Today’s Truth

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up

(1 Thessalonians 5:11).

Friend to Friend

The red bird gently landed on the tree branch in front of the kitchen window.

Carla gasped when the bird first appeared. But then a smile slowly spread across her face as she closed her eyes and whispered a reverent prayer, “Thank you, Lord.”

It was definitely a holy moment. I didn’t really know why. I just felt it.

“What was that all about?” I finally asked.

My sweet friend sighed, still staring at the red bird.

“Mary, it has been a really hard week. This morning, I couldn’t take it any more. I lost it, and just ranted and raved, pouring out all of my anger and frustration to God!” Tears began to down her cheeks. I hugged her … and then the sobs began. When she had cried enough, Carla said, “God sent me this red bird as a reminder that everything is going to be okay. Kind of like a rainbow at the end of a storm.”

I still didn’t get it.

“The red bird,” she said. And pointed to the beautiful creature still perched on the branch. The bird was now looking at us. It was almost weird. No. It was officially weird. Since when do birds just sit on branches and stare at people?

“Red birds are my sign,” Carla explained. “Every time I am discouraged or having a really hard time, I will inevitably see a red bird and remember the promises of God. The red bird reminds me that He is faithful and that He will come through for me. I really can’t remember how it all started. I just know God gave me red birds as a sign of encouragement from God.”

Interesting. I had come to see Carla, looking for encouragement and comfort … for me! Carla wasn’t the only one who had muddled through a hard week.

Dan and I were living in Nacogdoches, Texas in a roach-infested apartment while he finished college. I worked for the welfare department and absolutely hated my job. I won’t go into all of the reasons why I hated my job, but let’s just say I did not relish trying to prove that most of my cases were fraudulent. I was supposed to be teaching sweet innocent little second grade children, but there were no openings in the local school district. And it was just for one year. How bad could it be? I quickly found out it could be really bad. Rumor was that one of the clients whose claim I had denied was in town looking for me … and she had a gun. Not. Kidding.

Thanksgiving was only a week away. All of our friends were going home to visit their families. Dan and I did not have the money to go home, and I only had one day off anyway.

My mother was battling cancer.

I had a cyst on an ovary … and the doctor was not sure what we were facing.

I had a whole list of questions and fears and doubts … and I really didn’t know what to do with any of them. I was scared, tired, and homesick.

I was having what I thought was a well deserved pity party when Carla whirled around, her face awash with tears and her eyes dancing with joy. She grabbed me in a fierce hug and said, “You know what? You and Dan are spending Thanksgiving with us! And I am giving you my red bird! Yep! God just told me that from now on, when you see a red bird, it is Him telling you that everything is going to be okay.”

Okay. No one had ever given me a red bird before. But it seemed to work for Carla, so I hugged her back and thanked her for sharing.

Now I know that grounded believers are supposed to walk by faith and not need signs from God. When trouble rocks their world, they simply stand firm in their faith.

But I am being honest here. There are times when I need a reminder that God really is who He says He is and that He will do what He said He would do in His Word – and that He would do those things … for me. I need encouragement.

And God is faithful to send that encouragement through His Word … through times of gut-wrenching prayer … through faithful friends … through my husband … through women to whom I minister and through women with whom I minister… and yes, even through red birds.

He understands my pain. He is with me and He is for me. It doesn’t really matter how He does it. God will always find a way to get to me … to show me just how much He loves me. And He will do the same for you.

Let’s Pray

Father, thank You for the gift of encouragement You constantly give me. When I am tired, You give me the strength to go on. When I am discouraged, You give me hope. When I am afraid, You are my peace. I praise You for your love and faithfulness to me, Lord.

In Jesus’ name,


Now It’s Your Turn

If you need encouragement, think of one person with whom you can share that need and make a plan to do so. Then look for someone in your life who needs encouragement and find a way to encourage that person. I would love to hear about your experience. Email me!

More from the Girlfriends

Encouragement is like a boomerang. When thrown correctly, it will come back to you. Godly encouragement does not wait for an invitation to work. It looks for the opportunity to work. Need help? Check out Mary’s E-Bible Study, I Need a Friend.

Be sure to check out the FREE MP3s on Mary’s website. Connect with Mary through email or on Facebook.

