Preserved by Purpose: Lessons from the Birds

Shewanda Riley

As the day continued, I began reading a book and forgot about the chirping. I still heard it but figured that it was the birds outside enjoying the sunny day. Nevertheless, when I walked to my front door from checking my mail, I noticed that there was a lot of bird poop on my front door. “How in the world did that get there?” was my first thought. I opened the door to go back into my house but made it a point to look closely behind my door wreath and was surprised by what I saw: a small clump of twigs attached to the wreath.

“How in the …what in the..?” I couldn’t finish the questions because I was confused on what I was looking at. Was that a bird’s nest on my door wreath? I quickly closed my front door and prayed for a strategy to get the wreath and bird poop off my front door. As much as I didn’t want to disturb the nest, it couldn’t stay on my front door and had to be moved.

My weapons of choice for this battle were household cleaning gloves, a broom and spray bottle filled with a homemade disinfecting solution of vinegar, water, and baking soda. When I gently lifted the wreath from its holder, at least 3 small birds flew out, obviously agitated that their home was being moved/destroyed. I stood back from wreath that now lay on the ground amazed at the large size of the nest. “How long has that been on my door?” I wondered. A little disappointed that the birds had ruined one of my favorite door wreaths, I started to disinfect the door. It took me close to an hour to get all the poop off the door, porch, and door mat. Perhaps I was feeling guilty about destroying their home or maybe I was haunted by visions of Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds,” but as I was cleaning I kept looking over my shoulder making sure an army of angry birds wasn’t headed my way.

Once my door was clean and I was back inside my house, I heard some very loud chirping outside my front door. I worried about now being on the “Bird Hit List.” Would they get revenge on me by chirping outside of my window at all times of the morning? But secretly, I marveled at their boldness.

Those birds built a nest and had birthed some baby birds without regard to whether they had permission from me to do so at my house. They did what came naturally.  I think as we as Christians need to have that same kind of boldness regarding our Godly purpose. Matthew 6:26 reminds us about not worrying when it says, “Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them.” Instead of worrying and asking for permission to live in our purpose,  we should trust God will take care of us as we follow His purpose for our lives.

Shewanda Riley is a Dallas-based author of “Love Hangover: Moving from Pain to Purpose After a Relationship Ends” and “Writing to the Beat of God’s Heart: A Book of Prayers for Writers.”  Email her at or follow her on Twitter @shewanda.

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