A few weeks ago, my husband noticed a nest being built in the tree nearest our home. I was excited, and I couldn't wait to show our boys (ages 7 and 5). We were going to be bird parents! Dutifully and skillfully, the bird prepared what looked like a tangle of twigs, leaves, and other odds and ends over the span of a week. All of a sudden, the building frenzy was over, the nest was complete, and the bird took residence. I don't know exactly when she laid her eggs, but we were all in. Every day before taking the boys to school, and bringing them home afterwards, we had to check on our new family. Things were slow, as they often are in the eager minds of children, and I had to explain that it there was a waiting period between when the mother laid her eggs and when the chicks would hatch. In the meantime, we studied the birds - we determined the species and variations of the species, listened to their songs, and even voted on what color eggs we thought they might be (we never could get close enough to see the eggs).
Then, as if by a wave of a magic wand on a translucent spring day, the chicks hatched! We saw their little heads pop up and open mouths reach for the heavens searching for food. We were ecstatic and our new mission was to get a better peek as the babies grew. As eager as we were to see the new babies, I stressed the importance of keeping a safe distance, so that we would not incur the wrath of the mother. I talked to them about how the mother bird protects the babies and keeps them warm by sitting on the nest.
I didn't know where to begin. I was good before and now I'm not - because loss can come suddenly, without warning, and shatter your heart.
While we were waiting for a clear shot of the nest to see the babies, we had no idea we weren't the only observers of this event. Close by, but undetected by us was a large raven also waiting for a clear shot of the nest. Before long, there was intense squawking and screeching, and knew immediately something wasn't right. I ran to the window to see the ominous bird perched at the nest pecking away at the babies. The parents were diving and swooping trying to fend off the intruder, but so much damage had already been done. I managed to open the garage and scare off the raven, desperately hoping the babies had survived. I knew that at least one of them was gone.
The mother bird returned to the nest, and I was hopeful that some were still alive. Not even a day later, the scavenger returned to finish the job, and stole the remaining chick from the nest. The parents followed, trying to retrieve it, the rescue scene playing out in the skies. No birds returned to the nest that day. In fact, that was the last I saw of them all. Devastated, I relayed the news to our sons that we lost the bird family. The whole event unsettled me. I didn't know where to begin. I was good before and now I'm not - because loss can come suddenly, without warning, and shatter your heart.
Sudden loss is a thief - it can rob you of hope, joy, and peace of mind. However, in this brief moment of despair, I felt God speaking to my heart about the importance of covering my family in prayer. There is an enemy roaming, often undetected just like that raven; he is seeking to devour our families, our relationships, and most importantly our minds. He wants to destroy us suddenly and without guard. How can we protect ourselves from his persistent attacks and guard our homes? Through the intentional, consistent prayer of God's word. It is a key element in our armor (Ephesians 6:10-18). Not too long after this incident, I began reading Fervent: A Woman's Battle Plan for Serious, Specific, and Strategic Prayer by one of my "internet besties" Priscilla Shirer, and she highlights key strategies for specific, targeted prayers to combat these insidious attacks. You can find her book here.
Be encouraged! Although unexpected loss is a part of our earthly experience, it doesn't have to consume us. Share below how you've overcome sudden loss with someone who may be walking through it now.
From my Overcoming Heart to yours,