And I heard that quiet, still voice ask, "What would let you know?"
"Lord, I am simple. I don't know...a turtle, Lord, send me a turtle, and I will know." (I have no idea why turtles popped into my mind at that moment.)
No one knew of my struggle because I didn't want to burden the people who were already hurting for me. So, no one knew of my prayer.
The very next morning people brought me five turtles. I never told them why I was acting so odd that day. The turtles kept coming and as they did, I'd sit down and stare at them. I realize as I am typing this I really didn't expect any to show up.
Over the course of a few weeks, around 20 turtles were brought to me. When the five came, I had a little cry while thanking God for His love for me, a personal and individual love just for me. Then, I became a little floored..so many! "Lord, You are sending so many turtles; I see so much love!" Towards the end, I laughed. "OK, Lord, I get it. You love me without end, but I can't handle any more turtles right now!" I was brought a couple more after that.
Right on the heels of that, swallows came and nested in the awning over my front door. I have lived here 18 years and swallows have never nested at our door before. In fact, they had left our place three years earlier when we lost the big barn in the fire. The nine of us are in and out of that door dozens of times a day EACH. Very high traffic. It was unusual. I did some research on swallows and learned the symbolism behind them. I knew then it was a God-thing too!
Then the swallows needed help due to the heat, so I helped them. Then a cat ate one of the last two fledglings, and I took the other into the house until I knew it could fly well enough to avoid them. When its parents came again, I took it outside and gave them their last surviving offspring. Even though they nested elsewhere this year, the swallows come visit when I am in the yard, closer to me than anyone else, sit on the wire and "talk" to me, they fly circles over my head (the equivalent of them pointing). If I am in the backyard, that's where they will circle. If I am in the front, that is where they will fly over me. Sometimes I can call "Chip, Chip!!" and he will come from somewhere behind our property and fly over me a few times. I can tell Chip from the other swallows because he chatters at me for long moments. The people who have witnessed it are impressed.
When I see them, which is very often right now, I think of God's willingness and eagerness to show me His love at a time I needed it most. I also think of how little Chip and I both survived a very hard year. We both needed a little bit of help..him from me and me from my Father, but we overcame some harsh realities of life.
Turtles and swallows..it's a God and me thing. You might not understand it, but I do, and that is why He sent them to me.
No matter what comes in your life, God does love you. Surrendering shows a humble heart willing to honor the Lord with a gift however He sees fit. I was naturally hoping for another baby to hold and raise to adulthood, but God had a greater plan. Because I responded to His call in 1995 and trusted whatever His will for me in that area was, He gave me several children to hold now, several more I will hold in the future, spiritual lessons to better equip me, and at the same time, He gave me a ministry to reach others for Him.
I also learned better how to pray for those who are hurting. When you are at your lowest, hurting and battered by this life, that is when I pray He will send you barn swallows and turtles...or the equivalent of those in your life...to reaffirm His great love for you.
Psalm 145:9 The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made.