Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Death Toll

The death toll at my house keeps rising along with my anxiety. In the past couple of weeks we have killed 8 mice! This is beyond disgusting to me. I feel as if I'm a prisoner in my own home. Luckily they have all been found in the basement. There is no evidence that they have joined us upstairs where we do our living.


Still... 8 mice! I don't think in my entire life that has ever happened. I remember killing one or two each winter, but never 8. This is our first time to kill mice in our current home. We've lived here for almost 7 years, and have been extraordinarily blessed to have never shared a home with mice.

I'm ready to move.

In fact I've already looked at a few prospective homes... online. I cannot stand the thought of sharing my house. The basement is where we keep our washer and dryer. We have a very sophisticated way of depositing our clothes downstairs. We open the door to the basement, and give it a good throw. The clothes will fall in heap at the bottom of the stairs, and sometimes when little arms are throwing, they make it down one maybe two steps.

Laundry has turned into my worst nightmare. I will accidentally step on the corner of a towel, and jump over a foot in the air. I'm terrified the mice will run out of my laundry pile. Every time a shirt is inside out, I brace myself for a nibble on my fingers as I pull the sleeve right-side out. Only in the past week have I been brave enough to undertake my laundry alone. Last week Titus had to make a quick sweep of the rooms before I could descend the stairway. This week, I have my 4 year old son going down clearing the way. He's excited at the prospect of "rat friends". He loves Remy on Ratatouille.

Life has become practically unbearable. I know in my head my fears are a bit irrational, but tell that to my heart that won't stop pounding out of my chest. I can't cope with it. This morning we found our most recent two and I broke down crying.

I want my freedom back. I'm tired of piles of things sitting by the door waiting for a man to take them downstairs.

When we bought our home 7 years ago, it was the most we could afford. Over the years my husband has done very well with his job, and money has increased. I was hoping this was God saying, "Go ahead. Dream for a new home. It's time." My husband wasn't very convinced at the timing of my dreams. He found it very coincidental that it came about in the same weeks we were experiencing mice issues.

Isn't it so sad how our mind plays tricks on us? We don't even understand our feelings. As soon as he said it, I realized he was exactly right. I experienced my first very unwelcome visitor in our home and I was ready to move on. That happens in life too often. We give up when we should persevere. It becomes uncomfortable so we look for a new comfort place.

As I was searching the homes for sale, I was reminded of my deal with God. The past month we've been discussing contentment. When I say we, I mean me and Jesus. I made an agreement with Him two weeks ago. Our movies have really been starting to pile up. I've said it before, movies are my comfort. Some people eat, some people shop, some people sleep; I buy movies. If I'm having the worst day, or the best ever day, I will purchase a new movie. It's really become an addiction. We now own over 400 movies, and that's not including our TV series. (If you ever want to borrow a movie, don't hesitate to ask.)

God's been speaking to me about my movies. There is nothing wrong with purchasing a movie; it's all about the motive. What void do I sometimes attempt to fill? I started to turn them into a collection, an obsession. It wasn't even about watching them anymore, it was about owning them. I wanted to see them sit on my pretty shelves taking up room. In agreement with God, I'm practicing movie abstinence. I'm not allowed to buy any movies. We have at least 20 movies we've purchased over the past months and sadly year that we haven't even seen.

The whole point is contentment. What void am I trying to fill? Why do I obsess and collect them? As soon as all the new movies are watched, I will be allowed to purchase again within reason. I first will have to ask myself, why am I buying this? This all may sound really ridiculous to you. Everyone has their hang up. Movies are mine. It's only been two weeks, and already I have stopped myself several times.

I think the mice have been playing into my goal too. It's not just about movies here and being content with the ones we've already chosen. It's a lifestyle. I didn't see it until this morning. Discontentment can be a disease that spreads. I want to stop it before it has room to grow. I need to stop looking at my house and the mice as my enemy.

It wasn't until we were on the drive to school, taking our turns praying, that I realized not once did I ever bring my problem before God. I have complained and whined, cried and moaned over these mice, but I never asked for help. It seemed to me a very practical problem that we would need to solve ourselves. You put out traps, you kill mice. You don't need to bother God with something so simple, do you?

When the mice begin to take away from my relationship with God, you bet I need to bother Him about it. Why didn't I just go there in the first place? Before I get to the grumbling and complaining part, why don't I ask for help? If God knows how many hairs are on my head, I have no doubt that He knows how many mice are in my basement.

Not only does He know how many there are, He knows how long they've been living there. Just because it came to our attention a few weeks ago, doesn't mean it wasn't going on for much longer. Sometimes we need to ask God to clean out our basements before we are required to. It's so much easier to be proactive about things. If we were always looking in the dark corners, and clearing away the cobwebs we wouldn't be caught off guard. We would be ready to stand on our own two feet at all times.

"Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." -Ephesians 6: 10-12

I have found scripture to be the best way to fight the enemy. Whether it's an enemy we can see, or one that's just in our mind. Quote verses to yourself. It gets rid of all fear and doubt, discouragement, and discontentment. My favorite verse right now for my life has been, "For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of POWER, LOVE, and SELF-DISCIPLINE." -2 Timothy 1:7

Whether it's mice problems, or purchasing too many movies, I know I need God. I can't do it on my own. When I try, I fail horribly. It's only with the power of God that I can be an overcomer. I cannot let these mice define me. God has given me a spirit of power and self-discipline. When I'm starting to feel the need for flight I can remind myself that God cares about my problems. Where does the fear and discontentment come from? I know for a fact it is not God. Once you know and recognize your enemy it's so much easier to fight. In fact, it seems once you've identified it, the battle is already half way over.

God has given me a spirit of power and self-discipline.
I will overcome!

*UPDATE* The mice are all gone! We ended up killing 11 of them before we realized we were tempting them with rice. For Zechariah's birthday party this year I made rice bean bags. I kept them downstairs in the basement in the play room. Once we got rid of the bean bags, we got rid of the mice. We never had another one again, EVER.  I will never make bean bags with rice! 

2 comments:

  1. I know how you feel. We hadn't had a mouse in our home since we moved in 4 years ago. Growing up, we would always find and kill one or two the first really cold week of the season, but it wasn't a big deal. This last October we had LOTS of mice all over our house. I was used to the idea of them finding food in the kitchen, but we saw one in Miriam's room, and one night I stood in horror in the middle of our bedroom as I had startled 2 and watched them run under our bed. That same day I had seen one in our pantry- on the TOP shelf! I spent the night in tears on our couch, with Miriam sleeping on my chest. It took us a month before we stopped seeing them and catching them. Every night was like spiritual warfare as I prayed that I'd be able to sleep in my own bed! It's neat to read about how you are also praying about your mice problem. I'll be praying for you, too!

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    1. Thanks for your prayers! I REALLY appreciate it. I was hoping to tell you that all our mice trouble was over. Unfortunately we just caught mouse number 11 this morning. We're catching small babies now. I pray this is the last one.

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