Tag Archive | love

Saving Charlie- Days 1 & 2

[Warning: Graphic Content]

So I’m a dog girl. I’ve had cats in my life, but never really warmed up to them like I have to my dogs. I’ve loved my cats, don’t get me wrong, but their famous feline standoffishness was always turnoffish to me- a girl who wants to cuddle for a long time. You can imagine then how I might feel about a stray cat. Enter Charlie. Well, enter stray cat my husband Ed would quickly name Charlie. Unlike me, my hubby is a nondiscriminatory animal lover. That’s right- dogs, cats, squirrels, raccoons, ducks, birds, you name it- domestic and wild alike. Ed is not a vegetarian because he likes the taste of veggies better. You’ve heard the saying, “I won’t eat what had a face.”

So for the past few years, my hubby has been feeding Charlie- the scrawniest looking cat you’ve ever seen. Ugly gray with a quarrel-bent right ear and a creepy gait, Charlie stole Ed’s heart from day 1. If only I could have made that cat disappear. All I could think of was the myriad of diseases that thing must have and the herpes Ed was risking passing to our indoor pets with every sympathetic stroke (yes, he touched him!!). I’ve done my best at keeping distance between Charlie and everyone and everything else in our home. I’ve even given that cat dirty looks and scowls to keep him away. No matter, love conquers all, and he knows he gets love (kindness, food, sympathy) from Ed, so he waits until Ed gets home and then disappears. It has been historical cold here in Michigan this winter, and Ed has been more concerned than usual about Charlie. I figure outdoor cats have mastered the art of finding food and warmth no matter what the season, so I’m not outside yelling for Charlie, unless of course my husband is not here and asks me to.

DAY 1- We had just returned from church and Ed went right to the back as usual to call out for Charlie. I was in the bedroom when I heard him say, “Oh my God!,” and I ran nervously to the back. What I saw is branded in my mind like a 3-second perpetual looped video: Charlie was running to the door with what looked like half of his face hanging off, skin dangling as he ran. My animal-lover son caught a glimpse and turned quickly away. His older brother came out confused and quiet. Ed was determined to get Charlie inside regardless, with warmth and food to eat, and affirmed he had been in a bad fight. One horrific glance was all I needed to be on the phone with emergency vets…Florence Nightingale Ed calls me, I discovered with animals too.

Praise God, I was able to find a 24/7 vet not too far away that was able to see Charlie. We didn’t know how we were going to get him into the van- long story short, I grabbed a Christmas storage box from the attic, Ed cut holes in the lid, we plopped in a towel, then Charlie, and closed the lid. No resistance, thank God; Charlie sat still the whole ride, I guess instinctively trusting. The doctor quickly examined Charlie noting the large claw that apparently swiped through his bloodied face, hitting the left eye, and noting a smell he believed to be an infection. He explained his plan to sedate Charlie, utilize the skin left in a “cut and clean” procedure and check the eye. He recommended neutering while under, gave us the estimate and told us to call in a couple of hours. We went home, prayed for Charlie and thanked God we were able to help.

Things were more complicated than expected the doctor told us when we called back- he had found a serious wound above the eye that required stitching with the paltry flesh left there, and the vicious swipe had caused a hole in Charlie’s cornea. I am beginning to really feel for this scrawny, now even uglier outdoor cat. The doc said call back in a couple hours when Charlie was expected to be waking up, and we did, only to hear more bad news: Charlie might lose his eye. Not because of the cornea hole, but because he was not blinking it. There was likely muscle and nerve damage to the eyelid, and if Charlie couldn’t blink he would have to have the eye removed. Doc advised re-anesthetizing and sewing the lid shut to encourage tissue healing and hopefully blinking. My mind is moving so fast by now, adding up all the changes this cat is going through- having half his face torn off, being put in a box and driven to a vet for probably the first time ever, examined and anesthetized, waking up with stitches in his head and far less male, now being put back to sleep to wake up again with one eye sewn shut. I began wondering if we should have brought him in at all, after all, he had self-healed from his other fights, albeit much less serious ones. We agree to sew eyelids and hopefully save Charlie’s eye.

