The Fingerprint

The darkened impression molded into the crumbling brick snagged my attention. The ragged brick was nestled into the wall of a fort and, upon seeing it, I sucked in a surprise breath over the precious detail. A detail many around me missed. The fingerprint of a slave.

Let me back up for a moment. You see, I finally found my mother ship. It’s in the quaint and charming town of Savannah, Georgia. I knew my history-loving bookworm self would find a treasure trove in the historic Southern town and boy, was I right. I was especially intrigued by a fact rattled off by our tour guide. “Many of the older homes and buildings in and around the outskirts of Savannah were built by slaves. In fact, if you look closely you can find some of their fingerprints in the bricks.”

And there it was staring back at me. I ran my finger over the scarred impression, marveling that such a small mark could tell such an exquisite story. I wondered whose hands had formed the old brick. What was their name? What were their dreams? Running my fingers over that precious print linked me inextricably to the past, binding an invisible cord between the nameless slave and me.

If I hadn’t been looking for that priceless fingerprint, I would have missed it completely. But thanks to my tour guide, I was alert and ready. So it is with God. Each day His Spirit reveals mysteries, comforts us and leads us straight to the heart of God. But we’re often too busy to notice…schedules to juggle, responsibilities to keep and entertainment to capture our attention. We bow down to the god of busyness, rushing here and there but missing the most exquisite details of God masterpiece. We trade God’s best for us and exchange it for headaches, exhaustion and spiritual starvation. But He won’t scream to capture our attention…instead He speaks in a gentle whisper.

 fingerprints

He’s painting a beautiful story with your life. His fingerprints are all over you, molding and revealing, leaving impressions that will remain etched into eternity. Don’t get so busy that you miss His fingerprints.

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Concrete Heart

Pinnacle Mountain State Park in Little Rock, Arkansas was a happening place to be yesterday. Everywhere I looked there were children, dogs, mothers and fathers, laughing friends, college students and the retired. It was a beautiful day to be outside.

There was also a lot of bickering, most of it coming from unwilling friends and family members being guilted into hiking to the peak of the mountain, a task that can seem a bit daunting when one looks up to see the top third of the mountain is nothing but boulders and scrub brush. The trail is marked by small tin signs numbering one through ten, a comfort when you finally see the ’10’ but a discouragement when you’ve barely passed a ‘1’ or ‘2’.

 pinnacle mountain

I had victoriously defeated my aching side and burning lungs to reach the top. On my way down and nearing the bottom, I heard a lady complaining to her friends, holding her ribs and gasping for air.

The hiker I have affectionately nicknamed Gasper groused, “Heavens, the air is so thin up here!”

Her friends scolded her, trying not to grin, “Marg, we haven’t even made it to marker one yet!”

She waved a dismissal hand and panted. “Nah, the air seems thin to me. I’d better stop.”  Her friends burst into gales of laughter and I found myself chuckling as well. Gasper had not even gone a tenth of a mile on a fairly flat trail. In fact, from her spot where she gave up, I could see the parking lot not ten feet below!

So was the air too thin? No. Unless a random person thinks Little Rock, Arkansas is the equivalent of the Rockies. Gasper could have easily made the climb. She looked healthy, fit and young. But she didn’t want to make the climb. It was obvious from the banter that she had been strong-armed into the adventure by her mountain-loving friends. She had already made up her mind that she couldn’t do it because, deep down, she really had no desire to do it.

Though Gasper made me giggle, her silly antics caused a moment of reflection. How often have I made excuses for my behavior? How often have I blamed others when fighting the heavy tug of a bad attitude? How often do we blame our mess on our families, our environment, our culture or our church? How many times have I thought, “You know, I would be a lot closer to the Lord if I wasn’t so ridiculously busy with my kids”? Or the ever popular, “This is just my personality. I can’t change it!”

Excuses and deceptions aside, here is what I have learned: I’m as close to the Lord as I want to be.

Did you get that? That one sentence, that one blaring truth will change your life if you let it. You are as close to the Lord as you want to be.

We tend to make time for things that are important to us. That’s the honest truth. Years ago, my manager said, “You have exactly what you want right now.” The scraping rawness of that statement slammed into me like a brick being thrown against an iron door. It’s true…convinctingly so.

