After Family Home Evening last Monday, Lillian noticed Tommy wasn't in his cage. We started looking everywhere for him. At first, we thought that Harmony had probably gotten him out without us noticing and that he'd be in the house somewhere. As we were looking, however, Allison remembered that Eliza had taken him outside earlier that day -- without asking, and without my knowing. They'd left him in the backyard. Tommy is small, not even the size of my fist, and ill-equipped to handle the colder weather coming in a few weeks.
We searched our yard and our neighbors' yards with no luck. We said several prayers. Sarah's was especially heartfelt. "Heavenly Father, we've lost Tommy. We love him so so SO much. He's been part of our family for years and years and years! Please help us find him." Eliza also said a lovely prayer. Despite that, we did not find Tommy that night or the next day. We continued to pray and search and I told the kids several times that I didn't know where Tommy was, but that Heavenly Father did and that He could help us find him. As time passed, I knew the likelihood of finding Tommy was slim and I started to wonder if I would have to explain to the kids that sometimes Heavenly Father doesn't answer prayers the way we want him to, but both DH and I felt that we needed to continue to exercise faith.
On Wednesday morning, I was walking back from the park (Eliza, uncharacteristically, had come and told me, "Mommy, I'm tired. Let's go home." after just a half hour there). When I crossed our driveway, there was Tommy, heading across the driveway towards the flowerbeds. If I had come just a few minutes later, he would have been safely hidden, but instead, I saw him and brought him inside, none the worse for wear. Everyone was thrilled with our miracle and thankful to Heavenly Father.
It was especially meaningful to me to find Tommy. Heavenly Father has said, "no," "not yet," and "be patient" to me about many things in the past year (for example, my prayers that Katie will sleep better), and it was a wonderful reminder that sometimes God answers me with a resounding, "YES!"