Bird Feathers & God’s Lessons

“God’s Lessons To Me”

by Jennifer Saake


When our daughter was 5, we got a 2-year-old pet cockatiel. The adventures we  had with that bird, especially within the first year, has illustrated a lot about parenting to me.

The first big lesson our princess and pet taught me came the day our human daughter asked me to come to her bedroom to see her babies. I went in to find …


a delightful little girl scene of dollies and one poor yellow winged creature swaddled so tightly that she was barely breathing! How my child managed this can only be explained by her having even a stronger will than the feathered one.

I tried wrapping that bird in a blanket before when I had to administer some medication, and let me tell you….. it wasn’t easy!

The reminder I took away from that day was to not hold our children so tightly that we squelch their abilities.


A few months later our girl decided she needed to teach our feathered friend “how to fly” (I guess the fact that she already had this skill was irrelevant).

I came into the living room to see a yellow blur flailing across the several yards between her own cage and our couch at the hand of one adorable, pig-tail wearing kindergartener, who had decided to fling her into the air.

If mama birds push their young out of nests to encourage them to use their wings, hurling your two-year-old pet across the living room sounds like a logical way to encourage flight, right?

After catching and soothing our terrified creature (and giving our daughter a stern explanation of why this was not a good plan), it hit me that just as it is possible to smother my child’s potential, it is equally important not to force them into “flight” on my terms, but to help prepare them to be ready to face tasks at their own speed, in their own style.


It is amazing that our beaked child survived our little gymnasts’ younger years. But she did. Both girls have grown and are thriving and healthy and good friends now.

God’s next lesson to my heart is that children are resilient. There may be seasons where we don’t even like each other very much. As parents, we do our best to love them well, but sometimes will hold them too tightly or push them to do things they were designed to do differently than we think they should.

But when we consistently cover them in love and prayers, just as a mother bird would shelter her young with her very body, they can surprise us in the amount of trust they place in our imperfect love. What a joy to watch my children blossom through seasons of life I would never have planned for them, yet God has ordained for their good and His glory, all in spite of me!


28monthsInfertilityMom” Jenni Saake is a mom to 3 yet-earth-bound miracles, ages 8-14 and 3 more blessings awaiting her in Heaven. By God’s grace, she and Rick celebrate their 22nd wedding anniversary this summer. She has published one book, Hannah’s Hope: Seeking God’s Heart in the Midst of Infertility, Miscarriage & Adoption Loss and is currently working on three more manuscripts. Jennifer is the veteran of more than two decades of chronic illness and, more recently, has survived multiple debilitating strokes at age 39, only allowing her to type with only one hand. You can also keep up with Jennifer at her blog!

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