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Archive for January, 2008

I recently finished reading the book The Gift of The Red Bird by Paula D’Arcy.  It was published in 2000, and probably has been on my bookshelf unread for that long.  The book is a small volume, but spiritually rich in enlightenment and contains her personal journey through grief and her quest to know God on a more personal level.  At a very young age, newly married, with a small child and expecting another child, suddenly her husband and daughter were killed in an automobile accident.  I can’t even imagine the grief, no less without a strong faith to carry her through.  She followed the road back from grief, by seeking her quest to know God.
 

Today, she is the author of many books, she is the founder of The Red Bird Foundation  and is a public speaker and helper to many about grief.  Since experiencing her loss, she counseled people,  wrote numerous books on grief and spiritual awakening, and leads retreats and workshops throughout the United States, Canada and Europe.

As I read her story and saw the familiar spiritual stops along the way, I couldn’t help but notice how God had allowed her to bear such a burden of grief at such a young age.  Her anger, bitterness and questioning was short-lived and was replaced by her spiritual quest.  As God held her hand through the powerful emotional turmoil of grief, and introduced her to the power of faith, she not only healed, but her healing was shared by many as she continues to teach.

How many stories in life can we see of how God has taken brokenness and healed the outcome for a divine purpose.  Perhaps viewing another’s life makes it easier than to accept our own adversity.  To witness how God has taken our own brokenness and allowed this adversity to share so that we might comfort others.  All He asks is that we seek Him.  In my own search for answers,  I have read many books about being alone with God and the wisdom that we can find in solitude.  Adversity with only regret cripples our heart, but to be open to God it can lead us to not only healing but to our purpose.

It seems that God continues to write the Bible through people like Paula D’Arcy.  Stories of people through a journey with God, who have been able to accept their adversity and as they search for the answers are willing to share their stories.  I think that when we examine the path and instead of asking why, we can pray that God turn our circumstances into a blessing. 

I wept this morning as I saw the body of work that Paula D’Arcy has created to help so many people walk through grief.  I wept because I could see the hand of God on her life, allowing her to experience such a profound loss, because He trusted her.  Only someone who had reached the depths of despair by such a loss, becoming intimate with that pain, could have become such an effective teacher on the subject of grief.  He knew that where others given the same set of circumstances, might have become bitter, and lost their way, she became open to know Him better.  Through that obedience God was able to use her life and her brokenness to teach her His ways of wisdom, and along her journey pointed out ways in which she could impart those truths to us.  I believe that God anointed her purpose to touch the hearts of many.

“God never uses anyone to a great degree until He breaks the person completely. Joseph experienced more sorrow than the other sons of Jacob, and it led him into a ministry of food for all the nations.  For this reason, the Holy Spirit said of him, “Joseph is a fruitful vine…near a spring, whose branches climb over a wall”  Gen. 49:22.  It takes sorrow to expand and deepen the soul.  from The Heavenly Life.

The story of The Gift of the Red Bird, A Spiritual Encounter, describes how “Paula journeyed alone into the wilderness for three days, allowing the Creator to speak through that creation.  As she surrendered to the power of God alone, a red bird appeared and without words began to teach.”  She found her inner voice and began to see with her heart.  I don’t remember who gave me this little book The Gift of The Red Bird, or if I purchased this treasure myself.  It has been on my bookshelf for a very long time.  I don’t believe in coincidence and all I can say is the timing was a perfect gift.  As I sat reading this treasure, tucked safely away inside the book was a beautiful bookmark with a red cardinal on it.  

“It is the simple things of life that make living worthwhile…things such as love and duty, work and rest and living close to nature.”

by Laura Ingalls Wilder

I read in Streams In The Desert the writing for January 20th; “Every person and every nation must endure lessons in God’s school of adversity.  In the same way we say, “Blessed is the night, for it reveals the stars to us,” we can say, “Blessed is sorrow, for it reveals God’s comfort.”  A flood once washed away a poor man’s home and mill, taking with it everything he owned in the world.  He stood at the scene of his great loss, brokenhearted and discouraged.  Yet after the waters had subsided, he saw something shining in the riverbanks that the flood had washed bare. “It looks like gold,” he said.  And it was gold.  The storm that had impoverished him made him rich.  So it is oftentimes in life.”  Henry Clay Trumbull

We all have to walk through the journey of grief at some point in our lives. The Gift of the Red Bird reminds me that walking with God and holding His hand in faith I can trust that he will take all things in my life to work toward His purpose.  By keeping our hearts open, bravely accepting our circumstances and surrendering our pain, God can take our brokenness and in comforting us in the middle of a storm, feed the hearts of many.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him,

who have been called according to his purpose.”

Romans 8:28


 

 

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