Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Guardian

Be aware -- Mr. Swallow is on guard! I mentioned my new neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Swallow, a couple of blogs back. They’re working together to hatch a little clutch of eggs.

I haven’t actually seen their eggs. The circular door to their birdhouse is small and the interior so dark, I can’t see inside. However, they are far too vigilant to allow me to think of anything else but that they are nesting a potential family.

Their cozy house is at the end of three-foot horizontal pole high above the azaleas. The other end holds the bird feeder. Many birds of various kinds come around quite often for a snack. Mr. Swallow tolerates them as long as they don’t get too close to the birdhouse. If they do, he’s quick to chase them away. He’s a dedicated mate, father-to-be, and protector of his family.

Mrs. Swallow appears at the doorway every so often. She pokes her head out, and stays a while just looking around. Like all dedicated mothers, she needs an occasional change of scenery. Once in a while she will take off for a short flight, then return and disappear inside her home. No doubt her warm body and fluffy wings keep her eggs snug and incubated. Mr. Swallow stays outside either on the pole above or on the birdhouse roof as faithful guardian.

Watching the continuous vigilance of my feathered neighbors, I am reminded to be thankful that my Heavenly Father is the same. He constantly watches over His family with love and protection. Nothing escapes His view; nothing is allowed that is not within His will. Even the difficulties we perceive become pathways toward growth and good under His care.

Are you part of His family? God faithfully guards those who belong to Him.

“How precious is your lovingkindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings.” (Psalm 36:7)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Black on Black

A subtle quick movement caught my eye. Something was there that shouldn’t be! I reacted. Picking up the black cover containing my Bible by its handle on the opposite side of the movement, I shook it hard. A small black spider fell to the floor…and to a fast demise under my shoe.

Black on black is hard to spot. I shudder to think that spider could have been right in my lap had my eye not caught its tiny movement. (Thank you, Lord!) He tried hard to hide by blending in and getting out of sight. But I spotted him. He preferred darkness and secrecy to light and notice.

I don’t like spiders. Any spider entering my home does it at the risk of his own life. Inside the house is my domain, and outside is theirs. A spider is an interesting creature to watch…outside. They make lovely webs and catch a variety of annoying bugs. But inside, they become frightening creatures to eliminate on sight, no matter how small.

As spring approaches and doors and windows are opened to the warm balmy air, more of these little black spiders will find their way into my home. I wish I could put up a sign that says, “keep out” or “danger” or anything that would detour them from entering the house. Killing them is nothing I find pleasurable. But sadly, spiders don’t read. So far, no effective way to keep them out seems to exist.

After a spider encounter, I always spend the next half hour hyper-aware of another possible presence. My son-in-law gleefully informed me that statistics say there’s always a spider within three feet of you. I’m still annoyed by the twinkle in his eye as he proclaimed this bit of knowledge. It makes me cringe to even think of it. My only consolation is that spiders like to hide, which means they don’t care to be around me anymore than I care to be around them.

Spiders remind me of how the Bible shows us the difference between hiding in darkness and living in the light. Jesus is the way we can come out of the darkness of sin and into the light, clean and bright. Unlike spiders, we are welcomed into his home and family when we come. As we follow Jesus, we can walk unencumbered by darkness. Are you following Him?

Jesus said, “I am the Light of the world. He who follows Me will not be walking in the dark, but will have the Light which is Life.” (John 8:12)

Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Joy of New Neighbors

We have some new neighbors. I’m excited. I haven’t formally met them yet, but we’ve had some friendly acknowledgement from a distance. I hope we can become friends before long.

There’s nothing like moving into a new house. A few things have had to be changed to make their home fit them just right. I noticed that they jumped right in and did the work enthusiastically. Now they seem happy and fairly settled into their new home.

My new neighbors are expecting soon. Nothing has been said, but well, it seems pretty obvious. I’ve seen no other children, so they are probably first time parents. New home, new baby. What could be more exciting!

I watch them sometimes as they come and go when I’m in my kitchen. The kitchen window gives me the best view of these new neighbors and their comings and goings. I’m not really a nosey neighbor, but they just seem to be actively doing things outside when I happen to be doing dishes or preparing a meal. Its fun to watch them. They chat and tease back and forth. They seem very committed to one another.

I’m not sure when their baby is due, but I’m sure I’ll know when the time comes. Babies are such fun and so precious and cute. It will be nice to have a new little one in the neighborhood.

Oh…did I forget to mention? My new neighbors are a couple of swallows. We hung a birdhouse outside for the first time this year, and Wa-la almost instantly we had new neighbors! They're quite entertaining. I’ll keep you posted on the little family and the new addition(s) when they arrive.

    "Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?"  Matthew 6:26 (ESV)