He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge… Psalm 91:4 NIV
I will be the first one to admit that some of us are a little thicker than others when it comes to seeing things that are right in front of us. I have to fall into that category most of the time. Life is so busy for me, I literally run from one thing to another without taking much notice of the blessings that are staring me right in the face. I know I miss a lot of God’s beauty this way, but with a demanding job, two children in college, animals, friends, health, and launching a writing career, there isn’t much time to slow down and smell the roses, even though they grow right in my own front yard.
To say that life is a challenge is an understatement most days. I used to joke and tell people “it’s a good day if my socks match”, or “I was in a bad mood last year”. The honest truth is that I have allowed the trappings of life to get to me. Often times my temper is short, and my anger long. At the end of the day when I climb into bed, I am exhausted. My feet hurt, my back is tired, and my brain is unable to function on anything other than sleep. Days like this are, more often than not, the norm. They have the ability to suck all of the joy from any day, any time.
Be still, and know that I am God… Psalm 46:10 NIV
He used to be a great guy. When I would come home from work every day, he greeted me in my driveway and called me ‘friend’. We would talk about Jesus, and he would ask me if I needed him to pray for anything. I liked him, a lot.
Then he got injured - seriously injured. After multiple surgeries, bouts of depression, counseling, and some heavy-duty pain medications, he changed, and not for the better.
We had a confrontation. Actually there were many, but this one was the worst.
I was on a tight deadline to finish a writing project to deliver to a waiting agent. Time was as short as the words that were not flowing from my fingers. I was anxious and frustrated. I had taken a day off from work to finish this project and it was not anywhere near the end. That’s when it happened.
He started screaming. No one was around. Nothing happened. He just hurts, both inside and out. His body is wracked with pain, and his heart is in anguish. He hates his neck brace and his cane. He hates his situation. He hates his life. And now, he hates me. Anger for the sake of anger surfaced. It was pure unadulterated rage directed at the first person that came into view.
It is a very sad situation. Fault can be easily assigned by us, but the truth is the situation simply spun out of control. In the heat of the moment I cried out to God. “Why is this happening? I am trying to write this story for you. My deadline is tomorrow. My story isn’t moving. I don’t know what to write next, and this man is yelling and screaming, keeping me from finishing this goal – a goal for You. Can’t You make him stop?”
After a moment or two, there was complete silence. I returned to my story, when out of nowhere came an idea to gift one of the main characters with a feather, signifying she had to let go of her own life in order to learn how to soar. She is a character that has trouble with trust and control. Pleased with what I had written, thankful for the peace, I got up to stretch my legs and go check the mail.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:12-14 NIV
As I crossed the lawn I noticed how brown and spotty the grass was. I made a mental note to tell the gardeners to water it better. I got the mail and turned back. Not 30 second later, I took the exact same path back across the lawn and stopped dead in my tracks. I was in shock. I stared, as if it were not real. There, on the lawn, was a beautiful blue feather.
Now, honesty compels me to tell you my very first thought. “I am not controlling!” The thought struck me as funny when I considered all I have to balance and juggle (i.e. control) on a daily basis just to keep my life in some semblance of order. I picked up the feather as a keepsake, and continued on with life. For the first time that day, I smiled.
…but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint… Isaiah 40:31 NIV
Since that day, I cannot step outside without finding at least one feather. They are everywhere. I have found them in my yard, on the street, in my car, inside my office building, on my chair, at the park, in my bedroom, in parking lots, falling from trees, stuck to my shoes… I even have friends and coworkers picking them up and bringing them to me. I have taken up praying while walking the dogs. For the most part this is my feather time (i.e my God time). I finally smartened up and started bringing a bag with me to put them in when I walk. Otherwise I get back home with a handful of feathers, dropping them as I walk like Hansel and Gretel.
In learning slowing down, appreciate the beauty around me, and taking time to breathe, I have learned to both appreciate and feel my God both around me and in me. My prayers have gone from being very formal and serious, to a free form conversational style with my best friend. Whenever I am confused about something, or trying to figure out a plot point for my books, I run it by our Father. There is nothing so small that we cannot bring to Him. When things suddenly seem to make sense to me, or a light comes on for a problem that I am having, it is almost always accompanied nowadays by at least one feather. I have hundreds of them, all sizes, shapes, and colors. I have collected them, and store them in a glass jar on my dresser. They are a constant reminder for me of the love that God has for me, the sacrifice that my own personal Savior made for me, and the future that I have because of Him.
I know without a doubt in my soul that my Father in Heaven hears me, protects me, and guides me throughout my days. He cares about everything from the biggest problem I can have, to the smallest trivial dilemma that I can make up. I had to slow down to be able to see it. With my many feathers as a tangible, visible reminder of God’s daily presence in my life, at 52 years old, I have at long last learned to let go and finally soar.
See life differently.
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