More Changes for Charlie- Ed picked him up late last night after hours of belaborous surgery and anesthetizations. Having many facial and head stitches and one eye sewn shut, outdoor Charlie looked worse than imaginable- like someone had tried to quilt his face together unsuccessfully- and now he had an e-collar confining him as well [See Photo, hard to see him hiding!] imageWe took him to our small laundry room off the kitchen- a familiar area where Ed feeds him- unfortunately it has no inside door. As Ed lifted him out of the box, Charlie immediately jumped to the back door which he knows exits to his world, scraping and scratching to get out. What a sad sight. We knew we couldn’t let him out- he had to remain indoors as we had to return with him to vet in 10-14 days to remove stitches and re-assess. But we weren’t really set up for him inside, and then there were our two boys and domestic cat and dog. Yeesh, what a mess. We set up a makeshift litter box, informed the boys to keep their distance not knowing what to expect, and expectedly half my night was spent wondering what I would wake up to…a torn up house?, excrement in various places?, a torn off collar and opened face? I prayed to go to sleep.

DAY 2- God is Good! I awoke to Charlie curled up in the corner, just trying to make do. Pain killers and sedatives still in his veins, he appeared strangely domesticated. His face was a mess; I couldn’t see either eye. God, I felt bad for him. Charlie had to still be in some shock, and now with new noises like 70-pound Harley-dog trampling toward him, the washer, dryer, stove timer and micro bell, he could only have been dreaming about an escape plan to his off-limits outdoor world. If he only knew this was temporary- a means to a better end for him. Which got me thinking… God, our wonderful Caretaker, so often must be thinking the same about us: “If only_____ knew this was temporary- a means to a better end for him/her.” I thought about how I need to trust God more in the darkest times; if I can care this much for a scrawny outdoor cat, how much must He care for me? Then I realized- I AM that dirty, scrawny, disease-ridden outdoor cat! I AM that ugly outsider! God in His great mercy and love GRAFTED ME INTO HIS FAMILY through the blood of His Son Jesus! Praise Him!! I was an alien, a foreigner, a breaker of His law, yet He saw me and loved me at my worst. I brawled, spread germs, and scraped to live- ugly I was- yet He didn’t give me scowls and dirty looks to get rid of me- instead, like Ed with Charlie, He took me in and loved me. He restored me, made me whole, and beautiful!

My hubby left for work, I locked our indoor cat and dog in the bedroom, drove the boys to school and imageheaded right for Walmart. I thought, if Charlie needs to be inside for two weeks, I’m going to give him the best chance of healing and recovering! I bought a spring dog house with opening large enough for that clumsy e-collar, fleece padding, a separate new litter box, a gate to keep Harley-dog out, more cat food, a scratch board and a couple of mouse toys. I came home to Charlie still in the corner, and I set everything up as quickly and quietly as I could [See photo] Now if only Charlie would move from that corner!

Hour after hour went by. I can’t count how many times I heralded, “It’s okay Charlie!,” wanting to erase the mean image he had of me from his mind to be able to comfort him, wanting to replace the unkind voice with a kind one. He wouldn’t move. I set fresh food out; he wouldn’t eat. He needed to hear his “master’s” voice… the one he trusted, the one he KNEW loved him (of WHOM does that remind you?). I couldn’t wait till Ed got home to give Charlie comfort and assurance, to speed his healing. I checked on Charlie before Ed got home with flashlight to face from a distance and noticed blood around his sutures, a lot of it. As if his face could get worse. It was. I called the doctor’s imageoffice, emailed a quick pic of Charlie’s face [See Photo] and was told not to worry- that was normal since stitches were pulling on skin causing inflammation, causing blood. Call back if blood is “dripping” out, they said. Okay, thank you again. Good Lord, this is only Day 2. Eddie is home! Charlie hears, relaxes, and moves a bit. Yes Nan, GOOD Lord!

Prayer Request: That Charlie does not lose his eye, his instincts, and his will to live.

Tomorrow is Day 3 for Charlie..… Tune in!!

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AUTHOR REQUEST: Please LIKE, REBLOG or COMMENT at bottom of post…I would love to hear your personal response and/or questions! If you feel someone else could benefit from a post or from this blog, please SHARE with others in your social media circles- this blog is intended to bless and encourage as many as possible! Thank you and God bless you!!

