When Haggard Praise Becomes the Glue That Restores a Family

She was a haggard little thing, and yet she still sang praise to her Creator.

Bless her heart. She was a haggard little thing. Feathers were askew, falling out, barely hanging on. Molting? Maybe. I’m not sure. What I am sure of is how she spoke to me this morning. My family had endured a direct and deadly hit from the enemy that nearly destroyed us. I could relate to this wren’s haggard appearance.

Even Though Haggard, Her Song Spoke to Me

There’s a birdfeeder right by my window beside the couch where I enjoy my quiet time in the mornings. From this vantage point I can watch the world awaken with its dawning light, its mist lifting over the creek, and listen to the birdsong.

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It was birdsong that drew my attention to the tiny haggard wren — she was bursting with song! Perched on the wrought iron curve of the birdfeeder, she tossed her head back, set her gaze heavenward, and belted out praise to her Creator.

I sat mesmerized and soaked in every note.

Even though haggard as could be, nothing was going to stop her song of praise.

Here she was, haggard as could be, and no thing or no one was going to stop her song of praise. She was bold and certain.

It was a message to me, for sure.

Recently, I had forgotten to be thankful and the consequence was that I lost my peace for several days. I was miserable. Haggard. My eyes were not heavenward, but inward. My lips voiced grumblings rather than praise.

And my peace was all but gone.

Paul exhorted the Church at Philippi saying, “Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God.  And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours].” ~ Philippians 4:6-7

That peace which reassures the heart.

That peace which transcends all understanding.

That peace which stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

How? With thanksgiving.

We Can ALWAYS Find Something to be Thankful For

I don’t like my circumstances — this season I’m in. Being the caregiver of a husband with dementia — the very dementia whose resulting behavior nearly unraveled our family — is very difficult and filled with challenges of the heart.

But … once I stopped being so selfish and turned my eyes heavenward, I realized that many are the reasons for giving thanks!

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God has been with us every step of the way. He has redeemed my marriage and restored my family. His perfect peace is a regular guest in our home; His love flows into the trenches and heals the broken places.

Even haggard peace is beautiful in its own way.

I have a roof over my head, even if it’s rusty. The rust doesn’t leak, and the shades of brown and amber are quite beautiful, in their own sort of way.

I have a car to drive, one I dubbed Waymaker, because God made a way for me to receive a reliable vehicle where there was absolutely no way.

I have food on the table, and shoes on my feet. I have friends and family who love me and support me … sometimes in spite of myself.

And I have Jesus — my faithful Friend, Savior, and Lord.

We are not defined by our circumstances, but by God’s love. We are not held captive by our difficult places, unless we choose captivity. Christ has come to set us free.

When we are haggard, the Lord says, “You are beautiful, My child. Let me infuse you with My strength.” And when we are overwhelmed by our difficult, broken places the Lord says, “Run to Me. I will lift you high above the soul-danger.”

Giving thanks in all circumstances reminds us of these truths — it creaks the door of our heart open so that His glorious light can come into our darkness and restore peace.

And you know what? Even haggard praise is beautiful in its own way. It’s a bit like the crucifixion that must come before the crown.


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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: www.NanJones.com. 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 nan@nanjones.com The Perils of a Pastor's Wife is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and LPC Bookstore

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One comment

  1. Beautiful. Tearful. Real. Thank you, Nan. You know this one hit me like no other. You hold on to that birdsong. God sent her to you. The song, for you. Beautiful. And you ended this one with “Selah”. Oh, how I miss our girl. Such a beautiful word…

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