by Debbie “The Rat Lady” Ducommun
I have had nearly 200 rats in
my life. Those who know me
won’t be surprised that my favorite rat was hairless. I have loved hairless rats best ever
since I saw my first one. My
favorite rat of all time was a boy named Skin. I did not name him, but certainly Skin
fit him. I adopted Skin from someone
who didn’t want him any more.
They told me he was maybe 15 months old. I couldn’t believe they
didn’t want this rat any more.
Not only was he hairless, his skin was darker than any other hairless
rat I’d seen. He was gorgeous.
But it wasn’t just his hairlessness that made him my favorite, it
was also his personality. Skin was
very out-going, loving, attentive and playful. He loved to be with me and the feeling
was very mutual. I adopted Skin on
Then there was a problem. Skin developed an ear infection, and it soon became clear it was not a simple infection—it was flesh-eating bacteria that were resistant to all the antibiotics we tried. To make a long story short, after a horrible 2-month fight, I had to have Skin euthanized. It was awful. Skin was so young; we had only had 4 ½ months together, and for half that time he was sick. I was devastated, and felt more pain than I had when losing any other rat.
For comfort I turned to my
good friend Barbara Henderson, and to help ease my pain, she offered to loan me
a book on life after death. I gratefully accepted her offer.
Now, I had been raised a Catholic, but I had not learned much about God and did not feel that religion had any meaning for me. I had learned so little about God that I thought of him like a human king. My feeling was, “How dare he demand that I bow down and worship him! Who does he think he is!” I had my pride after all. At the same time, I felt an emptiness in my life. Even though I knew that I was here on earth to help rats and rat owners, I still felt there was something missing. In fact, I had started exploring new age spirituality in my search for meaning in my life.
Well, with the Christian books I was reading I finally realized the truth about God. He wasn’t just some human king, he was the creator of the universe. When I finally wrapped my mind around this truth, that God made absolutely everything, I had an overwhelming desire to worship him. How could I not want to worship an all powerful being that not only created everything, but who loves me?! God is so marvelous, and immense, and glorious we will never be able to grasp who and what He really is. But I learned enough that I knew I owed him my life and everything I had. I realized that what was missing in my life was a relationship with my Creator.
Since the Bible is true, that means that everything about Jesus is also true. Jesus is God, and he came to earth as a human so we can relate to him and learn a relationship with God through Jesus. Jesus died on the cross to pay for all the sins of humans for all time. All we have to do to accept this amazing gift of forgiveness is to apologize for our sins, accept Jesus as our Savior and Lord, invite him into our life, and resolve to try to obey His commands. Because all humans are flawed, we will all continue to sin, but because we have been forgiven, every day we can pick ourselves up and start all over again.
When I asked Jesus into my life I felt an amazing peace and contentment. However, I still really did not know how to have a relationship with God through Jesus. I had a strong resistance to go to church. I was not a joiner, and I thought I could do just fine on my own. I could just sit at home and read my Bible. Besides, I liked sleeping in on Sundays! At this point, my best friend from high school, Jeanne, asked if I was interested in getting together once a week to study a book called The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. Since Jeanne and I hadn’t had the chance to spend much time together, I jumped at the chance to meet once a week.
That book made me understand that I needed an even deeper relationship with and commitment to God. I was only a surface Christian. I believed in Jesus and what he had done for me, but I wasn’t really paying any attention to that in my daily life. My life hadn’t changed in any significant way. I discovered I had not really given my life to Jesus, that I was resisting giving up control of my life. I was afraid I would lose myself, and I struggled with the decision. But I felt I needed to become a fully devoted follower of Jesus. It was a painful transition, but I finally released the stranglehold I had on my life and really gave my life to Jesus. I have not regretted it for a moment! I don’t feel like I have lost myself at all, but I have gained so much: joy, as well as peace and contentment. I feel truly happy for the first time in my life!
My husband Larry and I are now strongly involved in a wonderful Methodist church. We attend services every Sunday morning at (featuring contemporary music), and I started singing with the worship team (musicians and singers) every other week. I even took up the guitar again after 20 years to play in church. That means every other Sunday I have to get up at to attend rehearsal at ! So much for sleeping in…but it isn’t a burden, it is a joy! We take Bible classes and help out with events and activities. Sometimes we are at the church 4 days a week, and the other church members have become our second family. I also read the Bible at home nearly every day and it now has much more meaning for me.
I thank God for sending me a little rat named Skin to lead me to Him, as well as my wonderful friends Barbara and Jeanne!
If you have questions about God, Jesus, the Bible, or anything else, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at (530) 899-0605.
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