I read a book while I was in Africa last year called Gift of the Red Bird (Paula D’Arcy). A friend had given it to me and I chose to bring it along because I wanted some light reading. I thought Africa would be tough enough to swallow so maybe some short, light essays would help to balance out my emotional state. I believe the book pretty much started with a car accident with the author losing her husband and child, while pregnant and also in the car (don’t quote me on details). Needless to say, I was simultaneously drawn in and yet, as you can imagine, walking around with a heavy heart and nowhere to escape to. Still, a very good book.

I think of the phrase “gift of the red bird” quite often because of where I live. Which is in a breathtaking place that I sometimes still can’t believe I get to call home. We’re situated next to a county-preserved pond, surrounded by trees (eighty-two of which are in our yard, according to my son’s counting). And there are two little patches of trees where I see a male cardinal, all year long. I don’t know if it’s the same one, or two separate ones who have searched out their own little corner of land, but just recently, I’ve told myself to take it as a reminder each and every time I see it/them flit from one tree to another that Jesus loves me. So simple but so effective.

I can be washing my hands at the kitchen sink, look out and see my red bird perched on top of the birdfeeder, or I can be sitting on my living room couch looking out at the pond and notice the red bird flying back and forth between a few small trees, and I will say, sometimes outloud and sometimes in my head, “Jesus loves you, Beth”. And it works. It stops me in my tracks, maybe for only a few seconds, and it brings my heart back to its focus, to its center, to its ruler.

Jesus is my Lord, whether I think about Him once a day or all day long…but I’m human…and I tend to flit myself from thing to thing, idea to idea, person to person.And I need to be reminded that He’s there, all the time, right beside me, living in me, and so if a red bird is how I remember, well, that’s a gift.

Taking a few moments to sit quietly and focus your heart and mind on Jesus is one of the best things you can do for yourself spiritually, mentally, emotionally and even physically. Enjoy this free gift of guided meditations.

you're just moments away from calm!