Being with my kids 24/7 is an awesome privilege, but also a huge challenge. How often I fear that I am damaging my children when I don’t walk in the Spirit, when I sin, when I lose my patience with them. How often I fear that they won’t turn out right, that my efforts to lead them to Christ will fail, or that they will grow up to have negative feelings about their childhood.
But God’s word gave me the most awesome picture that puts those fears to rest. I have a friend, mother to 4 grown children, who often encouraged us younger moms by saying, “remember, girls, He gently leads those who are with young.” So, finally I went to find that verse and read it in context. Here’s what it says (in the 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.”
This is an awesome passage talking about how God will restore Israel. But do you see the incredible promises to us as mothers? He gathers the lambs and carries them close to His heart. And He gently leads us, the moms who are with young. I guess I’ve always had the image in my mind that I was the one responsible for carrying my children. That as I follow Christ, I carry my kids along with me – a tough job that I’m called to do. But as I read this passage I see that in reality He is the one carrying them and loving them. They need not be a burden to me. All I need to do is surrender myself to the Shepherd and follow where He leads. He, the good Shepherd, will not stumble, will not drop His lambs, will not let them down or sin against them. He does not lose His temper, or shout, or slam things, or grumble at them when they whine. He is completely trustworthy and He loves them with a depth that I can’t even comprehend. God still gives me the responsibility to “nurse” the young lambs He has entrusted to me. I get to love them and pour my life into them and be their example, but I also have the promise that He will carry them and that He holds them close to His heart. As I follow Him and watch Him, I will learn and become more like Him as I nurture my young ones. Cool, huh?
I thank God for leading me, for making me more like Himself as I follow Him, for being a God in whom I can place all my trust, for giving my husband and me the privilege of joining Him in the task of raising our children in His word and His ways. I hope you are encouraged along with me and strengthened as we move to the end of Isaiah 40 and read:
“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might, He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait on the Lord will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.” Isaiah 40:28-31