He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that have young.
A dear friend encouraged me with this verse towards the end of my first pregnancy. As the reality set in that this being growing inside of me was going to come out... I was afraid. I nannied and babysat for the whole world... but the weight of a little one being all my own, 24/7, was tremendous. Discipleship is my passion... and I have had the joy of being a part of the spiritual formation of dozens of girls... but shepherding the soul of my own child was another matter entirely. It would be messier than weekly coffee dates (in more ways than one).
Isaiah's words were such a comfort to me then, and I savor and repeat them over and over to myself even more now that Will has arrived. How kind of God to give the prophet Isaiah words specifically for mamas. "He gently leads those who have young." I need that gentle leading...
I need leading.
This is all so new. Every step potentially leads to self doubt and the question of whether I am "doing it right." The temptation to compare lurks around every corner... and the methods for feeding, sleep training, potty training, and discipline abound. Every decision point opens a gateway to fear... i can only imagine what my kids will say about me as they sit on the couch of some therapist in twenty something years. I need divine leading in mothering. And beyond wisdom for every day practical decision making, I need to be led back to truth: truth about who I am in light of what Christ has done for me, truth about who God is and and what he is like, and truth about the proper place of this temporary task in light of eternity . What comfort in the promise of his present help in shepherding. Thanks be to God he doesn't leave "those who have young" to their own devices.
I need gentleness.
Since becoming a mother I have seen my sin like never before as my fatigue rips open the cellar doors of my heart before the rats have time to scatter. It's so easy to be harsh with myself as my failures are ever before my eyes (and the eyes of my poor, enduring husband). Isaiah gives us good news beyond the Shepherd's guidance as he speaks to the nature of his help: gentleness. What a gift that the creator of the universe isn't shaking his head and wagging his finger as I struggle to get my maternal ish together. In a season where I admittedly have “no idea what I am doing,” he is gentle with me, specifically because I have "young." It brings tears to my eyes to imagine him gathering me and holding me close, like the verse describes, just like I hold Will close in the picture above. How tender the Father's love for his children.
This blog will chronicle his gentle leading of my steps on this journey of child rearing...
I am at the very beginning of a very new journey. It terrifies me to write words that others would read, judge, compare, or scrutinize when I am a baby mommy (and I don’t mean “a baby’s mommy” I mean I, myself am a baby version of a mom… and crying like it, too). But I believe there is so much value in honesty and in authenticity. And so I’m going to write (well, type) honestly and authentically now… rather than waiting until I like my honesty and my reality a little more. Because his gentle leadership is for the broken.
My GOALS in blogging are twofold:
The first goal is that I would be held accountable, for the glory of God, to faithfully preach and apply the gospel to myself and to motherhood/wifedom, looking for His gentle leadership at every turn. There is joy in obedience and freedom in submission to the truth of God’s word… I want the life I live within the context of my family to be filled with joy and ruled by God’s peace. Every day.
The second is that others might be encouraged as they fumble, fail, and triumph on any given day in any given season of motherhood. That’s why I am compelled to begin sharing my journey with you as the new mom of a seven week old stranger, instead of a pious grandma judging the way her kids are raising theirs. After all, Julie Andrews affirms that the very beginning is indeed “a very good place to start.” And Paul suggests we “work out our salvation with fear and trembling” instead of flexing our spiritual muscles to show others how we already “worked it out” and they ought to catch up.
Already I recall the first day’s of Will’s life through a hazy lens (it’s really amazing I recall them at all, given I didn’t sleep for the first 72 hours… it wasn’t pretty). But the intensity of the initiation into motherhood is already diluted in my memory (mostly because of my fatigue… but also) by my performance-oriented mind that wants to believe it was never that hard, or I was never that manic. And that’s why I must begin. That’s why I cannot wait until I have read more, studied more, or been a mommy longer (or any of the other reasons I would dismiss me if I wasn’t me and was reading me).
Here's to the journey. Here's to His gentle leading.