Six new baby kittens were born on our Iowa farm, down in the shed, next to an old TV set that hasn’t worked in years.
I like to think of our newborn kittens as accidental therapists. I’m often in need of a mood adjustment, so I come out to the shed several times a day and creak open the door, certain that I’ll find my smile somewhere inside. Kittens are great perspective shifters, living in the moment as they do — always chasing the fun or plotting mischief, with food breaks in between.
As much as I enjoy our kittens, they inevitably bring a mix of frustration and heartache to my life.
First, the frustration.
While impossibly cute, kittens are also furry little goblins with zero etiquette and a high sense of self. They knock things off the shelves of the shed. They ignore my stellar pet-parenting. Yesterday, a kitten named Dave peed in the cat food, even though I’d specifically trained him to use the litter box.
Second, these kittens bring heartache. Quite often, a kitten will mysteriously fail to grow. It will wander off to a corner, curl into a ball, seal its eyes shut, and die. We’ve been on this farm for nearly two decades now, and every kitten holds a bit of my heart. There are always tears when we dig tiny graves for tiny animals.
Still, I love these kittens – with a reckless, unreasonable love – even though I know they will break my heart. Even though I know they’ll misbehave. Even though they act like they don’t need me. Even though they think they are little gods running the show.
The other day, as I was walking back up the hill from the kittens’ shed to our house, a truth bomb dropped into the center of my soul. It felt as if God were talking right to me with these words: “Now you know how I feel.”
I couldn’t get over the truth of it, rolling over me with a ferocious and holy warmth. I couldn’t get over how God just keeps on loving us like He does, how He actually enjoys us, how He creaks open the door of our lives, and in some weird way, He actually delights in us.
I mean, here we are – people who routinely break His heart. We surely frustrate Him. We think we are little gods running the show. We misbehave.
But He keeps on creaking the door open, keeps on loving us.
That’s the one thing we’ve all got to know if we’ve messed up lately.
In the book of Romans, the Apostle Paul makes a long list of things that, on their face, look like the sorts of things that would keep us from receiving the love of God: sin, trouble. Highs, lows. The thinkable and the unthinkable. But Paul writes, “Absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us” (Romans 8:39 MSG).
The most liberating truth in all the universe is this: Jesus is absurdly and ravenously in love with us. He is for us.
He is for you!
You might turn your back on Him, change your mind about Him, stomp your feet at Him, or run away from Him. But He will never, ever leave your side.
You might fall, stumble, trip, fumble, sin, grumble, and make a general mess of things. But He can’t not love you.
He made a way back, a way up, a way out, and a way in. He came for you, all the way to Earth to rescue you. And He’s not giving up on you now.
Stand with me in this moment, on that patch of grass between the house and the kittens’ shed, with the sun warming our backs. And let God drop that truth into your heart. Hear Him tell you how He loves you with a reckless love.
And nothing, absolutely nothing, can stand in the way of it.
Look for the signs of His love for you and hear Him tell you how He loves you with a reckless love. -@dukeslee: Click To Tweet Leave a Comment
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
Thank you for the wonderful invitation to pause and bask in God’s furious love for me. Right now it feels like so much in this world is trying to wrestle me away or distract me from God’s love. The enemy would love nothing more than for all of us to feel separated and isolated from the God who adores us. So, what can we do? Claim the promise and truth of Romans 8:39 – absolutely NOTHING can separate us from His lavish love for us…not the world and not even our own sinful ways…nothing. I am choosing, today, to claim that love that will stop at nothing to find me. Praise for a God who is patient, compassionate, and filled with lovingkindness. Great reminder this am!
Tammy L Edmonds says
Such an awesome post – really opened my eyes.
Thank you for the encouragement!
Really appreciate this: “ here we are – people who routinely break His heart. We surely frustrate Him. We think we are little gods running the show.”. And yet he loves and pursues us and always provides a way. Thank you for all of this, today.
Mary Geisen says
You could have just stopped with your graphic and the words, “Jesus is absurdly and ravenously in love with us” and I would have been sold. Reading those words gave me goosebumps today. I love that the Holy Spirit was infusing me with God’s abundant love while reading your words today. Thank you!!
BEST.POST.EVER!!! (Yes all caps – that’s how much I loved it!!)
How amazing is the love that our Heavenly Father has for us.
We have just returned for a visit to the area where we lived for 40 years. Mixed feelings occur as I feel like I am opening the barn door not knowing what I will find. Returning rings back memories both “good” and “hard”.
Thank you for the reminder that God delights in me and that is what I need and desire most of all.
Nothing cuter than kittens and nothing greater than the Love of Jesus!!!!
Danita Jenae says
Oh Ms. Jennifer! Some farm kittens kinda saved the day for us several times after losing my husband. The girls didn’t mind the scratches on their skin and I even dealt with my cat allergies for a time… because of that same delight and how they pulled smiles and goggling up out of our grief. Thank you for this. I will definitely be sharing this with my children because they’ll totally get it! d
This was much needed and right on time! Thank you for sharing these truths with us. Grace, oh my, undeserved GRACE and LOVE given to us FREELY!
