I got a cat for Christmas. Well, more of a kitten, at about 10 weeks old. He was a survivor of a broken home. His dad was the neighborhood tom-cat; his mom was the homeless feral from the woods. Both of his siblings didn’t make it. But he did, thanks to his feisty personality and the kindness of a lady who gave him a bowl of milk, which led to dry food and litter-box training, and temporary shelter in a garage. That lady knew my mom, and that’s how he ended up under our Christmas tree with a bow around his neck.
You could say the rest is history, but it’s not exactly true. The little guy’s history seems to haunt him. I’ve taken him to two veterinarians, and neither were impressed. The vet tech traded the word “feisty” for “mean” by the time we were done, and the second vet got his glasses knocked off his face.
To be honest, after the first vet visit, I was ready to call it quits and give him away. I’ve never owned a cat, have a nice peaceful home-life and busy work-life, and had no desire to watch my apartment destroyed and live in fear of a half-feral cat attacking my ankles every day. But somewhere in my short season of indecision, this “feisty” kitten crawled up on my lap and started licking my face. He’d never done that before. Maybe there was something more to him than half-feral after all?
After doing a little more research, and a refusal from the one person we had thought of who might want a cat, I decided to keep him. My dad and I built a cat tree, and a few days later, I loaded him up and drove the 10 hours back home from my parents’ house.
Just before leaving, I renamed him. I’d named him “Ginger” for Christmas and his orange fur, but decided he needed a more personal name. So I named him “Precious.” Why? For a couple reasons.
First, it’s an inside family joke in honor of my grandma who passed away in 2018. She loved cats, and called everything and everyone “precious.” It keeps her fun and loving memory alive.
Second, because I want him to become what I have named him. The vet might be surprised when a cute kitten named Precious turns out to be a vicious killer, but I believe Precious will live up to his name one day. He already is, little by little, when the vet is not around at least. He still has his rough days, but even on those days, it’s good for me to call him Precious, to remind myself and him what he’s meant to be.
Do you know of anyone who needs a new name? Do you need a new name? Sometimes we name each other and ourselves names that reflect our past or our present mistakes or failures. But God has called us Precious, and that is who we are becoming by His power and grace, little by little. May He give us the ability to see ourselves and each other through His eyes of love—to see beyond our weaknesses to who we truly are, and all that we will become by His grace.
This devotional was written by Andrea Keele, Processing and Communications Coordinator for the Office of Volunteer Ministries at the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.