Snow blew in the air and the temperatures dropped, but for Grace, the heat arose within her little body. At five months old Grace St. Catherine participated in her first “hunting class” at Valhalla Gun Dog School of Excellence.
Along with seven other first timer puppies, Grace practiced quartering throughout the field. Running a zig zag pattern through the grass, Grace became aware of the sights and smells of a hunting field containing birds. For the first time, Grace met a chukar – a small bird in the partridge family used for training purposes.
The first chukar Grace met was a dead bird. The trainers start with this so the dog learns to bravely approach the bird. Gary tossed the bird and Grace practiced running after it, bringing it back to Gary’s hand. With each retrieval Grace developed greater excitement. Much to her delight, grey feathers stuck to her nose and within her mouth.
After the fun retrieval exercises, Grace got to see, smell, and experience her first live chukar with some feathers plucked minimizing its ability to fly away. The trainer carefully planted the bird in the field and then, Grace quartered with Gary following the scent toward the bird. When Grace came upon the bird, she chased it down, caught it in her mouth, and pranced like a champion with the bird towards Gary and me. The hunting passion which God created within German Shorthaired Pointers began to ignite within Grace.
Grace practiced hunting down the bird and retrieving it. She eagerly jumped to grasp the bird held high above my head as she anticipated another attempt to find and bring the prized feathery target back to us. As the trainer put it, Grace was “birdy.” Evidence of Grace’s excited demeanor abounded – energy flowed from her as she locked eyes with Gary and awaited another serpentine run through the field.
And then, something amazing occurred. The trainer placed a chukar that could fly in the field and Grace, with her nose both close to the ground and up, smelling the air, quartered her way in the direction of this prized possession. Upon finding the bird, she snatched it before it could run or fly away. She brought it back as she had learned without chewing it, but then, as she set the bird down instead of bringing it to Gary’s hand, it scurried away and took flight.
At that moment, both Gary and I thought the bird might get away. The chukar rose just two feet above the ground flying away for it’s life. But Grace chased after the bird with her four legs flying upon the ground. Although in flight, Grace opened her mouth and caught the flying bird. She proudly carried her flapping prize back to Gary and me.
Throughout the morning class, God awakened within Grace the drive and passion created within her to hunt down and retrieve birds. She engaged her senses and pursued feathery flying creatures with exuberance. She became “birdy.”
Birdy – When a hunting dog becomes alive to the instincts within, energetically exuding passion for catching and retrieving birds. Exhibiting excitement and conviction for which one is created.
I wonder about the intentional creativity of God. Watching Grace reveals the specific ways God designed her. She is made to hunt birds. If God demonstrates such purpose with His four-legged creatures, surely His plans for humankind exceed this even more.
So, what makes you “birdy?” What excites you and drives you?
Ephesians 2:10 points out this reality clearly: “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
In God’s marvelous plan, all of humankind reveal His handiwork. The word “handiwork” comes from the same Greek word that’s related to the word poem. It means “made by someone,” a “work” of someone’s hands. We exhibit the expression of God; His poem to the world. In God’s fearful and wonderful design, we each bring something unique to the world. We get to be who God created us to be in our own unique ways, fashioned and deliberately planned by Him.
For Eric Liddell, British Olympic gold medalist and missionary, vibrant living occurred when he ran for the glory of God. “God made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure.” Running caused Eric to feel “birdy.” He lived as the handiwork of God allowing his speed to exalt God. “The secret of my success over the 400m is that I run the first 200m as fast as I can. Then, for the second 200m, with God’s help I run faster.” Eric allowed the unique way God created him to become his testimony to the world of the love of Christ. ”We are all missionaries. Wherever we go we either bring people nearer to Christ or we repel them from Christ.”
In what ways do you recognize God’s handiwork in your life? How are you a living poem written by God? What are ways to bring people nearer to Christ through your unique, “birdy” living?
For me, when I offer soul care, teach on spiritual formation, and speak, facilitating spiritual retreats, I feel God’s pleasure. Something occurs within my soul that feels like a fire which fills me with energy and great fervor. When I live these passions out, I feel “birdy.” What about you?
Maybe you write stories, lead bible studies, work with wood, administrate an office, stand for justice, offer hospitality, organize cluttered homes, buy and sell real-estate, program computers, help heal the sick, teach lessons in school, shovel snow, serve the homeless, manage product distribution, drive an uber, play sports, deliver mail, grow produce, extinguish fires, analyze data, or train hunting dogs? Each of these passions and many more reflect the handiwork of God. As God’s handiwork, we get to engage with one another in the good works He planned for us. We get to live “birdy” lives.
Ponder the poem of your life. What expressions of God’s handiwork are written into the story of your life? Let your life testify to the goodness of God and the good works He planned for you since the beginning of time.
How can you live “birdy” for Jesus in your own special way?
Although you may not catch a bird midair, God definitely designed amazing ways for your life to proclaim His goodness and glory.
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Drips from the Word: Muse about these Bible verses. Let these truths impact your living.
Philippians 2:13 – for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
Jeremiah 29:11 – For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Splashes from the Spigot: Drink from deep wells. Read these recommended books to fill your soul.
Ellen Caughey. Run to Glory: The Story of Eric Liddell Uhrichsville, OH. 2017.
Darrell Case. Live Life to the Fullest: Enjoying the life God intended for you to live. Terre Haute, IN. 2012.
Sprinklings of Truth: Soak in meaningful songs. Check out these music videos to lift up your spirit.
Casting Crowns. Life Song. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gnf1xczuOrA
Red Rocks Worship. Living God. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIkzQfauwGg