These Few Sheep

These Few Sheep

In the midst of raising little ones, a mother may find herself at odds with the future. Often, dreams and gifts are shelved in preference of little people with constant needs.

Conflict ensues between the privileged nature of motherhood and the long pause in what was a productive, somewhat predictable life.

How does a mother measure success?

Some say life is made up of defining moments. A typical Sunday revealed itself as one of those moments for me. While the speaker expounded on the life of David, I did not expect to be singled out by the Lord. No one around me suspected the arresting that took place that Sunday morning – of my mind, will and emotions – held captive by a thought which transformed into a desire to take the Lord at His word – at home.

Mothers of young children can feel overlooked in the church setting. From the pulpit we hear of mission trips, service opportunities, small groups, worship bands and all sorts of public endeavors. But with a van full of car seats and nap times looming – I was in no place to serve in public. I knew it – but needed affirmation from above.

The speaker described in vivid detail the life of David. Not David the king, but David the shepherd. As the sermon unfolded – time stood still for me. I felt all alone – in a good way – personalizing the story.

David’s brothers mocked him for having such a small job – tending to his ‘few sheep’. They were fighting the big battles, had the upfront positions and represented little brother to the world. David had no voice for public ears. His thoughts were relegated to the mound of sheep off the beaten path of real life and no one expected more of him.

But David sought the Lord in his isolation. He used the years of serving and protecting his ‘few sheep’ as an opportunity to know God. He did have a voice – and an audience of ONE. On the backside of a mountain David learned to pray – not in the, ‘I’m asking for things’ kind of praying but in the, ‘Lord, I want to know your more ‘ fashion. He turned his thoughts into songs (Psalms) which soothed the sheep and brought heaven to earth.

David fought off lions and bears – archenemies poised to steal, kill and destroy his flock. His sheep knew his voice and he knew their limitations.

While David was being faithful in the little – God was training his hands for war and capturing the shepherd’s heart for His own. Culture would eventually be shaped and history rearranged by the actions of this unassuming sheep herder.

I remember the Sunday service, like it was yesterday. I left church with my pile of notes – and mulled over the facts, chewing on the hard truths of God’s ways.

Little becomes much – Up is down – The backside of the mountain is in the presence of the King.

My eyes were opened to the possibilities. What if?

What if I embraced this role of mom/shepherd tending to my ‘few sheep’ with everything I had? What if I learned to know God during these busy, quiet years? What if  I was all right with being misrepresented without a voice?

Fast forward a decade, or two, and this shepherd/mom is in a whole, new place. The little lambs are strapping men and lovely ladies. Some days I long for the season when life was simple, kids were little and God was so near.

I’m  thankful for a church leader who ministered the word of God in a timely fashion – fitly spoken for my hungry heart in need of a defining moment.

Young mom – use these tender days to watch over your little ones. Learn the dynamics of spiritual warfare by protecting them and get to know your God while in the quiet place on the backside of the world.

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
    he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
    for his name’s sake.
 Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.
 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
 Surely your goodness and love will follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
    forever.

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Comments

  1. flyinjuju says

    This is so encouraging. Thank you for sharing. I am in a season where I have been questioning my value and if I should be doing more in this season with little ones. I love the closeness to God during this season and have probably taken it for granted. I also love the stillness. I needed to read this to ask, why in the world would I give some of that up for “more”? My heart is full, thank you!

  2. Lindsey says

    Thank you, Debi, for reminding me that this is a time to get close to Him, to depend on Him, instead of shying away from Him because “I don’t have time.” In this midst of the chaos, messy floors, and schoolwork, I’m glad I stopped in today. It is enough to tend to my few sheep.

  3. Tirzah says

    Thank you so much for sharing some wisdom and insight! I have been needing to hear this affirmation, being home with my three and one year old with another on the way! What a blessing this blog is! Funny how God works in modern days!

  4. Tricia says

    This is so beautiful!! I am in the middle of raising and schooling 4 children and trying to soak up and enjoy every minute of it. I’ve been told that I’m wasting my life by some. Thank you for the reminder that I’m not!

