Panic City–How Do You Rescue a Trapped Bluebird?

When this happened last fall, I thought it was weird. When it happened again last week, I wondered if there was a message in it for me. Maybe for all of us.

We live in a log cabin and have a wood burning stove.

This pipe runs from the stove to the ceiling. It’s twenty-three feet tall.

The other day, I heard a banging noise inside the pipe.

Seconds later, a beautiful bluebird sat in a pile of ashes blinking at me.

Won’t you please help me? I’ve gotten myself into a terrible mess! 

I opened the glass door, but couldn’t catch her. She was covered in ashes.

I know, sweet girl. I know how you feel. I’ve been trapped before–in fear, worry, control, perfectionism. 

I called my husband. “Help! There’s another bluebird stuck in the wood burning stove. I can’t get her!”

“Sit tight. She’ll be okay ’til I get home.”

My husband Rick’s a bird-man. He raises chickens in our backyard.

Once, he rescued a hummingbird. He gave the miniature bird sugar-water and set it free.

Rick has an outdoor atrium full of parakeets.

In the winter, he covers their home in plastic and turns on a heat lamp.

He loves birds.

He understands them.

He’s not afraid to hold them when they’re sick.

A couple of hours later, he came home and knelt by the stove. The bluebird looked up at him.

Thank you! You came! I’m still alive! You didn’t forget about me!

“It’s okay, girl.” With confidence and compassion, Rick reached inside her dusty prison. “I’ve got you now.”

Gently, he rinsed her off in the sink, patted her dry, and set her free.

Whatever you’re struggling with today remember, “He holds you in the palm of His hand.” Isaiah 41:13

And something else–

“He will give you beauty for ashes.” Isaiah 61:3.  

Have you ever felt like a trapped bird with no way out? What held you captive?
















  1. Oh, that’s sweet. Sometimes we get birds trapped in our garage. It breaks my heart to see them fearful, hitting the glass, etc. But yeah, even though they look so sweet from a distance, I’m afraid to hold them. I’d get my gloves, when I had to remove one from the house once. But, I’ll go to the zoo and those birds don’t scare me … the parakeets will stand on my hands and arms to eat off my honey/birdseed stick. But I have ever felt trapped? Oh, yes. What held me captive? I’d say fear, for sure. 🙂 xoxo

    • Shelli, you and I have a lot in common. Fear has been my number one enemy.

      I was talking to my mother a few minutes ago. She said, “Why didn’t you just reach in there and grab it. That bird wasn’t going to hurt you.”

      I tried!!! And the bird knew I was scared.

      I love how God comes on the scene at just the right moment–without panicking, he reaches in and holds us in His mighty right hand.

  2. Patricia Martin says:

    What a beautiful stove, Julie! It looks like something from Little House on the Prarie and oh, the nostalgia it carries! The blue bird is so beautiful and Rick is such an animal whisperer.(: I love how the Bible says that Jesus came to set the captives free–I can’t wait to be freed from school demands and I know Maddy is doing fine so far–she is spirited just like the famous Madeline book character.():

    • Thank you, Patricia! I can’t wait ’til it gets cool enough to use the stove. Maybe it won’t be too long.

      What a wonderful Scripture–yes, I love it too. In my heart, I “saw” Jesus coming in at just the right moment, never worried that He’d be late, and saving the bluebird (and me!).

      So glad Maddy is doing okay…Your speeches? How many more do you have? I’m still praying, my friend.

  3. Carm Russell says:

    Pain, the emotional pain was and is many times so much worse than physical pain. My scriptures that helped me get through was also from Isiah 49:15 & 16…I will not forget you. See I have written your name in the palm of My hand.

    PS – my mom is my go to bird person. Mostly for ID. ⚓️

    • I agree, Carm. Emotional pain runs deeper than bruises. Scars can last longer too.

      Love your Scripture. Agree 100%. Thank you for sharing.

      Glad you have a go-to bird lovin’ mama!


  4. Beautiful thoughts, many times I have felt like the bluebird trapped(mostly my own doing) with seemingly no way out, but the keeper of my soul always came to my rescue! I have been captive by worry, fear, and perfectionism many times!
    Thanks for the encouragement!

