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Monday, June 23, 2008

The Hummingbird

The Hummingbird

(This is the story of how God can use even the tiniest of His creatures for His good purposes!)

Each year in June, someone will ask, "Is it time to put up the feeder?" One of the kids will mix up the sugar water and fill the hummingbird feeder. Then my husband will hang it outside the breakfast area window. Each day afterwards we keep watch at lunch and dinner, hoping that today will be the day that a hummingbird will find us.

Usually one tiny bird finds the feeder, and has it all to himself for a while. Then, somehow, word gets out in the bird community, and others follow. From that time on, the feeder is quite busy. At each meal, we watch the antics of the birds as they come and go. Some are shy and stay only a little while at a time. Others are greedy and aggressive and dive-bomb other birds that attempt to feed at the same time as them.

This year was different. For some reason, we had only one little bird. He came frequently to feed, always going to the same spot on the far side of the feeder. Not having any competition, he took his time feeding. He was a particularly small hummingbird and was green with a golden cast. His throat was white.
It was 8:25 pm on Wed., Sept. 10, 2003 and I was walking out the back door to go pick up my son, Ryan, from his Sr. High Bible Study. I glanced up at a newly constructed writing spider's web under the walkway between the house and garage and saw that something large was caught in the web. It looked like a bird. My heart skipped a beat as I approached for a closer look. It was my little hummingbird!

Anger boiled up inside as I saw the spider clutching the little web-bound bird. I grabbed the broom, gently tore the web, and lowered the pair to the floor. The spider tried to get away, but I was so angry with him for hurting my little lunch and dinner companion that I smashed him beyond recognition. Then I turned my attention to the little bird.

At first, I thought he was dead, but he let out a shrill cry and I could see his little body trembling. I supposed he was paralyzed from the spider venom and my heart broke as I thought about his imminent death. I wanted to put him out of his suffering, but just didn't have the heart to do it. Not knowing what else to do for him, I left and went to pick up Ryan.

On the way I said a quick prayer that my little friend wouldn't suffer. He had brought such joy into my life as I watched him from the kitchen window. Tears began to flow down my cheeks and I wondered if God wept for him too...

When I got back to the house I was prepared to dispose of the little body, but he was still alive--still paralyzed, still trembling. Wanting him to be comfortable, I laid him in a paper towel-lined plastic container and put him on a shelf outside where he wouldn't be bothered by predators. Then I went inside to mourn his passing.

As I put my daughter, Lindsey, to bed we decided to pray about what had happened. We asked God to watch over the little bird and spare his life if possible. We thanked Him for the joy He had given us through the little bird and asked forgiveness for hating the spider so much.

The next morning I prepared school lunches and thought about the little bird. I steeled myself for the task I dreaded and went outside. My heart did a little flip. The bird was sitting up in his little bed! He was weak, but sitting up. As I knelt down close to him, he fell over and couldn't get back up.

On closer inspection, I noticed that he was trying to move a wing, but was still bound tightly with spider web. I asked God for wisdom because I didn't know what to do to help. Then a thought popped into my head--"tweezers". It took 10 minutes to remove all of the sticky web without hurting the tiny bird. I kept thinking how small and delicate he was and how blessed I was to even get this close to a bird known for its elusiveness! What a gift and a privilege from God! I said another prayer for him and went back in the house to get Lindsey out the door to catch the school bus.

Later, I checked on the bird again. He was sitting up again, but seemed weak. He didn't move this time as I approached him. He just sat and looked at me. Again I prayed for wisdom. Again a thought popped into my head--"He needs food." "How?" -- I prayed. "A medicine dropper", came the unspoken reply. I ran inside and mixed up some sugar water. I dug through the junk drawer and found an old dropper. "Let him eat", I prayed as I went back outside.

I didn't know what to do, but decided to put a drop on his beak. There was no response as the drop slid down. Then it came to me, "Put his beak inside the dropper." I gently put the dropper hole at the tip of his beak and sure enough it slipped in easily! I just held it there for a few seconds waiting to see what would happen. Nothing. Then a few more seconds went by and I saw a movement, a bubble, another movement, and another bubble. He was drinking! Progress was slow, but finally he finished a dropperful.

I ran in to tell Ryan the news and to get the camera. I wanted to document this miracle from God! Then, I refilled the dropper and offered it as Ryan snapped some photos. Just as before, the bird drank. He no longer seemed afraid. He wasn't shaking anymore. He just sat on the makeshift nest and let me do whatever I needed. He drank 5 more dropperfuls--all the while looking at me and never moving.

After the sixth dropperful, he wouldn't take anymore. I decided to let him rest and went inside to shower and get dressed. As I showered, I couldn't help thinking about the events of the previous night and this morning. I thought about all my prayers and how each time an answer had come. I said another prayer of thanks and finished dressing.

It was 8:15 and I only had a few minutes before I had to take Ryan to school. I decided to check on the bird one more time and try to give him a little more sugar water. As I walked outside, I could see that he was perkier. He was actually perched on the edge of the container. I approached slowly, but just as I knelt down and reached toward him with the dropper, he looked at me and flew away. My heart exploded with joy as I realized what had just happened. I was overwhelmed with a sense that God had used the bird to achieve His purpose. He had given me a demonstrated sermon.

Almost immediately, I thought of Matthew 6:25-26. God cared for that tiny hummingbird. How much more does He care for me? Yes, bad stuff happens sometimes, but God is in control and is there with us through it all. Things don't always turn out the way we want them to, but we can trust that "in all things God works for the good of those who love him." My story had a happy ending--the bird lived. More than that, though, I had a reconfirmation that He cares for me more than I can imagine. And, in the midst of some difficult times, I received encouragement.