We say we want to lose weight but when we refuse to stop eating chocolate and potato chips, we’ve made a choice. We want that food more than we want to be thin. We want to go to Disney world on vacation but we can’t seem to stop buying new clothes which keeps the financial cushion from swelling. We’ve made a choice. We want those clothes more than we want our dream vacation. We want to spend more time reading our Bibles but can’t seem to let go of checking our Facebook and Instagram accounts.

Do you see what I mean?

So when we feel unhappy or unsatisfied, somewhere along the way we’ve made a decision. We’ve traded God’s best for our own desires, a swap that always leaves us empty. We get it set in our minds that our circumstances are someone else’s fault, that we are powerless to change, that God couldn’t possibly use us, that our situation is hopeless…and on and on it goes. We replace God’s Word, His promises and His truth with a cold, muddy lie—like, freshly mixed concrete that fills our spirits, pushing everything else out.

Here’s the thing about concrete: the longer it sits, the harder it gets.

Maybe you’ve been told all your life that you’re worthless or a mistake. Perhaps you’ve been labeled by your family or coworkers as lazy, stupid or incompetent. Maybe you’ve been abused so long you think it’s what you deserve. Perhaps Satan has had such a hey day in your life that you think you’re beyond hope.

I’m as living proof to tell you that you’re none of those things. Stop believing the lies. You are not helpless. Through God’s transforming power, He can change you from the inside out. Sometimes it’s a painful process but the result is so worth it, a marked contrast like the difference between a worm and a butterfly.

Stop with the excuses. The air is not too thin for you up here on the mountain. If there are issues you need help with, demons to be fought, wounds that need to be healed, you’re not alone. I’m walking this journey with you.

You can change. God can transform you but we have to stop believing the lies and allow Him to replace those old thoughts with His truth. It’s an active participation with the Holy Spirit. Why else would He have given us so many promises in His Word about His ability to change the concrete heart if it weren’t possible for Him?

“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” ~Romans 5:1-5

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” ~2 Corinthians 5:17

What excuses do you find yourself making? Do you feel ready to let them go and let God heal the wounds you’ve been hiding?

No Fast Passes Allowed

I don’t like waiting. I’ll admit it. Especially when I sense something good just around the bend. Sometimes the anticipation is sweet. Other times it’s almost unbearable. Agonizing. Like waiting in line for Splash Mountain at Disney World in 100 degree heat. (No fast passes included.)

In 2003, at the encouragement of a friend, I sent a package of children’s songs I’d written to a publisher for consideration. I thought it would be rejected within a few weeks. It wasn’t. But it wasn’t accepted either. So I waited and waited. Then I waited some more. Weeks turned into months, months turned into years without ever hearing a word and over the course of time, I forgot that I’d ever sent it.

Last fall I received an email from the editor of said publishing house. He’d been cleaning through his office and found the packet of songs I’d sent eleven years before. Let me say that again. Eleven years! They asked if they could contract me to write some children’s music for them. I was stunned and amazed.

And here’s the thing: eleven years ago I would have said I was ready for that songwriting assignment but in truth, I wasn’t. My songwriting skills are much better now than they were then. I have a better understanding of the craft and much more experience.

We are often so eager to reach ‘it’, whatever ‘it’ is, that we grow frustrated, angry or even give up when God’s time table doesn’t match our own. We wallow in quiet desperation, thinking our dreams will never be fulfilled. Our faith shrinks and oscillates like a fan. We see what God is doing in someone else’s life and grow envious. We compare our life and talent to theirs which, by the way, never leads to happy results. But God is not calling you to be someone else. He’s calling you to be you.

God, and His will for our lives, is not constrained by time or resources. Indeed, He is actually the Giver of them.

We forget that those long stretches of waiting, if we let them, yield tremendous growth in our lives and foster a greater dependence on Him. Don’t despair. Waiting does not mean forgetting. He has not forgotten you. Not at all. Instead He’s working all things together for your good and His glory. (And in His time.)

Maybe you’ve been praying for your stubborn spouse to surrender something to God. Perhaps you’ve been on your knees asking God to help your wayward child. Perhaps you’ve cried hot tears over a broken relationship, chronic pain that makes daily living difficult or a dream you’ve laid at His feet. So you’ve waited. And waited. And prayed. And waited some more.

