Lessons from a Red-Breasted Robin

I’m sitting at my breakfast table reflecting on yesterday’s events overwhelmed with gratitude.  Have you ever been given a gift so big you felt unworthy to receive it? This was our day yesterday.  Let me try to explain.

Over a year ago we felt the Lord calling us away from the rural Kentucky community in which we currently live to somewhere closer to our aging parents and my husband’s recent job change.  All the things that were keeping us in our home were gone and with our son about to start middle school, we thought now was the perfect time to go.

We started the moving process.  Painting.  Purging. Prospecting.

The weekend of our yard sale I started feeling very poorly.  Rash all over.  Run down.  Turns out I contracted mono.  The nasty Estein-Barr virus robbed me of 4 months of life. Absolutely miserable.  Then it was time for a check up on the tumor which we thought had stopped growing.  We learned that was not the case and that in fact over the last 8 months it has grown so much it was about to cut off my airway and paralyze my larynx.  It could, in fact, at any time render me unable to breathe.

Then we entered into a life changing & life saving surgery followed by 9 months of recovery.  Really, we are still recovering.

Needless to say after 2 years of digging in for healing, I was more than disappointed with the end result.  I trusted.  I believed.  I quite literally laid my voice and my larynx down on the altar of sacrifice.  Like Abraham and Isaac, I laid the promise down on the altar expecting the ram to be found in the thicket behind me.

Like the woman who bled pressing through the crowd just to touch the hem of Jesus’ cloak.  I pressed into Jesus for over two years yet physically I ended up no differently than I would had been.  We grew. The spiritual growth was immeasurable. Exponential.  Yet here I sit with a hole in my neck struggling with disappointment and hope deferred.


There is a season for everything under the sun.  A time to laugh and a time to cry.  This has been our season to cry.

Now that you have the back story, let me tell you about yesterday. A week ago we accepted an offer on our home.  After several long months of painting and purging we finally took the step of putting our house on the market and it sold relatively quickly! Yesterday we went to look at homes in the community in which we feel called to live.  There was one that just came on the market and it had almost everything we needed.  It checked off the list!  I knew it was the best we were going to be able to do inside our budget.  I also knew several other families would say the same thing which meant the inevitable bidding war of multiple offers in today’s local housing market.

We made our best offer then we sat back and waited.  And waited.

Now for a second, let’s break from this story and go back 12 years to a time where my husband and I had just bought our first starter home and were talking about starting a family.  Me being the frugal planner just didn’t see how in the world we were going to afford kids.  I was alone in our home one day meditating and praying.  Asking the Lord if it was time to grow our family and pouring out my heart of concerns to him.  Worried about how it was all going to unfold.  Asking the Lord to show me a glimpse of the future He had for us.

 I looked outside the window and I saw a bird sitting on the mailbox with a worm in its mouth.  A little red-breasted robin, just sitting there with a big fat nightcrawler hanging out of its mouth.  The Holy Spirit quickened this verse to my heart.

IMG_3463“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” Matthew 6:25-26

In that moment standing there looking at that bird, the Lord spoke to me.  “Trust me my beloved.  I’ve got you and it’s all going to be okay.”

Ever since, the Holy Spirit has reminded me of this moment several times.  I’ll be tempted to start worrying and instantly a red-breasted robin will fly out of no where. I’ll see one sitting on a power line or perched on a play set.  It reminds me of God’s covering and provision.  A whisper from the Holy Spirit reminding me he is Jehovah Jirah.

And it happened again this weekend.

IMG_3439 copyI came downstairs ready to make myself some breakfast.  I looked out the window. Most will look at this sign and think, “Oh, that’s funny.  That poor realtor.  The bird is pooping on his sign.”  But that’s not what I saw or thought when I saw this in my yard.

When I saw it, I smiled. I felt the overwhelming presence of the Lord with me.  There was my little red-breasted robin again.  This time perched on the real estate sign, of all things.  There’s plenty in my yard that sweet bird could have sat upon. But he chose the real estate sign.  A coincidence?  I don’t think so.