**Author’s note: I wrote the story above the day after it happened because I knew that it was a gift from God. The story spans 2 days, beginning on Sept. 10, 2003. The date when this miracle occurred was significant. Following Sept.11, 2001, our lives were changed forever. My husband is a pilot for American Airlines and things looked bleak on Sept. 10, 2003. The company was facing possible bankruptcy, we had taken significant salary cuts and did not know what the future held for us. I was struggling to hold on to my faith that God would provide. That God would minister to my needs so tenderly and personally, exactly 2 years later, Sept.11, 2003 still brings tears of gratitude. Five years later I am struggling with many of the same issues. Jehovah Jirah (The Lord Who Provides), let me never forget…

Karen Hattaway
June 23, 2008

[Copyright June 23, 2008 by Karen Hattaway. All rights reserved.].


gail said...

What an amazing story Karen..Thank you for sharing it. luv, gail

Inka Thomas said...

OMG Karen,
That is the best story ever!!!!! I can't breathe.Thank you so much for sharing it. You have no idea how that has touched me.

Cottage Flair said...

What a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing.

Shabby in Pink Boutique said...

Oh Karen, What a wonderful story. That is a miracle. I bet your new little friends visits all the time. I think your prayers and love helped the bird survive. he will never forget you...
Pink Hugs,

Craft Diva said...

oh, karen very true...God truly cares for us from the smallest of creatures on up. I cannot tell you how much He has spoken to me through His little animals, how He has blessed. I am honored to know you and to share in this blessing.

Dawn-Hydrangea Home said...

Love that story Karen. It's so amazing that you were able to hand feed the hummingbird. I couldn't wait to scroll down and see the pics!

Dianne - Mama's Pocketbook said...

My Dear CT! What a wonderful testimony! You are a gifted writer and your story is so touching and beautiful. I've often thought that birds might be angels in disguise. Thank you for sharing this amazing story. It really does help us remember Gods grace and mercy are always there for us. He removes the webs that bind us and feeds us and sets us free if we are still enough to let him tend to us as you tended to the needs of that sweet hummingbird. What a treasured lesson!

When my youngest brother died in Feb. 2002, my older brothers and I were standing outside the funeral home just after his service and there was a bird on the electrical wire above our cars that was singing very loudly and beautifully, and he seemed to be singing to all of us. He looked at us and just keep going and going. We all noticed him, he insisted on being noticed! But what was truly amazing is that he followed the hearse, we were in the car behind the hearse following it to the cemetary and we could see the little bird flying along above the hearse and it followed us all the way to the cemetary and it perched in a tree near the gravesite. My brother was buried next to my mother and we all felt that this bird was there to give us all some kind of peace. It sang to us while we gathered, and then was quite during the prayers and as we paid our respects. Then he sang some more and he stayed there as we all drifted away. I kept looking at him and I just had this feeling he was a messenger from God, sent to help us feel that Tim's eternal spirit was at rest and that we should not be so sad. We all said we felt it was only right that he got to go and be with Mama first and longest in heaven since he got the least amount of time with her here. Somehow that's the message we all got from that little birdie.

sita said...

Well that is a tear jerker! How nice to take a minute and appreciate these tiny gifts from God and to know miracles come in all sizes. Thank you for sharing that story.

Debbie said...

Awww Karen, now you made me cry this morning.....what a wonderful story and testimonial. And I'm so glad you were able to save the tiny hummer. :)

Pink hugs,

Francie of The Scented Cottage said...

Ahh, I knew it would be a heart warming story...He cares for the birds of the air and the flowers of the field. How much more he cares for us!
When my baby brother was killed at 16, on the way to the funeral my sister was praying for a sign (we weren't sure if he was saved or not)a single dove rose up from the side of the road and flew over the front of the car and up into the heavens. We also learned later that he had accepted Jesus in church the previous Sunday. How good is our God !

SoCal Helene said...

Karen, What a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing.
Carpe Diem!

Susan said...

I love the know, I have never worried...I have always had faith even in the down Dad died on Dec 27 nearly 10 years ago now...but that January...which was incredibly cold for here...I saw a bluebird out in my rose garden...totally out of season...I knew my Dad had sent a sign...
We do need to means so much more when memories can blossom for others as your story did for me...
Thank you...
Susan *dutchrose*

Patricia said...

Oh, Karen, that story just left me teary eyed and goose bumpy. That is so beautiful and you certainly witnessed and were part of a miracle.


Michelle M. May said...

Such a wonderful story. I truly needed my tissues. Thanks so much for sharing it with us.

Flowerchild Clay Queen said...

What a beautiful story Karen..I'm teary eyed..I would've done the same thing..
I'v helped many baby chicks..:)
Thanks for sharing Karen..loved it!
Lol about where they might show up..the roses!!

Cindy xoxo :)

Anonymous said...

Wow what a story and an angel!

Cori G. said...

Hi Karen,
I don't think I've been here since the tea-a-thon ended, but decided to stop by today. I'm glad I did. I don't know what you're struggling with, but I do know that we have a great High Priest that we can go to anywhere, anytime, and for any reason.
He is able and willing.
I'll keep you in my prayers.


Jan & Tom's Place said...

What a blessing, both for the hummingbird and for you! God works in mysterious ways to get HIS point across. Thanks for sharing.


Flowerchild Clay Queen said...

Karen ....because of you I was able to save 2 baby birdies..thank you for posting what to do!Stop by & see the cute pics..I mentioned you too!
Cindy:) xoxo

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