(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
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
The mothering-up process must
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
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
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
Sadly, he shook his head.
"What happened? Why are
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
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
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
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
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
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
Emalee, not wanting to hurt
my feelings, joined in gently. "Yeah! Or…The Three
process might take awhile…wouldn't you agree…perhaps not
the few days of the mothering-up process involved in true
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.
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.
Copyright © 2010. Faith Matters by Lygia Lovelace.
All rights reserved. KenLovelaceMinistries.com