And God Sent A Cat

With everything that’s been going on, and all the craziness of the media, it’s natural that our minds and bodies are going to be more anxious, stressed, and tense.

A few weeks ago, I was praying in my bed, and talking to God about that. I wasn’t really sure what specifically I was worrying about, it was more of a generalized sense of anxiety. For context, I had just been on Facebook and y’all the negativity and fear on there is way out of proportion!

Anyway, so I had been praying about that and for the Lord to ease my mind and comfort me.

Literally seconds later my kitten, Ash, walks in my room, jumps on my bed, and curls up beside me. I started stroking his beautiful white and gray fur and found myself marveling at how Jesus works.

In the midst of my worry and needing comfort, He sent a small cat to stay by me and offer that joy and consolation. Even now, I absolutely love how Jesus used my little pet to minister to my heart.

IMG_2420

Examples of this exist in Scripture as well, the most notable of which that comes to mind is Elijah and the ravens, found in 1 Kings 17:2-6

“And the word of the Lord came to him: “Depart from here and turn eastward and hide yourself by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan. You shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.” So he went and did according to the word of the Lord. He went and lived by the brook Cherith that is east of the Jordan. And the ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.”

Through Elijah, the Lord had just said that there would be a drought – no dew or rain for the next few years unless by His word. Not to mention, that Ahab was king, Jezebel as Queen, and they both were exceedingly evil people who were worshipping other gods and sacrificing their own children.

In the midst of this, the Lord used ravens to provide for Elijah’s physical needs of bread and meat. And I also like to think that He used animals (God could have simply caused it to appear or drop from the sky as He did for Israel in the desert) because He knew that Elijah was going to be lonely. Of course, animals aren’t the same level as human relationships, but how many of us during this pandemic have been grateful for our dogs, cats, birds, horses, etc?

Interestingly enough, in the article, “The Health Benefits of Companion Animals” from nps.gov says,

“Animals have been demonstrated to improve human cardiovascular health, reduce stress, decrease loneliness and depression.”

Whether those interactions were passive or active, the article states that benefits of lower anxiety levels were shown, thereby decreasing symptoms of stress.

Isn’t that amazing? As an omniscient God, He knows the benefits of animals even if we don’t recognize it ourselves!

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 says,

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”

As the God of all comfort, He knows exactly the best way to soothe our heart, settle our minds, and calm our spirits. He knows what caused our worry and what’s going on in our world. He might whisper a Scripture verse over our hearts, or send someone to encourage us.

And sometimes? Sometimes, He may send a cat.

~ Southern Dreamer

Resources:

Click to access Comment-4704-attachment_.pdf

The Battle Is Not Yours

“And he said, “Listen, all Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: Thus says the Lord to you, ‘Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s,” ~ 2 Chronicles 20:15

Back at the end of January, I was reading a book series. The writing is really well-done and I thought the characters were wonderful, but last night I hit my limit.

It started to talk about stuff that I found too scary, and I tried to push through it because I’m curious and a reader and therefore, wanted to know what would happen. But I started to worry I would have nightmares about it (see blog post about my illness here, but basically horrific dreams come with it, so sometimes frightening things can “trigger” those memories).

So I ended up crying.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I’m not a crier – it’s just not really my personality type to be overly emotional. However, I was just so scared that I was going to have nightmares and frustrated to be worried about ANOTHER thing.

blog39I feel like I’ve been fighting my whole life, and in all honesty, I’m just tired of fighting. Well, at some point after this, the Holy Spirit reminded me of Exodus 14:14.

“The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent,” ~ Exodus 14:14

This was really neat, because I was so tired of fighting, and…I had/have not memorized this verse.

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you,” ~ John 14:26

I think sometimes we, as humans, get this ‘I have to do everything by myself’ attitude. We fall into the subconscious trap of not asking for help, not relying on someone, and often – at least for me – forgetting to even ask God for his help. I know I can go for so long, “battling” something, and not even remember oh, I should pray about this and go to God for help, until I’m completely exhausted and anxious.

Could this be why Psalm 23 and 46 both talk about being still?

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul,” ~ Psalm 23:1-3a

“Be still, and know that I am God,” ~ Psalm 46:10

I can picture God, as our Father, looking at us and being like, ‘if you will just be still in me and rest – I’ve got this.’

But of course, being our over-working, independent, forget-to-ask-for-help-selves, we run around trying to do it all on our own while our Father is waiting for us to release these burdens to Him, and let Him handle them.

As I finish writing this (I’ve written it scattered over several weeks), I find myself in that weary state again. For being a logical person, you would think that I would struggle with anxiety less. But my OCD brain loves to find silly things to attach itself to and worry on, and it can be exhausting. Maybe it’s because I had some intense anxiety and worries over the past few days and that’s all adding up to me struggling with anxiousness today. I’m not really sure.

Maybe it’s because I’m more tired today, and that exhaustion isn’t helping my mind to think clearly. I’m not going to say that I have found an all-perfect solution to this, as evidenced by this day, but I have to remind myself that even if it feels like it’s never going away, it will.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid,” ~ John 14:27

I love this verse. Fear and anxiety tend to zap any peace we have, and I think it’s so interesting that He says “let not your hearts be troubled.” Often, the heart is associated with emotions, and anxiety tends to send those all out of whack. I don’t know about you, but for me, I find the mental battles are much harder to fight than the physical ones.

For those of you, as well as myself, who struggle with anxiety or are at that place where you are just tired and weary of fighting, let’s remember that the battle is not ours. We are not meant to fight alone, we have a Savior who is more than willing to come beside us and strengthen us during these times. I know I forget this, and then it’s like oh right. God is here to help me, I’m not supposed to do this by myself. Sometimes, maybe, it might invoke an emotional response 😉 (shhh, don’t tell).

Image result for snow keeping secrets ouat memes

As we continue through our days, let’s remember that and determine to not let anxiousness steal our joy.

~ Southern Dreamer