The rest of the story

28 03 2011


Last week I shared a story about a day dream that became a barely-believed-possible prayer, and the was-is-and-is-to-come answer of a low-stooping, always good God. (And isn’t it often the case that God’s answers are more about His whispering a hope and then coming alongside to inhabit it, and less about our receiving a neatly wrapped package with easy as 1-2-3-assembly instructions tucked inside? After all, God is a Lover, not a gumball machine.) But there’s one part of the story I neglected to tell — the part that happened right after this:

Then, the next morning, in the car on the way to the airport, he hesitated only a moment and then he said it. “Do you think Luke and Sarah would be willing to move in with us? I could clear out the back half of the house and they could have those rooms . . .” and he kept right on, describing my day dream to the last detail. I listened amazed, and then I told him, and we shared the wonder.

What happened next was small (like a universe is small) and huge (like the dust on a butterfly’s wing is huge). When we arrived at the airport, I told Dad I would call Luke and share the details of our conversation. I hugged him good-bye, jumped all the Security hurdles, bought a latte, and settled into a lounge area near my gate. Then I dialed Luke’s number and told him the whole story. “Wow,” he said over and over, and we both marveled at God’s amazing grace. And then it happened.

A sparrow landed on the carpet less than ten feet away.

It was the ring slipped on the finger from a tender Bridegroom, as though the wonder I already felt — the shy awe over His entering so intimately into matters of my heart — weren’t enough, but He longed to further prove His unbreakable promise of providential love and ever nearness. That sparrow hopping about at my feet was the voice of my Beloved. “You are mine. I will never leave you or forsake you. My eye is on you and yours, and all that concerns you concerns Me more.”

I heard and worshiped.

After I hung up the phone, I tried to capture a photograph of the sparrow, but each time I got close enough to frame and focus a shot, it flitted away. And then another interesting thing happened. The other people in the lounge area entered the story. “He’s behind that table over there,” one man said, glancing up from his magazine and then laying it aside to watch. “I think he’s under that chair now,” a woman in cowboy boots offered. Heads turned. iPhone games paused. Books were closed. I followed a sparrow through an airport terminal, and everywhere we went, walls crumbled, strangers became community, and bored or tense expressions relaxed into smiles.

I never did get a shot of that sparrow. I got something much better. I got to share the gift.

He gives His gifts — whispers them into our thoughts, and we think them and pray them, and then (why are we so surprised?) He lavishes us with exceeding abundance prepared by sovereign Love long before we dared to dream of asking. He leads, we follow, and the music swells, and the dance lifts us higher and higher. We are His sparrows, soaring with hilarious faith into the great known, because we are not orphans. We are not alone. We are seen.

And a watching world hears a hint of an invisible song, beholds the afterglow, and perhaps even feels a primal pang of holy hunger. Because who doesn’t want to fly?

So that’s the rest of the story. But really, it’s only one paragraph on one page — one note in a never-ending symphony, a love song that dips and rises and gives wings to faith, carrying us from gift to gift in this dance with divine grace. And you. You, who set aside your magazine today and stepped into my story for a while. Thank you for becoming part of the gift. Your presence makes the memory even sweeter.

Giving thanks in community for:

#57 A sparrow in the airport, a Lover’s smile
#58 Awakening to the song of birds outside my window
#59 The dripping purple scent of wisteria fountains
#60 New life erupting everywhere, the uncontainable hope of spring
#61 Video chatting with Grace and our quirky little Sparrow
#62 Jacob “singing” with headphones on
#64 A sweet moment leaning close to speak to Naomi (Sarah’s belly) and her little kick in response

 

To read more stories of gratitude or to share your own, visit Ann Voskamp’s site.


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17 responses

28 03 2011
Patricia (Pollywog Creek)

Loved every turn in this beautiful story of grace, Jeanne. Your words drip with His love.

With eyes wide open….

Much love,
Patricia

29 03 2011
jeannedamoff

Thank you, dear Patricia. And thank you for passing this post along on twitter and facebook. You’re always so encouraging. xo

28 03 2011
heartscape

Jeanne,
This reminds me so much of my own encounter with birds in an airport [http://wp.me/pwstd-mt]. I love how God uses these little creatures to speak to us and remind us that his hand of provision is always near.

Thank you for your beautiful words today.

29 03 2011
jeannedamoff

I loved your story, Jane! Thanks so much for sharing it with me.

28 03 2011
tinuviel

My favorite line: “isn’t it often the case that God’s answers are more about His whispering a hope and then coming alongside to inhabit it, and less about our receiving a neatly wrapped package with easy as 1-2-3-assembly instructions tucked inside?” Those words about God whispering a hope and then inhabiting it immediately reminded me of specific instances in my recent life. In reminding, they gave fresh hope for the current whisperings waiting for incarnation. Lovely! Thank you.

29 03 2011
jeannedamoff

Thanks for sharing this with me, tinuviel. I love hearing about the sweet and tender ways God works! Grace to you in your “current whisperings.”

28 03 2011
laura

I had to go back and read the other story because I’m behind again. But…what a gift to read it all together and marvel at the Way and how He works it all together. Jeanne? I’ll be praying for your family through this. Life and the way it moves…sometimes is a bumpy road. Oh, but how love is in the way our tummies roll in the up and the down of it.

29 03 2011
jeannedamoff

Thank you, Laura. His ways are a marvel, aren’t they? And every day a choice to trust or grumble. I like your analogy. The road bumps can be an irritation or chance to throw up our hands and say Wheeee! 🙂

28 03 2011
Deborah Carr

I love how God’s creatures call us outside ourselves…to see from different eyes, hear with discerning ears, touch with gentle fingers. Following threads this weekend led me to your site, then Ann’s…thank you.

29 03 2011
jeannedamoff

Yes, Deborah. Oh for grace to live in these moments awake. So glad you landed here and also found your way to Ann. Lovely to meet you!

28 03 2011
katdish

How many of God’s gifts do we miss because we’re just not paying attention? Thanks for paying attention, and for sharing his gifts with us. Beautiful. xo

29 03 2011
jeannedamoff

You’re welcome, my dear. Now if I can just keep paying attention. (You of all people know the struggle, eh?) Thanks for the encouragement! Love you.

28 03 2011
Barbara Thayer

How beautifully said Jeanne. God is so full of surprises…yet we really should not be surprised at His lavish and extravagant love. His messages to us are everywhere present if only we have the eyes to see and ears to hear. Thank you for your wonderful description of His grace.

29 03 2011
jeannedamoff

Thank you, Barbara. Yes, His messages are everywhere present. Life is a treasure hunt. May we always have the grace to see it that way.

29 03 2011
Cora

Thank you so much for this! I remember reading the first part of the story, and this was like the icing on the cake. Isn’t it just like the Lord to see to it that you really “got it!?” I just love the sparrow thing in the airport. As I’m listening right now to cardinals singing away outside my window, I hear His love song, too! I’m starting to see that I would rather NOT have the gumball machine type of gifts. His way is best! Thank you again for a beautiful post and one I won’t forget!

31 03 2011
jeannedamoff

Thanks, Cora! Yes, His way is best. Even the hard, hard way. I don’t always remember that in the moment of difficulty, but He is faithful to remind me.

31 03 2011
Maureen

I had a similar experience in the Denver airport – little sparrows flitting around. A moment of calm and peace and comfort in the middle of airport bustle and chaos. The Lord speaks to us – everywhere!

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