    • Oh, Sue.

      How beautiful. “The Keeper of your soul.” Just beautiful.

      Thank you for your words and for letting us know you’re reading.

      Glad we’re “sisters” in our weaknesses.

  5. Anna Haney says:

    Oh, the times when I have felt like that bird–stuck, no idea how to get free. And like you in this story, I have been the one who is on the sidelines, wanting to help someone who is trapped and not really sure what to do or how to turn the trapped one loose. Thankfully we all can turn to the Lord to set us free from whatever is holding us captive.

    What a beautiful post. You have yet to write a bad one.

    Have a wonderful day!

    Love you

    • Anna, I just smiled. Laughed a little even….You said I’ve yet to write a bad post.

      My mom called a few minutes ago. She’s learned how to open a link when I message it to her phone. She said something kind about my blogs. I said, “Mother, after every blog, I have no idea what I’ll write about the next week. I remind God–okay, you know I need to write something next week. And very, very gently, an idea comes to me. Or something inside will whisper, “Take a picture of this. You’re gonna need it later.”

      I’m so grateful for His help. I can’t write (or live or love!) without Him.

      And what a panicky feeling to be that person on the sidelines trying to help. Then God shows us what to do. Or, He puts His hand in the situation and picks them up.


  6. A flood of memories came back to me as I read your post, Julie. When we lived in Colorado 9 years ago, we had a wood stove too. And, we would have birds come down the stove pipe also. Of course, we rescued them and carried them outside to be free once more.

    And, yes, I have felt like that bird at times in my life, wondering how I was ever going to get free. Thankfully, I have the Lord to remind me that He is always there to hold me and comfort me until His time is right to set me free.

    I always look forward to reading your posts, Julie. You never fail to touch me or give me hope with your writing.

    Have a wonderful day, dear friend. xxxooo

    • Thank you, Eileen.

      Love, love, love what you just said. I want to type it again. 🙂 “He is always there to hold me and comfort me UNTIL HIS TIME IS RIGHT TO SET ME FREE.”

      I needed that today. It’s His timing. Not mine. And He knows what’s best.

      Sending you a big hug from GA. And we haven’t needed our stove yet this fall. Bet you’ve already had a fire!

  7. Have I ever felt like a trapped bird with no way out? Yup. But there is always a way out and for me it is prayer, and faith, and good friends to talk it out with. Seems like the biggest worries can always be brought down to manageable size with those three things. And even though certain situations might make me sad, or hurt, or angry, God is always there, holding me in the palm of His hand.

    • Yes, yes, yes, B.J.! Sometimes just talking to a good friend does wonders. Someone we can trust. Someone we don’t have to pretend to be perfect with. Someone who’ll even help us laugh at ourselves. You’ve been that someone to me so many times.

      Hugs from rainy Georgia today.

  8. Cathy Mayfield says:

    What a beautiful bluebird! And what a joy to have him visit you for a few hours! And you set him free – allowing the “bluebird of happiness” to fill your hearts and his!

    This reminded me of a cardinal which got stuck on our non-screened-in, wrap-around porch. Night had come, and he flew around and around the house; but for some reason, no amount of our shooing him could make him duck under the 10 inches to freedom, until he was almost worn out. I wrote that story and many others in a 30-day devotional in 2008, called In the Shadow of His Wings. It became a family affair, with my husband’s photographs gracing the cover and our youngest daughter’s help designing the pages. It included three sections: “Talk the Talk” – what birdsongs can teach us about using our voices; “Walk the Walk” – what bird stories can teach us about our daily walk; “Hawk or Gawk” – what the uniqueness of birds can teach us to look for (as a hawk) or not to look for (like gawking).

    On Christmas, we gifted family and friends with copies of the devotional, which has become one of my favorites among these attempts to bring God’s Word to the people we love who don’t yet know or accept His salvation. My most favorite, a 31-day Christmas-oriented devotional, takes a look at the traditions which fill our homes during the blessed season of our Lord’s birth.

