Monday, October 11, 2010

Of Mice and (Wo)Men

I have a problem. Okay, I have lots of problems, but this is a particularly troublesome one. I hate to admit it. It is a problem we have had in the past. Every time we conquer it, I pray that it won't come back. But it has. With a vengeance.

We have mice. I don't know if you have ever struggled with this particular problem, but we have. More times than I care to count. I am becoming something of an expert, actually. The first year we lived in this house was when it all started. We had a particularly cold fall and "they" moved in first thing. They have no concept of personal space. I vividly remember putting Josie on the sofa after she woke up first thing in the morning. She was not quite 2 at the time. She snuggled and watched some television and then wandered upstairs. I went to straighten the sofa pillows and lo and behold, curled up under the one Josie had been laying on- was a sleeping little mouse! On my sofa! Under my daughter! Asleep! I caught that little guy in a cup- how else do you remove a sleeping mouse? And "disposed" of him.

After we caught nine mice I finally had someone come out and set traps and then spray insulate everything. Guess what? We did not catch one mouse in the professionals traps- not even the outside ones. However, we did not see any more mice after that.

Fast forward to last year. We saw a single mouse at the beginning of winter and after pulling out the whole arsenal (snap, glue AND bait traps) we caught three and that was the end of that. We didn't see anymore. I left the traps behind the stove and fridge and didn't think too much of it.

Then, this summer, I started smelling a funny odor. I looked and looked and did all kinds of things. However, the smell did not dissipate. I finally decided to pull out the stove to see if some food had fallen in between the counter and the stove and was rotting. Ummm, it wasn't food. Trying cleaning THAT off the floor! I set all the traps again and didn't catch another one. I have no idea how long the renegade had been there but we didn't see any more.

Until Wednesday. I was sitting in the living room floor when I saw something run from near the front door into the coat closet. I squealed, a very unusual reaction for me. I am not afraid of mice. I think they are kind of cute- but NOT in my house. I worry about the diseases they can carry, and I don't want them to bite the kids. Also, they leave their disgusting waste wherever they please. Anyway, I yelled because it surprised me. We pulled everything out of the closet and Joel finally was able to smash the little booger with a shoe. We immediately went to set up the two traps we had- still behind the stove and fridge. We discovered we had caught another one behind the stove. So if you are keeping count, that's 2.

We caught another one behind the stove on Friday. On Saturday, Joel went to bed before I did. As I was sitting on the sofa, I saw something move by our bookcase. I knew instantly what it was. I yelled for Joel and another one went by way of the shoe. We are up to three now!

On Saturday we purchased an additional 4 traps. That may not sound like a ton, but in the past we have never used more than three. I have only ever seen them in our kitchen and living room/dining room. Also, we have a very inquisitive son, so we can really only set them where he can't reach them. There are not too many places to do that. Anyway, again, I am sitting on the sofa. And I hear a rattling sound. I keep hearing it, and I think it is Carson. Then I realize he is sitting on the sofa next to me. Josie is sitting on the floor, so it isn't her, either.

I realized it was coming from the dining room. I went over to investigate, fairly certain I would find another furry "friend". I armed myself with the trusty shoe- were you aware that is an excellent rodent weapon? I started moving things. Then I saw a very sad sight: a little mouse pulling a trap along behind him. It had caught his foot and he was very definitely not dead. He had dragged the trap all the way from behind the fridge into the dining room. I took mercy on him and put him out of his misery. That puts us up to 4.

Then as I was resetting and moving the traps I found another on the trap behind the stove (in our house that is their favorite spot).That makes 5. In four days. Yuck! Now please don't think that we are filthy. Mice are often attracted to dirty houses because of the availability of food, but that is not the case in our house. We live in a 6 plex and most of our neighbors have dogs. Mice naturally avoid those homes. We also have a large field that backs the highway directly behind our backyard. So, when mice start to look for warmer homes in the winter, ours is the first one they reach. The pest control guy that came actually said he was surprised we didn't have more!

Anyway, we have not had any more mice-yet. It is a problem that clearly requires constant vigilance. In that way, it reminds me of those sneaky temptations we all face. It really is a great analogy. Every person faces temptations- even believers. We have "clean" hearts, but we still have to keep an eye out for pests. We are not immune based on our righteousness in Christ. But we don't have to succumb. If we take every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5) we can be successful in keeping the pests from overtaking our lives. That means being watchful, and not leaving our traps unattended! I think some of a believer's best "traps" are: daily quiet time, surrounding yourself with people who hold you accountable, filling your thoughts with good things (Philippians 4:8) and prayer. These things show us what we personally should be looking out for.

Temptations, like mice, will make their home anywhere they can fit their ugly heads in. And that is only 1/4 of an inch for mice- I think it is less for temptations...

"Then after desire (temptation) has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is is full-grown, gives birth to death." James 1:15 (NIV)

Pretty scary, huh? If I leave the mice be, "because they are really not hurting anything" I will be sorry. Mice can reproduce 8-10 times A YEAR! With 5-10 mice in each litter: 8x5=40, conservatively, or at the extreme, 10x10=100. Yikes! And that doesn't even include the babies having babies, and on and on. Quickly mice, left unattended, would take over my home. With their diseases, and lack of concern for using proper bathroom facilities. And so it is with temptation. Give into it and you will be sorry. Leave it unattended, it will fester, grow and reproduce. Leaving behind sorry trails of waste, and taking over before you know it.

It is easy to set my traps and think I have done my job. But that isn't all. I have to make sure my doors stay shut (not let temptation in), keep checking my traps (make sure that I am doing what I should to kill the temptations I have) and sometimes I have to hire a professional! I must maintain my traps at all times- I think with the mice that has been the hardest lesson to learn. I want to believe each time that they are eradicated once and for all. But with mice and temptation, that is never the case. I have to keep my house clean, and limit the things the pests feed on. Only with constant watchfulness can I keep each problem from taking over my life.

"No temptation has seized you, except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so you can stand up under it." 1 Corinthians 10:13

He will not make me get out. He will provide a way out. I have to take it. It is my choice. But I hate mice-they look cute, but can bring death- and I want to feel that way about temptation, too. They are not safe, or friendly. They only want to provide for themselves, they do not have my best interests at heart. But God is faithful...

1 comment:

  1. Great blog...mice do freak me out (I'm a "typical girl" about rodents, insects, & reptiles). I totally flail my arms & scream...once I refused to sleep in my own bedroom because there was a noticably LARGE spider on my bed. I get that creepy crawly feeling and then I have to run away. I need that same attitude about sin, great reminder! Thanks for that.



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