Coffee, Rocking Chair, and a Squirrel

Photo credit: Jlewoldsen/

by Nan Jones @NanJonesAuthor

I grabbed a fresh cup of coffee, its hefty aroma calling to me from an ocean of deep thoughts. I stepped out onto my porch. Settling into my rocking chair, I tried to relax. Tall, graceful day lilies swayed rhythmically in the breeze. A symphony of birdsong rose from the ancient juniper, singing praise while my own lips refused.

I had a choice to make. Would I choose His prize?
I had a choice to make. Would I choose His prize?

My spirit was exhausted from waging battle against life.

My mind quarreled with the faithfulness of God, yet my spirit reminded me of His many blessings.

My Bible shouted out reminders of God’s promises, yet my weary soul struggled desperately to walk in the Truth of His Word.

Lord, forgive me for being so frustrated. I feel angry that life has to be so hard. I miss the joy of my salvation. I pouted as I slung accusations at my Heavenly Father.


I rocked some more. My tirade ended, and I took another sip of coffee.

A flash of gray raced past the porch and leaped onto the base of the wrought-iron pole standing in the midst of my begonias. There, a bird feeder hung about four feet off the ground, secured by the shepherd’s hook at the end of the pole. Pausing to catch his breath, a young squirrel glanced in my direction.

Four tiny paws gripped the slender pole. His fluffy tail twitched uncontrollably, his eyes opened wide. With sheer determination the squirrel inched his way upward towards his prize. When he got parallel to the feeder he S-T-R-E-T-C-H-E-D across to the perch so he could dig into the morsels of goodness. This little guy was like a rubber band stretching with two paws on the pole, and two paws on the feeder.

Watching the squirrel’s can-do attitude was funny enough, but then the wind began to blow.

Blowing wind begets spinning bird feeders.

Spinning bird feeders beget spinning squirrels.

I realized the squirrel had a choice to make: either let go of his prize, fall to the ground and start over OR grab hold with all fours and hang on with all his might until the wind stopped.

He chose the prize.

Photo credit: Ben_Kerckx/
Photo credit: Ben_Kerckx/

The squirrel’s back paws swung over to the base of the bird feeder. Hanging upside down, he held on with all fours as though his life depended on it. His body spun and twirled, eyes wild with excitement. A bushy, gray tail twitched in cadence to the swinging feeder. There was no way Mr. Squirrel was going to let go of his prize. No sir! And no wind or difficulty was going to get in his way.

He simply held on tight, kept his eyes on the prize and waited for things to calm down.

The wind ceased.

Very matter-of-factly, the squirrel S-T-R-E-T-C-H-E-D his back paws across the great divide until he reached the pole again, gripped it tightly and resumed indulging himself with those delectable morsels of goodness.

I knew this was a God-moment.

Deep within, the Lord reminded me, Nan, do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. (1 Corinthians 9:24)

Rocking back and forth, I pondered the lesson. In a race, only one person can win the prize. God wants us to run in such a way that we win. I want to win the prize of the high calling of Jesus Christ. I want to rest in His presence, walk in His provision, and enjoy the blessings of discipleship.

Like the squirrel, I want every little morsel of goodness I can grab, no matter how difficult.

For a season, I feel like I’m spinning upside-down, holding onto God’s promises with all fours. I know that if I can persevere and keep my eyes on the prize, the wind will calm down, the spinning cease, and I can indulge myself once again with the goodness of God.

I, too, choose the prize.

Nan Jones

Nan Jones is an author/speaker who uses the words of her heart to assist fellow Christians in discovering the Presence of God in their darkest hour. She has been published in several anthologies as well as the online inspirational sites Christian Devotions, and Inspire a Fire where she is a monthly contributor. She is also a monthly contributor to PW Connections, a blog and forum to encourage pastors' wives. Nan has had the honor of being featured as a guest blogger on several sites. She is thrilled to announce her debut book, The Perils of a Pastor's Wife released June 30, 2015 by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. This memoir was a 2016 Selah finalist. When Nan isn't writing, she enjoys leading prayer retreats, bible studies or sharing God’s love as keynote speaker for special events. She is becoming known by her brand: "Even so, I walk in the Presence of the Lord" as she teaches her audience to go beyond the veil to find God's Presence. You may visit Nan at her website: Nan has also created a facebook community page, Seeing Beyond The Veil, to provide a place for folks to go and get away from the chaos for a few moments and focus on Jesus through scripture, worship, testimony, and inspirational quotes. For personal communication you may email Nan at The Perils of a Pastor's Wife is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and LPC Bookstore

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  1. Nan, thank you for this insightful post. I love watching the squirrels in our yard shimmy up the bird feeder pole and grab onto the feeder with all fours. Your devotion lends a spiritual aspect of perseverance I hadn’t considered before.

    1. Thank you Sandy. I still laugh every time I think about this little guy spinning upside down, refusing to give up. I love how the Lord uses His creation to teach me His principles. I’m so thankful this post ministered to you.

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