Lessons From The Porch
Look at the birds in the sky. They do not sow or reap or gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they are? Matthew 6:26
The porch is open…summer may now begin! The flowers, the chairs, the cozy rug; it’s all part of the little piece of heaven on the north facing side of the house. My morning prayer chair will sit empty for the better part of the next 3 months and the kitchen island discussions will change because both of those important activities have been re-routed to the porch. I love the view, the breeze, the peace and the beauty. I love all of it ,but two of my favorite parts of the porch are the wind chimes that were a gift from great friends when Dave’s dad died and the hummingbird feeder that both hang from a Shepherds hook in the flower bed at the end of the porch.
One night last week Dave and I watched some cranes in the corn field across the road. They were huge! I watched in wonder as their giant necks bobbed across the rows and called back and forth to each other. As big as they were I would have expected them to be clumsy but they were quite graceful. Even though the group was separated by a couple of acres every so often they’d call to each other as if to make sure their friends were still nearby. It was quite a lovely show.
The other morning there was quite a wind and I laughed out loud as I watched a determined little bird try to get to a different tree. It was flying against the wind and the little thing was flapping his wings madly trying to go and it was if he was just stuck in the same place, mid-air, flapping and going nowhere. After a few seconds of flapping, he let up just a bit and the wind sent him tumbling beak over tail feather straight back to the tree he was trying to leave. I felt kind of sorry for the little guy but it was pretty hilarious!
Today we sat and watched in awe as the hummingbirds danced and flitted between the feeder at the end of the porch and the maple tree just a few feet away. Hummingbirds are fascinating to me. Some sound so loud and others are quiet as a whisper. We watched as one flew to a bare branch in the tree and as it landed it was so soft and tiny the branch showed absolutely no movement when he landed.
I’m not really a bird watcher but seeing these three groups of feathered friends showed me a lesson or two. My porch is a great place to learn so here’s what hit me as I rocked in my glider.
*Each was a bird, they could fly, they had a beak and feathers but yet I marveled at how different they looked. The size, the color, the shape, the sound….all so very different and with birds you’d never expect it to be any other way so why do we expect it to be that way with people? Why do we try so hard to be like others and fit in when we, like the birds I watched from my porch were specifically created to be different? God didn’t make a mistake when he used such originality and creativity with those bird. I need to remember the same is true for humans. The Hummingbird isn’t better because it’s tiny and the Crane isn’t better because it’s big and graceful. Each is perfect in it’s design!
*That bird wildly flapping against the wind must look just like me when I try to do things my own way and forget to follow the will of the Father. I wonder if he giggles at me too when I wind up right back where I started!
*I laugh when I think what it would look like if the Crane would try to daintily sip from the Hummingbird feeder or if the Hummingbird would try to cry out loudly to the friends in the beans an acre over. I think of the times I try to put myself in places and situations where God hasn’t invited me and it doesn’t look anything like that Hummingbird silently and stealthily landing on the tree branch.
Thank you God for using your beautiful creation to teach me a thing or two this first week on the porch. I’m looking forward to more lessons! Oh, and thank you for the beautiful world that surrounds my porch! The only thing that would make my porch better is company so if you’re on Pratt Road plan to stop for a visit!
A Seed To Plant: What are you gazing at this summer and what is the Father trying to teach you?
Blessings on your day!
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: Ecclesiastes 3:1
One of my big projects this summer was to decorate my front porch. It was the first project and the favorite project of the summer. That porch is where I spent time almost every day of summer break. I did a lot of praying, reading, writing and planning on that porch. At times it felt like an outdoor living room or office. I remember the first morning I sipped coffee and said morning prayers out there; I let out a sigh that morning thinking the new school year seemed so far away. This morning, one of the last few mornings I have left for morning coffee and prayers on my porch, I realized how fast the days had ticked by. I started to feel a little pouty about the end of slow peaceful mornings when all of the sudden the flys started to pester me. The little ones were nipping at my legs and ankles and the big ones were landing on my book and dive bombing my head. They irritated the snot out of me and I was a little steamed that they would barge in and ruin one of my last porch mornings.
After a few minutes of being annoyed by these pesky little creatures I rushed into the house and in a moment of brilliance, I came back out with a fly swatter. I was going to show them! I smushed a few and sat in my chair feeling rather accomplished…I showed them who was boss! I picked up my book and began reading again and read less than a paragraph before they came back with an army of their friends. It was as if they flew off to find friends and invite them back to look at the nut swatting flys outside! I did have to stop and laugh at myself. Why on earth did I think that would actually work!
After surrendering to the winged party wreckers, I went inside and gave some thought to what had happened. As I was pouting about the rude interruption to my peaceful porch dwelling I had failed to realize they hadn’t bothered me all summer long. I had had weeks and weeks of perfect, so how dare I get all in a yank about one bad morning. As I drove to school to prepare for next week, I realized those flys were sort of a message and subtle kick me off my porch to move on to the next thing kind of deal. Swatting at them had been as senseless as expecting summer to last forever. My peace and quiet came as a season but all season change. The great parts of our live don’t last forever but neither do the bad ones. They all come and go. Thats how God gives us joy, rest and peace to prepare us for the trials and tricky stuff that draws us closer to him. Trying to throw a hissy fit when those seasons change is as pointless as swatting flys outside. As I puddled about my classroom getting excited about the new school year beginning on Monday, I stopped to thank him for a prayerful, wonderful, restful, peaceful summer on my pretty porch. He and I had some great talks there this summer and I thanked him for that too. After I finished with my thank you prayer, I went to my desk to type the class schedule and a giant fly landed on my computer screen and followed my cursor across the screen. I laughed and realized once again, God has a great sense of humor!
A Seed To Plant: Give some thought to the highs and the lows he’s walked you through this year. Thank him for both.
Blessings on your day!
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