Last week I found a dead bird on our patio. I looked around to see what may have caused it- no animal bite marks, no broken nest or any shattered eggs. It looked like it had just fallen out of the sky, poor thing. I know it happens in life, that birds die. But it upset me to see it like that, in my yard. I tried not to read into it. But it felt like a bad sign.
Yesterday, my four-year-old took me outside to show me the nest that had fallen. Over the weekend, it had been unusually windy. So it made sense that this perfectly created nest had been blown out of its home tree. Although I knew it wouldn't be used again by any birds once it had fallen, I still picked up the nest and placed it in a cozy spot in our biggest tree. Again, I tried not to read into it. A dead bird. An empty nest. I joked with Ted that maybe God was telling us to move.
Today I went to look at the nest. It's completely destroyed. Last night it stormed. I could hear the rain pounding against the house and the wind shaking my wind chimes ferociously outside. But I still thought the nest would hold together in my tree. It had looked so sturdy, even after falling.
So I can't help but read into it today. You see, lately everything has been falling apart. From big things like our car dying the week after having our 4th child and being down to one income, to small things like our computer and tv suddenly biting the dust. I'm home with the kids, trying to survive life with a newborn and still make time for the others, all while my foggy brain tries to make do on a few hours sleep and roller coaster hormones. It's not pretty, folks. And Ted has spent the last 6 months trying to find a job that will actually pay all the bills, which seems like a monumental thing to hope for these days.
And for the last year, God has been calling us to go in a new direction. But after losing count of the numerous prospective doors shut in our faces, we're left with our heads spinning and wondering if we heard correctly to begin with. So we overanalyze every sermon and Scripture, hoping to gain clarity and direction. We listen to our friends and family recount how God worked it out in their lives. We scour our hearts to see if we have some hidden sin, or have missed a turn somewhere. We question if this is a timing thing, or a big test that we're failing, or if God even likes us anymore.
So back to the bird's nest. It was made with careful forethought. Tightly woven together, with hopeful plans of family and a purposeful future. Made by a creature God Himself said He watches over. But the winds came and knocked it down. Even then, it was sturdy and survived until a heavy storm smashed it to pieces at last. I feel pulverized, too.
But today the sun is shining again. The wind is still, and the ground isn't thirsty and cracked like it usually is in the Texas summer. I can look out the window and see dozens of birds flying from tree to tree in our yard. They seem carefree, completely oblivious to last night's storm. Maybe the bird who lost its nest is already beginning to rebuild another.
There's so much hope in the thought of it. Like the verse God keeps whispering to my heart,
"The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand." (Ps. 37:23-4)
And then this,
"The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, an ever-flowing spring." (Is. 58:11)
"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea." (Ps. 46:1-2)
When I take it all together, I'm reassured that He sees. Even when the storms come, even when I'm beaten down and cry out and still have no answers- He is with me. I cannot crush the hope inside me. The ridiculous belief that my God will rescue us. That what He spoke will happen for us. That our present difficulties do not predict our future demise. I'm reminded of what the apostle Paul said:
"We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed... For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." (2 Cor. 4:8-9, 17-18)
Thank you, God, for once again reminding me to focus my wandering eyes on you. Thank you for speaking to my heart and renewing my mind with your truth. Help me to rebuild my nest, one piece at a time again today.