Shepherding our sheep

This is post is for those parents out there who are weary and worn down and have a lot on their plate.

I have been weary and worn down lately, struggling to find joy in my circumstances, overwhelmed with all that is going on in my life.  I have been letting my fears and worries of the known and unknown over take me and have lost my joy and with it my gentleness towards those who are in my immediate vicinity.  That means my husband and especially my kids.  I have been begging the Lord to fill me with more of Him and as I met Him in His word last night He did just that.

I was reading the story of Jesus feeding the 5000. I read in all 4 gospels the same account of Jesus withdrawing to a secluded place with His disciples.  (Matt. 14:12-31; Mark 6:30-44; Luke 9:10-17; John 6:1-13). In Matthew we see Jesus mourning the loss of a dear friend, cousin, and a man who lead the way for Him.  John the Baptist’s loss is hard to bear and Jesus asks the disciples to go somewhere quiet with Him so He can process.  In Mark and Luke we see that the disciples, His chosen, prayed about friends, have just returned from being sent out to spread the Good News in the surrounding areas.  He has missed them and wanted to talk with them.  Because of this Jesus asks them to go somewhere quiet so He could connect with them.  Then we see in John that it is almost Passover so there is a lot going on and it is really busy so it is a struggle for them to get their hearts into the right place.  So Jesus asks them to go somewhere quiet so they can prepare their hearts.  I believe that these are all the same story and Jesus is dealing with all of these things at the same time, it seems overwhelming to say the least.

But as we continue reading in all 4 Gospels we see that all the story lines merge into one and as Jesus steps off of the boat in that “quiet, secluded place” He is greeted by many people seeking healing and wisdom from Him.  And what does He do? He lashes out at them and is angry, what about me and my time, and what I need?  No, the Bible says: “He had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd.” (Mark 6:34)

And that is where the conviction begins for us, Jesus is hurting, and tired, and has been so busy, busy, busy taking care of everyone else.  And yet, and yet…He sees the masses and has compassion on them.  Then He nurtures them through healing, then He gives them wisdom by sharing God’s truth, then He serves them by feeding all of them.

How often are we hurting, in need of friendship, overwhelmed with the busy-ness of life?  How often do we let those things get between us and our children and the joy that the Lord wants us to have?

So, I keep reading, until everyone leaves Him, the disciples sail away and the crowds have all gone home. And that is when I see it, the answer to why Jesus can be so selfless, why He nurtures, and gives, and serves even through the pain and looking past His own needs.  And it is like fresh rain on the face, it washes the tears and the brokenness away and gives us hope for a better tomorrow.

Jesus meets with His Father, He prays and finds the renewal of His heart in communion with the Creator of all hearts.  We see that after the day is done He sends everyone away, the disciples, and the crowds alike.  He has given and met the needs of those around Him and now He must be refreshed by the only one who can bring peace.  “After leaving them, He went up on a mountainside to pray.” (Mark 6:47).  It says that it was evening time when He started praying and that He went out to the disciples on the water around the 4th watch which was 3am.  So He didn’t just say a quick prayer, He soaked in all the goodness that God had for Him, all the comfort, peace, and renewal for a weary heart.

As we struggle through our daily tasks, sometimes we are laden down with things along the path.  Let us remember to be like Jesus and seek God and all the peace that He wants to extend to us through our weary, broken, heavy-laden times.  That we may be refreshed to nurture, give wisdom, and serve our children.  We only have them for a short time, may we lead them with gentleness and compassion and may our example be one of seeking the Lord in the good times and the bad.

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