  5. says

    Debi, when I was editing this post last week it brought me to tears. Your words mean so much to me! Thank you, thank you. I am so blessed by you and so excited that so many moms could be encouraged through you today!
    xo Kristen

  6. says

    Thank you so much for this amazing post. This is exactly how I felt raising my 7 children, all about a year apart from one another, while my husband was away frequently in the military. Now my children are teens and yes, I agree, it is a very different game. I too long for “the good old days!” Thank you for helping me feel like I’m not the only one!

  7. Jen5253 Range says

    Wow! What timely and beautiful words!

    I was just talking to my hubby on Sunday about how I miss getting together in small groups with other families and participating in mission opportunities and so many other activities. We have four young kiddos, and he reminded me that my mission field is ministering to these little ones. He also reminded me of the hard year we’ve had. I was on bed rest for two months before giving birth last August, and I still have some lingering health issues. My brother committed suicide in December, and my dear aunt (who was like a second mom to me) died of cancer in March. There have been layoffs at my husband’s company, so we’re in severe “tighten the belt and save” mode, and we know God would take care of us if he was laid off, but it’s hard not to worry. He said he feels like this is the season to stay home, have quality family time together, and focus on raising up strong and godly young men and woman of character and integrity, which takes a lot of hard work and time and effort, and also focus on allowing us to grieve and heal physically, emotionally and spiritually.

    I heard what he said, but there still has been lingering guilt about saying no to so many good activities. Also, so many people had brought me meals and helped clean my house and yard and helped with my other kids, and I felt like I really needed to give back to others. After reading this and really meditating on Psalm, I feel like God is reminding me that He is my Good Shepherd. I have been and am still continuing to walk through a dark valley, but He is leading me into the green pastures and the still waters and is bringing me to a place of rest so that our relationship can be restored and He can ease my doubts and fears and remind me He loves me and is with me always… even when it’s hard and I don’t feel His presence.

    So thank you for confirming that it’s ok to take this time of rest and focus on my family. We will still look for ways we can serve others and show them the love of Jesus and be His hands and feet. But it doesn’t have to be at the detriment of my husband and kids and my relationship with God.

  8. says

    Thank You. Thank You. Thank You. Words which are so rarely shared, yet the feelings are felt by so many of us. You can’t imagine my relief and gratitude at reading these words today.

  9. Danielle Livingstone says

    This is a Word from the Lord in due season for me! Thank you so much! I have struggled and wrestled with God through this time in my life! I feel my children have been robbed in a sense while mommy wrestled instead of just resting in God. After reading this I said, “God, I see now. Is it too late.” I felt Him speak to my heart, “No,” I am so thankful for His mercy and your obedience! Be blessed! Danielle

  10. Katie says

    Thank you so much for sharing this. After working outside the home full time my whole adult life until the last few months, transitioning into being a full-time mama has been hard emotionally. I’ve always wanted this, but the enemy never loses an opportunity to make me feel like I’m not doing well enough or that I should be contributing to my family financially. This was very needed affirmation to me that I truly am contributing to my family, even though it looks different now :)

  11. Janet N Mbugua says

    Wow, this has been a powerful reminder and source of encouragement. Like Katie above, I have always worked full time and now for the last about 2 years, I am working on a flexible schedule, mostly from home, doing some report editing for my husband who has a busy traveling job. Often, I have wondered if I should be doing more to earn financially for our young family, ( we have 3 children 5, 3 and 1) and assist him meet the bills.
    If I went back to full time employment, I wouldn’t have the time and impact with the children as I do now. On the other hand, I struggle sometimes with not feeling relevant, or wondering if this will count, or even appearing to be lazy to the outside world.
    Nevertheless, I have never enjoyed being a mother as much until now, nor have I had this kind of closeness with God due to the time I get to spend in His word. I feel whole and complete and the affirmation provided in this post has been so timely and relevant. God Bless you so much Debi.

    • says

      Janet,

      Your words are so precious! You absolutely are making a difference in the lives of your little ones. Your struggles are common to us all. Be encouraged – all of heaven is on your side. :)

      Bless you!

      • Laura DeSpain says

        Debi- This is Laura DeSpain! Long time no see. I absolutely loved this article you wrote and passed it on to many of my mom friends. Your family is beautiful..loved the pictures of Priscilla’s wedding. Happy times. Thank you again for sharing your heart through this article…wonderful encouragement and the truest truth! Love, Laura

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