Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Shepherding

This weekend, our pastor preached a message from 1 Peter 5:1-4 and it just really meant a lot to me in the realm of mothering. Do you mind if I just process it here for a few moments?

First, here is the passage we read together,
"To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ's sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed: Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers - not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away." ~ 1 Peter 5:1-4

I'm sure that you can see some of the application just by reading through the words. Obviously, I know that I am not an elder nor will I ever be an elder. However, I have been placed in a position of authority for the little ones under my care. God has entrusted three children to me and I am with them almost all the time.

These small ones are part of God's flock and are in my care. I am reminded not to mother them like I have to but because I want to. I confess that having a willing attitude in all aspects of mothering is a struggle for me. As a friend used to say, "Lord, I am not willing. But, I am willing to be made willing." I really and truly do want to do what God wants me to do and I know that what He wants me to do right now is care for these in my home with a willing heart and attitude.

I also note that I am not to care for them out of any ambition to gain anything for myself. As mentioned in this passage - I am certainly not mothering for financial gain. But, are there other things that I am hoping to get out of it for myself. Am I mothering in such a way as to create more time for myself or to have someone else say that I am doing a good job. Or, am I mothering with the heart of a servant.

Speaking of a servant's heart, I notice that it is not only to serve. But, an eagerness to serve. Merriam-Webster defines eager this way, "marked by enthusiastic or impatient desire or interest." Am I enthusiastic in serving my children? I must confess that many days begin with dread at starting all over again. Or, with exhaustion from what these times demand.

Next, I read that I am not to hold my position of leadership over these in my care - but be a living example to them. When I lose my patience with my children - I am setting them an example, but it is it an example of life? Am I truly showing them the way I hope they will go? Do I truly want them to follow my example?

As you can imply from many of my thoughts above, I have really been struggling in my role as a mom lately. I have felt so very inadequate and seen all of my shortcomings very clearly. However, seeing them and knowing what to do about them are sometimes very different things.

I find that many days, I will start my day praying and asking God to help me be a gentle and loving mother to my children. I will feel good about the day and then it will begin. But by the time 8:30 or 9 roll around (yes, in the morning) I find that I am frustrated, stressed and quickly losing my patience with my children.

I do not want to be this way and I do not like being this way. I want so very much to change. I have set aside a morning to really study and listen to what God is teaching me. Hoping and trusting for some guidance and answers. Hearing this message was really the first thing He showed me.

Yet, while I noted above all the ways I am struggling to meet these guidelines in God's Word - there is something in the words that tugs at my heart and beckons me in to live it out. I desire to live this way. I want to shepherd these little sheep He has entrusted to my care in a worthy manner. I see my faults and I know that I need the One True Shepherd to guide and care for me as I do this for my wee ones.

I'm sure there will be more coming on this as I continue to process.

24 comments:

Katie said...

Thank you so much for posting this- it really touched my heart. I too, often feel overwhelmed with the responsibility of raising my young children. This is a great verse to keep in mind throughout the day :)

silly lilly's said...

Thank you so much for your encouragement, it spoke to my heart this morning as I'm beginning the day with my children.

Grace said...

Wow what a great post. You always have a way of looking at passages and getting a true meaning on them that I would have never seen. You know I am on the same page and stage as you and I feel how you feel. Do remember that God does look on the heart and even though we fail many days he sees your willingness to be a better servant.

Stacey said...

Thank you - the sermon got me thinking Sunday, but this really got through to my heart.

Mandy in Mayberry said...

Thanks for this post. What wonderful scripture to meditate on.

Jessica said...

Thank you for "processing" this with us. I know that you are not alone in the way that you feel and being so transparent to the rest of us helps us to know that we are not alone either. Thank you for that! I all too often end the day knowing that I was not a very happy mommy and wondering what I can do to have more pleasure in the task of raising small children. I look forward to hearing more on this.

heicoc said...

Thanks for your post! I too struggle with frustration and not having enough patience, especially with my two youngest. It's great to read you post and to know that I am not alone and we are all striving to improve and praying for more patience! Hope you have a wonderful, blessed day!

Our Lives said...

