Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Flea Powder & Sin

Flea problem. Help! It's been 5 days. I have tried everything! And still each of my five furry feline friends have jumping, running, disease carrying biting insects running from my flea comb.

I am obsessed with figuring this out. I am a natural girl, though and I will not give in the chemical craze. And so, though this adventure becomes tricky. I realized today this flea eradication challenge is alot like life. How you ask? Allow me to explain.

I had bought a product a year ago called Only Natural Pet All-In-One Flea Remedy. Here's what sold me: 'Comprised of diatomaceous (dye-atom-ay’-shus) earth, or "DE," a mineral substance formed by the fossil remains of prehistoric algae, this powder is fine and smooth to the touch. While non-toxic to people and pets, at the microscopic level, it is razor-sharp and is lethal to insect pests like fleas and ticks, whose shells are cut as the powder covers their bodies. Fleas, along with their eggs and larvae, become dehydrated and die within hours when exposed to this powerful substance.' Sign me up!

And so, when my dog got fleas, I was ready. And it worked! I felt empowered, successful in saving the environment and confident in knowing I would be prepared to battle and win the war on fleas!

And so, I became a spokesman in my world. I scooped powder out into small ziplocs and gave to friends planning to go camping with their pets, I gave it to my animal rescue friends for the kitten rescues. I sang its praises!

I wrote a glowing customer review on the website I bought it.

Then came the test. All five of my very long haired cats got a flea infestation. I was stumped. For my old dog had gone on to Heaven. She could not have brought fleas in from outside. And my cats are all indoor cats. They lounge on the screened in patio which is screened in with very fine mesh. I have not one stitch of carpet in my home. Impossible!!!

Then I realized how it had happened. Our town has suddenly had a rise in the stray cat population. A Momma cat had been seeking shelter in our backyard under a coconut palm. Her kitten litters had been pouncing through our yard for almost a year. And so I realized in friendly kitten fashion, they must have come close to the screen fleas and all. And fleas jump. I didn't know that.

Without dwelling any longer in "How could this have happened?" I got busy. I powdered each cat - head and all. I forgot to powder their tails so I went back and did that. Then I waited the prescribed 3 days. I went back in with a flea comb. I saw dead flea bodies and I cheered.

But not so fast! A small rice-shaped black body of armor rapidly disappeared into thick fur and was gone. No! No! No! I had just washed every linen, towel in the house. I had powdered everything and vaccumed, then thrown countless vaccum bags away. How could they have survived? But sure enough, as I examined all five cats, each had a few live fleas who ran for their lives through powdery fur.

And so, I doubted that this powder was working. I went to the pet store and contemplated giving in and getting those dreaded chemicals. However, I did not give in. I bought a natural herb infused spray despite the advice of the clerk. She shook her head as she told me, "I know it is expensive and you don't like chemicals, but Advantage is the only thing that will work."

I sprayed the kitten. I waited a bit for it to dry. I had a new plan. I would spray the head and then let the fleas run to the body. I would powder deeper to the skin so they would have to walk on it! I had renewed hope despite the fact that I got bit by a flea. It didn't hurt, but it bothered me because as I saw the little blood spot I realized it was my blood. And I felt bad because I knew that the cats were experiencing many bites all day long. Not good.

Only two of the cats continued to have fleas for 3 days after the new plan. I resolved to comb each of them every day with a flea comb. I realized my plan would work if I dedicated myself to it. I had to surrender to the fact that it would not be easy but it would work if I stuck with it. For a week I combed each cat for 10 minutes in the morning. I enjoyed this time with them. I enjoyed this part of my day. They were so appreciative. They surrendered to me. And the best part of all is that no more fleas!! And the flea dirt was gone as well. I was relieved. This battle finally was won.

Or so I thought. See, I did not pay attention to the directions regarding flea eggs. I missed the part that said, "In general the difficulty and length of time required to win a battle against a flea infestation depends on the severity of the problem and the environment in which you live. Please keep in mind that fleas can remain in a dormant state for extensive periods of time, and natural flea remedies may need to be re-applied at regular intervals through the flea season to eliminate fleas completely". I had not realized that there would be a 'second wave' of flea infestation!

I had become eco-smart but direction following stupid. What to do?? I began the process all over again and waited. I hung on the promise that in a few weeks the problem would be behind me and I would manage better because now I was an informed flea battling warrior.

