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Inspirational Articles by Lygia Lovelace

 

Mothering-Up
(from the Sheep Tales Series)
by Lygia Lovelace


 

 

In the wee hours of the morning, the baby lamb was born. It was a chilly morning, and the shepherd took great care to keep the little one warm. Shivering with fear, the baby's soft cries drew the mother's attention to him…

 

Do you know what's involved in the birthing and bonding of a baby lamb? It is no simple process. Great care must be taken as the baby makes his entrance into the world, and then a journey begins-a journey of teaching the little one who to follow and where to receive his nourishment.

 

The mothering-up process must begin.

 

There are several ways to accomplish this bonding process. Lambing jugs can be built. These are very small pens in which the mother and baby are placed to confine them, and to give the baby time to recognize his mother's smell and call.

 

They are separated from their sheep community into a time of solitary togetherness. A relationship is formed between mother and baby -- a bond that lasts.

 

Another way to promote the bonding process is simply to tie the back leg of the mother to the front leg of the baby lamb.

 

These types of mothering-up strategies must last for several days to completely seal the bond, to teach the baby lamb to prefer this caregiver over others, and to seek her out.

 

As I studied this bit of "lambing information" I was surprised that such bonding does not occur naturally between ewe and lamb. Could it really be true that a baby lamb might hear the bleating of another ewe -- not her own biological mother -- and chase after her for care and nourishment?

 

Certainly there is a need within every little lamb that is born for the closeness of a caregiver. When pointed in the right direction through the mothering-up process, mother and baby begin a beautiful relationship together.

 

Certainly there is a need within all of us for the closeness of our Caregiver. From birth and all through our growing up years, through adulthood and into old age, our very beings long for a relationship with our heavenly Father. When not fulfilled, there is a void -- no matter how hidden -- within us. A void filled with emptiness and longing.

 

I see this void in my son. And I see a battle raging within him.

 

Elijah is under conviction.

 

He is only six, but I recognize the spiritual and emotional battle going on inside of him, my little warrior child. I've been through this battle myself. It is part of the "Fathering-up" process.

 

The other day, I couldn't find my little son. I could hear crying coming from somewhere. I knew it was Elijah. There he was in my bedroom, sitting on my bed, crying to himself.

 

"What is it, Elijah? Are you hurt?"

 

Sadly, he shook his head.

 

"What happened? Why are you sad?"

 

He looked at me with tears on his cheeks. "I'm the naughtiest one in the house!"

 

At first I was puzzled. He hadn't gotten into trouble that day…at least not yet. He had been playing nicely with his siblings. But my mind went to all the questions he had been asking lately: questions about Jesus' sacrifice on the cross, questions about the great men of God in the Bible, questions about death and heaven.

 

God was reaching out to my little one. Elijah was responding to a holy God -- with tears of awe over the One who died for him and tears of remorse over the sins of his own little life.

 

We talked for a moment about the awesomeness of the Savior and His offer of forgiveness.

 

Then Elijah wandered off to play.

 

Sunday morning, several weeks later, during worship time, Elijah pulled on my sleeve. He pointed to the front of the church.

 

"I need to go up there and pray."

 

I hesitated. It was during a transitional time in the service, as we were moving from the prayer time to our special music. But I would not miss an opportunity for my son to "Father-up".

 

"Go ahead, Elijah. Go pray. Do you want me to go with you?"

 

He shook his head no. He stepped out into the aisle, but then came back and sat down.

 

"Do you want me to pray with you here?"

 

Again, he shook his head no. I placed my hand upon his head and prayed for my little boy, asking the Lord to guide him.

 

"Would you like to go up and pray after the sermon, during the invitation?"

 

Elijah said yes, but when it came time for the altar call, he didn't want to go.

 

It is my son's decision, Father. Lead Him to your path of righteousness, in Your time.

 

Elijah still has not responded to his Heavenly Father. The bonding has not taken place. What is my role in all of this?

 

As a "shepherdess of sorts," can I be the rope that holds his little leg to the leg of the Father? Can I guide Elijah to remain within the lambing jug boundaries so that he can bond with the Father?

 

I believe I can. But only with the help of the Father.

 

Are you teaching your children and those around you to "Father-up"? Are you leading them toward the Holy One, the Lamb of God?

 

Every night when we put our 4-year-old twins to bed, they ask for a lullaby or a story. Sometimes I am too tired.

 

The other night, however, I began to feel convicted that, while I read books to them and tell them stories, I needed to tell them more about the Bible, God's Love Letter to them.

 

So, as I put them to bed, I decided to tell them the story of the missionary Paul and the shipwreck.

 

Do you know this true account of Paul's journey? (Acts 27-28) It's exciting! An angel speaks to him on the ship, the ship breaks apart, Paul is bitten by a poisonous snake and doesn't even get sick, he heals people, he tells the natives about Jesus Christ…

 

I made the story as exciting as I could! The girls were both snuggled in their beds with the blankets pulled up under their chins. They were completely silent. Their big brown eyes were wide as they listened to Paul's adventures.

 

When I finished, I was proud of myself! I had held their attention for several minutes. Surely they would be "changed" because of my rendition of God's powerful Word…

 

Emerson looked at me seriously. "Mommy…" she began.

 

Here it comes! I thought. She's going to ask me a spiritual question! I can teach her more about her Father…!

 

"Mommy, do you think next time you could just tell us the story of The Three Little Pigs?"

 

Emalee, not wanting to hurt my feelings, joined in gently. "Yeah! Or…The Three Bears…?"

 

Oh, well.

 

The "Fathering-up" process might take awhile…wouldn't you agree…perhaps not the few days of the mothering-up process involved in true lambing.

 

But as "junior shepherds" we are privileged to be engaged in Kingdom farming…leading the little ones to follow the One who truly Leads.



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 who have young.
Isaiah 40:11


And if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin,
it would be better for Him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around His neck.

Mark 9:42

 

 

 



Copyright © 2010. Faith Matters by Lygia Lovelace. All rights reserved. KenLovelaceMinistries.com




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