I did not expect to see the little gray critter inside when I opened up the door to my mailbox, but I think I startled him as much as he startled me. He jumped as high as he could go inside the small area and raced to the back of the box. I stood there, not quite believing that I had just seen something that big inside the box. Oh, earlier we'd had an ant problem and Joe had put a bait box inside that cleared up the ants marching one by one, hurrah, hurrah. Then there was a large spider that decided to take up residence inside the back right corner and I was going to let Joe know about that, but it kept slipping my mind as soon as I closed the door and walked away. The spider was not really bothering anyone, and besides, he was probably eating the ants that had tried to take over so he was earning his keep. Though, I could not help but think these bugs were just a bit too daring to try to make their permanent home right under a pest control guy's nose. That just isn't right!
So when I discovered the mouse I was in shock...and then when I investigated further, I found a second mouse hidden inside a little nest made of leaves and sticks, all safely tucked in the back right corner (the spider corner! Maybe they ate him???) Needless to say, I was unsure of what to do. I knew the mailman would be coming with our mail very soon and I did not want him to have a heart attack when he opened the door, and then blame it on us and cause us to get in trouble with the law for not tending to our mailbox like we should. I wrote a little note and put it on the door, warning the mailman to simply put our mail in the paper box below. It turned out I was still outside when he drove by and he came walking over to me and asked what the note was all about. I explained to him that we had two mice inside the box and I asked him if he had ever had that experience. He told me he had not. Of course we had to be the first! He gave me our mail and drove away, and I breathed a sigh of relief for having avoided a huge catastrophe. But I still had to get those cute little things out! I did not want to hurt them, and I certainly did not want Joe to use bait on them, so I decided I would shoo them out myself. I slowly opened the door and with a big winter glove on my hand I tried to scoop them out. The big fat one raced out and leaped onto the rocks below, disappearing into the woods. The second one took some prodding, but finally it decided to leave to, and then I simply took the nest out and that was that.
Well, they are harder to get rid of then I thought and they keep coming back. I had to clear them out a couple of times and each time they seem less and less scared of me. My boys think I am ridiculous and keep telling me that they will take care of them, but I don't want that. They aren't in my house and they aren't hurting anyone. I am not really sure how this whole event will eventually play out, but hoping for the best for Hunka Munka and Tom Thumb (read Beatrix Potter - The Tale of the Two Bad Mice).
The last few weeks I have been kind of feeling like those mice in my mailbox. I thought I was all settled, all hunkered down in my decisions in life, when suddenly a large hand comes into my safe place and starts shooing me out of my comfort zone, making me move from my safe, happy, warm place to the dark, cold, woods of the unknown. For the last three years I have taught kindergarten at the private school here at our church, and I have enjoyed watching the students learn how to read under my tutelage. Then halfway through this year I began feeling like it was time to stop teaching full time seeing that I had not wanted to make a lifelong career of it. I missed being a homemaker and keeping up with my shopping, meals, and laundry. I felt like I had too many burdens on my shoulders and I could not keep up with all that I had to do. I needed to prioritize. So I told the principal I was not going to teach full time this coming year. I could be a substitute, but I needed to work more with Joe in his business and put my home in order. Little did I know what the future held and that God was preparing me for a specific reason to not be in school; that something bigger was coming and I would be needed to help in another area. If I had known I might have just shut my mouth and stayed on at the school. God is again stretching me and calling me to come out of my comfort zone and all I want to do is leap away from His hand.
Pastor has been preaching on the 23rd chapter of Psalms lately and he has been spending one message on each verse...sometimes on just a phrase in a verse. It was the first verse that grabbed my attention and God showed me something that hit me hard. Pastor was expounding upon the idea that the Lord is our Shepherd. Yes, I have heard this chapter many times, and even know it by heart since I memorized it as a little girl. It is a chapter that is often recited and even the world is familiar with it. Pastor was talking about how the shepherd knows his sheep and they know his voice, and he knows each by name. Yet it was the reference to John 15:16 that made me stop and really think about what I was doing for Him.
"Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain; that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you."
Wow! God chose me! God chose the family I would grow up in, that my parents would be saved the year I was born. He had a reason to pick me in the midst of all the people around me. He knew something about me that I don't even know. He saw potential in me that even now I don't believe I have. He knew I would be needed to pray for my family for such a time as this. He wanted me to be His sheep. All I kept thinking was, "What am I doing with what He has given me?"
When my dad passed away, I felt a heavy burden to lift up my family in prayer, much more than I ever had. With that gap in the hedge open, I wanted to help fill it, to stretch my hands wider than ever to pull the edges of the hedge tightly together, to keep the devil from sneaking in. But I am afraid I have failed to do this, because I have been wondering if God even hears my prayers. If I am not bringing forth fruit that remains then the Father can't fulfill His promise to give what we ask. I am not worthy to be called...I just want to stay in my little nest in the corner of the mailbox and not move. I don't want to go out and have to make my way in that scary forest, with owls and hawks waiting to devour me. But that large hand, gentle, but firm, is pushing me out of my comfort zone and telling me to get out, to get serious, to fill that gap, and pray for my family...for my church...for my school...for my children...for my country...to be a prayer warrior; to get out there and fight the battles because with God's strength, I can do this. With His help I can live up to the potential that He saw in me when I was just a little girl. And may He make me worth of His calling.