Tuesday, May 12, 2009
When I first made a personal commitment to God and accepted Christ as my Saviour it was only 12 years ago. I had grown up in church, learned all about God, been confirmed, but I didn't get it. It wasn't until 12 years ago where I wanted to understand, wanted something more, and knew that it was through a relationship with God. And when I did, everything changed. Sometimes it was rather difficult, sometimes things turned upside down and there were times when I wondered what I had gotten myself into. I went through comparing my spirituality to how others heard God, and how others prayed, and how others sought God in their lives. How he spoke to them, how they heard them. My life was a constant comparison. I thought God was speaking to me, but it didn't seem as powerful as others talked about. I knew he was there guiding and prodding me or making me think of something and yet, I still doubted that it was him.
There have been a series of challenges I have faced with God, alcoholism in my family, my own alcoholism, rape, divorce, depression, life's challenges, and through all the years looking back I began to see his work in my life, his hands on me, I couldn't doubt it anymore. It made no sense to challenge it or think it was my own actions, my own doing. It made more sense to be thankful. To accept it. And so I began my journey of praise. Praise for everything that God brought to me. Praise for the challenges that were going to make me stronger, praise for the joy, the sadness, the good, the bad. Praise for it all. And my relationship with God became one of wonder. I look and see things differently. I have a sense of wonder about what is possible through God, what he can do in our lives, who he can touch through us and with us. I can and more often have peace in even the most difficult of circumstances. I am not saying that I always get it right, that every day is a good day because it isn't. But I can in the course of the turmoil reflect back on all of my interactions with God and know that together we can get through this one, we can climb that mountain, reach that peak, climb over the hill, walk around or go over the obstacle.
So, last night as I approached my 50th birthday, I was feeling a little low, a little emotional, a little sorry for myself. I don't think it had anything to do with turning 50, but everything to do with basing my life and my success on my job. I had let my job define me again, and again, I had been let down. As you know my hours were reduced to part time. I was no longer a success in my eyes. And yet, when it happened, I felt God's presence telling me it was okay, this was where he wanted me. And I began to doubt. Last night it all culminated into a tear fest.
At about midnight I awoke to the most melodious sound imaginable outside my window of our townhouse. We don't live way out in the country, where noises are to be expected. We live in the suburbs, in a townhouse community just outside the city. The bird was singing so beautifully and all I could think of was "what type of bird sings at midnight"? I couldn't sleep as this bird sang, and sang, and sang...I tried closing the window but it was swollen shut, my husband snoring next to me couldn't hear a thing. At 2:00am this nutty bird was still singing joyfully. You would think at that moment I embraced the joyful little miracle? Clearly a message from God!! NOT. I was tired, I wanted sleep. It wasn't until this morning that I saw the significance.
The next morning I got up determined to figure out what the bird was doing, what bird sings that late at night. Well, its a mockingbird. And believe it or not it holds very symbolic meaning in the many cultures. It was no surprise as I read that he symbolized adaptability, going with the flow, and finding your inner gifts. (Mockingbird) can also help you find your “sacred song” or your life’s purpose and helps you realize your inner talents. Mockingbird will help you act on it without fear.”
The evening before this wonderful song, a red capped woodpecker came to our bird feeder. We have never had one in our back yard and he came back three times. In researching the symbols of all birds, I learned that the Woodpecker symbolizes: tenacity, patience and straightforward actions. My favorite bird is the cardinal, and I come across that bird all the time. In fact, it was one of the first photos I took that I have cherished again right in my front yard. What do you think it symbolizes? He adds balance to life and shows that everything we do is important.
I know that God used my love for nature and the great outdoors to get his message through to me. He sent a beautiful birthday song at midnight to remind me of his power and love for me. He took my love of birds and my curiosity in finding out what bird would sing at midnight to give me the opportunity to read up and hear him through the reading. He gave me renewed hope on the wings of birds.
Four birds have been very visible to me over the past few months, the Eagle, the Cardinal, The Woodpecker and the Mockingbird. And they all brought messages of hope, a challenge to "Go For It' and Let Go and Let God.
"But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings." God is all around us, and we just have to listen for him to reach us in the way that works for us. Its not the same for everyone, his still small voice to me comes in the way of words, nature, and song. When in prayer time, I often feel as though I can't block everything out to let him in, so he comes to me when I am not trying so hard to hear him. He speaks to me in a way that I can comprehend and understand and through it all, I grow closer to him.
How do you hear God? Are you paying attention?