Jesus, Chickens and Mothers

mother-and-child-2chickens-1Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
Proverbs 31:28

With this coming Sunday being designated as Mother’s Day, I want to take time to honor our mothers and fulfill Proverbs 31:28. However, I am pondering what qualifies a female to be a mother. I believe any woman who reflects a lifestyle of nurturing and caring for others is a mother. Motherly characteristics are exhibited not only by human beings, buy also by animals and birds. Jesus described His love for Jerusalem (a symbolic representation of all believers) as being like that of a mother hen. I am not saying Jesus or mothers are chickens! However, I think there is a revelation of Jesus’ love and a mother’s love when we look at the life of a chicken. I grew up on a farm and we had chickens, so maybe that is why I am attracted to this image today. Let’s see how we can tie together the hearts of Jesus, chickens, and all women who function in a mother role.

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you,
how often I have longed to gather your children together,
as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings,
and you were not willing.
Matthew 23:37

When I read this verse from Matthew, I not only see a mother hen drawing her little chicks close to her body but I also picture Jesus doing the same with each of us as His children. I am reminded of the refrain of the old hymn Safe in the Arms of Jesus by Frances Crosby, “Safe in the arms of Jesus, Safe on His gentle breast; There by His love o’ershaded, Sweetly my soul shall rest.” Psalm 91:4 NLT says, “He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with His wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.” This image is similar to a picture of an earthly mother holding a baby in her loving, caring arms. There is a feeling of warmth and security as well as love when a baby chick, a believer in Christ, or a young child is snuggled near to the body of the one emanating love. 

As a young girl, I remember seeing the chickens running around in their open space while I was swinging on my tree swing. One of my recollections is of a mother hen leading her newborn chicks out for a walk. With the mother hen in the lead, five or six fluffy little chicks followed in a parade. The new hatchlings followed their mother wherever she went. They trusted her to lead them along the right path. Mothers of young children also lead and instruct their children. Proverbs 22:6 instructs moms (and everyone else) to “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” David says in Psalm 25:4, “Show me your ways, LORD, teach me your paths.”

While living on the farm, there were occasions when I remember hearing a lot of squawking from the chickens. Usually it meant that some predatory animal, or even another chicken, was trying to attack a brood of young chicks. The one making the most noise was the mother hen who was trying to protect her defenseless chicks. If the attack was instigated by another chicken and her squawking was not enough of a deterrent, she would ruffle her feathers and attack. Psalm 121:7 says, The LORD will keep you from all harm– He will watch over your life.” The Lord watches over our lives, a mother hen watches over the lives of her chicks, and mothers watch over the lives of the children entrusted to them.

Jesus, chickens and mothers are not synonymous words, but it has been fun to search for similarities. While exhibiting love and compassion, mothers are also protective and defensive of their children. Their goal is to help their children grow and mature to be who God created them to be. Any woman who finds herself in the role of a mother is worthy of honor on Mother’s Day and every day.

Happy Mother’s Day!

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Under Cover

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt was cold the other evening so I put an extra quilt on our bed.  While snuggling under the warmth of the covers, the Lord gave me a reminder of His presence covering me.  It was definitely cozy sleeping overnight and in the morning I was still thinking about what the Lord was showing me as I fell asleep.  As I started looking for scriptures, I found a couple of interesting Psalms.  The last part of Psalm 32:10 says, “the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him.” I also liked the last part of Psalm 5:11, “Spread your (the Lord’s) protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.”  I can cuddle under the concepts of both of these verses!  Blankets keep my body warm and these scriptures keep my heart warm.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPsalm 91 is one of my favorite Psalms and it comes to my mind as I think about staying warm physically and keeping safe spiritually under the covers.  The first part of verse one says, “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”  I need physical rest through sleep at night, and even more importantly, I need to daily rest spiritually under the covering of the Lord.  Such things as worry and fear need not be a part of my life if I trust the Lord.  In verse 5, the Psalmist promises, “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge;”  Being covered with God’s feathers gives me the mental picture of snuggling under a down comforter that may be filled with feathers.  Not only am I covered by the Lord’s feathers, but I am protected from the enemy and spiritual harm.  When I read this verse the image of a baby bird under the nurturing wing of its mother comes to my mind.  The mother covers its young that is unable cover itself.  The mother’s wing not only keeps the little birdie warm but also protects it from any predator that might want to hurt it.  There are times when I feel like a very helpless child of God who is too weak to take care of myself and I need to rely upon the tender care of the Lord.  Both my physical life and spiritual life are covered by God’s divine grace and power.  Just like Linus in the Peanuts cartoon, I need a security blanket.  The Lord covers me with the warmth of His love and the security of His faithfulness.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANow I let my thoughts wander back to my keeping warm in bed.  During the night I most likely turn over a few times, and this means that I may take a little more than my share of the covers with me when I turn. I tell my husband that it is his responsibility to pull back the extra covers I take so he will not be cold.  I do not take extra covers intentionally.  Proverbs 4:27 says, “Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.”  My husband probably would like to tell me to lie still and not turn to the right or the left. However, I do not kick him with my foot!  My response to him might be another scripture found in Isaiah 30:21, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’”  That sounds to me like it is alright to turn from my right side to my left side and vice versa.  Spiritually though, God is warning me to stay on the straight path with Him and only turn to the right or left when His wisdom guides me to do so.  A change in direction could cause me to slip into sinful ways.  My turning the wrong way could also be a negative witness to another person.  Just like my turning over and taking the covers can result in my husband being cold, my turning from God’s way can cause another person to leave God’s path and become spiritually cold.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy Reader, how are you keeping warm on these cold winter nights?  An extra blanket can be helpful physically.  However, you and I can get rather chilly and challenged spiritually if we do not stay secure under the covering of the Lord no matter what the thermometer tells us the outside temperature is.

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Thought for the week:  God’s comfort is our best comforter!
raise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort.” –   II Corinthians 1:3