Friday, May 28, 2010

Resting in the Palm

On our first night at "Barb's Folly" we rocked on the porch and watched fireflies dance on the moonlit canal. As if to light a lone actor on a stage, a moonbeam fell across the palm tree and revealed a gentle stirring in its plume. When I moved closer, I discovered that a turtledove had built her nest at the top of the thatched tree trunk where the palm branches sprouted upward. Because we were on the second story, we were at eye level with Mrs. Turtledove. As I moved closer to her, she didn't budge but sat steadfast in her perch.

Early the next morning, before the rest of the house guests stirred, I went on the porch to spend some time with the Lord. Mrs. Turtledove was there to greet me. I watched her. She watched me. Our eyes locked. We both blinked. A few moments later, Mr. turtledove flew in and perched on a nearby railing. The couple exchanged coos, and then he flew over to his beloved. When she stood up to welcome him, I noticed two tiny eggs peeking out from under the stubble. It seems this was Mother's morning out and Daddy Bird was here to watch over the soon-to-be little ones. Mama Bird flew away and Daddy took over the incubation and protection of their eggs. After a brief time, Mama Bird returned and Daddy Bird went off to work for the rest of the day.

During our entire vacation, Mama Bird did one thing and one thing only; she rested in the palm, warming and protecting her two tiny charges. On the afternoon when a violent storm blew through with loud claps of thunder, crackling flashes of lightning, and pelting sheets of rain, she sat undaunted by the storm and unmoved as the trees bent in the wind. When the children ran up and down the stairs inches from her nest and leaned over the railing to get a better look, she appeared unalarmed by the stir of activity. While other birds, such as cranes, pelicans, and seagulls, performed great feats, swooped gracefully in the water, and strutted about parading their showy display, her feathers were not ruffled, and she continued undeterred in her calling.

On the last morning of our vacation, I was enjoying a final cup of coffee on the back porch and once again relishing in quiet time with God and His creation. Of course, Mrs. Turtledove was there to join me.

"God", I asked, "I know You put this bird here for a reason. What do you want me to learn from watching her this week? I don't want to miss it."

Then God spoke to my heart. It was contentment. I was watching a picture of contentment in fulfilling God's call. She was doing what God had made her to do for this season of her life, and she was intent and content in doing it. Regardless of the storms, regardless of what seemingly showy birds were doing, regardless of the endless stream of activity passing by her nest, regardless of the stares of others, she was unmoved from her task at hand. "Is that it, Lord? Is that what you want me to see ?"

Just as I prayed those words, Mr. Turtledove flew in for his daily visit. When his lady stood up to greet him, I noticed a piece of eggshell attached to her leg. She flew away with much excitement, and then I noticed a change in her nest. There lay two downy hatching's. The eggs had hatched, and it was as if God were saying to me, "Yes Sharon. That's it. This has been My gift to you this week. Through My creation, you have seen a contented mother and the results of her commitment. You do what I've called you to do. Rest in the palm-----of My hand. Don't get distracted by the world around you: the storms of life, the endless stream of activity, other seemingly more glamorous 'birds'. Be relentless in your call. In due time, I will cause your 'eggs to hatch' and all too soon they will leave the nest"

About that time my 6'1" teenage son sleepily stumbled out onto the porch. I'm not sure if he saw the tears in my eyes as I looked at his ruffled hair, sleepy eyes, and face that needed a shave. "Hey buddy," I said. "Look the eggs hatched today."

An excerpt from Becoming a Woman Who Listens to God, by Sharon Jaynes

We enter into many seasons in our lives, when our children are small and need our constant care and attention, when they go off to school and start developing a little more Independence but still return to the nest for our love and care, and finally when they grow into adulthood and leave the nest to start their own lives. During those different seasons God has a call on each of our lives, things He wants us to do. Even though those things change with each new season, God calls for us to be relentless and steadfast in our calling, trusting and resting in Him.

There is a lady in our group who is entering into a new season in her life and is leaving us. Heather Ellifritz, her husband Mike and baby Briella have been called to minister at another church and though we will miss them we want to wish them well and send them off with our love and prayers. Come join us Sunday night May 30 at 6:30 pm to say goodbye. May you rest in the palm of God's hand through each new season of your life and may God richly bless you.

Finally ladies as we break for the summer let's remember to remain steadfast in our calling and rest in God's presence no matter what season we are in or may be entering into. The season's may change, but one thing never changes, God's great love for us.

Kim Ratcliffe

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