You may remember our cat, Gracie. We inherited her when we moved into this house.
She willingly eats our food, and she is super duper friendly to everyone else who comes onto our property, but she will barely even let us pet her. Traitor.
We've tried repeatedly to welcome her into the house, but she always looks at us like she thinks we're going to pull a fast one on her, and she darts back outside again.
Gracie does okay for herself. She's a good mouser, she stays pretty warm by sleeping on a canvas bag in our garage most of the time, and she rules the property (much to our cat Jack's chagrin). She is highly self-sufficient and independent, and she sneaks handouts instead of accepting openly offered love. She makes it clear to the world that she can take care of herself.
But last week, something happened that our proud, stubborn Gracie did not anticipate.
The weather conditions were so bad that she finally admitted she might need a little help staying alive. So she came inside. Not into the house, mind you, but into the laundry room, which is adjacent to the cold entry, which is where she's been taking her meals for the past year.
I was surprised and pleased last week to find her curled up on a pile of dirty laundry, imploring me with her bleary cat eyes not to kick her back out into the cold. But doesn't she know I've been waiting and longing for her to come in?
Gracie has been warm all week on the laundry room floor, and Jack has been very accommodating. They've only screeched at each other one time. My hope is that she will get so used to being in the laundry room that eventually, she will take a step into the kitchen and discover the glorious cat comforts our home holds.
Do you relate to Gracie? I do. So often, it takes a downward spiral, a winter storm, a life crisis to humble me to the point of turning to God and accepting the grace He longs to lavish on me.
Lately, I've learned to live with the awareness of His grace on a more regular basis. But I don't really dwell there. I just look at His grace wistfully and stay huddled in my semi-warm pile of filth and pride. Willing to be near Him, but not quite willing to let myself go.
But just like I am trying to woo Gracie, God is wooing me. He is pouring into my life as much grace as I will accept from Him.
And hopefully, someday, I will poke my little nose out of the laundry room, take a step toward the warmth of the kitchen, and discover the blessings that lay beyond.