It’s Thanksgiving week! I’d planned to share in this week’s devotion around the topic of thankfulness. And, I am thankful, now more than ever, for A LOT of things - like my relationship with God, my son, my family, the students and youth leaders with whom I get to share in ministry, my church, my health (after being so sick last week and a scare of a staph infection with Blaine this week), new friendships, and so much more. But, over the past five days, I’ve been attacked by lizards! So, that is what I am sharing about on this Thanksgiving week. Read on ….
I don’t really like lizards. Even when I was a little girl, I just wasn’t interested, like some of my friends, in the game of trying to pull the lizard’s tail off. When I see a lizard, quite frankly, it frightens me/gives me the hebejebees and I just want to remove myself from its presence. I don’t know why this is. I know in my head (and from my bachelor’s degree in Biology) that lizards are relatively harmless; at least here in South Carolina. But I just don’t like lizards (or mice or squirrels or …. well … any rodents)
So, you can imagine my dismay when (lizard number one and I) faced off early last week in my kitchen. Let’s call him Charley. So, when I saw Charley, every fiber in my body tensed up and I found myself praying that he go out the door and not up the stairs or anywhere else in the house. I stood paralyzed …. what to do? I got the bright idea to slowly move past Charley toward the laundry room, get the fly swatter, and get him outside. He climbed right on and I thought I was home free. But then, something spooked him and he jumped. Fearing he was going to jump on me, I screamed and dropped the fly swatter and ran. Once I gained my composure, I managed to get him back on the fly swatter, out the door, and I chunked him over the fence (sorry little guy). Done.
The next day, there was a second lizard in the kitchen. Let’s call this one Bob. Bob’s tail had been ripped off and was just beginning to regenerate; so I felt a little sorry for him. Consequently, I saved him from certain death / attack of my dog and went for the fly swatter again. He hopped right on and out the door I sent him. But, before I could chunk him over the fence to be his buddy (Charley), he jumped off the fly swatter and scrambled under the back deck . Done?
Yesterday afternoon I was doing some work in the office before senior high youth group. I was making copies and gathering supplies for different events this week. Busy and then boom! There he sat, startling me, on top of the computer monitor in the front office. About that time, several of the senior highs arrived and they scooped him up (yes, in their hands) and placed him out in the grass beside the office. I’ll affectionately remember this lizard as Gus. Done?
Meet Michelle. I met her, this morning, as I walked in to my kitchen. Again, catching me off guard, this lizard was on the baby gate that I use to block off the laundry room. I went to move the baby gate and hello …. paralyzed, again, I went for the fly swatter. But Michelle, had other plans. She was a fighter! She wasn’t having anything to do with the fly swatter and being moved out of my house, back to her natural habitat. I tried and I tried but Michelle kept jumping and running and moving to new parts of the baby gate. Finally, I took a deep breath and picked up the baby gate and slowly moved it outside. As soon as I laid the gate down, off Michelle jumped and scurried under the back deck.
I wondered what is going on. Why are there are there so many lizards out of their natural habitat? Is it birthing time for lizards or something? So, I googled “why are there lizards in my house” and “lizards in South Carolina” and “lizards.” And, I learned some things I didn’t know and one thing in particular that can relate to our Christian lives.
Apparently, the lizards are coming inside because it is getting colder outside. I’ve never had a lizard issue in my house before, so I’m not completely sure I buy this as the only reason. Nonetheless, Charley, Bob, Gus, and Michelle came inside seeking comfort (warmth and food). This is much like our relationship with God, right? We come to the Holy One in search of comfort, love, and peace. For example, when times get hard (i.e. cold weather for the lizard), we tend to move closer to God in prayer. The challenge is to remember God's presence in our lives more than during just the rough times; to be caught off guard by the movement of God in our lives, daily!
Another interesting fact about the lizard has to do with their tails. A lizard’s tail helps it in balance and movement. As I could tell from my struggles with Gus (balancing on top of the computer monitor) and Michelle (moving quickly through the tines of the baby gate), balance is very important for a lizard when trying to escape and “enemy.” Further, the tail of a lizard is where fat is stored and thus energy comes from when needed. So, losing a tail could become a real problem for a lizard.
Finally, a most interesting surprise about the lizard’s tail! When it is bumped or pulled off by the “enemy,” it will wriggle around, confusing the “enemy,” and the lizard can get away safely. And, most lizards can regenerate their tails. I think this is a great lesson for us to take in relation to our Christian journey and the enemy (a.k.a. Satan/sin). When we are faced with “attack,” God equips us and gives us the tools for a great escape! As long as we are active in claiming our relationship with God for ourselves, God will “regenerate” our abilities to escape the enemy.
I don’t like lizards. But, I am thankful for Charley, Bob, Gus, and Michelle (the lizards I have encountered this week) and the theological example that lizards bring to the table this Thanksgiving. Pun intended!