Nurture by Nature – A Duck Family

“Nature itself is crying out for the nurture that women bring”– Lisa Bevere

Nurture {verb}: 1. To give tender care and protection to a child,, 

a young animal, or a plant, helping it to grow and develop. 

2. To encourage somebody or something to grow, develop,

 thrive and be successful.

Birds are singing sweet melodies all around me as I am sitting outside writing… love it!!

Last week I was sitting on a park bench reading Pastor Debbie’s new book “The Blessed Woman” and was loving every word! A water fountain was springing up from the pond I was close to and I was soaking up the sunshine.  All of a sudden a big gush of wind swept past me.  It really got my attention so I lifted my eyes from her book and saw a sweet “family” walking by me.  This family may not be what you would picture me describing.

For those of you that know me, you know that I LOVE NATURE!! God loves to speak to me about Nurture through His NATURE!  He captured my attention at this moment and began reminding me of some things He had whispered to me even before Embrace Grace began…

So this family that captivated me was a family of ducks.  I watched closely as this mama duck, her 3 ducklings, a daddy duck and this close duck friend (also a mama duck that stuck so closely to the mama’s side) and helped her guide the baby ducklings along this path. Immediately I stood up and began to follow the duck family and began taking pics.  These baby ducklings followed so closely behind their mama.  They walked up and over the rocks into the riverbed and began to swim in the pond. Always following their mama’s lead.  The daddy duck stayed close by and was a protector and had a watchful eye on me as I observed the ducklings.

My mind began to drift back to the days before Embrace Grace began and how he had brought ducks to our backyard to show me a sign of a mother’s amazing love for her little ones.  This “lady duck” made her first appearance in our backyard the very same morning that Pink Impact 2008 began (yes the very same Pink Impact that Amy and I attended and Embrace Grace was birthed in our hearts:)

I remember walking into our kitchen and glancing outside and noticing two ducks floating in our pool.  Logan was only 11 months old at the time and he really loved his duck ducks! He wanted to go and feed the ducks daily at the pond.  I could not wait to see the look on his face when he opened up his eyes that morning and saw real ducks swimming in our pool.  We could not wait any longer so we woke him up and took him to the window.  He began calling out duck duck, duck duck!! He was beside himself with sheer excitement!! He was clapping his hands and wanted to get closer to the ducks.

That morning began our journey with our duck family.  Soon after, they would just fly in the backyard at different times of the day and they would swim around and relax on the side of the pool.  One afternoon, April fools day to be exact, Cory walked in the house and said Gloria (oh yes, we named our ducks Gloria and Hal) had laid an egg and it was floating in the bottom of the pool… At this point I thought he was playing a fools day joke on me and I said, “Ha Ha! That’s so funny!  You just put a chicken egg at the bottom of the pool to play a joke.”  He said, “No seriously, she laid an egg and it’s at the bottom of the pool.”  I went outside to see for myself and saw Gloria at the edge of the pool and she was just a shaking her tail feathers and kept staring helplessly at the bottom of the pool.  Hal sat close beside her and was staring down at the egg too.  She looked so frazzled and sad that she had dropped her egg, probably unknowingly that she was about to lay an egg, and my heart hurt for her. (Even as I am typing this, my heart is hurting for those ladies that have miscarried or had abortions and the feelings they experience from their loss in their womb)

I picked up Logan and took him upstairs to give him a bath and I remember saying “Logan, mommy could not help Gloria with her baby duck egg, but we can help the mommies with their babies when they choose life!”  He just looked up at me with those beautiful baby blue eyes and smiled.

The next day, our ducks were back and this time they were on a mission. They were searching for the best place to make their nest.  Gloria would search high and low for the perfect spot for her nest. This time, she would be prepared.  She went in and out of the bushes by the pool, all around the trees, in and out and all around she searched and all the while, Hal followed closely behind her.  She found a perfect spot, so perfect we could not even figure out where she hid and made her nest.  We knew they were always around, swimming and bathing, fluffing and primping themselves as they dried off.  We loved watching them closely.  She would be sitting on her nest most of the day, and he would be on watch duty.

A few weeks passed by and we still did not know exactly where her nest was.  We knew it was getting close to hatching time! One day our landscaper found her nest and said she had 11 eggs in her nest, and it was right in our front yard under bushes where we had searched for her before.

One morning just after Logan’s first birthday, the time came for the ducklings to hatch!  We were able to watch it all with front row seats!  The first two ducklings that hatched (she may not have known what to do) so she pushed them out of the nest and they laid there almost lifeless… the next 8 ducklings that were born were yellow, fluffy and full of life and walking around.  While the first two were barely thriving, they laid there on the cold pecan mulch and were barely breathing.  The last two eggs sadly did not hatch.  After an hour or so, Cory picked up the first two ducklings that hatched and said they were not going to make it unless they were put under a heat lamp.  He took them to the garage and placed them in an orange bucket filled with fluffy straw and a heat lamp shining down on them to keep them warm.

