Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. Matthew 10:29-31
Together, we hung thin braches on her bedroom wall and arranged colorful birds framed in various sizes above her bed. I printed out Jesus’ words about the sparrows and placed them near her mirror where we brush her hair.
After scrubbing hot pink and lime green paint out from underneath my fingernails, I gave her wall one last look—stenciled outlines depicting birds on a line—and I prayed this whole bird thing wasn’t a fast phase.
When she turned six, we updated her bedroom from toddler to big girl, and she was super clear about what she wanted. Birds. Everywhere birds. Every kind of bird.
In the remaking of a little girl’s bedroom, I caught a peek at her heart’s kindness towards God’s smallest creatures.
But I glimpsed something else, too.
Adorable is her favorite word to describe the common blackbirds and jays that visit our trees in the backyard. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when her fascination with birds began. I didn’t pay much attention to it until last Christmas.
With unshakable confidence, she walked right up to Santa Claus and asked him to bring her a book that would help her learn more about birds. Santa’s face crinkled the same way mine did when she revealed her uncommon wish list. But with a wink, her wish was as good as granted.
To this day, she carries her prized gift, a North American Bird Guide, in her backpack to school, just in case she spots a bird on the way.
She’s learned how to identify them based on their size, color, and habits. She can tell you which birds hang around all year round and which ones are just migrating through.
I’ve always thought of a bird as just a bird.
The word that comes to mind is hardly adorable when I look out the window and see one perched on the fence out back. Everyday. Common. Ordinary sounds more like it.
But my bird-girl doesn’t see “just” birds. She recognizes each and every feature—from ruby red throats to the color of their bellies—and understands how these distinguish them as completely unique.
Swallows, jays, mallards, wood ducks, starlings, robins, egrets, hummingbirds, chickadee, hawks, mockingbirds, meadowlarks, kingfisher, doves, blackbirds, and sparrows.
We can’t go to the zoo without stopping at the corner where exotic parrots, long-legged flamingos, and peacocks strut their stuff. Eagles and vultures and even the tiniest feathered creatures captivate her heart in ways I’ll never understand.
She bought a bird feeder and wild bird seed with her tooth fairy money, and her daddy hung in from the oak in the backyard. Armed with her bird guide and a pair of binoculars, she sat and waited for them to come. She waited and waited. And waited.
The squirrels found the seed first, but my girl never gave up hope. For two long months, she waited.
Then one day, squeals of pure little girl delight broadcasted the arrival of a full flock of birds to our lawn out back. They rocked that feeder, two at time, with aggressive determination. Red-winged blackbirds and brown, speckled sparrows.
With a beautiful kind of wonder, I watched my girl watch those birds.
I’ve yet to shake the feeling.
They say that artists leave a piece of their heart behind in everything they create. God does the same, I think. I see a glimpse of His kindness right there in the heart of a six-year-old girl who loves the birds He made and cares for.
Jesus’ words refresh my heart today—the very ones we framed and hung in my bird-girl’s room so she’d never forget, the same words my heart needs especially today. Maybe you need them, too?
You are more valuable than many sparrows.
In our house, there is no such thing as “just a bird,” and in God’s kingdom, there is no such thing as just a wife, just a mom, just a daughter, just a (you fill in the blank.) You are so much more.