If you are new to this blog, scroll down to read “Not Trampled, Part I
Summer breezes brought an urgent message to Ginger. In no uncertain terms, she let us know motherhood was calling.
When hens go “broody” they refuse to leave the nest. They fluff their feathers and make special clucking sounds that come only from a hen whose maternal instinct has surfaced.
Ginger had been of this disposition before, but we always dissuaded her by patiently removing the eggs and taking her off the nest. Since we were without a rooster, I knew Ginger’s efforts would have been futile anyway. It was interesting to see that even though she was 9 years old, (past the point where most chickens lay eggs, let alone want to hatch chicks) she was still interested in raising a family.
As I stood by the nest box, in the warmth of mid-July, watching Ginger guard the eggs she and Celeste had laid earlier that day, my heart softened.
“After all she’s been through, why not?” I thought.
I called a friend who has hens AND roosters and explained the situation. She graciously offered to give Ginger some fertilized eggs from her own hens. We decided on the number seven.
We met one evening at church. Morgan took the carton filled with potential life and held it all the way home as if it contained priceless Faberge eggs. In the dusky twilight, we slipped the eggs under Ginger. She nestled down on them contentedly.
The next morning, Morgan and Olivia went into overdrive once again on Ginger’s behalf. They carried tasty treats and water to her nest-side daily, limiting the number of times she needed to leave the eggs. They counted 21 days off on the calendar and circled the hatch day. Excitement built daily, almost like waiting for Christmas morning.
On August 7, Morgan and Olivia were up unusually early to check Ginger’s progress. They ran back in with exciting news. We all hurried outside in the fresh morning air to witness the miracle of hatching: 6 balls of fluff, 3 white and 3 black baby chicks.
Ginger turned out to be an exceptional mama. She taught her babies everything they needed to know, displaying some surprising characteristics in the process.
As the babies grew, we realized there were three hens and three roosters. It soon became obvious that the roosters, though siblings, would not be able to co-exist peacefully. Zeke, the smallest, had the biggest ego. One afternoon he repeatedly tried to spar with his brothers.
Finally, Ginger had enough. She backed Zeke into a corner of the pen and stood in front of him, not allowing him to escape. The girls and I watched, transfixed as Ginger kept him in “timeout.” Finally, she stepped aside and let him scoot past. The discipline cooled Zeke’s budding spurs for the rest of the afternoon. Had I not see that with my own eyes, I would have been in disbelief.
Ginger stayed with her off spring long past the time when most mama hens kick their juniors to the curb. She let the smallest, Harley Mae, snuggle with her in the nest box, even after the youngsters were old enough to get up on the roost.
We found good homes for two of the roosters, Zeke and Lewis, leaving Basil to reign as King.
After the two young roos left, Ginger must have decided it was time to let the others roam. It seemed her dream of mothering had been fulfilled. She was, however, yet to display another fascinating glimpse of her personality.
One afternoon, Olivia ran into the kitchen with news that Rosemary, one of the young hens, was limping. I followed her out to the pen and examined Rosemary’s foot and leg. There were no apparent thorns or obvious problems. We nestled her in a soft pile of pine straw and set food and water nearby. In order to give her peaceful rest, we opened the pen door so the others could free range. All of them hurried out, but Ginger remained, taking up a post by her young daughter. Even after her traumatic incident with the dog, she never before missed a chance to wander. Today, however, Ginger preened Rosemary’s feathers and stayed by her side. Once again Ginger opened my eyes in wonder.
As a family, we watched Ginger instruct, nurture, discipline and stand by her offspring, behaviors essential to good parenting. While I hope my girls will learn a few things about being a mom from me, I’ll celebrate every positive influence they get, no matter the source.
We have since added five new hens to our flock: Bluebell, Opal, Nutmeg, Stella and Lemon Balm. Ginger is still the matriarch. She continues to maintain order and lays three to four big, delicious eggs every week.
I encourage my girls to seek God’s plan for their lives. We talk about living a life that glorifies Him, but my words may take backstage to the lessons they’ve learned from one of God’s little creatures, a fluffy, determined and influential hen named Ginger, who refused to let her purpose be trampled by adversity.
Matthew 5:13 (NIV)
“You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is not good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled by men.”
Salvation is forever. It cannot be destroyed, stolen or lost. It will not deteriorate or fade or lose its ability to punch sin and death in the face. Belief in Jesus as your Savior guarantees eternal life. There are no take-backs, returns or exchanges. satan and the world cannot trample on what Christ did to gain eternal life for you. It’s permanent, because it has nothing to do with anything we do and everything to do with what Jesus did. (Ephesians 2:8, John 10:27-30)
In Matthew 5:13, Jesus isn’t warning us about losing our salvation. Instead, He vividly tells us to guard against losing our Godly influence.
Jesus says Believers ARE salt – we ARE a Godly influence. Not we will be, but we ARE. We ARE to model the character and attributes of an in-dwelling God for as long as God gives us life to do so.
As soon as we believe, we can begin telling others what God has done for us, even if we still have much to learn! We can begin shaking influence for the Lord into our world. The flavor of that influence will increase as we learn more about God and begin following Him with worshipful obedience.
We are called to be continually salty people who season our world with the gospel message and the character of Christ. We are to prevent moral decay by living and speaking the salvation message and God’s truths in a way that makes others thirst for more. We are to be influential for God with longevity of purpose. Being salty is not something we retire from!
The saltiness Jesus talks of is opposite to the world’s flavor, which can at times, be overpowering. So, how do we STAY salty? How do we increase our saltiness instead of losing it and getting trampled?
First, we remember that He who is in us is stronger than he who is in the world. We own the fact that Jesus lives in us and enables us to walk in victory instead of defeat. We refuse to let the lies of our culture suck us in and drag us down. We immerse ourselves in the Word instead of the world. We pray that God would work in and through us to develop the influence we have on others by capitalizing on the adversity and obstacles in our lives. We focus on developing the character of Christ, which will irresistibly draw others closer to God because of what they see in us.
We make choices to stay away from things that rob our salt supply and seek instead to keep going back to the source where we can replenish our salt stores daily.
We refuse to let our influence wane, so that we will NOT be trampled. We can do this, because we do it in God’s strength, not our own.
Refuse to be trampled. Let your Godly influence flavor every relationship you have!
Hey, Alexa, this one’s for you! Thanks for asking the question that inspired the Biblical moral for Ginger’s story!
Ginger and Basil are highlighted in the Photo Gallery! Also take a look at the new RECIPES page for Ginger’s Delicious Quiche.
Photo credits: M. Dalrymple