Friday, June 9, 2017

When Bluebirds Don't Come, a Devotional from Dorothy Johnson


 by Dorothy Johnson
. . . in everything give thanks. For this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

I Thessalonians. 5:18 [NET] 

Courtesy of Freeda Baker Nichols

Friends were posting pictures on Facebook of bluebirds. When I bemoaned that we didn’t have the proper habitat, a friend suggested a spot for a bluebird house. If we acted quickly, maybe we’d get a pair for the second nesting.

I rushed out and bought a copper-roofed beauty, and my husband installed it that afternoon. Then we watched and waited.

My heart nearly thumped out of my chest the day I spotted a bright blue bird on our deck. But wait. He didn’t have a rusty breast. I looked him up and found he was an Indigo Bunting—our first. 
Courtesy of Freeda Baker Nichols

The bunting continued to visit—for which I was glad—but in truth, my heart was fixed on bluebirds.

Finally, after another week, I looked out to see a male bluebird perched on top of the birdhouse. His mate was peering inside. Each day I watched, hoping to see them, but they showed up only one more time. 
I pushed back sadness.
While I continued my vigil, Baltimore Orioles and a Rose-Breasted Grosbeak dropped by. One day, I found our cat mesmerized by two tiny gold and black birds resting outside the patio door—Blackburnian Warblers—the first I’d ever seen. We fed yellow and purple finches, titmice, cardinals, mockingbirds, wrens, waddling doves, and red-winged blackbirds. 

We were bird-rich.
So why did I feel poverty stricken?
The answer rocked me.
I was ungrateful.
I was as ungrateful as a toddler, demanding his friend’s toy truck when pile of new ones lay at his feet. 
Only instead of trucks, I wanted bluebirds.
Shame crept over me as I thought of all the avian gifts God had so recently sent us.

More questions:
What if bluebirds never nested in my handsome birdhouse?
Could I not rejoice in the bejeweled creatures that regularly frequented our deck?
I could.
I would.
With a sheepish prayer of repentance, I released those bluebirds to God, resolving to simply concentrate on whatever riches He provided each day. 

And I’m making progress. Occasionally, when I glance at the bluebird house, hope rises for next year. But I’m leaving that to the Lord. When I find myself obsessing, I’ve found it helps to sing or quote a familiar verse: This is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it (Psalm 118:24).

Could you be missing God’s blessings because you’re focusing on the wrong thing?

If so, I invite you to pray with me: O Lord, help give us grateful hearts for the gifts you send. Deliver us from ingratitude. 
And you might want to sing that chorus.
 Dorothy Johnson

Dorothy Johnson is a retiree, who shares her thoughts about life and faith on her blog, Reflections from Dorothy ( She also contributes devotionals to Her stories appear in Chicken Soup for the Soul and several other anthologies. She is currently editing her first novel.

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