Like a mama bird

I recently have had the privilege to watch a mama bird on her nest. Watching this particular bird meant something to me. It started with amusement and grew into a sense of respect. It taught me more about the character of God and his love for us.

A few weeks ago I was upset that some of my shrubs did not survive our harsh winter. After trying to nurse my shrubs back to health with love, fertilizer and talking to them, I realized how futile it was and ripped them out of the ground in one easy pull. This was an affirmation that the roots were dead and beyond nurture. That alone spoke to me about letting go and not holding on in life when clearly it is time to move on. But none the less, I took my very dead plants and all the dreams of the beautiful blossoms that I had believed would come, and I threw it in the trash...failed dreams and all. I should mention that I have a hard time letting go. I hold on and become emotionally attached when others would not. So choosing to accept that these shrubs were not going to make a comeback was a moment for me. Self awareness has taught me so much over the last few years. I watered the rest of my plants, willing them to thrive (also fertilizing them to ensure they will thrive) and then I went on with my morning and went to work that afternoon. I called my husband on my supper break and he informed me that a Killdeer had laid 3 eggs in the largest hole from my failed shrubs and was now sitting on her eggs. I could hardly believe it.

Behind our house is a path and a protected green space with a small creek and a park. It has fairly high foot traffic and bikers. So it really surprised me that she would nest so close to the path. However, her eggs do camouflage beautifully into the surrounding black granite rock we put down this spring.

Growing up in the country, my mother taught me about the Killdeer. The Killdeer is a graceful and elegant bird with unique mannerisms. They will often try to lead you in the opposite direction away from their nest or their babies. They are also highly dramatic. If you come too close to their nest, they pretend to be injured. They throw themselves to the ground and spread out their wings making it appear that they are injured with a broken wing. They squawk and chirp loudly in an attempt to draw your attentions onto themselves and away from their vulnerable eggs or babies. Growing up, I would watch them every spring as I had a long walk to the school bus every day. And I have loved watching these graceful, dramatic birds. And be careful, if you are not leaving mama birds’ space alone, and she feels really threatened, she will puff up her wings and charge at you. How very brave for such a small creature.

We have had a tumultuous spring with high winds, heavy downpours and heat warnings. I have kept a close watch on my mama bird as I can see her nest from my sun room. Rain or downpour, wind or hail, she never left her nest. In bad weather she would spread her wings a bit wider and never leave her post. With no thought to her own life, she faithfully watches her eggs. I could not help but think about Psalm 91:4. It speaks about how God watches over us. “He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.” That mama bird is a beautiful image of selfless love that protects at all costs. Love that would sacrifice herself to save her babies. What dedication.

Christ loves us like that.

He is our protection. He does not abandon us in hard seasons or threatening circumstances. He loves us and did sacrifice himself to save us. Think about that the next time you see a bird flying.

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