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by Debra L. McKeen Sparks
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“Abbie Dab, will you bring me some snails?”

I set down my coffee cup on the table, and turned toward my five-year-old golden haired niece who had come from her bedroom and was now standing next to me, holding her pet box turtle, Tickles. Tickles did not look terribly happy. Her little turtle-feet where stuck out straight and her little turtle-head was pulled into its little turtle-collar. Only her nose was sticking out and she seemed a little bit turtle-ticked-off to me.

Looking straight into my niece’s huge shiny green-gold eyes, I said, “My darling, WHY do you want me to bring you snails?” hoping with all of my heart that I had not heard her correctly.

“Because, Abbie Dab, Tickles will not eat. She will not eat apples, or cantaloupes or lettuce, or kitty food or ANYTHING! And I think that she needs to eat some snails.” Her eyes were becoming more watery, revealing her deep concern for her hard-shelled companion.

I really wanted to scream out, “NO!!! I hate snails and slugs and slimy things – they make my heart pump hard and cause me to want to run the other way when I find one of them existing too close to my aura.” But, I couldn’t. Instead, I heard the words coming out of my mouth, “Darlin’, I will bring you some snails tomorrow and what about some earthworms? Do you think that Tickles might like to eat an earthworm?”

Her cherub face lit up as she raised Tickles so that she and I were eye level with each other. She had extended her little turtle head out of its “turtle neck” as far as she could and she was looking right into my face. I couldn’t help but notice what a soft and kind expression she had on her little turtle-face. She blinked her turtle eyes at me as if to say, “Please bring me something slimy to eat,” (or maybe that was just my overly vivid imagination). At any rate, my niece and Tickles seemed to have the same expression on their faces and I was in deep trouble, knowing I would now have to keep my promise to the darling of my heart and not only deal with but actually procure snails and even earthworms, not to mention the fact that I had promised to bring them within the next 24-hour timeframe.

Everyone who knows me well knows that I simply “do not do” slimy things. I can deal with scorpions, centipedes, roaches, spiders, and other creepy things, although I do NOT go out of my way to do so. But things that squirm and things that slime; NO, I do not like these things. They absolutely traumatize me. From the time I was a child I did not like these things. I have even experienced nightmares about trying to walk down a sidewalk after a downpour of rain and not being able to find anyplace for my foot to set down without squashing a night crawler or earthworm which had slimed its way out of it’s soaked earth-home so that it would not drown.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I understand and appreciate the job of an earthworm and even that of a night crawler. They deal in moving dirt. Particularly now that I live in an arid, high desert climate, I really appreciate the concept of dirt-moving critters. Afterall, the soil in my yard, without annual aeration, quickly becomes like concrete. The process of annual aeration here in the high desert usually involves hiring someone with a little machine to come to your house and punch holes all over your yard, leaving little divets behind, so that what little moisture the desert provides can get into the roots of your grass, or your yard dries up and only the strongest weeds, cactus and sage-brush find their way out of the concrete-hard earth. Yes, I appreciate the job of an earthworm, and I am thankful for them for they not only move the earth but they make the birds that I so enjoy listening to in the early hours of dawn each day as I pour my coffee and write in my journal very, very happy as they each struggle to yank one from the ground and into their beaks, shopping the yard thoroughly before flying home to feed their nest full of babies. There is nothing better to a nest full of baby birds than regurgitated earthworm.

I carefully handed Tickles to my niece and turned back to my sister, who had been sitting in silence on the other side of the table. MiKaela and Tickles left the room as my sister said to me, “So, YOU are going to bring WORMS and snails over?”

“Why me?” I croaked out in agony.

“You know she never forgets and last year you talked about how you had found snails behind your house. Remember how shocked you were that in the hot desert summertime, you would find a snail dressed out in a perfect little snail shell sliming its way in the tall grasses out behind your house? Well, MiKaela remembered; you have snails!”