God spoke to me in that moment.  Something that has not happened in a long time.  This last year, the Lord has been so silent to me.  It’s not that I haven’t been seeking! As I’ve been grieving the loss of my larynx, I’ve been fighting an orphan spirit wondering why God didn’t show up for me in that operating room.  Wondering why years of firmly-stanced prayers did not eradicate that tumor. Wondering why God could let something so terrible happen to his beloved daughter. It was a sweet sweet moment between my Father and me.  I’ve missed them.

I sat there smiling and said, “Lord, I hear you.  No matter what this process looks like… no matter how long you have me in the dark room… no matter what the outcome looks like compared to what I think I want it to be… I will trust you.”

The next day, we went to see this amazing house.  It didn’t take long for my husband and I to realize it was exactly the home we should make for our family, but we knew we would not be alone in that sentiment.

As we walked through the kitchen, I saw a glass jar on top of the cabinets holding years and years worth of name badges from military fatigues.  I also saw a couple with “U.S. Marine Corps” on them.  Instantly I knew this was the one and I knew exactly what we needed to do to be the winning offer.

41e33fe0dc0193f21a8796c458aca631 This is my grandfather.  Pvt 1st Class Paul E. Ison crossing Death Valley in Okinawa Japan May 10, 1945 WWII.  It’s a very famous Marine Corps photograph.  They use it for most USMC trainings and all Marines know this photograph.

I told my realtor to tell the seller Paul E Ison’s granddaughter wanted to buy his house and if he accepted her offer even with the contingency, she would get him an autographed copy of his photo.  We left the rest to our realtor.  He used our story and this photograph to make an emotional connection. He drew up the best offer we could make and sent it to the seller’s agent.  Then we waited.

Later that evening, our realtor called us.  He told us there were multiple offers.  The ones made earlier in the weekend with a contingency were all declined.  My heart sank.  Ours had a contingency.

It came down to two and the other offer was higher than ours and without a contingency.

My heart sank more.

Finally, he laughed and said, “It defies all logic and doesn’t make any sense at all, but they took your offer over the other one saying they would really rather work with you than worry about their bottom line.”

I literally fell on the ground crying.  When your heart is deferred, it’s hard to hope.  It’s really hard to stand in faith and believe for things when quite frankly, your heart is filled with doubt. For the first time in what felt like forever, the Lord felt very present. Very close.  Very involved.  For the first time in forever, I had a physical manifestation of a spiritual reality.

I’ve been holding on by a string for so long.  I know true “faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1  I have learned to trust  for things I can’t see in the physical realm.  To believe when I don’t understand.IMG_20180307_202533_170

But I have been so disappointed for so long, I had forgotten what it felt like in those moments when God shows up.  When faith bridges the reality between what is happening in the spirit realm and what we see in the physical realm.  To see fruit of answered prayers and evidence of things we hope for but can’t see.

I want to wrap my arms around this couple and embrace them with my gratitude.  While we waited, I called my dad and he prayed with me over the phone.  The only part I remember was when he asked the Lord to do in the spirit what we can not do in the physical.  And that’s exactly what happened.

In 15 years of real estate, our realtor has never seen a seller take an offer for less money simply because they felt like they were supposed to.  This family had some scripture verses on their walls.  I feel like they are Believers.  And I’m fairly certain the Holy Spirit worked in their hearts to do the illogical.  He works like that sometimes.  swallowing up men by whales or telling Abraham to pack up and go to an unknown land.

In the end, it’s a gift that I don’t feel worthy to receive.  That my Father would love me so much to give me the desires of my heart.  Even as I type this the tears flow from my eyes.  I am so thankful for his provision.  And it feels good to think that way again.  Another step in this journey.  Another turn in the road of recovery. For when suffering happens, there is both a physical and spiritual recovery journey one goes on.

Thanks for reading.  I hope this story has blessed you.  God is always redeeming things.  Always.  This in his nature. It’s how he is.  If you are in a season of loss or grieving and if your heart has been hurt and disappointed by something, please reach out to me.  I’d love to send you and encouraging word or just hold your hand.  Just know this. You are his beloved and he will redeem whatever it is you have experienced.  Somehow.  Some way.  Sometime.

Contact me here or comment on this post!

Copyright © 2019 Dacian Keaton Ministries.  All rights reserved.


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