Take comfort, dear friend. God’s ability is not correlated to the speed with which He moves. You are not forgotten. He is the God Who sees you and when it comes to His will, there are no fast passes allowed.

Stuck on a Roller Coaster…But Not Moving

Have you ever been stuck dangling from the top of a roller coaster?

Our family recently vacationed at a theme park and, being a roller coaster aficionado, I couldn’t wait to ride the new coaster. It promised to be a dizzying, speeding bullet with large twists, loops and a stomach clenching drop.

As we rounded the corner to get in line, I stopped short with surprise. There at the top of the roller coaster’s 162 foot peak, one of the cars was stopped cold.

roller coaster

A group of engineers scurried around the car, tugging and pulling but to no avail. People around me stopped to point and gasp in surprise. After a few moments, it became clear…that car wasn’t moving. So what were the passengers instructed to do? Yep, climb down the scaffolding of the massive structure.

Can you imagine the panic? The raw fear? Keep in mind, this was no kiddie coaster. From where their car stalled, it was a 16 story drop! And many of them were barefooted, since the ride forbids flip-flops and loose footwear that can risk flying off.

I wondered if those passengers thought, Why me? Why am I the one dangling hundreds of feet in the air while others got to ride this thing all day without a hitch? It was an unexpected shock, I’m sure. And don’t you know those passengers kissed the ground when they reached bottom? All I could think was “Thank You, Lord, that it isn’t me up there!”

We’ve all heard the analogy that life is like a roller coaster: full of twists and turns, surprises and adventures. And just like a coaster, those twists are often somewhat expected.

But what about those moments when life seems to grind to a halt with shocking force? The cancer diagnosis you never expected, divorce, illness, death of a loved one or losing your job? You feel like the ride suddenly spins out of control, leaving you breathless and dangling over certain doom.

Maybe you think, Why me? Maybe fear has left you paralyzed, unable to move an inch. And then you hear an engineer say, “Uh, you’ve got one option…climb down, one step at a time.”

You know what? Not one of those passengers fell. The unexpected disaster made them face a fear that very few have faced. Though uncomfortable, it made them strong. And they ended up clinging to the very structure that had them so terrified to begin with. And now they have a story to tell! A story they will never, ever forget. They did what they had to do…and survived.

If you are currently dangling over a terrifying drop, a frightening situation, take a deep breath, cling tight and trust the Engineer. Move forward, one step at a time.

And don’t forget to kiss the ground when you’ve conquered and survived. Better yet, kiss the feet of the Savior who led You through it.

Where I Get My Characters: Quirks, Stalking and More

Barney Fife. Scarlett O’Hara. Inigo Montoya. Huckleberry Finn. Hannibal Lecter. Atticus Finch. Sherlock Holmes. Elphaba. Luke Skywalker. All great characters with vibrant and memorable personalities. All a complex mix of flaws, quirks, dreams and failures.

Here’s the thing about finding characters…predictable characters are dull characters. I think most would agree that the above characters are all interesting, memorable and larger-than-life.

So what can you do when your characters seem lifeless and limp?

1. Find a trait from someone you know as a jumping-off point.

Mark Twain based his character Huckleberry Finn almost precisely on his childhood buddy Tom Blankenship.

“In Huckleberry Finn I have drawn Tom Blankenship exactly as he was. He was ignorant, unwashed, insufficiently fed; but he had as good a heart as ever any boy had. His liberties were totally unrestricted. He was the only really independent person—boy or man—in the community, and by consequence he was tranquilly and continuously happy and envied by the rest of us.”(from Autobiography of Mark Twain)

In my last book, Hope’s Tender Touch, I was struggling to identify the personality of my heroine Faith Hathaway…that is, until I realized I have a family member whose personality is exactly like the one I visualized for Faith. She’s accident prone, a worrier with a sharp sense of humor yet is completely lovable. Whenever I faced a roadblock on how my character should react, I visualized my beloved family member and Faith’s colorful personality came to life.

why

2. Core wound.

Another option is to form a character around a core wound. What is the internal struggle you picture your character will have? Perhaps she is a people-pleaser because she’s longing for acceptance. Perhaps he’s a person who’s a master deceiver, all in an attempt to hide his alcoholism. Perhaps your character learned to cope with being bullied by having an outrageous sense of humor. Whatever the core wound is, identify it, research that issue and then set up circumstances against your character that conflict with his or her wound.

