Jessica Christine Musgrove

Author. Singer. Actress.
My King is a dragon-slayer.

Bird Watching: Reflections of 2020 and Hope for 2021

It’s so funny. This time last year, I had big plans for 2020. It was going to be full of fun. I was going to Disney World for a whole week during spring break, which would have been my second trip to the wonderful world of Disney magic. I was going to see Anastasia the musical performed live at the Walton Arts Center–one of my favorite musicals! I had purchased the tickets almost a year prior to the performance date. My mom and I were going to get all dressed up, go to dinner, and then fall into the sounds and sights of theatre at its finest. In April, I was going to see Steven Curtis Chapman live in concert, one of my favorite Christian artists. It was going to be a wonderful worship experience amongst family and a few friends. In August, I, along with other choir and orchestra members at my church, were going to the SING conference in Nashville, another awesome worship experience in an amazing city I have never visited. Finally, in September, I and two of my friends and co-workers were going to get on a plane and head to New Orleans for a business conference. We were going to stay in a hotel right next to an aquarium–And I love sea life!! The fun of 2020 would start mid-March, and almost every month after, there was something to look forward to.

And in mid-March, everything changed.

In the span of a few days, the world changed. My plans changed. One by one, everything I was looking forward to fell from my grasp and continued to do so the remainder of the year. Nothing, and I mean, absolutely nothing in my life, went according to my own plans.

And you know what? I’m thankful. I’m thankful the Lord taught me my life is not my own. I’m thankful He showed me my daily task list of fun and excitement is not a guarantee. In a moment, life can change. In a moment, life did change. But I never lacked love, joy, mercy, or peace. There were many trials, but the Lord was never once unfaithful. He never left my side.

In 2020, my parents and I became professional bird watchers. Yes, that’s right. We decorated the deck in plant life. We bought hummingbird feeders and bird food and binoculars. And the birds came flying and have continued ever since. On warm or cool days, on mornings, afternoons, and evenings, my family would sit together on our back deck with our coffees, watching the birds and talking to each other about life. About God’s Word. About the condition of our world. My mom and I would laugh as Dad shot a nerf gun at the squirrels trying to eat all the bird food. We began giving the birds names, and we also purchased a book identifying Arkansas bird species. Through bird watching, through life coming to a stand still, we grew closer as a family.

Life did come to a stand still in many ways. The world, of course, brought along its chaos, but during that time, the Lord ignited in me the need and the desire to finish the book I started writing a few years ago. The Lord strengthened me as I sang praises to Him each Sunday, even Sunday’s when the church doors were closed. In experiencing loss–the loss of the way things used to be, the loss of plans–the Lord taught me and continues to teach me that I need nothing but Him. That this world is not my home. That the Church has the promise, the assurance, of everlasting life. That people who depart from my life who also belong to Christ aren’t really departing at all, for we will one day share in His kingdom, and everything will be put right. For now, God’s will is being done on earth as it is in heaven. Even when our circumstances scream loudly and we are in the midst of a storm, being tossed in its waves, His will IS being done. He is the God who gives and takes away.

Nothing is bigger than God. There is nothing He can’t handle, but He will handle all things His way. My daily task list doesn’t belong to me. My journey will come with obstacles and more trials. Doors might be shut. And that’s okay. Because…

This world is not my home. There is joy through sorrow. God is King. All of these are themes I’ve tried to convey in my YA Christian fantasy Evergreen and the Silver Tree, a book I am finished writing. I am now seeking the Lord for help in planning sequels as I take steps necessary to get this book published…Lord willing.

Will you pray for me?

I think my spiritual theme for this year, along with whatever else God chooses to teach me along this year’s journey, stems from II Timothy 1:8-9. We are “…suffering for the Gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted to us in Christ Jesus from all eternity.”

This year, I am looking forward to spending more time with my Savior. Lord willing, I’m looking forward to more bird watching, conversations with family and friends, The Chosen season 2, and querying literary agents.

God is good. To God be the glory.

“Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?

Matthew 6:26-27






One response to “Bird Watching: Reflections of 2020 and Hope for 2021”

  1. Cathy Smith Avatar
    Cathy Smith

    I loved this one . . . And, needed it❣️

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