It was just a pile of twigs and grass hastily shoved into the barest form of a nest.
Wedged between the concrete wall and the curtain rod, this tiny home had been built by a lazy bird, not one overly concerned with looks or safety.
This was the second time we'd arrived at church to find the pigeon's nest gracing the front of our meeting room, a bedraggled mess to ornament our place of worship.
John reached to pull it out of it's semi-hiding place tucked along the top of the curtains just like he'd done the last time we'd been to church.
This bird needed to find a better place to care for it's young.
But this time when he tugged that handful of dirt and sticks, a perfect white oblong tipped over the edge.
He caught that tiny egg in the instant before it smashed into the floor and then placed it carefully back into the quiet hollow of its home.
In those few seconds, my mind sped backwards to a dull, taupe dorm room with rough brown carpet thousands of miles and many years from where my body now stood.
I had been seeking God's clear direction about the steps ahead of me, steps that included marriage, a move halfway around the world, and the hazy future of trying to live out the rest of my life sharing the gospel with those who'd never heard.
These were big, exciting, intimidating steps, and I was afraid.
While I wanted to get married with everything in me, and I did not doubt God's call for me to go, I was terrified of trying to raise my future family so far from anything I'd ever known.
As I sat huddled in a corner of that room, God opened my eyes to a verse of Scripture...
Psalm 84:3 ~ Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O LORD of Hosts, my King, and my God.
As I mulled it over, my love called and said he had something he wanted to tell me, but first he wanted me to talk to his mom.
She assured me that she didn't want to bother me, but she wanted to share a verse God had given her that morning that she thought might be an encouragement.
It was the same one I'd been pondering just a few minutes before.
But why? What about this verse had she been able to grab a hold of that seemed to be alluding me?
As John got back on the phone, he shared that he too had come across the same passage and immediately thought of me.
When I questioned what exactly he was referring to, he began to paint a word-picture of the smallest of birds looking for a place to build her nest.
In time she flitted into the quiet of the Tabernacle. It seemed safe inside.
She darted from pillar to corner to curtain's edge until she spotted the altar, and there began weaving sticks, twigs, and grass into a home for the little ones to come.
It wasn't a safe place, all these flammable materials crowded under the leg of a burning altar, but it was her home and this is where she would lay her young.
God wasn't calling me to a safe place to raise my own children.
To pack up all my hopes and dreams along with some clothes and towels and cooking pots and fly halfway around the world and begin a life, and raise a family, and preach the gospel could be called anything but safe, but if it was where God wanted me, could I not trust Him to take care of me?
Could I trust Him though the fires might rage above me?
As my mind leaped back to the present, I was awed.
Amazed that God had not only brought me to the place He had for me, but had given us a home here, and blessed us with four children here, and given us spiritual children and a church family to love and train and learn and grow with here, and had proved Himself to us over and over here.
This place where He'd brought us through the fires......
here....a nest in His altars.
*The print is from BeSmall Studios which sadly doesn't sell them right now. Maybe someday!