What a great morning devotional for me and what timing. I had just told my husband this morning that I need to do something different with our toddler in order for me to efficiently homeschooling my 11 yrs. old. I thank God for my 15 yrs. old who is an independent student, therefore she doesn’t require much one on one time. It has been a struggle ever since we started the new school year. We could only do serious school work during his nap time and it's only two hours. Frustration is an understatement. But the Lord always provides a way out. While I felt sorry (self pity really) for my life situation, I got to watch a powerful movie last night- the "Grape of Wrath" and then reading your post now (I normally don't read blogs in the morning). I am very encouraged now and am ready to embrace the day – with eagerness and a willing spirit. Thank you for your sharing, Monica.

Nancy Jacobs Basketmaster said...

Your thoughts are beautiful. I'm sure every mother understands your frustrations and I will be praying for all mothers (including myself) today.
Blessings,
Nancy

jenn said...

Thank you for your honesty and transparency. You are not alone in your struggles. I, too, struggle as a mom with these issues. Thanks for the post!!

Blessings!

Leanne said...

I completely understand the daily fustration (especially by 9 am)... Its encouraging to know that you have struggles also. I read so many blogs that make carrying for small children not only easy, but joyous everyday. Its not... its a lot of work...it takes a lot of patience...sometimes a lot of chocolate (and caffeine)... and sometimes it just takes prayer... Lord, help me to be patient, help me to show You to them, help me as I try to raise them to love you, when I know I struggle in my sins...motherhood has shown me my inadequacy,and my God's total adequacy...
I feel so encouraged that you shared this...and now I'm off to deal with a diry diaper!

Wendi said...

Dear Monica, you certainly are not alone with your struggles at mothering. Luckily God is forgiving and knows our heart. He knows that I don't mean to get frustrated and snap at my child. He doesn't expect us to be perfect just to look to Him for support and keep trying to live the life He wants for us.

Jackie said...

I think you have expressed what all Christian mothers feel at some time in their mothering journey. I know there are many times where I feel I am falling short of being the mother God intends for me to be. Yet, I remember that none of us are perfect, and that God loves us anyway. The key is to keep trying to be the kind of mother God wants us to be. You are doing a great job, and you just proved it by this post. Thank you so much for sharing.

Elise said...

Wow...thanks for sharing your heart. I often feel the same. As in, yesterday was the day from you know where. And it just kept getting worse and worse. I do know, as I am studying James, that my anger does not bring about the righteous of God, so I have to pray about that a lot.
I look forward to more on this...
Elise

janhad3 said...

Happened upon your blog site on facebook (a friend mentioned how much she enjoys reading your writings). Thank you for sharing. And if you like inspirational, instrumental music, you will love Lyle Hadlock's music. You can find it at his website www.lylehadlockmusic.com or on iTunes.

*carrie* said...

Thanks for sharing this. I hear ya, sister! love, c

Beth Moore said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you for this. It was exactly what I needed for today!!

LS said...

As a mom of 3 little children, I so appreciate this! I totally understand and struggle between wanting to be the kind, Christian mommy and yet failing every day when the kids fight or scream or do something that infuriates me.

Debbie Fisher (debbiedee) said...

thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on this passage. Alot of what you said hit home and it gave me much to think about and pray about.

Mrs. June Fuentes said...

Honest post--motherhood is certainly a high calling, one that we do unto the Lord. I continually pray, as a mother of 8 for grace, mercy and wisdom. I cannot accomplish this holy task without Him.

Many blessings...

Hattie said...

Monica,
Your heart is right. You are certainly a good example of how a Christian mother should be. I am sure you are an encouragement to all young mothers who read your blog. If only all mothers would have an attitude like yours!

Dawn said...

Monica,
We missed services on Sunday morning, so we listened yesterday morning on the radio.
I, too, was very convicted by the message. School is just soooo hard this year. With 6 formal students, plus my 4 and 2 yr olds, PLUS my 21 and 18 yr olds that still need mama sometimes...I am having a quite the battle. I keep trying different things, different approaches.
Right now, the only thing we do the same every day is our Bible time. I decided we were going to study Joshua this year...not sure why, but it has been so good for me. Courage, strength, bravery, obedience...all the things I need to work on!!
I'm over here cheering you on!!
Dawn M.

Davonne said...

This post is SO much me right now! This very topic has been heavy on my heart this week. We just started homeschooling last week and the enormity of it all is affecting me. I've been wondering if I'm cut out for the task, and if I should place my children in public school, but I know that God has entrusted them into MY care, and that I need to teach them fully. I desperately want to raise them to become servants of Christ. Thank you for being so open.

Robin said...

Thank you for this post. Very challenging.