Tender ones, flitting here and there, busy all year round. It’s only our Father in heaven who knows when one falls to the cold, hard ground.
My husband danced with death a few short weeks ago. What we initially thought was a problem with his esophagus was in fact his heart. One of his main arteries was clogging up like peanut butter through a straw. His symptoms were vague, and we were busy looking in another direction, so we almost missed it.
By the grace of God and the leading of the Holy Spirit, we ended up at the hospital at just the right time to allow the doctor to perform a quick but life saving procedure that would allow blood to flow again and prevent a massive heart attack that would have most certainly robbed me of the love of my life.
Today, full of life, my man disappeared into the garage for a few short hours. I fought off the urge to check on him every few minutes. The sound of power tools and the thought of his new blood thinner made me uneasy at best.
I needn’t have worried. He emerged after the sound of much sawing and hammering with the loveliest bird feeder I have ever seen. Rustic and large, it was exactly what I was picturing for our new bird friends. Precious because he made it for me after I mentioned in passing that I would love to have one. Even more special, because he was alive to make it and felt strong enough to do so.
God has allowed us more time together. I am so grateful. I am also accutely aware that we have people dear to us facing a different reality. May we never take our moments for granted.
Turns out this was the second lesson birds have taught me in recent days. Earlier this week my dad brought me the sweetest little birdhouse, complete with a Valentines Day card.
My dad……gave me…..a Valentines Day present.
The significance of this may be lost on some of my reader’s but trust me when I say this was a huge moment in my life.
I grew up with two dad’s for all the wrong reasons. My birth dad has passed on but I am fortunate to have another dad who chose to raise a child who wasn’t his when he had plenty of other mouths to feed. A man who sacrificed his pride and laid aside his hurt to give me a home and a place of quiet safety away from the chaos and destruction of addiction. He has never been a man to show or speak much affection, but instead loved us through back breaking work and his steady presence in our lives. Coming home this week after a long day to his simple gift of love poured salve on old wounds long forgotten.
In recent days I have been looking deeply into the trauma of my past. Starting the process again of allowing the raw places to be cleansed and healed. Giving my Lord permission to touch what still bleeds, long hidden from myself, but fully known by my God. The one who has counted the hairs on my head also counts my scars and knows each one intimately as one who bears His own scars.
If God had told me He had a plan for my life all those years ago, when He revealed Himself to a lonely and traumatized little girl I wouldn’t have been able to believe it. I couldn’t have believed He was moving in my life or was going to “work all things together for good.” Romans 8:28 I wouldn’t have thought His ways or His plans were good as I trudged for so many years through the thick mud of oppression. Circumstances can fool the heart.
“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Matthew 10:29-31
It has taken a lot of years to believe that I have more worth than the sparrows. When one’s worth has been stolen, it can be difficult to find.
The one who pursues me has been gracious to wash away the lies I have believed with the flood of His grace. Through every heartache, cruel moment and struggle of my own that came, He has been ever present. Always loving me. Always beckoning me forward. Through deserts, mountains, valleys and even to the doorway to hell, He has been there. Forever unchanging.
He has led me not as suffering servant, or as one who bore the humility and shame of the cross, but instead as one who rose again after bearing our sin. A King triumphant. High and exalted. The one who conquered sin and death who holds the scepter of uprightness in His hand.
Oh that this world would know Him. That we would all accept the healing and the life He offers.
The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 2 Peter 3:9
I have seen and experienced the depravity of what one person can do to another. I’ve both watched and felt blows inflicted on the weak and vulnerable. I’ve looked down the barrel of my true fathers gun and felt the hate in his eyes. I’ve been spit on and felt the hot rain of endless words that devour. I’ve known my own sin deep and wretched.
I have reason to hate. Both others and myself.
I choose forgiveness.
I choose love.
This I know to be true with every part of my being. Hate even when it feels right and justified heals no one. Being passionate about something, but using ugly, divisive words to express it helps no one. It saves no children. Rights no wrongs. Quiets no fears. It simply pours fuel on a culture of hate that threatens to burn us all down.
The wind howled today. Ripping into every unprotected place. Snow falls and rain pelts. Winter is upon us in our streets and in our hearts. Children are being slain, hero’s attempt to protect and too often fall, evil has another face to add to its vast and lifeless ranks.
We are often ravenous for someone to blame. We accuse as if we can know another’s motive when we have never sat down and talked to them face to face. We make big and sweeping assumptions about each other from the persective of tiny windows. We divide ourselves again. Fragments splinter and leave sharp edges. Words on a screen slash and tear.
Fear is a ruthless motivator and a worthless comforter. My soul searches for a soft place to land.
How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD of hosts! My soul longs, yes faints for the courts of the LORD: my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God.
Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O LORD of hosts, my King and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise! Selah
Psalm 84: 1-5
I think again of our birds. We have long fed our hummingbirds, but this weekend we remembered the other little, fragile ones starving in the cold. Desperate for something to save. We proudly hung our new suet feeder and hoped they would find their way to the source of their energy and strength. As it swayed in the harsh wind, no birds noticed the hope offered to them.
May we not look back and realize the same.