I have been given the privilege to shepherd three young souls while on this Earth. My husband and I have three children, all in the past four years. In the midst of the wanted chaos of welcoming our second child into our family, a more seasoned mama shared Isaiah 40:11 with me. We were sitting in our small-group gathering. She quietly and patiently listened while I shared my struggles of that day regarding two of our children, 20-months apart. She responded with the only words that will never fail or fade:
“He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.”
I cling to this truth daily; God is gentle with me. He is not harsh or critical. He is not an angry father looking at me as a failure that has yet again fallen short of perfection. No, Isaiah 40:11 speaks in stark contrast to the way I see myself or feel about a particularly trying day. His Word shows me again and again that He is gently perfecting me in every moment of my day; each joy-filled, mundane, or tough moment. He is there, holding me close. I must remind myself to be gentle with myself because He is so gentle with me.
In response to the knowledge of how my Heavenly Father sees me, it should (and does) affect how I see and love my children. When the gentleness from God overflows from me to my children, it looks a lot like a heart posture of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control (Galations 5:22). Instead of correcting with harsh words, quick-tempered anger, a raised voice; I am able to use my words to edify and grow my children in the Lord. To gently guide them back to a loving Father who cares for them more than I do. To discipline in love. Ultimately, to offer forgiveness freely and immediately without a growing list of wrongs committed to bring back up at the next offense. To love and forgive as Jesus does.
There are many days I repeat, “He is gentle with me. I can be gentle with him/her” over and over again. Isaiah 40:11 has transformed my parenting. These words of truth have comforted me on tough days while encouraging me to be gentle with myself and strive forward, for His mercies are new each and every morning and His faithfulness is great (Lamentations 3:22-23). Mamas, let us parent in a way that reflects how our Father parents us. Let us be filled with the gentleness that He so freely gives and then in response, give so freely to our children.
Soli Deo gloria