A few weeks ago, I noticed a mother and a father bird building a nest in our pergola. I had a front row seat to their cooperative effort as I watched from our kitchen window whenever I was doing the dishes.
Let me interrupt this story for a second to let you know that I prefer an empty sink after each meal. This means that I either load the dishes into the dishwasher or hand-wash the non dishwasher-safe items (which I try to limit these days) after breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It’s just my routine and I prefer not to step out of it. I note this to relay that I spend a lot of time at the sink throughout my day.
Back to my story…
I found it endearing to watch the mother and father “nest” and couldn’t help but think about each time we prepared to welcome one of our sons into our family. So much time is spent making sure our hearts and our home are prepped for a little one.
Once the nest was completed, the mother rested and laid the eggs and the father came and went to check in. In the meantime, my sons and I affectionately named the birds. I chose Harriet for the mommy and they picked T’Challa (after the superhero Black Panther) for the daddy.
Like a dream, the eggs hatched on Mother’s Day. I’ll be honest and say that I was somewhat obsessed with checking in on the family at this point without bothering them. Other than my husband grilling a few times, we stayed out of the backyard to give them their space. Cute, right?!
Over the last couple weeks, I’ve watched Harriet care for her babies so gently. She only left to find food to bring back to the nest, allowed her babies to nuzzle under her wings, and kept a watchful eye on anyone or anything that she saw as a threat. Again, this scene consumed me a little more than I’d like to admit considering I’m not especially an animal person and usually don’t like to be too close in proximity to birds. I even went as far as Googling questions I had about birds in general. Ask my husband, I love to Google, but even this was a little extreme for me.
This morning as I was washing the breakfast dishes, I gazed and daydreamed about watching the mother release these little birds to fly off. I wondered if she would ever see them again and if the siblings would stick together. (Yes, I know I’m crazy at this point). It was all so sweet….
Until it wasn’t. This evening when I was making dinner, I realized that the birds were gone and the nest didn’t seem intact. And there was a stray cat in our backyard next to some feathers. I didn’t shed a tear, but I was pretty angry with the cat, who we can all assume is the suspect in this disaster.
I no longer would be able to witness the baby birds learn how to fly or see their happily ever after. We gently told the boys what we think might have happened (they seemed more intrigued than sad), and went on with our night.
But I can’t stop thinking about it!
Attacks to our nest
So where am I going with this depressing story? Well, unfortunately, we all experience attacks on our nests. The focus of these attacks are on our marriages, on our parenting, and on our relationships with others. The attacks come in the form of comparisons on social media, bullying, and insecurities. They come from our discontentment in a world where the Jones’ always seem to be doing something bigger and better. They come from advertisements and media that desensitize us to sex and violence.
Before we even bring our babies home from the hospital, we dream. We dream about what it’s going to be like to have a new son or daughter. We dream about who they are going to be friends with, where they will go to school, and what hobbies they will enjoy. We dream about taking them on their first trip and introducing them to our favorite places.
When we finally bring them home, we realize that these dreams seem so distant. Because in the present, we receive opinions from everyone and their best friend, spoken and unspoken. We see what other parents are doing as we scroll through Facebook and Instagram and begin to feel inferior about the choices we are making. Are we doing too much? Are we not doing enough? Are we becoming THAT mom?
My kids are still young, but already I have the fears of when they begin to be more influenced by their friends from school. And don’t even talk to me about when they get to the age of having their own phone or social media accounts! There is so much yuck out there for them to be exposed to! (I already have lots of conversations with God about these concerns of mine so that He can be prepared for my crazy when these days arrive…and so that I can work on laying my worries at His feet in the meantime.)
And, like I mentioned, it’s not just our parent-child relationships being attacked. It’s our marriages because we no longer make time for each other. It’s our families because we spend so much time passing each other by on our way to and from activities. Our priorities slowly shift over time and before we know it, we’re all just roommates!
So how do we fight these pervasive battles? How do we prevent our nests from being torn apart?
We begin by tuning out the opinions of the world and focusing on the opinion of One. The One that matters. The One who sees us trying our best on the little sleep we’re getting. The One who knows the child we are dealing with because He created that child and chose us to be the parents. The One who equips us with everything we need to care for our children. And the One who gives us grace in every moment to reset.
We do this by surrounding ourselves with other parents who we respect. We find and rely on our mom tribe for care and support. We turn off the TV and put our phones down to enjoy a family game night. We find a babysitter and schedule a date night, or have a date night at home after the kids go to bed. We monitor what our children are watching. We intentionally seek out relationships with people who will encourage us in our walk. We equip ourselves with Scripture to intentionally fight the attacks. And we pray…a lot!
It’s worth fighting for
Our homes are sacred. Our marriages are sacred. And this is exactly why they are being attacked. Can we make a pact to fight together for our homes, our marriages, our families, and our relationships? Instead of focusing on the agendas of the media, opinions of others, and the expectations of the world, can we promise to focus on what’s best for us and our families, seeking first His will for our lives?
Poor Harriet didn’t have a fighting chance once her nest was attacked because she was alone. She did the best she could to care for her babies. But luckily for us, we are not in this battle alone. We have a sovereign Father who is with us every step of the way. And we have others around us who want to help us protect our nests. Take heart knowing that when we look to the Lord and do the best we can do with what we have, we’ll be just fine.
I’d love to hear from you on how you protect your nest. I enjoy hearing your experiences and trying out new things in our home.
Let’s raise His Mighty Warriors TOGETHER!
A word on social media:
I love social media for many reasons. Living so far from my extended family, it’s a great way to “stay in touch” with relatives and friends, sharing pictures and stories.
But I also try to be aware of when it’s affecting me negatively. When I notice I’m starting to compare myself to others and discontentment is creeping in, I take a break. I highly recommend doing the same if you notice those feelings in yourself.