“Sweetie, I feel like a hostage in my own kitchen.”
Now normally my girl wouldn’t get away shushing an adult, especially a parent! But this had been my idea, and she was enthusiastically running with it. Yesterday, Caroline was perched on top of the sink, her body leaning outside the kitchen window and wobbly hands clutching the camera. She was desperately trying to capture a shot of a hummingbird in flight.
We have a hummingbird feeder in front of our kitchen window, and every summer we enjoy our temporary “pets.” Yesterday afternoon, there were cupcakes to bake, but my every move threatened to frighten the skittish creatures away. Yesterday, for Caroline, was one of the rare restless days that we’ve had around here, so I suggested that she try a little nature photography (as in go-outside-and-take-outside-pictures). The stay-inside-and-take-outside-pictures was not the strategy I had in mind, but I had to agree that Caroline’s perch on the kitchen sink offered the best spot for capturing a hummingbird at the feeder.
So we waited. And waited.
Why aren’t they coming, Mommy? I’m tired of waiting, Mommy.
Caroline’s impatience took my thoughts back 11 years to the first summer that I put out a hummingbird feeder. I did everything right for attracting hummingbirds where I live. I planted the red plants that they enjoy, hung the feeder in the spring, and supplied fresh feeder water every few days. I prayed. Yes, I prayed for something so small, so insignificant.
No hummingbirds in sight, even well into July. I grew tired of watching for them and mixing up the sugar water. Eventually the fresh water grew as sour as my hope, and I gave up.
I stood at the sink, the same afternoon as I had tossed the feeder aside, and watched as dark clouds entered upon strong winds. Suddenly a hummingbird appeared and hovered in front of the window for what seemed like the longest time while I stood motionless. If hummingbirds could demonstrate expression, this little one was particularly annoyed!
Of course I sprang into action. With freshly-filled feeder, I rushed out into the driving rain and wobbled up the stepladder. I remember thinking, “I probably shouldn’t do this, being pregnant and all,” but for some reason that little hummingbird meant the world to me in that moment.
During a video recorded live at a Deeper Still conference in Orlando (and incorporated into the Bible study series, Faithful, Abundant, and True by Arthur, Shirer, and Moore: Lifeway, 2010), Priscilla Shirer says that our God IS able and He is able to SURPRISE.
That summer, 11 years ago, I could not get over the surprise of expecting a child. After so much waiting and hoping and praying, the baby meant the world to me. And with such a long-awaited pregnancy, I was a very nervous pregnant person. Of course I knew that God was able. And deep inside I knew His character enough to believe that He was able and willing to meet the greatest and smallest desires of my heart. Somehow my answered prayer over the smallest desire gave me enormous comfort for my greatest desire. He knows. He sees. He hears. And, Oh, how He loves!
In Faithful, Abundant, and True, Priscilla Shirer shares: “Whether God moves is a question of His sovereignty, not His ability. What He does is His business. Believing that He can is our business….”
Speaking of kitchen windows, I keep a tiny slip of paper on the sill that came to me out of a fortune cookie. It simply says “Wait.” Who receives fortune-cookie forecasts like that? For me, it’s perfect. Another reminder of His faithfulness.
I still have big dreams. And like Caroline was yesterday, I’m still watching and waiting. Eleven years later, and I still believe. Not every prayer has been answered so evidently, nor has every prayer been answered with “yes.” I learned that oftentimes “no” and “wait” are the wisest of answers from my wise Father.
Priscilla Shirer continues, “I’ve gotta tell you, I’ve been asking the Lord about some things for years now. While I’m tempted to be discouraged as time continues to pass, I’m encouraged when I consider (that) God cares for us and is, right now, factoring in divine purposes and plans in relation to our requests. Let’s keep trusting and keep pressing in to Him.”
God is able and is able to surprise!
She got it :)