I’ve waited all spring for them. However, my aunt told me about migration charts and how I prepared too late for their arrival.

“Late April, early May,” she said.

My heart sank. There’s just something about hummingbirds that remind me about joy.

Maybe it’s the way they bring with them the warmth of summer after the bitter cold of winter. Perhaps it’s how, despite the incessant fluttering of their wings, time seems to stop as they hover mid-air over the feeders. The sight of them makes me feel alive, expectant; a whole lot of holy wrapped up in the tiny.

I think that might be why.

Why, despite my aunt’s predictions, I filled the feeders to brimming with sweet nectar and settled into waiting.

For the first few weeks the waiting was full of expectancy and anticipation. I found myself stopping mid-chore just to gaze longingly out our bedroom window hoping to catch a glimpse of fleeting glory.

Image by Roger Burkhard

Image by Roger Burkhard

Those weeks turned into more weeks, chores and life chewed up my expectancy. I forgot about the feeders and how they need to be changed regularly so the nectar doesn’t go rancid.

It seems crazy to admit it now but the disappointment in never seeing my joyful visitors at all this summer was keen.

I almost missed it. I was gathering laundry. Muttering under my breath about rolled up socks left to heap on the floor. Exasperation rising about Kleenexes, guitar picks and screws left in pants pockets. I felt the familiar rush of frustration and with it felt the whoosh of each heartbeat in my ears.

As my mutterings became full blown conversations in my head with my laundry-errant family members I caught a glimpse of movement out the bedroom window.

Time stopped, or so it seemed. I held my breath as I saw hope suspended before that ruby-red feeder. It was in that moment that I realized how much I wanted to catch a glimpse of a hummingbird. My eyes began to fill and through the shimmer of tears I watched as he hovered over the feeder but not drinking a drop.

Image by Tonya Salomons

Image by Tonya Salomons

The nectar was no good and I was unprepared.

With the tears still pricking at my eyes I took a seat on the edge of the bed and thought about the last few weeks. I thought about how it seems as if I have been absent from life. And with tears finally falling I’ve thought about mornings and days that have gone by without so much as a by-your-leave.

Time I would normally spend trying to fill those longing places in me have been exchanged for mundane hours in front of a screen, numbing a hopelessness that ran deeper than never laying eyes on a humming bird.

How is it that we never know how much we need saving? How is it that we never truly know how much the expectancy of God’s purpose in our lives gives us a hope that buoys us, keeps us from feeling there is no hope at all?

I’ve been questioning my faith. Questioning whether or not I fully live the hope of my salvation. Questioning is good, but only in the sense that it’s what keeps us moving toward Christ. Lately however, I’ve felt a fatalistic nature at the root of my questioning. Questioning became more about “what’s the point” then “how is God working through my life right now?”

Just like the days I stopped waiting for the hummingbirds, I have also stopped waiting for the hope of God. I’ve let despair become my companion and with it I have forgotten “to see the eternal in the midst of the temporary” (Henri Nouwen).

I count it a holy moment when those gossamer wings floated through my backyard last week. In the days since that encounter I have seen the moments in which God has called to me. He hasn’t called me from the distance, but from the place he has always been; beside me, with me.

From where I stand the only way out of despair is hope.

I haven’t seen a humming bird in my backyard since that day last week but every other morning I take the feeders inside empty them of the unused nectar and fill them once again. I want to be ready, I want to be prepared—even if I never see another hummingbird for the rest of the summer.

I want to live expectant, holding on to hope because God’s promises are trustworthy and sure (Hebrews 10:23).

And to those of you who find yourself here in this space, hope but a faint flicker, may you know the power of expectancy, may you find Him there beside you.

“So take a new grip with your tired hands and stand firm on your shaky legs… “ Hebrews 12:12

Tonya Salomons
Tonya Salomons / Posts / Blog
Tonya is the wife of 24 years to one good man and the mother to Mikayla and Dylan. She is learning that even though her and husband are entering their "empty nest" years the beautiful task of mothering is never ending. Tonya loves Jesus and hunts daily for the gifts of His grace. She writes over at Stone to Heart in hopes of having others recognize the beauty of their own story despite life's circumstances. Tonya and her family along with their two cats and one dog make their home in Southwestern Ontario, Canada.
  • Mary

    Thank you, Tonya. I can relate to this on so many levels. Your words touched my heart.

    July 13th, 2016 9:19
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      Mary, I am so glad these words found you, in this moment. Praying for you. (Hugs)

      July 14th, 2016 13:56
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    Tonya, this is simply lovely. I will read this over and over and take it to heart each time.
    Thank you!

    July 13th, 2016 9:30
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      Debbie, I love how God brings us to the encouragement we need most, again and again. Reaching over with a hug for you.

      July 14th, 2016 13:57
  • Emily Conrad
    Emily Conrad

    I have been learning again to hope in the midst of waiting, so this whole post so expresses where I am right now. Thank you for the reminder to hope, to keep filling the feeder, to be ready. Because, I too “want to live expectant, holding on to hope because God’s promises are trustworthy and sure.” Beautiful post 🙂

    July 13th, 2016 9:41
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      Emily, They are trustworthy and sure and they are often what keeps me still in the waiting. Praying that you feel God with you in every moment as you wait.

      July 14th, 2016 13:59
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    And lookie… there they are! Lovely words, spilling out… soul deep and true!

    I LOVE this, and you, my friend!

    I’m sitting down right now to writing this morning on Dragonflies… because, of course.

    Hummingbirds… Dragonflies… how our creative Creator speaks to well to our hearts and souls seeking beauty! I think it’s interesting also that Hummingbirds not only are birds which often symbolize freedom… they also symbolize the importance of slowing time and looking for sweetness… oh yes… that sounds familiar now, doesn’t it? xoxo

    P.S. Did you know that the pattern of their wings makes the Infinity symbol… so they also point us to eternity – which is always a good thing, yes?

    July 13th, 2016 12:49
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      Karrilee – I love this information on hummingbirds – no wonder they hold such a special place in my heart. Thank you my friend for you lovely encouragement and your prayers.

      July 14th, 2016 14:03
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    Leah Adams

    It seems that faith is being challenged and strengthened in many of us in this day. This post was so lovely and poignant. It blessed me so. Thank you.

    July 14th, 2016 4:13
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      I’ll be praying for you as you seek Him throughout your journey. {Hugs}

      July 14th, 2016 14:04
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    Hot damn, lokoing pretty useful buddy.

    March 8th, 2017 21:21

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