I can’t count the number of angel wings in my lifelong collecting that have been broken—there are so many. Through the years, most of the angels have been gifts from my husband. So breaking one is doubly disappointing to me. The beautiful white bisque angel—part of a duo—lost a wing, which was stored away until David (who has become a Master Gluer) could repair it. Unfortunately, the wing also disappeared, so I have a beautiful angel now woefully hiding in the tissue paper of a Christmas box.
When I set the angel Gabriel (which David gave me) on the coffee table beside the Advent wreath, I thought, Well, here’s one angel at least with two sound wings. Usually, he is stored carefully in the china cupboard. Most of the angels are safe in their protective environments, but that is not what beautiful things are for—they are to be seen, to be enjoyed, and in the case of the angels, to act as reminders of the unseen real.
When I placed Gabriel on the upside-down crystal bowl, I felt that slight nudge—Better make sure that is secure. It’s in a place it could be easily bumped. Gabriel survived the Christmas festivities, but not because I paid attention to this inward nudge. The game night was a different matter. Everything had to be removed from the table. The next day, when I put the Advent wreath, the basket of Christmas books, the filigreed-cut metal lanterns, the candlestick AND the angel Gabriel on his crystal tower, the same nudge came again: Better make sure that is secure.
This time I actually thought of a scheme to do so—a glass plate on the upended crystal-bowl stand would give Gabriel a more secure place to rest.
But before I could do so, I jogged the wreath, which jogged the crystal bowl, which jogged the angel who went falling/flying toward the fireplace. Sure enough, one wing lay broken in two pieces on the carpet.
Before Christmas, I had another nudge. We need to replace the downstairs windows; they no longer open and close, and some of the glass is cracked. Anderson Windows ran a promotional campaign that if there was a snowfall in the Chicago area (as measured at the weather station in O’Hare airport) of 2.5” or more by Christmas Eve, the windows (some $7,000 worth of them) would be free.
I have FREQUENTLY been sorry (as in the case of angel wings) when I didn’t pay attention to such nudges, so I went ahead and signed up for new windows (which will be replaced on January 17—what are they thinking?—in Chicago?). We forfeited the $230 for signing up that day for a very lengthy contract spelling out the terms of receiving free windows if it snowed in Chicago on Christmas Eve. Anderson had covered themselves by taking out insurance so if it snowed, everyone would win. I reasoned that I would rather regret losing the $230 sign-up fee less than the $7,000 replacement cost.
Praying for this felt difficult since Christmas Eve is a high travel day on roads and airports and in buses and train stations. If the nudge was from God, then it was simply a prediction of what the weather would be in the days ahead, so I left the outcome to Him. I must admit, when the weather reports indicated there would not only be snow, but a snowstorm, I felt vindicated. What a great story about obedience this would be. Weather watches and warnings were issued and ran in orange banners across the bottom of television screens and in the online weather reports. The prediction was for three to six inches.
Sad to report, there was not one single snowflake that fell in West Chicago (where we live) or at the O’Hare Airport regional weather station.
I still haven’t come to a conclusion on this. Did I do the right thing?—was the nudge I felt more of a gambler’s guess? Then what about the broken angel wing warnings and all those other times I’ve been sorry I didn’t pay attention?
Perhaps one day I’ll have a firmer feeling about all this. It may not be important when I reach heaven, but I would like to have a serious conversation about the ephemeral nature of interior nudges. For right now, I’m certain that angel wings are perilous things. Pay attention.
Award-winning author Karen Mains has long had an interest in spiritual formation and the obedient Christian walk. She has written about the God Hunt in her book by the same name, The God Hunt: The Delightful Chase and the Wonder of Being Found. A hardback copy can be ordered from Mainstay Ministries for $10.00 plus $4.95 shipping and handling. Contact Karen at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will be happy to autograph a copy for you.
Karen continues to write content for her Christian blog, “Thoughts-by-Karen-Mains.” In so doing, she desires to touch the lives of Christian women and men and help them find ways to walk closer with the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, through silent retreats, spiritual teaching, women’s retreats, Christian vacation opportunities, and other ministry activities, Karen helps each Christian woman and man receive vital spiritual food.
Through her Hungry Souls ministry, Karen serves as a spiritual coach to many Christian women and men, and teaches a mentor-writing class. And, through the Global Bag Project, she is working to develop a network of African women who sew exquisite cloth reusable shopping bags, Africa bags. This micro-finance women opportunity helps provide a much-needed sustainable income for struggling African families. For more information on this critically important project, please click here.
For decades, Karen and her husband, David, have served God through religious communications—radio, television, and print publication. They are the co-authors of the Kingdom Tales Trilogy: Tales of the Kingdom, Tales of the Resistance, and Tales of the Restoration. To find many valuable resources for pastors and congregations at the Mainstay Ministries main website, please click here.
Likewise, pastors will find special resources to help them prepare effective, life-transforming Sunday sermons by visiting David Mains’ website by clicking here.