It’s been a long season of quiet sadness for me over the last seven months. A really long season. I have struggled with depression in a way that I never had before (read more here, if you’d like) and am just now beginning to emerge, by the grace of God. And I am so relieved.
Over the past two years, God has sent me bald eagles for encouragement and as a reminder that he is with me in whatever I am facing, celebrating, grieving, or otherwise going through. Sometimes I see them frequently (usually when things are more challenging) and sometimes it’s less frequent, but it’s definitely been “our thing” and it speaks to my heart so intimately.
I was having a particularly difficult Sunday morning trying to get to church early with a 3½-year-old in tow in order to practice with the band, singing my second duet at our new church. I slipped and almost fell on my daughter on the ice, and barely caught us against the cold car door. Then I realized the scraper for the window was stuck and only after a mighty struggle did it finally come free–accidentally smacking me on the cheek and breaking open the skin. To say the least, I quickly became a bawling hot/cold mess. I prayed, confessed my attitude, and we were finally on our way.
On the way to church, the first eagle I’ve seen perched on a branch in more than a year was about 30 feet up in a tree, where I’ve never seen eagles before, right next to the side of the road. As I pulled over the car to get a closer look, I realized immediately that God was telling me that he was right there with me in that moment, standing by, surveying the land and surveying my heart.
That eagle was so peaceful, calm, still, and strong. His beautiful tail was fanned out and perfectly in view under the branch he was sitting on. His feet were gently hidden under his chest and I could barely tell where his wings ended and his chest began. He peacefully appeared to be taking it all in, keeping a watchful eye. Something would catch his attention, he would pause, and then continue looking around. I swear at one point that he looked right at me. I wept and worshipped, right there on the side of the road, in the middle of winter, late for church. I wish I could have stayed there until he flew off, but we had to get going, so I smiled at him, waved and thanked God for the reminder of his nearness and watchful eye.
I felt God’s smile on me throughout the service. Throughout that same day, God proceed to send me a trio of eagles (two males followed by a female) and later the fifth eagle of the day who flew over both my husband and I and our kids (in separate cars). Again, I wept, worshipped, and shared with my daughter how I was taking pictures of these moments and putting them into my heart, like Mary did when people came to meet the baby Jesus. Eventually, I started to giggle with a giddy heart filled with her Father’s love and delight. God knows what a treat his bald eagles are to my heart and I felt his love so lavished on me. I felt intimately loved and pursued by the God of the universe. Amazed, in awe, and humbled.
When God sends me eagles, I also feel safe and sure of his goodness. Psalm 91:4 says, “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.” (p.s. I had to look up rampart and it means a protective barrier (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)).
If you want to read more in the Bible about eagles, check out these verses:
- Isaiah 40:31
- Exodus 19:4
- Job 39:27-29
- Psalm 103:2-5
Would you pray with me? Oh Lord, please hide me under the shadow and safety of your wings during this season of trials and struggle; draw me near enough to hear your heartbeat. Please continue to remind me of your intentional pursuit of my heart. May my response be to swell with love and worship of who you are and all you are doing on my behalf. And may every person reading this sense your nearness in a way that uniquely speaks to the amazing person you created, exactly in the way they need it right now. Amen.