3. Watch people. Be actively observant.

This is more than just a mild curiosity about people. Watch. Learn. Ask yourself why people do the things they do. Observe and then ask the question, “What if?” What if the cashier at the store can’t look customers in the eye because of a past abuse? What if the old lady you see shoplifting is doing so because she longs for an odd form of excitement in her life? Pay attention to speech, mannerisms, appearance and attitudes.

4. Find a quirk.

There is nothing more memorable than a unique quirk. Willie Robertson claims his Grandmother had mental health issues and, for a time, painted anything that was square in her house the color red. Some people arrange their paper money by serial number order. Some are chronic nail biters. Others insist the food on their plate cannot touch or deal daily with odd phobias or refuse to run a vacuum.

Make a list of character quirks…you’ll be surprised how the ideas start flowing. But there is a disclaimer here: give your character a quirk but know why they have this quirk. Is it a result of something traumatic from their past? Do they just look at the world in a different way? Do they love to shock people? Whatever the reason behind their quirk, explore it and weave it into the plot.

For more ideas I highly recommend Creating Characters: How to Build Story People  by Dwight V. Swain. Before long, your story will be brimming with smirking Rhett Butlers, swarthy Jack Sparrows and optimistic Anne Shirleys in no time.

Comfortable with Uncomfortable

Ah, the infamous ‘comfort zone’. We crave it. We want it. It gives a sense of security and well-being, doesn’t it?

ships

But here’s the thing: the comfort zone is actually quite deceptive. It gives us the illusion of security, the illusion of happiness, of comfort. But oftentimes it’s nothing more than a lie spilling from the lips of the enemy because hewants us to be complacent, ineffective and, quite frankly, too comfortable to get up off our backsides and do something.

You see, great heroes of faith, the men and women who have changed history and shook up the world all had one major thing in common: they were willing to step outside their comfort zones.

Get a list going in your head…Noah building the ark, Abraham traveling to an unknown land, Moses confronting Pharoah and leading the nation of Israel for years upon end, Ruth leaving all she knew to care for Naomi, David standing before a bone-crushing giant, Esther risking her life to save her people, Jeremiah telling a nation to submit to their enemy, Daniel trapped in the darkness with starving lions, Paul being shipwrecked, beaten, stoned, whipped and left for dead to preach God’s love…the list goes on and on. And of course, the greatest example is Jesus, who left all the glory of Heaven to wrap Himself in our weak flesh and face the cruelest death on earth so we could live.

Do you want a boring life? Do you want to be ineffective as a servant of God? Stay in your comfort zone. But if you want a life full of adventure, full of jaw-dropping stories, of power, of leading people to Jesus, a life that pleases the Father, you must be willing to take a step outside the zone. Folks often mock Peter when he took his eyes off Christ and began to sink into the sea, but hey, Peter was the only one willing to get out of the boat!

Don’t play into the enemy’s hands and let fear keep you from being all God has called you to be. Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable.

“God is not the author of your comfort zone.” ~Lynn Rayburn

The Performance Bug and Stinky Oysters

We did it. We took the plunge. We are homeschooling and I’ve got to say, it’s been rewarding. Exhausting, fun and challenging but rewarding. There were a few tears, a few “I don’t understand…”s and brief moments of meltdown, but I’m feeling better now. The girls are doing great too, by the way.

In the homeschooling world, I keep hearing about theoverwhelming stress of picking out curriculums. The anxiety of finding the perfect learning style for each child. The expense, the juggling, the exhaustion…I’ve recently realized that although it took me months to find a plan that was best for my little family, I had stressed very little over it. Why had it been easy to come up a diverse set of activities for them? Fun activities that challenge them but yet are ‘out of the box’? (For example, in the spring they will be given some cash, taken to Walmart and must shop within their budget, purchase what they need to prepare a nutritious dinner and then prepare said dinner for the family. They’ll be graded on nutritional balance, staying within their budget, presentation and taste.) Sure, we do our fractions, diagram sentences and go through all the normal work that goes into school. Some days are easier than others but all of them have been an adventure. So despite the occasional bump in the road, why do I feel like everything is ‘on track’?

