Have you ever experienced the joy of an answered prayer? The child-like scream? The joyful thrill? The unashamed shout? The praise? The worship? The joy? The love?
On October 26th, God answered a very simple prayer of mine in less than 48 hours. Two days prior, my husband and I were returning from an impromptu date night when we saw a white and black kitten on the side of the road. The kitten was about 6-8 months old and stood frozen as the rays beaming from the headlights reflected from her eyes. Within seconds I opened the car door and muttered excitedly to my husband, “If she comes to me. She’s coming home!” My husband held his breath and silently prayed that the cat did not come to me. We had two dogs after all. Cats were selfish after all. (Or so he thought.) The kitten did not come towards me. She allowed me to approach, but the moment I reached my hands out to pet her, she darted off into the bush. Lost amidst the branches. Lost into the night.
I sighed, but accepted her departure. Still breathing loudly from my dart to the cat, I climbed into the jeep, turned to my husband and said with full assurance, “If I find a black kitten, and she comes to me, she’s coming home.” There it was, set in stone, my simple prayer voiced out loud to my husband: I wanted a black kitten.
Now back to October 26th. My husband and I were headed to church for the weekly Purposed Youth meeting. We left early this time to ensure we had time to set up. As we drove down the road, I noticed what looked like a black ball on the side of the pavement. Stunned and curious, I hurriedly asked Ian to turn around. He obliged, equally as curious. As we made our way down the road again, I could not believe my eyes. There, right on the side of the road was a little, black kitten — maybe 3 to 4 weeks old. Again, I darted out of the jeep and reached out my hands, careful not to frighten her away. She looked up at me and walked eagerly forward, no hesitation at all. My husband looked on in amazement. Just like that…not even two full days later, my humble prayer was answered. It was my first day of Heaven on Earth.
Still on our way to youth group, I began praising God and exclaiming just how good He is and how loved I felt. I was full of the excitement of a child as I looked down at the little black kitten in my lap or heard her little screams of hunger. After going onto Facebook Live to share my joy, a slight tinge of panic hit me. What do you feed a young kitten? She’s so tiny! What do I do?! I began to feverishly perform Google searches and found that kittens shouldn’t drink cow’s milk and that young kittens should be bottle fed and would need my assistance to pee and poo as they could not do so or their own nor regulate their own body temperature. This was serious business! But I felt ready and up for the challenge. We stopped at two stores along the way. I got her a blanket, cardboard box, kitten food, a small silver dish and a newborn pipette, you know, just in case.
Each day with Heaven was beautiful. My heart swelled each time I saw her little face. She was so much more than a kitten. She was a symbol of God’s love and faithfulness. She brought back my joy and my child-like faith.
The entire week was heavenly, and then Thursday came along.
I came home for lunch that day and was so excited when I checked on her and saw that she had pooped normally. In the days prior, she had diarrhea which is a concerning sign for a kitten. She was mellow – not her usual playful self – but I thought nothing of it in my fury of excitement that she was doing just fine…litter box trained and all.
When I returned home that afternoon it was obvious that something wasn’t right. Heaven was very mellow, she refused to eat and at times she wheezed when she took breaths. I knew these were bad signs that could be fatal for a kitten. But this was my promise! God wouldn’t take her from me, from us.
I contacted three vets in my desperation. I felt so helpless knowing Heaven was not feeling well. It was passed their hours of operation and so they each recommended I wait overnight and take her to the vet’s office first thing in the morning.
The next morning I awoke relieved that she had made it through the night. I had a speaking engagement that morning so I took time off work to prepare. Heaven’s breathing was more laboured so I was even more concerned. I made up in my mind that her little life was my priority and postponed by speaking engagement by an hour in order to take her to the vet.
Ian and I knew the situation was serious. He sped down West Bay Street as I frantically searched for a vet’s office that was open at that hour of the morning. The closer we got to the vet’s office, the more Heaven’s condition began to deteriorate. I prayed, “Lord, please don’t do this to me. Don’t do this to me!” Heaven cried two meows. She was so tired. She had not eaten in close to 20 hours due to the upper respiratory infection. She was in pain and she was tired. As we neared downtown, we noticed that Heaven stopped breathing. We tried everything: chest compression, CPR (yes, CPR!), but nothing worked. I knew she was gone but still walked into the vet’s office with her resting on her blanket.
