“Chasing White Mice”. I think that sounds like a good title for my first book. Or maybe, “Icebox Mayhem”. Or wait!! Maybe, “Bats, Bats, Everywhere.”
Are you wondering to yourself, “what in the world is this lady talking about?!?” Well, let me explain myself….
On July 3 – yes, the day before a major holiday – our 2.5 year old refrigerator decided to go on the fritz and let us know that at some point in the last few weeks it had been dying a slow death from a lightning bolt surge that apparently targeted it’s life over all other major appliances in our house (silver lining moment – take pause; saying Selah would probably be a little sacrilegious, but I do need a moment to process)! (And no, before you ask, we did NOT buy the extended warranty, and yes, we know we should have.) Anyway, we went to find a new fridge because everyone knows that it’s almost as much to repair an appliance then it is to just go get a new one! Sadly, it was going to be an entire month before any store from here to kingdom come would have something available to deliver. Yep, the effects of factories shutting down during covid are starting to ripple. So, we did what we thought was the next best thing – we found a little used appliance store and bought a “hold over” garage fridge until we could either get a new one for the kitchen or have the fried one repaired. That same day, I saw an appliance repair guy at my neighbor’s house and asked him to come over. He ordered a new circuit board, came in a week later, didn’t work! That’s another story in and of itself. While all of that is going on, I notice that the used fridge in the garage doesn’t feel too cold in the refrigerator section, but the freezer was really cold. It DOES have a 120 day warranty so another guy came out, both defroster control units are bad! Yeah. I could go into more detail, but you get the picture, right!?! Oh, did I mention we have four kids – 3 teenage boys and a daughter!?! You don’t go without a fridge with 6 adult humans in the house!!!! It doesn’t end there, people!
Rewind about a month – we could rewind a few months and start with Covid but that’s a null issue at this house right now. About a month ago, after telling my husband that I kept hearing little scratchy sounds, like the ones I heard when squirrels decided to take up residence in our gutters, my kids came running into the house, “Mom, Mom!! There are bats flying out of our roof, there’s a ton of them!!” So I run outside, mumbling to myself, “I knew it, I told him there was something living in our gutters, but he didn’t listen and now corona is living and breeding in my gutters!!!” Sure enough, BATS! OH. MY. WORD. What!?! Again, I could go on about this story, but you get the picture, right!?! It doesn’t end there either!!
Now let’s get back to the refrigerators where the saga continues….
Used garage fridge was fixed yesterday – Holla! As Mark went out to the garage to make sure all was well after the repair guy left, he is startled when he notices a white mouse with beady little red eyes sitting at the door as calm as could be just hanging out. Said mouse doesn’t scurry away quickly, he just waddles off behind the bins and waits for us to look for him, I guess? We set up a pet-friendly trap. Nothing happened over a 24 hour period. Nice! But weird! Was this mouse just a figment of Mark’s imagination (I did not see the mouse)? Did it have some weird spiritual significance? We asked ourselves those questions, because who finds a white mouse hanging out in their garage – FYI, we don’t live in a rural area, we live in a normal neighborhood, we don’t see a lot of mice. During the day. In our garage. Today we gave up being concerned about the mouse and were going about our business when low and behold, I catch a glimpse of that furry white pest having a good time running around my neighbor’s backyard! I quickly yelled for Mark, he grabbed the trap, and we went on a mouse hunting adventure! Let me just tell you now, IT WAS NOT A MOUSE! IT WAS A FREAKING RAT!!!!! Yes, it was a rat!! Definitely a rat! We almost had him, but he escaped into the neighbor’s banana tree. Eventually we had several neighbors running around the yards like a bunch of crazy idiots trying to catch this rat! Oh what a sight to behold! But, we got that rat! It took four grown adults, but we got that rat! Apparently, according to my friends on the city Facebook page, these white rats have been seen in the adjoining neighborhood also. Not cool. To set your mind at ease if you are an animal lover, the white rat was gently re-homed to the woods far away from our house.
As you can tell, there has been a LOT of BRAVING GRACE in the day to day around our house! Along with all of that, our teenagers had the disappointment of having their annual youth camp cancelled this week. It was a wise decision for leadership to make that move, but still a major blow. (I didn’t even mention the giant gecko who decided to have babies in my bathroom – yes, it’s like stinkin’ animal kingdom over here! We have sent three of them outside and today I can gladly announce, mom gecko joined them after she jumped on my shoulder as I ran out the house to help catch the mouse/rat! Honestly, you can’t make this stuff up!) I hope you are keeping up with the madness!
THIS. This is what it looks like sometimes to BRAVE GRACE! It is in the summation of the day to day hassles, heartbreaks, and heaviness, that life can start to feel overwhelming. Sure, it’s funny to tell these stories – seriously, I have been biding my time before sharing publicly because it’s straight ridiculous, and everyone can laugh at straight ridiculous! But the reality is, the day to day can get really old, really quick. Frankly, these moments have created financial burden, cost us time, they have caused damage to our home; all of these things have been extremely frustrating to deal with, even in the midst of the shear hilarity! Really, who does this happen to? Wait, wait, I can’t go there!
Do you ever feel that way? Do you ever wonder, “Who does this happen to?” There are days and weeks and months, and even years, heck decades, that people go through where the ridiculous doesn’t seem to end. One more pop up out of the waves for a quick breath, and maybe the next one will take me close enough to shore to rest. You. Are. Not. Alone. These things do happen to the rest of us. It might not be rats, or bats, or lightning strikes, or leaping lizards, or the death of a loved one, or a diagnosis, or a teenage heartbreak. But all of those things are happening to people all around us.
To live through the day-to-day without becoming completely overcome by bitterness & anger, we have to live BRAVING GRACE. We have to be willing to believe God is for us, that He does not leave us nor forsake us. We have to believe that God’s word will not return to Him void, and He will accomplish what He started in us – even amid the ridiculous. In all reality, that is where grace is braved the most. The apostle Paul walked into the most ridiculous of ridiculous situations and sang the shackles off of prisoners, smacked a ship into the shore, and from everything we know, surrendered his life in order to BRAVE GRACE! When we focus on the eternal, and strive less to protect ourselves from the temporary, we are BRAVING GRACE. It doesn’t mean we don’t feel the moments deeply. It doesn’t mean we ignore what’s happening. There is a song called, “Man of Your Word,” by Maverick City Music. One of the lines says, “you are present in every step; you are patient in every heartbreak.” That’s the sweetest picture of the grace God has for us. He isn’t glibly telling us to get over our daily frustrations; He tells us to remember He is right there in them with us. The grace He extended on the cross doesn’t end at a prayer of salvation. It takes up permanent residence in our hearts – but unlike those bats in my gutters, He never leaves. Unlike that stupid white rat, He doesn’t need to be re-homed because my heart is His home. And absolutely unlike the cheap excuse for major appliances, He doesn’t break and fall apart needing to be replaced. He takes my brokenness, and my moments of falling apart to gently remind me of His grace – His unfailing grace.
Go Brave Grace my friends! Today is ending and tomorrow we are promised new mercies!