Yes, today I can proudly stand by the Customer Review I posted oh so long ago. I read many of the reviews recently and was struck by the diversity of responses. I wondered why it worked for some and not for others. And I knew. It was the committment and follow through that allowed for flea infestation victory or defeat. I realized the people that had reported success with the natural flea powder admitted that it was not easy, but it was effective. Those who had failed with the product complained about minor issues such as the way it smelled, how long it took to get rid of the fleas or how it made a "billowing powder dust" in the air when they applied it.

I pondered this experienced. I realized how much this adventure mirrored life. I know it sounds crazy, but sin in our lives can be represented by a flea. Hear me out...

Sin enters our lives. Often in seemingly impenetrable ways. I had not thought a flea could fit through the fine mesh in my screening, but it must have. We go to Church, we pray and read our Bible every day. How could I crave a glass of wine when it's only lunchtime on a Monday? How did that cuss word slip out of my mouth when that guy cut me off on the highway? Why did those images cause me to fantasize about that guy? After all I am married!!

Sin enters our lives because we live in a fallen world. We would have to live in a bubble to think that sin will not enter our lives. But, like my experience with the fleas, we must be ready. Like the directions on the container, we must get a bath - a spiritual bath. Romans 10:9-11. For without the cleansing of the Lord, we will not be prepared for the next step. The powder needs a clean surface on which to fall. And in the same way, the Word (the Bible) needs a pure heart on which to land and stick.

Then just like the flea powder - we must wait. Sometimes there is nothing to do but wait in life. We trust and hope in the Lord. We wait for Him to give us direction, for healing, for guidance and help. But we know things are going to change - for the better. So we go about our day.

Like the flea powder, we may hear other reviews. These reviews come from "well meaning friends". They are not happy with the way you are acting. They give you one star because you are not serving them but instead you begin serving God. They don't want to be in your life anymore so they go somewhere else (the pet store) and choose a different version (an unhealthy chemical solution) because you are just not "working for them" anymore.

You stick to God's plan though it is anything but natural. You have the assurance based on what you know is right. And you don't give up. You know brighter days - flealess days are ahead. Oh - sin will still come a knocking. And in the same way, fleas lay eggs and eggs make fleas and they are out there. But if the fleas enter our house, they will die. Because we have a choice about what we allow. We do not have to be bit by the pests of this world and as a result fear we will be a victim of pestilence.

And we do not have to experience this life alone. I remember I got bit as I helped my cats. But getting bit allowed me to have more determination to help my cats get better. Likewise, Satan attempts to bite a believer who is helping another brother or sister in Christ. We must remember it is only a tiny representation of large scale suffering that we have been spared.

For Hell was not made for man. And Hell is very real if you do not Romans 10:9-11. The Bible says there will be gnashing of teeth. God gave me a visual once of what true horror could be in Hell. Imagine watching your body rot and your skull begins to have holes in it. Ever seen a maggot? It's really gross. And so imagine maggots and different worms (ie Fear Factor style) going in and out of your eye sockets - slowly. I know I know, you would not be able to see them because you no longer have eyes? Well I believe Satan being the evil cruel creature he is - would let you still see and feel though your body is decaying - for he wants you to smell dying, burning flesh because he wants you to remember that your flesh caused you to be there in the first place. So naturally Satan will use the flesh for every torture imaginable.

I mention the maggots and worms because of the distaste I had when I washed my kitten with the flea infestation. The fleas came out of every orifice. They were in a frenzied state as the water and shampoo hit every area of the cat's body. I wanted to stop what I was doing because I was horrified that those fleas were on his body to begin with. They just did not belong on that beautiful animal. And sin is the same. But Adam and Eve chose to disobey and so we have sin.

But we do not have to remain in sin. And so today I share my flea experience in sober reflection. It really is not so much about these horrid invaders, but it is about something much more important. It is about eternity. It is about your salvation.

Be cleansed. Be loved. Be protected today. Pray with me in the privacy of your home, in the library where you are reading this. Let's pray.

"Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank you for giving us these journeys through life. Thank you for the pests that give us pause. We want so badly to come to you and be cleansed. To be made new and experience everything You created us to be.

Lord, right now I confess I do not know you as a friend, Savior, Lord. Help me to understand who You are. And how I can get closer to You. I confess I am a sinner. I am sorry for making a mess of my life. I surrender to you today. I acknowledge that Jesus came to the earth and died on a Cross for my life. He rose into Heaven. And He loves me. Thank you for saving me and for giving me Eternal life today. I love You Lord. Amen."

If you prayed that prayer today, tell me about it! Email me at info@matesaver.com. I would love to hear from you.

Oh and if you would like natural flea remedy advice, don't ask me - read the directions - all of them - before you get started! Only Natural Pet All-In-One Flea Remedy.
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