I finally realized it’s because I wasn’t picking curriculum or teaching to win the highest achievement in benchmark testing. I’m not in it to push my kids to do their best so I can plaster that ‘honor roll’ sticker on the bumper of my car. Neither I nor my kids have felt the typical testing pressure. You want to know why? Because I’m not homeschooling them for any other reason than to equip them for life. And every decision I make in the day to day details should be with the intention of leading them towards that goal.

I know some young adults who can pass the Iowa tests with flying colors yet can’t manage their money. Some high schoolers have mastered the complex web of common core yet live with a daily sense of entitlement with no perception of reality. Some adults are book smart yet sadly lacking in critical thinking. And, dare I voice it out loud? There are some Christians who can smoke an opponent in Bible Trivia, know everything about Jesus but withhold forgiveness, engage in gossip and fall for any smooth-talking manipulator our culture shoves our way.

We can get so focused on performance, so focused on achieving a worldly mark of success that we often completely miss the bigger picture. Do I want my girls to be able to identify the parts of a cell? Absolutely. But I also want them to know how to wash their clothes and care for a sick shut-in. Do I want my kids to be able to play piano or name the three branches of government? Of course, but this does little good if they can’t learn to take ownership of their mistakes or show compassion to others.

I guess you could say I know my goal. As my kids grow into adulthood, I have two wishes for them: that they would be independent and follow God regardless of cultural influence.

But some days this is just plain hard. Our society, even our own Christian culture, has been infected with a germ…a germ that is growing and mutating into a monster that will overshadow every aspect of our lives if we don’t learn to kill it. It’s called the Performance Bug.

The Performance Bug makes us feel better because it’s measurable. It’s easy to see so therefore easy to control. It allows a human to assign value to another human based on achievement, a marker much different than value measured through God’s eyes, I might add.

The Performance Bug strokes our pride and egos when we do well but decreases the perception of our worth when we fail. It teaches us to strive for the praise of man but doesn’t reveal how ultimately bankrupting this pattern of living can be. The Performance Bug tells us our children have to hit a certain mark of acceptance on a standardized test or they will be doomed for a life of failure and low-paying jobs. The Performance Bug tells women that if they just lose a few more pounds or dress more provocatively, they’ll snag Mr. Right’s attention. (FYI, ladies, if you have to go to extreme measures to get Mr. Right, Mr. Right is Mr. Wrong.) The Performance Bug says we need to sell this many books, win this award or achieve this recognition and we’ll have everything our soul longs for.

So we kill ourselves to achieve, slap a blue ribbon on it when we do, pat ourselves on the back and learn to think the world is our oyster.

Not to offend my friends in the marine biology community but oysters are slimy. And stinky.

Don’t get me wrong here. I’m not saying we shouldn’t do our best or refuse to celebrate a friend when they’ve accomplished a great feat. Those are good things. The problem is when we let our achievements define us.

The Performance Bug is the opposite of grace. It says you have to jump so high, run so fast or receive this size pay check to be valued and worthy. But Grace says that you’re a broken mess yet more precious than gold in the eyes of the Creator.

Life, homeschooling, relationships and everything in between is much easier, and less stressful, when we learn to squash the Performance Bug and instead focus on the goal. Choose each day to live with the intention of growing closer to God and each other. Everything else is noise.

Lattes and Fruit

I’m a lot more spiritual after I’ve had caffeine.

I know it’s sad but true. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve joked about it. It usually gets a laugh because we all know what it’s like to stumble out of bed, hair tangled and blinking through puffy eyes, unready and unprepared to face another day.

Sunlight seems like an offense. We mumble and grumble through our morning routine, grouching at loud noises or quick tempers. We snap for others to leave us alone until we’ve had our coffee, our Mountain Dew or whatever our stimulant of choice may be. I’ve even been guilty of calling it my morning devotional.

coffee crazy

And then we get our caffeine and all is right with the world. Images come into focus. Our droopy countenance brightens. We have patience again. Colors seem brighter.

Or maybe that’s just me.

And even though I joke about it often, something about the simple revelation niggles at the corners of my mind.

I suppose it’s because deep down, I know that if my spirituality is based on physical stimulants, I’m not really spiritual at all. If my ability to be patient and kind with my children hinges on pouring Diet Coke down my throat, I’m not keeping in step with the Spirit of God.

