Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Our Gentle Shepherd

He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead 
those that are with young.
Isaiah 40:11

"...he...shall gently lead those that are with young...."

Who doesn't crave gentleness? In our society, moms are pushed, pulled, hounded and pounded with advice from every possible outlet. All the popular magazines shout at you with flashy pictures and thin, gorgeous models in perfect, pristine homes about how you can be a better mom...if you DO this, THINK that, LOOK like she does, and BUY this, and that, and this, and....... Then, there are those sweet, well-meaning ladies at church who know ex-act-ly how you should handle every little thing of which they take notice. And the mother-in-laws. Ah, the mother-in-laws. They're wonderful, and helpful, and....exasperating sometimes. Yes they are, admit it, and YOU are exasperating as a daughter-in-law. It goes both ways. Yes, it does. But that's their grand baby you're raising, and it's awful tough for them NOT to try to show you how to do it the right way. And even our husbands, God bless 'em, aren't always gentle in how they respond, or even in how they tell us how they think we need to do things. (While we, on the other hand, are never anything but gentle. Yeah. Right.)

Day in and day out, running errands, homeschooling or making sure everything is taken care of for traditional school, breaking up fights, cooking, cleaning, breaking up fights, listening to complaints, worrying about finances, breaking up fights, disciplining a child who has already spent most of the day being disciplined, stressing about everything you feel like you need to do and haven't done, breaking up fights.... It's exhausting and ties our stomachs up in knots that'd put a boy scout to shame.

Maybe you hear other mothers joyfully tell about how encouraged they are spiritually and how much better they feel since they lost thirty pounds last month, and they look like they have it all together...not a hair out of place, sweet and unruffled dispositions, perfect children who can quote whole books of the Bible, beautiful, spotless homes...and you feel worse about your imperfect self than ever. Guilt hangs like an April thundercloud over your head. You can barely remember if you had devotions this morning at all, let alone remember any encouraging little tidbit from them. You spoke sharply to the first person you saw this morning, (because it happened to be your three-year-old finger painting on the walls with chocolate pudding) and you're still groaning with embarrassment because your son proudly told his Sunday School teacher that it was little Samuel who killed the lions in the den at Jericho before he built the Ark that took the disciples to the Garden of Eden. The harder you try, the worse it gets. Exaggerated? Maybe. But that's how it feels sometimes.

It's crushing to feel so driven. 

Sometimes, we'd give an awful lot just to have someone put their arm around our shoulders and say, "You're doing just fine. I love you."

That's what God does. He isn't harsh with us. He never drives us nor prods us. He leads us gently. He knows our frame and remembers that we're only dust. (Psalms 103:14) He knows the pressures we're under and how hard we try to live up to the expectations of others (whether we mean to or not).

So, if you're struggling today, trying to juggle everything and making a real mess of it, relax! God doesn't expect you to be Supermom. He only expects you to do your best with His help.

Take comfort in that, and rest in the gentle arms of your Shepherd today.


All the way my Savior leads me,
Cheers each winding path I tread;
Gives me grace for every trial,
Feeds me with the living Bread.
Though my weary steps may falter,
And my soul athirst may be,
Gushing from the Rock before me,
Lo! A spring of joy I see;
Gushing from the Rock before me,
Lo! A spring of joy I see.

From "All the Way My Savior Leads Me", by Fanny J. Crosby & Dr. Robert Lowry

Gentle Shepherd
Come and lead us
For we need you 
To help us find our way.

Gentle Shepherd
Come and feed us
For we need Your strength 
From day to day.

There's no other
We can turn to
Who can help us
Face another day.

Gentle Shepherd
Come and lead us
For we need You
To help us find our way.

From "Gentle Shepherd" by William J. and Gloria Gaither


  1. Replies
    1. You're so welcome, and thank YOU for reading and taking the time to comment!

  2. Love it Jessica! Thank you! Even tho I don't have anyone at home anymore, I still feel like this. A bit frazzled, frustrated etc... Thanks for sharing. I love those songs. Such beautiful words and meaning.

    1. Thank you for your comment, Grandmagene. I guess this applies to everyone, not just mothers. We all feel pressured. I'm glad He knows how to lead us!

  3. Love it Jessica! Thank you! Even tho I don't have anyone at home anymore, I still feel like this. A bit frazzled, frustrated etc... Thanks for sharing. I love those songs. Such beautiful words and meaning.

  4. This was beautiful, Jessica!

    1. Thank you, Martha! I appreciate your encouragement.

  5. This is beautiful, and I hope you take your own advice! One silly thought just came into my head as I was reading...God does know that we are dust, and he loves our families so much that he spreads us around all over the furniture so they will know we're always there! :-)

    1. Glenda, (I'm assuming that's you. We really must figure out why Blogger insists on making you "Unknown".) that's a cute analogy.
      Thank you, and I'll try to take my "own advice". :)

  6. Thank you so much for this beautiful post! It is such an encouragement to know, that no matter what life throws at us, or how discouraged we may get, He is always there to hold us gently in the palm of His Hand. We truly can do all things through Him who strengthens us. Now, I just need to remember that myself a little more often, lol! Your post truly was a wonderful reminder of the Lord's great love for us and that, he truly understands our struggles. He lived them, too. Many blessings, friend! :-)

    1. Thank you, Lisa. I'm glad it was an encouragement to you. You're doing a wonderful job with your family. Keep encouraged!

  7. Are you sure you weren't around my house yesterday???
    Sometimes,I feel just like this, especially with Kent in Afghanistan.
    I went to an appt the other day and this lady saw me with all 3 of the children and asked me Do you not have a job? She then told me where she works and where her children go to after school programs at.
    I run our horse business here while Kent is away and still homeschool, I so desperately wanted to tell her that yes,I do work and no I don't have a quitting time.
    It's nice to be reminded that Jesus cares
    I have a feeling I will be singing, "All the Way My Saviour Leads Me" all day long today.
    Thanks for your timely words of encouragement!

  8. I'm so glad you were encouraged by the post, Tracy! I have no idea what it would be like to go through what you're going through. Can't imagine how hard that is.

    You're exactly right...stay-at-home moms work very hard, and they rarely get a break. No quitting time. And while her children are in after-school programs, yours are with you, where they should be, if at all possible!

    I hope you continue to be helped and encouraged by that hymn!

    I'd also like to take this opportunity to thank you, personally, for your sacrifice for our country. Military wives sacrifice right along with their men.