Recently, we had our first ladies meeting of the year at our Church. Another lady and myself are in charge of planning these meetings and this year my helper came up with the idea of doing a Skype baby shower for one of our missionaries. Mrs. Joanna Jennings is expecting her first baby and since she and her husband are missionaries out of our church, we thought it would be nice to include her in a baby shower. It is the usual habit to give a baby shower for the first child that a mother is expecting after joining our church. I have to admit I was a little nervous about it at first wondering if we could get all the technical things worked out, but the Lord is so good and we had a very successful shower. We basically had a regular shower while Joanna and her husband, Brenson were online with us over Skype. I will put the details HERE, if you would like to see the order of events. Mrs. Michelle Beal, wife of the president, Doctor Alton Beal of Ambassador Baptist College did our devotional which was on Shepherding our children. Michelle gave me permission to print a copy of her devotional which you will find below. What a blessing and what great comparison between us as parents, shepherding our children and The Great Shepherd who shepherds us. After the devotional, you will find a short video of the shower which will help you get a better perspective of how things went.
SHEPERDING AS PARENTS
When I was expecting Karis, we were in a revival meeting in Tennessee. A really sweet lady in the church took A. Smith and myself out to a Tea Room for lunch. We had a great time with her. Upon leaving the meeting, she gave us a basket full of gifts for our family. she even included a gift for our unborn baby, which was a little stuffed lamb that played Jesus Loves Me. I immediately fell in love with it. A short time later one of our sons was playing with it and broke the wind up part. I was not too happy about it, but there was nothing I could do to fix it. I tried to find another one just like it but to no avail.
Have you ever noticed in gift shops when you come to the baby section there is usually a lamb somewhere in the mix? I wonder if it has to do with the connection of the Bible referring to us as sheep. Isaiah 53:6 says All we like sheep have gone astray; Throughout Scripture we will find different verses where the Lord makes references to us as being His sheep and He the great Shepherd. The Lord has blessed you, Joanna (the one this devotional was referring to, since we were doing the Skype shower for her), with a little lady lamb. You and Brenson, as parents will be playing a role as shepherd in her life. After preparing this devotion, the Lord brought to mind a book written called Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Ted Tripp. As a parent our role is like that of a shepherd so here are some thoughts on shepherding.
One of the very first things that you will do as a mother if not the first thing, is FEED your little lamb. If you are planning to nurse, this is one of the very first things that the doctor will encourage you to do right away. In those first few weeks you will feel like that is all that you are getting done, but as she gets older it will take less of your time. You will find it important to feed her what is healthy and what is the best thing for her. As she grows and matures, you will not only give her physical food but also spiritual food. As mothers we need to be careful about what we let our children graze on.
When I was in college I did a research paper on sheep and found some interesting facts about their make up. Psalm 23, The Great Shepherd Psalm tells us that He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; It is almost impossible to make a sheep lie down. They must be free from fear, friction with others, pest, and hunger. The same is true of us as Christians. Do you find it hard to lie down and sleep if you are afraid, or you are at odds with someone, if you have a pest zizzing around your room, or if you are hungry? Your little lamb will not want to sleep if she is hungry.
Another aspect of your shepherding will involve LEADING. The shepherd leads beside still waters and in the paths of righteousness. The shepherd understands the needs of His sheep. When thirsty they become restless and search for water. He knows that rushing water scares them. He will make sure that they get early morning grazing because the dew is the best source. He also leads in paths of righteousness. How are you as the parent going to know how to lead? By being in the Bible. Joshua 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
As shepherd your role will also involve DISCIPLINING. The shepherd carried a rod and a staff. These instruments were used for authority, defense, governing, and ruling. The shepherd must sometimes shear the sheep which is not a pleasant process. Your little lamb must know who her authority is. She must be taught to obey at an early age. A great deal of your time in the early years will be spent in disciplining. Proverbs tells us to chasten our son while there is hope, to not withhold correction, to spare not the rod, but that the rod and reproof give wisdom. They need to know up front what results in an automatic punishment, such as lying, disrespect, and direct disobedience. As your children grow there will be other methods of discipline. Part of disciplining is knowing your child. Jesus said in John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: What may work for one child may not work for another. Just as sheep know the voice of their shepherd your baby girl probably already know your voice and Brenson’s voice, for that matter. Not only will she know your voice, but she will also follow you. Much of what they learn is by example and that can be scary. Our children are really little imitations of us.
Another role of your shepherding involves PROTECTING. There are wolves out there that would like to snatch our little lambs up. We have to protect them by TEACHING them. Deuteronomy 6:7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. When you are busy with all your daily tasks of cooking, cleaning, laundering, bathing, shopping, and whatever else the Lord puts in your path, teaching should be at the core of everyone of them. Talk to them, listen to them, and teach them at every given opportunity.
And lastly, your role as shepherd involves loving and caring for your little lamb. Bumps and bruises are all a part of growing up. When a child gets hurt or they are sick, most of the time they want Mommy. Mommy knows how to give that loving touch, and the kiss that makes it all better. They will fall down and get hurt and sometimes these falls are worse than others, and we have to be there for our children to pick them up and comfort them. Sometimes, a shepherd would have to carry a sheep back to the sheepfold, over his shoulders. As your children grown and mature, their hurts become very real to them. Aren’t you glad that we have a Great Shepherd that loves and cares for us, picks us up when we fall and heals all those wounds? 1 Peter 5:7 … He careth for you.
When you are feeling overwhelmed with your shepherding, and there will be days you will feel that way, take heart and look to our Great Shepherd and Lamb of God.
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