This post is written by our monthly contributor, Lara Williams.
I don’t know who coined the phrase, but mothering really does feel like herding cats at times. Can I get a witness. So whether to sheep or cats…or kids, we as moms shepherd a flock. I think that’s why Peter’s words from 1 Peter 5 ministered so deeply to me this week.
Let’s look at how we as moms are called to shepherd our kids. Because I need all the help I can get. Amen?
To lay the backdrop, shepherding means tending or feeding…NOT controlling. Ahem. Seriously. In my fleshly natural self, I like to control my kids. In fact if I’m really honest, I’m an outstanding mother until they don’t do what I want them to do. That’s when things can fall apart. Recovering control-freak in the hi-zouse.
Peter isn’t calling us to control them. Take a deep breath. He’s instructing on how to shepherd — how to tend to the souls of others. He says we’re to “take oversight.”
You know what that means? It means we “look diligently” at others. It means we’re all there in conversations. It means we look them in the eyes when they talk, rather than at the screen of our phone. It means we think about the things they are saying — no matter how immature the words may be. And it means we pray to see what’s hovering behind their words, so we can minister to the heart.
But then he tells us how. This is where it gets good (and super convicting, so I dare you to keep reading.) This is where he addresses our own heart as the shepherd.
He says to shepherd willingly, eagerly, and as an example of God’s love. Girls, I’ll be the first to admit that there are certain days (and times of the month) where I am not shepherding very eagerly. Or willingly. And it pains me to admit it because God always looks at our heart.
He isn’t looking for us to be good do-ers. He’s looking for us to be restful be-ers. (Not beers, but be-ers.) To be intimate with Him allowing Him and His love to overflow onto those around us. That’s the place of blessing for everyone involved.
Three things for when we’re struggling to shepherd our little flock.
- Confess our sin and declare our neediness for God to do this mother thing through us. He isn’t looking for independent agents. He’s looking for those who depend and trust His empowering. Confess and declare.
- Renew our minds towards our kids! This. Is. SO. Key! In fact this should be circled and highlighted and taped to our foreheads. Because if I’m painfully honest, when my shepherding isn’t so lovely my heart is filled with negative, critical thoughts about my kids or about motherhood.
- These kids aren’t mine. They’re God’s! He is working His will in and through them. He is unfolding a beautiful plan. (Jeremiah 29:11)
- We are ALL in process. God began a good work in them and He will faithfully bring it to completion. (Phil. 1:6)
- Remember how long it took me to get to where I am in my own faith. They are children. Give them time to learn how to depend on Him to fight their battles.
- Father, show me how to reflect your love right now in this moment.(John 13:34-35)
- Lord, I pray for _______________________. I see weakness in this area so I ask on her behalf that You by Your power make it a place of greatest strength in her life. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
- Rest in His matchless grace. We’re going to fail as parents. We aren’t the ones that ultimately “save” our children. God is the One who draws them to Himself. And He does it in spite of us. That’s what makes His grace so amazing.
As moms we’re desperate for a renewed mind. So a few key thoughts I like to think upon to renew my own mind in those not-so-lovely-moments are:
We as moms are shepherds. And I know, like me, you want to shepherd well. So hands in and on three we say, “Yes!” to God’s commission. 1-2-3, “YES!”
How does thinking on your motherhood role as “shepherding” encourage or challenge you?
What encouraged you this week from (the last week of!) the Kept study?