Like Sheep without a Shepherd
// From the Archives //
First of all, I apologize for the MONTHS of no blogging ;). A new baby girl and brand new house will do that to you! I was meeting with a couple of interns this morning that are working with our church for the summer, and I was inspired to blog today. Thanks to my awesome hubby for taking over daddy duty for a few minutes so that I can write today!
Being a new mom and trying to get settled into a house that is brand new has been pretty overwhelming, to say the least. I keep singing the line from Coldplay's "The Scientist," "Nobody said it was easy...No one ever said it would be so hard..." This is not a blog to complain about the amazing blessing of a child and a new home, don't worry, ha!
But seriously it is much harder than I thought it would be.
I was laughing with coworkers before I left for maternity leave about reading several books during the summer. They kept telling me I wouldn't have time with a newborn, and I was like, "What do you mean?! Newborns sleep all the time!" Spoken like a new mom (who has not given birth..). Yes, Tatum sleeps a lot, but those are times I am cleaning, taking a shower, or sleeping myself!
Sometimes I think I may have bitten off more than I can chew trying to juggle all of this at once, and I haven't even gone back to work yet!
Yesterday, I was able to get in some time with Jesus while Beav hung out with the baby. I was reading John 10, and what I read really resonated with me.
John 10 English Standard Version (ESV)
I Am the Good Shepherd
10 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. 2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6 This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.
7 So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”
In the Commentary Critical and Explanation of the Whole Bible, I found a quote from Luther. He said, "This simple creature [sheep] has this special note among all animals, that it quickly hears the voice of the shepherd, follows no one else, depends entirely on Him, and seeks help from Him alone- cannot help itself, but it shut up to another's aid."
I read this and knew I was not following the voice of my Savior, but that of a stranger. I was trying to juggle being a new mom, a new homeowner, wife, and Vintage Women leader (among daughter, sister, friend, and soon-to-be full-time counselor again). I was not letting God lead me in this, show me how to juggle it, or give me the strength I needed to do it all.
I was relying on myself, which is always a recipe for disaster.
I kept forgetting how much I needed God, how much I needed to seek Him in prayer and studying the Bible to hear from Him, to be able to follow His lead. In order to be the mom, wife, women's leader, counselor, friend, etc. that I am called to be, I HAVE to hear, listen, follow, obey His voice, not mine, the enemy's, or anyone else's. I have been like a "sheep without a shepherd.."
I want to be a follower of Jesus that "quickly hears the voice of the shepherd [Jesus], follows no one else [including self], depends entirely on Him [not self], and seeks help from Him alone."
There have been so many days (and nights) since the baby was born that I felt like a failure, like I couldn't do it anymore, that I wanted to give up. I did not understand why I felt like this... It was becoming too much emotionally to handle. I realized that it was because I hadn't been relying on Jesus to lead me, to give me strength.
One of my favorite scriptures is Isaiah 30:21. It says, "Your ears will hear a word behind you, 'This is the way, walk in it,' whenever you turn to the right or to the left." That voice had been there. I just wasn't heeding to it. I was ignoring it, essentially.
We have to come to the point of a realization of our need for Jesus in order for Him to work in and through our lives. If we are completely self-reliant or others-reliant, we never see the need for a Savior.
However, we can never fully meet our own needs and neither can another. Only Jesus can fill that role.
True surrender is a "moment by moment yieldedness to the Spirit." True Christianity has no room for self-sufficiancy. None. It has room for confidence in Christ. It has room for doing things with excellence. It has room for growth and knowledge and understanding. However, it does not have room for self-sufficiancy. Because then we would not ever see our need for Jesus.
I cannot be the wife, mom, leader, friend, counselor, etc. that God wants me to be without full reliance of God for that strength, wisdom, understanding, knowledge, and confidence that can only come from Jesus. I pray that you remember your need for a Savior today. Not just for your eternal salvation, but for the day-to-day, in and out of life. Without Him, we are nothing and can do nothing.
"I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in me and I in Him, he bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do NOTHING."