It started with a conversation. My daughter Jessica and I were sitting at the kitchen table, our dinner finished. Outside the window, the sun was setting on another hot day, and a group of New Holland honey-eaters were splashing about in the cool of the birdbath in the corner of the garden. We had no shortage of small, feathered visitors. Yellow-bellied honey-eaters and wattle birds were also frequently seen in the water, and sometimes magpies and doves. Jessica watched them for a moment, then leant back in her chair and looked at me intently. “I don’t feel God’s presence the way you seem to. He doesn’t seem to guide me like He does with you.” Jessica was having a hard time finding work. Month after month, she attended appointments with the Job Network Agency, sent off resumes, did work experience, filled temporary positions that were only available for a few weeks, attended more appointments, sent off more resumes. Finally, her case worker at the Job Agency suggested she try voluntary work, and found a second-hand bookstore where she might like to offer her services.
“I’m sorry, they said, there’s really not enough work here for another person. I mean, you can come in if you like, but…”
“That’s it!” said Jessica to me as we sat at the kitchen table together. “I can’t keep doing this. Nothing’s happening, and all the appointments and pressure are starting to stress me out. I just don’t get it. I just can’t understand what God is doing.” And that’s when she made the comment above. We had a long heart to heart, we prayed about it, and we both came to the decision that perhaps Jessica should give up the job searching for now. We would fully support her for awhile. After all, she did a great deal to help and support us, and her sister and two little nieces. Our finances would be tight, but we would manage.
That night, my husband came home with some bad news. The company he worked for had gone bankrupt and was being taken over by a new company. My husband would stay, but he was going to lose a significant number of hours – and he would have to specially apply for the benefits owed to him that the old company couldn’t pay, including holiday pay. This could take months.
The timing was phenomenal. Jessica and I had both felt peace about our decision for her to concentrate on family duties for awhile, but we seriously wondered if we had made a mistake.
“I think we should get together three times a week, Jess, and pray about this and about our financial situation,” I said. She totally agreed. And thus, intertwined with our prayers and beseeching, began a year of the worst financial decline we had ever experienced. On top of Jessica going off Newstart Allowance and my husband’s disaster at work, our computer crashed. Then our twenty-year - old washing machine finally died. Unexpected bills arrived. My husband inadvertently incurred his first speeding fine by not realizing the zone was 50Km instead 60Km. And just when we thought things couldn’t get any worse, the gasket on my car cracked and needed replacing.
“What’s happening?” we kept asking each other.
“Is God punishing us for something?” Jess asked. “Do you think this is all happening because of me?”
“I don’t think so,” I said slowly. “If we were in the wrong, I think He would make it clear to us. He wouldn’t just leave us guessing. He’s not like that.”
“Then what is He doing?”
“The only thing I can think of is that He’s testing our faith. We’ve been praying constantly for financial provision, and He wants us to keep trusting in Him and believing, in spite of appearances.”
Finally, Spring arrived. One afternoon when I was sitting at the computer, Jessica burst in.
“Guess what?” she said excitedly. “I just saw two rosellas in the bird bath!”
I looked at her flushed face and bright, shining eyes.
“Mum, I dreamt about that last night! I dreamt that there were two rosellas in the bird bath, exactly as I just saw them!”
I stared at her, speechless. “That’s amazing,” I said when I found my voice. “We usually don’t even get them in our area.”
“I know,” she said.
The following night when my husband came home from work, he told me that his hours had been restored. Several days later, Jess called out again.
“Mum, come quick and look. The rosellas are back again.”
I ran to the kitchen window, and sure enough, there they were, their little, blue and red bodies jumping joyously in and out of the water. Shortly after that, a checque arrived in the mail – my husband’s long-awaited entitlements. And the good fortune kept on arriving, intertwined with sightings of the rosellas – hopping along the brush fence, dangling from a eucalypt twig, flitting amongst the shrubs and then disappearing as suddenly as they had appeared. It was always Jess who saw them, then called a member of the family to witness them. They became our harbingers of blessing.
The rosellas have gone now, but I will never forget the joy and encouragement they brought. And Jessica will never forget the delightfully visual way that God demonstrated to her His presence, guidance and love.
About the Author: My name is Debbie. I live in Australia and am married with three children and two grandchildren. I love writing and I enjoy weaving spiritual observations into my stories. Life can be an adventure when we look for the hand of God upon us and experience His love and grace. I have written a memoir about my daughter's ADD and rocky spiritual journey, which was shortlisted by Write Integrity Press. You can find me on the web at http://deborahonline.com