I said yesterday that the image of the little bird in my painting had real meaning to me; so as I stop to take a very-needed-early-grey-tea-break between Japanese practice and Theology study (anyone want to join my Sunday afternoon activities?), I thought I would articulate it.
God often speaks to me through pictures or dreams, and about a year ago when things were particularly tough, I had this vision in what had been a long time of prayer and worship at my piano. I had been crying out to God for restoration and hope, and as He opened the eyes of my heart to see, I really-saw these images so clearly.
I was in His white-dazzling-throne-room.
I was dressed in a simple just-as-white robe.
I was about 8 years old.
And I was happy.
So, so happy.
My Heavenly Father sat in front of me, and I just ran and danced about His throne-room with a freedom and a joy, knowing that I was loved and knowing that was more-than-enough.
Abba called me to Him.
He gently knelt down in front of me and gave me a gift.
I knew it was important-to-His-Heart.
I knew it would be important to me.
He was so happy, and so gentle, and His ‘gladness’ just radiated from Him.
He took my small hands, and He placed into them, a tiny, origami, paper bird.
The detail was intricate, the colours were pastel-perfection, and the pattern was stunning.
I knew it was a precious gift.
And I continued to dance and sing and spin in His throne-room, but twirling the little bird around with me and pretending it could fly.
Time passed in my vision.
I don’t know how much, but when the scene changed in front of me I could see that there was something wrong.
Something had shifted.
I was crying.
I was broken.
And in my hands I could see that the gift that I had been so lovingly given, was in tatters.
The little paper bird had been dropped and broken.
The colours had faded away.
Bits were missing and some were lost.
It was broken in two.
The precious gift was destroyed, and I had not kept it nor guarded it as I should.
And so I approached Abba.
Slowly and cautiously.
I was crying, and I couldn’t look at Him, but I just held out the ripped bits of paper as if they were an offering and fell to my knees at His feet.
He gently took them from me.
There was no anger on His face, but I couldn’t see that because I was staring at the ground.
And He sat in front on me, placed all of the pieces onto a small wooden table, and began to work.
Time seemed to pause.
With meticulous detail He began to painstakingly restore His tiny creation with the skill of a master-craftsman.
He carefully glued tiny-fragmented-pieces back into place.
He took a minute paintbrush to restore every stroke of the original colours.
He called to the pieces that were lost, and searched them out so that nothing was missing.
Not one piece was missing.
And He worked tirelessly, with a determined and fixed look on His face until it was complete.
It could have been minutes or hours later, because time had seemed to pause, but He turned from His worktable and called my name.
I lifted my gaze to His, and with only love and patience and kindness and mercy, Abba held out to me a perfectly restored, miniature, origami bird.
My heart just leapt with joy.
He had restored what should have been broken beyond repair.
And I stood to reach out to Him, full of thankfulness, tears running down my face.
And He leant out to me, smiling over me, overflowing with joy and happiness.
He placed the tiny, paper bird into my hands again.
But has He did, He breathed onto it.
And as His breath touched the paper, the bird changed.
It became alive.
What had been only paper and coloured paint, what had been unable to fly, transformed into a living, breathing bird, arrayed in colour so bright and vivid, and able to soar into the heights.
And the little bird flew.
And the little bird sang.
And so Papa reminded me, in the most precious way, that He not only restores, that He not only is faithful to all His promises, but that in His timings, His healing is so complete, that it goes beyond repair and into new life. That sometimes I expect restoration to come in or look a certain way, but that His plan of redemption is so much greater, and so much bigger, and so much more wonderful than I could ever ask, or imagine or comprehend. What a beautiful Father we have. He who takes the broken pieces of my heart, and He who so patiently restores them to wholeness, and then causes them to soar on the heights.
Fly free little bird.