I love the nature that shows up in my backyard. This little chipping sparrow frequents our feeder and is one of the smallest birds out there. It’s so cute. We have other types of sparrows that come too but this one always catches my eye. God mentions the sparrow several times throughout scripture. I think he chose it because of its size. He wanted us to know He cares for all of His creation, even the smallest.
In Matthew 10:29-31 (ESV) it says: 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.
As I was going through a crazy week last week, I was pondering all of the things in my head that could go wrong. Did you ever have a time like that when there were so many changes and stressful situations surrounding you that you started to worry? That was my week.
And then the sparrow showed up. The tiniest bird in the backyard came to remind me.
God’s got this.
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. … Matthew 6:25-34 (ESV)
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.”
As I age, I have grown to appreciate bugs. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t like them in my house. However, they fascinate me when they’re outside. Did you ever stop to think about how they feel being called a bug? Did you ever look into their eyes and wonder what they’re thinking? OK, I’m being silly. Seriously, have you ever taken the time to look at the wonderful design of each one?
Since I love to take pictures, my photography has really given me a chance to examine bugs up close and personal. As I look at these, often times beautiful creatures, I am in awe of God who designed each one. This week as I was reflecting on my latest bug picture—a dragonfly in my backyard—I knew God had a lesson in it for us this week.
As most of you know, I’m still recovering from my treatments for breast cancer. I have been discouraged because I am still having low energy and other problems that bug me. However, I know it is a process, so I am taking time to allow myself to heal. As I was thinking about bugs this week, it dawned on me. God has taken care to create some beautiful bugs on the earth. We take them for granted and often look for ways to get them out of our lives. They bug us and we simply want them gone.
Just as bugs torment us, so do certain situations in our lives. We often just want to stop the pain and suffering and get on with the things in life we enjoy. We don’t want to be bugged by inconveniences of illness, job loss, financial difficulties, divorce, etc. We simply want to rid ourselves of the problem. However, could it be that these bugs have been perfectly designed just for us?
If we take the time and lean into God during tough times, there, we find the beauty in the situation. We begin to see our trials from His viewpoint. He knows exactly what it’s going to take for us to grow into the person He has created us to be. Just as He has concerned Himself with every little detail of a bug’s design, He concerns Himself with every little detail of our lives as well.
So this week, if you’re feeling bugged by life’s trials, relax. Know that God knows every detail about your situation. He doesn’t allow us to go through hard times because he wants to bug us. Rather, He is interested in teaching us to find the beauty in the design.
Matthew 6:25-34 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.