I Love My Shepard blog by: Deaconess Heidi Goehmann, MSW, LSW
“Just as a nursing mother cares for her children, so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.”
1 Thessalonians 2:8 (NIV)
My friend, Emily Cook, sent me one of the devotion books that she wrote a couple of months ago. I let it sit, untouched for a couple of months, on my bedroom dresser. It had a happy cover and I liked the look of it for decoration. I knew it was meant to be used though, so the guilt kind of gnawed at me to crack it open. But still it sat. Why? I don’t know. It’s a devotion book for pity sake’s. It doesn’t require fifty pages be read in a night, it doesn’t really require anything of me, but to soak it in. Emily is a beautiful writer, with precious words that smooth over your heart like a balm. I knew that. I had read her stuff from her blog and was eager to read this book, but some unseen force kept me from reading even page one.
And then I did. Getting dressed one morning I opened the spine and began to read. The first devotion spoke exactly to the turmoil in my heart as a mother, day after day. It talked about children and their many and incessant needs that can’t be helped, Emily spoke with vulnerability and honesty about shouting and brimming over with frustration, followed by a plea for God to work in her weakness and a reminder of His mercy flowing over in all of it.
“The world is out of balance when parents act like children. Why in the world am I entrusted with these precious little souls?”
“What needs do your children have today? What needs are not yours to meet? Pray about them now.”
This, what I have felt for so long, the fear of what my children need and what I can’t provide or do for them, put into words, followed by words of grace and the knowledge that Christ’s mercy covers even this. Christ’s love fills my gaps. These are the words Satan didn’t want me to read. He wanted me to look at the pretty cover, enjoy the book on my dresser…anything but read about forgiveness, mercy and grace.
So, knowing this. Knowing that as someone who ministers to women every day, I get thwarted trying to open a devotion book, how can I help other women get past that unseen force keeping the book closed, the bookshelf full, the heart still in need of the Word?
Why fill my bookshelf with devotions and Bible studies read once in their time and then to gather dust. I’m going to pass it on. I’ve decided to create the revolving devotion book. The book gets passed on from friend to friend with a lot of love and a wee bit of accountability. I wrote my name in the cover. I don’t expect the book back, but I want others that receive it to see the women that are in this together, trying to do this mom thing, this wife thing, this Jesus thing, the best they can, resting in a whole lot of mercy and grace. Instead of just passing it on, though, I’m going to check in on my friend who receives it. “Did you like it? Did you read that one part? Such and such a part really spoke to me.” I’m going to create conversation. She’ll pass it on to some friend unknown to me, but a fellow sojourner all the same. She’ll create conversation, His Word will be shared, compassion and grace going out. It’s not about me or my system, but it is about fighting past the things that keep us from His Word, His forgiveness, and keep us in the isolation battle, hiding in shame and sinking in failure, and wishing for another vocation.
Maybe you’ve been there, with the devotion sitting unread on your dresser. Maybe you have a book and a friend to pass it on to. Let His Word sooth your soul and connect you to His people. May He will you with His new mercies every morning and care for you, as you care for one another.