That Time a Nest was My Refuge

I awaken to the sound of heavy rain encompassing me. nestbedThis second floor sleeping porch contains one piece of furniture – a large bed surrounded on three sides by floor to ceiling windows, setting me high amongst the trees.

Sliding down into the soft sheets, I pull up the covers, thankful for my cozy refuge from the outside world. Nothing, it seems, can touch me here.

For the first time in my life, I have the sensation of being in a nest, dwelling in the shelter of God’s wings.

And I remember that in the original language of the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for “to dwell” is sometimes translated as “to nest.”

eagleinnest“He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge.” (Psalm 91.3-4 NIV) I recall how baby chicks rush under the mother hen at the first sign or sound of danger. Because she holds them tightly, they can nestle into a sense of safety and security.

I believe this is exactly how God wants me to feel about Him —  my true Refuge.

Nesting in my bed, I think back to the previous week when I had been reading a favorite book to my precious grandgirl- “Are You My Mother?” by P.D. Eastman. The story is simple but it cleverly reinforces the sheltering refuge of the home nest to those who are lost and wandering. In that story, after asking every creature she encountered “Are you my mother?” the baby bird finally ends up safely back in the nest only to realize that her mother is the one who nourishes her and shelters her.

nestpdSo often I relate to the psalmist’s yearnings, “I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.”  (Psalm 61:4 NIV) David wants God to be his forever nest. He’s had enough of running and hiding and maneuvering and outwitting. He just wants to snuggle under those wings and be safe.

Is this the longing of your soul as well?

If so, all you have to do is call upon the name of the Lord. And that’s pretty simple. It can even sound something like “God, are you there?” or “Dear God, help me.” Or you could just groan and He will understand.

Hannah Whitall Smith discovered this the hard way when tragedy came. “The secret of His presence is a more secure refuge than a thousand Gibralters. I do not mean that no trials come. They may come in abundance, but they cannot penetrate into that sanctuary of the soul, and we may dwell in perfect peace even in the midst of life’s fiercest storms.”

nestdwellsignIt’s time to stop asking everyone you meet some version of “Are you my refuge?”

And start dwelling –nesting – under the shelter of the One who knows you best and loves you most.

under the mercy, Cindy

©2016 Lucinda Secrest McDowell

under the mercy, Cindy

©2015 Lucinda Secrest McDowell

dwellingplacescoverabingdon-excerpt from the “Dwell” season of Dwelling Places – Words to Live in Every Season by Lucinda Secrest McDowell, Abingdon Press, June 2016. Available in Paperback and Hardcover.

Preorder from Amazon HERE

Preorder from ChristianBook HERE


  1. Jim Douglas on January 13, 2016 at 4:30 pm


    James O. Douglas
    Partner | ASLA

    landscape architecture | planning | urban design |

    120 29th Avenue South | Nashville, TN | 37212
    T. 615-327-4447 | F. 615-321-3004

  2. Marty and Betsy West on January 13, 2016 at 5:43 pm

    Another wonderful and encouraging post! Thanks!


  3. Michael McDowell on January 14, 2016 at 1:21 pm

    Beautifully said & to be remembered again & again!

  4. maggierowe on January 14, 2016 at 4:40 pm

    What a powerful question: “Are you my refuge?” I will remember this metaphor. Beautiful piece, Cindy. Can’t wait for the book!

  5. Cynthia A. Lovely on January 18, 2016 at 11:03 am

    Beautiful thoughts…

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