Yesterday morning my 14 year old son came down stairs visibly flustered. “There’s a tick stuck in me.” I squinted and strained my eyes to try and decipher what I was actually looking at. This was a speck, no bigger than a grain of sand or the tip of a pin; it could easily be mistaken for an ordinary skin mole or a fleck of dirt. After several minutes I concluded that this little dot was indeed a tick embedded in his shoulder.
Me. My kids. We have a history with ticks.
The ironic part of this episode was that just two days earlier I was speaking to a friend telling her that I felt so fortunate that I have never had to pull embedded ticks out of my children. “The Lord must know that I would not be able to handle it; He must know that I would get a little crazy.” Well, fast forward to today. One child, one embedded tick. Oh, the irony.
Lyme Disease has just become part of our lives. It’s what our family lives with. We’ve become careful and always take precautions. We have our little routine; we have a dress code when outdoors. We still camp; we still hike; we still live. We have our guard up, and in doing so, we have managed to remain tick free. We’ve protected ourselves and remained vigilant. But not this time.
I spent nearly an hour trying to gently remove that tick. Try as I may I could not extricate that little bugger from my son’s shoulder. Knowing when to stop, I called the doctor and asked them to make room on the schedule for us. They did. As we were driving to the office, my son confessed:
“Mom, I was rolling around in the grass yesterday. I was in shorts and a tank top. I didn’t change my clothes when I came in. I didn’t shower. I didn’t have you check me out.”
That was one of those situations as a parent where not much else needed to be said. He knew he had dropped the ball on this one. He had ignored everything that he knew he should do: dress appropriately, change immediately, shower, and get a tick check.
I know, I know. You’re probably thinking: “Relax, lady! The kid was just rolling in the grass.”
Well, we live in tick-central. Sometimes rolling in the grass is not so cut and dry. Knowing this, we keep up our guard and are diligent with what we know we should do. And, when we follow the “protocol”, we can not only have fun, and, yes, roll in the grass, but we can remain safe while doing it.
The problem occurs when we let our guard down, when we don’t do what we know we should.
It’s pretty easy to let our guard down in everyday life. How simple it is to sidestep doing what we know we should. We grow tired of the routine. We feel bogged down. We want to scream, “I just want to live without having to do this or that.” And then when something unfortunate happens, we want to kick ourselves because we dropped the ball.
Today’s little episode immediately took my mind to this verse:
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8
Have you ever watched one of those nature shows where they track a hunting lion. Hunting lions are rather patient. They wait for just the right time to pounce. They scope out their prey and observe. They watch for that one split second when their guard is let down, and then they seize the moment, and go in for the kill.
That’s kind of what happens when we let our guard down. It only takes a moment of weakness for things to go horribly wrong. It takes a tiny little crack in the door for someone to gain a foothold and bring the whole door down. Satan waits like that patient lion. He waits for just the right opportunity to bring us down. He waits for the moment of weakness. He waits for us to let down our guard, and then he latches on. That ultra, microscopic tick was the perfect picture of this.
As I walked outside with my husband this morning, I paused and stared.
“What are you looking at?”, he asked.
“The grass,” I answered. “Underneath that beautiful green blanket likely hides millions of ticks on our lawn, their lawn, that lawn…everyone’s lawn There’s really no way to avoid them. We’ve got to live with them and keep up our guard.”
While it’s too hot to require my kids to play outside in a full snowsuit, or wear a wet suit to romp around in the yard, or dress in a full coat of armor, I am reminded that there is one coat of armor I am told to dress in everyday. It is to protect me and remind me to be prepared and be on guard.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
So keep up your guard….and check your kids for ticks too!