On the Side - June 2015
by Shelly Wyrick
There is a bird nest in my garage. Well not quite a nest, but the inklings of a nest. The desires of a nest, by way of twigs and scraps of rope, perched carefully above the garage door unit that hangs from the ceiling.
My five year old first discovered it about a month ago. Which is so apropos, right? Five year olds still have the beautiful capacity to look up rather than live in the tunnel of more pressing matters – like loading up in the car so we can be on time.
One afternoon, as we pursued punctuality, he yelled, “Mom! Bird!”
Receiving not the response he beckoned (we get lots of birds in our prairie garage), he upped the ante: “Mom! NEST!”
Indeed. While a bird in the garage doesn’t warrant tardiness, a nest in the garage, well that’s worthy of a solid 5 minute delay. I turned and gave my full attention to the giddy boy. Looking to where he impatiently pointed, I saw it hanging over the edge of the garage door unit: twigs…and grass…and a bird.
The worst part was, when I opened or shut that door, the track moved straight through the nest, displacing part of it and startling the bird to fly haphazardly around the garage and out into the sunshine. Without hesitation, we got a stepladder and I reached up there with my iPhone to take a picture of what exactly was in the nest. No eggs. Phew.
We have about 30 trees on our property, so why she chose my garage door unit is beyond me. It’s dark in there. There’s no airflow. No food. Despite this, I can relate. I’ve had few bad ideas of my own and pursued them full heartedly. Many-a-time I’ve chosen what seems good to me over the obvious path the Lord has set out for my life.
Fifteen years ago my boyfriend took the MCAT. Remember the MCAT? I was so proud of his audacity to even take the thing. Then he was accepted to two medical schools around the time we got married. With that, we faced our first married-couple decision beyond what pillowcases to put on the wedding registry. There’s a verse in the bible about leaving your father and mother and becoming one flesh when you marry (Matthew 19:5). I was all about the one-flesh thing, but not so much about leaving mommy and daddy. This little issue made the decision easy… in my mind. We’d choose the school that was closer to home. Regardless of what God was pointing us to, I wanted the closer school. I wanted the nest above the garage door unit when there was something beautiful waiting for me out in the sunshine.
I put some thought into the nest in my garage. While I could relate to this bird’s desire to do things her own way, it really was a bad idea. Should she lay her eggs there- what would we do? Leave the garage door open for months? No, it had to go. For the next week I kept the doors shut, as best I could, to prevent her from flying in to work on her nest. But she was persistent. She must have sat perched at some distance waiting for the door to open and when it did, fly in and hide from me.
Ever prayed half-heartedly for God to close the door on an opportunity, all the while you sat waiting and watching for any chance to choose the path you knew wasn’t His will? The whole situation made me think I have a birdbrain. I’m guilty. I fail to trust that God knows what is best for me, to trust Him ‘with my whole heart and lean not on my own understanding’ (Proverbs 3:5).
My little friend didn’t get the hint when I tried to shut the door on her. I had to disassemble the nest completely. And here’s the kicker: as I did, she hid somewhere inside the garage watching me. I know this because as I pulled the mess down I could hear her lamenting. No joke. She started whimpering in bird tweets. Part of me rolled my eyes, because for-crying-out-loud this is not the place for you sister. But part of me, the birdbrain part, could relate.
I remember, too well, pulling away from my parents’ house the day my husband drove us 1,714.2 miles across the country to medical school. It was obvious this was God’s plan for us, but still, I cried. I sobbed. I did not understand why we had to live so far away. Fifteen years later, I look back and see God’s providential hand insisting that we move out into the sunshine. We lived in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for four years. When we arrived we had no friends, no family, no home, no income. But we had each other. And because we had little else we cleaved to one another. My husband became my husband. It was beautiful. I now cherish those four years deeply and credit them- credit Him- with providing a strong foundation for our marriage.
‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’ (Jeremiah 29:11).
It has been a full month since I cleaned off the garage door unit, and I noticed yesterday she hasn’t fully changed her ways. There are inklings of a nest. The desires of a nest.
Let’s pray we are a little more willing to let go of our own ideas, to trust that God can indeed handle our lives.
Heavenly Father, help us to trust Your plans above our own. In hindsight, we can see your fingerprints all over our lives, when we simply allow You take control. Clearly mark our paths and give us the courage and hope, through the Holy Spirit, to walk in those paths. Thank you Jesus. Amen.
Shelly is a physical therapist turned play-at-home-mom of three young kids. Among other goals, she aspires to have her third child potty trained before the fourth arrives. You can pray for her perseverance and wisdom toward this accomplishment. Shelly adores her old fashioned manly-man of a husband, coffee, and Jesus.