    Writing these devotionals helps me the most, in a way. You asked about feeling trapped; I’d imagine most of us have at one time or another. Using the gift of words God’s blessed me with in this way, I feel peace envelop me, freeing me from the entrapment and stress the holidays sometimes bring on the home and the pocketbook. Combining my love of words, my love for my family, and my love for Jesus – what a better way to spend the holiday season!

    • Ohhhhh, Cathy! What creativity!!!!!! What a beautiful idea! Such a lovely gift.

      A gift from your heart and HIS.

      Merry Early Christmas, my friend.

  9. as a, uh, robin myself, i’m rather partial to birds, and especially love the Scripture and song, His eye is on the (sparrow) what a wonderful post and reminder of Father’s love and care, and His gentleness with us

    • Yes, Robin! And my BFF of 40 years has the same name as yours. 🙂

      Blows me away–that He keeps up with birds. And me too!

      Thank you, my friend.

  10. marci says:

    What a beautiful little blue bird. I too really like your stove. How homey and welcoming it looks.

    Maybe it comes with living in the country? We do know about saving animals/ and even a bird. It is my husband also that does the care and saving. It seems Rick loves animals as much as my husband, and always a soft spot in his heart. Yes, there are lessons from the animals. How nice that the blue bird was trusting and knew Rick was there to help. We really do have to trust- don’t we? And that seems especially true at the times when by nature we are tempted to panic.

    The verses from Isaiah are 2 of my favorites. I think I really needed to see “…Beauty for ashes.” as the church is stuggling right now. I/ we, need to see and believe that will be the truth. It makes us feel a little like the bird in the ashes at this moment, stuck and unable to do much about things. By God’s grace, only His grace, I have been able to continue (for the most part– with a few slips) hold on to Peace, trusting that even though it is hard to see how damage will be corrected, that with God in the end it will. And somehow serve a purpose..

    With all the server problems over the past week and a half, sometimes not being able to get to anything, I am grateful that I can see your blog, and the Lord, as always has nurished me and lifted my Spirit. With another set of storms coming this way, it is unknown to if the servers fix will hold or not. So I am just thankful.

    I was able to get back to your last week’s blog and see your comment, and respond to it– yesterday. So I was very late in seeing it.

    I am thankful always for your blog and each person who comes here and adds their thoughts. I am always inspired!

    God Bless you dear Julie,

    • Julie says:

      I know, that blew me away, Marci’a–the bird didn’t fight him.

      Such a great comparison with the bird and your church situation And for several hours, the poor thing had to just sit there in the ashes and wait. She had no idea that help was on the way. WOW–this is DEEP! I hadn’t thought it about it from that standpoint. And how we have to trust and hold onto Peace. Love this thought.

      Thank you so much, Marci’a. It helps to connect, doesn’t it. I believe God made us this way–to reach out and care for each other.

      I just emailed my website guy–for some reason, these last few comments (yours included) didn’t come to me through my email, like they were supposed to.

      THANKS so much for letting me know you read it. Hope your server hangs tight!!


      • marci says:

        You are so right– it does help to connect. Not being able to connect because of the problems in this area in these 2 weeks, makes me know how much of a blessing it is when I can be connected. This is my first time to be able to be ‘connected’ Since Thursday- and trying to remember was I on Thur? I am grateful to see your comment to me and to the others. And to read the other posts. I guess over the past few days I have felt a little like the bluebird. God Bless, Dear Julie.
        PS I hope you were able to get your problem taken care of with notifications of comments on your blog.

        • Little Bluebird Marci’a–

          Connecting with our friends is so important! Surely God made us this way.

          I emailed my website guy–I’m sure he’s working on it. I did receive some notifications that I had comments through email today. 🙂


  11. Julie, you have a way of making us see the beauty in simple things. But that bluebird is indeed beautiful, and the way Rick handles birds is beautiful. Amazing that the bird let him wash her/him off. Bless his little heart, the bird looked like it didn’t know where it was or how it got there. Believe me, I’ve felt that way before too. But I also can relate to people, some I know well, who have also been stuck in a place they didn’t want to be, yet didn’t know how to escape. Praise God, we have a heavenly Father who knows when a sparrow or a bluebird falls, not to mention when a human falls, and can rescue us from the ashes we’ve made of our lives, clean us up and set us free!

