I sipped my coffee, tiredly waiting for the caffeine to hit my system, and watched while my daughter scurried around the kitchen, retrieving her items from every counter to fill her backpack. My teenagers know mom’s not a morning person and can luckily fend for themselves for breakfast while I attempt consciousness.
Although my eyes were barely open, my ears perked up to a low, deep, whoo-ing sound outside the window. I tiptoed quietly outside to the deck, not to disturb the preparations of the morning, and also whatever was making the sound.
There, high up in the cottonwood tree, silhouetted in black against the dim blue, early morning sky, I spied the telltale pointed ears of a Great Horned Owl. Even from my vantage point I could tell he was of considerable size. The long, low whoo, whoo continued. Nighttime is his comfort zone and he was ready to make his exit with the day arriving soon.
As our dog barked to go outside, the Great Horned owl took flight, it’s large wingspan unfurling into the brightening sky. As I held the leash while my doodle found a suitable spot, I heard my neighbor’s new rooster cock-a-doodle-do-ing. His crow harkened a new day, waking up the neighborhood.
The owl was exiting his night, and the rooster was entering his day.
Exits and entrances.
Our God is a God of order. All of nature follows the rules He has put in place. The owl knows when his night shift is over, and the rooster instinctively crows at the crack of dawn, awaking all to the day. If God watches over the exits and entrances of this animal kingdom, how much more must He care about our human exits and entrances, since we are made in His image, His most precious creation?
Psalm 121 says,
I lift up my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed he who watches over Israel will not slumber nor sleep. […] The Lord will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going, both now and forevermore.
This chapter first became meaningful to me on a college trip to Europe. My passport had been stolen and I had to stay by myself in a foreign country with strangers until the paperwork was resolved. My parents had no idea of my situation.
It was just me and the Lord.
God assured me through this psalm that He was watching over my coming and going, my exits and entrances across borders of countries where I didn’t know a soul, on trains where I wasn’t sure I’d be able to understand the language enough to get off at the planned stop. Trusting my welfare to strangers, because I had no other choice. Which is a lot of trust for a girl that grew up in a tough, inner-city environment.
So when I heard the owl asking “whoo, whoo” the other morning, I was reminded to answer, “You, Lord.”
You know what I am exiting at this stage of my life, and You know what You want me to enter. A difficult year is ending, and a new year is beginning.
Exits and entrances. The rooster is harkening a new day, and I am assured that my God is ordering it all.Leave a Comment
Adeola Odutola says
Lord please watch over my going out and coming in for there are situations in my life that are asking me where is my God. To your name O God my Father give glory. Amen
He is the God that sees all. If he can make sure the sparrows are fed in the winter, He can watch over you. I pray you can rest in His comfort, safety and peace.
Siedah Frazier says
Loved this. I spent yesterday kind of blah with the end of Obamas adminstraton and the beginning of Trumps and the uncertainty of it all. As well as attending a speaker series for special needs parents that dealt with grief was a lot for one day. This was very timely! Remembering God is in control of it all!! Thank you
It’s good to remind ourselves of His sovereignty when the world feels out of control. As a certain worship song repeats, “God will make a way when there seems to be no way, He works in ways we cannot see, He will make a way for me”…That chorus rings in my head many a day!
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
What beautiful and tangible imagery! I have kind of adopted the motto, “God’s got this!” It’s not from a specific passage of scripture, but over and over again the Word speaks of God watching over our comings and goings. He tells us time and time again “Do not fear…do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous (victorious) right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10). He is sovereign and He is in control. The short version is “God’s got this.”. He is more than able to handle anything that gets my feathers ruffled or my hair raised in fear. Like you said, if He has the animal world covered, how much more so does He care about our exits and entrances? Loved this…”God is ordering it all”…Amen!
Isaiah 41:10 is my all time favorite verse & has been since I was young! “God’s got this” is a great mantra!
Hi Lora. Thank you so much for your encouragement. Words like God’s got that amazing mantra. We do not have barn owls in new zealand. So this picture is a beautiful reminder of God’s creation. He is in control. Bless u
So glad you appreciated it, Paulene. I love hearing the owls around my home. It just always seems special to me. Thanks for the comment!
Laverne Stanley says
I needed these words of encouragement this morning. I am exiting one stage of my life (retiring) and entering another, seeking his guidance on what He wants me to do for Him in the next stage.
He will be faithful to you in this transition. I’ve had a hard exit this past year and am navigating where God wants me to land next. I just keep reminding myself how He’s put it all together in my past-better than I could have imagined myself!
