Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Escape (01/02/06)
TITLE: God's Escape Plan...A Cat Named Jewels
By Robin McGowan
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During the last year, I experienced an emotional storm as I went through a divorce. During this time, I picked up and old foe and addiction, smoking. I had quit smoking many years before and occasionally I would smoke a few cigarettes, but never returned to the habit full-time. But this occasion was emotional torture, and I found myself smoking more than a pack a day. I knew I shouldnít be smoking because of my history with asthma, but it seemed to calm my nerves and my projected fears as I faced this difficult period.
Consequently, I prayed but felt that God was far from me. I also had guilt about what I was doing to my body. I knew intellectually that God would never fail me, nor forsake me, yet I just couldnít seem to get a handle on my emotions. I battled with myself for ten months knowing that I was not relying on my faith in God to carry me through this period, but relying on a cigarette, which had no power or might to save me. It was awful. I felt defeated.
In my distress, I asked Jesus to help me quit this addiction at the right time. I told him I did not want to quit, but I was willing to be willing. I asked him for the right time and to allow circumstances to be right. I prayed this prayer the week of Christmas, 2005. Shortly after that prayer, I was home for an extended vacation due to Christmas break. To my surprise, not only were the stockings hanging with glee, but I also experienced the site of a few mice visiting this holiday season. Yes, real live mice racing through my home!
I had hoped that my previous exterminating efforts would of taken care of these little creatures but they obviously found a way back into my warm, cozy home. I had been experiencing these little mice visiting me on and off for the past six months. I asked God once again to help me become willing in spite of lifeís daily stresses. I told Him this was not my idea of circumstances being right, and I did not need these mice visiting me at this time, but I would step out in faith and become willing to quit smoking. Finally, I was surrendering to Godís way and not my way.
Also during this time, my father was hospitalized with kidney failure and pneumonia and I was stressed with the holidays quickly approaching, and with going home to these mice. Besides it was the first real holiday alone after my divorce and it was tough enough emotionally. The real kicker came after I was calmly pouring myself a cup of tea one night, and stepped on a mouse running by my foot. I was barefoot. I yelled so loud, and said, I am getting a cat! I was shocked at the words coming out of my mouth because I had no desire to get a cat, but I would do anything to scare these mice away. I asked God if this was part of His plan, as it was not part of my plan, but if this is what I should do, I would be willing to get a cat and quit smoking. I knew that if I got a cat, that I could not smoke due to my allergies and asthma. I had my last cigarette Christmas Day. And I have a new cat named Jewels that was given to me by someone unexpectedly and with no charge. I would not of thought that God would of provided this way of escape for me, but it has been an escape from this addiction. In addition, I found out that I could love this little six-month-old kitten and look forward to coming home once again, an added bonus during this holiday season.
It is now ten months since my divorce and I feel that I am no longer treading water, but swimming once again in the pool of life. God delivers and heal us in mysterious ways. I thought that my healing would of come through a much greater disaster such as pneumonia or being hospitalized, where I was forced to quit, with my back against the wall, but it came planned by Godís loving hand, mice and all. And it came with the ability to give and receive love, something God knew I also needed.
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