Of Mice and Women

 I HATE MICE. Mice scurrying across the floor absolutely WIGS ME THE WIG OUT. I was a young Navy wife when I first got married, and we moved across country to California for our first duty assignment. We bought a brand new town house that was built on a strawberry field. So you know who immediately moved in? Strawberry field mice. NINE of them. It was horrible!

It was fine when my young Navy pilot was home to deal with it, but that only lasted for the first week, and then I was on my own…with the mice. I can’t stand looking at them, dead or alive, so I invented an INGENIOUS way of trapping them. Like, I should patent this.

I bought a handful of mousetraps and a package of paper lunch bags at the Navy Exchange. I set the traps with peanut butter and then slipped them into the back of an open lunch bag that I laid on the floor. The mouse would walk into the bag, and SNAP! I just had to pick up the bag and throw the whole thing away. INGENIOUS, right?

I bragged about this to my mother-in-law, who was a veteran Navy wife and not afraid of anything. She was appalled. “Betsy, you can just open up the trap over a trash can, dump out the mouse, and re-use the trap!” You see, Mom was a master at re-using things. She washed foil and zip lock bags all the time. She bought a box of zip lock bags once in the ‘60’s and used them for the rest of her life.

“Mom, I can’t stand looking at them! I know we’re only at Ensign pay, but I think we can afford to throw away a mouse trap that only costs $.54 at the Exchange!”

Psalm 94 (New International Version)

When I said, “My foot is slipping,”
    your unfailing love, Lord, supported me.
19 When anxiety was great within me,
    your consolation brought me joy.

Everybody has that one thing which provokes an almost irrational fear …sharks, airplanes, elevators, roller coasters, snakes, rush hour in Atlanta….and we also have rational fears. If you’ve been stalked, or abused, or threatened, it is rational to be afraid of that person. When we have to venture out into a big unknown, it is rational to experience anxiety. When your kid takes the car out for a solo drive for the first time, it is normal to worry.

But letting fear control your life is not rational. Jesus reminds us in the book of John that he came so that we might have “life abundant.” Abundance and fear cannot live in the same place.

Clearly there is a clinical aspect to anxiety that can be remedied with good therapy. But for the non-clinical situations that we face every day, it is good for us to take a deep breath and remember that anytime our foot slips, God’s unfailing love is there to support us. God’s consolation and presence can help us take our eyes off obsessing over our fears. God does not give us fear. He gives us love, power and SELF-CONTROL.

So whatever your “mouse” is, find a way around it. Remember scripture. Pray for calm. Take control. Center yourself in the knowledge that God is always with you: you shall not fear. His rod and his staff will comfort you. You’re never alone with God.

God is Always With You. Photo by Bev Mineo

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