Posts Tagged ‘housekeeping’

Fire ants and Texas turf are like pancakes and syrup—they stick together.

‘Specially in these times of drought. The ants do love a good drought and, this year, they have mounted a statewide siege. Texans have circled the wagons and fought back with enormous doses of Amdro and Triazicide.

But the ants continued their attacks. Undaunted. Unafraid. And unaffected.

Ants love our yard. You see, we’re on a hill, and while the ants are drawn to water, they don’t like to live in it. In the rare event it rains, the run-off drains into the neighbor’s yard and down the street. Those critters raced from other yards into ours to find the perfect spot for their tribe to squat and then settled into our hillside home on the range.

That’s how I found them—after a heavy rainstorm.

Ant condos. All over our front yard.

Skyscrapers from an ant’s point of view.

Two bags of Triazicide later, spread carefully over the ant mounds, I sighed, confident I had solved our ant problem.

That was Friday evening.

Saturday morning I opened the pantry to find millions and zillions of ants swarming in my pantry.

They had moved inside and the battle of cowboys and ants was on.

I grabbed a garbage can, a pair of rubber gloves, and a bottle of orange oil. Exposed to the light of morning those little suckers amped into a frenzy. Dowsing the front lines with a tidal wave of orange oil, I swiped everything from the shelf into the garbage can. Anything that survived the orange oil went into the sink for washing while the ants attached themselves to things they could cling to. Bottles, cans, and bags. And me.

To my horror, water didn’t wash fire ants off my skin. They have teeth akin to Jaws and once they bite, they hang on.

It was a long and messy battle, but victory went to the cowboys. There was orange oil on the shelves. Orange oil on the floor. And orange oil on me. But ant carcasses piled high in the citrus-smelling puddles.

My husband and I cleaned up the war zone, showered, and left for shopping and dinner. We returned home late in the afternoon to find survivor ants had joined forces with several other battalions and mounted a massive frontal attack—laundry room, fridge and all over and under the stove—with a rear guard assaulting the back entry hall.

For the next three days the battle raged. We cowboys fell into a military routine of attack, fight,  retreat, then do it all over again the next day. Different location, new bottle of orange oil, and a mounting casualty count. The enemy, however, had innumerable reserves.

By the third morning, I considered hiding in bed. But I knew they’d find me. Eventually. Might as well get up and fight this battle in the kitchen rather than risk a bedroom invasion.

Finally, the Calvary arrived, via the bug guy. He brought in the heavy artillery—tanks of concoctions mixed to annihilate this never-ending army of ants. And he was victorious.

While I set about reclaiming disputed territory, sorting-out and replacing objects in drawers, cabinets and closets, I’ve had to acknowledge my poor housekeeping habits. I realized that while I pounded the computer keyboard, I had postponed weekly cleaning chores, and chosen the urgent tasks over the important ones. And these troublesome little adversaries moved unnoticed into the cracks, crevices, and corners of our home’s foundation. Then they surfaced. Armed and ready to destroy.

During the events of this past week, my heart grew dry and parched, like the scorched Texas earth. Distracted by the invasion of ants, exhausted from necessary household upkeep, and weakened by wrong choices—I’ve struggled.

Our lives are full of distractions that sap our energy, interrupt our days, and turn our attention away from the maintenance our hearts and spirits require—time with God the Father. We must read His Word and listen for His Spirit’s voice in order to recognize and deal with the intrusions of the enemy of our soul before they become a full-scale assault.

It’s all about timely housekeeping.

Just like those ants, the enemy of our soul creeps into the chinks in our armor, and diverts our attention from our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. One small choice. One angry word. One single thought or action at a time. Suddenly we find ourselves in a battle, on the front lines, wondering how we got there.

Thank you Lord, that You understand the weakness of our humanity and are ready to hear our cries and restore our hearts. When we ask.

This morning I’m relieved I don’t have to face angry ants. Like spiritual battles, the ants will return and there will be other battles. But I pray this war has taught me lessons about regular cleaning habits, not only in my house, but in my heart as well.

What battles do you face that sneak in and rob your peace? What pulls your focus away from daily communication with your Father in Heaven? What steals the strength of your heart and the power from your spirit?

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