Needless Struggles

Early one morning I heard a soft pecking sound.  I was downstairs when I heard it.  I thought it was coming from outside, so I opened the door but didn’t see anything.  Still the sound persisted. 

I went upstairs, where I heard it again.  I went into one of our bedrooms and found the source.  Here was the culprit.

This isn’t the first time we have had this happen.  A female cardinal has done this over the years on occasion.  Research has shown us that there are several possible reasons for this behavior.  Females are very territorial, especially at this time of year when they are nesting.  She may see her reflection in the window and thinks she sees another bird, so she might be trying to chase it away.  Or she may see the reflection of the tree behind her in the window and might be wanting to check it out as a nesting site.

But the reasons for this silly bird’s actions are not the reasons for this blog.

I had fun showing Aaron our little cardinal as she pecked on our window repeatedly.

That night after we had prayed, Aaron came into my bedroom.

“Mom,” he said, “you should have prayed, ‘And help the woman cardinal’s head to not hurt.’  😊

Our little confused cardinal has also interrupted my quiet mornings in our family room, and in our living room as well. 

She is one determined little bird!

But I’ve thought of how useless her struggles are, when right behind her is a tree full of available branches for nesting.  There are also bushes all around that area.

And how her possible fears of another bird in her territory are nonsense.  Little does she know or realize that she is truly wasting precious time and energy as she flies into the windows, and pecks and pecks at nothing.

But oh dear, I am so much like that little “woman cardinal,” as Aaron said.

I struggle with myself over God’s leading in my life more than I care to admit.  Years ago, when Gary was retiring from the military, we tried and tried to move near our extended families.  However, no jobs at all were opening up for him.  The only feasible job…the best opportunity…and the one that God kept leading us to as we prayed…is far away from where we hoped to live.

And now here we are, with two of our adult children living far away from US…one to the north and the other to the south, along with our precious new grandson.  And we have Aaron, who is a huge reason that we are tied to staying where we are with great services and medical care here. 

BUT…we did pray for God’s leading many years ago…and we did see Him lead us here. 

BUT…because here isn’t always easy…how do I react?

Isaiah spoke to God’s people about how they depended on themselves instead of depending on God to protect them.  God led them to their land centuries earlier, and to the city He chose for them.

Jerusalem was that city. 

But Jerusalem had a huge feature that left them vulnerable to their enemies.

Their water supply was from the spring of Gihon, outside the city walls.  With their human ingenuity, the inhabitants built a conduit to keep water flowing into the city.  But then they developed an attitude of pride and trust in their accomplishment as they ignored God. 

They had become focused on how to solve their water problem without depending on God.

Did God not know that Jerusalem’s location had this weakness…this problem?

Of course He knew!

Did God make a mistake when He led them there?


“Did He not knowingly choose a city with a vulnerable water supply so that living in His city actually required an attitude and commitment of faith that what He thus chose He would also Himself safeguard?”  (Alec Motyer)

How about me?  You?

Am I like that little cardinal, trying for a better situation or a safer location than the one to which God has led me?

“….it is a sin to depart from a position of simple, uncomplicated, trustful faith, and to replace it with man-made devices and securities.  Where the Lord has made promises our calling is to trust that He will keep His word, and to pray, and look to Him that He will do so.”   (Alec Motyer)

I look around me, at friends and family and others that come across my path.

It doesn’t make sense that a spouse died and left his wife widowed far too soon.

That cancer took a daughter, a wife with young children, after so many prayers and hopes for healing.

That a mother collapsed and died so suddenly.

That a family is reeling from years of caring for their young son who is fighting cancer after multiple amputations.

You know the stories.

You have your own.

Recently my cousin and his wife, David and Cindy, left me with these verses that have filled them with great hope at this time in their lives.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.”   (Proverbs 3:5-6)

David was recently put on hospice care as his cancer is no longer responding to treatments.  Yet he can say, “It’s often so hard to make sense of what God is up to, but we must keep trusting, keep persevering.”

And from Cindy, “…all these trials are used by God in shaping us and growing our faith to His glory!  We are not alone.  Hebrews 13:5 – I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

What a testimony of trust and faith they are to so many!

Oh little “woman cardinal,” you do not need to struggle so to find a better tree or to fight an imaginary enemy!

And oh, dear one today, if you know Christ and follow Him then trust that where He leads you is where He will supply your every need and fulfill His perfect plan for your life. 

You do not need to struggle, acting as if God has made mistakes in your life.

Be still, my soul

The Lord is on thy side

Bear patiently

The cross of grief or pain

Leave to thy God

To order and provide

In every change

He faithful will remain.

Be still, my soul

Thy best, thy heavenly Friend

Through thorny ways

Leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul

Thy God doth undertake

To guide the future

As he has the past

Thy hope, thy confidence

Let nothing shake

All now mysterious

Shall be bright at last.

Be still, my soul

The waves and winds still know

His voice who ruled

Them while He dwelt below.

Be still, my soul

The hour is hastening on

When we shall be

Forever with the Lord

When disappointment grief

And fear are gone

Sorrow forgot, love’s

Purest joys restored

Be still, my soul

When change and tears are past

All safe and blessed

We shall meet at last.

