Monday, June 1, 2015

A Little Bird Told Me



Ever since I was a very small child, I loved watching birds.  I would wake up with them!  I remember sitting at the front picture window very, very early in the morning watching the robins as they hopped around the blades of grass glistening with dew.   The robins would tilt their heads to listen for worms and suddenly snatch one up!  This little girl's fascination didn't stop there...  On warm summer evenings, after a fresh bath, I would put on crisp pajamas and crawl into bed for an early bedtime of 7:30 p.m.  As the sun would set, I loved falling asleep to the sound of the Robin's beautiful night song which would fill the air with such comforting sounds.

I still love listening to the different bird songs that fill my backyard.

There is a particular bird that sings in the springtime and autumn that always makes me laugh when I hear it because it sounds like an old man whistling.

I find the mockingbird so fascinating as it imitates different noises.  One summer, the mockingbird was imitating a car alarm!

In the middle of the night, warm summer breezes blow through open windows, carrying with it the sound of a lone bird calling in the distance, and such peace washes over me.

As the sun begins to rise and with its setting, the bird's song seems to be the most exuberant and cheerful.

I sat and pondered this... whether I face each new day with singing and rejoicing or do I complain and dread the day.  Or... as I lay my head to sleep, do I rejoice in the day that the Lord had given me, praising Him for His many blessings or am I weary from burdens, grumbling as I fall asleep...

I confess that too often, when I become fully awake and aware, all my troubles seem to come flying back into my head after being tucked away while I slept.  And at bedtime, I can find myself presupposing what the next day will be like, borrowing trouble.

The attitude of my heart should instead sing aloud of His steadfast love in the morning.  Psalm 59:16 

My heart should never be lacking in praise to my God and Father.  No matter what my circumstances are, there are always reasons to praise Him; most especially for His unfailing love for me!  Starting my morning with praise on my lips to the Lord will set the tone for the rest of the day.

My mornings should begin with prayer and time in the Word.  Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust.  Make me to know the way I should go for to you I lift up my soul. Psalm 143:8

Every verse in God's word speaks of His steadfast love for me.  To begin my day remembering I am wholly loved by Almighty God, brings confidence to the day, a day I don't have to face alone, but with God, my ever-present Help.  Through prayer and the Word, I can seek God's will for my day, and He will direct my steps in the way I should go.

In the morning, I must commit my day to the Lord to be a pleasing sacrifice as I seek to obey and walk with Him.  In the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.  Psalm 5:3 

Whenever I have committed my day to the Lord, including Him in my thoughts and decisions, I am always amazed how much better the day goes.  I am more tranquil and content. The sacrifice of committing my day to the Lord is truly something that I can watch unfold throughout the day as I see His blessings surround me.

When I've started out my day in praise, prayer and Scripture reading, the blessings of the day will naturally outflow into evening.

In peace I will both lie down and sleep, for you alone, O Lord make me to dwell in safety.  Psalm 4:8

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The trees and bushes in our backyard seem to come alive on a rainy day with the birds proclaiming loudly their individual songs.  I love to have the window open; their cheerful songs brightening my mood despite the rain.

I thought about this one day as I listened to the rain drops bouncing off the deck outside; the birds singing as if it were a beautiful sunny day.   Do I sing loudly and cheerfully when adversity is pouring down or do my complaints rise above the pitch of everything else.  The answer more often than not is that I complain.

My form of processing problems is to talk through them.  I don't hold things in that are bothering me.  Instead, I need to talk about them.  Unfortunately, this form of processing can turn into complaining which accomplishes nothing, and is a poor testimony to those around me.

Non-Christians are always watching those of us they know are Christ-followers.  They watch how we handle everything!  Especially when trials or difficult people come our way.

This morning I was reading Philippians 1:12 when Paul said, "I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the Gospel."  Paul was talking about his imprisonment.   It started me thinking about our own imprisonments.  We aren't behind actual bars, but there are many things in life that can feel like imprisonment or bondage such as anxiety, addiction, affliction, depression.  All of these circumstances can make us feel very alone.  But through Christ, we can overcome despite these trials, and it is through this testimony of a peace that surpasses all understanding, that we too advance the Gospel...

In the last ten years, I have been struck with two very humbling afflictions...

