Two Lambs

 

She toddles out of her room carrying a brown elephant by its trunk. “Good morning, Sunshine,” I greet her. We exchange hugs and slobbery kisses and tickled laughs.

Then I ask where her sister is.

“She won’t come out.”

I sigh. Here we go again. In the providence of God, I have two daughters the same age. One is healthy and attached. The other is not. The one climbs in my lap un-hindered and calls me in the night without hesitation. She knows what it is like to feel safe, to trust. To laugh free and share deep. To belong.

The other? Not so much. She is scarred. Unattached. She came to us after a very long and hard first year of life. She carries memories deep and is afraid to really trust. She is afraid to let go.

To her, safety is in controlling, not in running to us and throwing herself headlong upon us.

My two daughters have brought a richness to my understanding of God. Both daughters are fully mine. They both eat the same things, have the same resources, share the same last name. They share clothes, toys, and the same citizenship, despite their different genetic makeup and backgrounds and pasts. They both have all of me and my resources at their disposal.

The only difference is that one fully knows it and doesn’t doubt while the other isn’t so sure. She is plagued with doubt.

And I’ve asked it many times: Which daughter am I? One daughter has laid hold of all that has been freely given her and the other has not.

It does strike me then, after all the times I have done this. After all the mornings Little Bit has resisted and withdrawn and out-right refused. After all the times her doubt and distrust has put her in a bad spot and it’s upon me to coach her out, it finally dawns on me and I’m struck to my knees with the revelation: I am like the Shepherd.

For the Shepherd leaves the 99 healthy sheep in the fold to go after the single, solitary one who is lost.

I’m on my knees with the revelation and this ground is sacred because I see. I’ve been invited to enter into His very heart, to reach out the finger and touch His wounded side and BELIEVE.

Because I’ve truly been the wounded daughter, the lost sheep, the doubting Thomas.

I’m the black sheep on the outside looking in.

And He has appeared to me and given me two little lambs and has invited me to reach out and touch His side, feel His heart. To Experience. See. And Believe. Both daughters are fully His and this is how He shepherds His own.

Our Shepherd is One who goes after the wounded and sick, the needy one stuck in some pit on the backside of nowhere.

His intent is nothing short of “bringing in.” He will keep pursuing, keep reaching, keep leading…until each of His sheep are all safely brought in: healthy, attached, and full in His fold.

My sigh turns to a smile. As much as I’d love to cuddle with my healthy little lamb, I leave her sitting on the couch in order to bring in my lost one. “Little Bit,” I call to her from the foot of her bed. “Are you ready to get up?”

She doesn’t respond. She is rigid and her eyes glint at me hard. She isn’t budging.

“We are going to have breakfast in a little while and you are invited to join us.”

She starts to cry. She has placed herself in a predicament, you see. She wants breakfast. But she doesn’t want to reach out. She has decided she doesn’t too much care for the offer we’ve made her, to be part of the family, to belong. She doesn’t want that part. She wants to stay stuck, remain the victim.

The truth is sordid sometimes: being a victim is easier than embracing grace.

And I see it all over my own life. Moments dotting my day, impurities pocking a life, times where I don’t want to stretch into the grace offered me. I want something easier. I want to live close fisted, demanding change from others, from life itself, instead of embracing the change God gently prompts within.

The ugly truth is that I don’t want the challenge of grace. So I stay stuck.

But hunger for that breakfast table has a way of doing it’s work. And the Shepherd has a way of making us desperate hungry for Grace.

I lean against the bunk beds shared by my lambs. I look at Little Bit. She wants control; I give it. “Alright, just come on out when you are ready.”

I leave the room and wait. One of two things will happen. I know because we have done this little routine hundreds of times. She will either start screaming, hoping to elicit a response from me… another of her attempts at controlling me; or she will slowly inch her way out of bed, take baby steps towards the door, and finally make a very reserved, staunch, proud appearance.

She does neither.

This time, I hear her voice amidst the cries, the tears. Momma, I need help!

I run. I reach her side and lift her up and tell her I am right there and that is what I’m here for, to help her and that I will always help her when she asks.

And in my own words, I hear the Shepherd’s voice. He speaks to me the very words I speak to her.

“That’s the promise I’ve made you,” I whisper into her tear soaked hair. “And I will always keep it. Always.”

I think of the Shepherd who made a covenant with us with His very own blood and how He promises to never leave us or forsake us and to always be faithful to us because He cannot deny His nature. Even when we can’t help ourselves, when we can’t reach out and when we flounder in doubt, when we want grace but don’t have the strength to embrace it, all we need do is call out and He is there. He will bring us in.

I lift up my Little Bit and soothe her tears and carry her on the hip. I bring her in to the fold.

We join the rest of the family at the breakfast table.

Little Bit takes a shuddering breath as I lower her into her chair. I trumpet like a victor: “Let’s eat!”

And all hands reach out, a circle of fists grabbing grace… lavish grace broken and poured out.

The family is complete and we’ve all come in and in the quiet pastures of the soul, I feel the Shepherd smiling. Grace has won. 

