God and a cardinal looking out for me.



RECENTLY I SPENT six weeks in an inpatient program designed for individuals to overcome the effects of PTSD, trauma, anxiety, codependency, and addiction. Every morning the residents would gather together for twenty minutes of meditation.

One morning, my two roommates and I were praying before walking up to the main house for our morning meditation time. I specifically prayed for God to send me a cardinal to show that everything was going to be okay.

As my roommates and I were walking the trail to the main house, a dead cardinal was directly in our path. Can you just imagine the agony I felt inside? I had just prayed for God to send me a cardinal as a sign that everything would be okay and now directly in my path lies a dead cardinal!

The panic inside my chest was immense.  I could feel every vein in my body pump the blood from my heart and my heart sink into the pit of my stomach. I cried out to God, “What does this mean, Lord?” The feelings of desperation and despair overcame my body and emotions.

I could not maintain my composure. My two roommates tried to console me. Then one of them said to me, “Maybe God is telling you to stop asking Him and to just trust Him.” Her words spoke clearly to me. My body stopped shaking, my tears dried up, and my heart stopped racing.

We stood there and prayed again together. Later that afternoon, I received mail from home. I opened a letter from my parents and inside was a card with a picture of a cardinal on it. I just started laughing and said, “I know that is you God and your timing is perfect!”

Today, four months after that day, I sit in my backyard for quiet time with the Lord. Morning meditation and prayer time is essential to my recovery. I like to sit outside as much as possible during this time.

So this morning I am sitting under a canopy of trees and I am listening to one of my favorite praise songs, when suddenly I am joined in worship by a cardinal. He is signing as loudly as he can just above my head. I smile and say, “I know that is you God and I am trusting you. Your timing is always perfect.”

Photograph: J Gerald Crawford
Photograph: J Gerald Crawford


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  • Faye Crawford

    Life has knocked you down a few times and shown you things you didn’t want to see. Through your storms, you have been a light to others so they can find their way through you. Through your faith, your silent prayers are heard and answered. This is an inspiring story.

  • Linda Pirtle

    Deitra, the word “wait” is a good word. All obstacles and problems are resolved in God’s time, not ours. Sometimes, it seems as though life throws us more mayhem than we can handle. Remember, though, that we are promised that “nothing can separate us from God’s love.” We just have to hold that thought in our hearts as we pray each morning.
    I have to say that more than once in your lifetime, you have reminded me of myself. I am impatient and don’t like to wait. When something is wrong, I want to “fix” it, and I want to fix it now. I learn life’s lessons the hard way. You’d think that at my age I would know better. When I grow old, I will mellow out, but I’m a long ways from that right now.
    Are you sure you aren’t my daughter?
    Love, Your Godmother.

    • Faye Crawford

      Linda, I gave birth to her, but I’m not sure that she isn’t yours.


  • Caleb Pirtle

    A beautiful and unforgettable story, Deitra. God touched you, and you have touched others. God sent you a cardinal, and you have sent the cardinal on to the rest of us.

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