Passing through the waters

Good morning, friends!

Last week, we had frost in the middle of May! Two weeks ago, we had flash flooding. What a surprise to wake up on Friday morning to find our yard covered with two or more feet of water! Our pond had overflowed because of the heavy rain during the night. The problem is that I had recently finished planting my garden, a large one at that, only to find it completely submerged by this raging water.

I was sick, to say the least. I was convinced that I would need to start over with the garden and just not sure I wanted to do that. While I stood sipping my morning coffee, it suddenly occurred to me that I forgot about my kittens that were inside my little greenhouse, which was also under two or more feet of water. Oh, let me tell you that story!

I have a mama cat who had six kittens. Knowing that the old tom cat, who likes to eat kittens, was nearby, I locked mama and babies in my greenhouse for protection. That made a lot of extra work for me because it meant letting the mama in and out all day long. It also meant keeping careful watch on the situation because I don’t have good venting in the greenhouse.

In the meantime, another mama had babies. It’s her first litter, and she had three. Cutest little buggers! So now I had two litters in the greenhouse for protection. I was beginning to feel as though I should call the greenhouse a nursery. It didn’t take long until the two mamas were nursing each others kittens, so I just put them all in the same box. I was really enjoying this little scenario; watching how the mamas seemed to have it all worked out. The babies were also loving it. I was on nursery duty all day long. Life on the farm is great!

Next, the third mama had babies, also her first litter. She had three. She had them in a box on the porch, and, well, by now, you know the drill … off to the greenhouse they went! They were in the greenhouse one day when the high waters came.

When I realized the predicament they were all in, I threw on my husband’s knee-high “mucks” and went dashing toward the greenhouse in my ankle-length robe. By the time I was inside the greenhouse, the water had covered and began to fill my boots. Once inside, I just ran around as quickly as I could with those water-filled boots – at least four sizes too big – and gathered up the kittens in my arms.

The mamas had “jumped ship.” The babies were smart enough to go to the highest point to get out of the water; all but one. I could hear her crying, but couldn’t seem to find her. I suddenly realized she was back in the corner, under shelves, which meant that I had to get on my knees and crawl under the shelves to rescue her. I wish you had seen that sight!

I was up to my shoulders in water, and that robe, now completely drenched from top to bottom, made it pretty tough to maneuver. However, had I waited another moment to realize the situation, my little kitten would have died. As it was, I took them all in the house to warm them, but the little one was in a bad way. I took my blow dryer and dried her, wrapped her in a towel until she was warm and, remarkably, she survived.

Now I had two mamas and all the babies in a box in the house. Very sad to say, the three new babies did not survive. I felt so sorry for the new mama who was searching for her family, so I picked her up and added her to the mix. And yes, she also nursed all the other babies. So now, I have three mamas for this combined family. What a mess!

Every time something of this nature happens on the farm, I recall an old friend saying to me, ” You’re gonna have to grow up if you’re gonna make it!”

I guess I never have …

After things settled down, I sent a text message to a friend to tell her all about this crazy ordeal. She replied, “Read Isaiah 43.”

I just smiled to myself, knowing the passage well as it’s always been one of my favorites. It goes like this: “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you … Do not be afraid, for I am with you.”

This passage has been so precious to me over the years. It has been a comfort to me on countless occasions when I was “going under.” When the cares of life were taking me with the tide, and I felt I couldn’t keep my head above water, God was so near to me. He came to my rescue, delivering me from the ravages of “death” that appeared to be a reality at the time.

I say that my life is an open book. I just tell it like it is. Why not? God gets all the glory when the healing comes!

He has done a marvelous work of healing in my life. When I look back over my life and see how it started – how I struggled with such confusion and dealt with depression in mid-life – I just marvel at God’s goodness. He has been so faithful to me at times when I was unfaithful to Him. I’m so thankful that I am precious in His sight, and that He loves me, even when I don’t love myself. God has led me through many floods, but by His grace, I have always come through so that He is magnified.

How about you, friend? What waters are you passing through right now?

I can promise you that if you acknowledge God in the midst of it, He will not fail you. He promises that those “rivers” will not sweep over you. Take His hand and let Him bring you safely to the other side of it. He longs to do that for you. I am praying for you to give up the fight today.

As for life on the farm, I probably will never grow up … my heart is just too big! Blessings as you approach your high waters.

Debby Renninger is a free-lance writer and inspirational speaker. She is the leader of the women’s ministry at Pine Glen Church of the Brethren and also leads a weekly Bible study, “Beauty for Ashes,” in her home in McVeytown. Renninger may be reached at 250-7086.