When Enough is Enough

When Enough is Enough

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Sometime this spring, a pair of robins built a nest and laid some eggs in the tree in our front yard. I watched them court (do birds court?) and take up residence in our yard. I’ve seen the mama sit patiently on the nest, hidden behind the leaves, and the daddy robin search the ground for food to feed the one who was caring for his babies.

He has faithfully defended his territory from other robins and I don’t how but I always seem to know which robin in our yard is him. He has a look about him. It says: I see you. I allow you to stay if you keep your distance.

There are babies now, and though he has more mouths to feed, the male robin seems unconcerned by this. He continues to bring food to the nest.

It is enough to make me weepy.

A few weeks ago, while attempting to water my near-dead plants on the porch, I discovered a nest inside the basket of my hanging fern. The babies were newborn and the discovery surprised me, but I have since been watching up close how nature takes its course.

I feared for the babies, worried that maybe I had scared the mama bird away with my meddling. But she returned and today I sat on a windowsill inside the house, the one closest to that corner of the porch and watched her feed the babies who now poke their heads over the edge of the basket.

My mother’s heart aches at the sight, and I can hardly look away. I know what it is to care for young ones, to answer their cries with food from your body, to nurture and protect.

I’ve told you before how I felt when I first became a mom, and since that first day of motherhood, I have often wondered if I am enough. If I can ever do enough or be enough or give enough. If I know enough or am trying hard enough. Some days, it exhausts me.

Then I look at the birds and how little they have. Yet, somehow, it’s enough.

Some mornings when I wake up, my husband smiles at me—a goofy grin that makes me uncomfortable because in it I see love.

Love I haven’t earned yet. Love I don’t always think I deserve.

Because first thing in the morning, all I’ve done is open my eyes. I haven’t made a meal or washed a dish or laundered a piece of clothing. I haven’t even spoken a word of love to him. Somehow I think if I had done any of those things, then he could smile at me with love.

But just for waking up next to me?

It’s almost too much because to him in that moment, I am enough just as I am.

I got a new cookbook recently. It’s based on the Food Network show Chopped, where contestants open mystery baskets and have to prepare a dish based on what’s inside. The cookbook is not as wild as the show, but it is teaching me more than just how to use the ingredients in my pantry.

“Use what you’ve got to make something great.”

The tagline practically jumped off the book’s cover to settle in my soul. Not: Go out and buy all new stuff and then you’ll be able to do something great. Or: You’ll never make something great so don’t even try.

Use what you’ve got. Make something great.

More than just food, that’s a motto for life. And the Christian life is no exception.

As Peter writes in his second letter:

His (God’s) divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. (2 Peter 1:3)

We who have Christ in us have enough to live a godly life in this world.

Before we do more. Or say more. Or gain more. Or become more. We have enough. And we are enough.

And we need not worry about our lives so much.

God takes care of the birds. He gives them shelter and food and life. Will he not do so for us as well?


Before we knew Him, He loved us. While we were still sinners, He loved us. When we go about our business, stressed and worried, wondering if He sees, He loves us. When we fall, He loves us.

His love is more than enough.

Lisa Bartelt About Lisa Bartelt

Lisa has been writing stories for more than a decade, first for newspapers and now as a freelancer, blogger and budding novelist. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two kids. Read more at her blog, Beauty on the Backroads.


  1. This is very sweet. ….


  1. […] for my birthday and I tucked it into the corner and watered it mostly faithfully. And then one day, I discovered it contained a bird’s nest. The fern eventually died and the babies flew away and my porch was empty of plant […]

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