When I was four months pregnant with my son, Isaiah, I went to visit my grandparents’ home. They live off of a busy street, which is known for its speedy travelers. As I exited my car, I noticed something moving along the side of the road. Curious to see what brave yet foolish creature it was, I walked toward the road. I saw a Mallard Duck, with an obviously injured wing, wandering too close to the road. Concerned for the duck, I slowly walked closer to him in order to steer him from the road. I noticed, however, the closer I got to him, the farther onto the road he went.

It was sprinkling outside, and even though I had just gotten my hair done, my only concern was for this poor animal. The duck was now in the middle of the road, and seeing the cars quickly approaching, I took it upon myself to wave the traffic to a stop so I could steer the duck off the road. The drivers seemed amused by the scene, but that duck was not pleased. He scurried off the road the best he could and waddled into the neighbor’s yard. I could have left him alone there, but I knew if I did he would most likely find himself right back in the road, oblivious to the danger around him.

I chased and chased after him, but he was one tough duck! He zigged and zagged, and darted and dodged me. Finally he seemed to slow down a bit, obviously tired from all the running. Now he was headed toward the ditch. I knew I couldn’t get him in time, and that it was only a matter of seconds before he fell into the watery ditch. Sure enough, down he went.

Down the into the ditch the weary duck tumbled, and with a splat he landed feet first into some fresh mud. I stood above him and watched him for a few moments. He was struggling to loosen himself from his muddy prison, only to find that the harder he fought to free himself, the deeper into the mud he got. Finally, he became still, submitting himself to the fact that he was indeed stuck. No matter how hard he quacked and squirmed, he was one stuck duck.

The duck in his helpless condition moved my heart with compassion. Paying no mind to my new chunky-heeled boots, I plopped myself into the muck and tossed my jacket over the frightened duck. I slowly picked up the now-trembling duck and with the tenderness of a new mother, I whispered to the duck, “Hush, everything will be okay, you are in my hands now.”

In the now pouring rain I crossed the road back to my grandparents’ home. Inside I called the local animal shelter only to find they had closed for the evening. My grandfather told me just to leave the duck outside to fend for himself, but I knew he would make a great guest in my apartment, so I packed him up in soft towels for the ride to my place. I decided to name him Mally, and it suited him well.

I tended to the duck all night– I fed him, changed his paper (which he dirtied very quickly), and even gave him a swim in my tub. The next day I tearfully (I was pregnant, so I was emotionally sensitive) brought him to Angels of Animals. They said he was about a year old, and that his wing was injured, but nothing too serious. Though not mine any longer, I knew he was in good hands.

That night as I spent time with the Lord, He revealed to me a different outlook on what took place the day before with dear Mally. Sometimes God uses everyday events in our lives to illustrate something we need to grasp. I thought about how I came to find Mally, and what unfolded with his rescue. This time, however, I was the duck, and He was the concerned observer.

There I saw myself, wounded and wandering too close to danger. Completely ignorant to the peril that lies before me, I continue on my destructive way. The Lord, moved with compassion at my need, comes to my deliverance, but the closer He tries to get to me, the farther I run from Him. Just like how only I noticed the cars racing toward Mally, God sees what lies ahead for me, waiting to spring upon me and bring me harm. Still, I keep on running.

Zigging and zagging, darting and dodging I run with my selfish ways. He is not scared off by my flapping arms and yapping tongue, for God is steadfast and stirred with unending love. I come to the ditch’s edge and down I go. Tumbling, tumbling, tumbling into a fresh pit of mud. I squirm and struggle trying to break myself free from my muddy prison. The harder I fight, the more deeply embedded I become.

Brokenhearted by my distress, the Lord watches me, always by my side, though I am unaware of His constant presence. He is God and can save me at any moment; however He waits … until the moment comes when I stop fighting, when I stop trying to be my own god, and when I stop trying to win my own battles.

Finally exhaustion settles in, and with a sigh of defeat, I submit to my helplessness. It is at that moment that He swoops down into the mucky ditch with me.

You see, sometimes the Lord lifts you up from the mire, and sometimes He seems to get down with you only to restore you in spite of your current situation. It doesn’t matter to Him that you are covered with filth, that you have nothing to give Him in return. He doesn’t want your garments, nor your possessions.  What He wants is you.

It seems as if my eyes have been covered, for I cannot see where the Lord is taking me next. I can either choose to struggle against Him, or I can find rest in His arms and have faith that He is taking me to safety. Though others may think I should be left to fend for myself, He tenderly picks me up and holds me close to His heart, and gently whispers, “Hush, everything will be okay. You are in my hands now.”

Nothing can test the heart like the journey of adoption. Whether an adoptive parent, an adoptee, or a birth parent, walking the road to or from the adoption choice is not an easy pass. There are times in which we have been hurt, deceived and left to fend for ourselves. We may find ourselves stuck in a ditch, with no hope in site. During the times in which the grief over the placement of my daughter was too much for me to bear alone, down He swooped and carried me on.

Are you staggering down a road of unseen danger? Do you find yourself struggling incessantly in the muck of your own will? Stop wrestling with the One who loves you … release yourself to Him and wait for Him to swoop down and deliver you. He has His gaze upon you. After all, His eyes are upon the sparrow– and that goes for ducks as well.