My husband and I always catch flashes of red flying through the green canopy in our backyard. “We must have a cardinal nest around here,” he said. We must.
I’m not complaining. After my grandparents passed, it always warmed our hearts to see the red birds flying with their muted female counterparts and landing on our backyard fence. “There’s Ma & Pa checking up on us,” I’d say and smile.
A few weeks ago after my husband was working in the yard, he came in to apologize. “I was going to trim that holly bush, but we can’t touch it now.” He went on to tell me about the defensive mama cardinal, guarding her nest and giving him the stink eye.
It’s now become a morning ritual for me, waking up and peering outside my bedroom window. There sits a cardinal hen with ruffled, brown feathers, a bright orange beak, and a small, red plume coming off her head. It’s a neat peek at nature in action without disturbing the natural order of things.
Because the hen is nested in a holly bush… she’s aptly named Holly, and we named the dad cardinal Hunter, because he hunts and gathers. (Creative, right?)
After a harrowing discovery that hens will eat one of their eggs if she feels depleted of energy and/or protein (don’t ask me how I know!) — now all of a sudden, Holly has three tiny, baby cardinal mouths to feed. The chicks instinctively know when it’s feeding time and will stand in their nest, heads back, and mouths wide open, just waiting — even if neither parent is in the nest with them.
The metaphor of dependence isn’t lost on me. I struggle to live this way. Growing up, I never asked my own parents for loans or much of anything, because I saw others that did. I never wanted to be a drain or take advantage of them… and yet, I never went without. It felt safe to assume that I would always be fed and always be clothed.
But how are we to approach life with our Heavenly Father?
Jesus tells us not to worry — even comparing God’s provision for birds to his provision for us!
“Look at the ravens. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for God feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than any birds!” —Luke 12:24 NLT
And further, we’re instructed to actively give our worries to him.
“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” —1 Peter 5:7 NLT
The tiny cardinal mouths open & waiting reminded me of a blog my mom sent me several years ago — not about open mouths, of course, but open hands.
“If we were honest, we would recognize our hesitancy in leaving plans in God’s hands. Often, we pray for God’s will to be done but are instantly frustrated and bitter when things don’t go the way we’ve planned. When we have our hopes set on something that doesn’t come to fruition, our first reaction is to stomp our feet and shake our fists. Nothing defines our lack of trust more than a refusal to leave our lives in God’s hands. Instead of placing things in the hands of God, we remain close-fisted. To live close-fisted is to fight for a life of control. But, even as much as we try, we can’t have complete control over our lives. To open our hands is to release the control we have so firmly tried to grasp. It is an act of surrender.”—Alexa Hess, The Daily Grace Co.
When we release our grip and any false sense of control to open our hands, we begin living in the abundance of the Lord’s good gifts that we can then share with others. (“When you open your hand, you satisfy the hunger and thirst of every living thing.” Psalm 145:16; “You open your hand to feed them, and they are richly satisfied.” Psalm 104:28) But we open our hands, not just to give, but also receive.
I’m seeing now that living with my hands out (or head back, mouth open like the baby birds) is not an act of gimme, gimme, gimme, but more Jesus, I trust you. God, I worship you. Your will be done in my life!
4 Comments Add yours
Love this… love cardinals and love you!
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Love YOU! ❤️
Thank you for sharing….. this blog means so much to me in several ways😇
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❤️🤗 Love you!