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Drawing the Blind

imageFor the past few days, God has been peeking through my mind with thoughts about blindness and sight.  Helen Keller has been a part of those thoughts- in fact, one day I was led to research some of her famous quotes, and the very next day my 5th- grade son brought home instructions for a report he had to do- it was on Helen Keller.  I found myself watching video clips about the infamous deaf-blind woman who defied her prognosis and accomplished the unimaginable– clips of her in adult years demonstrating how she learned to speak by putting fingers on teacher Anne Sullivan’s lips and larynx, “The Miracle Worker” fight scene where young Helen runs and rages, spitting food out, throwing silverware, rebelling against her teacher’s attempts to get her to eat properly, and the famous revelation scene where all the years of Helen’s frustrated uncontrollable fury comes to a dead halt at the well.  Take a few minutes to watch this first scene:

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http://youtu.be/Dvq5aQr1eh0

“If you don’t correct your children, you don’t love them. If you love them, you will be quick to discipline them.” – Prov 13:24 (ERV)
Can you see the relentless love of the teacher in this harrowing scene?  Can you see how desperately she desires to help her young student?  Watching Helen run aimlessly, raging against instruction, fighting to break free from her dark prison, immediately reminded me of my own 29-year self-imposed prison- the difference being I could see.  At least I thought I could- I did have physical sight.  As it turns out,  for almost three decades I walked in darkness.  Aimlessly, I was throwing myself in every direction, following feelings instead of Wisdom, listening to voices I did not recognize, hoping for a light in the darkness, but stumbling over my very own feet.  At that point, according to Helen Keller, I was worse off than her:
“The most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight but has no vision.” – H.Keller 
Watching Ms. Sullivan fighting right along with Helen, insisting that she follow directions and obey, never giving up on her or allowing her to give up on herself, reminded me of God and His Relentless Love for us.  In the Old Testament, the Israelites continually rebelled against God despite His provision for them.  They ran aimlessly after idols, though God was leading them.  They complained, grumbled and fought back while God instructed them.  God, however, never gave up on them- He continued to pursue them in His Infinite Love.
“the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.” – Prov 3:12b (NIV) 
Though for years I personally disregarded God and His instruction, running aimlessly after my own worldly desires, God continued to pursue me- He never gave up on me!  Then came my moment at the Well.  Please watch the following scene:

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.” – H.Keller

Is it possible that the things we can see with our eyes are actually distractions to the most important things for us to visualize… things like love, hope, peace, joy, even wisdom and truth?  Helen Keller’s enlightenment at the Well could not have been more dramatic if her physical sight had been restored.  In those moments, her eyes were opened to knowledge, understanding, and so much more.  She saw things even people with sight are blind to.  Seeing eyes can deceive, as things rarely are as they appear- there is always much more going on that we cannot see than what we can see.  In those moments, Helen gained sight for the most important things in life- things that perhaps can only be clearly seen with our eyes closed.
As I watched the scene, I was reminded of my own “Well moment” when Christ gave me Living Water from the Well of Life, and my blind eyes were opened to Truth for the very first time.*
[Jesus said to the woman at the well,] “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”   – John 4:13-14
“The Lord gives sight to the blind…” – Psalm 146:8a
Helen Keller said, “Once I knew only darkness… but a little word from the fingers of another fell into my hand that clutched at emptiness, and my heart leaped to the rapture of living.”……..
I- Nancy- say, “Once I knew only darkness, but one Word from The Lord fell upon my heart that clutched at emptiness, and I leaped to the rapture of life with Christ!”
In the time it takes to speak a word, God’s Light broke through my darkness.  “I was blind, but now I see!” (John 9:25b).  I think this is why when I meet with my Lord each day, I find myself  “darkening” my surroundings- turning out the lights, drawing the blind, closing my eyes.  He came to me in my personal darkness and I yearn to see His Light again and again!
image“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.”  – Psalm 119:105
“The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.” – Col 1:15
 
“…know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”  – Col 2:2b-3
 
THINGS TO COME FOR THE BELIEVER——
image“For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” – 1 Cor 13:12

It is said that when a person loses one of their senses, the others are heightened…. the person with no physical sight then hears more clearly, smells are more vivid, tastes are heightened, textures come alive.  It would almost seem they become a “super” human of sorts.  They would surely seem to have the “advantage” spiritually, since the spiritual realm is unseen by the naked eye.  What I see with my mortal eyes in this short life on earth is but a shadow of things to come.  Everything in Heaven shall be clearer, more vivid, indescribably more wonderful to behold!**  Our senses will be heightened- like the blind person- only infinitely moreso!  Our wisdom and knowledge will soar as we step into God’s Glorious Presence in Heaven- our eyes will see as they have never seen before- and our Joy shall last forever!!!

