A Fisher of Grandchildren
January 12, 2022 | My Jottings
Hello friends. How is your January going? Are things winding down from Christmas? Do you still have your tree up? Are you staying warm where you are?
My daughter Sara took our little tree down a couple of days after Christmas. I’ve always been in the put-it-up-early/take-it-down-right-after-Christmas camp, as I like to get things back to normal. I like the feel of a clean slate in the new year, mentally and environmentally, as much as is possible.
We are staying warm here in Northeastern Minnesota, but only because our furnaces run almost continually, since our temperatures have been in the teens below zero. Today it’s actually 30 degrees above, and if I could kick up my heels I most certainly would.
I have a couple of bird feeders in my yard. One is a clear little plastic contraption that hangs on my dining room window with large suction cups, and this time of year the chickadees are frequent visitors. We can see them an arm’s length away, just on the other side of the glass, and it’s a delight to watch them. They always take turns. Two or three will sit in the branches of pine greens Sara put in my three front flower boxes, and then in perfect timing, one chickadee will swoop in the very second the one who was just getting a seed flies out.
I noticed a lot of juncos in the yard last week, and they didn’t seem to be interested in the black sunflower seeds I keep out that attract so many other birds. So I took some of Phoebe the parakeet’s tiny seeds and arranged it all along the deck railing. It took a day and a half for the word to spread, but one junco must have told the others, because I’ve had as many as sixteen juncos on my deck, eating that seed like crazy. Do you have juncos where you live? Here’s what they look like if you’re not familiar:
Speaking of birds, Lloyd and I just completed our first puzzle of 2022. If anyone had told me two years ago that I would take up puzzling as a hobby I would have laughed — all my life I’ve hated jigsaw puzzles. Michael used to love them. His parents used to have one set up on a card table at their house at Christmas time, and whoever wanted to could sit and puzzle for a while. I tried a time or two, but searching for one piece in a thousand felt like torture to me. It was puzzling, indeed… why anyone would want to spend time looking for one tiny cardboard piece after another escaped me. Well, now I understand. Putting together a puzzle in a slow, quiet, contemplative way has become a new hobby. When he is in town (because he lives in the woods in a cabin one hour south of me) my husband Lloyd and I have a cup of coffee or tea, sometimes turn on some soft music, and work together in mostly companionable silence. If the puzzle isn’t pretty to look at, I’m not as enthusiastic about it. But if it’s interesting or beautiful, it’s time well spent to gaze at it and use my eyes and brain for hours on end.
My granddaughter Eleanor saw this puzzle below and asked her dad to bring her by to give it to me. She knows how meaningful cardinals are to me, and I was thrilled with the gift. To be remembered by a grandchild is no small thing. The puzzle below was 500 pieces and we usually do 1000, but it was so pleasant to work on. A lovely quilt, beautiful song birds… we loved putting it together.
And it’s getting close to egg-laying season for bald eagles in many parts of the country. I regularly check in on three nest cams. One is in Big Bear Lake, California, where Jackie and Shadow are adding sticks and fluff to their nest daily and the egg-watch has begun. Another live nest cam I watch is in Decorah, Iowa. Two babies successfully hatched last year and I got hours of enjoyment watching them from newly hatched to full-grown and learning how to hunt. The third nest I watch is in the Minneapolis area, three hours south of me, and I have seen an eagle pair roosting near the nest recently. The picture below was taken of my computer monitor when one of the eagles in Decorah stopped in after a snowfall to check on the nest.
The other morning in the dark right after I woke up, I was listening to my Pray As You Go app play the day’s Scripture reading. It was from the gospel of Mark, chapter 4, where Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee as Simon and Andrew were casting their nets for fish. Jesus said to them, “Come follow Me and I will make you fishers of men.” They left their nets and followed, and the world changed forever.
Something welled up inside me at that moment as I was still nestled in my flannel sheets, and I sensed a strong call of sorts, and the words that formed in my mind were, “I will make you a fisher of grandchildren!” My eyes filled with tears and I whispered, “Yes Lord!”
And so I will be, as He gives me grace to love and pray.
As I age, my purpose in life becomes clearer as each day passes. I am to be a woman of prayer, lifting up my children and grandchildren continually. I have always struggled with being faithful in prayer, because frankly it’s hard to have a conversation with Someone I can’t see, and who speaks without a human voice. I have learned, and indeed am still learning, to hear His voice in the pages of Scripture, through circumstances He orchestrates, and through His glorious creation.
The more I slow down and pay attention to the work of His hands, the more I detect His words and ways. I look at Lake Superior and He speaks to me of how deep His mercy, How cleansing His blood. I look at the trees in the forests I’m surrounded by, and He reminds me, “Look up, Julie.” I consider the details of a single flower, and my mind goes tilt at the care He takes to lavish us with beauty. I read about atomic particles (which I don’t understand) and He affirms to me how nothing holds together without Him holding it together. I look at the Milky Way on a bitterly cold and clear night, and almost bow down when I try to wrap my mind around the fact that He breathed it into existence, that as vast as it seems, it’s tiny to Him. I look at a human cheek cell under a microscope with my granddaughter Louisa, and hope that she will learn to marvel at a God who thought the cell up, and that we are all thirty trillion living cells, cardiac cells and brain cells, skin cells and muscle cells and bone cells. All created by God, and not only is He all-powerful and staggeringly brilliant, but He loves us. And He proved it.
So I write my beautiful daughters’ names in my prayer journal. And the names of my dear sons-in-law. And my precious grandchildren’s names. I write them over and over and over, asking God to work His love and salvation and ways into their very beings. To speak to them, to draw them to His book so they can see Jesus, to nudge them to lift their heads and be awed by all He has done. I ask the Lord to be real to them, to be their delight and refuge. I ask Him to give them wholeness and joy in Christ. I ask for the same for myself. And I’ve asked that for you. The names of my friends and political leaders and neighbors and online friends and their loves, all grace the pages.
Why would I live, why would I be conceived and grow in my mother’s womb, why would my life have been saved from death many years ago, why would I reach an old age now, if not to love and pray for these I would give my life for?
Their interests interest me. Their sorrows pierce me. Their happiness makes me happy. When they are wounded, I almost die. I love their voices, their company, their eyes, their laughter, their very beings.
I am not a very good fast-er and pray-er, but I have a feeling that is ahead for me. The thought of it actually scares me a little, because food can be too important to me. But I’m willing, if the Lord will help me and strengthen me, take the veil from my eyes, give me His heart, and lead me further in this school of prayer.
I don’t want to give the impression that I’m some great prayer person. I don’t spend hours a day praying for those I love. I know people who are like that, and I’m alternately in awe of and repelled by them.
But I know I want to pray.
If you need prayer today, I will pray for you. Tell me in the comments what you would like the Lord to do, and I will take your heart’s cry to Him. If you want me to keep your name confidential, just say that when you leave your comment.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 16-18.
Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Thank you for stopping by today.
The Lord bless and keep you,