26 Responses to “Here’s Your Sign”

  1. Jacqueline says:

    God knows the little things that are like little gifts too us, i love rainbows and so i see them and it gladdens my heart for i know no man can put a rainbow in the sky and so God gets the glory and i am made aware again of who He is, he lets me see them to encourage me, my friends dad passed away a few months ago and as she sat near a tree and had a little cry she saw a robin and her dad loved robins, God knows its no lack of faith at all, without Gods encourage for years i faced despair He knew i needed rainbows to spur me on, i sometimes sensed He would show me one on some days and i would look for them in anticipation because it was in way my faith saying i knew you would come through for me, i wasn,t demanding it and i think that is the difference, i expected him to come through and surely that must bless His heart, its that reassurance of knowing i am not forgotten or being ignored, no one can touch my heart like him through my rainbow or the robin or red bird, and i think it goes much deeper than just a sign, HE LOVES US, now i can see as i am coming through a dark winter,
    thank you Mary i am going to write a list of the times He came through for me big and small xxxx

    • karen says:

      Thank you for that, Jacqueline. That’s beautiful. I look for red birds, too or Bluejays. I once went to my upstairs window and a hummingbird came straight to the window on the outside and was flying in mid-air staring at me! It was amazing!

  2. Brie says:

    i am at the edge of giving up, i have prayed and fasted for this stagnant situation, the LORD continue revealing to people that it is well, but the look of things its getting worse and worse and worse. am even getting depressed and its affecting my daily life as a mother. am sad most of the times and am giving little care to things am supposed to take care of as a mother. am being rejected and its really painful to take care of this on my own
    LORD Please take my burden, Jesus i dont need a sign i just need you to take this for me
    the only place that bring me joy and hope now is being in the house of GOD, once am out of that its tears tears and tears, i love food but i can hardly eat, not feeling hungry.
    help me pray people of GOD am so depressed and feeling pain in the heart. i need GODS intervention urgently. am losing it out
    unfortunately its making me feeling so lonely and my eyes are always tearing. i cry from inside!!

    • LAURA says:

      Sweet sister, you are not alone….ever! Satan lies to us that we can not overcome adversity, that we are not beautiful, that we are powerless and lack true spiritual gifts. We already have victory over the lies, we have victory over death and we have the capacity to love that makes him squirm. I am on my knees praying for you today. Love on the people around you with the love of Christ without expectations from them but with full expectation that God will be there and bless you. He hears your prayers and loves you! Holy Spirit, speak loudly to Brie’s heart. Overwhelm her with your presence.

    • Julie says:

      You’re not alone! If the Lord is allowing you go to it He will bring you through it! Praying for you….

    • Kinna says:

      Hold on, my sister! God is always in control. I know that it hurts and it feels like absolutely no one cares. The good news is that it’s not true. God cares. Your sisters in Christ care. Your family cares. The bible tells us in Psalm 147:3 He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds. God is faithful and will never leave or forsake you. Trust Him.

    • Jessica says:

      Dear Heavenly Father, I lift up Brie to you. I pray for peace and strength for her. Please let her know things will be OK, and that she has unknown friends praying for her and thinking about her. Dear Lord, I pray that Brie sees the light at the end of the tunnel. Please give her the patience she needs to travel this journey that you have for her. Let her see your great love for her.

      • Jessica says:

        We ask all of these things in Your name, Amen.

        I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

      • Brie says:

        thank you so much Jessica, Kinna, Julli, Laura and all sisters here. May the LORD richly bless you and meet you at the point of your needs. i have found joy and i am so excited , i asked myself why this feeling? nothing has happened physicaly but i know spiritualy GOD is winning for me. stay blessed and thank you for your prayers

  3. Elaine says:

    God is great and loves me….I too was in a bad week….hurrying around…but in my heart so sad…I was thinking God I need you t speak to me…give me the joy I need for the day to get through the negative world I seem to work in….Than as I walked out the door…this bird began to sing…it sounded like he was saying Pretty Girl,Pretty Girl….It was a loud, beautiful song and then it hit me….Thank you God….I had to laugh…thought about it all day….I was to busy to hear him speak…so he let a bird speak to me…to cheer me up and remind me…He’s got it all under control. I am His and He is Mine!

