We slathered the used milk cartons with crunchy peanut butter. Hands covered with nuts and cream. Pudgy cheeks smeared with the stuff. Chunks of it on the table and chairs. Lips smacked with “extras”.
I didn’t remember it being that messy when I watched my daughter’s preschool class do it. The making of bird feeders.
It got worse. Then we covered them with bird seed. I knew the best way but my children had their own style. The seeds rolled and found their way to cracks in between sections of the table and our hardwood floor.
I went with it..
The kids were too happy to take part in the caring for God’s creation. I didn’t want to ruin this. Since the beginning of winter they’ve been feeding, watching and recording the birds.
Binoculars, camera and field guide are always in sight and ready.
(I can’t take credit for the tufted titmouse photo. My titmouse photos are blurry so this is by Steve Muise/Farmington, Maine).
The tufted tit-mouse is our favorite. A family of them are our wild pets.
We’ve hung the feeders all over our backyard and two by our playroom window.
It’s as if we’ve opened our backyard gate wide to the entire neighborhood of birds. It is their playground.
We watch them come and go and chirp about our food. They visit and feed off of us. The cardinal often lingers, cocks his head and looks at us as if to say, “Who are we that you should take care of us?”
During the beginning of the last snow just this past week, I was mesmerized by the incredible flakes falling and how quickly they made a brand new blanket of white fluff in my backyard. How they covered, once again, our muddy footprints and sled tracks making everything new.
As I wondered about how our bird-friends were, they appeared. One after another they came…descended upon our feeders. For thirty minutes I enjoyed watching winged creatures dodge giant flakes and eat peanut butter.
And then it finally happened. After a month of not writing on my blog, something stirred my heart. This cold white winter had left me feeling closed up, like our house. Longer darker hours to the day lead me inward. It is a time for me to reflect on how I spend my time and how I want to go forward.
But, as it so often does, watching God’s creation and being in nature moved me.
The open gate in the backyard, the heavy wide flakes of snow, the pecan trees lined perfectly with white, the blood red cardinal cocking his head at me.
I went to my computer…I had just received an e-mail. A friend I’ve never met but who is always there…in the blogosphere. She encouraged me in a gentle way in my writing and at just the right time. She said that she prays for me. It was just the nudge I needed after the bird-watching.
So here I am. Telling you the story of how living or writing or anything you are called to do is for the birds. And I mean that in a good way.
The birds are such dainty fragile looking things aren’t they? They are so small. The winter is so harsh. Their legs are just two little twigs. Where do they take shelter in this mess of winter? What would they eat if it weren’t for our peanut butter cartons?
And we are so much the same. We are the birds. We re dependent creatures, needing provisions. Sometimes I feel fragile and small. Life can be harsh. I see friends hurting and dying. There are areas of my life that seem hanging out there…unsure. My legs, frail at times. There are moments in life when I’ve wondered…how will we make it?
I guess the answer to these questions about us and the birds are ones we already know. God takes care of his creation.
“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 6:26).
We make it, ultimately, through His promises in His Word…always fulfilled for his creatures of great value. His truths sustain us and strengthen us. He opens his gate wide and we make it by His provision. He slathers on the blessings like peanut butter on a milk carton for the cold and weary birds. Often we see that most clearly in the winters of our lives. Winter provision.
Sometimes He feeds the birds through His direct provision of seeds and insects. Sometimes He provides through people putting out food. He uses people.
He often does that for us too. He provides for our physical and spiritual needs through others. I saw that this past week through a friend reaching out. And it brought to mind how He has provided for me in other ways like this. Thank you to the one who encouraged me this week and to those who have encouraged me and have provided for me in a thousand ways in the past.
I’m so thankful for God’s provision of family, church and life friends. For those who blog with me. For a community of ladies to study the bible with each day…Women in the Word. For my husband.
But it isn’t all about me receiving. May I respond to God’s call to build others up. “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear “(Ephesians 4:29).
Giving grace to another is not always easy…but it is probably easier than making a peanut butter bird feeder.
Who can I give a word of grace to today? How does God want to use me to provide for another? Who can I open my gate wide to…welcome into my life more?
I am asking myself these questions today…join me?
Linking up this week with: