As I write this, I am sitting in my bubble chair in my new apartment.
Let me remind you- I am leaving Tennessee in less than three months to move back to Colorado.
So why move to a new apartment before my lease is up? Why pay two rents for the remainder of the school year? Why pack it all up, just to unpack, and then pack up again?
Because we got bed bugs.
Yep. Those little bugs I always thought only infested cheap motel rooms infested my bed. My room. My world.
We made this discovery when my roommate, Jess, woke up in the middle of the night because she could feel bugs crawling on her. We did our best to stay calm, but when the exterminator came and revealed that her bed was covered in far more than one hundred bed bugs and giant splotches of her blood, we lost it. The exterminator told us we had to sort through every single one of our things with a flashlight. Very meticulously. Looking in every crevice and crease. Flipping through every page of our books. You see, bed bugs burrow themselves, plant eggs that eventually hatch, and keep spreading. We had to look hard. This was no joke.
Because the exterminator told me my bed was fine, I attempted to face my fears and sleep there. For three nights, I “slept” in my bed consistently waking up in panic. I would throw myself out of bed and frantically shine a flashlight on the walls and my bed. When I saw nothing, I would do my best to fall back asleep. And then it happened. One night before bed I saw a live one crawling on the wall.
It was all over.
They were back.
Knowing that I had bugs in my bed waiting to snack on me broke a little piece of my heart.
The next morning, the exterminator came back to find that my bed was infested. So once again, we went through every single one of our things with a flashlight. Very meticulously. Looking in every crevice and crease. Flipping through every page of our books. Too add to the fun, we spent four hours at the Laundromat washing every single one of our things.
We went and stayed in a hotel for two nights. First, for our sanity. Second, because we had nowhere to sleep.
After days of sorting and cleaning, we were sure they were gone. We had done everything asked of us and hadn’t seen one in our room for two days. The room had been coated with poison two different times. We bought all new bedding and moved back into our room. We forced ourselves to be brave, and we slept in our room.
We were exhausted. We had cried far too many tears. We had spent so much time and so much money. We had prayed fervently over the room. It had to be over.
And then we woke up to find that we were covered in them.
They had patiently been waiting for our return.
I called home at four in the morning sobbing.
We were panicked. We were disgusted. We were spent.
We frantically ran around our room squashing the bugs while our blood that they had consumed hours earlier squirted out.
We bagged up everything we owned.
We spent six hours of the day at the Laundromat rewashing it all.
We spent hours resorting through every single one of our things. Very meticulously. Looking in every crevice and crease. Flipping through every page of our books.
And we found a new place to live.
Within a matter of four days I was moved out and signing a lease at a new apartment.
Pure insanity. Complete exhaustion. Total panic. An overflow of tears.
Finally, one week into our new place we are “settled”. We have no more than a few pieces of furniture because the rest got infested. We each bought a bubble chair from Target, so we had somewhere to sit. Most of our things are in plastic bins because we don’t have room for it, and we don’t see the use in unpacking just to repack. Three girls in one room. None of us with actual beds. All of us sharing one little closet.
I have only had a few nights of good sleep in the last three weeks because, to be honest, I am so terrified of the little critters, and I fear their return. One bug sighting and it’s all over.
Multiple times a day one of us will bust out laughing at the fact that we had to move because of bed bugs. We laugh at all that has happened because if we chose to cry instead of laugh, the tears would never stop. We decided that this is an adventure. An adventure we had no intention or desire to take. Instead, it is one that we were forced to take. But knowing that our Father has it all mapped out has given us a little more peace.
We trust that He has a reason for it all. A lesson embedded in it. We haven’t quite managed to see the big picture and decipher the lesson we should be taking away from this, but in time it will come. For now, we are learning to trust Him even more.
To realize that when the bed bugs bite, when my world gets turned upside down only for a moment, He is there. His goodness is prevalent. His mercy is freely given. And His joy is abundant.
To realize that when the hard work doesn’t pay off, the answer doesn’t come, the relationship isn’t fixed, the problem isn’t taken care of- He is there. His goodness is prevalent. His mercy is freely given. And His joy is abundant.
When the exhaustion hits, the panic overtakes, and the tears flow, you must hold tight to your anchor and trust that He will keep you from drifting. From falling further into panic, fear, anger, guilt, shame, or defeat.
He is present in the good. He is present in the bad. He is faithful in it all.
And after all, it is only for a moment.
“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:17-18
The pain. The panic. The fear. The exhaustion. The anger. The hurt. It is only for a moment. It is temporary. It will pass. He promises us that.
There will come a day when the fight will be over. When you will breathe a sigh of relief. When you will cry tears of complete and total joy.
But until then, until it is all over, choose to look at Him.
For in this moment, He is still offering you greater gifts than you can imagine. He still offers you goodness, joy, and peace. He offers you a life that you can continue to live to the fullest. With Him by your side, you can fight the fight. You can get out of bed every morning knowing that He will give you the strength needed and that it is only for a moment.
Rest will come.
Gladness will come.
A life full of grins and giggles is in the making.
About the Author
Hi! My name is Morgan Colander. I am a senior at Lee University in Tennessee studying to be an elementary teacher. I am attempting to survive these college years as I learn to rely more on God and less on myself while being surrounded by new opportunities and decisions. College has presented itself with its difficulties- college budget, college dorms, college food, an endless list of things to do, and plenty of homesickness- but through it all, I have never been more dependent on God and realized how incapable I am to do life without Him. God, family, and friends are all I need to survive in life but some junior mints, a hike up a mountain, laughter, and some sarcasm definitely add some joy to the journey.