if His eye is on the sparrow

I’m going to be very transparent right now, so please, be patient with me.  During a training this week, I was asked to write down my adaption to stress.  I took that to mean where do I “go” when feeling under stress.  I sat there for a minute, picked up my pen, and jotted down these three words:

Cynicism, Anger, Anxiety

To my own shock, I stared at those words for a while, but quickly picked up my attention to the speaker.  From time to time, these three words kept coming back to me, but I continued to do my best to stay engaged in the training.

Later on that night, my oldest son was outside playing when my husband called him in to get ready for bed.  “Never”, my son said to my husband while in front of the other dads in the neighborhood.  My son continued to disobey and play while my husband calmly (which is true to his nature) coaxed him indoors to get ready for bed.

After my husband talked to him about being disobedient, I decided it was my turn.  I scolded my son for disobeying his father.  To be honest, I lectured him.  I spoke about how being disobedient to one’s father is a sign of disrespect, and we are to not disrespect our fathers.  My son apologized and stated he would try harder and not do it again.  We tucked him in to bed, kissed him goodnight, and went on with the evening.

As I lay in bed thinking about my day and the issue we had with our son, I began to think about those three words that came to mind earlier in the day.

 Cynicism, Anger, Anxiety

I prayed for cleansing of these things.  I asked the Lord to clean my heart of the resentment I have felt towards others in the past few months.  I asked Him to clear my spirit of the anger I sometimes pour out about others, and I prayed fervently for the purging of my anxiety about my future, my children, my spouse, our finances, and our careers.  And then, I drifted off to sleep.

The next morning, I woke up with my prayers still on my mind.  However, my thoughts turned to this:

In the same breath that I told my son how disrespectful he was to his father by being disobedient, I too have been disrespectful to my Heavenly Father by being cynical, angry, and full of anxiety.  In that moment, I was humbled.

Furthermore, I meditated on the fact that anger leads to cynicism, and anxiety comes from both.  I felt the Lord convicting me that if I continue holding on to these three things as a defense mechanism or adaption to stress, then I am convincing myself that the power of these emotions, and the decisions of others are more powerful than my faith in God.

As I progressed with the morning, I began to think about a song that stirred my heart many years ago.

Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come, Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heaven and home,

When Jesus is my portion? My constant friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

I sing because I’m happy,
I sing because I’m free,
For His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.

“Let not your heart be troubled,” His tender word I hear,
And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears;
Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

Whenever I am tempted, whenever clouds arise,
When songs give place to sighing, when hope within me dies, I draw the closer to Him, from care He sets me free;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

After these words left my lips, I felt…I felt cleansed.  I felt the Lord moving in my spirit…

….and just like that, I let it all go.  

I let go of the cynicism I have carried for so many months now.  I exhaled the anger about decisions that I have struggled with, and I released the anxiety about my family’s and my own future.  There are hardly any words to describe the feeling of knowing that a prayer has been answered.  The only way to describe it is that I have felt “lighter” since then, and I have sensed an incredible envelope of love guarding my heart.

I was lead to this Scripture:

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

-Matthew 6:25-34

I’ve written this post to encourage you – my fellow believers and non-believers.  I’ve shared this personal experience in hopes that you too may rest for a while.

If His eye is on the sparrow – a small, seemingly insignificant bird, then you can be assured that His eye is on the incredible, lovable, forgivable, unique, and very significant you.

LOVE.

LOVE. It’s more than a word. Love is the lens to which we are supposed to view life. Last night I sat with two dozen cold hard-boiled eggs, a white crayon, and my Bible turned to Colossians. I scoured the pages looking for words that would mean something, or at least, make a little more sense to my son, age 7, and daughter, age 5.

Finally, I settled on Colossians 3:12-17:

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And out of all these virtues, put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.  I then went on to find other words such as grace, sing, obey, and of course, our Savior’s name, Jesus.

Tonight, to my children’s surprise, the words appeared as they lifted the eggs out of the dye. My son exclaimed, “You did it again, Mommy! You wrote words on the eggs!” I tried this last year, and only one word showed up. (Although, a lesson was learned from that one word.) Thankfully, all of the words showed up this time.

After we dyed the eggs, I read the verses above and each time I came across a word they spotted on one of the eggs, we put the egg in a basket. It was a fun and meaningful activity.

I admit that I could have had a little more patience when color-drenched hands were grabbing at the eggs. I could have used more wisdom and compassion about the excitement that two young children show at dying Easter eggs. My attempt to finish the activity with reading about Jesus’s crucifixion seemed to be in vain as the children were too busy dancing around the table, singing songs, and chattering about the rest of our weekend plans.

As I cleaned up the table, put the eggs back in their cartons for overnight storage, and closed my Bible, the thought hit me that I am often too busy dancing around the many tables of responsibilities I have. Sometimes, I am too noisy with songs of my own rhythm, or simply talking too much to listen to the Word.

And then, I re-read the verse…

And out of all these virtues, put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity…

I’m still learning to use wisdom, compassion, gratitude, humility, gentleness, and patience as a parent. Aren’t we all?

Out of all of these, LOVE binds us together. LOVE.

On this incredible weekend as the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ resonates within us, let us not forget to love.

Let us not forget to love as He loves us.

Thank you, Jesus, for Your Love that led You to the Cross.