The first one occurred after several falls onto my tailbone which rendered me at the outset unable to sit in a normal chair without the aid of a special cushion with a whole cut out where the tailbone would sit.  It was very humbling, especially at church, to be a fairly young woman who needed to carry a special pillow around just to be able to sit through the service.  There were many times that I would have to get up and stand at the back of the church.  By nature, I don't like to draw attention to myself or have all eyes on me.  My pride was being sorely tested, and there were definitely times of woe is me and much complaining...   But God in His wonderful mercy helped me to accept this affliction, giving me a sense of humor about it.  God has a sense of humor too!  I ended up having to move on to a special chair that I found at Target which was perfect and mobile, but the only color they had was red!!  And so there I would come, my RED chair in tow, and set up camp at the back of the church.

By the strength of the Lord, He blessed me with a humble attitude and an acceptance of the situation; a true testimony of God's faithfulness in adversity.

The second affliction occurred about three years ago when I suddenly developed a blocked tear duct.  At this point in life, the only course of action to correct a blocked tear duct is surgery.  But unfortunately, there are lasting side effects from the surgery that are worse than what I am currently dealing with.  So, for now, I have chosen to forgo surgery.  When I first realized what this diagnosis meant, I was to the point of despairing.  Despairing from the aggravation of dealing with it for the rest of my life and from embarrassment being around people who didn't know why my eye was tearing all the time.

In my current role as an itinerant Pastor's wife, I would become quite apprehensive when visiting a new congregation as I wanted to be gracious in my role, engaging the congregation, but my pride and vanity wanted me to go sit at the back of the church and have nothing to do with anyone...

After a time, the Lord showed me a way to deal with the problem which actually prevented aggravation of the tearing and seemed to curtail my need of dealing with it to only on an every 15 minute basis, using a small mirror and a Q-tip.  My ophthalmologist was quite curious about my system and asked me to demonstrate so that he could share with other patients who also have a blocked tear duct.

God has pruned me through this affliction, gently humbling me, and teaching me acceptance and grace along the way.

In both instances, I hope that those who are watching me, in my affliction, will discern a singing  spirit within me so that God would be glorified and that those who don't have a personal relationship with Christ would desire the same peace that only He can give through accepting His free gift of salvation.

Birds have brought me joy throughout my life, and it pleased the Lord to use those same sweet creatures to teach me lessons for singing His praises and to walk in obedience with Him.

Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heav'n and home,
When Jesus is my portion?  My constant friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

I sing because I'm happy, I sing because I'm free,
For His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me

"Let not your heart be troubled."  His tender word I hear, 
and resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears;
Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

I sing because I'm happy, I sing because I'm free,
For His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me

His Eye Is on the Sparrow, Civilla D. Martin



38 comments:

  1. Bless your heart, Karen. I am so sorry about your afflictions. It is such a blessing to see that you are "gleaning" much spiritual good from them, and how blessed we are that you pass along those treasures to us here. You are a blessing!

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    1. Awe, Cheryl, you have blessed me so much with your sweet, encouraging comments!

      I can certainly still have my moments, but the Lord continues to remind me that "His strength is greater than my weakness."

      Thank you for visiting!

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  2. Thank you for sharing your story in real life terms... sometimes the road we walk is not easy, and certainly damaging to our pride, but I am confident that what plan the Lord has for your life, the blessings will far outweigh the difficulties you have been through. Your post speaks of hope in spite of affliction, of joy in spite of pain, of hope in spite of despair. May the Lord continue to bountifully bless you in spite of the difficulties in your pathway, and may many be blessed :)

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind and enouraging words. They mean so much.

      I remember a quote from Charles Spurgeon which spoke about how the Lord allows trials chosen specifically for us for the purpose of growing our faith in a particular area, bringing us blessings and Him Glory.

      Thanks for visiting!

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  3. Karen, this is beautiful. I will think of your post when I hear the birds singing in my yard. I also thought of one of my fave Psalms: Psalm 30: verse 5 "Weeping may come for the night, but joy comes with the morning." Blessed to be your neighbor over at Holly's place today!

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    1. Thank you Tara for such kind words.

      Yes, I have found much solace in the verse you shared

      God's love for us is so evident everywhere.

      Thanks for visiting!

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  4. Karen, thank you for this beautiful post...love the details about sweet birds, and the analogies of how our Father cares for us, even in our afflictions, with the much-more special care than He even shows the sparrows...I will remember your gentle words when I see these beautiful creatures...many blessings to you ❤️

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    1. Beth, your kind words have blessed me.

      Our Heavenly Father's special care never ceases to amaze me.

      Thank you for visiting!

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  5. Thank you for this encouragement Karen! I think we could all use a lesson from the birds! Thank you for sharing with us on the Art of Home-Making Mondays :)

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    1. It's a joy to link up at the Art of Homemaking Monday's.

      Thank you for visiting!

