One morning last week I took two of my daughters to school and then went back home. While driving home a friend called so I was still on the phone when I came back into our house. I walked into the kitchen and started my morning chores (that’s code for cleaning up the tornado that blew through the house as the girls got ready for school) while I chatted on the phone. As I loaded the dishwasher I heard a strange noise in another room. It sounded familiar, but out-of-place so I couldn’t put my finger on what it was.
I walked around the house looking for the noise, keeping my friend on the phone in case of emergency, but couldn’t find it. After about ten minutes, I was standing in my bedroom when I turned around because I sensed something behind me and a small bird flew right towards me. It was so strange to see something so familiar, but completely out of context. The bird flew past my head and into the master bathroom. About that time the gears in my brain engaged and I shut the door so he couldn’t get out. I figured it would buy me some time until I could decide what to do.
I got off the phone and quickly got the person in charge of all critter-related emergencies when Dad is not home, my oldest daughter (read here about the deer incident). I outlined our strategy for Operation Get-the-Bird-the-Heck-Out: she would go downstairs and open the front and back doors while I opened my bathroom door, broom in hand, and swooped the bird downstairs and out one of the two exits. I thought giving him two options was really generous, and I was sure he was smart enough to pick one.
The moment of truth came, I flung open the bathroom door, but instead of flying out my bedroom door he flew the opposite direction and right into my bedroom window, getting himself stuck between the window and the blinds. At this point I was clearly in over my head and in dire need of a real critter expert so I called my husband.
He told me to close our bathroom door, closet door, and bedroom door and then open our side door that leads outside onto a little deck off our bedroom. In my defense, I didn’t think of that first because there is stuff in front of that door that keeps us from opening it. I can’t even remember the last time one of us went out there. I prefer to think of it simply as unusable wall space…I have come to COMPLETELY ignore the door, so naturally I didn’t think to open it for the bird.
Once I moved everything and opened the door the bird found his way out in less than sixty seconds. Once again critter-free, I headed downstairs to get some work done and didn’t think anything else about the whole thing until after lunch. When it came time for afternoon carpool I went back to my bathroom to brush my teeth. I opened my bathroom door for the first time since the bird event and could not believe what I saw. That tiny little, scared, trapped, overwhelmed bird had managed to poop all over my bathroom in the few minutes he had been in there. It looked like everything he had eaten for a month exited his body in one panicked frenzy right in my bathroom!
When I wrote Friday about some of the ugly part of my story, I shared about reaching a place of brokenness and pain and finding myself angry at God, I was thinking about that little bird in my bathroom. Just like him I found myself in an unfamiliar, confined, scary place and LOTS of ugly stuff came out of me. Stuff that had been trapped in my heart for years. I don’t really want to elaborate any further on exactly what some of that ugly stuff was, but let’s just say it was one of the few times in our twenty-six year relationship I have ever seen my husband look scared. At one point he actually took a few steps back from me in our kitchen, I think he thought lightning was coming down from heaven.
One of the reasons I trapped that bird in the bathroom was to keep him from getting hurt (e.g. flying into things, getting stuck somewhere, the dog playing fetch with him, etc.). When God let me get to the end of myself it was because He didn’t want me to hurt anymore. He wanted so much for me to run to Him, to lay down my exhausting agenda and just rest in Him, cling to Him and trust Him. He wanted me to truly know Him.
But even when I didn’t handle it well, He was still there. When He promised to never leave me nor forsake me He meant it and no matter how ugly it got, He didn’t abandon me. Instead He continued to gently love me, pursue me and persuade me of Who He truly is and Who He created me to be. Eventually, grace overcame and Love won my heart.
How convinced are you of God’s amazing grace and unending love for you? Enough to lay down your own efforts and trust Him in every area of your life?
“Father, give us the faith to trust You and rest in Who You are, to lay down our own efforts and pursuits to abide in You.”