CHALLENGE: How do you mother like a shepherd instead of a hired hand?
REALity: It was spring break during the quarantine of co-vid 19. I had imagined a break with laughter, fun, bike rides in the neighborhood, board games and movie nights. Great plans that were only left to the imagination not the reality.
The true reality was that depression and anxiety overtook me and I allowed the kids to stay on electronics almost all day, every day. If that wasn’t bad enough, I could barely function, and my patience was lower than normal. There was more than one time that week that I cussed and yelled at the kids during my frustration. Not my most shining moments as a mom. I hated myself for that behavior.
INSPIRATION: Motherhood is extremely hard. Mothering as a godly parent is even harder; especially when personal emotions are dictated by false lies and overwhelming insecurity. Satan wants nothing more than to destroy mothers and render them incapable of godly parenting. BUT Jesus wants the exact opposite for us, and He is much more powerful than our enemy.
I John 4:4 tells us, “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”
So, are we mothering as a shepherd or as a hired hand? During my defeated state during spring break, the Lord led me to John 10:11-13. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So, when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.”
Let’s break this down. Jesus is the shepherd; Satan is the wolf preying on the sheep while under the care of the hired hand. In order to shepherd our children, we must be actively engaged in their overall development physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. A shepherd does not allow distractions, emotions, conflict, and disobedience to be used as an excuse to allow the sheep to roam free. Even if a shepherd has a difficult day/week/season, she has the wisdom to call on Jesus for extra protection of the sheep.
With a hired hand, positive development takes a back seat to convenience, current emotions, easiness, and discipline. A hired hand is not going to put in the needed effort and preparation to defeat the wolf when it comes for the sheep. A hired hand will allow the wolf full access to the sheep because she is just not invested enough and strong enough to fight off the wolf. A hired hand doesn’t want to or is unable to fight against the wolf.
Make no mistake that the wolf will come for our sheep through any means possible in order to bring destruction to their lives. It could be through friends, electronics, social media, books, television, and school.
THE WORD OF TRUTH: Jesus never wants us to mother alone. He wants us to draw on His strength and His example. He is our great shepherd. He will never abandon His sheep. He desires all His sheep to know His voice and follow His direction. He desires to shepherd us mothers so we can then shepherd our children.
When we are weak (which is often); He is strong. Thankfully, Jesus offers unlimited strength to overcome our fluctuating emotions and insecurities if we utilize it. Everyday, we have a choice to mother our children like a shepherd or as a hired hand. John 10:27-30 “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
Read and meditate on John 10:11-30 every morning for one week
Ask the Lord to lead you in the way of being a good shepherd to your children
If you start to feel like a hired hand, take a break, and pray for the Lord to give you His strength
Engage your children in activities that all of you will enjoy
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