A Simple Redbird Can Change Everything!

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This bird was in our backyard this weekend.

When I started writing my blog in 2011, an old friend, Cheryl, was one of the first to encourage me to keep writing.  In fact, she also bought a copy of my book and posted it on her Facebook wall. She was a true encourager. I had not seen her in years, but God was using her to encourage me.  The last time I saw her was backstage at the Kenny Roger’s concert.  She beamed when she saw me walk through the door.  She knew I loved him and was so excited for me to be able to meet him in person like she was doing.  She was such a wonderful lady.

I knew she was ill the last couple of weeks and when I saw a red bird in my back yard this weekend, I was reminded of her story.  I felt it was appropriate to re-blog a blog from 2011 with her God story, as Cheryl went home to be with the Lord today.

I know heaven is rejoicing…here it is…

I prayed for a home that had nature and trees and feel truly blessed that I got exactly what I asked for!  Every morning as I am preparing breakfast, I have one or two squirrels out my window hanging upside down from tree branches getting their breakfast of seeds from our tree branches.  They are about twenty feet or more up in the tree so I feel privileged to be able to see their daily activities so clearly from my kitchen window.  I never really knew this about squirrels until now since I don’t typically get to see them one-on-one that high up!  I truly enjoy watching the show every morning.

One thing that totally fascinates me about our trees though is the number of redbirds living in them.  When we first moved in, the leaves weren’t yet on the trees and I counted fifteen one day at one time dispersed throughout my trees.  Wow!  I was in awe as I have never seen anything like it.  I rarely see one redbird let alone fifteen at one time!

This reminded me of a story an old friend shared at least twenty years ago and I would like to share it today with her permission.  My friend, Cheryl, had Cystic Fibrosis and was very ill.  In fact, if she didn’t get a double-lung transplant soon, she would die.  As she tells her story, she described her outlook one day as having no hope of survival.  As she too, looked out her kitchen window, she remembers feeling numb.  She asked God, “Where are You?”  Just as she did, a beautiful redbird landed on her deck as close to the window as possible and stared at her for the longest time.  From that day on, she continued to see redbirds whenever she was down or discouraged.  They seemed to be everywhere she looked! God had given her a gift—one that encouraged her through the next weeks and months as she continued to battle her disease and awaited her transplant.

I was looking into a few facts about redbirds this morning as I was writing my blog and I was once again encouraged.   You see, redbirds don’t migrate; they stay the same place all year around.  This morning as I went out to snag a photograph for my blog though, there was not one to be found.  The funny thing is however, redbirds are quite vocal.  They even have various songs that they sing for different reasons.  Although I couldn’t actually see any of them, I knew they were there.  They were belting out their melodious tunes from all over but were hidden from my sight for some reason or another.  I love that God chose to use the redbird for encouragement for my friend and I.  It never leaves, is always there, whether you see it or not.  Hummm…sound familiar?

God is so cool like that.  He uses nature sometimes to bring us closer to him.  It inspires us, entertains us and even encourages when we least expect it.  When I asked Cheryl (Yes, she is still alive and well!) this week to remind me of her story, I had to laugh!  Since we moved a few weeks ago, we have had one thing after the other go wrong with this home not to mention many personal struggles as of late.  It seems like we will never get life back to normal! But God has shown me He’s got my back through Cheryl’s story.  He knew one redbird here or there wasn’t going to keep me going like it did for Cheryl.  This was a job for a whole flock of redbirds!  So now as I count my redbirds every morning and marvel at the beauty of nature, I am encouraged to know God is watching over me.  Why do we worry when we serve such an awesome God?  May God’s peace speak to you with whatever means He uses to assure you it’s going to all be OK!

Hebrews 13:5 (NKJV)  For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

John 20:29 (NKJV)  Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Blessings, my friend.

A Surprise Homecoming—A Christmas Miracle!

Wow, I did not expect a Christmas anywhere near as special as this year’s just even a week ago.  As most of you know, my oldest son has been in Afghanistan this year and was not expected to be home for Christmas.  I had accepted that fact and was trying to still enjoy the holiday with the other 6 kids and 4 grandkids that were home.  Friday night we headed to my sister’s house for our annual get together with our families.  We were enjoying good food and catching up with each other when all of a sudden things changed.

My daughter-in-law arrived and told us all to be quiet that she was getting my son on the phone.  When he got on the phone, they handed it to me.  I started talking to him, but it wasn’t sounding like the normal “drive-through” tone that conversations from Afghanistan were supposed to sound like.  The next thing I knew, he was walking through the door!  How exciting was that?!  Totally caught off guard and in shock, I was elated that my family would be together for Christmas!

We had brought Christmas gifts for my son’s wife and kids but since I had no idea he would be there, I had sent his gifts to Afghanistan for him to have in time for Christmas.  He always loves Christmas and gets excited about opening his gifts.  I felt so bad as he had nothing to open as everyone else opened up theirs all around him.  I just didn’t know, so I wasn’t prepared.

I started thinking about this and about the day when Jesus comes back.  I pretty much expect my heart to be racing just the same as it was Friday night, a little bit of shock and awe, and then I started thinking…will I be prepared?  Will I have a gift to offer Him?  What will that day really be like?

Then I quickly realized, the story will be the same.  It’s not about the physical gifts I give.  My son’s gift that night was the fact he was able to be with his family and essentially be the Christmas miracle of the year!  I suspect Jesus will feel the same way.  He is the only Miracle we need.  He doesn’t want our stuff on that day, He wants us.  We don’t have to have gifts wrapped and tucked away for that special day and time, we just need to be ready with the gift of ourselves.  By that I mean that we need to have accepted His gift of eternal life and be living every day as though it was the day of His return.  For by living our lives for Him, we are earning our jewels for our crowns that we will lay down at His feet when the time comes.  Those crowns and jewels will be our symbol of our life lived for Him–our gift so to speak.

The Bible says in Matthew 24 (NKJV),

36 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven,but My Father only…

42 Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming…

44 Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

When that day comes, it won’t matter the type, size or grandeur of the gifts we have to offer such as those the wise men presented at His birth.  The only thing that will matter is our relationship with Him.  Have we accepted Him as our Savior, served Him, loved Him, shared Him, and cherished Him while in this life on earth?  Just as my son’s homecoming was a huge surprise, so will that of my Savior’s be as well.  I think I had a little taste of the joy that may be present on that day this weekend.  I suspect though that nothing can compare.

Are you ready for that day?  Have you given Him your life?  Are you working on a relationship with Him that will far surpass any physical gift you can conjure up to give?  In reality, the only gift He wants is you.  I am not a musician and I certainly cannot sing.  However, I like this song that I found to remind us the day when we will lay our crowns at His feet…our gift of our lives lived for Him…our offering to our Savior.  Enjoy and I’ll see you next year!

http://youtu.be/6DZSjWW57mQ

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