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  6. What a lovely post and a lovely blog. It's peaceful here.
    Blessings,
    Laura of Harvest Lane Cottage

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    1. Laura, Thsnk you so much for your kind words.

      I'm so glad you visited!

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  7. Amen, Karen! Beautiful, beautiful post. The Lord really has blessed you with a writing gift and trials and experiences to write about with it! It's wonderful how you give Him the glory through it all :)
    (P.S. Will be in touch soon with a date for your other post - sorry it's taking so long to organize!)

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    1. Awe Lois your words really blessed and encouraged me.

      No worries. I am humbled that you have asked me to share on your blog. :-)

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  8. I've been thinking a lot, too, about how I go to bed and how I awaken in the morning. Where is my heart? Am I ready for praise or am I bogged down in darkness and complaining. I love how you used the example of the birds - it's a good visual reminder to sing praises - all the time. I'm praying for God's healing of your tear duct!

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    1. Jen, Praising God for His encouragement through the example of the birds.

      Thank you very much for praying for my tear duct situation.

      I have been blessed by your visit.

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  9. We are sharing the bird theme today! Thanks for joining in #livefreeThursday. <3

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    1. I noticed that! I couldn't believe when I went to link up and saw your post. :-)

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  10. Karen I have a dear friend who has a permanently blocked tear duck. I am so proud of her for stepping outside it and not locking herself away. She will right away after meeting you will say, with a laugh, don't think I am crying over what you said, then explain her eye problem. I could not help but wonder if God intended to draw attention to you so others could see how you suffer well. It's something we all need to see for all of us in sometime in our life will suffer, some chronically. Bless you for writing about this...

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    1. Thank you for sharing your friends story.

      The Lord certainly does redeem everything in His children's lives.

      Thank you for your kind words.

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  11. You're right! We both wrote about birds and how their songs inspire us :). It's nice to meet a fellow bird-appreciator :). I think one of my favorite bird songs is the hermit thrush--it's so sweet and flute-like and it always stops me in my tracks and makes me pause and ponder God's incredible love for all creation--that he would gift a plain brown birds with the most marvelous of songs--just because.

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    1. Oh! I need to make time to read your post! Someone else had also written about birds this week on another link up.

      I don't know if I've ever heard the bird you spoke of, but I know the feeling of stopping to listen to a beautiful bird song.

      The Lord certainly does bless us through His creation.

      Thanks for visiting!

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  12. Thanks for you encouraging post! God bless you

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    1. Ariella, Thank you for stopping by and sharing your kind words. :-)

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  13. So thankful that you can continue even with your troubles.Birds are wonderful teachers. Thanks for sharing. Visiting from Simple Moments.

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    1. Rebecca, Praising God for His tender mercies.

      Indeed they are!

      So glad you stopped by. :-)

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  14. Karen, this post made my heart smile. Thank you!

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    1. Sharita, Praising God that your heart found encouragement. :-)

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  15. What a beautiful and encouraging post Karen, thank you so much for sharing this with us at Good Morning Mondays. I really like that song "His Eye Is On the Sparrow" and am reminded of Matthew 6:26. Blessings

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    1. Terri, Thank you so much for your very kind words.

      Me too!

      Indeed, how much more He cares and provides for us.

      I'm so glad you stopped by for a visit. :-)

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  16. I love this post. I love to listen to the birds and to watch them as well. We currently have a nest in our dryer vent which is a little too close...as soon as the babies fly away we will clean it out and block the access somehow. Lately, I have begun bible reading once again after years of being away from the word of the Lord. It seems as if every time I open the book or tune in to some one who is quoting the book, I hear scripture about singing. I think it means that there is rejoicing that I am back.

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    1. Awe. Praising God that you have found your way back to the Lord.

      Luke 15 speaks about much rejoicing for those who return to the Lord. Indeed their is singing! :-)

      Thank you for sharing your story and for your kind words.

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  17. Everything in nature contains a love letter to us from Him - and the bird songs - those, too! Learning to laugh at ourselves in the midst of our challenges - that is a gift from God. Thank you for sharing your heart, your challenges - and God in those challenges! Beautiful as a birdsong!

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    1. Awe. Thank you so much for your kind words!

      I'm so happy you stopped by. :-)

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  18. I love to listen to the birds in the morning, and it reminds me to rise up and give God the praise He is due! Thanks for sharing at The Weekend Brew!

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    1. Thank you for sharing about your own love of listening to the birds in the morning and the praise to the Lord it brings about. :-)

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  19. What a beautiful post! Thank you for sharing your heart with us at Waiting on...Wednesday!

    Holly @ www.iwillservewhileiwait.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you Holly. Looking forward to being a part of the community. 😊

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