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“But only the redeemed will walk there, and those the Lord has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.”  – Isa 35:9b-10
“…there will be heard once more the sounds of joy and gladness, the voices of bride and bridegroom, and the voices of those who bring thank offerings to the house of the Lord, saying, ‘Give thanks to the Lord Almighty, for the Lord is good; his love endures forever.’”  – Jer 33:10b-11a

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*See “The Question That Changed My Life Forever”

**For those desiring to read a heaven experience, I would like to recommend the book, “Within Heaven’s Gates,” by Rebecca Springer.  In it, Ms. Springer describes how her deathly illness led her to the Place where she experienced the unimaginable.

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AUTHOR REQUEST: Please LIKE, REBLOG or COMMENT at bottom of post…I would love to hear your personal response and/or questions! If you feel someone else could benefit from a post or from this blog, please SHARE with others in your social media circles- this blog is intended to bless and encourage as many as possible! Thank you and God bless you!!

My Father’s Valentine

imageIt’s  Valentine’s Day and I am thinking about love.  Immediately, a little more than two handfuls of people come to my mind- my husband, my sons, my parents, my brother and a few very close relatives and friends. I contemplate to myself, “Why do I love these people?” Again, something immediately comes to mind…. can you guess what? Take a second to think of those people in your life that you love.  I wonder if you arise at the same answer as me,… or if I am unique here!  I would love to hear your comments.

I confess that when I consider WHY I love who I love, the common denominator is disconcertingly clear: they all give me something!  They give me love, they give me comfort, they give me encouragement, they give me a sense of purpose, they give me a feeling of security, they give me approval, and if I am totally honest, some even give me a sense of superiority.  Wow!!- Is this REALLY love? Do I love to get things for me? — If none of these people gave me ANY of the things I’ve listed…would I still love them?  – Or dare I ask the bigger question- Would I still love them if they TOOK things from me???…What if they took my joy, took my self-worth, took my reputation, took my possessions, took my well-being, took my dignity, took everything they could take from me? Could I honestly say that I loved them?
Picture this scene of a man and a crowd, if you will:
 
“They put a purple robe on him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him. And they began to call out to him, “Hail, king of the Jews!” Again and again they struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him. Falling on their knees, they paid homage to him. And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.”
“And they crucified him. Dividing up his clothes, they cast lots to see what each would get.  It was nine in the morning when they crucified him. The written notice of the charge against him read: the king of the jews.  They crucified two rebels with him, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, come down from the cross and save yourself!” In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! Let this Messiah, this king of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.” Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him.” [Mark 15:17-20, 24-32]
And in the Man’s response, I witness Love:
“Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”  [Luke 23:34a]
Can I even grasp this kind of Love? …Could I ever hope to love this way myself?
“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” [John 15:13]
Could I give my life for my friends?- to those I claim to love?
Could I love my enemies this way?

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” [Matt 5:43-48]

To what lengths have I gone to demonstrate my love, even to those who love me? Do I dare align my own definition of love with God’s?–

Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Rom 5:7-8

No, I dare not.  My definition falls far short.
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” [1 John 4:10]
Lord, I thank you for demonstrating what love really is to me. Help me, Father, to love as you do- unconditionally, humbly, mercifully, selflessly. Not to receive in return, but to give without expectation.  Not because I am loved back, but because Your Love lives in me.  By your power I can do all things! In Jesus’s Name.  Amen!
(Bold and underline mine)
AUTHOR REQUEST:  Please LIKE, REBLOG or COMMENT at bottom of post…I would love to hear your personal response and/or questions!  If you feel someone else could benefit from a post or from this blog, please SHARE with others in your social media circles- this blog is intended to bless and encourage as many as possible!  Thank you and God bless you!!