Oh Laverne, I am contemplating retiring, as well. I have worked at a Juvenile Office for 35 years and I don’t really feel ready to leave because this has been my whole life. I think it would be better for my health, though, if I were to leave. There would be more time for exercise rather than just sitting at a desk for much of the day. I listen all the time, but I cannot hear what God wants me to do—to stay or to exit.
Michele Morin says
Just this week the dog and I spied a barn owl, hunting at dusk and presiding over a hay field from his crooked branch. Such loveliness and what a gift, as are your words today about Psalm 121. Our stories collide in so many ways because I just finished teaching about Psalm 121 with the women of my church. So good to be reminded that He neither slumbers nor sleeps — even in the midst of entrances and exits when we don’t know what’s waiting on the other side of the door. We know He’s there, waiting.
We just saw a bard owl this week too! So majestic. Every time I read Psalm 121 and read that “He neither slumbers or sleeps”, it’s like a warm blanket wraps around me and I feel safe. Good stuff.
This was a solid article and so timely for those of us new to being empty-nesters! God is holding us up as we exit the high school years and move toward college and beyond. He is with us and we need to trust His plan as we move ahead. Thanks for this article!!
I’m soon there too and have been anticipating it also…rough time. But God will show us new ways to serve Him because life’s a marathon, not a sprint. He is faithful to those who seek Him.
Melanie Carlson says
I’m traveling to the second to the last swim meet my son will swim in. He is a senior in college and getting married in May. Our days of sitting in bleachers watching him give his best on the field or in the pool are rapidly coming to an end. That exit leads to the beautiful entrance of our new daughter in law, Jillian. Thank you Lord for your faithfulness in every stage! In moments when I am sad about what is passing, help me to slip my hand in yours knowing I can trust where you are leading!
Thanks for the encouraging words that God can bring new things to us that can be as satisfying as where we’ve been. He is Creator and has a huge imagination!
Beautiful! Thank you.
Pearl Allard says
Lora, you had me at “My teenagers know mom’s not a morning person and can luckily fend for themselves for breakfast while I attempt consciousness.” Glad I’m not the only one, though my kids aren’t teens yet. But the message…glad I read the whole thing. Thank you. Needed to hear that today.
Glad it met you where you are today. And although my kids are teens, they’ve known since they were little that mama needs her coffee to be happy in the morn;) The upside-I can stay up late for those late-night teen talks!
Wow how neat! Thank you! Ps. 121 was the special Ps. I felt the LORD gave me for our daughter as she went away to college 11 years ago. Now I need it even more for our precious grandbabes who are being mistreated by that same daughter and her husband, who have turned to terrible child-rearing philosophies and away from GOD’s WORD about loving and caring for these precious babies. I am despairing as they cut us off and will not allow us to even mention GOD’s truth to them, even as we see this happening before our very eyes. The responsibility I feel to do something to help these babies is overwhelming, and the knife piercing my heart that I haven’t tried hard enough or haven’t heard HIS direction, missing HIS will to help is devastating me.
Oh, your mom and grandma heartache makes me weep. Our children need to find their own way and sometimes that road is not as straight as we’d like. Rest and know that your prayers are heard and your tears are seen. God can watch over those children through others even when you cannot be near. He’s got connections far beyond what we can imagine. Just pray…and ask everyone else you know to pray also. May God’s sovereignty bring you peace.
Rebecca L Jones says
What a wonderful Psalm to meditate on. It’s good you could do it at such a young age.
Thank you Lora, for getting back to me and others. For a long time, I have asked others to pray also, and I know they are, and I am so thankful. I am just concerned we are living in a day that we as Christians can be lulled into saying and believing and acting on…”let GOD take care of it”… when HE really has something for us to do to in the answer. Esther, Jochebed, Deborah, Abigail, Jael, Rahab, Johosheba (II Kings 11) just to name a very few of the women who did major things under GOD’s leadership to save their family and their whole nation as well, (and of course the multitude of men who did a WHOLE lot, too)! Even when we stand still and see the salvation of the LORD, there is a place and something HE has for us, somehow. I just don’t want to miss or have missed what HE would have me to do for these babies, (especially plagued because I have so many fears and worries, which I am not supposed to!) Our daughter has isolated herself so much, trying to cover up thinking that no one knows what is really going on. I know GOD sees. She is mainly around people who have only known them for a year, and those don’t know what is happening. And people don’t speak up for babies anyway. They think it is none of their business and don’t want to interfere. I am certainly praying and trying to trust that HE will bring about conviction and repentance by whatever means HE wants, and that HE will protect the babies. We just don’t want to miss, as I said, anything HE wants us to do for these babies. In much of past ages, the parents lived nearby and it was normal to help with babies and teach parents some things about baby-care and child-rearing. Now many websites, counsellors and books, even Christian…say to just cut off your parents for basically any reason and certainly if they say anything in baby-child rearing areas. How unbiblical and from the pit!
