This weekend I attended a ladies retreat; we had some designated time to spend with God outdoors to ask for revelation through the wonder of His creation.
The first thing I spotted was a dirty feather covered in grit and sand. I passed it by.
Meandering down to the lakeshore I surveyed the splendor far and wide. Though chilly and gray an ethereal mist flowed gently across the distant water. Surely God would speak through such grandeur.
I waited… I listened…for that still small voice, but nothing came.
I kicked the sand at my feet, longing for the warmth of summer sun. My eyes fell on a piece of birch bark washed ashore. Guess what? It too was covered in grit and sand.
“Pick it up.”
“Pick it up,” I questioned. “Really God?”
That inner voice remained clear. “Yes, pick it up.”
Gingerly holding the sodden hunk of bark away from my favorite coat I strolled along a beaten path with the beauty of the lake to my right and thick verdant forest to my left.
My fingers grew numb with cold, I longed to drop the dirty driftwood and be done with it, but instead I waited. Somehow it had significance.
With my one free hand I wiped a raindrop from the tip of my nose and paused to listen. All I heard was the gentle pitter-patter of rain on the roof of my Lululemon hood.
Then He spoke!
“This bark represents your life. Every blemish, every crack, every curl of white stripped away from black, mirrors a wound, a hardship, a trouble. The large gash at the top is the trauma you lived through during childhood…the dark secrets, the brave front, the pain…
“The black running down the side that bleeds into a far bigger scar was Satan’s trump card, the one He thought would finish you off for good, and turn you cold and bitter…adultery.
“All the nicks, holes and imperfections represent the trouble a fallen world brings to every human soul.”
John16:23 “For I have told you the truth. In this world you will have trouble, but take heart – I have overcome the world.”
As I stood in the drizzle of wet and cold, warmth from deep within filled my being. God’s presence grew thick. I felt as if I was sitting on His lap in the warmth of a hug, a place I never experienced with my earthly father.
“Why show me this?” I pondered.
“Because I want you to know.
I LOVE YOU.”
This message was repeated.
“I see ALL PAIN
I hear EVERY PRAYER
I LOVE YOU!”
I began to think of the thousands of prayers lifted to God on my husband’s behalf…only to have his walk away from the Lord culminate in the sorrow of adultery.
Yet I could not deny. God had been with me every pain filled day.
He had seen.
He had heard.
He had loved me through the heartache into a place of inner healing. Then He miraculously restored a dead marriage.
A smile flooded in, the kind that goes WAY beyond the upward curl of lips, but straight through to the soul. I call this a full body smile, that place where emotion, spirit and love flow together.
I raised my eyes in thankfulness only to catch a rather unusual piece of bark in the shape of an ancient scroll hanging from a nearby birch tree.
Its exquisite beauty drew me closer. As I pulled it free a rather ugly piece came with it. Just as I was about to discard that section the spirit compelled me to stop.
“Blossom, this scroll represents the Bible. The further you get away from my Word the easier the world can attach its rubble onto you. Don’t remove that edge, instead, let it remind you of John 15:5. “I am the vine, you are the branches. If you remain in me, and I in you, you will bear much fruit – apart from me, you can do nothing.”
I gazed at these two pieces of wood and marveled at how God finds the most peculiar ways to speak. It was then I noticed that which I had missed before… a small white feather clung tenaciously to the bark, and as you may have already guessed, it was covered in grit and sand.
Suddenly the message unfolded in clarity. Each item played an integral part. You could say the spirit tied it up with ribbon and bow. Direction followed.
“Take this weathered beaten piece of driftwood, scroll and tiny white feather and remove the grit and sand. You will find them far more beautiful than you first assessed. This is a symbol of how I wash people clean of all sin and create beauty.
“Next, use the large piece as a frame and let it remind you of the broken, the weathered, the wounded. Place their photos in the middle as a reminder to pray for their healing. Above all infuse hope into their lives. Use your sorrow and subsequent healing as an example of all I can do for those who call on my name.
“The scroll is as a gentle reminder to read the word daily.”
I took a moment to let God’s instruction soak in, and realized I still did not understand the significance of the feather.
“You know I have to ask,” I said.
The answer made me cry, for Jesus whispered,
“I wanted you to have a feather but you passed it by…
For your sorrow is over and its time to fly.
On wings of freedom…dispel Satan's lie,
Tell the world, the wounded, the broken...
I love them!”