Last night, at midnight, I peaked into our chicken egg incubator and there, hidden in the corner, upside down and caught beneath the egg prongs was a tiny little black feathered chick. I threw my toothbrush, removed the lid and began calling the family to help me. My oldest was with me because we had stayed up late watching Veronica Mars. Thank God we had stayed up, or this chick would not have made it. I am smiling right now because I can hear her clear on the other side of the house calling for me, her mama. My husband helped to pull the front row of egg turners so I could lift her up out of the incubator. What a way to enter the world!
We purchased this amazing incubator from a garage sale a month ago for just ten bucks. Before that, my husband and I worked together to move, paint and prepare the old chicken coop abandoned and in disrepair on our property. A new friend gave me one dozen of her adult chickens from which to learn- and did I ever! I learned about predators, I learned about chicken wire, and I learned that chickens have little personalities of their own!
My first favorite was Snow White. In the fall, she got sick and I nursed her back to health. The day I returned her to the flock, a Golden Retriever escaped and killed 3 of my chickens. I fell to my knees, sobbing when I found Snow White in the field. I held her in my lap and wept that she was gone. That evening I realized that another chicken was missing and I found her barely alive, hiding in the pump house. She had a huge gouge in her back where the dog had bitten her. I prayed as I sought answers on my favorite chicken websites. Three days later, I returned Raven to the flock where she thrived. She became my second favorite. Since I bathed her and hand fed her yogurt and feed, she became my pet. She followed me around the farm, she would jump up on the bench and stand next to me like a lap dog. She was so sweet. I lost her just three days ago, May 30th.
There is a reason for the saying, “Like a fox in the hen house!” In the middle of the night, I heard a loud sound outside my bedroom window. Then I heard a squawk and silence. I ran outside in my mud boots and looked in the hen house. There were 3 hens and my rooster, Chanticlear. Raven was missing.
I ran to the front yard and found the screen on the ground. It looked like Raven had tried to come in through my window. A fox had come in the night and taken my Raven girl. I tried not to cry, I mean by this time I had butchered two chickens because they became sick. Another had been taken by that same wily fox and petite little Charlie blew away in that wind storm we had mid April. With four chickens and a rooster I had hoped we could hatch an egg in our incubator.
God is purposeful in everything He does. He uses everything for our good, but at the time, I didn’t believe that. I was keeping a long list of why I wasn’t any good. I was also keeping a long list of why others weren’t any good either. In March, I attended a prayer meeting in town. I arrived with the full intent to pray, but instead experienced bizarre worship that included monotone proclamations and mash-ups of old worship songs. It felt like theater-art rather than a prayer meeting. It also made me sad because, unless one was affiliated with this group, and had been taught or trained, it was difficult to find any kind of common ground in Christ, and the experience was lost on anyone new to Christianity.
However, since God knows what He’s doing and uses “all things for my good,” he used this moment to speak through a friend. She eagerly sat next to me and said, “Do you feel like you’re in an incubator? I look at you and see this beautiful golden orb.” At that point, no one knew about our new incubator. We had the incubator, but hadn’t placed any eggs and I understood that her words were prophetic. I took the image home with me and thought about its meaning, talking with God all the while. I considered how difficult my inner dialog had been lately, and how tattered my self-perception had become. I felt like I was stuck in the muck of popular opinion
The list of people’s opinions of me was long. Since my youth, I have felt the need to defend myself to “The List Keepers.” Have you ever noticed how once you challenge those lists of judgements everyone starts pecking at you at once? In the middle of my incubation time with God and the pondering of the records kept by so called experts, I sought counsel of my own, letting off some steam, in hope for some encouragement. I was told by a pastor, “Why don’t you quit!?” Ouch! Not at all what I needed. But, it was as though I was handing him an autograph book filled from beginning to end with people’s opinions and judgements of myself. Please sign here your list of disapprovals. People seemed to come out of the woodwork all at once to tell me what a mess up I was, what a mistake I had turned out to be, “You need to work on yourself,” filled the pages. A metaphorical skulk of foxes, and not so lightly veiled I might add!
What is this lesson God? Then understanding dropped into my heart, invaded my soul and cleared the fog of judgement and self-hate from my mind. I have kept a list of my wrongs. In my mind, I was everyone’s enemy, my own worst enemy. I might as well have posted my failures on facebook for the world to see! Not good enough, not believable, untrustworthy, failure, resented, hated, not pretty enough, not perfect, mistake maker, and the list goes on. Then, in the middle of my incubation period, God spoke:
Darcy, do you know the love verse?
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 1 Cor 13: 4-8
“Yes, I know that verse.”
Do you know this verse?
“…God is love.” 1 John 4:8
“Yes, Lord, I love that verse.”
Then, if I am Love, this is true:
God is patient, God is kind. He does not envy, He does not boast, He is not proud. He does not dishonor others, and is not self-seeking, He is not easily angered, He keeps no record of wrongs….
He keeps no record of wrongs. He keeps no record of wrongs!
The truth of those words landed squarely in the middle of my personal list of failures and inadequacies like an arrow in a bulls eye. If God keeps no record of wrongs, then why do I?
I made two lists; one of the record of wrongs others keep of me, and the other of my own list. Then… I tore them up! I don’t have a record of wrongs. I don’t need anyone’s record of wrongs because my page is empty. The amazing thing is, I also had a little record of wrongs saved for later about why the eggs won’t hatch.
- The incubator was too hot a few times and I probably cooked the chicks.
- There isn’t enough moisture in the air in the incubator.
- The eggs probably aren’t even fertilized… yata, yata, yata.
Well, remember that God works all things together for our good (Yeah it’s true! Check out Romans 8:28)? Even the bad things, like foxes in the hen house; God will use them for your good! So, Guess who was the mama of that little chick that hatched?
God is so tender hearted to care for us like that.
New life abounds and doors open when we hear God, flap our wings and Live!