Friday, March 1, 2013

The Robin Story

My Aunt Linda is living with Parkinson's Disease.
Her mom was my Grandma Marj.
Grandma Marj shared the love of bird-watching with each of us.
So, I am sending Aunt Linda my bird stories.
This morning I felt like I should share them publicly, as I mail them to her.
Some of you have read them or heard me speak of them.
They are deeply meaningful and so personal.
Yet, even though it feels so vulnerable to share, 
I believe they are meant to be shared.
This is one of those stories
that is a
"Know and Believe"
Be encouraged.
In your mind.
In your heart.
In your spirit.

The Robin Story
It was May 3, 2008, in the midst of a spring blizzard on the South Dakota prairie.  I had come through a spring of cancellation after cancellation after cancellation for my business.  Canceling again and again the actions that I thought were necessary to see my dreams fulfilled.  My business was counting on these appointments that, due to weather, I had repeatedly cancelled from January to May.

At the same time, a childhood hobby of bird watching that had been shared with my Grandma Marj, had resurfaced.  Like I did as a child, I started to notice and cherish the birds I saw in my yard.  It had been a tender time with my grandma as a child.  For many years, it seemed to go dormant in my life, but that year, the seed of bird watching had sprouted again in my heart.  On the first day of the blizzard, May 1, 2008, I had taken some photographs of robins in the cottonwood tree in my yard.

Also at this time, I had begun to fill journal after journal with prayers and what seemed to me to be the Lord's tender and loving response.  Prayer had become a rich relational experience with the Lord.  A real relationship.  I seemed to finally be experiencing that Jesus is alive and I know Him and He knows me.  It was true.  Jesus was true.  I could have a relationship with Him now.  I did not have to wait until after this life to know Him.  This experience is one of those ways that I knew and know that He is:  after the repetition of cancellations I had made for the previous five months, I had just poured out my frustration to God on paper and this is what He seemed to answer...

My child, you have needed this time with Me.  Do you see the richness of your life?  The robins puffed up in the snow in your tree--can you buy something so beautiful or contain it as a pet?  No.  It's beauty is in it's freedom to live wildly according to My design.  And you get to see it in your front yard.  You have that richness all around you.  You do not have to possess it materially to have the blessing of that richness in your life.  As you take photographs, it is your recognition of those little blessings in the details that surround you right where you are.

In your hands, your captivity, your cage, My child, the robin would suffer and eventually die.  It would not be living as I designed it to live.  But in My hands it has the ability, even as a little bird, to survive, even a violent spring blizzard, and not only survive, but thrive.  In My hands.  Turn your hopes and dreams over from your hands to My hands, My child.  In your hands they will be limited and captive, but in Mine, they will be wild and free able to survive storms and thrive in the aftermath, and they will be beauty set free.  Whenever you see a robin, My child, let it remind you of the beauty, and freedom and thriving that exists in a life in My hands.

That is what was written in my journal that day.  It calmed my fretting and anxious heart.  I felt that I was held in the hand of God.  My cares had been cast upon Him, and He was caring for me.  I felt that He knew what my heart needed.  Even today, as I retype it, a fire of peaceful, cozy warm is ignited in my heart.  Just that, in my journal from my prayer time, would have been enough.
But then, about a week later, I am reading my favorite magazine.  Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion.  I come to a page with one of her paintings.  It is of a little boy standing holding his hands behind his back with a tree branch in them.  At his feet are three little robins and before his eye a robin in flight with a twig in its beak.  The painting is titled, "Little Robin".  "Oh, how sweet," I thought.  But what I saw next caused me to gasp and praise Him.  My heart was moved to worship when I read the quotes on the page.  The title was "Dream a Little Dream", and then five quotes about dreams. 

Here are two.

"So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable."  Christopher Reeve. 

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." Martin Luther King, Jr.

Prior to writing in my journal in my prayer time, I had never associated robins with my dreams.  They were two separate things.  Yet, it seemed He taught me to trust Him in that prayer time with my hopes and dreams.  He taught me to let them go ~ that He should hold them, not me.  That giving my dreams to Him was His design for my life.  That hanging on too tightly to my vision for my life would suffocate His design.  I was thinking that it "had to be this way" for my hopes and dreams to happen.  But even though there had been storm after storm, He still held me and my hopes and dreams in His hand, and there, all of it was safe, and there they would not only survive, but flourish and thrive.  Just like He holds the robin in the storm, He holds me in my storms.  As I read the quotes on that page about dreams and I saw the painting of the robins on the same page, I felt like the Lord Himself had sent me a love letter for my heart.  You can choose to call all of this a coincidence, but I will choose to glorify Him, to give Him the credit, the glory, the honor, and the praise.  It seemed to be a confirmation to me personally.  Just a special little thing so that I would know.  That I may know that He is the Lord and there is no other.

Do you have a "That You May Know Story"?  If so, I encourage you to document it.  Write it in a journal.  Take a photograph that reminds you.  Paint or draw a picture.  Write a letter to your kids or grandkids so they may know your story.  Whatever you are inspired to do. 

If you do not have your story yet, pray for it.  Seek Him with all your heart and He will be found by you.  Believe this truth: Jeremiah 29:13-14 says, "And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.  I will be found by you says the LORD."  Begin seeking Him wholeheartedly.  He knows how you will know.


Photos and words property of Jodene Shaw.  
Do not copy, reprint or distribute without permission. Thank you.

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