My daughter got married. That was a wonderful event that deserves much celebration. It was also extremely stressful physically. The work and planning that went into the wedding was tiring. There were logistics to work out. Things such as what time should the ceremony be and how long should it last? Who was driving and who was riding with who? How much decorating should be done? How do I decorate the wedding cake so that it doesn’t look like it was the first solo wedding cake I have ever done? Beyond being physically stressful, the event took its toll emotionally. My daughter no longer has the same last name as me. In fact, I addressed an envelope to her yesterday and almost wrote “Sara McMoil” out of habit. It hit me all over again as I wrote her new last name.
I thought when the wedding was over, life would slow down. That didn’t happen, as it seems there is always something to deal with. Sometimes others’ choices cause wounds that were not intended but happen nonetheless. I wanted nothing more than to crawl away to a cave somewhere, find a kitty or two, curl up and cry.
Life doesn’t work that way though.
Instead, I turned to a group of ladies I have never met in person but have come to love and trust. I asked them to please pray for me. I then stayed off of social media as much as I could. I knew there would be certain triggers on those sites that would only add to the emotional stress I was facing. I decided to do some catch up work on a Bible study I had fallen behind in. One of the passages I was to read was in the book of John. I started reading in the tenth chapter. Jesus was talking to his disciples and said, “I am the Good Shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11) I had read or heard these words said hundreds of times. I almost glanced over them as too familiar to pay attention to. But, and only the Holy Spirit can cause this, two words jumped off the page and pierced my heart: Good Shepherd. Not just any shepherd but the GOOD SHEPHERD.
My heart melted as I took in the magnitude of what that verse was saying to me in my hurt. Jesus was not just any shepherd. Just “any shepherd” may watch the sheep but does not give the sheep his full attention. Just any shepherd, when he realizes one sheep is not with the flock, might say, “Oh well. It’s just one sheep. There are hundreds more here. One isn’t going to make much of a difference.” But the shepherd who is GOOD, that shepherd will not only notice that a sheep is missing, but he will risk his life to go find it and bring it back with the rest of the flock. That shepherd takes into account the dangers of what is out there and cares about each sheep enough that he desires to safeguard each of them, even if it means he gets hurt in the process.
Jesus is the GOOD SHEPHERD. My Good Shepherd. He isn’t just any shepherd. He sees me among all the other sheep he watches over. He knows where I am–both physically and emotionally. He sees if I have wandered away and he finds me. He sees the hurt and pain caused by the dangers of this world. He gave his life for me. That makes me precious to him. The comfort I found in that realization was real and very much needed at that moment.
I am still feeling the sting of being hurt by others. That is a part of living in a world where sin lives. Because sin is ever present, that is all the more reason for me to stay close to my shepherd. Wandering off will only hurt me. The fold is safe from predators because the shepherd makes sure of it. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not be in want.
My mindset now? I still am picking up pieces and trying to put them back together. Hurt is real, regardless of whether it is intended or not. I am still not even close to one hundred percent emotionally or physically. I don’t know if I ever will be. That’s the reality of living in a world that is imperfect and in a body that houses a chronic illness.
I know my Good Shepherd sees me though.
My Good Shepherd cares.
My Good Shepherd watches over me. Nothing gets to His flock that isn’t allowed by Him.
He sees my tears.
He hears my cries.
And I am so thankful.