DOUG CREAMER COLUMN: Unwelcome critters

Published 3:40 pm Thursday, April 11, 2024

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We live at the end of a street next to acres of woods. It makes for a quiet location. We like the peacefulness and privacy that the woods provide. We also enjoy living in a good and safe community. One day I hope to have a nice path through the woods, something I can enjoy on a warm summer day.

Doug Creamer writes a religion column for the SNAP.

The woods provide lots of wildlife. We have a variety of birds that visit our feeders and bring us great joy. We also have deer who like to visit our yard when the vegetables are ready to harvest. We have seen possums both in the yard and trying to sneak in our garage. Naturally, we have an abundance of squirrels and rabbits.

Our unwelcome visitor came just after the holidays. You may remember that we had a mild winter and this particular visitor should have been hibernating. But the warm weather had brought this critter out and then it naturally wanted a warm place to spend the cold nights.

I have lived in this part of our county for over thirty years and have rarely smelled a skunk. This past winter we woke up at night with our eyes burning from the odor. One neighbor saw the skunk, another caught it on their doorbell camera. There was no mistaking we had one in the area.

One day I discovered dirt had been dug out from under the concrete slab that holds our heater. Then I discovered that our water pipe had been dug up where it enters our home. Something was wrong. We called a professional who confirmed our fears…a skunk decided we have a nice warm place to sleep.

I’ll spare you the details, but the professional took care of our problem…much to our relief. I was delighted when he gave us the all clear. I thought our critter woes were over. Then one day I was walking out the garage door and down our steps when I thought something ran past my feet.

It’s here that I will confess that I need to see my eye doctor. I haven’t been to the eye doctor in a few years and my vision is not what it used to be. I got a flashlight and inspected the area in question closely and discovered nothing out of the ordinary. Problem solved, until the next time I went out the door and I saw the same thing again. Something was definitely there.

I did a more thorough inspection of the area and found some sunflower seed shells. I looked further and discovered a sunflower I had saved had been nibbled on. I removed the food supply, thus ending the mouse adventures around my back door. I hope he moved out!

When I think about it, there are many unwelcome critters that come into our spiritual lives that we have to learn to fight and remove. The first to come to mind is temptation. We all face temptation because our enemy the devil knows just how to lure us away. Sometimes we just let him and we take the bait. We permit and perhaps even encourage temptation to live around us and fail to remove it. We are promised that there is no temptation that is too strong for us and that God promises a way of escape…but we have to choose it.

Another way we all struggle at times is being discouraged. It’s normal to be discouraged for various reasons. We need to learn to turn to the Lord and let others in to help lift us out and show us the light of hope. Other times we might find ourselves living with constant discouragement, overwhelming anxiety, or even depression. These mental skunks may require us to call a trusted friend, our pastor, our family doctor, or even a counselor to help us evict the skunk and to clean up our stinking thinking. God is with you and He will help you.

I want to encourage you to take care of you. Learn how to fight and resist temptation. Walk away from situations that lead you down the wrong path. Find brothers and sisters who will stand with you and encourage you in your battle. If you are feeling overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Finding the right person to listen and stand with you is critical to bring healing to your mind, body, and spirit. You are a precious son or daughter of God and He wants the best for you.

Contact Doug Creamer at PO Box 777, Faith, NC 28041 or