Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Picture of a Shepherd

Through the years, I've shared a few posts from life on the farm, specifically ones about sheep. There's been "Feed My Sheep", "A Lesson from my Lambs" and "Me, A Sheep?", but today rather than the animal my focus is on the farmer!

"The Lord is my shepherd..." the beginning words to a very common passage in the Bible. One of the first verses many memorize and a Psalm that says so much. But today as I worked on my Bible study homework these words made me think about my dad. 

He is a shepherd. He has close to 200 ewes (female sheep) and usually spends the majority of every February in his barn caring for his lambs. I'm not just talking about an hour of chores morning and night, he's out there every few hours around the clock. Even during the night, when it's freezing here in Iowa and he's tired. He does all he can to take care of the little lambs when they are born. (My dad may or may not have burnt out a few of my mom's hair dryers through the years!!)

He spends time with them everyday and gets to know them each in an individual way. Believe me, sheep have many different personalities! He knows which ones need extra care and the others who need tough love. He does his best to give them what they need.

My dad doesn't just watch over his sheep during lambing season; he cares for them all through the year. Every summer he spends hours fixing fence and changing pastures. Rather than using a trailer he often saves time by simply putting a little feed in a bucket, calling them and leading them where they need to go. 

And then there are the orphans, the little lambs who for one reason or another don't have a mom. These are the ones who get extra care. Growing up there were a few that even made it into the house for an hour or two. Dad does all he can to nurse these little ones to health. Though the orphans look cute in the picture, they are work!! It can be a challenge to get them to drink and at first it seems their need for attention is constant. 

My little ladies feeding the little lambs G'pa gave them!!
Friends, as I've thought about and tried to paint a picture of my dad as a shepherd, I've been reminded our heavenly Father is the Shepherd. And me, well I'm the orphan lamb. He takes care of me, looks after me and provides for me.

My dad will admit sheep are not the smartest animal and after growing up with them, I agree! But the thing is my dad doesn't raise them for their intelligence. Granted he does raise them for a living, but honestly there may be more profitable choices...I mean really when's the last time you enjoyed leg of lamb?!?! He raises them and spends countless hours with them because he enjoys them, he loves them. 

And friend that statement brings tears to my eyes because I believe the same could be said for our Shepherd. He doesn't do the things He does for me because I'm intelligent or deserve it. He also doesn't work for me because of what I can give in return. He provides, leads, and cares because He loves. It's as simple as that.

Isaiah 40:11 tells us, "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." I'm grateful I've watched my dad do all these things, but I'm even more thankful that I have a heavenly Father who does the same for me!

8 comments:

  1. Jill, thank you for bringing the life of a shepherd alive through your life growing up with your dad. You gave me insight that is invaluable into the heart of God. You always teach me so much through your life experience of living on a farm. And I love the precious picture!

    Blessings,

    Wendy

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    1. This provided a real picture for me so thankful God used it to paint one for you too!! Growing up I didn't always appreciate or enjoy being a farm girl, but thankful for how God uses those memories now!! The pic reminds me my little ones are growing up fast!! Blessings to you!!

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  2. Jill,
    I read your devotions each day, and I did not realize that you are the same Jill on Wendy Blight's study. I have saved a lot of your devotions to share with other people. I LOVED this gentle picture of the Shepherd and His care for us. It is so special that your little ones have been given little sheep from their grandpa. My grandpa was a farmer also, but he did not tend sheep. Thank you for sharing your heart each devotion.
    The Lord is my Shepherd,
    Mema Jeanne ,NC







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    1. Mema Jeanne,
      Thank you so much for taking the time to share!! I pray God uses my words thanks for letting me know He is and thanks for sharing them too!! Blessings to you!!

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  3. Jill,
    I am my Dad's girl. It's been almost 12 years since I've seen him. Every cell in me anticipates our heavenly reunion one day. Reading about your Dad as a shepherd... and knowing how much I love my Dad... my heart was deeply moved and wrapped around your illustrations. And to think... God is our Heavenly Shepherd... our Heavenly Daddy... Oh my goodness. I'm speechless. Thank you so much for this incredible post. Love you girl! xoxo, noelle

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Noelle! I'm thankful God used this to speak to and am also grateful how He's used the responses to speak to me. He does work in amazing ways!

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  4. Jill, this is simply amazing! Thank you for sharing your link on Wendy's blog so we could all pop over. This truly brought a joyful tear to my eye.

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    1. Thanks Heather! It brought a tear to mine as well. Blessings to you.

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