I was really looking forward to this Christmas, the first in our new home. After six months the worst of the settling in process was over and a sense of order and routine were again becoming part of our days. The smell of cocoa simmering on the stove, snow gently falling on the pines in the back yard, had set a wonderfully relaxing mood. Boxes of Christmas decorations, like long forgotten treasures, were waiting to be rediscovered and Gary would be home soon to share it with me.
Since he was already late, I was not surprised when the phone rang. His voice had that innocent, little boy lilt that I knew from experience meant that he had something to ask me, and he really, really, wanted the answer to be yes. "I just fell in love with the sweetest kitten, she is so adorable, such a little lady...do you think we could give her a home?"
As much as I adore our kitties and have fond memories of their kittenhood, I thought of all the interruption to our routine that a new addition would cause. Our cats had now accumulated 7 years of habits with which they padded the boundaries of their lives and I was sure they would not take kindly to having those boundaries redrawn to accommodate a frisky upstart. They had become much too dignified in their middle age.
But as Gary told me about her, my heart was already pricked. She was a plain, black, short-haired kitty; demure and sweet but with no outstanding features to draw the eye or heart. In my imagination, I felt her tiny heart break a bit more each day as all the other kittens around her left for their new homes. Perhaps they had been fluffy, unusually patterned animals, with spry antics that easily stole the hearts of those who came to choose. I wondered if she felt that maybe she was too ordinary to be loved.
My eyes were already brimming with tears. The answer was settled - how could I add one more day of rejection to the multitude she had already known? I could not.
The next afternoon I set off to rescue her, our new Little Lady. As I drove the tears just wouldn't stop. I thought I was merely crying for a homeless kitten, but the Holy Spirit turned the eyes of my heart inward to gaze at a scene 30 years in the past.
A little girl, demure and sweet, with no outstanding features, stood at the window and watched her daddy drive away. She didn't know where he was going, but she knew that he wouldn't be coming home. Home, what there was of it, never matched the vision she carried in her heart - a cozy house, with a front porch, surrounded with a white picket fence, filled with people that loved you. Where hugs and the aroma of cherry pies cooling in the kitchen greeted you when you came home from school. Where you could sit in your daddy's lap and he would stroke your hair and speak to you softly, with special words that only the two of you understood. Where the comfortable voices of the adults lulled you to sleep each night as they drifted down the hall from the living room.
She had accepted the reality of her home; a big home, cold and quiet, except when anger exploded through it. A lonely home, where dinner was eaten with the cook in the kitchen while the smells and sounds of merry partiers echoed from the living room. Where security only came from hiding and acceptance depended on how expertly you managed to exist without inconvenience to any one else. A home where the only "endearing" words you heard where ones that made your ears burn with shame. Where there were no laps to sit on that did not invite acts of revulsion....
I was crying for that little girl, rejected and abandoned all those years ago. A plain little girl, shy and scrawny, freckled and awkward. A plain little girl who lived with a whole world of music and beauty in her head - but lived in a whole world of ugliness and fear in her home. A plain little girl that no one loved.
As I look at my life today I am amazed at God's miracle working power. How is it that those who were not loved can learn to love? It is an incredible, yet wonderful contradiction that life comes from death, beauty from ugliness, healing from suffering.
Christ, through His death brought us eternal life. Through His brokenness and suffering He made wholeness available for us. In rejection He hung on that cross, abandoned by the Father as He bore our sins, and through it made reconciliation and new relationship possible. Surely, only a great and mysterious God would devise such a plan.
Unlike science fiction stories, there is no time machine to take us back into history and let us rearrange it. Your history is what God in His perfect wisdom allowed you to experience as part of that web created by the choices your parents made. God respects that history. He doesn't ask you to forget it as if it never existed, but He does ask you to give it to Him, to place the circumstances and people into His hands and let Him rework them to fulfill His eternal purposes.
In some small way our suffering and pain create in us a soft place to be affected by the suffering and pain of others. But it only happens when we first give it all to Him. As long as we hold onto our pain it will never become a source of blessing to another, it will only build callouses around our hearts until there is no soft spot left to be touched by the hurt of another.
Little Lady did not know that that day was going to be the day of her deliverance. She did not know that morning when she woke to one more dreary day in her cage that it would be her last. She did not know that shortly she would be napping contentedly on a warm lap, belly full, purring like a motor as gentle endearments wafted through her ears straight to her heart.
Like Little Lady, you may think that today is just one more dreary day, but each day that you live is one day closer to seeing Jesus face to face. Even when you did not know you were loved, He still loved you and has a plan for your life. Even when you were yet a sinner He laid down His life for you. Let Him love you. Sit in His lap daily, and let His arms enfold you. Don't struggle to run away when the tenderness seems too much to bear. Don't be ashamed to let your brokenness fall in tears. He will wipe them away. Cry your heart out and let Him have it. He will treat it gently and when it is healed he will plant it again inside of you - a new heart of flesh.
And you, once among the unloved and rejected, can now reach out with arms of love to enfold the abandoned, unlovely ones. And the mystery of God in Christ goes on...
Copyright 2000 McKinney