The Shepherd and the Sheep: Six Months In

Our little Sugar Ray is six months old today and I still can't believe that it has been half a year that he's been a part of our lives. Sometimes it seems like it has been longer and then other times it feels like he just entered into our world and surprised us in the most unexpected ways!

So, a quick update: Just over a week ago we met his mother for the first time. Overall, the experience was pleasant - we showed her pictures of the boys (our friends are fostering Sugar Ray's two older brothers) and shared stories. It seemed unusually normal - because normal for us has a very different definition these days! We made a plan to see her in a few days with all the kids and give this idea of truly raising these boys together a shot. The day came exactly a week ago - last Sunday - and we ate together - all three boys, our friends, Aaron and Sarah Jane, and our family including Grant and Isabel.

The experience was unique to say the least - unlike anything I have ever been a part of.  It was such a picture of brokeness and wholeness wrapped into one. A family torn apart and a new one that has formed. And in this image there was a tension, a confusion, as to who was the voice that would lead and guide these children in this moment and into their futures. Would it be that familiar sound they had heard for nine months in the womb or would it be these newer voices that had spoken love, peace and security in the midst of their chaos? I believe each of us - their mother, our friends, Shannon and me - left that day with uncertainty. Overwhelmed. And maybe even hopeless.

The rest of the afternoon showed the signs of this confusion in our little one. He was clingy, easily distraught and totally dependent on me for the rest of the day. Seeing the direct effects on him made me realize that this experience was more than just a lunch meeting - it was the story of his life. Two mothers speaking two very different languages of love to him.  Hers as his biological mother; mine as his other mother. His other mother who loves him as her own and has been given the amazing privilege to be his provider, comforter and consistent presence for now. I realized he needed me to be the voice that was most familiar to him in the midst of this moment; he needed me to offer him the security of a safe place to land. So, we rocked and cuddled a lot that night. And I prayed and cried and relied on the Holy Spirit to utter the words for me.

One week removed from this experience, I am still seeking understanding. Still trying to wrap my mind around what all this means and what I am to do to be faithful. And this weekend at our Women's Retreat, God gave me some help. Through a close examination of Psalm 23, we began discussing what it truly means to view God as our Shepherd.

A shepherd looks after his/her flock with great care and intensity  - a care that manifests as nurturer, provider, corrector, redeemer and protector. The sheep are totally dependent on the shepherd. They are easily lost and confused, require guidance and instruction, and rely on the voice of their shepherd.

It occured to me for this season in Sugar Ray's life, I am his shepherd. The one he turns to when he's confused and the voice that speaks peace to his heart. At the same time, I have a shepherd who I can turn to when I am just as confused and need a voice of peace.  And just like the sheep who are a little slow to get it sometimes, it took me a week to fully grasp that I had a protector wanting to simply hold me and rock me gently... a protector to offer me the security of a safe place to land.

And so tonight, as I rocked our little man to sleep and he settled securely into my chest, I settled securely into the arms of God and imagined Him embracing two of His very own sheep leading us both to the still waters of his love and the green pastures of His peace.


Post a Comment