Too Deep For Words

Tuesday morning, even before my husband said a word, I knew something was wrong. He sat in the bedroom chair like he didn’t want to get up. Looked like he was running on empty. In our 37 years of marriage, he’s been the strong one.

“You okay?”

“Just tired.”

“Is it work?”


He’s owned a small business for almost 40 years. It’s his job to make sure everything and everyone gets paid on time, and that the work is done right.

We talked for a few minutes. There weren’t any big issues. God’s been faithful, so I tried the we have so much to be grateful for speech, which was the wrong thing to say.

He didn’t need a sermon.

“I know. I’m grateful. I’m just tired.”
I didn’t have anymore wise words, so we did what we do every morning.

We had a porch party.

A quiet porch party.

Lord, I don’t know how to encourage him. We need you. 

Since we weren’t talking much, we focused on the birds.

“There’s a cardinal at the feeder,” I said.

He was beautiful. A big red male.

We put away our concerns long enough to listen to the birds.

If you can’t see the video below click here. 

“See the little brown bird sitting on the water line?” I said. “She has a nest in the fern.”

After several minutes of observing her behavior, I saw a parallel between the mama bird and my husband’s 40 years of hard work.

Help me say it the right way, Lord.

“Look how hard she’s working,” I whispered. “She does the same thing over and over. She finds food, flies in from the trees, lands in the bushes in front of the house, darts to the water line above the fern, hangs on with her feet, flips upside down, and feeds her babies. That takes a lot of energy.”

If you can’t see the video, click here. She flies in at the 50 second mark. 🙂

“Amazing–how God gave her the skills to do this.”

“It really is,” he said.

While we watched the mama bird, our front porch was transformed by God’s Presence. Click to Tweet

“What she’s doing is hard work,” I said.


“And she’s doing her job even though most of the world never notices.”

He sipped his coffee.  

“You are too.”

The sunlight caught the moisture in his dark brown eyes, and I saw emotion pass through. 

We’d only connected this way a few times in life. 

There were no words. 

God revived my husband’s spirit because a tiny, brown mama bird kept doing the right thing.  Click to tweet. 

 If we take time to look and listen, God has a lot to show us. So many times, I talk too much and miss Him.

Thoughts about someone listening–and really hearing you?

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season, we will reap if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9 Click to Tweet. 









  1. Anna Haney says:

    Rick is a lot like my daddy. I bet neither of them can sit still for long and if you were to ask one of them how to do something, before you knew it, they’d jump right in and get the ball rollin.
    I hope I am like my daddy in that way.

    • Sounds like you know my husband very well, Anna!

      I believe you’re a lot like your daddy. Look how you’re handling what you’re going through right now.

      I love you. Keep on doing the right thing. You’re taking such good care of yourself.

  2. Patricia Martin says:

    What a wonderful post, Julie! We can learn so much from nature and watching animals.(: I love how you tied Rick’s life with the life of a mother bird. My loved ones also sometimes forget how important their work is, but without them, the world would be short of laughter, fun, and talent. Dad is fine as the results showed that the area in question is only a tiny percentage cancerous this far. How are you and your family? Xoxoxox

    • Patricia, this is such good news about your dad!!! Saying thank You to God right now!!

      I always look forward to reaching your comments. Just feels like we’ve always known each other. 🙂

      I’m going to my nephew’s wedding rehearsal dinner tonight, and his wedding tomorrow night. Such sweet times for our family.

      I bet you see God around you all the time. How are you kitties doing?

  3. Carm Russell says:

    I’ve had recent surgery on my back. In the recovery process I’ve had to rely on my mind’s eye to remember how someone who is immobilized moves. So I had to remember my “momma bird.” My husband was a paraplegic. So when I need motivation to keep moving forward during this recovery period, I think always of David. From dressing without BLTs (bending, lifting, twisting) I could think back to what he would do. He has been gone physically from this life of mine for just over to yrs. has been tearful. God knew that I needed my David. Beyond the practical tasks I learned from him, I learned to appreciate a bit more what life in a wheelchair was for him. More importantly his ability to find the motivation to always look forward, to move forward was his way of motivating over time and space. Thanks David Paul Russell for being my “momma bird” these past few weeks.

    • Carm..



      My heart is full. How can I respond? This is absolutely beautiful. Raw and real and still hopeful. I have so many questions, but I won’t ask them. I’ll just pray. …. So much love for you in my heart right now. For today, I pray that God’s Spirit hovers close. I pray His calm strength gets your through every moment. And I’m praising Him with you for David Paul Russell’s memories.

      So much love, my friend. Hugging you from here.

