Grand Rapids, Gracie, and Grace

Sometimes life just does not go the way we want it to go, does it? I remember in years past having all of these expectations for the future, and honestly, most of them have not come true. In fact, much of the time my hopes have gone the exact opposite of what I'd thought would happen. Let's face it, we all live with the good and the broken. And this post is about both. IMG_9614Let me start in the middle with Gracie and work out from there. If you follow me on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, you have seen pictures of this active little female kitten. A month ago, we went to the pet adoptions at a local pet store and met this sweet little girl. What prompted such a thing as to look for another cat? I had this notion that Tiger was lonely--especially when we travel. After all, he had come into our home when we had Shadow and has been without Shadow for three years now. So a new friend seemed like a good idea. And truth be told, the "mom" in me wanted someone to mother again. Tiger isn't in need of mothering, but a kitten sure is!

IMG_9619So we adopted Gracie. Honestly, at first it seemed like Tiger might be pretty accepting of her. He was curious, for sure, but the more comfortable Gracie became, the more stressed Tiger became. He came down with two respiratory infections and one day when he was running from me, he stopped at our bedroom door and kind of blocked himself into a corner so he could watch for her. I tried to pet him and get him to purr and he just seemed on edge. And then sure enough, Gracie was right there, wanting in on the action. So I picked her up and closed her in a bedroom where she slept at night for the first two weeks that we had her. I walked back to Tiger and heard him let out this huge sigh of relief. And then he slept, and he purred and rolled on his back and acted like the Tiger we've known and loved for ten years.

That's when I knew. The rescue place had told us we could return her if it didn't work out with Tiger and we honestly wanted to give it enough time because she is the sweetest little girl. But we couldn't risk Tiger's health. I realized that when we got Shadow and Tiger was too pesky, Shadow could run to the basement (which had a cat door at the time) and Tiger was too timid to follow. Gracie had no fear. She would race down the stairs the minute the door would open. Poor guy could even use the litter box without her watching him! (She was truly a handful of kitten energy!)

So Wednesday morning, the day we left for Grand Rapids to meet my publisher, we returned her to the rescue to a new foster family until someone else adopts her, which I pray happens soon as she will be a perfect fit for someone without a cat or with another kitten. Just not for an old man who is pretty happy with life living with just his boring parents.

But I felt like a hIMG_4318orrible "mom" for having to make that decision. Sometimes doing the right thing is also the hardest thing. And having to leave Tiger alone for two days immediately afterward was super tough. (Thank you to Robin, my dear friend and fabulous kitty sitter!)

If you pray for animals, please say a prayer for Gracie, that she will find a new home soon, as we offer a prayer of thanks that Tiger is back to normal again.

Grand Rapids was a fun trip. We met the people I work with, had a sit down with the president and vice-president of Baker Publishing Group, and talked about the release of Redeeming Grace, Ruth's Story, coming out next year on my birthday. Fun present! We had lunch and then Randy and I sought out coffee and ice cream shops and even found the cutest store with organic fair trade chocolate that is pretty amazing. We enjoyed the pool and just relaxed in the room one night. The next day we toured the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum and drove to one of the nearby parks to seek the lake.

IMG_9739It was a refreshing break from the daily routine. Which brings me to the "grace" part.

I think sometimes God must have immense patience with me as I can be both a quick and a pretty slow learner. Lately, He is teaching me through the gospel of Matthew that there are times when things are right and times when they are not. Jesus often did the hard thing because it was the right thing. He was following His Father's example and His Father's wishes, even though it cost Him more than we could ever endure.

While giving a kitty back when you thought you were adding a family member might not seem right to some, we knew it was right for us. And I will say, God gave us peace and we were in complete agreement on the issue. Randy told me later that he was about to talk to me about giving her back when I brought it up to him. That didn't mean saying goodbye didn't bring tears.

But God's grace truly is sufficient. I may not get to practice being a "mom" anymore or love on our kids or our granddaughter due to distance, but God is gracious even then. He has given us other work to do here. He still has a plan--it's just not raising a "toddler" kitten right now.

IMG_9750Grand Rapids taught me how good God has been to let me stay with Revell all these years and to give me such an amazing team of people who have my back, who make my work better, who help me get the word out about what I write.

And Gracie taught me how good God is to have allowed us to know her for a short time, and to help us to realize how blessed we are to have what we have here and now. No one knows what the future holds. But I will cling to God's grace every time because without Him, I have nothing.

Seriously, if I pursued the whole world and lost my soul, what good is that? Grace for today. Grace for always. And on Sunday, God gave us this little gift of a "sundog", a kind of wispy cloud rainbow without the rain as we were driving home. Beauty even through life's trials. A little bit of grace.


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