The Roost

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We have chickens now and I love my hens, all six of them: Fluffy Bottoms, Granny, Boss, Zeb, Red, and Glammy. They’re sweet little birds and each day I heap praise on them and thank them for giving me eggs.
But goodness, they are not always the brightest of creatures. A few months back we renovated the kids forgotten swingset and turned it into a first class chicken pen with lots of room to play, sun, take dust baths, a nice little sloped platform leading up to a nesting area – and a coop. A fully enclosed coop with a comfy roosting bar.
The chickens, being new to this pen, didn’t know quite what to think of it but they were pretty excited from the get go. They set about frolicking in the pine needles, scratching around and taking little mini flights or “jumps for joy” as I call them. They quickly took to laying eggs in the nesting boxes and just generally settled into a happy little life. Except when it came time to go into the coop at night to roost. 
Bless their precious little hearts, each night, rather than passing through the door into the nice warm coop, they huddled together on the ground out in their pen. I figured that eventually they would get some sense about them and start going into the coop at night but a month went by and they still stubbornly gathered in their little spot on the ground, exposed to wind and elements, not even in the covered part of their pen to protect them from rain.
When I woke up to a 40 degree fall morning, I knew that I was tired of waiting on the hens to grow some sense and it was high time I imposed a bit of my wisdom on them instead. 
That night, Ricky and I went out there with flashlights and one by one wrangled those hens and shut them up in the coop. We kept them shut up all night and I went and opened the door to release them early the next morning.
I had hoped this would teach them but the next evening, sure as snuff, there they were huddled on the ground together again.
Ricky and I repeated the wrangling process, and I laugh now just thinking about it. This would have been a fun time to have hidden cameras. I wish you could’ve seen us. The second night was just as funny as the first. You see, while I had been around chickens on my Papa Reed’s farm as a child, this was my first experience relocating them or pretty much doing anything other than handing them treats and thanking them for eggs. Ricky has never been around chickens until these in all of his decades on this earth, so we were prepared for anything. Ricky came out wearing full on thick leather gloves that go up to his elbow. 
See, he may not be used to chickens but I used to raise rabbits and a full grown Mama New Zealand has an awful lot of muscle and when you go to move her she knows it is most likely for her to be put into a pen with a buck for a little visit so her main objective is to shred as much skin on your arm as she can with her claws :). THAT is what Ricky was prepared for, you know, just in case we had any ninja attack chickens in our little flock.
Hey, it could happen.
Plus, we were waking them up and Ricky knows what a bear he is right after he’s woke up, but I won’t elaborate on that other than to say that I have told him in the past that if I killed him, as long as I did it right after he woke up, no court in the land would hold me responsible. 
So we are out here, about to wrangle chickens, loaded for bear. Of course, the chickens didn’t even so much as try to peck but there was an awful lot of funny flapping going on as every now and then one would get a good wind beneath her wings and become airborn out of Ricky’s grasp.
There was also a lot of me saying “get it get it get it!” with the two of us in our very unsynchronized way trying to corner them to make “getting it” possible. I imagine it was close to what we’d look like competing in a greased pig contest, which we’ve also never done, but I’m adding it to our to do list at some point if only to give God a good laugh. Do they have husband/wife greased pig chasing teams? If not, we’ll pioneer that. Because we’re just that awesome.
Anyway, we shut them all in the coop and came back again in the morning to let them out.
The following evening, I was thrilled to find them in the coop, having finally decided to go in of their own accord.
Fortunately for me, chickens are creatures of habit, even the ones that are imposed upon them, and I had helped them create a new habit.
Isn’t it crazy, though, that those hens huddled in that one dark, cold spot, exposed to the elements when a safe warm haven was just one or two feet away?
I’ve been talking about the lack of wisdom in my hens. They are good hearted sweet creatures but didn’t even have the sense to get in out of the wind when the opportunity was so close within reach.
But am I really any different?
How many times in my life have I found myself out in the elements, in the middle of a harsh world or situation, with God only a breath away, but rather than think to call out or seek refuge in Him, my natural instinct is to huddle down, close my eyes, continue to be battered, and try to survive it through sheer will, actually forgetting that there is a haven only a breath away.
How many times have I stopped in my tracks with surprise, realizing “Wait, I should call on God. I should go to God with this” towards the middle or end of an ordeal when I should have known to go to Him first thing.
Life has taught me that.
I have learned that.
This ain’t my first rodeo – I should know better.
and yet…
Here I am, a fallible human, as much as He has cradled and loved me, kept me safe and warm, protected me, moved mountains when they dared to impede my path and changed hearts when they interfered with His plan for me, I forget.
It brings to mind that sentence in a song: “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it…”
The following are excerpts from “Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing”
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love…
And still, He takes me back. He is patient. He will come in the darkest part of the night and, if my foolish heart refuses to see the refuge right beside me, gently He will pick me up and place me within His care. Oh goodness, I do flap around a bit at times, even trying to fly out of His grasp in what I sometimes mistake for doing His will, but He remains steadfast and takes hold of my weary, wondering, foolish soul once more.
And when my heart becomes out of tune with where it needs to be, he will bring it back, no matter how many times He has to do so.
Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
He comes to me in the night, when I am certain there is no refuge, and lovingly draws me back to Him.
Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
My roost is a place where my chickens can settle down and safely rest inside the coop, enclosed and protected from whatever elements the outside world is battering them with.
Regardless of my time spent in the elements, I am safely on the roost now. I will rest here knowing with full confidence that God will take care of whatever lies within and without of my little refuge.
 I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety. ~ Psalm 4:8
For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”  ~Isaiah 30:15


  1. “Used to raise rabbits”? Past tense? I loved that little CJ detail. I guess I’ll have to find another one. 🙂

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