Down the road from us, there’s a farm. Actually, there are a few farms on our road but this particular one has sheep. Whenever they’re out, I stop and turn the stroller so Everest can see them grazing. I point and say “sheep” a dozen times as us moms do, overly ambitious about hearing our baby utter their first word. It doesn’t happen to be his day to start talking so instead, I watch him smirk and point in their direction with his chubby finger.
Such peculiar animals sheep are. There’s not a whole lot of action but there’s a whole lot of eating going on. They don’t ever seem to move too fast, don’t ever seem in a hurry and pay no attention to us trying to get their attention on the side of the road.
Then one day, headed up the road on our daily walk, there was a bit more movement in the field ahead. In fact, a lot more movement going on in the grass than usual. You probably guessed it already: babies. Four of them. To our delight, there were four little lambs pouncing around, running under the older sheep, darting back and forth, looking airborne with every step they took. Every now and then an older sheep would be startled by the little lambs and scurry. And then other times, it’s as if the little lambs were being directed by the older sheep as they were herded in a particular direction. Those little, rambunctious lambs looked full of energy, and the older looked as if they were keeping a careful eye on them while still grazing.
Last week I read a verse that got me thinking about these wooly animals down the road. It’s about God being like a shepherd to us. How he’s tender and careful and attentive.
He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart…
This is nice and all but it’s the last verse that really hit me. It’s this last verse that I think is God’s heart for all of us mamas of little ones:
…he gently leads those that have young.
HE SO DOES THIS.
He doesn’t force or hurry me. He doesn’t have an impatient look on his face, annoyed with me and my yet-again frazzled self. He doesn’t call me to do things that are not a good fit for this time of raising a little one. More often he is patiently whispering for me to step away rather than do more.
He is always gentle with me, especially in this short, yet seemingly long-in-the-moment, season of life.
He’s in it all and He is here, gently leading me.
When I read this, my very own rambunctious little lamb was napping. I was sitting in my favourite spot, drinking coffee, taking a second to stop and read a little bit instead of running around like I wanted to.
But for all the times I’ve made bad choices, I happened to choose well that morning. A little moment like this will stick with me, probably forever, or at least throughout this season of raising little ones. The Word of God is just like that, though. It’s quite sticky at times and goes deep if we let it, penetrating our spirits, and bringing life where we were dry a moment before.
I haven’t seen our neighbour’s sheep in a few months and the grass has certainly grown up where they previously grazed this summer. I’m not sure how long it takes to herd them all in when it’s time, but I imagine it was a lot easier before the lambs made their appearance. Sheep with their little lambs need tremendous help to get moving in the right direction. I’m pretty sure the saying “It’s like herding cats” goes for sheep too.
And so it is with us mamas with little ones: it takes us little longer to get anywhere, we may look a little frazzled when we get there some days, exhausted from being up every hour, and we may have been snarky to the grocery store worker on the way (not a proud moment…).
But thank heaven for grace from our God who continues to gently lead us in this season.
He holds us close to his heart while we’ve got our arms full holding our own little lambs…
…along with what always seems like a million bags.