It was hard for me to recognize God in the depths of my anxiety. I knew he was there; I had memorized scripture that declared he was. In the moments when my mind was frazzled, I could almost instinctively recite the words God had given me. But my feelings were taking control of my thoughts. I didn’t feel like God was there. I surprised myself when I boldly prayed, “God reveal yourself to me. I am supposed to know you are here with me always, but I am having trouble believing it. Can you give me a sign to let me know you are with me?” A part of me feared this was a way of testing God; I remember reading in the bible that we aren’t to test the Lord. But the broken part of me was done holding back honesty for fear of offending someone, even God. I knew my intentions were good, I needed reassurance in my time of weakness.
I don’t know if you ever hear the Lord speak to you or if it’s the same way as when he speaks to me. I don’t hear his voice audibly outside my body. I hear his voice inside of me. It’s not the same voice that speaks inside my head. I feel it deep within my heart and soul. Sometimes His voice is clear, and other times it is muffled by my distractions. On this day it was as clear as when you find the sweet spot on the radio dial, “What would you like to see?” I asked for a sign and God was asking me what type of sign I wanted to see? For some reason I thought he would tell me what to look for. How thoughtful and loving that He, the creator of the universe, wanted to give me something I wanted to see.
“I would love to see a hawk,” I replied. On my weekly hikes I try to find secluded spots as high as I can go and there I sit and watch the birds. I watch the turkey vultures soar overhead, sometimes they get so close I can see their beady little eyes searching the ground for prey and I can hear the wind push their feathers as they flap their wings. And every now and then I will see a hawk flying majestically above the vultures. It’s smaller in size, and it can’t glide as well as the vultures, but it flies with purpose, strength, grace, and beauty. It is in these moments I feel closest to the Lord. I call them my “thin” moments because heaven feels so close, as if only a thin piece of fabric separates me from it. I hadn’t seen a hawk in months and I would absolutely love to see a hawk.
A week went by and no hawk. I searched the skies and the telephone polls as I drove to meetings, but nothing. I didn’t doubt that God would send me a hawk. However, I did doubt my ability to see it. I was on a hike when suddenly I realized I hadn’t looked for the hawk for days. I probably missed it! I hadn’t been looking and I probably missed my sign and I was so bummed.
Good days and bad days followed. Some days the anxiety was so bad that it was hard for me to get my mind back into a good place. But looking for the hawk helped get my mind off the endless swirl of fears and concerns in my head. When I looked for the hawk I was able to remain in the present moment and not get ahead of myself. Just looking for the hawk calmed my mind.
A week and a half after I asked God to send me a hawk, I was having a very rough day. I had actually forgotten about the hawk. I went outside on my deck where my husband was working; I needed to be in someone’s presence. And all of a sudden I heard a racket in our trees. I looked up and there was a hawk being attacked by a little turd of a bird. The hawk and the turd bird flew in and out of the tree squawking loudly. The hawk must have been trying to get at some baby birds in the tree.
I couldn’t believe it! There was no way I could have missed that if I tried – and in my own backyard! I have since seen the hawk every single week. One evening as Dean and I ate dinner on our deck, it swooped out of our trees and flew just below the deck so we could see the patterns of its beautiful feathers. Another time it flew right over my head as I prayed. And yet another time it fought with another bird over a rodent. I could not believe how blessed I was. God surpassed my expectations of a sign. He saw my hawk and raised me a hawk that would live in my trees and bring me more delight than I ever dreamed.