That tightrope between prayer and action can be a tricky one, NJ. I’ll send up a prayer for wisdom and discernment for you.
Lora, Thank you so very much for understanding and for your prayers. May HE bless you as you continue to follow HIM in your service to others, including us and our grandbabies and daughter and son-in-law.
Maria Mullins says
I really can identify with this post ! I love the title and so thankful for your gentle reminder that God has all our ‘Entrances and Exits’ in His control!
Glad it ministered to you today, Maria. Thanks for commenting!
And, He’s always there at each door, welcoming us in or walking out with us, isn’t He? Such a comfort to know our entrances and exits through life’s seasons are ordained by Him. 🙂 Thanks for sharing, Lora. 🙂
So scared because I keep making the same mistakes at work and I’d already been put on a probationary period at work..now facing a situation when I go in on Monday and reallly worried I’ll lose my job. This devotion was comforting and timely. I guess I struggle with anxiety and fear. Please pray for the presence of God’s peace and wisdom for me
Will do, Jessica! He knows the plans He has for you and will be at your side along the way. Hold onto His big, strong hand.
Beautiful! Thank you Laura ❤❤
Barbara Bernstein says
Thank you for your message. My dear husband of 52 years went to heaven unexpectedly 4 months ago. At the same time we were moving homes therefore my life is one of exits and new beginnings at present. God is teaching me again to trust Him as He will be there in whatever situation I find myself in. I am learning that as I have to take responsibility for everything now that I can rely on God and I will trust Him to meet all my needs just as He meets the needs of the birds of the air. Barbara Bernstein.
So sorry for your great loss, Barbara. The entrance into this new season of your life will definitely be an opportunity for God to show you His great provision and lavish love. He knows just what you need.
I think it’s so awesome that God continues to teach us at all ages and stages of our lives. I often have the mindset that when im farther along in years I’ll surely have it all figured out by then!! Lol! But God in His kindness is always drawing us closer and calling us to be more and more like Jesus! Barbara I’m so sorry for your loss. But am so encouraged by your willingness at this stage in your life to remain flexible and tuned to God!! Blessings!
Thank you for sharing this. As the psalmist said there is no where we can go that God is not there! Nothing can separate us from His Love!
So true, Leigh. We always think that “someday I’ll…” but the truth is our relationship with God is dynamic, always changing. Giving him more of our trust through all the stages and transitions of our lives will provide us with peace and comfort. Thanks for your comment!
Mary Hood says
Beautiful and timely for all of us. A call to be still and know that He is God. Thank you.
This was just beautiful— a glorious and restful read for my Sunday afternoon.
Thankyou, Poiema. I appreciate your kind words:)
Beth Williams says
I see a very inviting picture of Jesus lovingly watching over His little children. God continually admonishes us “Do Not Fear, Worry, Etc.” Why? Because I am with you, watching you always. This scripture paints a gorgeous picture “The Lord your God is near. He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you. He will quiet you with His love. He will rejoice over you with singing.” Wow. Imagine God rejoicing over me with singing. Helping me through many exits and entrances. Each new year for about 3 years now has brought new challenges with my aging dad. It has been hard to know what to do. But God is faithful and watched over me. He gave me the answers. Like Bev I now say “God’s Got This” and “God is in Control”!
I have traveled that road with elderly relatives and there is much to learn about slowing down, about unconditional love, and about our good, wise God. May you be blessed for your care.
I am reading this a day late, yet it’s still so timely in my life! There are daybrightener calendars in both my home and office space; this post confirms everything my calendars have told me for the past week. I am new to empty-nesting, but nobody sees it as empty-nesting, because we started over and have a 5-yr-old at home. Still, my heart aches for 3 teenagers with a 14-month age range who seemingly all left at once, taking their friends and their noise and their mess with them! I know I am being called to community, but I have no idea where I am to serve now that my days with the Youth Group are done. Thank you for reminding me that He will choose; I am only called to say “Yes” when He does. 🙂
Just looking through the comments from this post reminded me how many different exits and entrances we each have in our lives. I’m humbled that God used my words to minister to so many in painful and stressful situations. I, too, have 3 kiddos quite close and am already anticipating that empty nest, but ironically had not been thinking of that when I wrote this. Looking back on my life, I can see how God has been faithful through all the stages, ins and outs of trials, jobs, relationships; this is the hope and comfort I’m glad I was able to extend to you and others. Have fun with your new parenting adventure! God is a creator of new things!