Like the Sandhill Crane

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works.

Ephesians 2:10 ESV

I didn’t see the crane when I first climbed onto the jetty. I stilled, so as not to startle him. The sandhill crane is a strange bird.  His legs are a mile long and his neck isn’t much shorter. A patch of bald red skin atop his head contrasts sharply with his ashy-gray feathers.

He twists his neck into an S, bends it sideways, downward, and up again, searching for a snack. No insect or lizard here. A comical leap carries him to the sand.

He reminds me of me. Dubbed Granddaddy Longlegs by my brothers when I was thirteen, I felt unusual too. The sooner we learn appearance doesn’t define us, the happier we become. All God’s creations are unique in some way. When I finally outgrew my awkwardness and deemed myself acceptable, I was content.

For a while.

I soon fell for Satan’s ruse and let other worldly concerns define me, such as popularity, perfection, and personal achievement.

I taught Sunday School and served God through various other ministries, but I didn’t have a close relationship with Him. I wrote preschool Sunday School curriculum and articles for Christian magazines, but I didn’t brim with joy. My life was busy—overwhelming at times—but I wasn’t content.

Through a series of difficult seasons, God drew me close. As I grew in identity with Him, I stopped thinking about how others saw me. God’s approval became the only one that mattered.

Just like the sandhill crane. The crane doesn’t fret over appearance. He doesn’t covet the grace of his feathered friends. He accepts his worth and lives out life according to God’s plan. He has a higher calling than entertaining me. He mates for life, helps build the nest, incubate the eggs, and feed the chicks.

He’s content with his God-given traits: loyalty, devotion, and protectiveness. Comfortable with who he is as he ignores me and sticks to his purpose.

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  1. Thank you for sharing your personal story. It’s encouraging to know that someone has gone through the same feelings of inadequacy, but came through it with a closer relationship with God. It gives hope for us on the journey.

  2. One of the benefits of aging is that we become more comfortable with ourselves. I know this has been true for me.

    Still, I can learn lessons from the crane. Be content with my God-given traits, and stick to my purpose.

    Thanks, Candyce.

    1. Hi, Terri. I must have needed the reminders from the crane. Or maybe I saw the similarities as a way of celebrating a spiritual victory.

      Always value your input.

  3. Great lesson. We are beautiful in the eyes of our Heavenly Father. I love to see the cranes.

  4. That sand hill crane must have startled you! A good story to help us remember that only God’s approval matters. Thanks, Candyce!

    1. He was so quiet, I was startled — and pleasantly surprised — to look up and see him. He never gave any indication he knew I was there. Thank you for your comment.

  5. When I lived in Florida, I ran every morning. Sandhill Cranes we’re everywhere. One day one landed right in front of me on the sidewalk, spread his wings and stared me down. He was huge. Fortunately he walked away and we did not have a closer encounter. I love your message. I too wish I had learned this much earlier.

    1. Thank you for sharing your story. Did he/she have chicks nearby?

      I see them hanging out near the water on golf courses in Florida sometimes.
      Thanks for stopping by.

    1. Annie, that’s the truth. I hadn’t really thought about it as freedom, but you’re right. That’s exactly what it is. Freedom to do life better

  6. Candyce, I loved how you shared this. When we discover that our identity in Christ is all that matters it does bring joy. All the other aspirations such as appearance, popularity, or possessions cannot satisfy. The crane is a great example of how it fulfills the purpose God put it here for and gives us that valuable lesson of life also.

  7. Candyce, thank you for another beautiful story signifying God’s beauty and truth found in all His creation. I can relate in so many ways to your story, wandering, wondering, and wishing for what I wanted and thought best. I am so grateful that God was always there waiting for me.

    Girlfriend, we are truly blessed! May you always find joy along your journey.

    Jackie Freeman

    1. Thank you Jackie! So glad to hear you can relate. I regret missing out on many of God’s great gifts during my earlier, fledgling walk of faith, but His grace is big enough to erase the regret of yesterday and keep me focused instead on what is ahead. It’s never too late.

      We are blessed my sister. May we always be immersed in His love.

  8. Amen Ms. Candyce. It never ceases to amaze me how much God can teach us through His natural world, if we’ll only pay attention to it like you do ma’am. When I stop to consider all that God has shown me, it only convinces me more that He created this world to show His greatest creation how we should live. Thank you for giving us yet another example of how God uses all of His creation for our good. God’s blessings ma’am. Your honesty and openness is always such a blessing to your readers ma’am.

    1. Thank you JD. God delighted in His creation and when we pay attention and notice and appreciate it, He must smile. It’s praising His worthiness and giving Him glory, after all. As you said, we are His greatest creation and the dominion He gives us calls for us to celebrate and appreciate it as well as care for it.

      I’m imperfect for sure. Thankful for a God who never gives up on us.

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