Hello everyone! Today you are treated to a guest post from my new, but dear friend Kelly. She’s an amazing writer, as you’ll see, and I want to thank her from the bottom of my heart for all her support, and also for allowing me to publish her work as I take a few weeks off to heal from having my new little baby girl, and to of course spend time with my ever-growing family! Enjoy, and remember to thank God for everything!
At our house, we are all trying to memorize Psalm 23 with our son for his Sunday school class. We are saying it with our prayers at meals, listening to the psalm on YouTube, singing it while we play, etc. It’s become a ‘thing’. (Note, I am so glad to say that this psalm is now the ongoing ‘tape’ in my head as I go to sleep. Gladly, it has replaced the song from ‘Frozen’ that used to haunt me while I tried to fall asleep. Elsa, girl, let it go already.)
Now, I’ve read this Psalm 23 before and I’ve seen Jesus as the shepherd it describes. But, today, I saw new meaning in this psalm. The study notes in my Bible shared that David wrote this psalm out of his own experience because he had spent his early years caring for sheep. As pasture animals, sheep are completely dependent on the shepherd for provision, guidance, and protection. What struck me today was, if our kids are like sheep, they have a genuine and deep need for us. While this may seem obvious, without us, they would not have someone to show them love, teach them, help them understand how things work or protect them. As a mama, at times, I want to brush off their seemingly incessant requests or seemingly constant cry for, “Mom! Mom? Mom.” In contrast to how I act some days, the Shepherd would always hear them and always lovingly respond to them.
The psalm continues and shows that the shepherd or caretaker knows each of our “green pastures” and “quiet waters” that restore us. He was the one who made us; he knows us so well that he can help us in every situation because he knows what we truly need. As a parent, I pray that God would give me insight into my children so that I can know them as well as he does. If I truly know them intimately, then I can tailor all explanations, teaching and discipline specifically to them. I can understand their motivations and what encourages them if I study them.
In a child-parent relationship, our children learn to trust, to love, and relate to others from us first. As a child, they rely totally on us as their shepherd for their needs and, as they grow older each month, the ‘leash’ of dependence on us is let out a bit more to give them more independence. With us, they can grow in a safe environment learning how to manage more and more independence. If done wisely, we can teach them to transfer their dependence on us to the Lord as a model of their adult relationship in the Lord. One day, we will get to hand the shepherd’s staff back to the Lord when they trust in the Lord alone. Without training in this area, they will be ‘lost sheep’, so each time I understand my ‘sheep’ and help them to grow, they will be more equipped for the future.
By reflecting on these short notes in Psalm 23, I found deep and wide meaning to apply to my life. By looking at God’s word, I was able to see and hear sweet lambs who truly needed me and were asking for my help because they were helpless. It changed my mindset to see them for who they truly were, instead of seeing them as children nipping at my feet all day. I was able to hear their voices and meet their needs. I got to help a sweet lamb first start to learn to tie his shoes. I helped another lamb make a sunshine fan out of tinkertoys and I held a lamb when he hit his head. These are precious times and this psalm helped me see that. These are precious days for our little lambs and they are looking to us for their every help. As parents, may we prove to be faithful for this appointment as shepherd to our children.
Kelly Brinkmann is a writer, mama, intermittent exerciser, and hot tea lover. She makes art, paintings, pottery and assemblages with dryer lint with her young littles in her professional studio, Art & Souls Creative Studio, LLC. To follow her, see Facebook.com/ArtandSouls or see her artwork at artandsouls.com