The Invasion of the Bees

The Invasion of the Bees

I tend to be a rather serious person. I research all the things before making significant decisions. I take the simple moments of life and evaluate them under the lens of Biblical significance; wondering how I can learn and grow in the midst of whatever might be happening in any given moment. I overthink every possible thing, including, but not limited to: packing, conversations, social media interactions, clothing, dinner menus, and what book to read next.

It can be quite exhausting to live this way.

Which is why, in today’s blog post, I bring you a light-hearted story. Because sometimes we need a break from the serious things in life. I’m taking a break by writing it, and I hope you get to take a break by reading it.

Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

I had decided to do a little task to serve my husband (this task, in no way, doubled as an opportunity to count more steps for my fitbit). On that fateful September day, in an act of complete humility and servitude, I decided to take the kitchen trash and actually place it in the outdoor trash can. Usually, I just leave these things by the back door.

Upon exiting our home and heading down the steep flight of stairs on our back deck, I experienced a sudden, and extraordinarily painful, sensation on my right arm. I dropped the trash and screamed as though my arm had been completely severed. 

My mind caught up to the moment and I realized I had endured a bee sting. Thank goodness those things die after stinging someone. I looked down to evaluate the damage, just to realize it was still there, wiggling it’s butt into my arm in order to insert as much venom as possible and cause my utter demise. There was nothing to do but scream again, in an equally dramatic fashion, while flailing my arms around in attempts to extract the bee.

My method worked, the bee disappeared, and I cannot remember whether or not I finished taking out the trash. When I made it back inside the house, my first job was to let my children know that they were safe and mom had not gone insane. “A bee stung me, and I was so surprised!” I shakily explained. They laughed because mommy is so silly. I ran upstairs to change my pants.

A few minutes, clean pants, and calm children later, I looked out the window to see if I could figure out why on earth that bee was so angry with me. What I saw was terrifying. Hundreds of yellow jackets were flying to and fro a nest in (yes, IN) the side of our house, right next to that back door. I decided to only use the front door henceforth, or at least, until the first freeze killed those stinging pests.

We coincided peacefully for a time. Myself and the bees, I mean. Them flying. Me avoiding. Until, Monday of last week, it reached a point when I could ignore their presence no longer. They had begun entering our home uninvited.

I texted my husband my concerns and proceeded to research. Remember how I overthink all the things? The following paragraph is an attempt to show my thought process upon completion of said research:

“I am terrified of these things and they have to go but I don’t want to waste money on an exterminator because it’s so late in the fall and they will die when the weather gets cold enough and that should be really soon. The only reason they are here now is because the weather has been warm. We don’t need to call an exterminator. But the internet says not to treat this ourselves because yellow jackets are extra mean in the fall and if we spray a nest in the side of our house they will just find another way out and that means inside of our home. But the exterminator is expensive. We have to get an exterminator. The internet says when yellow jackets sting they DON’T DIE. I’m so freaked out right now. Time to call Eric.”

My phone call to my husband likely sounded similar to how that paragraph reads. 

His thoughts, “she’s overreacting.”
My thoughts, “I’m overreacting.”
Decision: self-treat the yellow jacket situation.

Friends, should you ever find yourself in a situation where yellow jackets have built a nest inside the walls of your home, do not, I repeat, do not treat it yourself.

He sprayed them Tuesday night, but ran out of spray before they all died. I was suppose to pick up more spray on my way home from a girls’ night, but neglected to do so. This was my biggest mistake.

Wednesday morning, they were EVERYWHERE.

Now, I feel it is also quite important to note that my brother was getting married that weekend. In Kansas. And we were scheduled to take our two children on their first flight at 5:30 Thursday morning. I had quite a to-do list to accomplish, and as the bees had already been messing with my productivity that week, my anxiety was mounting. It was all I could do to remain calm.

My husband killed no less than 20 bees during his quiet time Wednesday morning. When he left for work, I counted 10 on the windows by our kitchen table. I knew of a handful upstairs in our room. I found a few on the floor. I went to feed the dog, and there were several crawling on the food container and in his bowl. I could hear them buzzing in the light fixture above the table. 

With or without yellow jackets, it was imperative I pack my bags for our flight to Kansas. I was certain I could handle this. Give them their space and they would give me mine. I pulled out my suitcase from the small storage closet in our room, only to discover a yellow jacket was sitting on top of it. Two more flew from within the closet.

At this moment I completely lost control. I called my husband and the first words out of my mouth were, “I’m trying not to hyperventilate.” I broke down in tears. I legitimately could not handle the thought of any more yellow jackets. They had invaded my home and who knew where I would find the next one? 