 

 

lostlamb

Linking this post up with a blog I’ve just discovered: Grace Laced; And another I look forward to perusing this weekend, A Royal Daughter. {You can thank Pinterest for these new finds :)  }

 

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20 Comments

  1. When I got to the words, “Momma, I need help” the tears started rolling down my cheeks. Those words must have been so incredibly sweet to your ears, and I can now imagine even more how sweet they are to my Father’s ears.

    And this: “being a victim is easier than embracing grace.” I will be thinking on this for a while.

    Thank you, dear Sister-in-Christ. You are precious!

  2. I am just sitting in a puddle of tears. You are such a good Mommy my friend. Our little ones from the hard places are definitely “stuck”. In the past couple of months, Lottie has begun working on being “unstuck” and free. Of course, she is 8 and has the maturity now to “deal” a little better. Praying for your precious girl, praying for the Lord to rain down His grace and peace and mercy all over her like a nice Spring shower.

    I’m sorry I have been away from your blog and not being the Aaron that you deeply need while you are serving. I love you precious friend!!!!

  3. I so needed your words this morning. I will eat on these words that you have put out here to feast on. I love the picture you painted and all the similarities we have with our own Father. The times I am too stubborn to reach out and touch the grace that is put in front of me because the desire to punish myself rages within. The not wanting to beleive that this big fat plate of grace is for me to eat. Today. And there will be a fresh plate of it when this plate is gone. So hard for my mind to grasp this amazing grace some days. It’s so easy when the world shouts a different message to forget all of this. Like your little girl, there are still days I want to hide under the covers from Him and the world and fear beleiving that open arms really do await me. There are still days I am in such awe of His amazing grace, mercy and love for me that I can barely speak. Thank you for sharing your words and being used by Him to speak to me this morning. Blessings to you and yours.

  4. Thank you once again for sharing words of help and healing. I am so broken this morning, I was at that “I need help” place…not able to even focus on the Word. I cried out, and your post was definitely an answer. Thank you. Father, please set my son free to lay hold of the high calling you have placed on his life in Christ Jesus.

  5. Oh wow. I put off reading this blog because I’m in the office today. I knew that it would totally wreck me. But the thought of having one of your emails in my inbox without reading it? Well, I certainly couldn’t concentrate on work with that hanging over my head!! I just had to know what truths God was going to reveal through your blog this morning. And man – once again, He does NOT disappoint. Your story of the two lambs just got me. Which lamb am I today? This morning, I was the unsure, insecure, questioning & surly one. But thank God for His grace and His mercy because now? Now I am once again secure and resting on His firm foundation. Knowing that He loves me no matter what. Knowing that I can trust, that I can rely on His promises. When I read the part about Little Bit crying out “Mommy, I need help!” I wanted to cheer and jump for joy! God is so very good and so amazingly wonderful to us, isn’t He?? So glad for your victories, my friend. Praying for you today… and praying for Little Bit, too. :)

  6. Thank you SO much for sharing your life with us. I am Melanie’s husband, so I am blessed by your ministry on multiple levels: by the stories themselves, as I sit and weep and rejoice with you and embrace the challenges that Lord gently brings through your writings, but also blessed by your ministry to my wife and how God is using you to draw her nearer to Himself. Today is our anniversary, and I am thankful for the “treasures” we find along the road of our journey…you are one of those for her, and I am a better man and husband because of it.

    1. Greg, so blessed that you would comment. I do love your Melanie so! It is amazing how one I’ve never met can be such an encouragement to me. I know she is a gift from God (I call her my Barnabas!) Praying for you both. So humbled God would cross our paths…

  7. How do you do it?? I agree with an earlier comment: reading that she cried out for help got the tears rolling. I am so thankful for your perspective and your ability to share it! I am certain I would not handle these situations with such grace and understanding.

  8. Your stories of Little Bit always bring me to tears. God bless you for pouring so much love into that little hurting person. And then teaching us lessons from your growing-in-trust relationship. Keep on writing – you are an inspiration!

  9. Linking up after you at Faith Filled Friday – and so glad I visited your blog. This post is so, so beautiful – and gave me a picture of what we sometimes do to our loving Father in resisting His love and care. Very thought-provoking – thank you for sharing this.

    1. Ruth, it means so much to hear your voice! Thank you for dropping by. I pray the Lord overwhelms you anew with His love and grace and gives you expression to His beautiful character. So glad we are sisters in Christ,
      Arabah Joy

  10. Oh Arabah. This post resonates with me so much. I think I have been the other lamb, finding comfort and safety in being in control But Jesus is slowly, painfully and beautifully changing my heart and making me more like the other lamb: finding peace and safety in His arms. This is beautiful, thank you for linking up with D2I.

  11. Oh my goodness, this! Ugh – I have been obsessed this year with the song “Reckless Love” and thinking of how He would leave the 99 for me, for you and for everyone. Makes me cry every. time. Great post! Love your heart and wisdom from God!

  12. This is beautiful. Your words speak to me of our wounded moms of addicted children who are also wounded daughters. How grateful I am for a Shepherd who opens his arms and scoops us up and reminds us that perfection is not required. He embraces our wounds, our imperfections, and assured us that we are not alone. He helps us in our weaknesses. We are always daddy’s little girls. He is always with us. Always caring for us. Just like you do your little wounded and well loved lamb.

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