Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Cardinal

This morning while I was contemplating what to write for my newspaper article, there was a Northern Cardinal outside my window. It brought the usual smile as I fondly remembered my Dad. I thought I’d share with you a short story I wrote after he had gone to be with his Lord. This Christmas I again reflect on another wonder of a garden filled with hope.

“As I was caring for my failing elderly father, I sometimes got up in the morning with sadness for what the day would bring. Each day seemed to bring a new decline to his physical and emotional conditions. It would be a day of continued and new trials and hardships for both of us.

As I got ready to go downstairs to start the day, I would look outside my back window toward the woods. Just when I thought I couldn’t go down those stairs to face the day, a beautiful red cardinal would land within sight. It was as if God was giving me a visual reminder that He is always with me. It was a statement, “I am here, I am faithful, I am beautiful, and I am always.”

It only came on days when I was so very low. I could feel my heart and my spirits being refreshed and encouraged. I could begin my day with the joy of knowing that God was with both my father and me. I could begin the day with praising.

My father passed away a few months ago. This morning I was sitting on my back porch. There in the trees was a cardinal singing his “birdie birdie” song. How like God to remind me that He is here for me in times of trails and remains with me in times of rest. He provides all I need. He stood by me every second of the time when Dad needed my care, patience and love. He is now providing me with the rest and reflection needed to heal both my body and my spirit.

God does send reminders to us in many ways. It can be from another person, from Bible study or from a red bird. It is important that we watch and listen for those reminders. Our spirit should not be too busy or pushed too far away to let us enjoy and feed upon his encouragements. We must be within His Word to help us meditate and be open to these signs of encouragement. The reflection needed to recognize His signs will only be obvious when we take the time.

When we do have these times of God speaking to us, we need to be thankful and praise Him. He has done something totally for us alone, as His child. How much more special can we ever be than to be the object of His effort to send a sign that He loves us and is caring for us. Praise the Lord for He has brought me joy.”

Joshua 23:17 - “For the Lord our God, he it is that brought us up and our fathers out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and which did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way wherein we went, and among all the people through whom we passed.”
This is a picture of Dad at his 95th birthday surprise party.  A year later, he was gone.    

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