"Even the sparrow has found a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may have her young-
A PLACE NEAR YOUR ALTAR,
O Lord Almighty, my King and my God.
Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
they are ever praising you."
Recently, Shelley Giglio spoke on this passage at a women's conference and these verses have been consuming my thoughts ever since. Why? I'm stuck. I'm so stuck.
I am a traveler. Independent. Free-spirited. But I realized, I haven't felt like that, like myself, in a long time. I'm stuck in the land of motherhood. Responsibilities choke out any independence I once felt. I've lost myself.
Don't get me wrong. I love being a mother, a wife, a teacher. I wouldn't, in a million years, give up any of those titles for anything in the world. But I have let those titles define me. They are no longer titles but identifiers.
Enter Psalm 84:3-4. Simple verses I had read so many times before. Looking at this passage in my Bible, I had highlighted almost every verse in Psalm 84, however verses 3 and 4 remained untouched. And yet two weekends ago, these two verses shook me. Altered my perspective in a profound way.
See, I had bought into the mindset that my life was on hold. That I couldn't make a difference in the world because I was in child-rearing mode. Someday. Someday I would travel again. Someday I would serve the least of these. Someday I would feel alive again. Someday. But for now, I was busy building my nest. Making a home. Raising a family.
But Shelley Giglio spoke words that altered my thoughts in a dramatic way. Yes, I am in a season of nest building BUT I can choose where I build that nest. The sparrows chose to build their nests near the altar. The altar of the King. The altar of the Lord Almighty. And that changes everything.
If I build my nest near the altar, I no longer have to compare myself to other mothers.
If I build my nest near the altar, I no longer have to look a certain way, weigh a certain amount.
If I build my nest near the altar, I can experience a life of freedom. A life of redemption. A life of restoration.
If I build my nest near the altar, I can experience a life of adventure. Wonder. Amazement.
If I build my nest near the altar, I can see life through the eyes of my God.
If I build my nest near the altar, I can grow a family who will have eyes to see the poor, hurting, and hungry.
If I build my nest near the altar, I can expand my nest to bring in the orphans, the widows, the forgotten.
If I build my nest near the altar, the options for a life well-lived are endless.
And so, I will throw off all of my previous identifiers and cling to one. I desire to be sparrow-like for, in doing so, I will dwell in the presence of my savior. The only place that gives life. The only place that makes sense in this world.
"How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty!
My soul yearns, even faints,
for the courts of the Lord..."
Psalm 84: 1-2