We have a swallow’s nest above our backyard garage door. Yes, a newbie homeowner mistake, for sure. We should have torn it down the second they started building! The droppings are horrible and having birds dive-bombing around our heads when we try to go out the back door makes us wish we had fought harder for them to find another place to call home.
Having said that, as with all of creation, there are lessons to be learned watching these birds and I’m thankful for how God uses all He has made to turn our hearts toward Him…in praise, in wonder and even just in echoing the cry of our own souls. This past week, I felt like I was looking at my own life while I watched these birds out of my family room window.
One of the five babies fell out of the nest. He must have floated down on his wings of fluff, because he was in one piece when we saw him on the ground. But he still couldn’t fly and hopped around for several days from one spot to another. All the while, the mama fed him. It really was the sweetest thing to see…this little guy perched on the stake of our dog run with his mouth wide open just waiting for his turn to eat, while mama bird flew between the nest and him.
In a little over a month, three of my chicks will leave the nest. I don’t fear that they will float to the ground, unable to fly. I know we’ve given them the skills they need to live and I’m pretty sure the college cafeterias will keep their bellies filled. But there is a piece of my heart that still wants to hover, still wants to speak into their lives…still wants to “feed them” my thoughts, opinions, suggestions and desires.
Yet, I am finding that the wisest thing I can do these days is direct my thoughts, opinions, suggestions and desires to the Lord. My heart cries out, sometimes multiple times a day, for the Lord to be their all…for Him to be the one they “open their mouths” for as they navigate this new season filled with lots of unknowns, opportunities, and temptations. Their food must be the Word of God. Their desires must come from the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Their freedom must find its boundary in the safety of the sheep pen, where the Shepherd is the Savior of their souls.
The nest will no longer be their primary residence, and my desire to nurture these children of mine is working hard to find its satisfaction in clinging to the Creator and Sustainer of the very ones I have spent decades pouring into. Though millions have gone before me in this endeavor of “letting go”, I find the waters of my heart still stirred up a bit, like the ocean after a storm. Yet I know that I’m only letting go of my perceived grip. I’m really just falling back into the arms that have held me from the womb and praying those same arms would hem my dear children in “behind and before” and He would lay His hands upon them. They have always been His…they have simply been on loan to me.
The Pichura nest will soon have more room in it and our table will seat a few less people to feed. There are bound to be adjustments. But there is One constant that has not changed and will never change. There is One who will never leave or forsake them. One who can quench their thirst and feed their souls, not just for a meal but for eternity. One in whom I pray my kids cling to as the anchor of their souls.
They may be leaving the nest, but they can stay safe in the shadow of His wings.
“The one who lives under the protection of the Most High dwells in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” He Himself will deliver you from the hunter’s net, from the destructive plague. He will cover you with His feathers; you will take refuge under His wings. His faithfulness will be a protective shield.” Psalm 91:1-4