Recently I was thinking of the blackbirds in the garden of the our Saul St home. There were so many blackbirds that I wanted to call it “Blackbird Garden”. Every spring they would be competing for the best territory to build a nest. The hedge rows, the ivy covering the walls, the holy bushes, the undergrowth of briars, all offered a safe place to build a nest. In the big garden the birds could forage for food to feed their hungry chicks.
The male blackbird has black feathers and a bight orange beak. He was distinctive with his shiny coat as he sat on a branch surveying the area he was planning to build his nest and singing to attract his female. She was close by, proud of her mate who was going to prepare a home for her and her young.
The birds began to build the nest. They flew in through a hole in the hedge with beaks full of small twigs, moss or wool. They built their nest with the twigs and used the moss or wool for the cosy lining to keep mother and chicks warm. When the young were hatched father blackbird was even busier collecting food and feeding the young. He was working all the hours of sunlight.
As I watched the early morning activity of the birds, my thoughts went to my husband. He was like the blackbird. He was busy being responsible for me and his family and property. He made sure his home for his family was warm and there was enough food. He had a house full of hungry young as well. He kept the home fires burning in the cold months. He paid the bills.
Our Heavenly Father has put it into the heart of the bird and the father to have young and care for them. God cares for all he has created.
We have moved house recently. It has plenty of space for our children and grandchildren to visit.
I see this aspect of a caring father in my husband at the moment, even though our chicks have all flown the nest. He is like the blackbird going to and fro putting things in place, hanging pictures of the children, making up beds, preparing his workplace, carrying chairs and tables. He will sit at the head of the table as we share food and family times again. He will sit around a camp fire out on the veranda and tell stories to his grandchildren that he told to his own children. Brendan is preparing a home for his own children to return to and bring their little ones.
We are not retiring as parents. Our work will continue as God gives us strength. No pensioners bungalow for us. Our children still need us.
Gods word encourages us to look at the birds.
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? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? (Matthew 6:26-27 NIV)
People have often asked us “How can you afford such a big family?” We have faith in God like the birds he will care for us. We are more important than them. God promises to care for us. He is worthy to be trusted.
In one of the psalms it says,
Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow builds her nest and raises her young at a place near your altar, O LORD of Heaven’s Armies, my King and my God! (Psalms 84:3 NLT)
Brendan was working with the children in our garden once before. A blackbird came and built a nest very close to where they were working. It busied itself with its young while Brendan was busy with his young digging the garden. The birds like to be around life. As our spirits reach out to God the birds respond. They sing for us on the branches. We will always remember that family of blackbirds.
The first of our children and grandchildren came to visit at the weekend. I turned on the heating to warm up all the rooms. I reminded my husband that the blackbird lines the nest with wool to keep the young warm. He swallowed hard.
It is the middle of an Irish winter. Whoever thinks of a house move at this time! Our new home is bigger. Our last house was a modern bungalow with good insulation. It was like a hot house. I was using the same bed covering here that I used in the bungalow. I was feeling the chill last night. I gave in to changing the bed covering to a duvet Brendan bought two years ago. I tried it out before but found it too warm. It was just what was needed in our new nest. The feathered filled duvet kept us cosy through the cold night. My husband had already provided for the colder days!