When we arrive in Florida for the winter, the first thing I notice is the sounds of birds singing and chirping. After several months of the quiet solitude of early winter in Indiana it is the most pleasant sound, and I listen attentively for their song. I feel the joy that comes with early spring, the warm sun and the return of everything alive. Not only do I enjoy their music but also the fact birds in Florida look so very different.
Recently we had the pleasure of visiting Hammock State Park. It is lovely and has many different walking paths that lead you into the natural hammock created by the trees. Along the walk ways it is easy to find many unusual species native to this area. I saw a little gray bird sitting on a fence post and I exclaimed at it, "Oh look at you, aren't you just the cutest thing! I wonder what you are?" I did not have a bird book and so his identify was lost to me. As I pondered this little guy I began to think of all of God's amazingly different creatures which live in this area.
There are many and they are unique. The gray bird was small and sleek and attractive. Since I do not know his name I cannot say how God uses him, but I know He does. The vulture on the other hand, is quite commonplace and really not very attractive to most. He cleans the highways and byways and we mostly think he is gross! That is until he takes flight. In the air he rides for hours on the wind currents, all grace and beauty. I marvel at their flight expertise.
The Ibis is a curious looking bird. He has long legs and a very long curved bill. I marvel at God's creativity and wonder why? This bird is often seen in groups grazing together in the yards, as I saw just yesterday in the park where we stay. They seem completely unafraid of passing cars or people. I just learned they are known for their bravery. The last wildlife to leave before a hurricane and the first to return.
The cattle egret is quite the sight to see, all adorned with white plumage . Very pleasing to the eye and yet spends much of its time either on cattle or very near. They remove ticks and flies from cattle and eat them. Not such a pleasing thought but this is God's plan to benefit both species.
I have listed a few of the oddly different birds in this area but it matters not what creature or where. Each and every one is unique and special. Each has a specific purpose. God's plan is perfect in all aspects.
Yet, when it comes to us humans we forget to see the value. We shy away from many who look or act different from us. At times we assume we are better and more equipped. At other times we can see no real value in ourselves and call ourselves useless. We can hear the echo of our words as we say, " I have no gifts." " I am not smart enough." "Better find someone else."
Some of us are attractive and pleasing to the eye. Others not so much. Some are" brainiacs" some of us not. Some graceful and creative others diligent and brave. We are created just as God would have us. He will and can use us just where we stand if we will only allow it. Maybe we are the best at clean up like the vulture. Or brave like the Ibis. There are those who can sing a beautiful song others who speak softly with compassionate words. Whatever it is, whoever we are, we are part of the plan.
As we wait impatiently for the return of spring to Indiana when natures bursts forth in all of her splendor, let us together rejoice in God's uniqueness, loving all that He has created! All humans, all of nature!
This is what God has put on my heart this week as He works to make me better than I was.