I did a fairly unusual thing for me this week. I took a day off from work, and I wasn’t even sick! I took a day off from work to spend with my mom, and we had a great day. She had some Christmas shopping to finish up, and I thought we’d just have a fun day together.
We did. It was long overdue. But as part of my New Year’s Resolutions, I will be doing more of that sort of thing. The time we invest in the people we love will always pay large dividends.
I had the day with my mom all planned out. We’d finish Christmas shopping, have lunch and then go spend the rest of our day plowing through an antique mall just up the highway in a neighboring town. But tucked in the middle of all that, I had decided to take mom to the local Petsmart to play with the shelter cats there. (Petsmart partners with local shelters, and helps place cats through their stores.) Mom and I have always shared a love of cats.
As it turned out, the store currently only had three cats. Okay. We could love the fur off three cats, no problem. Only, one cat was just too scared to receive our love. Whoever adopted her would have their job cut out for them. We would have tried, but we didn’t have all afternoon. One of the other two had the sniffles, so the attendant said he couldn’t let us play with that one.
But we did get to play with kitty number three. Mom and I had a great time loving on that little shelter kitty. He was about twelve weeks old and had the sweetest face and a loving demeanor. We both fell for his beautiful green eyes.
You see where this is going, don’t you?
When the attendant referred to that cat’s name as, “Jello”, my mother gasped and looked at me. “It’s a sign! His name is Jello!” What my mom was referring to was the fact that my husband and I name all of our cats after snack foods. It’s just a little silly thing we do with our cats. So far, we’ve had Donut, Brownie, Oreo, and Butterscotch.
Having only just had to say goodbye to Brownie last week after sixteen years, I wasn’t really in the market to add another third cat to the house.
But it was a sign.
We look for those, don’t we? As we walk this life, we Christians look for signs. Just like Gideon, we need to know we are making the right choices and doing the right things. Signs. We just need a little sign from God. A nod. A nudge. Anything.
Those signs can be tricky. They are tricky because they don’t particularly always lead us into the life of utopia that we think they will. Then we begin to wonder if we misread the signs. Wasn’t that a sign?
That has certainly happened to my family and me. We once followed signs that took us down a very dark road for a while. It can make you question your sign reading ability, and it can even make you question God’s ability to make signs.
Presently, my little Butterscotch cat is questioning my ability to read signs. He is not happy that I have brought Jello into his life. But in this instance, I have knowledge he does not currently have. I can see that while there may be some pain for Butterscotch now, in time, bringing Jello into our home will bless him.
The same thing happened with my family awhile back. We followed the signs. Each one. And those signs took us to a very dark place. But we need to know that sometimes we have to go to those places. It’s part of our journey. We learn in those dark places, and when we come out on the other side, we see that utopian place we thought we were headed for all along. Only it’s quite different from what we imagined. Thank goodness.
It’s not hard to follow God’s will for our lives. It’s not a game He doesn’t want us to win. God wants us to live a victorious life, and He does speak to us along the way to guide us and lead us. Of course, it is possible to manufacture signs to substantiate something we really want. Yet if we are careful, if we are prayerful, and if we are honestly seeking His will and not our own, those signs are there.
I’m going to go spend the day helping Butterscotch see the Jello sign, too.
“Here, kitty, kitty!”