Landan came home from school and went straight to the garage to check on the little ducklings.  They just laid there so still and barely hanging on…  But, when the ducklings would hear our voice, they would perk up and begin to thrive.  I would say, come on baby ducklings, you can do it, I know you are strong, you can make it… funny thing that the sound of our voice could encourage them to live and thrive.  And that is just what they did.  (Just as babies that are born prematurely and are in an incubator after birth, they begin to thrive by a warm & tender touch and respond to voices telling them you can do it, you are strong, I know you can make it!)

The very next morning, we woke up to see Mama Gloria leading all of her ducklings from their nest in the front to the back yard and she was taking them for their first swim. There they were 7 little ducklings waddling behind their mama to plunge into the pool for the very first time.   Landan ran to the garage and said, “Let’s re-introduce her to her first 2 ducklings since they are thriving now.”  He placed the 2 ducklings in the water and we all watched as the mama duck welcomed them under her wings.  She had a total of 9 ducklings now and they followed closely behind her.  Such a sweet moment to capture!

I remember asking God back then, what are your plans for Embrace Grace?  The moment I asked that question, as I drove on White Chapel Blvd., I saw a yellow Duck Crossing sign, and I began to laugh out loud and say, Ok God, I love your sense of humor and how you speak to me!  I am listening and am open to all that you have in store for your mama’s and babies!

Looking from where we are now, to back when Embrace Grace first started in the Fall of 2008.  We started out with 3 single pregnant mama’s. Of course, ducks were our “theme” for the first semester.  Since then, we have expanded and grown so much from our additions of mama’s and babies and our EG leaders and more.  Lots of growth in many ways 🙂

I can not help but look at the similarities of the “duck family” that God placed in front of me and captured my attention last week with the duck crossing…  That mama duck and her close mama duck friend had 3 ducklings.  These could be a picture of Amy and I with our 3 pregnant mama’s in the very beginning of EG.  We helped to show them how to “build a nest”, make a home for their baby, to nurture, love and care for their baby, and to trust God to watch over them.   The daddy duck represented God looking closely around and keeping a watchful eye and looking out for the ducklings and protecting them from danger and harm.

NestA snug, comfortable or cozy retreat or refuge; resting place; home; a shelter made by a bird out of twigs, grass or other material to hold it’s eggs and young.

To the pregnant mama’s…

During this time of your pregnancy, however far along you are, God has created a safe place for your baby to grow inside of you. Your little egg that was so small in the beginning, smaller than a little peanut, has been growing inside your tummy. You can picture a little “nest” inside your tummy that is surrounded by your warm body and love.  Your womb protects your baby and provides the nourishment that your little one needs.  God knows exactly what you and your baby need and He will take care of you.

Before delivery, pregnant mothers go through a “nesting” phase and start getting everything ready for the baby.  You start getting their blankets, clothes, and diapers all ready for when the baby comes.  Even though you may still be living at home with your parents, you are creating a little “nest” for your baby in your room.  This “nest” is created by providing a comfy, safe and warm place for your baby to sleep and grow.

I remember the sweet movie “A Cool Dry Place” that came out when I was pregnant with my first baby.  They were on a picnic and it began to rain… It showed how her “little man” was kept dry by placing him in a little ice chest with the lid off to protect him from the rain.  That is what we do as mothers.  We nurture and  protect our little ones so that they are kept comfortable, warm and dry.  Our arms hold and cuddle our little ones as a duck wraps her feathers around her little ducklings.

God will help you in making your nest as safe and comfy as possible for your little one.  Please do not get overwhelmed by all the “things” that need to be done.  Pace yourself and get plenty of rest.  It will all get done in time.  Many blessings!

To the mama’s that have delivered their babies…

Your little ones are being nurtured, cared and loved by you.  You provide a safe place for them to learn and grow.  Your little ones follow closely behind you just as the little ducklings with their mama duck.  You lead the way for them.  You are leading and guiding them by your example.  They follow after you and learn where to go, what to say, how to respond to all of life’s daily experiences.  You are their mama duck and you are doing a fabulous job!!

I loved watching the mama duck gather all of her ducklings under her wings.  No matter how many she had, only 1 or many, she was able to fit them all under her feathers… You embrace your little ones with loving arms and shelter them under your wings and protect them just as our loving Father shelters us.  He can fit us all underneath His wings at one time. Picture that!

He will cover you with His feathers. He will shelter you with His wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.  Psalm 91:4

Our duck family came back to our backyard the very next year and made another nest and had more ducklings. We watched as they made their way into the pool and down to the pond again.  We cherished these moments shared together and will always remember the “duck ducks”!!

God I thank you that you have given each mother a nurturing heart.  May she be able to “Nurture by your Nature” and to truly capture the sweetness and love that you have for them as mama’s, and also capture the sweetness and  love they share with their babies.  

Written by Salina Duffy

4 thoughts on “Nurture by Nature – A Duck Family

  1. That was so beautiful Salina! I can just picture God with ur all under His wings of protection, grace & love!! Thank you for sharing! Love you

  2. Thank you for this sweet tender picture of how we partner with our heavenly Father to raise our families…and I appreciate the reminder of His wings. Hyacinths for my soul!

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