When he found space to speak, hubby instructed me to leave the house. “But I have all the packing!” I sobbed. 

“Leave the house.”
“I will find a solution.”
“Just leave the house.”
“Leave the house.”

I told the girls we were going to go eat lunch at Chick-Fil-A. 

I dropped the dog off at the boarding place (because what if he tried to eat a yellow jacket and got stung in the mouth?!?), and settled in to an unknown amount of time at the CFA play area.

It wasn’t that long before I received a text from my knight-in-shining-armor, “The bees are all dead. Inside and outside.”

Hallelujah!!! Those words were music to my ears. I could breathe again! I gathered up the girls so we could head home and finish packing.

He was right, those bees were dead! But slowly, as the day continued, more would find their way into our home. I have no idea how they did it. I have even less of an idea how I slept that night.

Actually, come to think of it, I didn’t sleep. Yellow jackets, and dreams about missing your flight with a 3am wake up will do that to you.

Thankfully, due to poison overtaking their bodies, there was no yellow jacket activity when we left our house the next morning. (How we managed to get all four of us packed and dressed, with all of our stuff, at that hour in the morning, is beyond me at this point. Especially in light of the dramatics the previous day.)

Our trip was a great one. The girls were fabulous on their first flights, performed their flower girl duties flawlessly, and we were all able to celebrate my brother’s union with his bride, my new sister.

As for the yellow jackets? When we got back home Sunday evening, there were a few dead ones lying on the floor. I’ve seen a few here and there around windows, but they all end up dead at some point. When it gets cold enough, we will plug the entrance hole to their nest so they cannot return to that area next year.

And should I witness any yellow jackets near my house in the future, you better believe I’m calling an exterminator.

He Gave Us a Sword

Image by MollyBrett Photography

A year ago, I was a mess.

I’ve talked about this a bit in some previous posts, so I won’t go into much detail now. The truth is, it’s hard for me to believe the contrast between this year and last.

Depression to JOY.
Anxiety to CONFIDENCE.
Defeat to VICTORY.
Anger to PEACE.
Loneliness to CONNECTEDNESS.

There wasn’t one moment that changed things, but rather a collection of moments and revelations. I’ve talked about some of it here, but I want to share a specific moment with you today.

This one happened in January during the 21 days of prayer and fasting at my church. During these 21 days there was an opportunity to get together with other believers at 6am Monday-Friday for a time of worship and prayer. A season for strengthening. I don’t often get the chance to attend because I have little ones sleeping in their beds, and my husband usually has responsibilities early in the morning. He does work there after all.

But I got to go one lovely Friday morning, and in a brief instant the Lord encouraged me through a simple phrase and an image.

“I have a sword…He gave us a sword.”

In my image I saw myself cowering. My surroundings were hazy and unclear. I knew there was a battle going on, but I was clearly losing; just barely managing to miss the arrows flying toward me. There was a sense of hopelessness.

But then, it started to clear, and I came to realize I wasn’t empty-handed. I had a weapon. A Sword.

I was armed, and with that realization came a strength I had not previously known. The fog continued to clear and I saw I wasn’t by myself after all. The body of Christ was standing together, proclaiming the coming victory, wielding their Swords with power. We were going to FIGHT TOGETHER.

Friends, I share this with you because as we move forward in Christ, the enemy has to step back. The more we recognize our identity in Him and utilize the tools He has bestowed upon us, the more powerful we become.

Are you living in defeat? There is more than what you can see in this moment. Call your enemy out for what he really is and grasp onto the promises your KING has for you.

Here are a few tools you can use to sharpen your sword:

Depression: “In my distress I prayed to the Lord, and the Lord answered me and SET ME FREE.” Psalm 118:5

Anxiety: “Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come BOLDLY and CONFIDENTLY into God’s presence.” Ephesians 3:12

Defeat: “The Lord is my strength and my song; he has given me VICTORY. This is my God, and I will praise him – my father’s God, and I will exalt him!” Exodus 15:2

Anger: “You will keep in PERFECT PEACE all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” Isaiah 26:3

Loneliness: “I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such PERFECT UNITY that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.” A prayer of Jesus in John 17:22-23

The art of fighting with a sword requires practice and care. Our sword is our Bible. To use it well we must read it, memorize it, study it, and dwell on it throughout the day. Left unattended, it will rust and become useless. Don’t neglect your Sword.

Brandish your weapon. Victory is ours for the taking.