Safe from Temptation (aka my poison oak story)

Safe from Temptation (aka my poison oak story) [image: poison oak]

There is never safety in letting our guard down this side of Heaven. Never.

So here I am at virtually the last minute, writing a blog post for you for this week. Virtually all week, all I’ve been able to think about has been largely overpowered by… poison oak.

I believe it was last Thursday the Lord had blessed me with some strength, and I decided to get outside and work on some gardening. Recently, the handyman who often comes to do repairs on our home gave us several flats of plants left over from a plant sale he had been a part of. What a blessing!

The thing is, we didn’t as of yet have a garden established anywhere. And we pretty much live on a rock.

I had been wanting to build a few raised garden beds in our yard, so this seemed like the perfect time to get to it… except that we have not been able to work out a way to get soil just yet.

We did have several large pots of soil into which I promptly transplanted most of the tomatoes. But as the days passed, the other little plants were more and more obviously needing some room to stretch their growing roots. Something had to be done.

So one day, my sweet hubby got out there and just started digging and planting out by our pump house. The conditions are less than ideal, but way better than the tiny little pots. The plants that he did were quite Logan movie

And then last Thursday came along. Determined not to waste the blessing of the Lord, I got out there with my children and we went to work. I figured the dozen or so little squash plants were probably the best place to focus our attention, so we started clearing the way and digging holes to plant them in.

Yeah. Clearing. That’s kind of where I got myself into trouble.

I think we have as much poison oak here as any other plant. Hmm, maybe as much as every other plant combined! It sure seems like it.

Anyway, some of the members of my family are very sensitive to poison oak. I never got it very bad. I would have to literally get scratched by a branch — and even then, there would just be a little annoying itchy patch on me.

So I had dubbed myself the poison–oak–puller.

Several times over the years, I had pulled garbage bags full of the frustrating plant, making the world just a little nicer place for my dear family.

And so, as much as he wanted to help, I made sure my little guy stayed back. (The girls were perfectly happy doing other jobs!) And I pulled… and dug… and chopped… and pulled….

If you’ve ever pulled up poison oak, you know what I’m talking about. The reason the plants spread so well is they make underground runners — sometimes rather deep in the hard ground — which send up new plants. Everywhere.

It was hard work, but that was okay. There was going to be room for food to grow, and for the family to safely walk in our little garden area.

It was a relief to have the poisonous invader at least partially eradicated from our yard.

The one thing I failed to do (ugh, and I didn’t even think about it until much later) was get my gloves. Yeah. I know. I have to blame that oversight on the fact that, with my poor strength in recent years, I simply have not gardened much. I was a bit… out of practice, shall we say.

I did make sure to immediately wash up and all that like we are always told to do.

In spite of it all, though, lo and behold, I broke out. Bad. Like, bad bad.

I don’t recall whether it was later that day or the next, but I do recall that when it came on, it hit hard and fast. Itching, burning, swelling, blisters. It pretty much knocked me out. Exhausted, unable to think, I spent a lot of time just laying, sleeping — or being kept awake — coping.

The itchy annoyance on my knees and ankles seems hardly worthy of mention. My forearms and hands swelled with burning blisters. My face swelled to unrecognizable proportions; but though it may have been by a very narrow margin, my eyes stayed open.

The Lord has been gracious to give me wisdom on how to cope. For that I am thankful.

My family has been gracious in taking up the slack in the kitchen and such. For that, too, I am thankful.

And I knew from the very start that this trial would be temporary. For that, I am extremely grateful.

I spent a fair amount of time on the internet, reading about poison oak. One thing I discovered which I never knew before is that poison oak is not like your average “sickness” where you might build up an immunity and get more and more resistant. No, contact with poison oak will essentially weaken you over time.

As it certainly did me.

And that fact is what really hit me: isn’t this the same thing we often do with temptation? We notice that some sin doesn’t really seem to entice us and so we start to let down our guard. We take our gloves off, so to speak. We get our hands all in it.

And then we find out too late that Satan has enticed us after all. We fall into the very thing we were so sure — from “experience” even — that we were “immune” to.

There is never safety in letting our guard down this side of Heaven. Never.

“Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall”

“Considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted”

Our only safety is in constant prayer and communion with Heaven. This trial is temporary; but it is a battle we must joyfully, courageously fight. On guard, soldier!

Hasten Home! 🙂

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It’s no wonder Jesus so often used nature to illustrate His important lessons! They stick! I have seen so many lessons as I work out in the garden. How about you? Do you have a nature object lesson to share? We’d love to hear it in the comments! 🙂


Safe from Temptation (aka my poison oak story) — 4 Comments

  1. Hi! I’m glad you are feeling a bit better. I’ve never had poison Oak but I had a nasty run in with poison ivy (east of Houston, TX) many years ago before my wedding. Lol, I laugh now but it was horrible! My husband-to-be and I were clearing his back yard of weeds and brush and then burning it. I had never been around poison ivy but I suspected I would react to it since my sister did. I had gloves and was very careful to stay well clear of any offending branches. My husband does not react at all to poison ivy and was more than happy to do most of the work. We had to watch the burn pile til it was finished burning. He warned me to stay away from the smoke. I must have breathed some of it in :/ A week later I broke out in itchy sores that oozed an acid like substance that also itched and burned. Head to toe. Like you, I swelled horribly and was bed ridden for days. Benadryl is a joke, wish I’d known remedies that I know now. Thankfully the swelling went down just in time for our wedding. The scars I covered with makeup pretty well. I tell you that story to say, “I feel your pain!” And I agree with your analogy as well.

    • Oh, no! That smoke is bad stuff. I’m glad to hear at least the swelling had gone down for your wedding! I appreciate you stopping by and commenting, Lyn. 🙂

  2. I winced as I was reading your story about pulling up the “weeds” knowing exactly what was coming next! We don’t ever get immune to ivy and most certainly, not temptation. we have to learn to spot it and do what Paul said… “Flee!” Thanks!

    • Oh — Thank you so much for coming by, Karen! Fleeing certainly is wise advice, isn’t it! 😉

      [In case anyone else might be interested, Karen had a great post about a similar experience over on her blog, too. You can read it here, if you like. 🙂 ]

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