Writer Sharmila Meadows shares the lessons God taught her from looking after a feline friend named Mollie.
Six years ago, my life somewhat unravelled, touching my health, relationships and career. As I came to terms with loss and collapsing security, I grappled with God. His response was swift and clear: “all the best things in your life, I have dropped into your lap.”
And just so, Mollie arrived. Dropped into my lap one summer. I was building a second career as a writer, after burnout closed a successful first career.
Early promise ebbed to months without income when, out of the blue, I was offered work looking after Mollie. Mollie is a tabby cat: with delicate green eyes, carpet-thick fur and a guarded feline expression, she is characteristically aloof and yet, in soft, subtle ways, as in need of affection as any other.
Early promise ebbed to months without income when, out of the blue, I was offered work looking after Mollie.
To care for a cat is to surrender. While they curl up on the sofa or eat from a dish, much of their life remains untamed – outside somewhere, chasing prey, conquering their savannah.
When Mollie slips out of her flap, I have no clue where she goes, when she will return or what she may encounter. She offers me no option but entrusting her to God.
One night, God whispered how he could look after Mollie better than I, or even her owners. How he loved her more than we ever could. For when he stated he had gifted me the best things in my life, it was more than an ode to his faithfulness: he was saying life does not hinge on my strivings, but on him. He was requesting a lifestyle of trust.
One night, God whispered how he could look after Mollie better than I, or even her owners.
Jesus set the tone when he invited us to his ‘unforced rhythms of grace’ (Matthew 11:28-30 MSG). An invitation that feels so enticing until we realise it is more command than suggestion. Until we have to abandon control of what matters or trust through the storm.
When Mollie is caught in a storm, I can only ask God to return her home safely through wind and rain. When she was diagnosed with diabetes and liver cysts, and her needs evolved from basic to veterinary care, she had to trust me while vulnerable and afraid.
To trust that I love her though I inject her twice daily with insulin, even as she seeks to evade the prick. To believe I will still feed her when diabetes clipped back her daily portions. Like Mollie, we must trust God when it hurts. When we are clipped.
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As God clipped back my life, so a strong monthly pay cheque faded to financial insecurity and a vibrant life melted into fatigue, I have seen him show up and show out for me, revealing aspects of his character and forging intimacy in ways I would never know in calm seas.
I have learned that security is not found in clinging to safety, but in abandoning control to God. Only from this posture of surrender can we develop wild faith and God find liberty to give us his best.