I am the proud new foster mother of eight — yes, count ‘em, eight — babies. Octuplets, I guess? And they are so, so cute. Adorable. And smart, too! Of course, any babies of mine would be gifted and gorgeous, right?

Never mind. Don’t answer that.

But like all new babies, these little ones have a dark side. They pee. They poop. They have terrible manners. And they stink.


Did I mention these are baby birds? A generous parent brought eight baby quail to my classroom, so my students could watch them grow and change. All I have to do is make sure they’re watered and fed every day, and I don’t really even have to do that. One of my students takes care of it for me.

Mr. Lampe—the real parent of these babies — told me to contact him if the birds started to emit a fowl odor (pun intended) and he’d come change the litter, or whatever you call it. Well, they did, and he did. And on the same day he took the baby birds home to clean their cage, he brought some quail eggs to add to the incubator.

It just so happened he made the quick change while my students were in music and P.E. You can imagine the confusion when they entered the classroom to find their beloved pets missing. You can imagine their delight when they saw the eggs.

“Mrs. B.? What happened to the birds? And where did the eggs come from?”

So, being the honest and upright teacher I am, I told them the truth. “These were a special kind of quail. Instead of starting as eggs and growing to adulthood, they start as adults and shrink to the egg stage. They changed form over the last hour.”’

For some reason, they didn’t believe me.

Sometimes, I feel like those birds who regressed back into their shells. (Yes, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.) I’ll be progressing along nicely, adding feathers, spreading my wings when wham! Some fowl circumstance hits me right between the eyes, and I realize I’m no longer moving forward.

It feels like someone’s picked me up and moved me the wrong way on life’s road, and I’m right back where I started. No growth. No feathers. No wings. Just a helpless creature stuck in a rut … or a shell.

But just as my story about the birds shrinking back into their shells was a fallacy (shhhhh! Don’t tell,) my belief that life is somehow moving me backward simply isn’t true. Everything that happens in my journey, God allows for a reason.

And as long I love Him and do my best to live according to His purpose and plan, I’ll keep changing, keep progressing, keep moving forward toward the person He wants me to be.

Even when it feels like life has left me plucked and featherless, even when it feels like my wings have been clipped, it’s alright. I’m still growing. I’m still gaining ground. And yes, even when it feels like I’ve been caged in a shell, that’s okay too.

After all, even baby birds find the strength to peck their way out confinement. And with God, I’ll find the strength to make it out of my own tight spots, as well.         

But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.Isaiah 40:31

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