Lazarus

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I’m sewing a stocking when Lazarus leaps into my lap and pushes his sweet orange face into my hands.  He is already purring and if cats could smile, he’d be beaming when I scratch behind his ears.  He is all love and joy and gratitude.  I set my work aside.

On November 18, Nora’s birthday, Lazarus just showed up.  We’d gone out for dinner to celebrate Nora’s first year and when we came home, John heard a scuffle in the garage.  He beckoned me quietly and said, “I think there’s an animal in the garage.”  Upon further investigation, we found a scrawny, half shaved shadow of a cat who meowed and cried.

We fed him some of Milla’s cat food and he was immediately grateful.

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He’d shown up on our miracle day and so we knew that if he didn’t have a home waiting for him, a home that was looking for him, that we would keep him.

And ever since then, he has gained weight, begged for food, swirled around ankles, snuggled in laps and has basically just been loving life.

Lazarus is a grateful, grateful cat.

He knows what he’s been given and he knows that he has been rescued.

And this morning when he climbed into my lap…it just got me thinking.  It got me thinking of she who had been forgiven much and how she loves much.  How gratitude is at the heart of that love.

I’m grateful for this refugee cat.  I’m grateful for the reminders.

I know what I’ve been given.  I know that I’ve been rescued.

It’s all part of it…learning to be loved by God.  Learning to drink in that love, to climb into His lap, unable to contain my thanks and my affection, to have it pour out.

To hear Him say…and say…and say….

Beloved, be loved.

Oh Gratitude

Every so often, John and I stop what we’re doing and hug Nora and each other and are just grateful for the moments we have.

This season, the holidays…the contrast between this year and last year…I am short on words and breath.  

I spent Thanksgiving in the hospital last year with a terrifyingly tiny baby, a catheter, wires and tubes and nurses and doctors.

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This year, I I spent Thanksgiving with my family and Nora charmed everyone, crawling around, knocking over drinks, stealing food, smiling and laughing and saying, “Uh oh.”  

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Last year, we decorated the Christmas tree and I was mostly in my chair, watching.  I would go back to the hospital that night, so sick with infection.

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This year, I was buzzing around the house and a part of the action…feeling almost like me again.

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It’s just surreal.  Sometimes, I still just can’t believe it all.  And for some reason, these holidays are tugging at our heartstrings even more than Nora’s birthday did.  We are laid low with gratitude.

And then I saw this on my friend’s facebook page this morning:

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It stopped me for a moment.  

You can read back over my blog, in the months leading up to that Fateful Day when I had my first bleed.  You can read over it all and there I am, going on and on and on about gratitude.  

It was preparation, it was training and refining for the days that were to come.

Because in this whole uphill battle that began in June of 2012…Gratitude is greater and stronger and louder than Poor Me, Discouragement, Physical Pain, Weariness of Soul and Body and every other thing that has come my way.

And even now, with two sick kids and tired eyes and medical bills and Christmas tasks that have nothing to do with Jesus and every other annoying, pressing or tiresome thing I have to deal with…Gratitude is Greatest.

And it’s part of the big mission God has me on right now.  To learn to be loved.  Learning to be loved means taking notice of the ways He loves.  

My prayer for you, my prayer for me…

Beloved, be loved.