Thursday, March 27, 2008

Sheep Bites

It was a rough day. I was less than a stellar mom. Took things too personally and got my feelings hurt. I crawled into bed that night drained and exhausted. Could barely raise my eyes up to my heavenly Father as I mumbled goodnight and told him I was sorry for my poor parenting. Into my mind shot a picture of sheep.

Now sheep aren’t normally an animal that I spend much time contemplating. Though I realize that sheep and sleep tend to go together in some people’s minds, they don’t pair up in mine.

I grew up in the country and have been around plenty of animals. Sheep are generally placid creatures, gently rubbing shoulders as they graze ever so peacefully in the sun or huddle in clumps through the rain.

But the sheep I saw in my mind were quite different from any I’d grown up around. These sheep were distressed. The slam-your-finger-in-the-car-door kind of distressed. But not from any kind of physical pain that I could see. It was as if they were dealing with emotional pain (okay, sheep and emotions didn't gel in my mind either, so bear with me).

As the scene came into focus, I could see something the sheep couldn’t. Hidden from them, though clear to me, was a wolf. A wolf out to destroy the sheep—through each other. A deceiver who poked and prodded, digging into emotional wounds and letting the blame fall on each other.

Hence the sheep bites.

How often I come away from human interactions with sheep bites on my soul (not to mention the incisor marks I've left on others). How easy it is to see the people around us as the problem and forget about the adversary who seeks to steal, kill and destroy. If he can zing one well placed arrow to the right spot, he can often take two of us out at once.

As I watched the sheep in my mind lash out at each other from their confusion and pain, I felt the Father’s heart for each of us. Compassion and understanding consumed Him for these sheep that he loves so much.

Too often I view my behavior through shame-tinted lens and then try to hide from the Father as Adam and Eve did in the garden. It’s only in his arms that we find the comfort and forgiveness we need.

Run to the Good Shepherd and let him heal your sheep bites.

(Sheep pictures by Brielle 9 yrs and Kaden 6 yrs)

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