November 23, 2015

The Feather by Lynn J Simpson

You chart the path ahead of me and tell me where to stop and rest. Every moment you know where I am. Psalm 139-3

I have a bird feather that rests on the sill of my home-office window. Its white edges that I stroke from time to time, are smooth between my fingers and I remember the moment of its rescue. It was early in my Christian journey of just about 6 years ago. At the time I read one of my first Christian books, a contemporary modern day drama of love and restoration. The main character would find bird feathers drifting on whatever path she had taken, a sign from God for her, affirming and comforting.

At that time, every day I would take a half hour walk in my neighbourhood, Christian artists like Switchfoot, Casting Crowns, and Chris Tomlin blessing my ears through my headphones. It was a transitional period for me, and I would find myself talking with God, bringing Him my past memories that wrapped me in sorrow and regret. But then He would interrupt me.

Lynn, remember that speech you wrote for that fifth grade contest? That one about people? That one that your teacher wanted printed in the local paper? It was insightful, real, and showed how much I, the Lord, wants others to love and accept each other like I do. You were that quiet, shy child, and that high sensitivity helped you understand what I wanted those people around you to hear and know. 

"Ahh...maybe Lord," I argued back, "but that speech never got published in that paper. The teacher said she would but she never did try. I guess it just wasn't good enough. I'm not good enough."

What are My words, Lynn? For you (we) are My (God's) masterpiece. I (He has) created you (us) anew in Christ Jesus, so you (we) can do the good things I (he) planned for you (us) long ago. Ephesian 2:10 You are always enough. Every memory, every path I have placed you on is a orchestrated by Me to lead you to your unique purpose. What you always must remember, dear one, is who you are in Me. Break those lies from those past memories that leave you in shame. Break those lies with the truth of Me.  

It was on one of those walks, on one of those days that I found myself wrestling with my truth on how I had interpreted those memories of rejection, of not being good enough for a teacher to follow through on a promise. Or getting that C on my first university English Essay. Or that grade 12 teacher telling me my short story was just a mess. Sure, those memories are followed by many A's and many encouraging comments to continue writing. Yet, the shame stuck like gum to a sidewalk. Only intense heat might melt it away.

And then there it was. A bird feather suddenly on the sidewalk, in the centre of my path. I almost stepped on it, making it dirty from the mess collected on the bottom of my shoes. But I stopped, picked it up, and twirled it between my fingers, the white pure as fresh snow. I tickled my cheek with its soft and cool feathers. I took in the moment, The new memory.

And looked up.

Yes, Lord. You make what is meant for harm and turn it into to good.

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. Genesis 50:20

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 20:11

May you see God's working in all your memories and all your steps to where you are today. And maybe pick up that feather that shows up on your path!

Lynn J Simpson-Website


  1. thanks for your post Lynn. Feathers are such a fascinating thing to touch and play with, and obviously for you, a reminder of God's faithfulness. It is interesting how we take events in our lives and turn them into opportunities to be hurt or offended or insecure. the ole devil certainly has trained us well in that! I've come to realize that most of the time the person who hurt me didn't even realize it. to them it was no big deal. I'm glad that God is helping to take those hurts away.

  2. Hi Lynn! Thank you for such an honest and beautiful look at your memories and how God uses them. Thank you also for your perseverance in your writing journey.

  3. Lynn--I too am a fellow feather-picker-upper! I LOVE feathers (my favourite being peacock of course). God has spoken to me through feathers too. One of my favourite poems by Emily Dickinson starts: "Hope is the thing with feathers/That perches in the soul." I LOVE that word picture. Thanks for reminding me about feathers and how God speaks through feather word pictures. You have a beautifully gentle and honest style that I always enjoy. Your words bring peace and joy to my heart. Thanks.

  4. Hi Lynn, Glad to see someone else has those arguments with God :)
    And I love the way God used the bird feathers to speak gently to you, and so glad you are listening!

  5. I argue with him, too, Lynn. He's the only one I've ever know who knew how to release me from shame. What a wonderful God we have.

  6. Thanks, Lynn, for this introspective piece of writing. It struck a minor chord with me too. Sometimes we need to have another look at those memories from way back. Your teacher was probably busy and just never got around to the 99th item on her to-do list, but when we lack confidence--and I did too--we make judgments about what the other person was thinking. I like the way God spoke to you through the feather and his love. "Break those lies from those past memories that leave you in shame. Break those lies with the truth of Me." This is beautiful and so meaningful. We need to memorize that thought.


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