God is using cockroaches to grow my character

If my patronus is a dog, my boggart is a cockroach.

If you’ve read me before, you know that I am a friggin’ roach magnet. They’ve climbed up my sweatpants, into my staplers, up from my drains, etc. etc. etc. And when do they generally come out? When my Superman husband isn’t around to help. And what do I normally do when I see one of these god-awful creepy crawlers? Call my Gram, who lives 700+ miles away.

Now, it is kind of a hard-and-fast rule of being a military spouse: if it can happen, it will happen – when he’s not home. So, I should have expected it. But every time one of those creepy crawler demons comes shooting up from my drain, or out from under my LEGS – like it did last night – I flip the heck out.

So, last night, I’m minding my own business, about to play with my dog. Had just had a nice conversation with my Pops. When this dark thing just scurries out from under my legs. Thank GOD I didn’t feel it on my leg, because if I had, my scream may have been more of a bloody-murder, as opposed to the guttural Get-the-heck-away-from-me, scream that it actually was. Because I hate these things. I’m not a hateful person, and I don’t curse very often. Until there is a creepy crawler cockroach in my vicinity. Then my sanity is up for grabs and there’s no telling what the unfolding scene will be.

So, I scream. So loud the cockroach actually stopped at the same time as my dog froze. Like, what pissed her off, and what’s she gonna do about it?! I told the roach to stay, but he didn’t listen. By the time I got back there with my shoe, the dang thing had gone under the couch. I’m more than 7 months pregnant; I can’t be climbing all over to see where it went. I also can’t cast my Patronus charm. So, naturally, I threw my shoe at the couch, hoping it would scare the thing out from its cowardly hiding place. No such luck. So I cried. And cried. I now had to go to bed with this disgusting thing just in the abyss of my apartment, while I hoped it didn’t decide to crawl up into my bed and give me a nighttime surprise. That sounds dramatic, but if you’ve ever lived/been in the South, you know it can happen.

Did I walk around the rest of the night with my sneaker in my right hand, just in case? Sure did. Did I have my (13-lb) dog in my other arm, for “protection”? Sure did. Because these things scare me more than nuclear warfare. It’s been said that roaches survive nuclear warfare. What does that tell you?

So I go to sleep, with my door closed and the hallway light on – like a child – and wake up not 6 hours later to get ready for work. I tip-toe outside my room, just in case. Nothing. Great, maybe it went back into its crevice and took some of the poison I sprayed outside the apartment. And then took that poison to its family, and they are all gone. Forever.

Morning routine: take out Sam, get ready for work, bake breakfast casserole for Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast, take out Sam again, and then I think to myself, I wonder if Greg’s towel got wet this morning. It was hanging over the shower curtain when I took my shower, and I was conducting my own little experiment to see if it’d get wet based on its position over the curtain rod. I forgot to check earlier, so I’ll do it now before I forget again this afternoon. Navy blue towel. I pull back the shower curtain to check, and see something black in my right periphery. I think, Hm. Was that the towel? But a towel doesn’t give you a creepy-crawly feeling on your back. I shake, rattle, and roll, hoping it’s fallen off. I shake the clothes on the ground just in case I was imagining it on my person, but no such luck. I feel something again, so I whip off my shirt and as I do so, sure enough, a cockroach comes flying off the shirt and lands on the wall right next to my toilet tank. This time, no tears. Just a grunt, a loud “YOU STAY RIGHT THERE”, and I get the shoe (that I kept next to my bed all night – just in case). I come back, and the little meanie goes behind the toilet tank (still on the wall). So I slam the tank with my shoe and it comes back again, ready for the showdown. I (honest to God) say, “Let’s go. It’s on.” And I start swatting (and sweating). The dang thing doesn’t die! It just keeps missing my blows, until finally it’s flat on the floor and I crush it. Dead. Gone. Finite. I throw it in the trash, put my shirt back on, kiss my dog goodbye, and walk out the door feeling fairly accomplished for the day, and it’s only 7:30.

This all sounds very dramatic, but I assure you that I in the moment I am reacting to the pit in my stomach, anxiety in my bones, and overall sense of creepy crawler-ness that these critters give me. I despise their presence, there is no need for them. I am a clean person, there is no reason they should be invading my life. So here’s what I’ve determined:

God is moving me past every fear I have, in order to make room for something great. I want to show my daughter a strong, capable woman. I don’t want to show my daughter a woman afraid to take on something 1,000 times smaller than her. I want to show her even without a Superman man in the house, girls can still rock it. I am not a feminist, but I am of the opinion that girls – especially because they’re always encouraged to hide behind the strong boys – can be just as independent and fierce as the next guy. I can’t show her that if my insides are crowded with big and little fears that paralyze me when they arise.

Eight years ago when I saw my first cockroach, it happened to be a flying one (a Palmetto bug). I had to call a friend to come kill it for me (Greg wasn’t home, of course). I am more afraid of these dang roaches than I am of raising a daughter. My daughter is a gift from heaven; cockroaches are not.

But one day, I will come into contact with a cockroach and I won’t flinch. Well, that’s not likely. I won’t scream and cry like a toddler. And I will kill it without acting like it’s a noontime showdown in the Wild Wild West. God’s moving me there one little bit at a time, but at least He loves me enough to strengthen me in every little, creepy crawler way possible.


You tell me:

What is God using to strengthen you? Any fears he’s been trying to rid you of?

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