March- I Am Free.

“I am set free in you- the current that brought me so far away, has brought me back to you. The beaten path I trudged alone, I no longer face with fear. You are near, you are here, and that is all I need.”- Lyrics from Set Free, one of my songs.

As I sit to write today, I am listening to country hymns, cozy on my couch, with my gentle little dove Georgia snuggled up with me. I reflect on all this little bird has been through in her sweet 4 years of life. I never thought much of her name, or what it meant. She was named Georgia O’Tweet, after Georgia O’Keefe, the famous painter, known for her vibrant flowers, bones, and desert scenes. I have discovered today, Georgia means “tiller of the soil, farmer, a worker of the earth.” Amazing how we have come to recently live on a farm. All of me and Georgia’s journeys, have led us to a place where we have become free.

In 2013, I was in need of peace. I felt unsettled in my spirit at the time, not knowing I had been holding years of life troubles in my heart, and it had become heavy. I didn’t know how to acquire the thing I had prayed daily for, so I went online and found a dove breeder in our area. I figured if doves were the symbol of peace, and were often featured in the Bible, then that could certainly help set me free to the peace I desired.

I went to meet “Gramma Rose’s” beautiful birds, and came home with a beautiful male tangerine pearl dove. But as I got home, I could not get another tiny white female dove I had seen there out of my head. She had flown to me three times in the open atrium, and had perched on my heart. A few days later, I called Gramma Rose to see if I could come back and purchase the sweet baby girl , and she told me she had already gone to another home that week. I was sad, but knew I wanted another friend for my new male dove, so I told Gramma Rose to let me know when another would be available. About a week later she called me and said she had traded two birds for the one that perched on my heart, because she felt that she had belonged to me. And then she shared Georgia’s story with me. Her momma had abandoned her eggs, so Gramma Rose had incubated the egg, and when she hatched, she dropper fed her- and miraculously, this sweet little bird survived. Her attachment to humans was amazing, as she would fall asleep snuggled in my sweatshirt pockets, or fly to me when I played guitar to sing along.

Georgia and my life paralleled, as we both lost our “first mates”, and eventually were blessed with a God given gift of another that so perfectly fit us. I knew after the passing of my first dove, Ansel, Georgia had been sitting at the bottom of the cage, sad. A few months went by and the only time I saw her light up was when I brought her a baby dove to foster, and when I played my guitar and sang. Vincent, Georgia’s new mate, came through prayer. One day, I prayed that God would provide another dove for her, and within 30 minutes a friend had texted saying, “Know anyone who wants a dove? I’d like to re-home mine.” Tears of joy welled in my eyes as I knew this dove was a gift from God. I rushed over to pick up “ Angel Sparkle” who was certainly a boy- and is now named Vincent Van Dove. Almost a year ago I met Matthew, my now husband, a miraculous story of its own, and I find it amazing that his name means, “gift from God.” Parallels:)

Georgia has had an incredible story of overcoming. She was abandoned before she even hatched and lost her first mate; but has also birthed 16 baby doves, cared for 3 foster birds from the wild, and moved several times with me during my transitions. One of the most amazing things this sweetheart has overcome happened just this fall. She was attacked by a huge rat in our barn while she was in the fly coop. When Matt and I found her, she had lost a lot of blood, and was severely wounded. My parents happened to be in town that day, and I had taken the day off work. We were able to all work together as a family and save Georgia, and mend her disfigured and wounded wing. The next couple of days I sat with her, cleaned her wounds and prayed for her. I knew that God wasn’t going to take her that way. I knew that she had more life to live and that she could overcome. Although Georgia has one wing smaller than the other and cannot fly any distance- she is well, at peace, and happily living in our living room, singing every time we play music.

I find it amazing how God cares for the birds, and for us, throughout our lives. It is incredible to me of how I got this little bird as a symbol of peace, strength and freedom in my life, and how He used her to teach me many lessons.

Although I had been a Christian my entire life, I had been weighed down by the burdens that seem to happen to many of us. What I’ve realized now is that we are not victim to those circumstances, or what comes our way, it is Christ who can set us free from all that burdens us in our life. We can be released from the cage we had thought was “safe” but really bound us, and we learn to fly above our circumstances. It is through Jesus, that all has been made right again. Forgiveness, is the key that unlocks the cage. I have learned such grace, strength and peace from this quiet dove named Georgia as I have watched her live out her days in grace, strength and peace- no matter what each day seemed to bring.

I symbolically see metaphors through the gifts God places within our lives. The greatest gift of all was through His Son Jesus. As the hymns play as I write this, my heart is filled with freedom, and Georgia snuggles so peacefully free. “Jesus paid it all, all to him I owe, sin had left a crismson stain, he washed it white as snow…”

A few of my favorite freedom verses:

Isaiah 61:1

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,

John 8:31b-32

Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

2 Corinthians 3:16-18

But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

A few of my favorite dove verses:

Genesis 8:11

When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf! Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth.

Psalm 55:6

I said, “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove!
    I would fly away and be at rest.

Psalm 68:13b

the wings of my dove are sheathed with silver,
    its feathers with shining gold.”

Luke 3:22

22 and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”