“Yes!” I replied, still in horror at my own promise, “but do earthworms even live in New Mexico? I have never seen one, and for that, I must admit, I have been thankful! Where will I find an earthworm?”

My sister simply smiled at me in disbelief, for she indeed knows of my abhorrence for organisms of this type, and the fact that I would ever have been capable to making such a promise completely confounded her.

The vision of Tickles stretching out her neck, looking straight into my face, blinking her big turtle-eyes in slow motion and my niece’s concerned countenance kept playing through my heart. And I knew that somehow, I would indeed keep my promise. Tomorrow night after work, I would be out behind my house, searching for and then plucking snails out of their comfort zone, tossing them into a box which I would undoubtedly equip with the kind of snail-like environment that would keep them alive until Tickles could sample their little live escargot sweet-meats. I would then race over to my sister’s house, delivering the tasty, albeit slimy, turtle victuals, hoping that Tickles would eat and not waste away in her shell. And I would do all of it simply because my precious MiKaela asked it of me and already knew that I had the means available to meet the need.

As I drove home later in the evening I found myself reflecting on my own need. I thought of my inward concern about my financial state of being. I thought of how I had fretted aloud earlier that day to a co-worker, relating to them my worry over how I would continue to meet my financial obligations, make my house payment, make my car payment, as I looked into a future and to a frightening decrease in my income. I remembered how as I talked of my concerns to my colleague, my own eyes had begun to well up and my throat had formed a lump until I finally had to beg forgiveness and shake off my trepidation, remembering that I was not alone. The Lord knew of my fear and my need. “Oh my Father,” I whispered aloud, “thank you for using my precious MiKaela and her Tickles to remind me that You are my provider. And to remind me that I have only to ask You. Oh Lord, I come again even now, holding up my needs to You, my Beloved Savior. All I know how to do is to ask You to provide for me, so that my own starving soul can receive nourishment.”

Jehovah-Jirah, (Yahweh-Jireh) “God Sees – God Provides”! “Imagine!” I thought to myself, “the Sovereign God intently looking after me, constantly aware of my need and watching me carefully to ensure that those needs are provided for in Him. All I have to do is ask.”

“Oh Lord,” I cried out; “help me to remember to ask. Help me Lord to come to you as a child and simply present my need before you with full expectancy that you are able and willing to meet the need, knowing that You alone have the resources available to provide for me. Help me not to seek to fulfill my needs in any other way. You are my Jehovah-Jirah, my God, and my Provider. And Lord, please, I ask you with all my quaking heart, provide me now with the courage I so desperately need to snatch snails out of my garden and to find an earthworm or two and to do those things in love and without shrinking in repulsion, for You know better than anyone what a very great coward I can be when it comes to slimy things. And Lord, thanks that you don’t shrink in repulsion when I bring my needs to You, thank you that nothing I can bring to you is so horrible that it disgusts you or puts you off. Thank you my Lord for your grace, for your healing, for victory, peace, righteousness, for your presence, and thank you most of all, my King, for your provision.”

Luke 11:11-13 says “If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye, then being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children; how much more shall your heavenly Father to them that ask him?”

. . . He gives us GRACE AND GLORY. No good thing will the Lord withhold from those who trust in Him and do what is right. O Lord Almighty, happy are those who trust in You. Psalm 84:11~12

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Member Comments
Member Date
Joyce Poet 29 Jun 2004
Oh my! God is certainly on time! It is as though He was speaking directly to my need through your article. And with such a creative sparkle! Thank you for sharing your sweet, slime-filled ;-) story! Love, Treava
Dian Moore 17 Apr 2004
Perfect! I loved the word pictures your produced. And I wonder - did Tickles eat the slimy things?
Ginnylynn Rodriguez 15 Apr 2004
Debbie, you did it again. This was a HOOT! I can just envision you searching the back yard. Yes, He is our Provider! Loved it. Little turtle head. Precious.~Ginnylynn


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