    • Julie says:

      Hey Marilyn.

      That’s the sweetest compliment–that I help you see beauty in simple things. That’s how I’m praying–every week–Lord, please stir my heart. Help me see beauty in the mundane. Means so much that you’d mention it.

      I know–the bird had no idea what happened. She just realized she was trapped.

      Amen–God Rescues us, He runs to us when we ask for help.

      Thank you, my friend. Hugs from rainy GA. xo

  12. Such powerful imagery in seeing your husband’s strong and capable hand, so gently comfort and rescue that helpless bird. Such a great metaphor for resting in Him. So often, we hold ourselves captive, don’t we? Our human thinking traps us, and I’ve learned that surrendering, just like that bird, is often the way out.

    Beautiful post, Julie! Hugs to you!

    • Julie says:

      Ohhhh, so true.

      “Surrender is often the way out.” And that little bird didn’t fight help. She welcomed it.

      Life-lesson for sure.


  13. Brenda Greene says:

    Another sweet post, Julie Girl, which shows the kind of amazing fellow you’ve been married to for quite a while! I love the picture of his hands…those are hard-working, calloused, yet oh-so-gentle ones…you are indeed blessed! Love the sweet bird pictures also!

    So…have I ever felt “trapped” and what had me bound? Would you believe my marriage vows?! Yep…married 48 years, retired and spending 24/7 with Hubby (who never developed a relationship with Jesus) has certainly been a challenge for me. He has been suffering bone-on-bone pain in his hip for the past year and the pain has generated a vocabulary full of the four-letter words I despise. However, his constant pain (did I mention Tinnitus in his right ear…constant roaring) and his choice of pain killers (controlled substance/alcohol – says it helps dull the pain) keeps me silent. Occasionally I just have to walk away!

    A couple of Saturdays ago was one of those days. It had been a hard week and wrapped in my prayer shawl in my prayer closet just wasn’t helping. Recognized I was deep in a “pity party” so I left about Noon and stopped to chat with a neighbor walking her dogs…been trying to reach her for a long time – very private person. Shared my frustration, she was most understanding, and even offered to pray for us! Went to a local arts and crafts show, took my time and enjoyed every display there, even found a few Christmas presents, and had lunch from one of the vendors. Such fun…all by myself! Left there and stopped by one of my favorite “treasure chest” stores…ran into another long-ago friend and spent time “visiting” with her. Went to my sister’s (older than I am and housebound with her husband who is suffering early-stage Alzheimers) and enjoyed spending time with her. Our firstborn daughter came by, saw my car, stopped with her youngest daughter, and we spend quality time just “catching up” with family! Finally headed toward home, passed our church where the Fall Festival was taking place so I stopped in, enjoyed a hot dog and great fellowship with my Church Family. Got home seven hours after I left…completely refreshed and ready to “keep on keeping on.” Ain’t God good?!

    The good news, Hubby is scheduled for total hip replacement in a few days…so there is a “light at the end of this tunnel.” Praying for a “renewed” spirit within him and us! Thanks Sweet Julie…you make it so easy to find “God’s Hands” in the midst of our challenges!

    • marci says:

      I have added to pray for your husband’s surgery to my prayer list.. and also you. My husband and I will be married 48 yrs–( in a couple of months). I know the need for each person to have some time away.. How wonderful that you had those hours. Sounds like God nurished you at each place. Yes! God is good.
      God Bless,

      • Brenda Greene says:

        Yes Sweet Marci…you understood my need! No matter how much we love them, time away is good for both of us! And for the prayers…thank you, thank you! We’ve spent this week at doctors and the hospital for the pre-op. I’m finishing up my fifth prayer shawl and got yarn “waiting” to become one while we’re at the hospital. I love the calming effect of knitting. Thanks for posting! Hope all is well in your world!

        • Julie says:

          I can just see you now, Brenda–you’ll be out in the waiting room while he’s in surgery–talking to and loving on people. And knitting!

