“Don’t be too quick to smooth out all of the rough edges. They can serve as protection or warnings.”

    I’m sitting here in the dead of winter watching the bright red cardinals fly from one branch to the other while gathering in the same tree they choose every winter. The tree - in our back yard - is same one the families of birds choose to roost in during the winter each year. It has large thorns, not very pretty foliage and is not my favorite to look at at all, but it seems to serve them well as a refugee, a safe place to gather, to protect and give them shelter in the freezing temperatures.

    This picture while observing them made me think about my own needs. Not everything that is best for me will be smooth and pristine. There will be rough places I must traverse that I will find give me strength as I learn to walk through them. Thorns or sharp edges will at times hurt but may also protect me from getting hurt and can provide a shelter if I navigate truth properly.

    My safe place might not look pretty and all put together, but it is strong, reliable, able to weather any storm, and covers me when nothing else can. All of this reminds me of the Lord. He is my Rock, my Shelter, the One I can trust and run to. He is Ever Faithful, True, the one who allows me to make mistakes so I can grow and learn not to run away when times are hard but to rest in Him knowing He surrounds me in the shadow of His wings.

    My word for 2018 is Trust. There are still areas in my heart that are wounded and the Lord has promised to heal if I trust Him. I want to choose this year to be like the cardinal and fly into the tree with all of the thorns and thick branches and not fear but trust in the strength, shelter, and safety it will provide.
Melinda Jernigan

Trust in the LORD with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6 NASB