Wednesday, February 27, 2013

His Eye Is On The Sparrow...Part One

 "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs on your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows." -Matthew 10:29-31

A female rose-breasted grosbeak stopped at James' bird feeder for a snack during last year's migration!

In a previous blog, I promised to share one of the ways God has shown that He cares for me, even caring about the smallest things. I know you've all been on the edge of your seat waiting for this one, so enjoy!...

I remember as a child in New Jersey, I would wait with great anticipation for a sight of the first robin to mark the official end of winter. (Sorry, Groundhog, we always trusted the robins!) That was about the extend of my birdwatching experiences.

I didn't truly begin to enjoy backyard birds until James was two or three weeks old. One day, as I sat on the couch with James, a bird flew by our window, chirping. He stopped nursing and looked towards the window. James was interested in the bird's song!

"Wow!", I thought. "He's noticing things around him!" I decided then and there that whenever my children should show an interest in something good, I would encourage them to study and appreciate it.

We think this is a yellow-throated vireo but aren't sure. Can you identify it?
Last spring I learned about a free birding program in our state called Wings Over Florida. For every 50 native birds you identify, you receive a badge. Since beginning in April of 2012, we have currently identified 47 birds. (However, there are three birds that we have observed and have NOT been able to identify which is really driving me crazy! I have photos, so if you are a bird brain and think you can help, PLEASE let me know!).

We began to keep a log of the birds that we had identified. After a few months, I realized that outside of red-bellied woodpeckers, doves and pine warblers we really only ever got an occasional blue jay or cardinal to visit our bird feeder. We were going to have to leave our backyard if we wanted a badge. So I did what any stay-at-home mommy without a car would do: I put the kids in the wagon, grabbed my camera and off we went to sneak around the neighborhood looking for birds.

Hunting For Birds
We commonly saw doves, grackles, mockingbirds and loggerhead shrikes. In June, we saw a brown thrasher on a neighbors lawn. I had never seen a bird that was the color of a robins breast all over it's entire body! So beautiful! We watched it for awhile and noticed that it behaved much like a mockingbird, even with a similar song of repeated phrases. As soon as we got home I went to Google and typed in "brown mockingbird". Up popped a picture of the same bird I saw! "Brown Thrasher", it said in the caption. A little more research confirmed it. The next day, he was in our backyard singing. Seeing and identifying a bird I had never seen before in my life made me so excited about birding!

Brown Thrasher in our Backyard
In September, after almost 3 months of not spotting anything new in our yard or neighborhood, I began to get discouraged. And I did the wrong thing. Instead of praying about it, I complained in my heart. When James and JoyAnna would bring out the birding books and leaf through, I would see pictures of beautiful and strange birds and say to myself, "We'll probably never see those since I don't have a car and can't take the kids birding anywhere besides our neighborhood."

One of the birds in the bird book that I so longed to see was an Eastern Bluebird. The picture they showed of this little bird with a blue back and wings and a red and white breast were so wonderful! It occurred to me that I could pray about it, but sadly, I scoffed at the idea. As if I should pray and "bother" God about something as trivial as that! Yes, I was struggling in my soul with deeper things. I was doubting God's love for me, His child. I was doubting His kindness; His grace.

A few nights later, we went for a walk after dinner. We saw some birds on the wires near the home of a neighbor. It was dusk and we could not make out their colors or markings. We could not identify them, but we did appreciate their lovely voices! I wondered if they could be bluebirds. Oh! How I longed to see some! And then, very bitterly, thought, "Yeah, right. I'll never see those. Especially here."

The next night, Josh was mowing the lawn. I saw the mockingbirds and shrikes lined up on the wires above our front yard waiting for dinner. I heard the door open and Josh calling, "When you get a minute, come out here and see this." I finished up the dishes, and went out. Sitting on the pole was a bird. It was one of those birds from our walk the previous night! I grabbed the camera and raced out to take some pictures. Could it be?! God had sent me an eastern bluebird! Right to my front yard!

How I wish I could say that I fell on my knees and repented right then and there. I am deeply ashamed to confess that I did not.

To be continued...

Our First Sighting of a (rough looking) Eastern Bluebird


  1. I love when God disciplines us with blessings,for me, the conviction is greater. He is so merciful and loving and He daily reminds us of this. What a mighty God we serve. I have to admit, I no longer look for birds in Florida. In Minnesota I saw and heard so many beautiful birds year round. Here, they are few and far between. I guess this "bird-brain" will have to start looking again. Thanks for sharing! God bless ~

    1. Yes, I agree. It's convicting enough to be disciplined. But then when God gives a very undeserved gift, it seems to make much more of an impact.

      When we were driving to Orlando last week we passed a church near Wauchula that had this quote on their sign, "God owes us nothing, yet offers us everything." It reminded me of Romans 5:8, "But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." and Romans 8:32, "He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things."

      We did not deserve Christ, or what He accomplished on the cross, yet God saw fit to provide salvation for us, a most desperate and ruined people, through His sacrifice. And as if it weren't enough to meet our souls' deepest and truest need as He so abundantly has, He goes even further as to offer us the desires of our heart. (Psalm 37:4, Psalm 21:2, Psalm 145:19)

      Wonder of wonders!

      In regards to the birds, God has given some amazing and wonderful birds a home here in southwest Florida. Birds that you would not see in most other places. There are such diverse habitats all within an easy drive from us. You can visit forests and beaches, swamps and fields, and each of those different places have their own different birds. With a little determination, (and a good critter-proof bird feeder), I think you could grow to appreciate them even here. *Wink wink