Monday, January 30, 2017

“The Sparrow, Her Nest, His Altar”  

By Susanne Scheppmann       

Key Verse:  
 Even the sparrow has found a home and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young--a place near your altar, O Lord Almighty, my King and my God Psalm 84:3 (NIV).
The fledgling sparrow stretched wide its dark petite beak. The mother hovered and then drove deep into the opening to nourish the young bird. Satisfied it settled back into the mossy bed, content to rest in its mother’s concerned care.

Nine days later the same complacent fledgling became an adolescent. It teetered on the nest’s edge with wings flapping. The young bird’s emerging independence longed to soar beyond the boundaries of safety. Suddenly, the youngster fell from the nest onto the branch below. Hurriedly it scooted back to safety, only to begin the stunt all over again. 

The fledgling mirrored my own longing to fly from a safe haven, our home. I struggled against my own longings to live a life away from the daily grind of laundry, diapers, and dishes. My “nest” felt confining; the blue wild called to me of freedom. Surely, God intended more for my life than this. I pondered my education and talents. I recalled the old Dr. Seuss book, Oh, the Places You Will Go! given to me at my college graduation. Oh, the places I did plan to go! My goals in life pranced before me: a career, money, a nice home, motherhood, and children.

I leaned my head against the cool windowpane as hot tears streamed down my cheek. I questioned myself. Did I want to be like the adolescent bird struggling to fly into unknown danger? Or did I want a safe home with God’s hand reaching down to take care of my needs?

Mentally, I knelt at the altar of the Living God. I prayed for strength, I felt so weak against my desires for a different life. Suddenly, Proverbs 27:8 came to mind, 1 Tim. 6:6 (NIV)  
    But godliness with contentment is great gain. 

Out of my memory jumped another verse, “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart (NIV). 

Suddenly, I knew what I wanted and needed. I desired to be myself in my own safe home with my little “chicks.” I realized my life goals were in process of fulfillment. I mothered two darling little ones. My French Country style home suited my personality. Perhaps a career lingered in the future. Contentment flooded my heart as I stopped flapping my wings of independence.  

I glanced at the sparrows again. Tiptoeing into my children’s room, I smiled down at them. I asked, “Do you need anything, my dear little chickadees?” 

O Lord Almighty, my King, and my God, I declare you as Lord of my life. Help me to build my home next to the altar of The Cross. I give you my desires and dreams. Mold them into your will for my life, which brings true contentment. Help to be the wife and mother you intend for my life. 

Application steps:  Make a list of the desires of your heart. Also, list the blessings in your life. Kneel before the Father God and read them aloud. Ask him to help you to learn how “delight in the Lord.” Then place your desires on the altar of The Cross. Again, read aloud your blessings and thank the Lord Almighty for each one individually.   
Refection points:      
What triggers discontentment in my life? (Books? Magazines? Television?)

In what ways have some of my life’s hopes and dreams been fulfilled? 

Do I journal God’s blessings in my life daily?

Am I thankful for God’s provision in my life?

If I am tired of my life circumstances, am I perhaps just physically tired? Do I need a long afternoon nap?

Power verses:  
Psalm 16:6, Your boundary lines mark out pleasant places for me. Indeed, my inheritance is something beautiful. (God’s Word)

1 Tim. 6:6, But godliness with contentment is great gain. (NIV)  

Job 36:11, If they obey and serve him, they will spend the rest of their days in prosperity and their years in contentment. (NIV)  

Psalm 37:4, Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. (NIV)  

© 2004 by Susanne Scheppmann. All rights reserved.