Monday, May 23, 2011

take the trash out

Morning lessons and housework complete, I head to the kitchen to prepare lunch.  There, across the kitchen floor to the trash that someone forgot to take out after breakfast marches a platoon of soldier ants.  They are staging just one more of a countless number of battles in this newest war to take over our home.

There's no time to engage them right now.  Mark will be home in just a few minutes, and there's a table to lay, and salad to make so that I can send him back to the office fed and ready for active service.

Once the meal is consumed and the dishes all washed, I stage my recognizance.  
I find that they are coming in at the window, trailing through the shelves, up the door frame, along the ceiling line, and back down to the trash.  Sigh.

ants on the shelf
 I've tried chemical warfare.  Before the fumes have died away, the ants are back again, coming from another direction, marching right over the dead bodies of their compatriots.
I've tried natural means; a paste of cinnamon mixed with baking soda and a bit of water is a good temporary deterrent.  But nothing seems to hold them back for long.


  They've found their way into our food - into containers I didn't think they could enter,
or into foods I didn't know they would want.
They've eaten their way into packages of...
Yeast.
Baking powder.
Uncooked Rice.
Raisins.
Cashews.
Crisco.
Oil.
ants in the bread

But they aren't content with food.  They've also eaten their way into
Balloons.
Lotion.
Bath towels.
T-shirts.
The couch.

 Then, on Mother's Day evening,
Michael told me that he had woken that morning to ants biting him in bed.
He hadn't told me before, because he
'...didn't want to ruin your Mother's Day.'

I went to his bedroom to check it out.  
Sure enough, there were a few ants on his sheet.
I stripped it off, and  to my shock, 
found his whole mattress covered in ants.
(No, Michael doesn't eat in his bedroom)
I took his pillowcase off, to find his pillow also swarming with them.
 Michael moved to the landing for a few nights while we set up traps to poison the ants.
They are gone now.

ants climbing down to the trash
Though the ants have sometimes been a temporary nuisance to us,
we've never yet experienced such an onslaught as we have over the course of the past two months.
And just when I thought they were finally gone,
since we haven't seen any in the house for several days,

I find that they are back again today.

These little pesky ants remind me of the more critical war I wage against my mortal enemies: the world, the flesh and the devil. There are times of peace, when all of life seems to be right; no conflict, no struggles, all joy and delight.  And then, without warning, the enemies of my soul are back with assault after assault, launching another attempt to drag me down, to render me useless in the kingdom of God.
And like these 6-legged foes, my mortal enemies are quick to converge when trash is left lying around in my life; the trash of selfish thoughts, pride, ungracious and unforgiving attitudes, worry and discontent.

Why can I not learn to take the trash out?!?

 I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 
Romans 7:19

But sweet words from the Word flood my heart, 
and give me courage to not give in or give up in this struggle with sin.


What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
Romans 8:31

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10

please pray with us that our war against these ants will soon be won;
but maybe more importantly, that God will use even this
to refine us in character!


2 comments:

Kay Heritage said...

Oh, what great real life illustration of our state. Thank you for your thought provoking words!

And I am going to send diatomaceous earth and peppermint oil to you, 'cause you're not the boss of me. So there. Couldn't hurt to try. I love you.

us5 said...

thank you, Kay. ♥ i think it might just be time to call the exterminator. ;)