Discovering a nest in our old garage was a turning point in my personal fears.
I spotted the little crib of twigs while on the treadmill. I was not looking out of my window. It was right in front of me in the shelf unit, under the TV nestled in the middle of the exercise DVDs. I wanted to remove it the day before, but a little wren had already laid her eggs and was, by nature, going to be returning.
And that she did.
A beautiful and unique version of the classic.
"HIS EYE IS ON THE SPARROW"
His eye is on the wren as well.
I watched those eggs every day and often caught her squatting on them, staring at me with that motherly don’t-even-think-about-it stare that all living mother-creatures share. I was amazed that she often didn't move at all when I got on the treadmill! I checked on them daily.
One morning, I popped in a Star Trek DVD to distract myself, turned on the motor, and was about to start my walk when I heard *CHIRP CHIRP CHIRP* screaming over the familiar opening monologue.
There they were, wee-little naked baby birds, yelling at me for food. I couldn’t help them, but I knew she’d be back because the crafty thing had found a way to get under the garage door.
I took pictures daily after that, but none of them came out very well as that is NOT my talent ... adding to the charm that naked wren babies blur up quite a bit in photos. Yeah, I know. That was my fault too. ANY-way! I was shocked to see how quickly they grew their feathers.
(This is not an empty nest; look closely!)
How birds teach a lesson about life
Two days later, after Dave returned from a trip, I came out and saw one caught in the immobile treadmill belt towards the front. I panicked. He’d tried to fly a little too early; he was stuck, but he was okay.
I am pretty sure I was the one worried about bird-death-by-treadmill, but I gently put him back in his nest. No, mama didn’t kick him out later because she smelled my scent. I’ll bet you never knew that was an old wives tale (I didn't!). Believe me; I checked it several times because I was nervous myself.*
Birds can’t even smell that well, let alone care about the human odour. Wildlife Preservation says it is okay to touch baby birds. He was just fine and happy to be with his sibs.
One day I caught one napping with its feathers ruffled, and I knew it was just a few days from a flight. I had no idea how quickly this process happens. I am sure some of you moms out there agree!
I was fearful for that little guy, but I didn't need to be. In this small part of my world, I got a peek into theirs. And I also got to witness "birds of the air" becoming fully formed (Genesis 1:26-28). And it occurred to me, after running around trying to save baby birds, that there is no room for fear in my life as well.
God is love.
When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God, and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love .
1 John 4:18, MSG
It was a beautiful, sunny day the morning I went to the garage, opened the garage door, peeked into the nest area, and watched the inevitable happen. WHOOSH! The one who fell out of the nest was tired of seeing my big ol’ face and figured it was about time he used his wings. I’m glad I had opened the main door because this little guy took OFF! I watched for a while and then finally saw him in the tree/fence that bordered our yard from the Water Company’s area close to our house.
I went back to the nest and noticed the next one was on the edge of the shelf, teetering. The little guy's first flight took him to my suitcase, then he made it over to my shelf of notebooks and finally flew as close to the outside as possible without actually getting there. He tried to light on the mop bucket and almost fell in the dirty water. I wanted to save him, but I stopped myself (he probably flew out of there because he saw me budge anyway).
It took the third a little longer to leave the nest. It sat on the edge of the shelf forever, looking scared out of its mind. David had come out to watch with me. We stood a reasonable distance so we wouldn’t freak it out. Then the little dude lit on the treadmill. That’s when I noticed he had a little wispy-haired mo-hawk.
Although it took a good deal of time to get out of the nest, this is the one who explored our entire porch - our bikes, our hammocks, our picnic table. It finally flit from the garage area to the tree to hang out with mama and her pals.
I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you,
plans to give you the future you hope for.
Jeremiah 29:11, MSG
I should mention that we saw mama watch all of this from a branch above our driveway. She flitted a little, but she was stealth mama. She kept swooping up and down to check them out, possibly seeing if their wings were working. :-)
How amazing that we got to witness all of this; I considered it an enormous blessing.
I told you this little story for a big reason.
Activities with kids to see His eye on the sparrow.
WHEN FEAR OVERCOMES YOU
I learned a big lesson from those tiny wrens, but God had been telling me all along. I don't know about you, but sometimes I need a shoulder tap reminder of how God takes care of his children, even when we don’t know or believe He’s watching.
God even instructed Joshua to "be strong and courageous" in front of an enemy that would have made him tremble with frailty and panic if it had not been for God’s persuasive note of His nearness and, not to mention, His power (I think he had to tell him over and over just in chapter one!).
God is always asking us to do things we don't consider that we can accomplish, isn't He? Well, duh, without Him, we certainly can’t! He calls us to have near incredible strength and stamina because, seriously, when it all comes down, we have to recognise that those were never deeds we would have been able to accomplish on our own.
He calls us to step out in faith and trust that He is going to be there to catch us when we fall or put the path itself right under our feet. We can begin it, but He is the one who finishes and SUCCEEDS in the powerful, powerful work in our lives.
"Birds find nooks and crannies in your house,
sparrows and swallows make nests there.
They lay their eggs and raise their young,
singing their songs in the place where we worship.
God-of-the-Angel-Armies! King! God!
How blessed they are to live and sing there!"
Psalm 84:3-4, MSG
What to do about fear...
What is your fear? Fear of abandonment? Fear of death? Fear of flying? Fear of public speaking?
Don't know what to do about that fear? I am dealing with a little fear myself right now, so I am sharing with you what to do when fear overcomes you. Why? Maybe I'll take some time, in His time, to remember the little birds.
God is not the only one who cares for sparrows. It's a little Debbie-Downer, but birds of prey like to capture and feed on them, little boys have been known to torment them, and adults have whined about how they propagate and sometimes viewed them as pests. Yet, Jesus said, "not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father's will" (Matt. 10:29).
If God is concerned about the little sparrow, how much higher must His attention be for man, who is vastly greater in importance to Him than that itty-bitty bird!
It is fascinating that Jesus picked the most common of all creatures to teach a wise truth: in God's eyes, no one is irrelevant!
One of my favourite versions; makes me cry every time.
If you got here because you were looking for the Bible verse is ... there is not one that says it exactly. But there are many that say what to do about fear, how to deal with fear, and how to turn to God when fear overcomes you.
His "eye is on the sparrow" as the famous old song suggests ... is not a new thought.
But I had forgotten.
And I'm telling you.
Don't you ever forget!