I’d heard about people asking God for a sign, but I’d never done it myself.
“Have a good day!” I told my 13-year-old as she jumped out of the car. I’d already dropped off my other three at elementary school. By 8:00 A.M. I’d had a typical fall morning: breakfast, lunches packed, kids off. Now it was time to go home and tackle chores as usual.
When I walked back in the house the dogs wagged their tails and jumped up on my legs. “I know, I know.” Time to go out. They’d play in the backyard for half an hour and then want to be fed. I’d do a couple loads of laundry. In a heartbeat, it would be time to pick up the kids for an afternoon of snacks, homework and sports. Followed by our nightly routine: dinner, baths and bedtime. Sometimes it seemed like one day blurred into another. Raising a family had felt like an exciting adventure when my husband and I first married, but now life just felt comfortable. Rewarding, but routine.
I glanced over at the cozy desk in my sunroom where I did my writing. I wrote almost every day, in small spurts when I could find the time—little things, like devotionals and the odd short story. Nothing professional. But it was the one thing I did these days that was just for me.
Recently I’d had an idea for a novel, but I couldn’t imagine actually going through with it. There was no room in my schedule for writing anything of significant length. Much less trying to get it published! What an adventure, though, I thought. I hesitated in the doorway, captivated by the idea. One of my favorite authors, Paulo Coelho, asked God for a sign when he was just starting out. A white feather, he decided, would serve as a sign that he should take his writing seriously. When he saw a white feather in a shop window that same afternoon, Coelho went home and immediately got to work.
I looked at the Willow Tree Angel that sat on my desk, and caught a whiff of the dried lavender I kept beside her. Maybe my guardian angel was nudging me to ask God for a sign myself. Why not? A white feather will mean that I should just go for it. There, I’d done it! I’d asked for a sign.
The rest of that day, a Friday, went on as predicted, but I was alert with expectation, waiting for my feather.
“Let’s do something different today,” my husband suggested when we got up Saturday morning. “Like go for a walk in the fall woods.”
“You read my mind,” I told him. Something different was just what I needed. We rounded up the kids and drove to the Haw Creek Park, 85 acres of forest with lots of pretty trails to explore.
As we piled out of the car, I had an inspiration. “We have a special assignment,” I announced. “Keep your eyes peeled for a white feather. I’m hoping God will send me one.” The kids cheered as we set out on our divine treasure hunt.
The forest was alive with color. Gusty winds coaxed the last leaves from the trees. I reached out and caught a big pointy oak leaf midair. I twirled the stem between my fingers, marveling at the green, golden-yellow and crimson-red masterpiece. It wasn’t a white feather, but I put it in my pocket as a keepsake.
Farther along the trail, eight-year-old Brandon came running up to me. “I found something, Mom!” He put a smooth, round, beige stone in my palm. “It’s kind of white,” he said with a shrug. The other kids pointed out feathery palmetto leaves and golden grasses. Their dad claimed that a clump of wispy weeds waved in the breeze like angel wings.
“That’s cheating, guys,” I said. “Only a white feather will do today.” We all laughed.
Toward the end of our walk we came to a creek and crossed over a wooden bridge. A fluttering movement caught my attention. A blue heron took off from the bank, its magnificent blue feathers sparkling like a jewel in the sunlight.
“Well, I think we’ve seen every color in God’s rainbow today,” I said. “Who needs a white feather.” Besides, hadn’t God already given me a sign? By putting a dream in my heart? I could carve out time to work on a novel. It might be slow-going, but it would be fun.
By the time we got home the sun was setting. I wandered over to my writing desk. Some cobwebs glistened atop the curtains, so I grabbed my orange feather duster to wipe them away. As I cleaned, I saw something flutter to the ground and land near my feet. A white feather! I examined the duster, where no white feathers hid. Then I noticed a dream catcher that had gotten stuck behind the curtains. I’d hung it on the rod ages ago. A sure sign that God wanted me to trust the dreams he’d put in my heart and go for it.