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Have you ever felt a little overwhelmed, guilty, worry-ridden or woefully inadequate in your parenting journey so far? Yep me too. And I know we're not alone. It seems that when we bring our newborn home from the hospital we also take home a suitcase of worry, guilt and fear! In this blog I'll share with you a beautiful scripture verse that has a powerful picture that helped me get through some dark days as a new Mum. I pray that as you take it in it will help shift some of the pressures that we as parents often carry around.
We try to do it all
It really is understandable why we can feel overwhelmed by the load of modern parenting. We are not only responsible for keeping this small human alive, but we are also responsible for their emotional health, their mental development, their social skills and as Christian parents, the added responsibility of their spiritual growth! Plus, many of us are raising our kids without the "village" of old, so we literally find ourselves "doing it all” - and feeling like we’re not quite hitting the mark with any of it!
We can't do it all
One of the most challenging things for new parents can be the discovery that parenting is in fact... so challenging! 😉 We may come from full time work, kicking goals in our careers, involved in our church and community, and successful in our personal interests and hobbies. Then when baby arrives, without an instruction manual, and we can't immediately succeed in getting them to sleep through the night, we start to feel like we're failing somehow! As our kids grow, so do the challenges that we have to solve, many of which don't have clear answers and solutions. The Bible is delightfully vague on the specifics of how to burp a colicky baby, and how to stop a toddler from touching the oven for the millionth time! We pray, and seek wise counsel, but if we don't get any clear direction from the Lord, it can feel like we're failing in that area too… have you ever felt the same?
Why I needed this verse
My early days as a new Mum were pretty messy… I was struggling with postnatal anxiety after my firstborn had a pretty traumatic arrival into the world and then shortly after I had a prolapsed disc in my lower back. And the pressure I was putting on myself to be a perfect Mum was starting to mount. I remember some days sobbing as my hubby would leave for work, dreading the day ahead being responsible for this tiny human! And because I was a Christian, I was also lumping pressure on myself to pray, read my Bible and to believe in faith that He would heal my heart and mind.
The verse that changed my parenting perspective
It was in this season that the Holy Spirit led me to a powerful little verse that allowed Him to minister to me. Now let me be clear that I was also getting help from our health nurse, GP and a psychologist, who really helped me see how I had been impacted by being separated from my baby for the first week of his life. But in the haze of those newborn months and the ugly feelings that I was battling against, this verse brought me incredible comfort and helped me stay connected to God throughout the healing journey.
Just seven little words...
Here is the verse that impacted me so much. Just half a verse really, that stood out like flashing lights… It’s in Isaiah 40:11: “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.”
A beautiful picture
He gently leads those that have young. Can you picture it? It bought an instant image to my mind. Jesus, the beautiful shepherd, gently leading the mummy sheep, the daddy sheep, and their young. Gently guiding those who were weary, transitioning to parenthood, still healing from labour, those who have so much on their mind. Gently shepherding the mother sheep who are feeding their little lambs constantly, whilst worrying about their other little ones wandering off, oh so vulnerable and generally still trying to keep up with the flock and do it all… does it remind you of anyone at all? :)
How it helped me
The picture of Jesus, our shepherd, painted in this verse really transformed my heart. Instead of feeling pressure, I felt a sweet sense of relief. Relief that I had a Saviour, a God, who actually understood the circumstances, and the unique needs of a new parent. He gently leads those that have young… not driving, not pushing or striking them to move quicker, to keep up, produce more, or to be like the other sheep in the flock. The kindness and care of the Lord for me and for all other new parents came across loud and clear to me. It helped me to relax more, to trust the Shepherd of my soul, and to lean back into him as I followed his lead, knowing that he would lead me to safe pastures and quiet waters, taking care of my every need as I cared for the needs of my little ones. It softened my heart to Jesus, and opened my mind to another dimension of his character that deepened my trust in his love and care. There's also a beautiful image in this verse of the Shepherd gathering the lambs in his arms and carrying them close to his heart, but that can be a topic for another blog... :)
It still helps me now
Even as my children have grown past the newborn stage, I still rely on this verse at times. When the physical, emotional and mental drain of caring for young children who constantly need me feels overwhelming and I wonder why I’m not able to take on the world like I used to pre-kids. I keep in mind that I still have “young” and while I do the Lord is gently leading me; and I believe is encouraging me to gently lead myself.
How can you let this take a load off?
I wonder how this verse speaks to you right now? Does it bring comfort to your heart? Does it shift slightly the perspective you have of Jesus and how He is relating to you as parent? What verses carried you through your early parenting? I'd love to hear your story, send me an email here. If you are weary and burdened with the weight of parenting babies and littles ones, and the pressure is feeling overwhelming, I encourage you to sit quietly with the Lord one day soon, and bring this picture from the Word into your mind, allowing the good Shepherd to minister to you.
With love and blessings!
Free gift for you!
Over the years I have passed this verse on to many of the new parents around me when they have had their babies. Along with the blanket, the rattle and the nappies, I hope that it reassured their hearts as it did mine.
I would love to pass it on to you now! Or maybe you might pass it on to a new Mum or Dad that you know…
I have made it into two beautiful poster versions that are yours free to download. Simply enter your email address here and you'll be able to download, print or share as you like.