When God Changes Everything
Every morning I sit in my living room and have a few minutes of quiet with my coffee before the madness of my household ensues. It is the most necessary time of my day. Sometimes I read my Bible or read a book. But, most days I just sit and stare out my picture window that looks over a canyon and a windmill farm behind our ranch and just let my thoughts whirl around the dry dusty atmosphere.
One particular morning, just a few months ago, as I sat in the stillness sipping my coffee, I heard these words;
“Everything is about to be completely different.”
It made me sit straight up in my mismatched jammies.
What does that mean?
Everything is just fine!
I don’t like change.
I like everything just how it is.
I went on with my day, as usual, trying not to think about what I had heard. As the weeks passed every once in awhile the words would resurface and I would wonder if I really heard them, and honestly hoped I had not.
Another part of my early morning ritual is my cat, Buddy. As soon as the sun makes its appearance I can be assured that Buddy will follow close behind. He will effortlessly spring up to the table where his bowl rests, out of reach from our two dogs, and he will give me a solid death stare until I get my lazy, coffee drinking, butt up to feed him. His eyes do not leave my general direction. I sometimes rebelliously wait until my second cup of coffee is finished before I oblige him, staring right back into his haunting eyes in defiance, as I mutter, “I am the one with opposing thumbs, you can wait.”
I am not really a cat person, but living on a ranch in West Texas cats are a necessity. The cats keep mice away and snakes eat mice. Three years ago when we moved into this house, it had been vacant for 2 years, so we had mice. With four kids, one of them being a toddler, I was very nervous about snakes. I begin searching for a “barn cat” to bring out to the ranch to help with the mouse population. My kids were so excited, as we had never had a pet before. I explained to them that this was not really a “pet.” It was an outdoor cat that was there to work, a mouser. I started at the animal shelters, but in my naive honesty, they declined my request. As soon as they found out the cat would live outdoors at a ranch they would not let me “rescue” any of the cats at the shelter.
My next source was Craiglist. I spotted an ad for a grown male cat who was fixed but still had claws. The ad stated the owner was moving and was unable to take the cat with him. I replied instantly and made arrangements to pick up the cat that afternoon.
I pulled up to the apartment complex in my suburban and knocked on the door. The nice man welcomed me in and introduced me to my new pet, Jeffrey. He held Jeffrey in his arms like a human infant. Jeffrey donned a plaid collar with a fake bow tie in front. The man kissed Jeffrey straight on the lips and placed him in the carrier I had brought. I looked around at the small apartment and asked Jeffrey’s owner if he thought Jeffrey would be a good mouser.
“Well…” He answered, “We just have a little patio here. And it is close to a busy street, so he has never really been outside or seen a mouse. But, doesn’t that just come naturally to cats?”
Seriously questioning my desperate decision, I loaded the scared kitty into my suburban and thanked the man, assuring him that we would take good care of Jeffrey, and I drove him outside the city limits to the ranch.
My kids greeted me with squeals of delight as they unloaded the pet carrier from my car. My husband, Dean, smirked as he opened the carrier and pulled the furry friend to his chest.
“What’s his name?”, He asked.
“Um, Jeffrey” I laughed.
“Well, that will never work. That’s a city cat name. And we have to get this bow tie off of him or he is going to get his butt kicked out here.” He swiftly sliced the collar off with his pocket knife in one quick movement.
My youngest daughter, Emma, chose the name “Buddy” as a respectable country cat name. Poor Buddy was less than thrilled with his new surroundings. At one point we heard what sounded like a bobcat screech and he looked at me with a hate stare like I have never seen before. He was scared and confused. What was this crazy wilderness? Where had we brought him?
But, as time passed Buddy eased into ranch life. He befriended the kids and even the dogs. And, he actually became an incredible mouser. Not a week goes by that we don’t see him carrying a big mouse into the yard. He actually has no desire to come in the house. He even has a favorite spot on the front porch where we are sure to find him lounging most of the day.
Buddy is doing exactly what Buddy was meant to do. Before our meeting, Buddy might have thought he had a perfect cat-life. Sleeping all day in a small air conditioned apartment, fed every morning, lots of attention, an awesome bow tie collar. But, he was made for more. And the transition seemed scary and it took trust. In the end, I would say out here Buddy has a pretty amazing cat-life. A life he could not have possibly even imagined in his little cat brain.
Today, just as my spirit prepared, everything is changing. I won’t share details just yet, as it is not finished. But, I will say things I loved, things I thought were good, are going away. And they were good, they were there for a reason. They grew me, and stretched me, they built my faith. And now I am having to trust more, I am stepping out of my comfort zone and walking away from the things I know and coming into the unknown. It is scary. It is uncertain and requires faith. More faith than I have ever had.
This is what keeps me going; God always has something better in mind. If he asks me to step out, he will reward my faith. I might think everything is perfect, but because he loves me, he will show me that he has so much more in store for me. My scope of imagination and my creativity is so limited. He has much greater plans for me than I can even fathom in my tiny human mind.
And this is something I did not know, this is something that amazes me; he is with me in the safe places, if I choose to stay. But, he is beckoning me outside the safety of my comfort zone and inviting me to a great adventure. I spent most of my Christian life wanting so much to stay in God’s will. I was tormented by every decision. Was it God’s will? Or would I be stepping outside of his will only to get flattened by a Mack truck? If I choose poorly he would punish me with pain, illness, or heartache to show me I was outside of his will? It was an insane way of thinking. I had no trust in my own decisions and certainly did not trust this brutal God I had created.
A dear friend told me recently; God’s will is not a tightrope, it’s a wide, open, green, pasture.
What an amazing picture of His grace! He is there even if I choose to stay in the clearing of the field, the place I know well and where I feel safe. But, he is also there calling to me. He is inviting me to roll down the grassy hill with reckless abandon, trusting that he is right there with me over every bump and rock and meeting me with open arms at the bottom, assuring me all the spaces are safe with him. This life is exciting, and change is less scary, and I cannot wait to see what he has in store for me.
Enter His Rest,
“And Peter answered him, “Lord if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus.”