      • Carm Russell says:

        Thank you for your kind words. You are welcome to ask me any questions. Briefly these past few yrs have been a journey to say the least. And just this year I have felt hope creeping back in to my life. And love it. Although the surgery was not totally unexpected, the lessons learned from and about my husband were a surprise. All good but I hate the melancholy of Spring. So remembering him in such vividness was tearful and practical. Many have to be taught some of what I knew how to do just because of his immobility.

        Prayers that the book writing are going well. Thank you for the blessing of your ministry.


        • Carm,

          You know what I love about you? Your honesty. You don’t pretend to be “fine” and when you say, you “feel hope creeping back into your life” I know it comes from your soul.

          And listen to the beauty of your attitude–your gleaning lessons despite the pain. You’re finding something to praise Him for. Isn’t that the highest form of praise–to be able to thank Him during our tough times?!

          So powerful…”The Melancholy of Spring.” Nobody talks about it, do they?

          Who would think his mobility would serve a purpose in your life?. Wow…

          Thank you for your prayers. This is the most difficult writing I’ve ever done. Please keep praying. It’s like whistling in the dark.


          • Carm Russell says:

            Thank you for those words.

            I’m doing better these days. And those melancholy of Spring has left the hot summer TX days. So I walk and try to get some of that Vita D. It boosts my spirit immediately. I do try to walk in the early morning or late evening so my dogs can get outside with me.

            Writing is not my favorite. But while do my Master’s I learned that I can do something I don’t necessarily like well. I will continue to pray for the writing of your book. It takes dedication and discipline.


          • Carm,

            So thankful for your hot days of summer in TX. We have them here too in GA.

            Love the wisdom in your words–that we CAN do something we don’t necessarily like.

            Thanks for your prayers about my writing. Had somewhat of a breakthrough today. 🙂

          • Carm Russell says:

            Congratulations on the break through. When I have them I hear my bestie saying baby steps, baby steps.

  4. Brenda Greene says:

    Speaking to my soul this morning Julie Girl! Guilty of talking more than listening most of my life it’s just been in the last few months that I’ve come to truly appreciate “a gentle and quiet spirit” (1 Peter 3:4).

    As Hubby and I began sitting on our porch watching and listening to the birds, such a peaceful calm floods my soul. I can only pray that it does for him as he’s ignored Jesus most of our life together. As physical ailments interrupt his once active lifestyle, I’m seeing a calmness that had been missing. Nature…So healing. Thank you for today’s post…So real!

    • Brenda,

      Tears, tears, tears!

      I sense such a deep peace in your words. And this Scripture–how perfect. A gentle, quiet spirit. I’m going to keep whispering that prayer today, “Lord, give me a gentle, quiet spirit.”

      I know your hubby senses that in you. And I bet he’s feeling a lot more than he’s able to share. I’m praying. Miracles happen on front porches.

      So much love my friend. And thank you for your precious words.

  5. Pat Garczynski says:

    Julie, as always I love the insights, but I also just looked up your April 13 blog “Another Day to Live and Love” about Rick when he was not himself. Be still, be watchful……..
    Love, Pat ❤️✝

    • Thank you, Pat. I know. His B/P is normal. We’re praying about so many things….

      Love from my front porch and heart.

  6. Julie, I love you. You’ve given me some things that I know I’ll be pondering on all day. Sometimes I think … I can’t do this or that because I don’t think I’d have the strength. I’m used to being a stay-at-homer … I can rest when I need to, eat when I need to. What if I couldn’t? Would I have the strength to keep working?

    • Once again, I wish we were face-to-face talking.

      I know what you mean, Shelli. I’m so grateful I can work from home. With my Sjogren’s, some days I move a little slower.

      Thank you so much for reading. Give your sweet girls a hug from your friend in Georgia.

  7. Oh, Julie, I praise God for giving you the perfect opportunity to encourage your sweet hubby. How often do I try to fix things on my own, when the perfect answer is right there in front of me…if I’ll only be quiet, watch, and pray?

    Your videos reminded me of the lake porch. Sitting on the porch in the mornings, listening to the chirping of the birds, and meditating on the goodness of our Lord. That is my favorite way to sit in His presence. Thank you for the reminder that God doesn’t need me to act. He needs me to listen, watch, and obey.

    • Vonda, you and I are cut from the same cloth.

      I thought about you yesterday when I had to shop for something to wear to a wedding. 🙂 Sort of like making centerpieces.

      Would love to some day sit on your lake porch with you.

      So grateful for our friendship.

  8. Julie, love the sweet way the Lord gave you to encouraged your hubby.

    My farmhouse porch is where I study and pray. I love the way the Lord whispers peace through his creation…the birds and the soft fall of the branch over river rock.

    • Ohhhh, Dee Dee,

      Your description sounds so peaceful!! I even love the word “farmhouse.” There’s something about getting still and quiet, isn’t there? It doesn’t seem logical. Seems like we should have to think really hard and talk a lot to work out our problems.

