"As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness. I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land. I will pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and in all the settlements of the land. I will tend them in a good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel will be their grazing land. There they will lie down in good grazing land, and there they will feed in a rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign Lord. I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice."
Well, it is that time of year for me again .... time to finish up my lesson plans for the year. I've scoured curriculum catalogs....searching for the "perfect" curriculum. I've written up lessons plans, worked on objectives and ORGANIZED closets, bins and drawers....all in the attempts to "start off the year on the right foot".
And as I read about the responsibility of shepherds to their sheep, the faces of my four little "sheep" entered my mind. How am I fulfilling my calling to them? Am I training them up in the way that they should go? And am I doing it in a way that is honoring to God?
And so out came the pen and paper and the list began .....
Areas I'd like to see improvement:
~ Being more intentional about family devotions and praying with my children~
~Service to others~
And as I began to plan how I could begin to implement these things, God gently reminded me....I can do all these things, but in the end, the fate of my children does not depend on if I've used the right curriculum, penciled in enough service projects or crammed enough scripture verses into their little heads. These are ALL good things, even NECESSARY things, but NOT the final determining factor in whether or not we will produce children who follow Him. It's so easy to fall into the trap of placing our trust in methods, instead of trusting in God, isn't it? Feels somewhat safer, tamer maybe. And I am guilty as charged.
Yet in the end, the most important impact I will ever have as a mother on my children will be my prayers for them. It will be MY relationship with the Lord. It will be how I model Christ's love to them. It will be the everyday praise that bubbles up out of me as a natural overflow of my love for Him. Just like those cicadas. :)
Crazy little bugs, huh? And yet, they bring Him praise just by being what they were created to be. I kind-of want to be like that, you know? Singing my heart out in praise as I do what I've been called to do. Praising Him in the mundane. In the countless diaper changes, piles of laundry and mounds of homeschool curriculum. Praising Him when I am tired and feeling unequipped for the task at hand. Singing my continuous song of praise and petition to Him as I go about my day doing what I've been called to do. And doing it all for the glory of God. Just because it is who I am.
And as I do, I pray that my children will have a front-row seat to the Savior. That as I work on MY relationship with Him, as I pray and serve and love, as I offer a continual chorus of praise.....that they will glimpse Him and desire to do the same.