really great conversations.
All the while I was wondering where Simon was. Simon is one of our cats. Schuster is our other guy. They used to be best friends until about three years ago when we had an incident when a neighbor's cat came up on our deck and attempted to attack Simon through our screen door. Simon freaked out. He began stalking Schuster. It's a very long story but let's just say Simon was on kitty prozac for a bit and I had a phone consultation with a cat psychologist in Maryland (yes, I know- there is such a thing). That came about when I reached out for help from the rescue organization I adopted the boys from. They set it all up. Learned some good tips, but Simon's little cat psyche was scared stiff and he associated the panic with another cat, any other cat. Even his best buddy of seven years. Schuster now has a deformed ear from a hematoma resulting from a whack Simon delivered. They co-exist much better now, but Simon will still corner poor Schuster and hiss at him. I give him 'the eye' and tell him to knock it off and he'll walk away. I know he understands (and yes, I am a big cat person).
It was just the girls and me and Schuster. He was reveling in all the attention. But it was really strange not to see Simon, especially for breakfast. By 10:30 I was concerned and we started to search the house. We checked all his usual places and no Simon. He's a big dude, they both are. So there are not a lot of hiding places he could jam his body. Turned the house upside down and no Simon. We began to panic. They are completely indoor cats, and he doesn't wear a collar. I couldn't remember seeing him last night and he usually wakes me up around 4am for a snuggle and he didn't last night. I tried to call Paul to see if he had seen him before he left at the crack of dawn, but I just got his voice mail. We quickly got dressed so we could begin the search outside. We gathered to pray that Simon was OK and that we would find him quickly.
We started in the back yard. It rained last night and I though he might be under the deck. No Simon. We went around the house and looked in the front bushes. No Simon. Walked to our neighbor's back yard and called for him. Still no Simon. The girls were getting worried. Me too. We went to the back yard again and called for him when I saw movement up the deck stairs. We ran to the deck and he darted behind the grill. He came out as soon as he saw me. He had bits of stuff in his whiskers and fur and was slightly damp, but was safely in my arms. Whew! Found in under 20 minutes of outside searching. Thank you God!!
We took him inside and he rushed the food bowl. The girlies and I gathered to say a thank you prayer. It struck me that just an hour earlier we had been talking about how we can always trust God and pray to Him. We discussed what faith is and how we need to depend on God. Just an hour later the girlies saw that we were frightened when our cat was missing, but we prayed. God protected Simon and brought him back quickly and safely to us. What a great lesson they tangibly learned!
Paul got my message and called back. He hadn't seen Simon in the morning. Only one boy came to breakfast (these guys don't ever miss a meal). No way he got out when Paul left. Simon had to have been out all night, in the rain.
Thank you, God. For bring my first baby home safely, but more importantly for showing my girls in a very real way that they are to come to You when they are worried, concerned, frightened. That you hear their prayers.