      So much love to you, my friend. Hugging you from my little cabin in the woods.

  9. Julie, such a wonderful post. Good idea so good when we seek Him. God has spoken to me so many times through birds. We live in an official bird watching area. Such beautiful messengers if we are paying attention

    • Pamela,

      This is my first year to really REALLY be still and watch and listen to the birds. And appreciate them with my heart.

      There’s so much of Him all around us.

      Thank you for letting me know you’re reading and that this makes sense to you~~~~~~

  10. What a sweet God moment.

  11. Oh, Julie. This brought tears to my eyes. How strong our men are. How they shoulder all of the responsibility all of the time. How they, too, can get crushed a bit under the weight of it all. You did all the right things. Said all the right words. God spoke to Rick through you. Thank you, God, for being there for Julie and Rick.

    • Tears again, B.J. Every time we communicate with each other, God brings the sweetest tears.

      I love you.

  12. God gave you the perfect words. I love that you have “porch parties”!!!

  13. marci says:

    Oh, Julie, your writing today. .. I pause and ponder. Think. Isn’t it wonderful when God gives us just the right words to say? I had just read this morning, the DGP- where you wrote about your mom taking you out, during a time when you were not feeling like yourself. The simple words that can be just what is needed. And how your spirit was lifted.
    Yes, I thought too about your blog when you wrote about Rick earlier in the spring.
    I so understand– being self employed, and being responsible. That can be a lot on a person. That is how we have lived much of our married lives. When it all falls on us. When so much falls on our husbands. It can be quite a weight to bear. You know I am saying some prayers. We, realize how much we depend on the Lord.
    What a good lesson- the mama bird. Thanks for sharing that.

    Your words, have touched base with me for what my husband does, and also for myself. Sometimes we do get tired, even though we are thankful. One of my favorite verses is Matthew 11:28-29 – “Come to me all who travail (who are weary) and are heavy laden,(whose load is heavy) and I will will refresh you, (give you rest)… I will pray for that rest for Rick.
    I also really like Gal 6:9, such a good one too.
    Sometimes it really is the pebbles that get to us, and wear us down, not the big things.
    And I have also learned, sometimes listening is what is important.
    I am trying to listen more.
    God Bless you dear Julie, and God Bless Rick,

    • Marci’a,

      My friend. You are one wise lady. I’m going to make sure Rick sees your beautiful comment because it seems to come straight from The Father.

      Thank you. Your words ministered to me this morning. And you shared just the right Scripture. God’s talking to you, sweet friend.

      Thank you also for understanding. There’s nothing much better than a friend who listens and understands.

  14. Sometimes we don’t need words to make things better. Just someone to sit in silence and connect with. And a few birds to make us realize our value. 🙂

    Beautiful sharing. Hope your hubby is feeling better now.

  15. Patricia Martin says:

    My cats are so far well and tricky.(: A wedding is so fun and I have not been to a wedding in three years! What is Thomase’s house like? How is Rilynn? Xoxo

    • Yep. Cats are usually tricky animals. Unlike dogs–they’re usually pretty easy to read.

      Thomas’s house–I wonder if I can copy and paste a picture into this comment….it’s a one story, three bedroom, 2 bath, about 12 minutes from us. He hasn’t moved in yet. He has some work to do to it. It’s an older home. I’m going to copy and paste and see if it works…

      No. It won’t paste into the comments. I’ll have to do a blog about it some day. 🙂

      Rilynn is wonderful!

      Thank you.

  16. Mary says:

    What a great spirit lifter! I think we all fall into those valleys where we just feel worn out, don’t we? This reminded me of something I recently read: when you feel discouraged, you don’t have to solve all your problems at once. You just need to do THE NEXT RIGHT THING. After that, you do THE NEXT RIGHT THING. Just like that little bird — we have to take it one twig at a time, right?

    • marci says:

      Thank you Mary for this. Your writing was very encouraging to me, and the quote jumped right at me. I hope you don’t mind me copying it as a reminder.
      God Bless, Marci’a

    • Mary, Yes!!! One twig at a time. And we can’t do it ahead of time. Moment by moment. The next right thing.


      And look, Marci’a loves it too. 🙂

  17. Kim says:

    So beautiful and sweet. Both your intimate connection and the birds.

    When we find someone who gives the gifts of time, listening and really hearing, it is like receiving a warm embrace, from both that individual as well as from God through them.

    • Thank you so much, Kim. This kind of porch party intimacy in our marriage took way to many years to start happening. That’s why I love writing about it.

      Absolutely–agree totally with what you’re saying–the gift of listening.


      Thank you again for your sweet comment.


  1. […] went outside to the front porch, and I thought about my word for 2016, […]

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