Author: Patty hesaidwhatks

I'm Patty and I write about our adult son who has Epilepsy and Autism, who still lives with my husband and me, and who is a package full of many surprises and joys and challenges and TALK! Lots of talking, which creates laughter and some other reactions as well. I also write about how God shows Himself to me in everyday life.

31 thoughts on “Needless Struggles”

  1. Ahhhh, Patty, my precious friend. This spoke to me as I’m sure you knew it would. What I’ve had to come to terms with – because I won’t let heartache and disappointment rob me of the joy of my faith – is that our “understanding” will never be in this life for many things. When we’re with our Savior and reunited with loved ones in heaven, “understanding” probably won’t even matter. It’s the “our own” understanding here that fails us – not our God. I have to trust that. Thanks for your blog and even more for our forever – and ever – friendship. I love you. ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    1. What you said here, Donna, speaks volumes because you are walking the path of deep grief and loss. This: “It’s the “our own” understanding here that fails us – not our God.” You are not a bystander to grief and the questions it raises. I value your insights because of your walk with God through such a deep valley, and because I have known you all my life. Thank you for every bit of wisdom you feel led to share, my friend. I love you!


  2. Beautiful post, Patty, and you shared it with us at just the right time. In the last few days I have been brought to tears with the trials that some other Christians are enduring, and even our own trial, that my wife and I are going through. But our perspective keeps neglecting the care and provision of God, working towards strengthening our trust and reliance in Him, as you so beautifully illustrated with regard to Jerusalem. This reality is repeated time and time again throughout both the Old and New Testaments, yet we still focus on the here and now. I am comforted that I know Jesus understands this, because He walked in our flesh. No it’s not always easy and it doesn’t always go according to our plan, but if we trust in Him, it does go according to His and in the end, because He loves us, and His wisdom is much greater than ours, that is all that really matters. Thank you so much for sharing, your message was needed and taken to heart. God’s blessings to you and yours.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You said it so well, Bruce, when you said that our perspective can neglect the care and provision of God. Sometimes it’s so hard to take my eyes off my problems and focus on God. May God strengthen you and your family each day with His presence and promises.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Your female cardinal reminds me of an American Robin that nested near my house. We had 24 hours of daylight and the male robin would constantly smash into the windows on three sides of the house. It would on 24 hours a day for weeks. He was attacking his reflection.Nothing would deter him other than the passage of time.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh thank you Patty for such a spirit filled Godly message. The Holy Spirit fills you well to speak to my heart and the hearts of those who have ears to hear.  And some times pride of seeking to make  things better are louder than our ears hear(called sinful  pride). I think of the time change th

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you Patty! We can learn a lot from the little cardinal. David and Cindy are inspiring. We always have the option to keep trusting in the Lord, no matter what we must endure. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks for sharing Patty! This speaks to me so much now and I’m grateful for it.
    When I went to Finland last year, I got to learn this practically. If anything, I’m still learning to depend on God.

    Your cousin reminds me of Cindy from Real Christian women blog. We’ll keep trusting in God, even when our understanding can’t comprehend it.

    Thank you Patty, my love to Aaron!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks for your words. After a rough night of Cheryl’s dementia they calmed my soul. I wish I had your faith and quiet heart. I often find mine racing and despair that I cannot take Cheryl’s crazy away. Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Paul, I don’t always have a quiet heart. Last night with Aaron was an example as we tried once again to broach the subject of him traveling to Texas with us to meet his new nephew. He fell apart and I wasn’t far behind him. I’m thankful that God is right there with us and that He gives His support when the dust settles and I can talk to Him. You are on such a hard road with Cheryl as you are her caregiver but also her husband. Your heart is in the right place but as humans we do get very tired and full of despair. God understands. Blessings!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Such a wonderful post, Patty. You acknowledge that life IS hard sometimes and doesn’t always make sense. But God IS good nonetheless. (Which vocal artist was it that sang, “Life is hard, but God is good?”) I too have witnessed that futile behavior of cardinals and had similar thoughts as you. Worry is worthless; God will provide, God will guide as he deems best. My job is to trust. (Please remind me if I give in to a frenzy of fluttering!)

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I can flutter myself into a frenzy also, Patty! Indeed, praise God for his understanding, grace, and continual work, gently nudging me toward the calm, unflustered person of trust I long to be.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Patty, I’m so glad God gives you the words to say. Your writings bring hope & encouragement, always. Thank you my friend. I love you.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. “They had become focused on how to solve their water problem without depending on God.”
    …as it turns out I have a few ‘water problems’ of my own that I seem to leave God out of. And then there’s the “woman cardinal,” stubborn in her ignorant persistence. Boy I can relate there too.
    Posts (such as yours), scripture reading, authentic conversations, communion with God, etc are all ways to remind us to remain steadfast to Him no matter what. Proverbs 3:5-6 is such a good verse to cling tightly to! Great words of encouragement Patty (as always) and a beautiful poem also.❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Oh Patty, this is such a beautiful post. It spoke deeply to my tendency towards self-sufficiency. I never thought of Jerusalem’s water supply and the lesson it was teaching the people. You closed with one of my favorite hymns. What a delight to sing the words. I will now think of our female cardinal’s as “women cardinals.” I love it Aaron!

    Liked by 1 person

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