Photo Credit: Expressions Photography
I have been thinking alot about shepherds these days. I’m not sure why, perhaps it’s because we have been watching the Nativity Story and the shepherds are highlighted several times in the movie. Or, it could be that I was blessed with incredible insight from a good friend of mine, Jenilee, about a week ago on shepherding our children. Either way the concept of shepherding has been on my heart!
As I sit here this afternoon all I can think about is how tired I am. All three of my children have been sick for the past 24hrs and I am exhausted. Moments like these really take a toll on me emotionally. I often begin to doubt my mothering abilities and start to become frustrated with my children and our present “sickly” situation. Thankfully the Lord has been gracious to me and has given me the strength that I asked for. Much like a shepherd I am taking care of my flock, through the good the bad and the ugly.
Since becoming a mommy it has been a real challenge to find time to be with the Lord in the midst of my daily happenings. Especially when the kids are sick, I feel like I am constantly running from child to child, wipping noses, changing diapers and washing my hands in between. I am humbled and lowly. I feel like I am serving their bodily functions all day long! What purpose is there?
My dear friend Jenilee inquired of the Lord about this and this is what He told her, I believe that this word is for all mothers out there. “David was a shepherd, as you are. He shepherded sheep, you shepherd your children. He may have wanted to close his eyes and get lost in hours of blissful worship, as you do, but he couldn’t afford that. He had many little sheep that needed constant attention. He had to bring them to water, bring them to food, keep them corralled, chase them down when they wandered, keep a constant eye out for wolves, bears, lions, and then kill the beasts when they challenged the safety of his lambs…. much like you do. You have to feed and nurture your children, keep them in safe places, watch constantly that the enemy is not attempting to prey on them, and then you must stand up against the enemy when he dares to touch your child. You must constantly be alert, as a shepherd. There are moments of quiet, but even in those moments of quiet, you are watching, listening, caring. Just like my servant David. Yet, he took the moments of love. He sang while he watched. He listened to my voice, while he scanned the herd for wandering sheep. He drew on my strength and wisdom when he fought beasts. He grew to know me, though his times with me did not look much like what you used to experience, yet he knew me and sought my heart, even amidst the distractions, the constant watching and tending. And, though shepherding was a very simple job to the outside eye, I saw what it created inside him, and I saw him worthy to be established as a king. You will shepherd children for many years, and it may feel somewhat aimless at times, and even like you’re giving up much of your greatest potential in order to just wipe noses or scrub behind ears, and it may feel that there is greatness within you just lying there, waiting, untapped. Yet, at the right moment, those years of faithfulness and commitment and care are laying a foundation for you to step into the “kingship” seasons that you sense reside quietly inside. When you feel your parenthood is an obstacle, the menial tasks of raising children “pointless”, remember my servant David, and continue on in your faithfulness, encouraged that it is not a waste, it is not fruitless, it is not wasting an ounce of what I’ve placed in you. The greatest king of Israel spent the majority of his life raising sheep… and yet he made a great king of Israel because he seized the moments of love when they were available and allowed me to build him into a King.”
Photo Credit: Liz Lott, Snapdragon Photography
The great King David, written about in the Bible, was a shepherd before he became king of Israel. He would sit in the fields and take care of his sheep ALL DAY LONG FOR YEARS! He would fight off bears, bring back lost sheep, carry sheep that were sick, get them food, water and lead them all day long. Although he looked like a young boy, God was working in his life and training him to fulfill this destinee! After years of his service to sheep God saw fit to promote him to become a King! The King over Israel, a people whom God loved and cared for. Not only was he a king but he was also called “a man after God’s own heart”. How did this happen? From a pasture to a palace?
Photo Credit: Sara Crowe, Sara Naomi Photography
I am convinced that something happens to a person when they are put in a position of “shepherding” a flock. When we are shepherds we become lowly and humble. We realize there there is nothing in ourelves that is worthy to serve, it is a priveledge and an honour. When we give ourselves completely to the life of another individual and expect nothing in return our heart and character is exercised! Embracing shepherdhood allows us to become all that God intended us to be! Humble, kind, generous, sacrificial, loving, forgiving, patient and the list goes on. Essentially we become more like Christ, the good Shepherd. He is the one who shepherds us on our journey and teaches us how to love others. What an amazing man He was and what an incredible example He left for us through his life.
My children are my flock in this stage of my life. God knows what I can handle. He knows when I am weary and tired. When I feel like I want to give up. Shepherding my kids is the most difficult job on the planet because it constantly tests my heart motives and character. Mommas are dealing with sickness and heart issues, with selfish toddlers and crying babies, these little people who do not know how to give back at this point in their young lives. I hope and pray that through the example I live as I shepherd them that they too will desire to be people to give of themselves daily to meet the needs of others. No matter what happens everything I do is unto the Lord, as I follow him, my children will follow me.
Photo Credit: Liz Lott, Snapdragon Photography
Who is your flock? How are you doing at shepherding them? I believe that all shepherds will be rewarded in this life or in the life to come. Think of the lowly shepherds living outside of Bethlehem, God sent an angel to them to announce that their savior was born, that is a pretty big deal considering that they were considered social outcasts in those days. God does not overlook anyone! King David was a shepherd who was overlooked by his own father and brothers. He became the great king of Israel and a man after God’s own heart. I am encouraged that one day I will see the fruit of my labour. That these tiny children who are coughing and sneezing all over me today will grow to be mighty servant of the Lord.
May you experience peace and rest as you shepherd your flock today!