Like a shepherd He will tend His flock,
In His arm He will gather the lambs
And carry them in His bosom;
He will gently lead the nursing ewes.
– Isaiah 40:11
When I read this verse, some powerful imagery comes to mind. The shepherd carefully makes his way through the brush. He listens for the telltale sounds and looks for the telltale signs of new life. His approach is slow; the sheepdog he left with the herd. This is not the duty of the dog, who would rush and snap to guide. No, this is his special duty: to gather her back into the fold, with gentle hands and gentle voice. When at last he comes upon the ewe, standing on trembling legs beside her is a dewy lamb. The shepherd, reassured that the mother has delivered her little one without incident, takes the baby in his arms and waits for its matron to rise. He leads her the easiest way back to their home—her listening for his voice if she cannot see him, as he calls and waits for her to find him again.
Mothering the Mother
There is wonderful concept in modern midwifery that I have been blessed to witness. This concept is called “mothering the mother” and means that when a woman has just given birth, a gentle approach is best. She is bravely forging new pathways in her journey of motherhood, but she is also at her most vulnerable. She may have physical wounds as well as spiritual ones. She may be struggling between being amazed at what her body has just accomplished and also horrified at the changes that selfsame body has undergone. She probably feels overwhelmed and inadequate. I have found that these feelings are much the same for every woman and every type of mother. Whether you have birthed children in your heart through adoption or literally through your body, you may identify with these feelings. I certainly do.
The Love of the Shepherd
When I discovered the verse mentioned above, I realized there is a special place in God’s heart for new mommies. He would not mention gently leading those who have young if He was unaware of our condition when a new life has turned the world upside down for us. God is exactly sufficient for your needs in every stage of being a mother. The verse mentions Him gathering your little lambs and carrying them close to His heart. If you think your children are precious to you, multiply it by a million and you still don’t even come close to how deeply and unshakably the Shepherd loves your children. There is more than enough room in His arms for all to fit.
Can you tell how much this verse has meant to me? I hope you can find the same encouragement in it as I do. Just when you think you have reached the end of God’s love, it expands in an entirely new way. Be encouraged, mothers, when you feel alone in parenting your children. Be reassured when your children have problems or sicknesses for which you have no solution. Be comforted when you have an infant and feel completely inadequate. Have courage when your foster or adopted child is going through a tough stage. Be at peace when it seems like your handicapped child is not progressing like you feel they should be. The Shepherd will carry them, and He will lead you back into His fold if you have strayed. Do not be afraid of His guidance. He will, with gentle hands and gentle voice, show you the path of life. In His presence is fullness of joy, and at His right hand are pleasures forevermore (Ps 16:11).