Monday, June 17, 2013

willing.

This week I've been reading in 1 Peter. (Working through this Bible study, if you're interested!)
And though chapter five is mostly addressing those in church leadership, I felt the Lord also addressing me as a mother. Moms are leaders to the tiny hearts who look to them daily for guidance. We may not have a huge "following," but we've definitely got little eyes watching. 

As I read from 1 Peter, I was absolutely struck by this:
"Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, watching over them - not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be..." 1 Peter 5:2.

Not because you MUST, but because you are WILLING.

So often I see the shepherding in motherhood as a must.
I am overwhelmed by the responsibilities, and sometimes feel trapped by all that is thrusted upon me to do. Before I've gotten out of bed in the morning, someone else is dictating my schedule with their needs. Discipline, meal-making, cleaning, entertaining, and tantrum-diffusing feel like endless tasks. I don't really have a choice; I must do these things.

But God's Word says that He wants leaders to be willing. 
I think this means, then, that God wants us as moms to be willing.
I wonder what willingness would look like?
What would it mean for me to shepherd, to care for Nicholas with willingness?

It might look like many moments of me desperately sprawled out at the feet of Jesus.
My face would probably be on the ground and my eyes would be pouring out tears, because I really like thinking about myself before I think of others. I need to learn from the King who leads His people with humility and with joy. I need Jesus to create a willing heart in me.

It would probably mean me asking God to help me to see the "musts" as opportunities.
When something is an opportunity, instead of begrudged task, willingness comes more easily. The musts would become opportunities to deepen Nicholas and I's relationship, to develop life skills in him, to provide a peaceful home, to show him God's character, to shape the character of a future adult, etc. 

It would involve me seeing this shepherding as a means to know Jesus in a deeper way.
I think Biblical leadership (and so Biblical motherhood) was designed for us to have to go deep with God, in order to do it well. Guiding people's hearts towards Jesus means that we have to know Him ourselves and rely on Him like crazy. And though it may not be glamorous at times, it's exciting that my  very waking hours of raising a little one are also hours that I can choose to know Jesus more.

And shepherding with willingness would mean that I get to model Jesus' service.
All over the Bible leaders are called to serve. Can you imagine Jesus, the one who the disciples called "Lord", washing His disciples' feet? I can picture Jesus kneeling down, His face next to their mud-caked and dusty feet. He takes off His robe, dips it into a bowl of water, and begins to scrub away the dirt and sweat. He, the one who wrote the stars into the sky and who would later rise from the dead, washing the dirt off the feet of those He led.

As a mom, I get to do that. I get to scrub the breakfast from the pudgy cheeks of the one who calls me "mama." I get to rock him when he's sick, though there are a million things I need to get done around the house. I get to wipe up throw up and scrub poop out of the carpet and wake up way before 6am - and in doing all these things, I get to look like Jesus. What a privilege to look like Him.

In this moment, I want to be willing. I don't think I'm fully there yet - but I'm praying that God will change my heart. I'm beginning to see the freedom and the joy of mothering out of a willing spirit, instead of falling prey to the victim-mentality of the "musts."

Thank you Lord for Nicholas' life; would you help me to shepherd it well. For your glory, and so that he would know you as the Good Shepherd.


8 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for this. It brought me to tears. I too pray that I can see the freedom & joy in parenting at a time when I often feel so trapped, overwhelmed and weak. He is my strength.

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  2. Beautiful! I, too, get bogged down in the musts and get annoyed when my schedule is dictated by little ones. What a great perspective! I will also pray for a willing heart. :)

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  3. What a beautiful way to look at motherhood. Thank you so much for this post and sharing your insight.

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  4. What a beautiful post, friend. It blessed me through and through. Thank you for sharing your insights into this verse of my bible. Now, when I am wiping Micah's dirty face and hands after each meal I will be remind of these encouraging and grace-full words! Love you!

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  5. Thanks for sharing your heart! This is something I struggle with and never ever thought of it this way.

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  6. Wow, thank you so much for this post! I stumbled across your blog and was so encouraged and inspired after reading just a few posts. Thank you for sharing your heart for Jesus! "What a privilege it is to look like Him."....that will stick with me in my daily interactions with my family. What a blessing your blog is to Moms of little ones!

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