Lynn D Morrissey says
Such a good word, Jennifer, in this season of isolation when we may think God has abandoned us. To know He delights in us, and that He rejoices over us with singing (even!) is such a needful reminder. Ken Gire wrote a beautiful analogy about a kitten. Perhaps you’ve read it? If I remember correctly, during a wilderness season in his life, when he all but felt abandoned by God and was fighting Him for some kind of resolution to his woes, God put a kitten in his life. He wanted it to survive, and tried to feed it and care for it. He donned gloves because the kitten clawed at him and hissed whenever he approached. He was only trying to help it. And Gire had a revelation: He was the kitten, hissing, clawing, and spitting at God in the face. God wanted only His best for Gire. Gire finally surrendered to God’s care . . . in whatever way the Lord wanted to give it. Gire stopped fighting and surrendered to his God. I am hardly doing justice to his lyrical pen and probably not relaying this exactly correctly…. but you get the picture. Thank you for further insights you’ve shed on the kitten metaphor. Oh the wonderful lessons and teachable moments God bestows on you you on your farm, and I thank you for sharing them for our benefit. I hope you get to keep a couple kittens to watch their growth to “cathood.” Cats, too, bring comfort and joy. 🙂 Love you and all you write.
Theresa Boedeker says
What a comforting thought. We can never be separated from God’s love no matter what we do. Having kids and loving them in their good and bad times helped bring this truth home. But oh how easy it is to forget.
Pearl Allard says
I’ll raise my teacup to that! I love how God uses the everyday things to shout heavenly truths to our thirsty hearts. Thank you for sharing this.
Dawn Ferguson-Little says
That reminds me of a song. It goes How Deep The Father’s Love For Us. Fast Beyond All Measure. You get it on YouTube that song. The song is so true. How Deep the Father’s Love For Us. He went to Cross for us. I used to have a cat call Buttons she was black and white. She love me. I would get no more not now. As too heart breaking when they die. But I loved her. It made think it cats loved you so much. What love our Saviour Jesus have for us. Cat trust us to take care of them. Feed them love them cuddle them. Be there best friend. Jesus can be all those thing to us if we let him and trust him. By reading his word the Bible letting the word the Bible feed us and speak too us through his Holy Sprit. Jesus will then become our best friend be there for everything we go through good or bad. We can go to Jesus say if we mess up say please forgive me. I want to change it I mess up. Please help me not to do it again. Jesus will. Like the kitten we have learn and sometimes have that telling off as Jesus might put a verse or story from the Bible through the Holy Spirit in our hearts to read. When we read it. It might be one that telling us not to do this thing again. Jesus sometimes has done that in my life to stop me and make me change the thing in my life that was wrong. For my own good. At the time I not liked it. But afterwards I did what the story or verse said. I changed and Jesus has been pleased with me. I felt in the end a better person for it. You will too. Thank you for today’s reading xxx
Courtney Slice says
Such a good read! Thank you for writing and sharing this! I’m currently fostering a litter of kittens, so this was a very real example for me. Also, hello from your Northwest Iowa neighbour! 🙂
Romans 8 begins with “no condemnation” and ends with “no separation” for believers. We are blessed beyond measure to have our sin covered by the blood of Christ and to be inseparable from God’s love! Amen! P.S. I dearly love kittens & loved your post!
Beth Williams says
I truly understand the idea of loving animals. We had two iguanas. I grew to love them immensely-almost as much as God loves me. They would often “mess up” doing things we trained them not to do just like humans. They slept in the bed with us & I cared for them both till they died-at an old age. It broke my heart not to have them around. This world today is so divisive & unloving. It is pulling us away from God & His truth. The evil one seems to be working overtime to win as many as he can. We need desperately to bask in His word more & more. Romans 8 is a good place to start. Zephaniah 3:16 which talks about God singing over us. Wow. The creator of the universe loves me enough to sing over me. He is constantly wooing us back to Himself.
Camilla Hubbard says
What a lovely image in this post, that we love our kittens and babies and children and grown-up children, and no matter what, we still love them abundantly. And that that is how God loves us! Wow! For years I struggled with not really knowing if I loved God enough for Him to still love me. I kept right on stumbling and asking forgiveness and thinking God must be completely fed up with me by now! A poem I wrote anout this is TIME AND AGAIN
Time and again has Your Holy heart bled
When the Israelites turned away,
Time and again when Your people have said
“We want to go our own way.”
Time and again when kings have turned
Away from Your royal throne –
And they received what their deeds have earned
Because they were not Your own.
Time and again have I blithely sailed
Through days of my own volition.
Time and again have I willingly failed
To listen to Your admonition.
Time and again have I asked Your support
In trials and earthly cares,
Time and again, have I tiredly sought
Forgiveness in daily prayers.
Yet time and again, when a heart’s been impure
But repents, to be forgiven,
Your gracious love extends a cure,
And welcomes us towards Heaven.
Thank you for sharing your Thought-Bomb, A great explanation and reminder. God bless you all there at in-courage.
I love your poem! Much needed reminder.
Beth Williams says
Great poem. You would make a great writer. This is a great reminder of God’s continual love for ALL people.
Shannon Alford says
Absolutely beautiful and insightful, sadness and joy are so often intertwined. Thank you for sharing these encouraging words.
Beautiful post! I love your “aha” moment, now recognizing how God feels about us at times. So much of your commentary comes back to trusting God in all areas of our lives; waiting on His timing.
I believe in these uncertain times, pets have given so much love, companionship, and hope to those who are fortunate enough to own a cat, dog or other animal that brings joy to their life.
In my neighbourhood this year, there has been a tremendous amount of bird song and chirping. So lovely. One day, there were 2 crows standing on my deck railing and one was giving the other one a definite “piece of it’s mind.” It was sooo funny! Just thought you’d enjoy this little story. 🙂
Have a great weekend, Sandy
Janis Van Keuren says
Jennifer, what a great comparison between our acceptance and love of those stubborn critters and God’s love for us. Breathing in His ravenous love for me today. Much needed.