Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Living Small

These days find us giggling whenever we find our darling kitty stuffing herself into her basket. When Charlotte first came to us, Dara-Grace made her a magic scarf-lined bed in this very basket. It was soft and roomy... and convenient for my animal-loving daughter to tote around with her wherever she went. During the training stages where we had to teach her what was acceptable or unacceptable, Charlotte would always run to the safety and comfort of her basket when she had gotten herself into a pickle.

Watching her grow, we have often lamented how sad it would be when the time came that she could no longer fit into her beloved basket. As she increased in size, we found it necessary to remove the fuzzy lining that took up so much precious space inside the basket. Surprisingly, Charlotte continued to return over and over again even minus the comfy padding.

Last month Dara-Grace made a new kitty bed by lining a box with a fleece throw. We were happy to discover that Charlotte didn't at all seem to mind the replacement. And so the basket was tucked away and forgotten until we came upon it during some recent cleaning projects. Seeing her basket sitting on the floor, Charlotte immediately hopped in. Or she at least tried to! She had grown and the once spacious basket could now barely contain her. I thought she'd abandon it and return to her new bed, but she didn't.

For two days now I have incredulously watched this cat squash herself into this tight place. Each time I think that she will not be able to fit, but she has somehow managed to do so. I wanted to snap this photo of her piled in her basket today to document what I think is one of the last days she'll be able to fit in there. I am amazed that she continues to go back to the cramped and bumpy conditions of her basket when she has plenty of room and plush bedding inside her new box. Afterall, she was liking the new bed just fine until she spied her old one once again. Why does it still seem so attractive to her when it is plain to all of us that she no longer fits?

Why would she do that? It doesn't make sense. And then it came to me: Why would you do that, Tamra? Because that's exactly what you do. Didn't you just read in the first chapter of your book study that some people intentionally make their lives small as a response to pain? That they can fearfully refuse to move on to what God has for them in life and choose, instead, to occupy a cramped but familiar place? So it might not be the most comfortable of places, but at least you know what you're dealing with... right? Haven't you been making your life small to give others less chance to hurt you? Haven't you looked for every excuse to avoid fellowship? This is not what I have for you. Trust me to lead you to the place that I have for you. I will not leave you on your own - I will be with you! It saddens me to see how you cling to what you deem "good enough" when I have so much more for you. Can't you see that you have outgrown your current surroundings? Can't you feel the roughness of this place that you have grown so comfortable with?

Ahhhh... I hear You, Lord. I hear You. Help me to trust You more. And let Psalm 18:19 be true in my life: "He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me." In the beautiful name of Jesus I pray, Amen.

Monday, February 4, 2013


While I love to keep my posts nature-related, an object of modern technology is what is prompting me to write this morning. I encountered this car shortly after merging onto the expressway on our way to church yesterday morning. While other cars zoomed by, this one stood out to me because it was moving at a steady, reasonable pace. Since the speedometer does not work on our car (and neither does the GPS that used to tell us how fast we were going), I decided that I could plant myself behind this car and follow it all the way down the highway. There is always a little fear that I will be unknowingly going too fast and get pulled over by the police. This, in my estimation, was a great safeguard.

Now don't get ahead of yourself and think about how I must have gotten pulled over by the police anyhow. Though that would make for an interesting blog post, that thankfully did not happen to me. It was quite simple actually. Driving along with my eyes on the car in front of me, just as I was coming to the end of my ten-mile jaunt, a thought came to me. With exit in sight, I began to feel dread wash over me. "What if," I thought, "that car doesn't have a speedometer either?" The phrase, "The blind leading the blind," popped into my head. And just now as I write this I think, "Didn't I used to pray that the Lord Himself would be my Speedometer, regulating my speed?"

Just think of it! Here I had thought I was being so wise. Yet, I was foolishly placing an inordinate amount of trust in something that really didn't make sense at all. And I'd thought I had it all covered! Isn't that how it always goes?

To be honest, I was quite stunned by this occurrence. How could this have happened to me, the one who doesn't even accept a sermon without making sure that it lines up with the Word of God? I am so careful! My plan had made such perfect sense to me, yet it was still not good enough in the end. Now I am wondering if I am doing this very same thing in other areas of my life. How else am I smugly thinking that I have all of the bases covered?

Lord, I still don't quite know what to do with this. I think that I must be falling short in this same way in other places. Open my eyes to really see where I am relying on myself rather than depending on You. Forgive me for all of the times that I've done this. Soften my heart to what You are doing in me through this experience. Help me to embrace the revelations that will deliver blows to my pride, no matter how jarring it may seem. I feel that You are not being quite as gentle in the way that You are speaking to me and sanctifying me these days. This is good! Thank You for that which You have entrusted me. Help me to make Your heart smile as I navigate these waters, fully trusting in You. In the strong and beautiful name of Jesus I pray, Amen.