  4. Mary says:

    On December 1, 2012, my granddaughter died at age 5 1/2 Months. It was a very painful loss and I felt completely helpless to offer any comfort to my son, her father. The following spring I was at her gravesite. There is a butterfly on her gravestone with the words “fly away Katie”. As I began to leave, the wind started to blow and the wind chimes in the tree over her gravesite started to chime. As I got in my car a beautiful butterfly landed on my passenger side window. The butterfly remained there as I slowly drove through the cemetary. When I began to exit the butterfly flew away. In my heart I knew that God was letting me know that Katie was safely in His arms. It brought comfort to my heart and I knew that God in His sovereignty would continue to heal my sadness and assure me of His love and that Katie was safe in His arms.

  5. Gail says:

    In the weeks since my husband’s death the Cardinal have come to me frequently. He sat outside my window the afternoon I was devastated with the news. He appears sometimes when I struggle, sometimes when I am about to do something foolish and sometimes when I know he approves a decision. He recently sat & watched a family cookout which my husband loved. The Cardinal reminds me my husband is always with me & as surely as Gid’s eye is one the sparrow, He watches over me.

  6. Patrise says:

    God knows what we really need, he has a way of giving us comfort and peace even about the littlest things that seem to be hard to us we just have to remember that there isn’t anything that’s to hard for God. Even in those times that seems to be lonely like God has forgotten about us when in fact he hasn’t he working it out on our behalf even though we can’t see it. He shows us many signs and wonders of his love sometimes we are the ones who miss it but he is there all the time. I find that when I’m going through and need that comfort he sends me my precious grandbaby and I find such joy and pleasure in that. God is my everything he knows what I need and when I need it there’s none like him in all the earth no not one. So I learn to not ignore the signs that he gives me sometimes when it even comes to my daughter she is just the most amazing person to me she helps me even though she may not realize it she comforts me in so many way even by the things she say. So let us not take for granted the small things there are some great things that comes out of small things. He loves us enough to even shows us signs of the love that he has for us. Falling in love with JESUS is the best thing that I’ve ever done wouldn’t trade his love for nothing in the world.

  7. Carole says:

    Thank you, Mary I too have amazing reminders of the intimate relationship I share with our Father. There are soooo many I am GIG-gling trying to pick one to share. I’ll start with the wonderful words from a paster. Amazement is from God, don’t loose your amazement. Allow God to shower you with blessings, think of the Joy we get when we shower blessings on our children and they react with Joy! He is a Daddy and loves to experience Joy.
    I lost my debit card, which was in my wallet, which was missing also. My car was in the shop and the repair place would not take a check. I was single at the time and didn’t have anyone to “lean on” for a ride or for financial backup. I turned my home inside out I couldn’t find it any where, a full day of searching. I went about calling my bank to cancel the only payment availability I had,secured a ride from a friend to an out of town business meeting. Praying for something to happen,it’s now Friday and Saturday is the day I plan on spending tearing my home apart again to look for this debit card. Saturday morning I awake and God says, “don’t change your routine, put Me first, and then we will tackle the debit card thing. Oh He is soooo good. I spent an amazing time in prayer and devotion, had some coffee and began going thru each room top floor corner to corner, by 2 o’clock I was wondering if I should just give up. I went down stairs discouraged and started to cry, I heard I believe in miracles on the radio. I looked up with tears in my eyes and said,”Father I do believe in miracles,” and at that moment as I gave it all to Him there was my wallet sitting on top of a book case hidden by a plant, I had absently put it there when I spilled something on the counter and was rushed to clean it up. God knew all along where it was. And chose to bring it to me in His timing after I surrendered all to Him. Oh how I love Jesus. Thank you for allowing me to share How awesome our GOD is. Carole

  8. Frances says:

    As always, thank you for being so transparent..such an encouraging devotional. I’m sure God blessing your authenticity and uses your hardships to encourage others. “May the Lord bless you and keep you, may the Lord make his face shine upon you… And be gracious..and give you peace” (totally paraphrased that verse :/ )

  9. ely says:

    hi this really helped my heart today ive been really discouraged through a relationship issue that truly hurts my heart i keep surrenderin daily my will to Gods and there are moments that I truly do but discouraments comes when i share with other the good news of God it makes me happy more than anything I want to be a blessing and I want God to fight on my behalf I must be honest I feel bad sometimes that I let the waves take me and there is a storm in my heart but he is faithful and his word brings peace to my heart thank you for your devotions sometimes it feels im alone but im not

  10. Judy says:

    I am truly blessed i am encouraged to hold on to the unchanging hand of the LORD . Against the odds i am facing

  11. barb says:

    Just read this this morning and when I was eating lunch on my deck with my hubby and this bird was singing so sweetly. I looked up and there was that red bird. Beautiful reminder. Thanks!! I shared my devotion with my hubby then!!

