Welcome to my blog...

Green trees, cool water, a gentle breeze...the perfect place to sit at the feet of the Master and learn. Jesus taught so often on the shoreline, and He's still speaking today.

This is where I share the lessons He teaches me, often during the time I spend on the shores of a local lake. I don't have all the answers...and some days I don't have any. But I go here when I need to draw near to Him in a tangible way. Come with me...

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Of Wings and Winter

If he hadn't moved, I never would have seen him. The waning light, his coloring and surroundings all worked together to hide him from view.

Once I realized he was there, I trained my lens on his hiding place and began to zoom in.  It took a second before the blur of grey came into focus and I held my breath, hoping he wouldn't fly away before my finger pushed down to snap the picture.

In fact, he seemed quite content to stay put, allowing me to approach the tree slowly and take pictures from several angles.  When I was satisfied I'd gotten at least one usable image, I began to make my way back to my car before darkness fully settled in.

At home, I downloaded the pictures and was shocked to find the bird I had photographed was a mockingbird.  It's not that they're rare.  On the contrary, they are quite common.  But while the mockingbirds I'd seen in the past were slender, graceful looking birds, this one was...well...chubby!  I questioned my identification for a second, but there was no denying the white wing patches that marked him as a Northern Mockingbird.

Then it dawned on me.  It's been an extremely harsh winter.  I bet this bird had bulked up to stay warm!  I googled "what do birds do in winter?" and found an article on about.com.

The article detailed a number of ways that birds physically adapt to the cold.  They grow extra feathers or fluff them out to create air pockets for additional insulation.  They may stand on one leg or crouch to cover both legs with their feathers.  And sometimes, they tuck their bill into their shoulder feathers for protection.  It went on to say that even small birds can build up fat reserves by gorging when food supplies are abundant to give themselves an extra fatty layer that serves as insulation and extra energy to generate body heat.

Are you going through your own harsh winter?  

It doesn't have to be cold outside to feel like you're surrounded by a desolate wasteland with no hint of life anywhere.

Health issues, financial problems, relationship woes, employment uncertainty, dreams put on hold, the list of things that can hit us like a bitter north wind is seemingly endless.

So what can we do to protect ourselves?

Well, we don't have feathers to fluff out or grow, but we do have armor we can put on.  Ephesians 6:13-17 says "Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the Gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."

Like the bird builds up fat reserves by eating when there is plenty we cannot ignore God when things are going well.  When we pray and meditate on God's word in the goods times, we build our faith and trust so that it is in reserve when difficulties arise.  The promises we have committed to memory become our go to source - our insulation and energy - when things become so difficult we feel totally depleted.

By putting on His armor, we no longer have to go through the gyrations of trying to cover our heads and feet with our own feathers...dealing with issues in our own strength.  

No...we can rest safe and secure under HIS wings.  Psalm 91:4 says "He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart."

But we will not only find refuge, we will find joy - Psalm 63:7 tells us " Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings."

The question isn't if winter, it's when.  Don't let it take you off guard like a snowstorm in April.

Put on your armor...then lean in close and feel the warmth of His wing.


  1. Awesome post, Toni! You are SUCH a gifted weaver of photos, Scripture and life lessons, my friend. <3

    1. Thank you PSF. It's all God. I will see something and a comparison will jump to mind. It's truly I gift I prayed for years ago when I would hear speakers and preachers who could find the life application in the simplest things. That always fascinated me and I prayed God would give me that kind of insight. BTW - you're pretty good at that yourself :) Your writing and photos always touch my heart!

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by and your kind words Susie!