Cat Caper


For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. –Ephesians 6:12 ESV

 That morning I woke up eager to jump right into my day. With nothing pressing on the schedule, I was going to get so much done! I neglected, however, to don my spiritual armor. I just didn’t want to take the time.

My enthusiasm deflated before I even got out of the bedroom when my nostrils caught a whiff of something that belonged in the litter box.

That darn cat! Not mine. I was kitty-sitting my grandkids’ two furry beasts while they were in transition between houses. The past two weeks had not been the picture of feline domestic harmony in the Huey house. Bella, one of the two guest cats, tormented my little Provie (short for Providence), who’s called this place home for 12 years. She’d corner Provie at least once a day, and they’d get into it, hissing and growling and all. Poor Provie was so traumatized she wouldn’t even go downstairs to use her litter box.

So I put a litter box in the upstairs bathroom for her. But wouldn’t you know that darn guest cat filled it. So out it went (the litter box, not the cat) because I couldn’t stand the stench whenever I went into the bathroom. I think that’s why Bella left me a present on the bedroom carpet.

Then there was the hair – light, fluffy gobs refusing to succumb to the vacuum cleaner’s suction but immensely attracted to the seat of my pants. I ran the vacuum every morning after I cleaned the you-know-what from the floor in the laundry room because Ben, the other guest cat, had an aversion to litter boxes.

But I digress. Back to my “I’m going to get a lot done” day.

After removing the mess from the bedroom carpet and treating the spot with stain remover and odor eliminator, I gathered up not one, but three more piles in the laundry room. Then vacuumed the floor and the furniture. And barricaded the beasts in the furnace room­ – with a fresh litter box and plenty of food and water.

Then I took a shower. Cleaning up after cats will do that to you.

Things went kerflooey from there. Nothing went according to plan. I kept picturing fiery darts flying at me all day.

The challenge was not to lose my temper (it just raises my blood pressure and doesn’t do a bit of good), to keep corrupt communication from spewing out of my mouth, and to maintain a calm spirit in the midst of domestic chaos.

The day ended much better than it started. After water aerobics, I spent the rest of the evening with my grandkids decorating Easter eggs at a pysanky workshop.

The next day my feline guests were gone, collected by their people at my request. My Provie came out of hiding.

But other battles will come. Such is life. Another day, another skirmish. If I’ve learned anything from this cat caper, it’s that I’d better put on that armor before I get out of bed.

Thank You, Lord, that You not only provide armor for the battles I face from day to day, but You are right there in the thick of things, on my side, by my side. You are a shield around me. (Psalm 3:3). Amen.

Read and meditate on Ephesians 6:10–20.

© 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

Parachutes and Prayers


“Lord, teach us to pray.” – Luke 11:1 NIV

 “Do not have your concert first and tune your instruments afterward. Begin the day with God.”

For years, I wrote these words of the late missionary Hudson Taylor on the front of my daily devotional booklet, which I received monthly in the mail. The back of the cover at that time was blank, and I used it to list prayer needs. I kept it with my Bible near my prayer chair.

Nowadays I receive the daily devotional readings via email. I thought it would save them the cost of printing and mailing, but I miss the old way. It was simple. And it was physical – a visual reminder to tune myself up before launching into the day.

When we visited the North Cascades Smokejumper base in Winthrop, Washington, this past summer, we learned about the difference between round and rectangular parachutes. There are advantages and disadvantages to both, but the main thing about a parachute is that, for everyone but smokejumpers and skydivers, a parachute is an emergency piece of equipment. It’s there, but you hope you never have to use it.

My prayer life, without the visual reminders and the discipline to take the time, morphs into a parachute mode: There for emergencies only.

Many are the books and articles written on prayer, but let’s focus on Jesus’s attitude toward prayer, as shown through His answer to the disciples’ request, “Teach us to pray,” and through His own prayer life.

First, prayer is private. “When you pray,” Jesus instructed His disciples, “go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private” (Matthew 6:6). And He set the example: “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed” (Mark 1:35). You’ll find Jesus often going off by Himself to a mountaintop or a remote place to spend time with the Father.

Which brings us to the second point I want to make: Prayer is a relationship, not a religious activity (Henry Blackaby). Note the words “pray to your Father.”

Relationships involve regular communication, involving both speaking and listening: “A man prayed and at first thought that prayer was talking. But he became more and more quiet until in the end he realized prayer is listening.” (Søren Kierkegaard)

Third, prayer is concise. “When you pray,” Jesus said, “don’t babble on and on as the Gentiles do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask Him!” (Matthew 6:7–8)

In the words of C. H. Spurgeon, “True prayer is measured by weight, not by length. A single groan before God may have more fullness of prayer than a fine oration of great length.”

And finally, prayer is constant. You don’t contact those you love only when you need something. You want to spend every minute you can with them. So it is with God.

Prayer is our line of communication, time carved out of a busy schedule to talk and listen, to get to know our Father and His Son better.

Prayer is not a parachute, to be used only in times of emergency.

In the words of George Herbert, “Prayer should be the key of the day and the lock of the night.”

Lord, teach me to pray. Amen.

Read and meditate on Matthew 6:5–13

© 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.