(I wrote this the Sunday, 12/18/2011, after my FIL died on 12/16/2011 but it is such an awesome story about God's faithfulness I'm sharing it now)
The day after my mom died, 12/14/2006, I was sitting working, crying, sad about my mom's passing, and I heard a sound outside. I turned and looked out the window and on the brick wall was a hawk. Not a black bird that was so common there. But a hawk. I had never seen a hawk in the area up until that time. God sent me that hawk to comfort me, I truly believe. So whenever I see hawks in the sky, I know that's God's way of reminding me he is with me, he knows my struggles. Sometimes I don't see them for long periods of time, but when I'm going through tough times or something is bothering me, etc., I usually see a hawk. I thank God for the hawk; I don't worship the hawk, but I do worship the One who knows what I need when I need it.
Hubby and his brother were not 100% sure about their parents' faith; they believe that their parents did have faith in Jesus, but weren't positive. After his mom passed, I asked God to help me to know if she did believe in Jesus and he directed me to John 11:25, which says "Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die"; which I shared with hubby that I do believe she had a faith.
Hubby and me were talking yesterday while he was cooking dinner and I was telling him that I had asked God to give me a verse about his dad. I said that I knew that God would give me one, I just didn't know when it would be, but I trusted God would. I also told him that I hoped that God would give him something like he gave me the hawk, I knew similar people have gotten similar things from God; a dear friend had gotten robins from God. Hubby said if God didn't, that was okay, he still knew God was there for him.
This morning, I started reading my emails and I got an email from a site that was talking about how to resist the temptation of overeating over the holidays and it cited specific ways to resist temptation, don't sit close to the buffet table, eat before you go to a gathering, etc. Anyway, the newsletter cited 1 Corinthians 10:13 that says "No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. " That triggered something in my mind of a letter a cousin had written to hubby's brother about how hubby's dad had been a mentor to him in his walk with God and that his dad had shared this verse with the cousin years ago. We had found this letter in our cleaning up earlier in the year and I had shelved it some place. I found the letter and shared the verse with hubby, confirming that indeed we believe his dad must have had a faith in Jesus too.
Each person's walk with Jesus is different. Some are content not to grow, some want to grow more to know Jesus, to spend time reading the Bible, spend time in prayer, etc. Hubby's parents had a different walk with Jesus than hubby or me might have, but we do think they knew that Jesus was their Lord and Savior.
Naturally I thanked God for the verse that he gave me. Thanks God!
Here where it gets really, really good.
We are driving to church and we pull into the parking lot. Our church meets at a high school. In the athletic field right where we are going to park I look over and there is a blue heron. We had been following blue heron nests earlier this year in one of the places we walk Koda. I wrote about it; I thought it was a pelican nest but found out later it was a blue heron nest. Hubby had recently seen the blue herons on his walks with Koda down by the waterfront. The high school is at least 10 miles away from the waterfront. We had never seen a heron there before in the nine months we had been going to that church.
The blue heron is sitting on the grass at the high school this morning. I said to hubby "what is that?" And he said "looks like a blue heron".
We got out and walked towards it. I told hubby to take a picture of it with his cell phone, which he did. It stayed there for a moment but then flew away.
God sent him a blue heron! I truly, truly, truly do believe that blue heron was sent there by God to remind hubby of God's great love for him and that he is with him during this time of grief and sadness.
My God is awesome!! Thank you Lord!
It was tough getting through the church service; small church, everyone knows everyone. Hard to keep telling the news, but comforting to get people's support.
But in the back of my mind through it all, though, I'm secretly smiling because HE GOT A HERON!
God sent it to him. Thank you God!
It really is going to be alright!
Flash forward to today, 01/03/2012, we buried FIL. Didn't see any blue herons, but saw a few hawks in our travels. Thank you Lord for your faithfulness. We move into a new chapter of our lives in the days, months ahead. Again, I don't know what this chapter holds but I know who holds the chapter and I'll just keep trusting in Him.
Meanwhile, I'll keep watching the skies for those hawks and those herons. One never knows where they will show up, but I know they will show up where God wants them to be. And for that, I thank you Lord.