Swans, Faith, and a Little Swanling Dress

He called me Easter morning before we headed off to church. My husband and his parents spent nearly a week driving from Pheonix, Arizona, through Canada and then to our home in Alaska. Six LONG days of driving. “We just saw about ten swans on a lake as we were driving by,” he said, “maybe they’re stopping here and on their way to our home.”

It’s always a thrill to see wildlife. Always. Fingerprints of a creative God, displaying glory, just by being who they are in all their uniqueness. But the animal that leaves me breathless with wonder, every single time, is the trumpeter swan. With a neck that elegantly curves to a head, outlined in striking black features, wings that take up an expanse to ride on mere air, and pure unadulterated white that marks them in ponds and lakes dotted along wild highways. While there are no swans that live near us, their migratory route has a resting spot two miles from our house. And if we catch it just right, we catch a glimpse of the magnificent birds resting in pairs on their way to nest for the spring, and multiplied with “ugly ducklings” in the fall.

Swans With Ugly Ducklings

Eleven years ago, one spring, I had strong desire to see a swan. It had been a long, long time. And I asked the God of the universe, like a child, “I’d like to see a swan, it has been awhile.” And then not a minute later, a giant single white bird flew right over my car.  My heart began to race, my eyes pooled with water, and I realized God had not only heard my innocent, frivolous desire, but He was increasing my faith.

So I said good-bye to my husband that Easter morning, on his meander, through the endless, wild expanse of the Alaskan-Canadian Highway (called the AlCan by locals), and I got my daughter ready for church, putting on her first Easter dress I had made with ruffles and swans. I used Violette Field Threads Clara Baby Pattern, and Bonnie Christine’s Swanlings Bevy Peach in the Hello Ollie line.  How appropriate, dressing her in a story of God’s faithfulness.

Swanling Dress

Sometimes, God works out faith instantaneously and we applaud God, and applaud our own short-term faith. Then there is the faith that waits decades for the things hoped for, the fabric that is saved for the daughter unseen. The faith that waits for years, decades, intermingled with questions and confusion, but at the proper time comes to fruition. Faith is merged with hope, and we see mountains move.

Swanling Dress

Swanling Dress

“Faith is the evidence of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen”…. And we want to have faith, because faith pleases God. But when we don’t see what was promised, we fumble, we worry, we wonder, did we really hear? Did we really see? “All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance.” (Heb 11:13). Those with the greatest faith believe God, even when it looks different than they had imagined, altered from what was planned. “These were commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that together with us would they be made perfect.” (Heb 11:39-40).

Swanling Dress

But faith, faith unlocks the door of possibility to the realm of the actuality. Faith sets eyes on Jesus when everything else looks like its falling. The writer of Hebrews knew this, that’s why right after writing about all the greats in the hall of faith in Hebrews 11, we are commended to “set our eyes on Jesus” immediately in the next chapter. Eyes on the promise isn’t enough.  Like a puppy being trained, we want an instantaneous treat, a reward for just believing. But the faithful ones, believe beyond seeing. We have to remind ourselves, that in the walk of faith, Jesus is the reward we are waiting for, the promise fulfilled is a sign He is faithful.

Swanling Dress

But God is gracious. He gives us treats along the way, like swans, signs to believe that He is with us, even when the promise is far off.  He shows us He is still near.

Swanling Dress

Swanling Dress

Even when the road is long, and the pressure of life is ready to unravel us. With eyes on the prize, we remember, He is good, He is for us, He is with us, and in the end He has something better planned, and it will be made perfect.

Thanks again for stopping by,

Cheryl