Party for Patty

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So. Two weeks ago we threw a party for our cat. Yes. A party for our cat. I know. It’s as insane as it sounds. But when you have a six-year-old daughter that loves her cat and you’ve been cooped up for 6 weeks {at the present time} due to the COVID-19 virus, you do crazy things, right?

It all started with our daughter acknowledging that it was in fact the month of April and that Patty’s- said cat- birthday was in the month of April. Now, none of us really know when Patty was born. We adopted her three days before Christmas two years ago and the Animal Shelter estimated that she was 8 months old when we picked her out. So, being put on the spot with my daughter pressuring me on an *exact* date for Patty’s birthday, I simply took December 22nd and subtracted 8 months which put us at April 22nd- Patty’s birthday… of course.

Well, it came time for her party, and we had the cupcakes and streamers all set. Yes, to my husband’s dismay, I spent THREE whole dollars on streamers for our cat’s birthday party… anyhow… we sang happy birthday and blew out the candles and then, my daughter got her feelings hurt. Even now, two weeks later, I still don’t know what got her upset, but all I know was that I was trying to be patient in the moment and sensitive to her hurt feelings. There were quite a bit of unsolicited tears and crying. And in the midst of the noise… and chaos… and commotion of the party and her hurt feelings, her older brother shouts out in her direction, “IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT YOU!”

I, of course, shot back in some form or fashion and not so many words, “Son, have some compassion!” Right? But his frustrated explosion of “IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT YOU” has stuck with me. It keeps ringing in my head… and really in my heart. It’s been on repeat for me the last two weeks- IT’S. NOT. ALL. ABOUT. YOU.

Audrey & Miss Patty

I’ve been reading through the Old Testament since January- thank you to my 2020 New Year’s Resolutions {wink face}- and I’m going through some incredible stories of men {and women} who were living their lives… going through the day-to-day of life… sometimes aware of the reality and consequences of their actions and choices, but often times, not so much. They didn’t always understand their circumstances and I can imagine wondered “why” a few times in between.

I have read the story of Abraham again- one of my favorites- and here is a man that packed up his home and family and all that he knew to travel to a land that God would show him. He didn’t know what lay a head or what exactly the Lord was doing when he was asked to go, but he just did the next obedient thing in front of him.

Then, there’s Joseph- another favorite of mine- who was beaten up by his brothers, sold into slavery and endured crazy hardship. He had no clue that when his brother’s sold him into slavery, that God Himself was at work and would use all the hurt and pain and frustration to save His people during a famine.

And Moses. Oh, I love Moses. A man who despite a stubborn and stiff-necked people, continued to lead and bring the Lord’s people up out of slavery. He continued to contend on their behalf despite the wilderness and wondering. Continued to keep the Lord Most High at the forefront of their questions and uncertainty.

Skipping ahead, there’s Ruth- yet again… another favorite- who after losing her husband refused to leave her mother-in-law. She was determined to stay by her side even though it meant that she may never marry again, that she would potentially face severe hardship. However, the Lord was at work and provided. God isn’t really even mentioned in the text YET His fingerprints are all over her story.

These are only a select few stories out of SO many- and NOT that any of them were perfect or had it all figured out- YET through their stories, we get a *small* glimpse of our Mighty God at work. Each of these men… and women… were doing the next thing in front of them that God was leading them to do. Even in the midst of HARD. Even in the midst of UNknowing. Even in the midst of questions… and most likely some doubt. They kept putting one foot in front of the other and trusting in their God.

God was working in their very personal lives to achieve something so much bigger than who they were.

And these stories have brought such comfort to my own heart in the midst of COVID-19, as I have faced my own uncertain and hard… as I have asked my own questions and allowed doubt and fear to creep in. There are many days that I have to remind myself that everything that is going on really IS our reality. That our world really has been turned upside down and inside out. I really am doing school at home with my three {little} kids while continuing to fulfill my responsibilities at work. There really are restrictions on my interactions with the people around me. There really are people dying of a virus that is so pervasive.

Yet through these stories of those that have gone before us- I am reminded that our God is alive and active and on the move. Right now. Present day. I don’t fully understand what He is up to, but one thing I know… He is using all that we are facing- in our current day, personal lives- to do a mighty work not just in my own life, BUT ALSO, in our world at large. IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT YOU rings out, loud and clear in my heart. God, You are up to something. And it’s not just about me.

Then, the cry of my heart comes from Galatians 6:9, “let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

The weeks are wearing on. The weariness is setting in. The grief and loss is *at times* overwhelming and suffocating. There may be light at the end of the tunnel, but we still don’t know what we are facing on the other side of all this. But. Let us not grow weary in doing good. Let us not grow weary in clinging to Christ. Let us not grow weary in soaking in the Word. Let us not grow weary in crying out to the Lord in prayer. Let us not grow weary in anchoring our hearts to Jesus. Let us not grow weary in doing the next, right thing that He has placed in front of us. For at the proper time, we will reap a harvest. We will see what all the hard and uncertain and questioning was really about.

Our God IS in the business of making His name great and drawing all men {and women} to Himself. He’s been doing it SINCE THE BEGINNING. And now, present day, He has stripped away security and comfort. He is pruning and cutting back. But He continues to draw us in and draw us close to Him.

At the end of the day, He IS doing a work in each of us. BUT. It’s not ALL about us. He is on a mission that is bigger than any of us. We are just a small, small part of His bigger story.

Jesus, have your way in each of us and remind us that we are part of something SO much bigger than who we are… that what is happening in our very personal lives is part of Your much, much bigger plan.

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