I fell in love with the idea of nest building years ago.
Let’s say it was just too “punny” to ignore.
I researched (and by that, I mean I googled the topic) “how birds build nests.”
And I found two types:
- City bird nests
- Country bird nests
City bird’s nests are built with lots of things we call “trash.” Bits of string, tiny twigs, pieces of paper, torn newspapers. Their nests are filled with color, various textures, and mess. A city nest’s beauty lies in its reflection and representation of the life and mess and diversity of its environment.
Country bird’s nests are a little more simple. Created in the more traditional way we think of nests. They are able to build with items in nature. Straw, feathers, leaves. Mostly, the nests are clean, simple and impeccably structured.
Growing up, at the other end of our street, one man spent years building a house. The house had a roof and exterior walls, a fancy front door even, but it was clearly incomplete. On weekends, we would drive by and see the man puttering around the house. He wore overalls and a trucker hat and never ran out of projects.
Our family asked ourselves crazy questions surrounding this one guy and this one house.
Was it his house?
His retirement home?
Did he have the first half of it built by professionals?
Or did he build it all from the ground up?
Was he building it piece by piece when he had money to buy each piece?
Or was he doing it because he enjoyed the process?
Was he too cheap to pay someone?
Or too broke?
When would he finish it?
How long does it take one man to build a house one piece at a time?
We watched this house, perhaps his house but maybe not, being built for years. My entire childhood. And we never saw any actual progress.
From one year to the next, the house never changed. At least from our outside perspective.
My parents moved out of that neighborhood a decade ago. But, occasionally, when I’m home, I’ll drive back through.
That house, the one we never saw completed, has been torn down.
The lot stands empty and overgrown.
All those years of building, one little piece at a time, with no help. Such a lonely task. And ultimately, a fruitless one.
But, the truth is, we do the same thing. We just don’t realize it.
I spent my early married life building. We were the couple who walked down the aisle with our five and ten-year life plan in hand. And it was written in pen.
We followed that plan, the one we created, dutifully. Preaching it as gospel. “Life is simple, really! Just follow the path God lays out for you and you’ll be fine! Look at us! That’s what we’re doing, and we? We have it all figured out!”
I believed we would build a traditional, simple, clean life (nest). Something expected. Something familiar. Something that probably looked a whole lot like the life and nest in which we grew up. A country bird’s nest.
(It is possible we were the dumbest twenty-somethings who have ever lived.)
But as soon as we faced something unexpected? Something we were unprepared for? Something we could not fix and there was no mention of in our written-in-pen Life Plan?
We realized all we had built was just dust.
We thought we were building a life, a house, a family but in the face of pain and suffering, what we thought we had built turned out to be nothing but an empty, overgrown lot.
So we started again.
Only this time, we built differently.
We made the decision to stop building our house, our lives, our family in our own strength, for our own purposes, the way we thought it ought to be because we wrote it down on a list. In pen.
Instead, we found ourselves building a nest for city birds.
Insulated with broken heart strings, decorated with torn pieces of our Life Plan, walls constructed of a million tiny twigs of gratitude God taught me and before I realized it, the nest we’d built overflowed with all kinds of textures and colors and thankfulness.
We now live without a plan. Even one in pencil. We have dreams and hopes and we pray a lot about those. But a written plan we intend to follow to the letter? Nope, nope, and nope.
Instead, we are constructing our lives “rooted and built up in Him.”
The nest in which we now live greatly exceeds the simple, traditional one we had planned. Our struggles and revelations and, yes, our pain, created deeper colors, more expressive textures, more opportunities for growth.
We prayed for relief and redemption and restoration, thinking only about getting as far away from the mess we were in and back to building our simple, uncluttered life.
But y’all, had God answered those prayers?
We would have completely missed the beauty, the blessings, the building God invited us to. Right in the middle of that unexpected mess.
Friend, how are you building your nest?
Are you building based on your own life plan, for your own purposes, and you’re not sure how to change that?
Have you built the life you expected only to have something, or someone, come along and shake up your entire world?
Do you find yourself standing in the middle of a messy, empty lot and you feel disoriented and not sure how to move forward?
Are you willing to let God become the builder of your nest and let go of what you thought your life would look like? Ready to make room for the beauty and blessings God has planned for you inside your own city bird nest?
Then, welcome, friend.
Building a life rooted in Christ, strengthened in the faith so we can withstand the unexpected, and prepared to live with a heart turned towards gratitude and our Father…
…it takes time and work and all the fruits of the Holy Spirit all of the days and minutes of our lives.
But once we start? Once you say YES? Your nest, the messy nest you never expected, becomes a place of warmth and love and beauty.
Your nest, your life, your world becomes overflowing with thankfulness.
Let’s start building.