Welcome to September. In fact,
Happy Labor Day.
Labor Day, you say. The holiday that honors laborers with a day of rest from their long hours of back-breaking work. Are moms included? Who else slaves like I do, 24-7-52? A day off? I wish! But it’s not gonna happen. The little one has a runny nose; bickering tongues need silencing; school starts tomorrow; and stinky heaps of whites, lights, and coloreds have engulfed the laundry room.
Somebody, slap a hand over my mouth and give me an attitude adjustment! Please! I need quiet in my soul more than in my house.
Photo by Kristina Flour on Unsplash
I remember those days. Holiday or not, my life felt more like an out-of-control circus than a peaceful home. I felt like I was the plate spinner trying to keep a hundred plates spinning at the same time. Impossible! Something was always crashing to the floor—frequently my attitude. And then the whole mess would become buried beneath a blanket of guilt.
How in the world does the Heavenly Father manage?
Surely He thinks we’re unfit mothers, not to mention wimpy, whiny children. He must get as exasperated with us as we get with are our children. Right?
One of my life-long favorite scripture verses is Isaiah 40:11 (NIV).
He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.
That last line spoke calm to my heart like no other:
Some translations use the words “he gently leads the nursing ewes.”
Now I never had children young enough to nurse, but I was a brand new mama. And even after a few years, I believe the Lord understood there’s a difference between chronological age of a child and their emotional age. He also knew that just because my children were older, I was still a young mama—every day bringing brand new challenges. The Lord was so gracious with me. He led me gently. His rebukes were kind and hope-filled.
You see, He understands what it’s like to parent children whose beginnings were entrenched in trauma and unhealthy situations. He knows what’s it’s like to guide children who don’t trust the leading of a trustworthy parent.
The part of the verse that says
“He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart”
… may not be what we picture. The reason a shepherd in those days would scoop up a lamb is because it had a broken leg.
Broken by the shepherd.
Broken because the lamb refused to learn to stay with the flock and was constantly endangering itself, not to mention, leaving the rest of the flock vulnerable while the shepherd retrieved the wayward lamb. Before that lamb grew too big the shepherd had to teach the lamb to hear and obey his voice. Not only that, he had to teach the lamb to trust in his love. Though disciplined and hurting, the lamb had a comforting place next to the shepherd’s heart.
Our Good Shepherd understands what it’s like to parent difficult children.
And so He leads us mamas with gentle, patient understanding.
He does not crack a whip to push us along. He will not overwhelm us. He encourages us, and if needed, He’ll scoop up our youngin’ and carry them when we can’t.
So, if our Heavenly Father—our Good Shepherd—offers us understanding and patience …
Shouldn’t we do the same to ourselves?
We need to be kind to ourselves.
We need to be patient with ourselves.
We need to not feel guilty, or like a weakling, because we need assistance.
We need not feel unworthy to call upon Him to carry our wayward ones—and maybe even carry us from time to time.
There is none like the God of Jeshurun,
Who rides the heavens to your help,
And through the skies in His majesty.
The eternal God is a dwelling place,
And underneath are the everlasting arms;
Deuteronomy 33:26-27a, NASB
Even to your old age I will be the same,
And even to your graying years I will bear you!
I have done it, and I will carry you;
And I will bear you and I will deliver you.
Isaiah 46:4, NASB
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