Friday, February 25, 2011

American Idol Part Four: Nest

Mornings after a storm are particularly beautiful. Even the little redbud tree outside my study seems to have extra clean scrubbed bark. There's one little adventurous flower attempting to pop out and announce that the coast is now clear. Winter has surrendered and death will once again spring forth into new life. The side yard is a veritable three ring circus. Two squirrels are performing a tight rope act atop a narrow tree branch ferrying their heart-heathy berry and nut breakfast to one another. Talk about a spring in one's step. Do they ever just walk?

Before long these bare branches will be covered with the bright green fresh leaves of spring. But for now, for a final few days I can still see all of the nests tucked in among the limbs. I can quickly count eight of them right outside the kitchen. Once busy nests full of feathered or furry little creatures, last year's nests are now empty and quiet. Exactly like my nest. Well, not exactly. Benjamin will be here shortly. But my little chicks have left my nest and are feathering their own.

A few times a year my chicks are all back in this nest together and I experience a feeling that's hard to describe. Not mere sentimentality. Not a desire to press rewind back to their childhood so all is as it used to be. Not wishful thinking of what it would be like to have all of them here all of the time. After all we wouldn't want to ruffle anyone's feathers. What I'm trying to say is, well, everything is how it's supposed to be. And I'm grateful. The chicks were fed, grew, have flown the coop, and as far as I can tell with all of my motherly antennae and intuition are doing well.

So why mess it up talking about idolatry? Because for a mother it is so easy to find the golden calf in her nest. Not idolizing her children because they are so adorable, (even the terms we use indicate a bit of a problem but just look at that little face) but idolizing our performance as parents. When there is peace and tranquility among the chicks in the nest it's so easy to take the credit. Haven't I done well? Just look for yourself. And when the twigs in the nest are bent out of shape and feathers fly we are so prone to lament what a terrible parent I've been.

It's all my fault. I wonder if Eve said that when Cain murdered his brother. In 1 Samuel we read the account of Hannah praying in earnest for a son that she would give to the Lord all the days of his life. Couldn't the mother of Samuel, such a great prophet of God, the one who anointed David King of Israel assume that she could take at least some of the credit? Turn over a few pages to read what is surely among the top ten bad boys of the bible stories. Hophni and Phineas the corrupt sons of Eli are legendary in their wickedness. Is it a case of the sins of the fathers continuing through generations? But then the boy Samuel served Eli the priest under the same roof and look at him. What about David? Precious shepherd boy musician, giant killer, King of Israel rears sons that are listed in Who's Who for all the wrong reasons. Then the ultimate. Mary the mother of Jesus. She was mother to her son who was also her Savior. How would she, could she, assess her parenting? That's just beyond my finite mind's comprehension.

God in His faithfulness has given us His word to instruct us and to change us and our children:
*Love the Lord and teach your children diligently all that you learn. Deut. 6:4-9.
*Assuming and exercising your parental authority is a blessing to your child and is like an ornament around his neck. Prov. 1:8,9; 3:1,2;4:1,2;4:20-22;6:20-23.
*Trusting in the Lord and His providence applies to us and our children. With the Lord there is a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11.

Once again it's not all about me. I am double-yoked as Jesus says, with Him. Wearing the yoke enables the "yoked" to do what she's meant to do. As a mother I am to rear my children as unto the Lord, by the instruction of the Lord, to the glory of the Lord. There is not room in the nest for the calf of my performance. How silly, out of place, and inappropriate is the sight of a cow in a nest. Just take a look. Just think about it.


  1. Wonderful post. I can so identify and need to read it over and over. :)

  2. Thank you, K. The learning never ends......