Psalm 8 (the message)
God, brilliant Lord,
yours is a household name.
Nursing infants gurgle choruses about you;
toddlers shout the songs
That drown out enemy talk
and silence atheist babble.
I look up at your macro-skies, dark and enormous,
your handmade sky-jewelry,
Moon and stars mounted in their settings.
Then I look at my micro-self and wonder,
Why do you bother with us?
Why take a second look our way?
Yet we’ve so narrowly missed being gods,
bright with Eden’s dawn light.
You put us in charge of your handcrafted world,
repeated to us your Genesis-charge,
Made us lords of sheep and cattle,
even animals out in the wild,
Birds flying and fish swimming,
whales singing in the ocean deeps.
God, brilliant Lord,
your name echoes around the world.
This morning, as my family began to stir, my husband and I took our morning cup of coffee onto to the porch. We have lived in this house for almost 11 years, and every spring I enjoy seeing how much the trees in our yard have matured. I’m not a real outdoors person, although being married to my husband has taught me to appreciate the simple things in nature that I never cared to pay attention to most of my life. As Shannon, my husband, finished his coffee he got up to walk around the yard. He surveys his garden daily. Then he just walks around checking on the various plants and bushes around our house. Last weekend he made a rain barrel for us to use in watering.
Because he loves to be outside and his childhood was full of lessons about nature and growing things, he was the first to notice a bird’s nest on the branch of one of our pine trees. As my girls follow him around the yard, stooping when he stoops and listening to what he teaches them, I feel grateful for the memories they will take into adulthood. Our little girls already have an appreciation for nature and the outdoors that only comes from being well-watered and tended to themselves by a daddy who relishes their interest.
Soon enough my oldest daughter, Rivers, came running over to me wild with excitement because they had watched the mother bird feed the baby birds. As I walked over and stood beneath the pine tree with my girls, I myself watched this dainty mother wren (per my husband!) fly back and forth across my front yard and then make her way back up to her chirping offspring. I’ll be 35 in September and I realized I had never seen a mother bird feeding her babies before! And I knew why. I never took the time before. I never really cared.
As I stood beneath the tree, witness to the simplicity of nature, I was reminded in my heart by my Heavenly Father of Jesus’ words about the sparrows. If God cares for the birds in the sky, how much more does He care for me? See, lately life has felt a bit crowded. I have been fighting the pressure of busyness. Struggling at times against the forces of the mental ticker tape that comes with responsibility. But this morning, I knew that the emails could wait. The laundry and kitchen floor could wait. The much-needed trip to the grocery store could wait. In just the few minutes I took to stand in my pj’s looking up into the morning sky to watch the birds and better yet share the moment with my daughters, I felt a bit of the nearness to my Creator that I long for.
I don’t know how to manage my life, really. I don’t know how to do all the things that need, or I think need, to be done. I know what God has placed in me to do, but I don’t know how to make all of the pieces fit together. Honestly, that is why my blog writing has slowed down lately. I am acutely aware of this season I am in…the meshing of what God has placed in my life with my personal inability to do it.
Even now, as I sit outside writing, listening to the sounds of chirping birds and watching the shadows of the trees sway across my deck, I know that like the mother wren, I am meant to give myself away but soar all the while. I am almost certain that in the end, God is calling me to deeper dependence on Him. To a place I have yet to experience. I have learned a lot over the past couple of years about surrender, or at least more than I had known. But now I think that I am fighting against a different kind of surrender. Surrendering the order I long for. Surrendering my need for routine and comfort in what has worked in the past. The truth is God enables me to do what He asks of me. But I want Him to rain down the fairy dust so I can do it all and have time and space left over for the bird-watching moments. Perhaps one of the hardest lessons of my life right now is that I won’t be able to do “it all.” Women especially fall into this trap of thinking they can and should be able to do everything really well…the career, the immaculate house, the mothering, the girlfriends, the marriage, the appearance and weight, the volunteering, and on and on. But as I think about the mother wren, and really the rest of creation, God sweetly enables them to do what they are supposed to do. The mother wren has the wings to fly and the beak to snatch up the worm and return to her nest. Fish swim, snakes slither, frogs hop, sun shines, moon glows, wind blows, waves crash, rain falls, trees bear fruit, gardens grow, and life goes on and on. No where else in creation do you find the created toiling to do more or differently than what they were created for.
I know what God created me to do. And I know life pushes more and more at me all the time. Reality. I can’t ignore the house or the groceries or the emails. But somewhere in the midst of living I am thirsty to be free. Free from the unfair and unrealistic lie that I should be able to do it all at once and really well with time left over and a smile. So, where does that leave me this Sat morning? With the reality of choices…the very act that separates us from the rest of creation. My free will. I long to choose Jesus. In every thing and in every way. I long to soar while I give. To let the pressures and false beliefs of “having it all” fall away. I’m not made to “have it all” or “do it all.” I was fashioned to have a daily encounter with Jesus and let Him lead me in the rest.
I long for more days like today. I long to walk back into my house, counters cluttered and floor needing to be mopped, and smile a satisfied smile because I chose to do what I was made to do first. After my bird-watching, I turned to Psalm chapter 7 which led me to 8. And there it was…the breath of God breathed out in words articulating the God of Creation! His macro sky and my micro self. All of the splendor of God echoed throughout and within creation. The sweetest reminder that I am the created. He crafted me with a purpose and for His own enjoyment.
Creator-God, show me the way to live my life soaring in all you called me to be…