FEATHERS [OR] AN EXERCISE IN FAITH

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Two nights ago, we were having dinner with some new friends.  After dinner, their just-turned-one-year-old baby boy kept reaching out toward the center of the dining room table, like he wanted something.  There was a bottle there, so I handed it to him.  No interest, but he kept reaching.  I started handing him other things, but he just kept reaching.

I asked his mom, “What is he reaching for?”  And I was surprised at her answer.  And at the nonchalance of it.

“Oh, I think there’s an angel in our kitchen.  He reaches out like that a lot, and sometimes I see feathers falling while I’m doing dishes.”

…Say wha?

She went on to tell us how feathers can often be a “manifestation” of the Holy Spirit.  How when she first heard about this phenomenon, she asked the Lord about it, and He reminded her of Psalm 91:4.

“He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge.”

She said that, for her, the small feathers are a reminder that God is seeing her, and that He is present.

I don’t know if it’s my childhood, my church background, my education, my chemical makeup, or just my personality.  But when I hear things like this, my initial reaction is skepticism.  My tendency is to rationalize.  To reason.  To come up with a good, logical explanation.

But in the past month or so, that has begun to change.  Our boss (who is our pastor) has been pushing us (the church staff) to stretch our faith a bit more, to look into things that are unfamiliar for us, and to ask the Lord if He wants to teach us anything new.

Well.  If you’ve ever asked the Lord to teach you something new, you know the answer.  It’s always yes.

So on my way home from this friend’s house, I prayed.

“Lord, I want to have strong faith, and I want to walk in spiritual ways.  I don’t want to test You, but I also don’t want to just believe everything I hear.  If I have faith in something, I want it to be from You.  If making feathers appear is really something You do, will You do it for me?”

And here’s what happened.

Yesterday afternoon, I was in my kitchen talking to a friend who is in the midst of a big, messy relational situation.  She is battling hopelessness, faithlessness, bitterness, and so many other things, and we were discussing it all.  And while we were talking, guess what just appeared out of nowhere.

{Insert Dora-the-Explorer-style silent pause while we all wait for the kids to shout out the obvious answer.}

You guessed it!  It was a tiny feather, and it just sort of floated out between us.  I caught a hold of it and it was small and brown and about the size of a fingernail clipping.

Now.  Here’s what I could do.  I could fall on my face trembling and weeping before the Lord, thanking Him for His goodness and faithfulness and presence.  I could carry the feather around with me forever.  I could end up praying to the feather and I could trap it in a tiny glass case and charge my neighbors $5 to catch a glimpse of the relic.  You see where I’m going with this.

Or I could explain it away.  “Well, she probably sleeps on a feather pillow, so this feather was trapped in her shirt and when she gestured just now, the wind picked it up and shot it out toward me.  What a funny coincidence.”

Or I could do this.  I could silently thank the Lord for reminding me that He is watching my friend.  That He continues to hold onto hope.  That He is working things out and keeping us safe under His wings in the meantime.  Then I could let the feather go.

Because, do you know what?  It doesn’t matter to me whether the feather appeared out of thin air from an invisible wing in my kitchen or from a feather pillow.  The point is that I asked God for a feather and He gave it to me.  He knew it would remind me of Him.  That it would strengthen my faith.  That it would get my attention.  And after all that’s really what our days are about anyway, aren’t they?  Remembering God and pointing our attention to Him.

And do you know what else?  I’ve seen two more feathers today.


Photo by Brian Wolfe(y) featuring the beauty, Anna Marguerite Kujacznski.


 

This post was originally published in April 2012, and it’s always been one of my favorites.

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13 Comments

  • Reply Rod April 17, 2012 at 2:57 am

    Love this!

  • Reply Carol Griesbach July 16, 2012 at 2:04 am

    I will never look at a feather in the same way! Love it!

  • Reply dave oakley July 16, 2012 at 2:08 am

    God’s presense, yes he is really with us. I remember a time when I was at a low poinit. Church was going on and the worship band was playing a song I love. As I sang along I stops and prayed, Lord I know you are here where 2 or more are gathered but I am at a low point and I just need to be held close. It seems if at that moment the warmth of hands holding me, lifting me up, telling me you will be fine, I am here. I love this story Anna and to know that God is present is overwheming.

    • Reply Anna Joy July 17, 2012 at 7:53 pm

      Thank you for sharing, Dave! That is such an awesome story.

  • Reply Carey Williams July 16, 2012 at 3:05 am

    What an awesome story, Anna. You are truly one of God’s precious children. He has blessed you with a talent to use your words both with pen and voice. Thank you my friend.

    • Reply Anna Joy July 17, 2012 at 7:54 pm

      Thank you, Carey. I’m so glad to have you here to encourage me so well :) Love you and miss you!

  • Reply Cynthia Hammer July 16, 2012 at 5:56 am

    Anna…you are amazing to share this beautiful story…we have a Big God …and you reminded me of that..Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our everyday life that we lose focus and I love the reminders that God is with us…Loved your story!!

    • Reply Anna Joy July 17, 2012 at 7:54 pm

      Cindy, I am always thankful to be a reminder of God’s love and His presence.

  • Reply Gayle Brees July 16, 2012 at 7:13 pm

    Thank you for this, Anna. It is a great encouragement and I love your transparency and insight.

    • Reply Anna Joy July 17, 2012 at 7:55 pm

      Glad I could be encouraging, Gayle! I pray for your boys often.

  • Reply Patricia Carlson July 17, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    While walking through our yard (we live on an acre of land),picking up the remainder left overs from the 4th of July fireworks, I found a feather laying out in the yard. That would have been uncommon here as well. Coincedence, maybe not.
    Thank you Anna for your story. I will make it a point to be more aware of feathers now.

    • Reply Anna Joy July 17, 2012 at 7:56 pm

      Yay, Pat! That makes me so happy to read….I’m always glad to spread my story and to make new feather-finders.

  • Reply Beth February 26, 2017 at 3:27 pm

    This.is.awesome.

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