Walking by Faith Alone

Archive for March 2012

A Cuckoo in the nest

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Spring rebuilds, restores, and rejuvenates. I find myself spending more and more time outdoors listening to the birds, watching the sunset, and weeding my garden. A little Mama Finch has returned to build her nest in the corner of my garage. The friendly bird seems to enjoy my company as I watch her strategically restructuring her nest from last year. As a mother of six, I understand her need to make everything “just right.”

Recently the kids and I got direct TV. It has been three years with no TV but with the upcoming Olympics we decided to return this luxury to our lives. Discovery Channel has become my favorite. I watched a documentary on the Cuckoo Bird, one of those late night jewels certified to put even the toughest insomniac into a deep lull. Cuckoo birds are notorious for perusing the forest, finding another bird’s nest, depositing her egg, and flying away to live a carefree, no responsibility lifestyle. Sadly, various mother birds, oblivious to the large, differently colored egg in their nests, nurture the cuckoo bird’s egg until it hatches and then work diligently to feed it and their young. The worms are never enough for all the baby birds and eventually the mother bird’s own babies starve to death or are pushed from the nest by the oversized bird. The Cuckoo baby bird thrives, consumes the nest, and destroys all that is around it.

How could a mother bird not know the baby cuckoo bird isn’t hers? And how can she, day after day, feed the cuckoo bird until it ruins her home and kills her children?

It’s easy to recline on my couch and shout out to the mother dove, “Throw the cuckoo bird out of your nest!” But the reality is many of us have them in our homes, in our lives, and in our hearts. We justify our sins by ignoring their existence or qualifying them by admitting to “love” God but ignoring His “laws.” In the process of “not knowing,” we blindly wreck our homes.

When I was a little girl, my brother Lindsey and I made a club house out of an old chicken coop. We painted, cut down briars, raked up old manure, and spent hours establishing laws to govern this two member club establishment. Several days after the reconstruction began, I noticed two large red whelps on my arms, followed by blistering red, oozing sores on my neck, stomach, and even in my ears. Since Lindsey and I were not supposed to be around the chicken coop because of rattlesnakes, I hid my deformities from my Mom and even my brother. He didn’t appear to be itching so I assumed I was the only one. Before I knew it, I had spread the disease to my sister and my grandmother, and my brother was covered head to toe in impetigo.

Sometimes we first must recognize there is a Cuckoo Bird in our nest. Failure to see the signs of sin; to acknowledge its existence; or to continue feeding it daily, will result in our ultimate demise. Sometimes we recognize the existence of the sin, but are too afraid to admit it or get help. We walk around blindly exposing others to our bad choices.

I have a friend who spends a great deal of time exercising. She believes in staying physically fit, eating healthy, and taking vitamins and herbs; however, she continues to lead a lifestyle of sin that will ultimately destroy her family. Is she blinded to the consequences of her choices or nonchalantly interacting with sin as if it will all work out?

What are the Cuckoo Birds in your nest? How long are you willing to feed them daily until all that you know and love is gone?

Written by Nora Hatchett Almazan

March 28, 2012 at 2:22 am

Happiness on hold…

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The hold button…if I could only count the number of times I’ve been on hold…waiting, waiting, waiting…longing to hang up but knowing if I do, I will just have to wait again. The other day, I had an issue with my computer. A patient and calm man from India named Fred – I actually questioned him, “Your name is really Fred?” He responded, “No. But no one can pronounce mine” – walked me through the issues of my computer,  but the majority of my time was spent holding, waiting, wondering.

I heard two women talking the other day. They were waiting for their daughters to finish dance class. One remarked, “When I get the kitchen finished things will be different. Right now, it is just horrible the way we are living.”

We tend to put ourselves in happiness “on hold” modes, convincing ourselves that if we just have this then everything will get better. If I were thinner, taller, richer, prettier…if I were faster, stronger, bigger, smarter…when I get my new car…if my hair only looked like that…when the kids are older…if only they were still young.

I could be happy if I could sell this house; I would be happy if I had not married her; there would be more to do, if I didn’t live here; I’d have a different job if I had studied harder; if he were more like her husband, my marriage would be good.

And one day, somewhere in later life, we realize happiness was always holding.

The choice is really ours; how we look around at our world and choose what we see. Our affirmations for the day can be positive or negative, its all in the way we view the surroundings.

I remember a time in my life when I was sick and I had to drive to Atlanta for medical care – an hour and a half if traffic was good. My appointments were scheduled usually with a lady who loved to sing, not that she could ever have a record label, but her songs filled the room while we waited. One appointment she looked at me and whispered, “Why don’t you sing with me?”

I thought about it for a moment and declined. Singing was the last thing I wanted to do. She smiled at me, “Girl, there is no better time to be happy than right now.”

Life is filled with challenges. No one is exempt from struggles and trials. If we spend all our time waiting for happiness to find us through what we perceive to be “the answer,” it never will.

My family had a yard man named Lee Cullin. He could tell the funniest stories and always had a saying or some tid-bit of advice. One day I heard Lee tell my grandmother, “Ms. Dolly, I work like I don’t need no money; I pray like I has it all; and I live like I knows Jesus is coming today.”

As I finished my conversation with Fred, I thanked him for helping me fix my computer and asked, “What is it like in India?”

“In India?” he asked.

“Yes,” I replied.

“Oh, it is always wonderful in India. But I live in Austin, Texas.”

Written by Nora Hatchett Almazan

March 8, 2012 at 12:53 pm