No, this is about my little girl who for the first time, had her first test of faith and questioned God.
It all started out this past Sunday morning. Not sure if it was a combination of a candy hangover from the night before and/or how toasty it was to stay in my flannel sheets that extra hour, but I had a hard time waking up and getting a start on the day. It was one of those mornings where there was a little frost on the ground which made it even more difficult to think about getting out of bed. But we knew we had to.....so Josh and I struck a deal. He would go out and take care of the animals, I would make breakfast and get everyone up for church. I think I scored on that deal.
So as I am starting to make coffee....the phone rings. It's Josh calling me from the barn. He says....."Uh, I think you better come out here". From many past experiences....that usually is not a good thing.
I threw on his construction boots and a sweatshirt and ran to the barn. When I flew open the door, what I saw was not pretty. One of our bunnies had a litter of six babies and they were all strewn about the cage frozen and lifeless. I was in complete shock because..... let me let you in on something. We were under the impression that Snowball was a male. And (s)he didn't even appear to be any fatter these past few weeks....not to mention, we just put her/him in a cage a while back separate from our other bunny, Hershey.
You see......we are in the habit letting all our animals, including the bunnies, be "free range". Well my neighbor came over a few weeks back and told us that although he didn't care about our chickens going over for a visit.....the bunnies were pretty much torturing his dogs. Come to find out, he trains his dogs for hunting with rabbits and it was getting a little difficult to reason with two Labradors and let them know that these were not the rabbits they have been trained to chase and catch. So when our bunnies would hang out in his driveway and the dogs were starting to shred the screens in his windows trying to get out.....he thought it might be time to let us know.
So getting back to the baby bunnies.....My first words were "Oh my God!".....Josh's first words were "How did this happen??" I didn't have time to give Josh the lowdown on reproduction...so I just gave him that look instead. You know....the one-eyebrow-raised and chin-tucked-back look.
Josh then said....."Oh man,I think they are all dead....feel them, they are frozen" And sure enough, they all were like ice cubes. As I started picking them up one by one, I couldn't figure out why Snowball didn't tend to them and/or prepare a nest.
As I was picking one up I noticed that one moved it's mouth a bit.....I screamed, "This one is still alive!". So I scooped them all up and tucked them in the pockets of my sweatshirt and ran back in the house.
I yelled down to Nev to wake up and that I needed help. She came out all groggy.....her hair looked like a rat's nest and her eyes were barely open. I told her to get the heat lamp quick....she took one look at these little creatures that resembled naked mole rats and dashed off to find the lamp. As she is scrambling she is asking what they were. I told her that Snowball had these babies and we are trying to save them. She brings over the lamp, her eyes are now as big as saucers and says...."But I thought that Snowball was a boy".
"Yeah, you and me both" I replied.
We started our best efforts at bunny CPR and got three to start breathing on their own. The other three didn't stand a chance. After about 5 minutes, one of the three just couldn't keep up with breathing and passed as well.
So we had two alive. Now we had to figure out how to keep them alive. Baby bunnies do not thrive well without their mom. Even though we researched and found out that mama bunnies are not like chickens and sit on their young.....they make a nest, leave the babies to keep each other warm and only feed them once a day. Sounds like someone should call the Dept. for Child Protection if you ask me.
We grabbed one of our many critter cages and made the most comfy warm nest we could and laid them in it. Of course I had nothing in the house to feed them.....I had since tossed the kitten replacement formula from our last rescue mission with those baby rats. (which coincidentally was around Nov. 1st of last year.......hmmmmmmm)
We got them settled in and needed to finish getting ready for church. Nev wanted to bring them but I told her that it was way too cold outside for them to stay in the car. Apparently she wanted to bring them into church and her class.......possibly an altar call for healing? I convinced her that God would keep an eye on them when we were gone and that after church we would take a trip to Tractor Supply (my version of a being a kid in a toy store) and grab some formula for them. Heck, if the mom only feeds them once a day as newborns.....surely they can wait a few hours.
