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 few weeks.

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. 

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 and connect with Mary through email or on Facebook.

10 Responses to “He is Faithful”

  1. Tresa says:

    I know you mentioned that grounded believers do not look for signs, but I think there are times when God freely gives them to us for encouragement. My latest encouragement came just a few weeks ago when I was completely distraught. My painful past was tormenting me once again. As I poured my heart out to God and wiped the countless tears away I was encouraged to go to the mailbox. There I found the most loving letter from God (postmarked 6 days prior). It was just what this child of God needed. I believe with all my heart he knew this moment in time was going to come and he encouraged another believer to pen that letter for him and arranged it to arrive to me at the very moment I needed it. It is a moment I can return to and smile.
    Isaiah 45:3 tells us……
    I will give you hidden treasures,
    riches stored in secret places,
    so that you may know that I am the Lord,
    the God of Israel, who summons you by name.

  2. Carolyn says:

    Good morning, I love all the GiG’s but I relate so much to Mary’s. I feel like we are kindred spirits, the Lord loves us girls with depression. This was another good reminder of what the be thankful for. By the way, I get pennies!

  3. Tammy says:

    As I helped to care for my dying mother, I was watching out the kitchen window drinking my morning coffee, and couldn’t help but be drawn to watch the two cows by the neighbors fence that were licking each others faces and showing such loving affection. Tears came to my eyes to think that my parents 58 years of wedded bliss would soon come to an end. The morning my mother passed, my sister drew my attention to the cow in the field that now stood alone.
    This devotion brought that memory back to me, reminding me how much God cares about us.

  4. Rebecca Jones says:

    Someone should get all these stories together, little reminders of His love, mine is butterflies, I really think they may have been little angels. I sat in tears on the porch, lonely and in pain. Even today, after years of faith and healing, they show up and dance around me.

  5. Tammy, I am so sorry for your loss but thankful for God’s comfort and peace. Blessings!

  6. Great idea! God ministers to each of us in so many ways!

  7. Lucrezia says:

    saleri carla e chiara sono vicine alle sorelle e tutti i famigliari per la scomparsa della cara clementina saleri carla e chiara

  8. Diane Frazier says:

    I really enjoyed this reading, it reminds me of how God uses his beautiful handiwork to minister to me and others. It may be in the form of a reading, bird, cow, butterfly, or a friend! It is always perfect timing!

    God bless you!

  9. Barbara says:

    Thank you for your daily devotions, I especially am thankful for today’s devotion on encouragement. So many times as I read the GiG it is just what I need, you are all such a blessing to me & I’m sure to many others. Some days when things are almost overwhelming I read the devotion & it truly speaks to me at my point of need.

  10. Gabrielle Jordan says:

    I can so relate to your devotional. It brought such a smIle to my face as I remembered a similar situation.
    God knows how much I love birds. They are my absolute favourite creation in the animal world. They sing
    praises to God unending. A few years back I was feeling so despondent and discouraged – life was reaping its
    toll on me. I felt that even God had abandoned me. As I cried out to Him, my attention was drawn to my backyard.
    Birds were arriving from everywhere. Two red cardinals, two blue jays, a group of chickadees, and some doves,
    all landed at the same time. You can only imagine the joy and comfort that brought. I felt that I had received s giant
    hug from God. He is good!!

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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