Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Out of Season

We took down our hummingbird feeders in fall as we usually do before winter , but the day after we took them down I saw two hummngbirds hovering outside my kitchen window looking for the feeder!
Of course I immediately put the feeders back up and we have been enjoying the birds coming to drink.
They are 'out of season' and of course that brought to my mind a scripture passage that speaks about "out of season" and my winter hummingbirds have given me insight into what "out of season" means in my life.

"I charge you therefore before God..... Be ready in season and out of season... " II Tim. 4:1,2

Here are listed some of the lessons taught me by my hummingbirds....

1> What is meant by 'out of season' ?
'Out of season' is the opposite of 'in season' and 'in season' is when things are comfortable, pleasant and convenient!
'Out of season' is when life situations and circumstances are not what I would choose.
In other words, when life is difficult!

2> Food sources are limited
In season, of course, nectar is easy to find in the abundance of flowers, blossoming under the warm summer sun. As well, there are all the hummingbird feeders that people hang in their gardens and patios.
But in the winter, the weather has turned cold and the flower seeds buried themselves underground waiting for the next 'in season' , patios have been cleared and winterized.
So the hummingbirds have fewer food sources that their life depends upon.
So it is for me as well.
In the 'out of season' times in my life I often feel alone or bereft of the things I once took for granted. My resources may be depleted, I fear my needs may not be met. My life feels cold.. my world 'winterized'.

3> Driven dependence on one food source
With no flowers in bloom and hummingbird feeders stored away until next summer, the hummingbirds that are here for the winter have become dependent on my hummingbird feeder and come often.
I thought of my 'out of season' times of life and looking back see how in those times I was driven to the One Source ... the One who would provide what I needed. When all else fails me I seek God -- more diligently and more often!
I wonder .... does God bring the 'out of season' times because He knows that will drive me to seek Him more ?

4> My responsibility
Knowing that my hummingbirds are dependent on my feeders providing the food they need for life makes me feel responsible for them. I am watching more carefully to make sure their food is clean and in good supply. I know they are vulnerable and if I neglect them, they could die.

Is that how God feels toward me in my 'out of season' times?
Is He closer ? Paying more attention to guard my trust and dependence on Him ?
Is He careful to provide the comfort and encouragement I need to keep going ?
Does He feel that same protective emotion toward me that I feel toward my hummingbirds?

5> More not less
Watching the hummingbirds enjoy their breakfast even as my husband and I enjoyed ours, I commented to my husband, "If the hummingbirds would just trust us ... we could open the window and let them come sleep inside where it is warmer!"
We would be so happy to do more for the hummingbirds than they will accept.

Am I that way toward God as well ? That I accept what I am comfortable taking, but then pull back from the 'more' He is so willing and eager to give me?
Am I like my hummingbird... satisfied with 'just enough' when my God is an abundance giving God?

6> My Hope
As I watch my winter hummingbirds, I am hoping that when the 'in season' comes again that they will not forget what they have learned this 'out of season'. I'm hoping that when summer comes they will continue to feed at my feeder and teach their children to do the same.

Is that what God hopes for me as well ? That what I learn in my 'out of season' times, I will remember when life is once again 'in season' mode ? Even when life is comfortable again will I remember what I learned and stay close to the One who will never leave me or forsake me?
Clinging to the One who alone and always has my best in mind ?
The One who wisely gives me all I need to live safe and secure in an ever changing and threatening world ?

7> Be Ready
I am really amazed how the little hummingbirds find my feeder. Obviously, they are always alert and ready to find what they need. And take for granted that what they need HAS been provided within their reach!

Am I like that? Am I always ready to find what God has already provided ? Or do I give up in despair ? Do I find a place to crawl into and wait to die?
Or do I believe that no matter where life circumstances put me, God is totally aware of my needs and desires and has provided them for me ... All I need do is open my eyes and fly to them .

8> My Pleasure
My winter hummingbirds have given me so much pleasure and I delight in watching them and trying to capture them on camera for that perfect preserving shot!

I wonder if God delights in me ... watching me do life... watching me as I find my nourishment in Him.
Is He hovering with a Divine Camera ... capturing those moments that will be preserved for the time that He speaks those coveted words... "Well done, thou good and faithful servant!"

God speaks... through His Word... through His creation.... in a whisper.
"Give me a listening heart, O Lord !"


Thoughts on Life and Millinery. said...

Beautiful pictures and thoughts Julie. I wonder why these hummingbirds are not migrating south as typical. I have read that feeders can entice the birds to stay rather than migrate in a timely manner; others think fore knowledge of a warm winter causes them to save their energies and stay. Hmmm...no hummers here even though it is unseasonable warm.

Julie said...

Hi Jill... these are the Anna Hummingbirds which apparently have been gradually moving more and more north for the winter.

Karin said...

Gorgeous hummingbird shots!! I need to come back and read your post a few more time - excellent thoughts and questions!

Lovella ♥ said...

Those are wonderful photos and such an amazing event happening at your patio this winter.
I loved how you wove it with scripture to give us yet another lesson from the Bible.

Anneliese said...

I love your spiritual analogies.
May we not take for granted what we learn in our "out of season" quest for comfort and nourishment.
Isn't it interesting how we press harder toward God when things are tough, causing the out of season to be a blessing in disguise... because we recongnize our true source.

Anonymous said...

Julie - I love this pearl in a nutshell...It brings the hope and encouragement I need in my 'out of season' time.

Kathy said...

You captured those little hummingbirds so beautifully!
And beautifully you taught us a lesson through God's creation, and His word.

Betty said...

Those are fantastic photos Julie! And of course a great lesson to go with them.

Anonymous said...

I love your thoughts. So nourishing. Thank you, Julie.


charlotte mgcc said...

Julie, those photos are beautiful, and you captured them so perfectly. You have such wisdom, and the words are very encouraging.... i need to ponder on this thought......

Am I that way toward God as well ? That I accept what I am comfortable taking, but then pull back from the 'more' He is so willing and eager to give me? Am I like my hummingbird... satisfied with 'just enough' when my God is an abundance giving God?

Maria said...

What a treat to even see a hummingbird Julie - we don't have them in NZ, but we do have the most beautiful little Fantails and it is such a treat when they flitter around in greeting. A real gift from God. Thank you for once again sharing such insightful lessons. I praise God for the difficulties, even though I struggle through them so ungracefully, because in them He is purging away the dross and refining.

Unknown said...

I have some good experience in capturing birds and Sapphire Rings . When capturing those, the techniques are similar since the light speed, angel and the refection quality should be measured to be correct.