"But God still loved us with such great love. He is so rich in compassion and mercy. Even when we were dead and doomed in our many sins, he united us into the very life of Christ and saved us by his wonderful grace!"
Ephesians 2:4-5 (TPT)
by Connie Wanek
A flower needs to be this size
to conceal the winter window,
and this color, the red
of a Fiat with the top down,
to impress us, dull as we've grown.
Months ago the gigantic onion of a bulb
half above the soil
stuck out its green tongue
and slowly, day by day,
the flower itself entered our world,
closed, like hands that captured a moth,
then open, as eyes open,
and the amaryllis, seeing us,
was somehow undiscouraged.
It stands before us now
as we eat our soup;
you pour a little of your drinking water
into its saucer, and a few crumbs
of fragrant earth fall
onto the tabletop.
(Lovely poem! I found it here)
Our Su-Purr Bowl Miracle
It’s been two years since our Su-Purr Bowl Miracle! After a beautiful day, on February 4, 2018 my husband and I settled in with our “Loaded Nachos” to watch SuperBowl LII. Our recently adopted tabby kitten, Purr-Tater, and our other cat Hobbs, joined us in the living room. At five months old, we were amazed at Tater’s incredibly sweet temperament. Unusually quiet, he had a little bass meow and talked to himself in trilling purrs. He effortlessly wriggled his way into our hearts. My husband Evan, a hardcore “bunny guy” even had a soft spot for Tater, declaring him a “good boy”!
We were rooting for the underdog Philadelphia Eagles playing against the New England Patriots. An exciting game right to the end-- the Eagles won! After whoops and basking in the glow of victory, Evan checked on the weather outside—it was in the 20s and snowy out-- as I got ready for bed. A perfect end to a wonderful day! Or so I thought…
I woke up around 2:30 am and noticed Hobbs sleeping peacefully nearby. I didn’t recall seeing Tater before falling asleep, but assumed he’d gone upstairs. After searching the whole house, now in a panic I realized Tater must have snuck out when Evan opened the door around 11:00 pm. He’d never done this before, but as curious kitties do-- he must have! Opening the front door, a blast of frozen air hit me. I spotted a few paw prints in the snow near the edge of our porch. I followed them around the side of the house to one of our parked cars, calling Tater’s name, but heard nothing. Back inside, I grabbed my coat and flashlight and once more walked around the snowy yard looking and calling for Tater. Nothing.
Anxiously, I woke Evan up. After recovering from the shock, we prayed, asking God for his help and for Tater’s safety. We both went out with flashlights calling for him and looking desperately throughout the yard and around our cars. We saw the few kitten prints next to the car outside the kitchen window, but no kitty anywhere. Evan read somewhere that cats may hide underneath cars and under car hoods for shelter, so he searched thoroughly in and around our cars. No Tater. At a loss for what to do, Evan drove up and down the road, looking for him.
We ran out of things to do. As I stood there in the cold night, tears filled my eyes as I felt that we had truly lost Tater. How could a five-pound kitten could survive? Horrified and grief-stricken that he may have stood at the door crying to come in, yet we didn’t hear him, was too much to bear. We live in the country and wild animals move through our yard all the time—bears, coyotes, owls. I prayed, “I cannot find him, Lord, but You can.” I had recently read about how God wants us to come to Him with everything, large or small, and pour our hearts out to Him. I went inside, sat down, and let the tears flow. The tears themselves became my prayer. Sensing peace for the first time that night, somehow I felt the situation was in His hands. When my husband arrived home, he mentioned that because Tater was once feral, he probably has some survival skills. He might still be okay somewhere. After a final prayer, we eventually went to sleep.
I awoke around 7:00 am the next day and made my way to the kitchen for a much-needed cup of coffee. Surprised by the bright, beautiful morning, I stood there in the warm kitchen and looked out the window with new hope. After another search of the yard, Evan had to leave for a doctor’s appointment. Like a detective looking for clues, I kept going back to those small paw prints next to the car parked on the side of our house, outside the kitchen window. Those had to be Tater’s prints, but where did he go? Yet again, Evan looked inside and under the car. Nothing. We prayed again, once more committing the situation to God and asking Him to keep Tater safe.
I Googled “missing kitten” and discovered that in the cold weather, Tater probably hadn’t gone far. I felt the distinct guidance to rest, and we agreed that when Evan came home, we would again search the yard together. In the meantime, I contacted our neighbor, emailed some prayer requests, and added our dilemma to the church prayer chain. We went out again to search around 2:00 pm. Evan’s riding lawn mower was also next to the car, covered with a black tarp for winter. During the night, the ice and snow on the tarp had frozen it hard. Now the warmth of the sun melted the ice making the tarp pliable. Evan lifted up the tarp, and then opened the hood of the riding mower engine. Tater’s hiding place! Curled up in the small, rounded space in front of the engine, Tater was warm and groggy, probably from the sunlight beaming down on the black tarp. Evan gently lifted him out. Tater was outside for about 15 hours! We rushed him inside. Although disoriented at first, he soon improved after some food, water, and sleep. Thankfully, by the next day he seemed totally fine. Incredible!
When I glanced out the kitchen window that morning, our miracle was about six feet away. I imagine that from Tater’s viewpoint, the easily accessible covered riding mower provided the best shelter. He was right next to the spot where I stood the night before, praying, “I can’t find him, but You can.”
We are so thankful for God’s faithfulness in keeping Tater safe, and for guiding Evan to check the riding mower. We’re especially thankful our Heavenly Father is always our refuge and strength in times of trouble. He wants us to come to him at all times—with the big things and the little Taters. I realize that like a lot of prayers, our answer is just out of sight, on the other side of our senses. Yet He promises to be with us, to help us, and offers us rest as He answers our prayers in His time.
Photos • Poems