A Scaly Godsend

The unexpected answer to a mother's fervent daily prayer turns out to be a pet lizard.

Posted in , Jun 28, 2011

Mom! Look what I found!” Micah ran across the park, cupping something in his palm. “She ran across the grass, right up to me!” He grinned at the scaly green thing in his palm. “She likes me. Can I keep her?”

Ugh. I wasn’t crazy about a lizard in my house. But lately my 12-year-old needed every friend he could get.

He hated school. He picked on his little brother and sisters. He screamed and yelled at anyone who crossed him—especially me. I’d prayed like crazy: God, show me how to reach him. I’ll do whatever it takes.

Still, things had gotten worse, and I was worried—no, scared. It was like living with a time bomb. If Micah was like this at 12, what lay ahead for our family when he was a teenager?

If I nixed the lizard, we’d have an­other blowup. Yes, it might mean more trouble later on if I had to nag Micah to take care of his pet. (In fact, who knew how to take care of a lizard?)

In the end, the happiness I saw on Micah’s face as he stroked the creature gently with his finger sold me. “She—he—it—whatever, is going to be your responsibility, Micah.”

“Awesome!” he practically shouted. “Wanna hold her?” Not really. But I let him put the lizard in my hand. Lord, please don’t let this be one more thing that separates us.

Micah read everything he could find about lizard care. “Bettie” went everywhere with him, perched on his shoulder or snuggled under his hat. People stopped Micah on the street to ask questions: “What kind of lizard is it?” “What do you feed it?”

You know something? All that attention made Micah more outgoing. Less hostile. His attitude about school and his behavior improved. I never had to nag him to care for Bettie, and the tenderness he showed her spilled over into the way he treated others, and me. I stopped bracing myself for the next battle.

Today, Micah is a teenager. Reptiles have become his passion—he even has three snakes now. It took some getting used to.

But then I remembered my desperate prayer and my promise to do whatever it took. Like so many answered prayers, what it took was what I could have never imagined.

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