Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Trust & Gratitude: Lessons from a Ragdoll

This is my Ragdoll cat. His name is Manna. He jumped up on the bed the other night and I began thinking how many lessons God has taught me through him. I'd like to share a few.

Trust -
Just like most people, I've learned the common sounds around my house. I know what walls creek and pop. I know all my cats' sounds as they look out the windows and "hunt" birds. I recognize my neighbor's voice as he talks outside on the phone. I am very familiar with hearing the children laugh and be on pretend adventures when outside at the school across the street. So imagine my surprise then I was sitting on the couch, watching a movie, and I heard a "Squeak!" My three cats had been playing together in the front room and I knew that wasn't a normal cat sound. I jumped up and ran in there to find that Manna had gotten himself tangled in the mini-blind cord. It's amazing how quickly thoughts run through your mind. I remember preparing myself for the challenge of getting him loose as I saw him flip around wildly. I got myself ready for the claw and bite marks I'd nurse later yet as I reached in to pick him up something unexpected happened. Manna totally relaxed in my arms. You see, that's why Ragdoll cats have their name. They tend to go limp when picked up, just like a rag doll, and he did just that! It was as if I picked him up and he went into "trust mode" and I was able to gently untie the cord from around his stomach and set him down.

Psalm 33:4 says, "For the word of the Lord holds true, and we can trust everything he does." Later I reflected on how I want to be more like Manna when troubles come my way. I want to let God take care of me, pick me up, simply relax in His might hands and trust in Him.

Manna is a gentle giant. Although he just turned one year old, he's already 12 lbs. A full grown Ragdoll male can average about 21 lbs. and the biggest Ragdoll ever recorded was 35 lbs! They are just big boned and are the second largest breed of domestic cat. Yet he's not a bully. In fact, by nature he's so uber sweet I just find myself shaking my head in disbelief sometimes. First of all, this cat is a purring machine. The first time I laid eyes on him in the shelter he looked at me through the glass, flopped over on his back, started kneading his paws in the air and purred. Often he'll jump up next to me and just begin purring. I don't even have to give him affection. He's just so happy that he'll sit there and purr continually. Also, when it's time for treats he doesn't normally eat them right away. When I set them down he must rub up against me (purring of course) about three times. After he's done 'thanking' me then he'll go eat his treats.

Colossians 2:6-7 reads, "So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness." Overflowing in thankfulness! Each time Manna goes along, just acting like himself, I find myself stopping and being convicted. I want to 'purr' with thankfulness and praise God so much that people turn to Him. I want to be grateful for any blessing before I even take them. And, I want to be grateful just to be in God's favor without him doing anything more for me.

These are just a few lessons I've learned from my little, well big, kitten. The word Manna according to my dictionary means, "something unexpected but welcome" and I find that this cat and the lessons God teaches me through him are just that.

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