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.