Fruit of the Spirit is not based on emotion. It doesn’t come naturally. Agape love, the kind of love God tells us to filter all we do through, is an action. It’s choosing to do what is right despite my preferences, opinions or crankiness. It’s knowing that I have God’s Spirit inside me at 5 a.m. as well as 3 p.m. and choosing to let Him have his way in every interaction.

It’s easy to say, “I’d be a lot nicer to my co-worker if he would just show me the tiniest amount of respect” but that is not fruit of the Spirit. Or “If my family weren’t so dysfunctional, I could love them better.” Nope, not fruit of the Spirit either. If our ability to show the love of God hinges on any external factors, we aren’t keeping in step with His Spirit. Ouch.

Every day not surrendered to God is surrendered to the flesh by simple default. Don’t let your circumstances determine your choices. Live above. Live beyond. Live in God’s grace.

Now where is my decaf latte?

Pink Socks and Dust Bunnies

The florescent lights in my laundry room died several weeks ago. After unsuccessfully trying to fix the problem, my husband declared that it would take the work of our friend, a skilled electrician, to repair it. Days turned into weeks as my hubby forgot to call to set up the appointment. So here I am, enjoying the wonder of doing weeks of laundry in the dark. But you know something? It wasn’t too bad. I got used to it. Even comfortable, believe it or not…although many of our socks turned pink, but I digress.

I even got to the point where I enjoyed that shroud of darkness. It kept me from being annoyed by the constant messes left by my children. I couldn’t see the disaster left behind by my sloppy dogs as they ate and drank from their bowls. It was actually kind of pleasant. Granted, I couldn’t see a thing but I really didn’t know what I was missing in some ways.

A couple of days ago, the electrician came and repaired the lights. When he flipped the switch, my jaw dropped open. The filth that had accumulated in that short time was unbelievable. Dust bunnies, stray socks, spills from who-knows-where, smudges, mud from discarded shoes…I was horrified. I was finally able to clearly see and in doing so, wasted no time grabbing a mop, a bottle of ammonia and prepared to battle my enemy…filth.

grossed out

But isn’t that what happens to so many of us? We stuff down our wounds, our issues, our problems, our worries, our feelings and lock them away in the dark places of our heart where they can’t hurt us…or so we think. We even get comfortable pretending everything is clean and together. We move along thinking if we’ve hidden it, it doesn’t exist. But refusing to acknowledge reality doesn’t change reality.

It isn’t until we allow God’s light to shine on those hidden secrets and shames that true healing…or cleaning can take place. We have to be brave enough to expose them, to face them unflinching and determined. The difference it will make in your life will be transformational.

And you know what? After weeks of working in the dark, I leave the light on in the laundry room around the clock. I enjoy it. I can’t even imagine what I found comforting in the darkness to begin with. And I sure don’t want that filth to creep back in.

Now, what to do about these pink socks…

More Than a Hiding Place

As I walked down our road for some early morning exercise, I was surprised to hear the distinct cry of a hawk overhead. I shrugged the sound away, assuming he was out for a little breakfast.

A minute later, I heard the hawk screech again. Squinting against the sunlight, I shaded my eyes and searched for the source of the hawk’s cry. Sure enough, in the field next to the road, a large hawk was circling. Nothing new there.

But before I could turn away, I saw something I’ve never seen before. Apparently the hawk was circling over a nest of baby birds. Upon hearing the hawk’s cry, the mother bird shot up from the nest with dizzying speed and began chasing the hawk, pecking it everywhere she could reach.

The hawk’s flight became erratic as the courageous mother assaulted him. She pecked him from below, from behind…even swooped her little body up and began pecking him on top of his head. His screeches intensified,”Squrraw! Squrraw!” until he finally realized the little babies weren’t worth the trouble and flew away. The indignant mother glided back down to care for her babies.

That mother bird reminds me so much of my Heavenly Father. Jesus Himself equated His care like that of a mother bird. We can hide under His wings. Be sheltered under His embrace as the hawk circles overhead.

But sometimes I forget that Jesus doesn’t just hover over us and wait it out. He fights for us.

“The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14:14)

“Do not be afraid of them; The LORD your God himself will fight for you.” (Deuteronomy 3:22)

Take comfort today knowing that He sees you, He loves you and He is fighting for you.