So my morning devotional time has often been short or disrupted. I have been reading passages from Isaiah and an accompanying commentary book. Isaiah is one of my favorite Old Testament books, so rich in prophecy and promises. This is where I re-discovered 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” (NIV).
I have cared for lambs, my babies, and grandchildren, plus baby pets—all vulnerable creatures that require nourishment, training, and attention. That verse took me back to when my life was consumed with caring for my children. I was indispensable for their days and nights, and my own needs and wants were often sacrificed. I was often exhausted, sometimes lonely, and occasionally grieved for my former life. My spiritual life often seemed depleted, and I developed some guilt over not having much quality time with God.
My prayers were usually quick calls for strength, protection, or parenting wisdom. I missed reading scripture on most days. But when I found Isaiah 40:11, I breathed a sigh of relief. God understood the demands of raising a baby in my time and culture. And whether I knew it then or not, I was learning a lot about God by becoming a parent, often in retrospect. His holy spirit still dwelled with me.
I’m not certain this Bible passage is really applicable for raising a pet dog. However, it brought me back to those years with energy-draining little ones, who thankfully managed to make it to adulthood. I want the mothers of babies and toddlers who may only have time to read a blog once each week, to remember Jesus: the Savior who wanted to collect His people like a mother hen would gather chicks (Matthew 23: 37-39). God is the one who referred to never forgetting His people as though a nursing mother could forget her baby’s feeding schedule (Isaiah 49: 15,16), and the reference to engraving His people on the palms of His hands. Those of us who carried our children in our bodies, and chose to nurse them, understand we often have stretch marks that never go away. Our babies are engraved on our bodies.
God has not forgotten—no matter our life stage. He understands the challenges we face in caregiving, whether it’s a baby, a parent, or other family members. Generations before us never had scriptures or other media to depend upon for inspiration. God shows up in many ways. We can sing in our hearts, offer quick thanks, cries for help, or bask in quiet moments of sunshine while the baby or puppy is napping.
We are not abandoned. He even sent a baby to remind us.
Questions for personal journaling or group discussion:
- What period of life has been the most difficult for you to connect with God?
- How has God shown up in any of your times of caregiving?
Karen Spruill writes from Florida.© 2002 - 2021, AnswersForMe.org. All rights reserved. Click here for content usage information.