Lynne Green, Women’s Ministry Leader for the Seattle Church will be sharing spiritual reflections from her experiences with shepherding a flock. She will post new insights each month. Enjoy blog number 1!
I have become a shepherd. Well, actually I have been shepherding in the church for over 30 years, and yet now as I embark on the endeavor of shepherding a physical flock of sheep, I am gaining new insights into this art of shepherding. I wanted to share with you some these thoughts on a monthly basis.
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want
He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters
I love going up and working my dogs and watching the lambs in the spring time. Today is not spring and there are no lambs to watch. This is early January and the time when the work is mostly cold, wet and not much fun. Two days ago I had to move the yearling lambs from there fall pasture to the winter field where the ewes are grazing and where there would be “ greener pastures ‘ for them. Also, It is easier for us to feed and water the whole flock from one location. Moving the yearlings involved persuading them to leave their safe pasture and to journey through muddy dark woods full of deep puddles and scary shadows. They were not really interested in easy persuasion. I took two dogs, Kurt and Lexi ( on leash) to help with this task. I enjoyed the walk through the woods on my way to the lambs with the dogs. The day was cool and crisp. Noting the conditions of the path, I tried to imagine where I might have trouble with these flighty lambs and take care to give them extra time to make their way.
The adventure started out quite as I had planned. I separated the lambs from the sheep that would stay in that pasture, we made it out the gate and around the field to where the woods began. The first puddle was too wet for them and might be deep! ( really?? )They just did not want their wet feet to get wetter…silly lambs! That is just how it is with lambs, they lack some sense. One particular lamb discovered that if she hugged the electric fence it was not hot, she might avoid the puddle. Then she slipped and actually fell over the fence, back into the field we had just exited, knocked over the fence providing a gap for others to follow.
Kurt rushed back to round them all up only to have one make a break past him. The others happily joined the rest outside the field. The one loner would not be persuaded by two dogs and one person. She panicked, ran, stood her ground, ran into fencing; she was a little nuts. Deciding to use force to save her from herself required me to grab her front feet, flip her and drag her the 200 feet to join the others that just watched the show.
She had to go thru snow and mud on her back to end up with the rest. I too was now wet cold and muddy. Really?? It could have been so much easier.
The quarter mile back through the woods was quite lovely. Now that all our feet were wet, we happily splashed through mud and puddles to get to greener pastures. Fear of the unknown made my one little lamb crazy, but there were good things waiting for her at the end of the journey, green pasture and a quiet stream.
My muddy buddy happily back with the flock
She needed to trust the shepherd. How like that we are with God. He has good things in mind for us and we resist the plan because we are comfortable where we are. The journey is often easier than we anticipate if we will set off knowing he is with us.
The next week:
It is raining today on top of last night’s snow. I have to go de-worm the flock. This is guaranteed to be another wet and muddy job. The sheep don’t love being crowded in a pen and having a tube of yucky stuff crammed down their throat.This kind of work must be routinely done, and I don; t get to choose which sunny days to do that. ( do we have many of those in January)? It will take about one hour to worm the 18 ewes and 18 yearlings. I will check on hay and water. The winter months involve mostly this aspect of shepherding; checking the flock for health vitals, keeping them fed and watered, and counting to be sure no hungry coyotes have made a meal of them.
Muffin our guard dog stays on duty night and day to protect the flock