Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Nest

"I am in a place in my life and ministry where I feel like I am being pushed out of the nest."

These were the exact words I used to describe my condition during a small group yesterday, here in the North Carolina Hills, where I am attending a gathering for mentors.

When we arrived in France almost four years ago, I had to go back to zero. I've been learning a new language, navigating a new culture, making new friends, and starting over from scratch where ministry is concerned. I  felt diminished, like at forty God had sent me back to preschool. It was humbling, and agonizing, and I could easily relate to stories of people who were recovering from a stroke, having to relearn the basics.

What I hadn't realized--perhaps because I was so overwhelmed by my incapacity--was that God had placed me in a pretty safe incubator. I was weak and needy, but I was also protected, nurtured, and encouraged.

Now, after having been strengthened for a while, I am being  called to fly. Its time to leave the nest, but this little bird is no longer sure she can fly.

These were my thoughts yesterday, sitting in a lovely setting, surrounded by new friends, listening to the Lord.

During a fifteen minute break, I felt the need to get some fresh air. I walked just a little ways when suddenly a flash of movement streaked through my peripheral vision. Turning my head, I saw a baby bird lying in the grass on his back, feet straight up in the air. His tiny chest was pulsing--he was alive. Just then another bird swooped down to his side. Though I moved threateningly close, the guardian bird stood his ground, unflinching.

And so the three of us stood in silence, waiting. A minute later, the fallen bird righted himself, and flew away, though he stayed low to the ground. Only then did the guardian take flight.

All morning I had been contemplating the idea of leaving the nest, wondering if I would dare to fly, fearing that I would likely fall.

Indeed, I will fall.

But I have a guardian, and knowing this might just give me the freedom to go. To fail. And eventually, to find a way to flutter on.

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