Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Song for the Shepherdess

Arriving at church on Sunday morning, my heart was heavy with many concerns. I felt like Martha when Jesus said in St. Luke, 10:41; “Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things.”

Yes, I admit to myself, I do feel troubled and filled with many cares. I would prefer to be like Mary. She sat at Jesus’ feet seemingly without a care, listening to His quiet, gentle voice, feeling His closeness, content in His presence. She wasn’t concerned with household tasks or what others were doing. I need to hear Him too, I think. I need to know that He cares for me. In my mind, I know that He does, but I want to feel the caring in my heart. This particular Sunday morning, the pew feels lonely and so do I. Other wives sit with their husbands, but I sit alone, just as I have year after year.

But…I am a Shepherdess. Therefore, it doesn’t matter that I don’t feel well today, or that I am hurting because of someone’s thoughtless remark. It doesn’t matter much to anyone that I have company coming and I should be cleaning my house, but instead, someone needs my extra time and attention -- regardless of my own needs. This sacrifice is expected of me. It is my responsibility, my place in the Body of Christ, my calling. I am the Shepherdess, the selfless giver of time and attention. Most often, this is okay. With God’s grace, I can handle it. However, there are times when I feel that niggling dissatisfaction with my role. Tears spring to my eyes and I feel that ugly old spirit of self-pity take up residence next to me in the pew. I sigh; weary of this age-old battle.

I think, if only I could fly away to some mountain paradise, swing idly in a hammock on a tropical island, drinking lemonade while warm breezes blow over me, or perhaps become invisible at will, disappearing from those who seek my advice and attention, or maybe I could launch a new career, or live in a romantic new location.
But…I cannot. I cannot choose my own path, and given the opportunity, perhaps I would choose the wrong road. Thankfully, He chose me, and because He set His love upon me, I feel safe, secure. I will set my own plans aside for His sheep, the sheep whom the Shepherd loves.

Then…the pianist begins to play for the offertory. I sit in the pew waiting for her to finish, but after a few bras of melody, she lifts her voice in a poignant, soul-stirring solo that speaks volumes to my troubled heart. The ‘Good Shepherd’ speaks to me in song, sharing His love and sympathy with me. I am the one He has chosen for this work, for this place in His Kingdom. This is our special moment together, a song for me, His Shepherdess, the one who cares for His flock.

This song, with its encouraging words and enchanting melody, is meant for me alone, and it speaks of His tender care and His understanding of my weakness, of my personal plight. To know that He sees me, that He cares, cause my troubles to lift like the rising fog of the misty morning. I feel contentment wash over me, bathing my soul with a warm and soothing balm, breathing life, encouragement, and joy into my spirit. I can do this, I say. I can go on.

©2010 Ruth Ellinger all rights reserved