TITLE: Look Up
By Lynette Carpenter
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Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; You have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places… I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I have set the Lord always before me. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body will rest secure… You fill me with joy in Your presence. Psalm 16:5-11.
The weekend forecast looked wonderful, so Tim and I saw it as the perfect opportunity to take our three children and newly acquired camper for a little getaway. The entire weekend was wonderful, the children played together like the “angel-children” you read about in a Lori Wick book and Tim and I were enjoying time spent together. Our final evening there, I sat down at the picnic table to enjoy our cooked-over-an-open-fire supper. Looking around me I concluded that this was the picture of perfection. Beautiful weather, beautiful children, wonderful husband, wonderful food, peace and quiet all around.
“Wow, this was such a great idea to come here!” I thought as I jumped up to get some graham crackers for Baby Corey. Swinging the camper door open, I stepped inside – just in time to see a little black mouse run from under the master bed into the bathroom. Graham crackers completely forgotten, I threw my arms into the air, let out a yell loud enough to wake the dead, and half-ran half-stumbled back out of the camper. Outside again, I let out a few more disgusted grunts, and shook myself as if to ensure the mouse hadn’t attached itself to my body.
Tim looked up from where he was eating his supper with the children, and calmly asked, “Mouse?”
“YES!” I moaned. He slowly stood up, gazed longingly at his uneaten supper, and then set out to wage war with our unwelcome guest. Unable to find the nasty little creature, Tim finally came back out, giving me a sympathetic smile, and returned to his hamburger.
“Well, did you get it?” I asked hopefully.
“Nope! But I think I know how he got in!” he replied. Unsure if this new-found knowledge was intended to console me, I walked over to my bike. Kicking at the tire, I began contemplating how I was going to convince both my husband AND my children that going home TONIGHT was sounding better and better.
By this point, I was pretty sure that Tim had picked up on the fact that I didn’t like mice. The children, though, seemed to think this was all a big joke. The only comfort I found in this, was that, obviously, having their mother stomping around, shaking like a wet dog and making low guttural noises each time she pictured the mouse running from under her bed, was, blessedly, unusual.
Convinced that I could somehow find a way to go home, I spent the rest of the evening looking for it.
“First things first,” I thought, as I turned to clear the supper dishes from the picnic table. Tossing the paper plates and napkins into the trash, I contemplated how I would be able to get the ketchup, mustard, and other perishable items into the camper refrigerator.
Eyeing my dearly beloved playing ball with our eldest son, Tyler, I called Tim over to where I stood, a safe two feet from the camper door, and sweetly asked if he would mind changing Corey’s diaper for me.
”Oh, and while you’re in there,” I said while hurriedly tossing the condiments in after him, “could you please put these away?” He patiently put the items in their rightful places for me, while I congratulated myself on the bravery I had shown in actually STANDING by the door to the camper!
The sun sank much too quickly that night, and it wasn’t long until the children were tucked into their beds.
“Tim, are you sure we should sleep in there tonight?” I asked worriedly.
“Lynette,” he said, “we are going to be fine!” I began to recite every account I had ever heard of people who had experienced mice running around in their beds at night. I soon realized that the stories were not scaring Tim into desiring the safety of our home, and began the much too short trek to the camper.
“I’ll have you know, Tim,” I said, “I am only staying here because I don’t want to be a disappointment to you and the children, but if that mouse gets in our bed, I am gone!”
Tim seemed to think that was funny, which did little to comfort me. Feeling like a lamb being led to the slaughter house, I opened the door to the camper and peeked inside. Seeing nothing but sleeping children, I pounded the floor a little, convinced that this act alone would send any mice that dared enter my camper, off into the night never to return. Cautiously stepping inside, I made a beeline for our bed, and jumped up on it quickly, lest any rodent attach itself to my toes. Quickly patting the comforter several times, I finally felt confident enough, to pull the coverlet back and examine the sheets. Breathing a sigh of relief at the lack of mouse dirt in the bed, I whispered a prayer for safety, and lay down.
