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Last week, we lost our cat, Tina. Not lost as in died, but rather lost as in couldn’t find her. It happened so quickly that none of us really knew what happened, but after piecing together our individual recollections of the last time we remembered seeing her, we were able to figure out that she must have run out of the house at some time on Wednesday, Jan. 18. That afternoon had been a flurry of unexpected phone calls and last-minute changes in my schedule for Thursday plans, so it was easy not to miss her. Only the following morning, when Loys asked me if I’d seen her the day before did I begin to realize that I hadn’t. Thus began our diligent search inside the house and all around the property, trying to call her out from wherever she might be hiding.

It’s no easy task to try and find a cat when you live on 75 acres in the country, but we looked in all the places that seemed most likely for her to be, and came up empty-handed. To make things worse, the weather forecast predicted heavy thundershowers, possibly tornadoes, all weekend. Our poor little housecat was about to experience the full fury of bad weather and there was absolutely nothing we could do about it.

Tina has always been Loys’ cat, and so the loss hit him especially hard. He wasn’t willing to give up, though, and after doing some research online, he discovered that most housecats who get out of the house don’t generally stray very far. The site he found recommended trying to trap the cat, and lucky for us, we had one available. He set it out on Monday night with a can of tuna, and we prayed that Tina would be close enough to see it and take the bait.

I awoke early on Tuesday morning while it was still dark so I could have some quiet time to myself. I had a passing thought about the trap, but to be honest, I was more preoccupied with the biopsy that I’d be undergoing later that day and so I grabbed some coffee and my Bible, and started reading scripture.

You see, the day that Tina had escaped—almost one week earlier to the day—I’d received a call from my doctor’s office asking about a follow up mammogram that they said I was supposed to have had the day before. The call was confusing to me because it was the first I’d heard about a follow-up mammogram: after all, that’s not the type of phone call you’d forget if you’d ever gotten one!

Thankfully, my doctor’s office had called to find out how the follow-up had gone. Because they did, they were able to schedule me for an actual follow-up for the next day, which is why I had spent my Wednesday afternoon figuring out how to arrange my schedule for Thursday, which is my CC day. The parents of my students agreed that we’d have a half day, friends volunteered to get my boys to their game dev class after CC was over that afternoon, and I had another mammogram and ultrasound. The news wasn’t good.

So this is what I was thinking about on the morning that Loys came out of our bedroom asking if I’d seen Tina. As we searched for her that stormy weekend, I was filled with a supernatural sense of calmness. I watched an amazing sermon series by Louis Giglio called “Believe,” and was comforted by the scripture that he kept going back to, a verse from Isaiah using the NASB translation:

Do not fear, for I am with you;
Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,
Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.

Surely I will help you. Surely I will uphold you. Those words echoed through my head the entire weekend and I was filled with a peace that passed my ability to understand it.

So you can imagine my surprise when Loys walked into the dining room that Tuesday morning—after setting the trap for the first time the night before—calmly looked out toward the pond and said, “There’s Tina!”

I jumped up, joined him at the window, and sure enough, there was our precious kitty in the trap. She was none too happy to be there, but we brought her in, opened the door, and she quickly reacclimated to the house. All I could think about was how fitting to have found her again on the day that I would be undergoing the procedure. In spite of the seriousness of that situation, I was able to take great delight in the evidence of God’s provision for us and certainly for Tina. I have no idea where she sought refuge during the tornadoes that devastated our part of the country that weekend, but she had remained safe and was able to make her way back to us on the very day when it did our heart so much good to be reminded of God’s goodness.

I wish I could say that the biopsy came back benign. It didn’t. I do have breast cancer, but I am not afraid. I have been reminded time and time again over the past week of how very much God loves me and of the promises that are so abundant in the scriptures that I’ve read my entire life:

“Yes, and I will rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death.”
Philippians 1:19-20

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.
Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand;
do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known to God.
And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:4-7

“…I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:6-7

“Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
I will protect him, because he knows my name.
When he calls to me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”
Psalm 91:14-16

“Call upon me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.”
Psalm 50:15

tinaCancer has become a part of my story, but I am choosing to trust in the one who formed those first perfect cells, the God who “knitted me together in my mother’s womb” and the one who I praise today because I am “fearfully and wonderfully made.” He will be with me every step of the journey.

And I’m grateful to be able to say that I’ll also have an extremely fuzzy kitty by my side, too. 🙂