caroline holzberger

Keepin' it real about motherhood, Jesus, life, and everything in between.

Stupid, Stupid Cardinal

I don’t know absolutely anything much about birds. I don’t ever generally spend my Saturday mornings bird watching, or ‘birding’ as some may call it. Yes, I just googled that.

I am not that great at differentiating one type of bird from another. Although, I absolutely know what a scarlet macaw looks like because of the years I spent watching Diego, playing Diego games, pretending to be Diego…with my boys. And, while I don’t like to but love to brag I could probably point out a canary to you, and maybe a blue bird and of course, a cardinal. In case you didn’t find a common theme there, those are possibly the three easiest to spot because they are each a solid primary color. Man, I’m good.

But, you really don’t have to know that much about a bird, to know the bird.

Take my best friend and neighbor…she has learned all about a particular bird over the last few days, and I guarantee she doesn’t know the cool ‘birding’ term I just busted out.

We were on the phone the other day and all of sudden, she just started giggling. Now, I know I am begging you to think I’m funny, but this wasn’t me she was laughing at. I asked her what was going on and she said “There is this cardinal outside that just keeps flying up to the window, chirping, and then bonking into it. Over and over, she just flies up, chirps, and then BAM! right into the window pane. Then she flies away and then right back and does the same thing all over again. ‘Cheep, cheep, BAM! Cheep, cheep, BAM!’ It’s hilarious…but really, kinda sad!”

Then, we spent the next few minutes creating a whole cardinal make believe world.

“Ya, this was probably the one that cheated through cardinal school and missed the Windows course.”

“Maybe she fell out of her nest when she was young and has brain damage.”

Cheep, cheep, BAM! Interrupted our silliness again, leading us into a while new round of laughter over this stupid, stupid cardinal.

“I have to do something to help this poor thing.”

So, sweet Shelley spent a few minutes cutting out little paper snowflakes to put up on the window. “Maybe if she can tell that there is something on the window, she will know she can’t fly through it!”

Personally, I would have taped a picture of a lion or something up to the window, but she’s quite a bit nicer than I am.

So, we proceeded to finish our real conversation that had begun half an hour earlier. This stinkin’ cardinal doesn’t know how hard it is for two mothers who have each had three children in four years to carry on a conversation without forgetting mid-way through what we were talking about anyway! We don’t need “cheep, Cheep, BAM!” to interrupt us!

As we finished our conversation, I asked how Jingle Dingle was doing. Yes, we named the cardinal. Shelly figured Jingle was a festive name since it is December now, and I added the Dingle, because clearly the bird was one!

Shelley went back over to that window and said “Oh there she is! Oh no!”

All of a sudden I felt really bad because I had visions of this poor, sweet birdie dead on the ground from brain damage. Her little baby birdies cheeping in a nest somewhere wondering where Mama bird was. Not so much.

“She is flying back to the tree, and then flying right up to the window, as close as she can get, hovering…giving me a little “Cheep, cheep Cheeeeep” and then flying back. It’s like she is trying to get as close as she can, but now she knows it is a window, so she can’t justify trying to bang her head through it. She complains a bit, and then flies off.”

To which I replied, “That stupid, stupid little cardinal, doesn’t she get that she is doing the same thing over and over and expecting something different to happen. That’s ridiculous.”


That wasn’t Jingle Dingle. That was God’s 2×4 to my head.

I am that stinkin’ cardinal. Dangit.

And, clearly, I am insane.

Albert Einstein defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

Ok, great. Me and ol’ Jingle Dingle are insane.

Are you?

I face something in life that I have faced in the past, on more than one occasion, mind you, and yet, I try to approach it the same way and somehow expect it to end differently. Go ahead, lock me up, already. I wonder if strait jackets come in blue. I love blue.

I have, friend, been faced with medical drama after medical drama over these last four years. I have faced very scary times when I’ve been rushed to the hospital in true crisis. I’ve also been rushed to the hospital only thinking I was in true crisis. I’ve faced huge procedure after huge procedure with time to anticipate and desperately pray for it need it! to work. I’ve met with ‘new’ specialist after ‘new’ specialist, each one hopefully holding “the answer” I’ve been waiting for. And friend, I will admit to you, that so often, I have faced these with fear and worry. I have faced them in sin.

Worry is the opposite of faith. Just as hot is the opposite of cold. Up is the opposite of down. They are not only opposite of each other, but they simply can’t exist together. The same is true of worry and faith. Remember, worry is a form of fear. Jesus commanded us over and over not to worry! He repeatedly said “Do not fear!” and “Fear not!” He didn’t suggest it. He commanded it. He knows worry kills faith. And, friend, we need faith!

In Ephesians 2:8, the Bible says that we are saved through faith.

James 5:15 says that a prayer in faith will heal the sick.