          This makes my heart so happy–your Spirit.

        • Brenda…It’s 2:15 on Thursday…just wanted you to know I’m praying for you and your hubby.

          All my love.

      • Julie says:

        Beautiful, Marcia….

    • Julie says:

      Oh, yes, Brenda. Hard-working, calloused hands. Right now, he’s at the church–He was there this morning at 5 to set up, and now he’s helping tear down. We’re in a building phase and meeting in a school. Those hard-working hands. You’re so right. Thank you for the reminder.

      Your next paragraph–… grateful for your honesty. Your heart. Your love. God’s love. I’m sitting here crying the sweetest tears for how you handled the day–how you blessed others. I’ve always heard that self-pity is of the devil. The thing is, when we’re caught in it, it sure doesn’t feel that way. But I do believe it is. I’m giving you the biggest hug——-I hope you can sense it. xo

      You can’t know how much you blessed me. And I’m lifting my hands, giving your words to Him. Glory to our Father.

      Let us know what day his surgery is. I want to pray.

      So much love, my precious friend. We all learn from each other here, don’t we!

      • Brenda Greene says:

        Oh Julie…you have such a sweet heart for all your “bloggers” and we are SO blessed! I would be humbled to know that you (and Marci) will be praying for us. Gary’s surgery is this coming Friday, the 13th (!) Thank you. Brenda

        • Thank you so much for getting back with us, Brenda! Every morning, I’ve been wondering, “Is it today?” 🙂

          Okay, I’m writing your name on my calendar for this coming Friday. So much love and we WILL be praying. I’ll also pray at our porch party that morning.

  14. Patricia Martin says:

    I have 2 more speeches in addition to other schoolwork. Thank you so much for your prayers!!!!(((:

    • Julie says:

      Got it, Patricia! Will pray His peace and strength covers you. “Perfect love casts out all fear!”

  15. Shelley Elaine says:

    Ahh, yes, depression and anxiety often leave me feeling trapped….but God has also given me beauty for ashes and gently lifted me out of my fear over and over and over. What an absolutely BEAUTIFUL analogy Julie! And, again, your Rick reminds me sooo much of my husband: hard-working/confident/tender hearted…thank you for this post Julie! Your pictures were stunning! I couldn’t wait to share them with my daughter. BLESSINGS Sweet Friend!

    • Julie says:

      Shelley, I sure wish we could meet. I’m right there with you–just the way you said it. God’s “gently lifted me out of my fear over and over and over.”

      Our husbands would probably even like hanging out–not that they’d talk that much, but they could fix things and build things and shoot the breeze.

      Hugging you from my little loft office!!!

  16. Beautiful, Julie! Reminded me that not even a little birdie falls (or is trapped in a fireplace) without His knowing it. And He sent your sweet man to rescue that scared little birdie. Precious truth.

    • Julie says:

      I know Vonda! And that little bird just had to sit there and Trust. And Wait. Because he couldn’t get here for a few hours.

      Sorta like us waiting….in expectation.

      Love you.

  17. Carm Russell says:

    Julie I will also pray for your husband’s surgery. I claimed this scripture for my family’s surgeons in 2009 when our collective health concerns required several surgeries that yr and with a few more for my husband through 2014.
    Psalm 144:1 Blessed be the Lord, my Rock. Who trains my hands for war and my fingers for battle.

    Drs made me feel at peace with everything and further claimed this verse for my own health concerns
    Psalm 16:9 No wonder my heart is happy and I rejoice for my body dwells safety.

    • Julie says:

      CARM, I love this! Thank you so much…I’m imagining God training the doctor’s hands.

      My hands for writing and cooking and loving others.

      So beautiful!!

  18. Fleur says:

    What a beautiful blue bird! Thanks for the pictures! I try to focus in these little joys on hard days like thos when there is too much pain, fatigue and problems to see a light at the end of the tunnel. But probably my rescuer will be here soon too.

    • Julie says:


      You’ll never believe it (I hope you do though), but you’ve been coming to my heart lately. I’ve been praying for you–not exactly sure why, but I just pray.

      Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend.

      Wish you were sitting in my kitchen having coffee with me–we could talk.

      Praying for His Rescue…Praying this little bird encourages you.

      • Fleur says:

        Thank you Julie! Thank you for your prayers! It means a lot to me.

        • Fleur says:

          I often read your posts though I don’t often comment as I don’t know what to say. But things have been so hard lately with physical pain, continued brain damage issues, a prolonged job search and practically no friends to speak to… However, my big bright spot is my financé. A love I long doubted would ever come my way. So, I try to believe there will be a solution in this situation as well.
          Hugs beautiful friend! And thanks for your writtings which are like a cosy chat in your house!

          • Hey again, Fleur. I commented on your first thought and am now finding this one.

            Have you set a wedding date? I’m smiling. 🙂 🙂 🙂

            And praying–specifically for your health, a job, and a couple of good friends. I don’t think we need dozens of friends (Of course, I’m an introvert). But I’m praying for a few close friends for you–the kind you can open up and talk to and trust.

        • You’re so welcome. Let me know….


  19. Julie, that is one adorable looking bird! I’ve never seen blue so beautiful.
    Great also how you’ve compared it with us and our struggles. We need not worry really because no matter how hopeless our situation may seem, God’s got us in the palm of His hands. 🙂

    • Julie says:

      For sure, Lux! And when I took these pictures, I had no idea they’d work into a blog. It was as if God gently said, “Snap some pictures. You’re gonna need them.” That’s how my blog works. If I could control it, I would! 🙂

      Thank you so much for reading and writing and for your blog–for all you do!

  20. Mary says:

    Hello! Long time, no talk — I’ll send you an email to catch up — but I just had to respond here. This story has been with me all week long, and I keep thinking about it over and over. Just like that bluebird, I get caught in my own tight, dark places of fear and anxiety. Of course, it’s God who frees us from that — but all week I’ve been pondering your role in this story. You saw the problem, and you found the one who could help that bird out of its tight spot. I believe that what we’re here for… to care for each other and to be God’s love in action. Sometimes I feel that I can’t solve a situation — but in reality, I can do SOMETHING — maybe it’s as simple as offering someone a hand, or sharing my loaves and fishes. 🙂 I’ve been working more and more on being open to seeing those needs, and not getting so caught up in my own life, that I don’t see the bluebird in the ashes. It goes along with my word for the year – mindfulness — which has been so challenging and eye-opening! Thanks for sharing this story.. it’s one that I’m going to share with my reading group. It’s wonderful.

    • Julie says:

      Hey, Mary!

      I’d never considered it this way. How beautiful. And so true–we get so busy with our own stuff, we completely miss those all around us who are hurting.

      I love, love, love how this parallels your MINDFULNESS word!!!! Ohh, to stay open to His leading, always, every moment.

      Thank you. Such wisdom, my friend. I love how God speaks to each of us and when we share, we learn and grow!

  21. Kim says:

    Julie, like Mary, this post has stayed with me all week. I was reminded of our annual hummingbird rescue. For some reason our garage captures one (occasionally 2) of those tiny, precious birds every year. The garage door is open, so all they have to do is fly down, not up, in order to escape. We have learned that without our help and guidance that little bird will probably die. So, I cut a long crepe myrtle branch to offer it to cling to so I can gently carry it down and out. It takes so many tries. Over and over, it eventually grabs on, I move and it freaks out, flying off and up. Again! It is an exhausting process, but that poor bird has to be so much more worn out than me. But, I never give up. I work until he is free.

    So many things I am reminded of in my spiritual walk. How many times do I get myself stuck in the same places? Where is my help and guidance? All I have to do is kneel down and reach out. I am just like that little bird, not trusting. But, God never gives up on me.

  22. Kim, that’s exactly what happened to the hummingbird my husband saved. LOVE the crepe myrtle idea!

    Isn’t that how God does with us? He just keeps searching us out. So beautiful.

    Love the parallels you brought out!

    Big hug from rainy GA–been raining for the past 8 days here. xoxo

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