We came back from church and got them started on their milk. I have to tell you that my little girl is like Elly May Clampett from the Beverly Hillbillies. Seriously.....you'll never see her out in the yard without a chicken tucked under her arm or some critter following her around. She is just a natural at taking care of animals and they sense it.
She jumped right into heating up the milk and feeding them with a syringe. Then she tossed a few hand towels in the dryer to warm them up and then wrapped them with their full bellies. It was looking pretty good for these two little guys. (or gals....like I have any clue!)
She did the night-time feeding and tucked them into bed that night.
When I woke up Monday morning....I went to check on them. I saw one out of the blanket nest and it was on it's back. I picked it up and it was ice cold. I tried to rub it to see if I could give it a little "heart jump start" but it remain lifeless. Unfortunately, it must have wandered out and couldn't find it's way back to the other one and got too cold. The other little one was curled up nice and warm, thankfully!
I had to break the news to Nev when she woke up. Another thing I have to tell you about Nev is that growing up on a little farm teaches more than responsibility for children. It also teaches some hard lessons about life (and the circle of it). I am also thankful that she doesn't equate death with saying goodbye forever. She always talks of seeing all her pets/friends in Heaven and how they are happy and healthy there.
But this time, she had this confused look....she said "I don't get it. Before I went to bed, I prayed to God. I thanked Him for sending us these bunnies. I told Him that I understood that some had to go right back to Heaven to be with Him.....and I prayed that He would keep the two we had safe and healthy. Why would He do this? Maybe He wasn't listening to me."
I tried to explain....as best as I could.....that even when we pray for certain things, sometimes God has different plans. It doesn't mean that He is not listening or does not want us to be happy. We just have to trust that He has a plan and purpose for everything, even when we don't understand and/or are disappointed.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. ~Isaiah 55:8
Of course....this convicted me. Sometimes...well OK...MOST of the time....my prayers can be like "prescription" prayers where I act as if God is going to "fill it" exactly as it is ordered. The true test is still believing, praying and trusting in Him even when He doesn't "fill" those prayers.
My heart leaped when Nev passed this test. After I explained it all, as best as I could, she sat there for a minute, holding our last little bunny in her hand. She held it close to her own nose and stared at it's little face......"Well I guess God wants it to be just me and you, little guy.....let's go have some breakfast"
I pray that I may be more like Nev......accepting God's will for me and my life, no matter if the circumstances are not always what I want/pray for them to be. Give me that child-like faith that releases me from the bondage of doubt and disappointment.
I will leave you with this prayer/poem I found. It was written by Claudia Minden Weisz (a mom of a Rett Syndrome child)
And God Said No
He said it was not for Him to take away, but for me to give up.
I asked God to make my handicapped child whole. And God said "No".
He said her spirit was whole, her body was only temporary.
I asked God to grant me patience. And God said "No".
He said patience is a by-product of tribulations. It isn't granted, it is earned.
I asked God to give me happiness. And God said "No".
He said He gives me blessings, happiness is up to me.
I asked God to spare me pain. And God said "No".
He said suffering draws me apart from worldly cares and brings me closer to Him.
I asked God to make my spirit grow. And God said "No".
He said I must grow on my own. But He will prune me to make me fruitful.
I asked for all things that I might enjoy life. And God said "No".
He said He will give me life, that I may enjoy all things.
I ask God to help me love others, as much as he loves me.
And God said "Ah, finally you have the idea!"
Peace and love~
***EDITED TO ADD: At 7:30 tonight we discovered that our last little bunny passed away and is joining it's siblings in Heaven. Nev is heartbroken as you can imagine. We just said a prayer as she held him crying about how we did our best to keep it alive, but it just wasn't enough. I reminded her that God was very proud of her for the way she loves animals and always is there to care for them. If you have a moment.....please say a little prayer for Nev.