Hebrews 11:6 says that without faith is impossible to please God.

In James 1:6, the Bible says that if we want wisdom, all we have to do is ask in faith, but if we don’t ask in faith, we get nothing.

And, then of course, there’s the fact that “anything that is not of faith is sin” (Rom. 14:23)

So, it is no wonder that the enemy throws fear at us all the time, he knows that is what gets us away from faith the fastest! And according to Scripture, we need faith to be saved, healed, God-pleasing and wise. Our enemy, Satan, would much prefer us lost, sick, sinful, and dumb.

So, as I have approached these last few trials in my life, I have tried to do so with heaps more faith. I will not lie and say that I haven’t had my brief moments of fear, because I have. My closest friends and family can vouch for that! I am human. The difference is that I have not been consumed by it. I haven’t visited fear, camped out there, stuck my flag in the ground and claimed it for my own. I’ve seen it, acknowledged it for what it is (an attack from the enemy), and tried to move on in the opposite direction as quickly as possible.

Max Lucado said “No one can pray and worry at the same time.” Amen to that!

“Worrying is the sin of distrusting the promise and providence of God, and yet is a sin that Christians commit perhaps more frequently than any other.” John MacArthur

Kay Arthur put it bluntly, “You either trust God, or you don’t. Period.”

Priscilla Shirer put it this way “I want you all to remember what the Bible tells us; God did NOT give us a spirit of fear. (2 Tim. 1:7) So, if you are facing something and you are afraid of, it is because the enemy has assigned a spirit of fear to that thing. And maybe he is doing that because He knows the victory that could come of it, if you face it with faith.” She continued on to say “The area of sensitivity and tenderness in your life is probably the area where God wants you to experience the most victory, where He wants the biggest ministry to come from your life.”

Wow. That was huge for me.

Maybe you aren’t afraid of anything. Maybe worry and fear aren’t things you struggle that much with. I would be grateful for that, if I were you. But, still…can you relate? Do you have something that you keep facing, but still aren’t finding victory? Do you, like good ol’ Jingle Dingle and I, keep bonking up against that same window, hoping things will change?

Well, friend, that stops today.

Make a stand with me and stop flying into that same stinkin’ window!

Stop bad-mouthing your husband to the gals at work.

Stop judging every chick you see with single digit sized skinny jeans.

Stop worrying that the world is going to come to an end if another Democrat is elected.

Take a stand with me, and go the other way!

Start praying for God to remind you daily of the reasons you fell in love with your husband.

Start eating right, exercising and praying for God to show you what healthy means for you!

Start praying for our leaders, our nation, our citizens and join a proactive and positive group of supporters.

Whatever you do, stop flying into that same stinkin’ window.

Jingle Dingle’s story is not over.

Nope. In no time, Shelley was calling me back.

“You are never going to believe this! She is back. All of a sudden, I heard “Cheep, cheep, BAM!” again and I went to the window and there she was! Right outside, except this time, she had moved over one window. “

To which I replied, as if somewhat yelling across the street to this stupid bird, “Jingle Dingle, why do you want so desperately to come in the house? We have no bird food. We have no nests. You have everything you need out there!”

So true, friend, so true.

How many times do we try to find victory over something on our own, only to later discover we’ve made very little head way. We may not be banging into the sin, but we sure are flying right back by and hovering for a minute while we get as close as we can to it.  We may have moved down a window, but if you listen closely, you still hear “Cheep, Cheep, BAM!” over and over.

Then, we would be an awful lot like the Israelites! Do you know that 38 of the 40 years they spent “wandering” were spent right outside the Promised Land? They were just right there. So close, but yet so far. Scholars estimate that the rest of that journey should have only taken them about 11 days. They spent 38 years. Friend, do you really want to waste 38 good years on an 11 day trip? Do you really think that sin is worth flying back up to every once in a while just to get a good view? Have you truly found victory, or are you just one window’s length further than you were, but still with a big, fat knot on your head?

We cannot do this on our own. Let me repeat that!

We – cannot – do – this – on – our – own!!

It is only, and I do mean ONLY when God works in us a heart-change can we make a genuine step toward victory over a thing. We can try. And boy, do we! But, friend, hear me now when I say that unless you are plugged into the One who promises to know even about every single sparrow, (Matthew 10:29) then you will fail. It may look like you win. But, you don’t. It is just defeat, moved one window over.

Seek Him. Pray to Him. Read His Word. Be involved with a Bible-based fellowship of believers. He has given you all you need out here to survive. This world has no real food for you and no real place to find rest.

Let’s see those paper snowflakes for what they are and move on to where we belong!

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One thought on “Stupid, Stupid Cardinal

  1. Anonymous on said:

    wow!! I just bumped into the glass…hard…probably gonna get a nosebleed…….I need His correction in my thought processes, continually. bless you, carrie

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