Rick and the Battle of Rats

“What on earth was that?” I asked out loud as I sat upright in our loft bed, almost hitting my head on the ceiling.

We had our newborn baby daughter in the crib below us, and I knew that although she made all kinds of little infant sounds, she didn’t make one that sounded like a high pitched squeak!

Hubby, Rick, had heard it too and having worked on farm settings and familiar with all kinds of critters, he knew instantly that there were rats in our small apartment!

Having moved into tiny, seminary housing in downtown Dallas, it wasn’t uncommon to find ourselves beseiged by cockroaches but this rat visitation was a whole new level of horror as far as I was concerned.

Hadn’t I read that they would gnaw on babies toes, and run across people’s beds as well as carry all kinds of diseases?

Count me out, I am taking my baby and we are going to a hotel!

Knowing he would probably never get his wife back to the apartment again, Rick announced that he would take care of it right then and there.

I grabbed the baby and sheltered high up on our loft bed as the battle between Rick and the rats began.

First of all, hearing Rick banging about, the rats went scurrying under the kitchen stove where they decided it was safe to hunker down for the night.

Rick, determined that there were two of them, grabbed my butcher knife, turned the oven on high and prepared to “smoke” them out.

Smoke indeed! It didn’t take long before I began to smell singed hair and hear more of the squeaking sounds, although they were albeit a bit more frantic.

The battle of the rats was in full swing!

The first rat made a run for safety, away from the heat and was immediately stabbed.

The second one, waited a bit longer, weighing out his options; “let’s see…shall I burn at the stake or die by the sword?”

Risk taker that he was, he didn’t learn from his friends’ demise and making a run for it, the knife found him as well.

Rick, the warrior, proud of his victory, triumphantly marched into the bedroom to show his distressed damsel, his prized trophy, only to find I wanted nothing to do with the sight or smell of the tragic, dead rats!

Rick, the warrior, proudly walked into the bedroom with two singed smelling, dead rats to brag on his victory, only to find me loudly proclaiming that I did not want to see them, smell them or have anything to do with them!

Having conquered the enemy, his battle over, Rick decided to dispose of them in the alley dumpster behind our apartment complex.

He no sooner got there, opened the lid to toss them in, before a cat sprang out of the trash, grabbed the rats and had the finest cat BBQ in the neighborhood that night!

Rick came in and found the hole that they had entered through, which led to the run down apartments next door.

The hole was plugged, the baby put back to bed and the battle weary warrior and I went to sleep.

I must have eventually recovered from the trauma because my son and daughter-in-law currently have 4 domestic pet rats and somehow I haven’t disowned them yet!

Mom, it’s a Bear!!!

The summer between my 4th and 5th grade found our family taking a vacation to Ruidoso, New Mexico.

I had just survived finishing Girl Scout camp, and was looking forward to a week of fun in a mountain cabin with cousins, exploring the forests of New Mexico.

We had been there a couple of days when mom and Aunt Doris decided they wanted to venture down the mountain to find supplies for their painting projects.

Aunt Doris had a niece named Gala and because she was a couple of years older than me, we became fast friends.

With the men off fishing, we ladies headed to town and discovered there was a carnival with rides not far from the art shop that Aunt Doris and mom needed to visit.

Gala and I lobbied hard to be dropped off at the rides and much to our delight, it was agreed that we could stay there for an hour or two and then be picked up.

We rode rides until we were green in the face and then decided to chill on the Ferris wheel.

Nobody told us that a Ferris wheel is not the ride to take if one is feeling queasy.

Neither were we informed that old men who ran the rides, took great delight in torturing young ladies by gleefully sending them around and around at least 150 times, despite their pleas for him to let them off.

Needless to say, by the time the artists came back to retrieve us, we were sicker than dogs and in no shape to meander back up the mountain with it’s winding roads and high altitude.

However, we needed to get back and so up and around we went.