  12. araceli says:

    i love hummingbirds and i don’t see them often, when i see them my heart rejoice for those seconds of wonder.
    Because of my son situation, school and sick mother, my body does not know how to deal with stress so i often get episodes of panic attacks, i was driving to school, i start feeling the kick in the stomach, shortness of breath, i knew will be a danger to drive in the middle of a episode, i begin to pray, and an amazing thing happen, a small rock hit my windshield in front of the driver sit and when i stop the car i check the window to my surprise a small crack in a form of a hummingbird was in front of me, my Father in heaven was making sure i know He will take care of me in every situation, when i feel overwhelm with things i remember a His promises and i have strength to carry on.

  13. Donna says:

    My husband has copd and has tracheo malecia he has bad panic attacks and has shortness of breath they are trying different medications to help with Thea if attacks I. Know that God is in control please pray for us daily

  14. Brandy says:

    Oh how I need some encouragement. My heart is bruised and broken. God brought, what I thought was an amazing man into my life only to take him away. I wake up miserable and dread interactions with others because the entire world seems to be living happy except for me. I always thought I was a person of faith until recently when my faith has definitely been tested. It’s like the more I pray the worse things seem to get. I feel lost trying to decipher what God’s plan is for me. I pray for my own “red bird”. I pray that God takes this pain from me and heals my heart. I want my joy back! I want to be rid of this hurt, bitterness, anger, and I ask for clarity. I want to be obedient to the will of God I just need guidance and direction. Please friends pray for me.

  15. Sarah says:

    I’m sitting here right now with tears streaming down my face….I just went through surgery 2 days ago (a D & C) after the loss of our baby at 14 weeks. I know people experience miscarriage all the time…but I am just so broken right now. My pregnancy is what’s called a “Molar” pregnancy…basically a tumor forms in the uterus and cells multiply and take over my uterus and kill the baby. There not very common (1 in 1,000)…I thought once I went through surgery I would feel better, but all it’s left me feeling is empty. I can’t get pregnant for quite some time…at least a year as they continue to monitor my body to make sure the “molar” cells have left my body. It’s devastating enough to lose a baby, but then to have to wait and wonder if you’ll be able to have a baby again is pure torture. I know God is with me…..but I just hurt. My heart feels broken. My journey through this is just beginning…..and right now I just feel so weak. I just want God to give me some sort of special sign… own “red cardinal”.

  16. Mary Beth says:

    I see the number 77 almost daily and I’ve decided it’s a sign from God. I call them God winks. This has been happening for almost 15 years. After I see it I say a short prayer to God!

  17. Mary Beth says:

    For the prayer!

  18. Fiona says:

    Thankyou for sharing your beautiful stories of encouragement. I have faced deaths in family, lost jobs, very poor health and financial troubles. There were times in my storms I felt like God was not answering my prayer but he was, my faith was tested and I persevered through prayer and praised him through the storms months went by and nothing changed but I held God to his promises, I knew he was there listening but strengthening my character. It was so challenging but I remained faithful. Finally after several months of character building my prayers were answered and on that day again I saw my friend the little robin my encourager who had visited me several times throughout months of character building. I could shout from the roof tops how wonderful the Lord is. I feel so blessed to know we have a special connection to God as Christians. I had always believed in God and became a Christian in this last year through the storms and the Lord kept me strong throughout it. I had a spinal operation and suffered terrible pain and the Lord was with me every day in my pain. Jesus is my healer and I will keep on believing for my miracle. Jesus told us that we would have trials in this life, keep believing he listens to every single prayer. We must keep on believing and keep persevering in prayer. I am so glad I came across this site. Thankyou and bless each and everyone of you. The Lord is good to us. Xxxx

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"We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well…" 1 Thessalonians 2:8