One year, as spring was just beginning, my husband and I noticed a special little something on our front door. In the hustle and bustle of a new baby in our home, I had forgotten to take down our Christmas wreath and a pair of house finches had decided it would be the perfect place for a nest. They had carefully woven together bits of nature and made a nice little home for themselves right there on my screen door.
Well… I guess we’ll have to keep spreading Christmas cheer until the birds are done with this wreath! I’m sure our neighbors wondered why on earth our wreath was up until the end of May! But I wasn’t about to kick the finches out!
It was so sweet to watch our little finch family. And I had never seen a nest up that close. How much time had it taken them to build it? Each piece of grass and fluff had been carefully woven in to create a soft, sturdy bowl for their babies. I noticed the materials they had chosen, mostly grasses and twigs, but a few curious items that I couldn’t quite identify. That got me thinking: If I were a bird, what would I use to build my nest?
Intentional “Nest Weaving”
Our days press on so quickly, don’t they? Laundry piles up and dishes never cease. There are books to read and snuggles to give and lessons to learn, and through it all I can’t help but think that, in a way, I am building a nest of my own. I am carefully (and sometimes clumsily) weaving together a home.
Mine is not woven with grasses and twigs, but with moments, words, actions, and memories.
That is such a convicting and challenging thought! What kinds of words have I been using to build my home? What things have I done this week to make my “nest” comforting and sturdy? And what kinds of moments have I shared with my family?
Poor materials for nest building
It’s important for nest builders to carefully select what materials they use to build their homes. Did you know that dryer lint is not a good material for a bird to use for their nest? When it gets wet, it tends to crumble. So a nest with lint in it can become unstable in the rain. Likewise, any chemically treated item can be toxic to the birds, poisoning them as they sit in their home. Shiny materials, like wire or foil, can reflect light and actually attract predators.
So what about my home?
What are some inferior “materials” I sometimes use? Well for starters, I have unintentionally woven an expectation of perfection at times. Ugh… that’s a nasty one. Of course, I say expectation of perfection because true perfection is simply not attainable. And in the striving for it we tend to end up disappointed, depressed, and anxious. Nope… not something I want to be present in my nest!
What about impatience? The need for control? Prioritizing cleanliness over relationships? A quick temper? Yep, these are all things I have at one point or another struggled with and they are definitely not things I want woven into my home. Just like a bird’s nest can be unstable and even dangerous if the materials aren’t selected with care, so my home can become an unpleasant and even toxic place for my family if I don’t stay intentional in my attitude and my actions. Lord Jesus, have mercy!
So what do I want to weave into my home?
What is a good home be build with? If I could draw up the plans for my “nest” what would I label as my building materials? I made a mental list of the things I want my family to feel and experience in our home: Love, connection, forgiveness, patience, joy… wait, I’ve seen a list like this before…
“But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23
Awe yes, the fruits of the spirit. I couldn’t make a more complete list of good “nest” building materials if I tried. A home that has these as a foundation will be safe, loving, and enduring. This is the kind of home I want to be building.
But oh man, what a list! I can’t do it on my own. This momma slips up! I snap at my kids when they keep tracking the mud through the house. I get impatient when they won’t listen. The little things get me distracted and anxious. I forget to prioritize love and connection over perfection. I need Jesus and so much grace! And honestly, I sometimes need to backtrack and do some disassembling of our nest. Pull out that twig of impatience… unweave that fluff of perfection. Refocus, breathe deep, say a prayer, and press on.
Happy “nest” weaving, momma friends! You do such important work!
Here are two books my husband and I have read that have helped us a bit on our parenting journey. We read Loving Our Kids on Purpose first and then followed it with Parenting with Love and Logic. Both were great reads!
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