Notes from the church lady: Wait on the Lord when your wings are clipped

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God…”

While talking with a friend, I commented, I “had my wings clipped.” This is an idiom I heard all my life. It was used when I was grounded as a teenager or was sick and unable to leave the house. According to the Cambridge Book of American Idioms, it means to limit freedom and comes from the practice of cutting a bird’s wing feathers to keep it from flying away. How strange are some of our sayings that become part of our family’s history.

With our fast paced lives it is difficult to have our freedom limited by illness. Even when we know it is for our own good to stay home, rest, and take care of ourselves we tend to exhibit our rebellious nature. How do we learn to accept our situation?

At the tower of London live seven ravens with clipped wings. They are part of an interesting history, but also prove how their freedom and independence was taken from them. They can never fly away and are dependent on someone to feed and care for them.

About three weeks ago, I took a nasty head-first fall. At the doctor’s office I heard good and bad news. The good news: No bones were broken. The bad news: I had a bacterial infection in my lungs that was developing into pneumonia. I was given strong antibiotics and sent home.

My freedom was taken away and I had to find a way to deal with my isolation from the world. Depending on others to take care of errands for me made my plight that much more difficult.

The first couple of days I slept most of the time, but after that I had to change my strategy. It was time to seek God’s guidance. Psalm 46:10 tells us, “Be still and know I am God.” Knowing that all things work for good and realizing God’s sovereignty was my first step of letting go and allowing God to take over. Time alone listening to God brought many other scriptures to mind.

Realizing we don’t need to carry the burden of our illness and isolation alone is a big step to recovery. Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” Matthew 11:29 Once you allow Jesus to help carry the load, don’t be tempted to take it back. When I try to take my load back, I put myself in danger of having a pity party or taking on a martyr complex.

Knowing the situation isn’t permanent, or even if it is, a whole new mindset is needed. Throughout the Bible is the phrase: “And it came to pass …” Before you correct me on my use of this phrase, just think about all the things that happen in our lives and how most of them are eventually resolved.

When we depend on the Lord instead of ourselves, he will always provide a way for us to endure any situation. As Philippians 4:6 (NIV) says, “Do not be anxious about anything …” This verse reminds us that God already has everything under control for us.

The next time you are facing a situation where you feel as though your wings were clipped, take time first to wait upon the Lord and let him take your yoke. Focus and wait on him and what He is preparing to do in your life. As Isaiah 40:31 promises: “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

Debra Whittington is a longtime resident of Tucumcari. Contact her at:

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