“He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart; He gently leads those that have young.” Isaiah 40:11 NIV
Motherhood is a bit (okay, a lot) bewildering, isn’t it?
As a teenager, I lived carelessly, unafraid or ignorant of the risks I took, unaware of the long-lasting repercussions my poor choices might have. And life was fun! I lived without responsibility, bills or mortgages, never having to think much of anyone other than myself and whoever happened to be my best friend at the time.
Then, in the later half of life, the women I know seem so weather worn. Having endured the trials and storms of life, a few squalls aren’t enough to ruffle their feathers. Like a steadfast mountain range, their faith remains unshaken by the avalanches that come their way.
And it seems, in between, there’s fear. And worry. And trials. I’ve heard that it’s called a testimony because it’s the sum total of the tests you’ve endured. And your testimony is lifelong! It will never cease being shaped, refined and polished. (See Philippians 1:6)
Why does Isaiah specifically mention ‘those that have young’? There’s a kind of fragility to mothers that seems particular to the life stage we’re in. Me and my peers; we’re easily frightened, quick to become overwhelmed and often just plain confused. Most days, we’re best described as works in progress: Masterpiece under construction: please handle with grace. My sister and I like to joke about FTMs (first time moms). We’ve all been there at some point or another; a little wild-eyed, spewing all the dos and don’ts of the internet, carrying our babies EVERYWHERE and refusing to let anyone help. It’s easy to believe that us second and third timers somehow have it all figured out.
Really? I imagine there are plenty of grandmas out there giving us a sympathetic smile when we’re not looking, casting a knowing glance at their peers – she’s still floundering – but she’s going to be okay.
Psalm 116:6 says, “The Lord protects the unwary; when I was brought low, He saved me.” Another translation reads: “The Lord guards the inexperienced; I was helpless, and He saved me.” As young moms, we often feel unwary, inexperienced and helpless. But how we feel is not the same as what is true.
So keep these two things in mind:
- God is protecting you and your family. You cannot possibly be aware of every illness, trial or siege of Satan coming your way. But take heart, He is the God who sees you, who sees what you cannot. Isaiah 52:12 says, “…the Lord will go before you and the God of Israel will be your rear guard.” Exodus 14:14 says, “The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still.”
- God has given you a community of support. Any godly woman who has raised children has wisdom and knowledge that you don’t. Even women who haven’t raised kids, but have weathered the storms with faith – they can also teach you a thing or two. Reach out. Let yourself be helped.
God will smooth away the rough edges of selfishness, worry and immaturity. But it will be a lifelong journey, not a momentary transformation. And in the meantime…
…He gently leads those that have young.