Saturday, January 3, 2009

A New Year....A New Beginning

On New Years eve morning, we awakened to a little snow event. It was very cold and windy and it had snowed at least 8 inches although it seemed like more. We didn't have plans to go anywhere so we hunkered down to enjoy it.
My Honey set out for the barn to take care of our furry and feathered friends and I started to do a few things around the house when the doorbell rang. Standing at the door was My Honey with his gloved hands opened wide holding a small female cardinal, to which he said "I don't think she can fly. I found her walking around in the snow." I picked her up and set her in a little box. She was very quiet and just seemed to enjoy being warm and able to rest. I normally wouldn't know what to feed a bird but because of our experience with chickens, I knew grapes or berries would suffice. I broke apart a few red grapes and added a few fresh cranberries and let her rest. There was a little snow in the box from picking her up and that quickly melted and provided little puddles for her to drink from. I placed the box on the kitchen table, pulled up a chair and watched. She started to take deep breaths with her tiny eyes closed. She would shake to puff out her feathers once in a while and after she seemed to catch her breath and warm up she turned her head and nuzzled it right beneath her wing. I left the table to do a few things and when I came back she was awake and pecking at a grape. She drank some water and hopped around a bit. After a few minutes, to my surprise, she flew out of the box towards our window and landed on the blind. I scooped her up and yelled to My Honey outside to please get a bigger box with screening on top because she can fly. He nicely obliged and fixed up a nice box with shavings, mulch and a little hay. She also had a nice little rock to perch on.
I settled her in to her new home and went about a few things. When I checked on her, she was flying about in the box and seemed to desperately want out. My Honey was still outside shoveling and I let him know if was time to let our guest fly free. I handed him the screen covered box and he trudged through the snow to the towering pine tree in back and took off the screen. She flew up to the screen, landed, paused and then flew away with great speed into the snowy sky. That was it...she was gone.
At some point during My Honey's coming and going, he exclaimed that she just needed a second chance. When he handed her to me I thought that I really didn't want the heartache of trying to help a hurt little bird and then lose her. I even thought, for just a moment, that we should just leave her out in the cold and let "nature" take care of her. But that wasn't God's plan. God cares about the little birds and he cares about and me. And he tells us not to worry. His word clearly states in Matthew 6:25-26 "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?" God cares about the little birds and he cares for us much more. Our little feathered friend needed a place to rest and gain strength. But she needed a little help along the way. And God used us to help. She got a second chance!
There are so many messages in this little life moment. How many times do we stop whatever we are doing and offer help to those who just need someone to care? Perhaps stop and really listen to what the people around us are saying. Are they worried about the future? What tomorrow will bring? Do they need an encouraging word or just our time? Are we willing to share the hope of Jesus Christ and that God is full of second chances? In our busy lives are we taking the time to rest and gain new strength?
God cares about you and me. He has plans for us. His word in Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
The beginning of a new year is always a time to reflect on the year behind but most importantly, the year to come. We can make changes where we need to, rebuild relationships and start new ones and vow to spend more time with our family and with God. If we mess up, God still loves us. It's never too late for a new beginning. Happy New Year!