“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?” Matthew 6.25-26
I spotted it while washing a tomato at the kitchen sink before dinner. The fragile flit of wings against a rock below the hedge. I shouldn’t have noticed it, not really; not while the kids were clamoring for food and the bacon was sizzling right out of the pan, not while a new storm was rolling in and the sky was darkening corners of the house. But, instinct. Instinct rolled in, too, like a mother bird who knows to build a nest…who knows to warm the eggs…who knows to keep the nestlings safe, and then…
There she was, and she was calling out. That same sweet sound I’ve heard from the window over and over again, but desperate. That same sweet mama hopping anxiously from her baby to the tree above and back. I was sure of what had happened before I could clearly make it out through the panes. New life had fallen on her watch and she was panicked. Nothing to do but try to convince her babe to take flight, and it was much too soon.
Something moved in me to take action, and as I think on it, I know three reasons why:
1) I have loved these birds through the window for months on end and they bring me great joy. They belong. Here.
2) My mama heart imagined being her mama heart and in an instant, I ached.
3) I love a happy ending, and darkness doesn’t win in the end.
God drew my attention to this little life today–I’m convinced of it. Even if only to spare the life of a tiny bird, but more likely, to spare mine. To provide a glimpse into His heart, without question.
The details of what followed are important, and not. I set my babies up quickly with something to stay safely occupied indoors. I Googled how to save a baby bird. No, really. I called my neighbor for help, because I’m a little crazy and that’s just the kind of thing you do when you have amazing neighbors and you’re trying to save a baby bird. I prepped a box and ran all around for gloves (plastic bags), a shovel, foil to cover the bacon. I ran outside and prayed to beat the rain.
Overhead, a hawk flew circling. Looming like the gray clouds behind him. Looming as if to thicken the plot. Honestly. I really think God had a story to tell here in our side yard tonight, and God doesn’t miss the details. As my dear friend and I tried to figure out getting this sweet baby back to where he came from, Jason arrived home. Knight in shining armor in that moment. Between them and their enviable height, my willing recruits managed to pick up the tiny cardinal and separate the hedge just enough to set him back in his place. (I only managed to take pictures.) No matter. My heart was light. I nearly cried a few minutes later while I watched from the dinner table as both mama and dad returned to the nest. Such joy!
Tonight, as is often his request once tucked into bed, Henry asked me to tell him a “new” story. Something he’s never heard before. Something good, but off the top of my head. Hm. Thinking on my feet as best I could, I recounted the tale of a mama bird and a daddy bird who fell in love, got married, and flew everywhere in search of the perfect home. Without luck, they finally found a place to perch one night and offered up a prayer to God for the home that He intended for them–a place where they could raise a family and where He would keep them safe. Naturally, they found a home…in a lovely hedge in a sweet neighborhood in a smallish town. And naturally the mama soon laid an egg and the egg soon hatched and the daddy returned home to find a sweet baby boy bird in the nest that day.
And then I started to tell Henry that the wind blew a little and the baby bird wobbled and fell out of his nest. But before I could barely get the words out, he began crying and begged me not to let the bird fall out, “It’s too sad, Mom! It’s too scary! Don’t make the bird fall out of the nest! He can’t!!” He wouldn’t let it go until I changed the story altogether. Obviously then, the nestling never fell and the mommy and daddy and baby bird lived happily ever after in their cozy nest. The end.
As I finished, Henry thanked me. “You mixed up my feelings and made them all ok again,” he said. And this really gave me something to consider.
We never want the part where we fall and things are hard, and for a while they even seem dark and looming and impossible to overcome. Of course we don’t. We hate that part. It makes us want to cry and scream, “It’s too scary! I can’t!!” But here’s the thing:
There’s no great story without the fall, and there’s no amazing ending with out the Rescue.
In between, there’s no great plot without the great writer orchestrating all of the details and crafting a reality that none of us could dream up on our own. Without the noticing. Without the calls for help. Without the tugging at our hearts to choose what we know deep down to be the very truest bit of it all, that we have a Creator who made us and sees us and knows when we sit…when we stand…when we fall. And He has sent a great Rescuer on our behalf to scoop us up and put us back. Home. Where we belong. Right with our Father.
“But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6.30-33
He cares for us. He cares for us. He cares for us.
Far more than the birds of the air or the flowers of the field, and yet He cares for them, too. Tonight is a perfect tidbit of proof.
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6.34
We worry and we fret over the details…big and small…that we’re not sure He sees. But He sees them, I promise you. He covers them, I promise you. And He longs for us to tune in to an awareness and knowledge of Him that He can use for good. Nothing goes unnoticed by the Father. Even when it seems impossible. Even when we fall and fall hard. It’s really an incredible story.
humbly asking to be your hands and feet tonight, God, and to hear your voice even in a whisper. even in a helpless baby bird, a mother crying out, a boy who desperately seeks a happy ending to your great story.