Arriving at the cabin, three of them went inside to fix lunch while I stayed on the porch, thinking that would be the best place to lose any contents that had jostled around in my gut since breakfast.

BLT’s must have been on the menu that day because the smell of bacon wafted through the kitchen, into the living room and out through the screen door leading to the porch, making me even more nauseous than I already was.

I don’t know at what point I looked up from bending over and saw a bear starting up the porch steps but here he came and there I went!

Dashing into the cabin, I began shrieking, “Mom, it’s a bear! Mom, it’s a bear!”

By then, I was no longer nauseous but pretty sure I was going to die of a heart attack at the tender age of 10.

Flinging myself on the bed, I could hear my mother yelling up after me, “did you shut the front door?!”

Of course I hadn’t! My life was at stake, a bear wanted to eat me and she is worried about the door?

Suffice it to say that mom met the bear at the screen as he raised up in an attempt to enter the cabin and get some of that bacon for himself!

Slamming the front door right in his face, halted his efforts and he sulked around on the porch trying this way and that to find another way to get in.

Eventually the bear wandered off, I recovered from the trauma and mom was the hero of the day.

Is it any wonder now, that I am always looking over my shoulder whenever I vacation in the mountains?

Corona Craziness

The Corona virus is among us and there are a myriad of emotions spreading along with it.

Some blow it off as nothing, others preparing as if it is the Bubonic plague.

Somewhere there is a middle ground of sanity that all of us must land at.

It should cost few lives, however for those who are elderly, have a compromised immune system or other health problems, we must take precautions to prevent them from getting something that for them, could be very serious.

All that being said, I want to pose a question to us.

What if this were truly a widespread plague that would take hundreds of thousands of lives?

Although we may not have that concern in this case, this could be a good test run in preparedness in case that scenario should ever come into play.

So, fear and anxiety can be real because we all know that bad things happen in an imperfect world!

Before Corona was overwhelming our news feeds, I have been working on a talk for a women’s retreat that may or may not be happening this next weekend.

With the theme being “having the eyes of our hearts enlightened” out of Ephesians 1:18, I have spent a lot of time in that book, looking at the context and blown away by the 3 truths that Paul is praying the Ephesians would be enlightened to:

 “For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.”

Breaking it down, this is Paul’s prayer for their enlightenment (and actually, ours as well!)

#1 – Paul prays that they would know the “hope” to which he has called them!

This “hope” is knowing that He is presently with us in this world where we do suffer the effects of a fallen nature. Evil, sickness and death may be ours for a season, but our hope is in a Savior who conquered it all, will get us through it here and promises us eternal life where we are free from sin within, sin without and all the effects of it when we enter into His glorious presence in heaven.

#2 – Paul prays that they would be ‘enlightened’ to understand what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints!

These are not saints such as the statues that grace so many cathedrals, but real living, breathing followers of Jesus Christ, which by the way, includes you and I, if indeed we are believers and follow Him! He wants us to grasp that we are joint heirs with Christ in eternal life. We will be resurrected from the dead, just as he was and will inherit heaven as our home. We will be his sons and daughters, adopted into His name and will share in the joys of heaven. Hope is our call, inheritance is our reward! He has deposited his Holy Spirit as a guarantee of this inheritance (Eph 1:11-14) and at salvation, our names are written in the “Lambs Book of Life!” (Luke 10:20, Daniel 12:1, Phil 4:3)

#3 –  Paul prays that they would be ‘enlightened’ to understand what is the immeasurable greatness of his power towards those who believe!!

Oh, heavens, I feel Paul is just getting started!  Paul knows that we as Christians will at times feel powerless, due to the great forces of darkness that seem to press in on us at all sides. We will withdraw from the battle, become numb to the pain and hunker down.

Dear Saints, this is not a time to withdraw! We have a hope, an inheritance and a resurrection power at work within us!

This power of Christ is described in detail in Colossians 1: 15-20:

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.”

Read it again…observe how many times you see the word “all”. Circle anything that says ‘above’, ‘over’, ‘everything’ etc.

