Spider Slayer!

Sounds like a low-budget Hollywood flick, doesn’t it? It could be…someday. Maybe I’ll make a ton of money on it, too. Not too sure you could get me into one of those goofy strechy suits like other super heroes wear, though. Ew. Can you just imagine? A forty-something Midwestern housewife..never mind… Let’s not even let our minds go there!

For now, Spider Slayer is the title I earned while in Ohio doing a six-day tour of When’s God Gonna Show Up? Workshops. I had a free day and decided to take advantage of the freedom I had to roam the grounds behind the little cottage in which I was staying. The facility hosting my tour, Transfiguration Center, is located on 200 acres of gorgeous nature preserve, complete with prairie lands and wooded trails.

On this day, I decided to explore the prairie lands and then take to the woods. Of course, with woods you get spiders. Nice, big, brown, hairy spiders that like to build their webs right across the path. Okay. Their bodies were as big as dimes, but for me – a pathetic city girl – they were huge and scarey! The first one I ran into repulsed me (to put it mildly), so, I turned back (at advanced speed) and took a different fork in the path. Well, you might have already guessed that it wasn’t long before I was face to face with another of these giant yucky things.

I was about to turn back again when something – probably sheer stubbornness – took hold of me. Why should I let some stupid spider (or lots of them for that matter), deter me from enjoying this beautiful piece of land that God had created in his goodness? So, I walked a bit into the woods and found a nice, long, straight tree branch. I stripped off all of the small branches down the sides and tried it out for size. Perfect! It was jsut a bit taller than me and had just the right feel to it when I held it in my hand. Plus, it was dry and light enough to swing to and fro at shoulder height.

I took to the path again, this time waving my weapon back and forth in front of me so as to get the spiders before they got me. Truly, I was grateful that there was no one else around and, thanks be to God, no cameras either! I’m sure I looked absolutely ridiculous. Add to that the fact that I was dressed a bit too warmly for the weather, so I had rolled the legs of my jeans up to my knees like some 50s middle-schooler. My goodness. But I was walking through those woods, by golly, having the time of my life. With my trusty-musty anti-spider repulsion stick in hand, I could conquer any trail I wanted!

After a while, I got a little tired (my weapon was light, but not that light), so I sat down to rest on one of the benches along the trails. As I was sitting there, I sensed a creepy brown hairy thing next to me, in between the slats of the bench. Argh! That was it! I know they are God’s creatures, but I was not about to give up my hard-earned resting bench to a spider! As quickly and with as much mercy as I could muster, I took the skinny end of my weapon and smooshed the thing. I sat back down and went back to my quiet contemplation.

Then I started to chuckle. I almost never go anywhere without Mark and/or at least one of the kids. I usually depend on them to clear the path ahead for me or to do away with anything that scares me. None of them were with me on this trip – I had to go it alone. Without them around to pick on, I had to learn to be my own defender. Because I was taken out of my comfort zone, I was forced to dig deep down and find resources within myself that I didn’t know were there. It was just me and God out on that trail, and he wanted to show me that his grace is sufficient.

When I told Mark and John the story, they chuckled at the image in their heads of me walking along and swinging this log around in front of me. John’s the one who gave me the title “Spider Slayer”. At first, I thought it was funny, but now I’m starting to take it seriously because it’s a reminder to me of what God did for me in those woods.

I hope that someday you, too, will become a Spider Slayer or a Whatever Slayer depending on your own irrational fear and that you can be blessed by that complete assurance that God’s grace is sufficient.
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