I am not a project kind of person. I run from them. I feel paralyzed by the word project! I am a chilling kind of girl surrounded and in awe of all my Martha Stewart type friends, but I tell you I just am not one of them. Now, it’s not a bad thing to not be a crafty person, but when you have two little girls who desperately want a mom who makes cotton ball lambs and tissue paper flowers, it can get you feeling a little…less than…shall we say.
So, I heard of this chick hatching project that I could do with my daughters.
I rallied to get myself to the meeting (another word that makes me cringe) where I was given 20 eggs and all the equipment I needed from a local farmer. I got a quick tutorial on chick hatching and plunked down $20. Easy.
The farmer emphasized we weren't to help the chicks out of their shells. The hatching may take the little birds an hour or two, or three or five or six. But no matter, we were told not to help as the struggle served multiple purposes for the chicks. The shell provided nourishment, while the pecking strengthened the lungs and beak of the fluffy little fowl. Without the struggle to get free from the shell, the chicks would be malnourished and weak.
One last cautionary note, if there was, by chance, an injured chick, it would need to be gently placed in a sealed plastic bag and carefully, lovingly placed…in the freezer!!! Whaaat? Heinous! But farmers are a tough crowd and this farmer assured us, as we sat with eyes wide in terror upon hearing of the freezer treatment, that if an injured chick was allowed in the group, the other chicks would sense the injury and be less than hospitable, possibly even homicidal.
Well, I had nothing to worry about. No way were any of our chicks going to be euthanized. They would be born perfectly whole and well and that was that.
At home with the eggs, we numbered each egg, as was suggested, and to make things a little more fun, we embellished each egg with a name. And then-we waited. A few days into the vigil, a pip, a crack, and the fun began! All went well, each chick wobbled out wet and slippery and was carefully transferred to the box with the heat lamp.
And then, it happened. Toward the end of the day, the chick we named Lola had a rough time getting out of her shell. When her slippery little body staggered out, she sustained a small cut from the wire grating the eggs had been resting on. No big deal, I thought. Certainly nothing freezer worthy!
We gently deposited Lola into the feathery tapestry of sleeping chicks, their downy bodies pulsing in sync with their collective, peaceful slumber. But in no time, the group of chicks were awake and screeching, forming a fluffy wall, keeping Lola away from the heat lamp and the food. Lola forced her way into the group. Just like the farmer warned, they began pecking at her.
Now, if you think I took part in the prescribed remedy of the freezer, you’re wrong!
No, instead, we scooped her out and wrapped her in warm towels. We fed her by hand and shooed the mean chicks out of the way so she could get a drink. Lola was easy for us to recognize because her injury left her with no options but to keep herself set apart from the others. We checked on her often and cared for her meticulously. I have no idea what happened to sweet Lola after I handed the chicks back over to the farmer, but I choose to believe she lived happily ever after, never encountering a freezer.
I hadn't thought about the chicks in years, when I heard, deep down, "Remember Lola?"
Yes, of course I remember Lola,” I thought. “That was a sad story.”
It had been hard to watch those chicks be so mean to Lola, and that was exactly my point. So many of us have sad stories and it would seem that the whole, “God is good” slogan doesn’t always fit. My own sad story came from my mother having breast cancer and dying when I was twelve years old. My sisters and I were left with a detached father who numbed his grief with a steady dose of whiskey and a grandmother who had undiagnosed dementia. It was here that my identity was sealed. I was the Fat, Frizzy-haired girl who had no parents to care for her. Though my injury wasn’t visible, the hole that was ripped deep inside of me would prove to be unfillable. And I tried, trust me.
This early brokenness also sealed God’s identity for me. Overall, a pretty good Father. But He did allow those injuries to be sustained, right? I had, indeed, had troubles “getting out of the shell”.
“I love You, Lord, but I don’t feel like I can trust You all the time,” was the way I had grown accustomed to reconciling this.
“It was hard for me to watch,” He impressed.
Well, I understood that. Hadn’t it been hard for me to watch Lola and the Great Chick Shunning? And this one thought led me to see what I hadn’t seen all along.
Here I was summarizing Lola by her sad story, her brokenness. But that wasn’t how it really was. Lola wasn’t the broken chick to me. She was the only chick I could recognize. Her injury had caused me to lift her out and hold her close.
And this is how my sweet Father showed me who He really was! I was not the broken, fat, frizzy-haired girl to him any more than Lola was the broken chick to me. I was the daughter that He gave special attention to. My broken beginning drew Him to me. My injury is what caused Him to come
in close and hold me tight, the way I did for Lola. Of course, it was hard for Him to watch. But that struggle and my being set apart by it, is what fostered me to be known personally and made me special to Him.
Everything Points to God
This began my purposeful journey of looking everywhere for God. Because I have learned that everything points to a God who wants to be known and wants to be heard. He speaks to us in all things, even in a story about a chicken!
Each of us, no matter what the details of our story are, have had a broken beginning somewhere. Something has caused each of us to believe that our Father isn’t always good. But you see, just like me, your injury isn't evidence of God's absence. Your brokenness has drawn God in close, to care for you personally and meticulously. Even if you weren't aware of His Presence, it doesn't change that He was there then and is here now. Your brokenness came with a purpose, like the chicks struggle to get free of their shell. And I have come to know that if the only purpose is to cause us to know Him more intimately, that can be enough.
“When you look for me, you will find me….” (Jer 29:13 God’s Word Translation)
“Look for you where, Lord?” I have asked more than once.
Even in a story about a chicken.
I invite you to come along on this search with me. I would like to show you how to find the extraordinary in the ordinary. Connect today and let's get started on your extraordinary journey!