What followed was one of the longest nights of my life. As I lay there in the darkness, I tried and tried… and tried to fall asleep, but each time I heard a noise, I shot straight up in bed. Tim graciously pulled himself out of bed several times to check for the mouse, and by 2:30 in the morning was likely thinking “home” wouldn’t have been such a bad idea after all. Rolling over in the bed, I suddenly felt a bump on my leg, and a cold fear crashed over me. In that instant, I simply wished to faint! Then just as quickly, I realized it was only Tim moving in his sleep. Breathing a sigh of relief, I began to pray.
“Oh, Jesus, I don’t even know how to pray. I just want to go home. Please let that mouse run outside, and then maybe you could uhmm… you could have a snake or an owl out there that is looking for some supper. Please don’t let me see it again! Please… please!”
Then Jesus began to speak to my heart, and He showed me that all the blessings I had noticed earlier in the day, had been immediately forgotten at the sight of one little rodent. As soon as I had seen the mouse, my whole outlook had changed! Beautiful weather!? So what! There was a mouse in my camper! Beautiful children!? So what! There was a mouse in my camper! Wonderful husband!? So what! There was a mouse in my camper!
Wonderful food!? Well, suddenly I had lost my appetite!
God used that mouse to teach me a valuable lesson that night. I learned that so many times big or small “mice” come into our lives. It can be a mouse called fear, worry, anger, bitterness, or jealousy. The list could go on and on.
Take worry, for instance. Suppose you worry that your child is going to get hurt in some way, so you spend your days and nights (ouch!) worrying about all the possible ways that your child could get hurt. Should you really be focusing on that?
Then there’s the mouse called anger! How about the night your husband said he would take you to Red Lobster, but then something came up at work and he got home too late to go (which of course put you in the kitchen making supper at 8:00 that night). Forgetting the conversation earlier that day with your sister about how “I married such a wonderful man who is so kind and thoughtful for taking me out for supper”, instead all you see is a late husband, dirty dishes, the yard he hasn’t mowed yet, and the pile of garbage that needs to be taken out. The more you think about it, the more faults you find in your husband. Suddenly the joy you were feeling earlier that day turns to anger, and your eyes are busy looking for that “mouse” to cross your path again.
God gives us all different lives, different “mice” to deal with. I found it so interesting that in the same barn where we store our camper, there sits a huge motor home. This motor home has EVERYTHING – leather seats, full-size shower, washer and dryer (yes, you read that right!), etc. I used to look at the massive RV and think I could quite happily go camping in that! (I’m not really into “roughin’ it!) Then one day, the owners came and pulled it out of storage. To their disappointment, they realized that mice had gotten into the motor home and made quite a mess in it.
“Funny,” I thought, “Goes to show that anybody can get mice in their campers.” It’s so easy to think someone else’s life is wonderful, but they could be hiding a lot of “mice problems”.
How many times do I take my eyes off God and focus on the things around me. How many times do I focus on what this person is doing… or saying… or wearing?! How often am I running around complaining about my sister-in-the-Lord? Peter began to sink when he took his eyes off the Lord while walking on the water, and I find in my own life that I start to sink when I take my eyes off the Lord as well. It gets so easy to descend into the pit of worry, despair, gossip, or ungratefulness (which is right where Satan wants us), but the Lord has called us to something higher.
Rather than wasting your time looking for “mice” to cross your path, LOOK UP!
Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face!
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.
Looking up doesn’t mean that the mice are going to go away! (Oh, if only it would!) But it changes your focus.
Does this mean when we go camping again in a couple weeks that I won’t be worried about mice? How I wish I could say “YES”! But, I am all too human. I hope, though, that I will remember to not let the mouse problem ruin my weekend, and will use the time to enjoy my family instead.
I never saw the mouse again that weekend. I am grateful to say that I survived the night and made it safely home! The camper was unpacked and moved back out to its’ parking spot in the shed. But we still have some work to do. I seem to remember Tim saying he knows how the mouse got in.
©Lynette Carpenter 2006
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