If you don’t think you have gotten it yet, look back at Ephesians 1:19-23 and mark any of those similar words as well.

Read it again. And again. Memorize it. Seal it in your hearts. Be ‘enlightened’!

His name is truly above all other names!  If you caught how many times these passages declare the supremacy of Christ then you will understand that there is no one or no thing who is above him.

Not sickness, death, Satan and all his demons, any person whether powerful or not, any kingdom, anything….. period…..Amen and amen!

Corona Virus has nothing on Him! 

Or us! Why? Because this power over all is at work towards us who believe.

So, dear friends, you are covered.

Whether, Corona, cancer, whatever.

You have a hope, an inheritance and an all surpassing, powerful Savior at work within you.

Jesus told us that in this world, we would have trouble.

John 16:33:

 “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

If you are struggling with fear.  Pray for peace and that God will enlighten your heart to understand these powerful truths.

He has got this.

All of it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Power Made Perfect in Weakness

Most mornings when my husband and I wake up, we pray together about our day.

It was no different this past June except on this particular day, we especially prayed that God would direct our steps to be a blessing in some way to the people we would encounter that day.

After praying, I met my adult daughter downstairs for a morning walk and we headed towards our usual route. Something was different though in that for some reason, I suggested we take a different route and head towards the north end of town and loop around.

We hadn’t gotten very far before I heard moaning and wailing. I looked over at a yard and saw 3 men. One was lying on the ground all bloodied, another was standing and on his phone, while the 3rd one was lying on top of something in the yard.

I was on the phone with a friend while my daughter and I were walking and I told her something was wrong and I needed to go.

We got close enough to see that the man on the ground was badly wounded. I wasn’t sure if they all had a big fist fight or what had happened until I saw the man lying on what I thought was an object was actually a dog.

I realized then, that this was a serious dog attack.

I asked the man on the phone if he had called the police. Badly shaken, he replied that he had. The man lying on the dog said, “hurry, I can’t hold this dog back much longer!”

The thing that you may not know is that as a child, I was attacked by a dog once.

I am not one that will go near a dog if I feel he is a threat.

However, here is a man, terribly wounded with blood everywhere, writhing in pain and he needed help. The dog was being held inches away from him with the possibility of breaking loose.

I can say nothing except when you hear of God taking over, that is what happened.

I asked the man on the phone to run in the house and get me some rags.

He did and my daughter and I began to apply pressure to the man’s wounds.

The wounded man’s throat was badly bleeding and ripped open. I tried to put pressure on the main artery as my daughter put pressure on the other wounds. I have never seen such a traumatic injury.

I began praying that Jesus would help bring peace and calm in the midst of this trauma because I knew this man needed it, my daughter and I needed it and really everyone involved was going to have to recover from how horrific this whole situation was.

Soon, the police came and dealt with the dog, the E.M.T.’s came to give aid to the man and my daughter and I went on our way.

We went through the rest of our day trying to process what happened. My daughter had a good cry and I was too caught up in trying to figure out how I could even have stayed calm in that situation at all.

One of my favorite verses of scripture came to mind that day: “My grace is sufficient for you for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

It was obvious to me that Christ had given me the strength and courage to do something that I could not in and of myself do.

He enabled me to put my fear aside to help someone in need. He did the same for my daughter.

Later, when talking to the men who were involved, they thanked us for helping and all I could say was that we were there because God loved them and sent us to help. I had no other explanation.

That is the sort of God He is. He just shows up in the most amazing of ways!

Later that day, my husband had his own divine encounter when he was the first responder to an ATV accident on the road outside his window.

Who would have thought that our morning prayer time would have led to all of this?

We will never forget that day. I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night replaying in my mind what happened and ask again for God to just give me peace as I wrestle through the images and trauma. I know eventually, it will pass.

It helps a lot to know that in the worst of situations, God is there.

It is also a reminder to be careful what you pray for, God just might take you up on it!