“He has sent me to tell those who mourn that time time of God’s favor has come; He will give you beauty for ashes; joy instead of mourning; praise instead of heaviness.” ~ Isaiah 61:3

This spring, I bought a bird feeder that suctions to the outside of my window. I enjoy bird-watching, and thought it was a really cool way to bring birds “up close and personal.”

We attached the feeder to the window by my kitchen sink, filled it with gourmet bird food, in hopes to attract a variety of birds. Then, we watched and waited.

It took a few weeks, but finally the birds began to gather for breakfast each morning. It was delightful.

One morning as my husband was standing by the sink, he yelled, “Hon, come and look! We have a One-Legged Bird here!” I got a quick glance before she flew away, but sure enough, this tiny little bird was perched with one leg.

We learned that the bird is a “Tufted Titmouse,” a tiny little grey bird that somewhat resembles a female cardinal. Sadly, my husband began referring to it each morning with this greeting, “Good morning, you little one-legged Titmouse.”

Always rooting for the underdog, I quickly banished his words and said, “The poor thing. We need to call her “Beauty.” So, each morning, when she would land on our feeder for a few Sunflower Seeds, I would say, “Good Morning, Beauty.”

I realize, by now, most of you think I’m a little odd to be speaking to a bird.

One morning, after about two weeks of greeting my new-found-feathered-friend, I heard a bird singing rather loudly on the feeder. I quickly looked out my window and to my amazement it was her, “Beauty.” This dear little bird was singing her heart out at the feeder. I walked over, and she continued to sing a beautiful melody. It brought my heart so much joy to watch this creature make such a lovely sound. This continued the next morning, and the next.

One morning as I watched Beauty perch and sing on one leg, I felt God spoke to my heart. I heard Him say, “You know, there are a lot of ‘One-Legged Titmouses’ who need to know their real name.” (Yes, I do believe God speaks to me in this way.)

Almost immediately, I thought of some folks whom I know and love, who struggle with their handicap. Maybe it’s a physical handicap or an emotional one- or possibly they’ve been called names such as “stupid,” “lazy,” “black sheep,” “failure.” It seems, many of them simply just live up to what others have said about them. They don’t believe they are more than what has been spoken over them all of their lives.

And then I remembered the scripture where it actually tells us that God gives us a new name. Listen to what Isaiah 62:4 says, “You will never again be called the Abandoned One, nor will your land be called Deserted. But you will be called My Delight Is in You, and you are My Beloved Bride, for I find delight in you.”

What would happen if we began speaking what God says about those around us who may be struggling? I wonder if we began speaking to them, words of hope and confidence and love, if they would also begin “singing,” just like Beauty? Possibly just one word of confidence from a stranger or a loved one, may help those who feel rejected or “less than” to find confidence and hope.

And what about you? Have you seen yourself as a “One-Legged Titmouse?” Never feeling good-enough? Never feeling loved? Always feeling, “Less Than?” I want you to know, that even if the whole world were to reject you, you are found beautiful and valuable in the eyes of the Creator of the Universe.

This week, The Christian’s celebrate Easter, the day when we rejoice because Jesus proved His love for us. He gave His life. He rose again. He did it to announce to each one of us, and yes, to you, “You are loved! You are valuable! You are beautiful, to me.”

Linda Summers, a pastor at Trinity Christian Fellowship in Biglerville, can be reached at lmsummers7@gmail.com.

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