In At the Farmhouse/ Faith/ Seasonal Sketches

If You Feel Like Giving Up: Winter Birdsong

My black winter boots sunk deep in the fresh powder — each step bringing the snow to my knees. The wheat and the weeds, all mixed in together, crowded around me, brushing my cheeks as I parted their gnarled curtains.

It was a frosty Monday morning here at the Farmhouse — our second one to be exact. {We officially moved in the 23rd and 24th of December — just one day before Christmas — but that is a story for another day}.

I determined that bright and early Monday morning I would traverse through our snow-piled acreage, partly to exercise, and more so to connect with my Heavenly Father in the midst of His beautiful creations. And so I walked, or stumbled, through the field.

In the stillness of the untouched landscape, I thought upon how the sound of the seasons differ so starkly from each other — especially that of Winter and Spring.  Silence echoes in the wide expanse of the snow-drifted landscape. At times the stillness is warm and inviting, yet other times it’s nearly deafening. Perhaps that’s why we notice so well the song that the birds bring on their feathery wings as they return from their winter migration. The melodies and harmonies, each distinct and unique, burst forth like a welcome dawn after the darkest of nights. One winter’s eve all is quiet, and then suddenly, one morning, the firework symphony fills the air. And we know it is Spring.

We nearly forget about the birds in the wintertime. The white stretches on farther than we can see, and the silence is all-encompassing. It shrouds us in a fog of forgetfulness. At times we scarcely remember the summertime glow. Unless we are jolted awake by some small, unexpected epiphany. Which is why I strive to keep my eyes and ears open at all moments to snatch a sudden lesson. These heaven whispers tiptoe so quietly that we’re prone to miss them if our hearts are not in tune.

And as I walked, I had just such a moment. Breaking through the quiet, came a wisp of spring — a little bird’s song. I looked in the one lone tree that borders the back edge of our property, but I couldn’t see the musician. I stopped and listened to its sweet melody for one brief moment and wondered why this little bird still remained. Why hadn’t it flown south?

As I made my way back to the house, I couldn’t get this little bird out of my mind.

Occasionally I see a winter bird – even in the rocky mountain climate where we live. But how do these birds survive in frigid Januarys? And why do they stay?

Perhaps I should have learned the answer to this question back in my elementary Science days. Maybe I did and just don’t remember, or maybe I needed to learn this lesson as an adult so it would sink in. But with a little bit of research I found my answer, and with it, the heavenly message.

You see, birds migrate not because of the cold, but because of the lack of food. Those birds who feast on summertime nectar and insects must go to warmer climates when their food supply dwindles. But those birds who dig deep and eat the bugs and seeds that live under tree bark? They often remain.

I read:

“Escaping the cold is a motivating factor but many species, including hummingbirds, can withstand freezing temperatures as long as an adequate supply of food is available.

And when I read this, I realized that the little bird is me. And that little bird is you. It’s every person who’s ever felt the winter chill and still kept singing their song.

You see, when the cold winters come knocking, when those heart-wrenching, unasked-for life trials swirl around us like one big blizzard, we settle in and we dig deep for the life-giving testimony — that bread of life that will feed and sustain us. We are that little bird who can’t be frozen as long as we have our Savior.

We may want to shrink, we may want to flee from what life serves up to us, we may even want to give up. But we don’t. And we won’t. Because as someone once said, “On particularly rough days when I’m sure I can’t possibly endure, I like to remind myself that my track record for getting through bad days so far is 100%, and that’s pretty good.”

The winter winds howl on, but we’ll keep singing our beautiful, hopeful, faithful song. Because we’re the little birds that stay. That stay ourselves on the branches of His love…

To learn more about God’s love, click here.

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