Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Great Gerbil Escape

“Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD.”
Proverbs 16:20 NIV

I woke up at 2:40 am to a noise in my bedroom. One of our cats had cornered something on the far wall of our bedroom. I figured it was probably a beetle or a spider, her occasional prey, and turned over to go back to sleep. Then she moved the chase to the floor on my side of the bed. I knew I would never be able to sleep with all the commotion she was making, so I grabbed my cell phone and turned on the flashlight. What greeted me was a little brown rodent face sticking out from under the nightstand.

I quickly woke up my husband, asking for help to keep it from going under the bed. While he kept it trapped there, I ran into the den, where I found an empty gerbil cage. I shouted the good news to my husband that the rodent was actually one of our gerbils. I captured the white gerbil not far from the cage, and my husband brought the brown and white one that had made it into our bedroom. We found the breach, fixed it, and went back to bed.

The gerbils were safe, but by leaving the protection of their cage, they had put themselves in physical jeopardy. Fortunately, our young cats aren’t the mighty hunters they imagine themselves to be. (If you think you’ve heard something about our gerbils and cats before, you’re right. I wrote about another adventure in Gerbils, Kittens, and the Bible.)

The last time, the gerbils stayed put and were safe. This time they left the protection of their cage, and the story could have ended much differently. Their bravery in venturing out was foolish, and they didn’t realize the danger they were in.

Both of our children are preteens now. While the physical demands of parenting are lighter, the emotional demands have increased exponentially. My husband and I are trying to help them become more independent while also instructing them in potential traps they may encounter as they enter the student ministry and participate in more group activities with peers. We’re trying to equip them with practical advice as well as an understanding of what the Bible says.

I’m praying they will behave more like the gerbils did the first time, acting according to biblical principles and values. I’m praying they won’t make choices that will lead them into dangerous situations like those silly gerbils did the second time. I have no guarantees, but I’m trusting God to see us all safely through this new part of our journey as a family.

I’m also trusting God to give me the wisdom to help a child with social challenges navigate the complex issues that confront preteens and teens. It’s more difficult than I ever dreamed it would be, but I know that God will be faithful.

Pray: Father, thank you for providing clear instruction in your Word that helps us handle the issues we face every day with wisdom. Please help me to instruct my children well as they enter their teen years. I pray that they will seek you with all their hearts and will follow your ways. Help us to keep the lines of communication open and to respond to one another with love and grace. Amen.

~ Jennifer A. Janes


  1. Thanks, Jennifer. It's so much about trust, isn't it? We do our best, and trust that God, who gifted them to us, will equip us and protect them. I forget every other minute, though...

    1. Trust? Absolutely! I'm with you. I forget every other minute myself!