Saturday, April 30, 2011

Can Ewe attach?

Not all mama ewes, not all mamas, accept their young.

A full measure of longing has filled my heart and mind for months. The longing has impregnated my heart over the past several years. It’s grown bigger within me as I revisit dates I inserted alongside passages in my Bible. These passages were promises that one day I’d spend a year in the Lake District of England during lambing season.

I look out the windows of where I live. Green pastures beside the still waters. Mama sheep and their young, right there before my eyes. He restores my soul. The Spirit of the Living God dwells in the fulfillment of these promises, giving birth to these pregnant longings. Gratitude fills me. His name is Faithful One, the Great Shepherd who tends all we like sheep who have gone astray. Seeking and then finding us. There’s great joy in being found.

              You know these moments, too. You recognize the expressed moments when you are discovered. You and I both grow in knowing and being known. We also grow in faith when given an experience through no effort of our own! These few months, which He has permitted, make me feel known by my Father.

Joy giggles out of me as I watch newborn and toddler lambs run top speed in little gang groups, going so fast, their little bodies lift off the ground with all four legs wriggling in the pure air On Higher Ground. Gaining new heights every day! Their mamas seemingly enjoy the freedom to graze and chew their cuds as their lambs busy themselves with the pack-to-play, in so doing, learning the skills in becoming a flock that works together.

Yet, alas. There are other heart captivating moments. Like the mama who refused to give her body and milk to her newborn. David, the Scottish shepherd who lives in the flat over us, placed them in a smaller pen just outside our windows. All day the mama chewed away at the dwindling bits of grass tucked between rocks. Each time the lamb moved toward her she furiously ate more, moving away from her lamb. Hours this went on.

Late in the day I walked out to the fence. I chatted with mama and lamb; but knowing how little good this would do, I began to sing and pray over her, her fearful and defiant reluctance. “Shepherd of Love bring peace to this terrified mom, settle her with the comforting presence of the Holy Spirit.” “Little lamb, press on, don’t give up,” as she sat down, bleating in hunger. Nothing changed.

The shepherd moved them into the barn, tightening the boundaries even more, and four times a day, he’d strap the ewe, and by so tethering her, the lamb could suck. I found myself waking in the night, “Father, please, make a way, remove all obstacles, and bring mama and baby lamb together. I ask it in Jesus’ name!” “And, God, while You are at it, please do this for many human moms and their infants and toddlers… even if those are grown people now. Bring Your Mercy and Kindness to bear fruit for them as well.”

Vance inquired of David, the shepherd, “can I go in and help? My wife is praying they will accept each other.” “No!” he grumped. “It’s okay, God; You work while we trust and pray.”

One week ago, as I walked near the newly appointed newborn pasture, across the road, I stopped to talk with our shepherd. As we amiably talked, he offered, “See that one there? She’s the one who wouldn’t let the lamb suck. She’s fine now… look at them. I chained her down and she finally got used to it.” I added, “well, I’ve been praying, too.” Chuckling, he turned and walked off saying, it was the chaining her down that worked. I said, “Well, between all you did and what God did, they made it.” Off he walked enjoying his part of the success.

And, for me? “I praise You Father, I praise You, Jesus! You did it. You did it! They are making it.” “I’m so proud of You, God! You answered prayer and saved the mama and the lamb. Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!”

“She’s okay now.” I just praised God that “between David’s expertise and prayer, and singing, the two bonded “enough” and the little lamb is growing. And, the little lamb that I am is glowing! What a tough go it was for them. How it broke my heart. How much I learned about myself as I leaned into this story and truth… how much I learned about my Lord as well… how He lays down His Life so we can live. That we must reduce ourselves to be very little, “humble,” that we can live off Him and His nourishing life-giving work for us. Only trust Him. Only trust Him. Only trust Him now. He will save you… He will feed you… He will save you now.” --bjs