The vet confirmed…no heartbeat. God took her back.
Ian walked back to the car as I continued to question the young veterinarian. How could this happen? Why did this happen? “We can’t really tell,” she said. Kitten’s this young hardly ever make it. It could have been a virus. It could have been bacterial. It could have been parasites. We will never know.
Heartbroken, I exited the door, walked slowly down the stairs–still holding Heaven on the blanket–opened the gate, closed the gate, opened the car door, closed the car door and cried. I cried rivers of tears. Quiet tears at first until I dropped Ian off at work. Then loud tears. Then shaking tears. I could not understand why God did this to me. Why let me experience such joy, such happiness, all week long only to take her breath away, my breath away?
As I drove and cried and walked it over with God, I felt He saw my pain. I felt He hurt as I hurt. And I learned my very first lesson from this experience: be ready for what you pray for.
I prayed for a black kitten and received one in less than 48 hours, but was I ready? No! I didn’t have cat food, a litter box, kitty litter, a heating pad, knowledge, nothing! Nothing but a desire for a little black kitten.
Don’t let desire coupled with ill-preparation be the cause of a premature death: the death of a dream, the death of a vision, the death of a promise, the death of a gift.
When I pulled into my driveway and was finally able to put the jeep in park. I looked down at the little, lifeless black beauty in my lap and wept. Zemi wept.
I was forced to bury what had brought me such joy. I wrapped her in her blanket and placed her in a little white box. Along with Heaven went the silver bowl, her bottle and the newborn pipette. I did not want any additional reminders.
I closed the cover of the box and paused, looking down at my freshly painted, black nails. Painted in honor of Heaven the day before. Tears.
When Ian came home we buried her in the backyard. I wanted her in the backyard. I wanted to know where she would be. I couldn’t stand the idea of throwing her into the bushes to rot. She had to be buried close to me, close to home.
It’s been over a week and I still look at her pictures and cry. I now know oh too well the feelings of the widow in 1 Kings 17 who watched as her son grew ill and stopped breathing in her arms.
17 Now it happened after these things that the son of the woman who owned the house became sick. And his sickness was so serious that there was no breath left in him. 18 So she said to Elijah, “What have I to do with you, O man of God? Have you come to me to bring my sin to remembrance, and to kill my son?” (1 Kings 17: 17-18 NKJV)
The widow’s story is a tale of redemption, restoration and resurrection. I knew in my heart that would not be Heaven’s tale.
We have a new kitten now. His name is Solace. A friend knew of our loss and indicated that her neighbour had a black kitten available for adoption. We have had 7 days with Solace, and although he is sweet, playful and good-natured, a slight pang remains.
Heaven was special, she was God-sent, she was irreplaceable. Heaven was just a kitten, but she change my life — our lives — in many ways. Through Heaven, God performed a major work in my heart and so I had to come and share some of the messages with you.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55: 8-9 NKJV)
- God hears and answers prayer.
- He answers prayers on His timetable, not our own.
- You’re prayer request may come swiftly and suddenly. Are you ready? Will you be ready?
- When your prayer is answered, protect your promise.
- Cover your promise in prayer and safeguard it until you have full release from God.
I leave you with a passage of scripture that God keeps calling to mind and which I am currently meditating on, Jonah 4: 6-11.
6And the Lord God prepared a [a]plant and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be shade for his head to deliver him from his misery. So Jonah [b]was very grateful for the plant. 7 But as morning dawned the next day God prepared a worm, and it so damaged the plant that it withered.8 And it happened, when the sun arose, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat on Jonah’s head, so that he grew faint. Then he wished death for himself, and said, “It is better for me to die than to live.”
9 Then God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?”
And he said, “It is right for me to be angry, even to death!”
10 But the Lord said, “You have had pity on the plant for which you have not labored, nor made it grow, which came up in a night and perished in a night. 11 And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left—and much livestock?”
Remember, God knows best. Prepare for what you pray for and be grateful for each gift.
All my love,
Heaven-sent, heaven returned. God hears and answers prayer.