Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Shepherdess in 2010

The Safe Room

Here we are, one decade into the new millennium! What awaits us in the next ten years? My desire is for our little flock to meet the challenges of this new decade with courage and determination. I want to protect the sheep from the wolves that continually circle the fold, looking for a breach in the wall, a weak or wounded sheep, and even an unhappy or discontented one. I am not naive. I see the wolf. I know he is out there, making his cunning plans. How can I safeguard our flock?

Before I can help the flock, I must first protect my own marriage, my home, and family. If I become prey to the wolf myself, many others will become prey as well. Therefore, safeguarding my home and family is my first priority. Many ministers and their families have gone down in defeat because they would not “take” the necessary time and effort to construct a life separate from the rest of the flock.

Build a “safe room” in your home and life. Make this your refuge, a place where you are free to express your conjugal love to your shepherd-husband, be his friend and confident, a place to enjoy your children and take pleasure in their accomplishments. Schedule time that is “off limits” to others in the congregation. While your children are growing, do your best to safeguard them from the burdens of ministry. Make a concerted effort to plan special events that will make lasting memories, those special times that bind you together and are the true joys of family life.

Many years ago, I built my own little sheepfold—attached, yet separate from the rest of the flock. While I am in close proximity and can see the sheep at all times, I do not always mingle and mix with the flock. I am the shepherdess. This is my calling. I “watch over” the sheep and care for their needs. My husband is the shepherd. He walks the wall, but we are separate from the flock.

In this special place, my own unique gifts and talents have blossomed. My safe room offers me space to grow as an individual child of God. I find joy and purpose in this place.

In earlier years, I felt this solitary room was a lonely place to be, but oddly enough, this is where I find strength, self-worth, and confidence in my own unique abilities. Because I have made this safe room, I am more tolerate and caring of the flock, able to deal patiently with the everyday, mundane troubles that beset the sheepfold. I can see the wolf from this place and warn the sheep of his coming. Having this “safe room” is the best protection for the sheep and the best defense against exhaustion and burnout for the shepherd and the shepherdess.

I am blessed to be a shepherdess in 2010, and I find immense joy in fulfilling God’s plan for my life. He has allowed me to develop as my own unique person, someone that delights in bringing honor to his name while caring for His people.

©2010 Ruth Ellinger all rights reserved