"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside quiet waters,
He restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for His name's sake.
Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
I notice many of the things I have noticed when I've read this before. There are three things that stand out to me this time, especially in relation to mothering:
He guides me in paths of righteousness. Am I guiding my children in paths of righteousness? What does that mean? A few initial thoughts:
* Teaching them to know the difference between right/wrong.
* Teaching them about Christ; His righteousness.
* Leading them to the Savior; trusting Him to draw them to Himself.
* Modeling Christ to them; living an example for them.
* Guiding their choices so they can learn to make good and God-honoring ones. What to watch, say, wear, read, etc...
Others? What does it mean to you to guide our children in paths of righteousness?
Your rod and your staff they comfort me. I started thinking about the role of the rod and the staff. Of course, I am responsible for effectively and Biblically disciplining my children. It also makes me think of protection - being aware of the surroundings, the Shepherd would need to keep animals away from their sheep.
But, how does this protection and discipline comfort my children? The protection part is easy ~ obviously it is comforting to know someone is watching out for us and will do all they can to keep us safe from harm.
It strikes me that discipline is a way of showing my children how much I love them. I love them so much that I want them to learn what is right, how to make wise choices and learn to follow God. They need to know that if they do something wrong or something dangerous, I will be there to correct them. Not that the correction is pleasant, but the comfort of the love behind it.
Gentleness. This is not mentioned directly in the verses - but the tone is there, the example of our Shepherd is there, gentleness is there. This is a major idea/theme on my heart right now and I want to study it more in depth. Initially, I want my words, attitude, example and my very person to be guided by gentleness, to be permeated with gentleness.
One last thought - as I was reading in my Bible dictionary about shepherds, I read this line, "In Bible times the sheep cared for by shepherds represented wealth." (Holman Bible Dictionary)
That rings true to me as well in relation to our children ~ the little ones I have to care for represent true wealth. Oh, may I treasure these blessings and use them for His glory!