The Shepherdess

Shepherdess and plant

After he gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they know his voice.~ John 10:4

I have an affinity for anything vintage. I could spend the entire day at a flea market or street fair perusing the endless sea of tent vendors and their delightful treasures. A few years ago I was sent to Illinois for work. While there, I had to check out some of the unique shops in the neighboring town of Normal, Illinois (Yes, it’s seriously called Normal).

My favorite shop was an antique bookstore. What is it about books? I love to surround myself with literature. I adore the smell of a book and the feel of its crisp pages. I find joy in curling up with a cup of tea while I lose myself within its pages.

Shepherdess

However, the treasure I found was not a book but rather a print. It’s an old print titled “The Shepherdess”. It was painted by a man named Charles Sprague Pearce, then originally etched by Ricardo De Los Rios in 1881. It is beautiful! It pictures a young, weary peasant girl tending her flock of sheep amid a hay-field. She quietly stands, possibly contemplating life or just closing her eyes to shield them from the scorching sun. She is paused along a dry and dusty road, her tattered dress hangs, her sleeves rolled up from an afternoon of hard work . Her only support is her staff that she leans on with outstretched arms. She peacefully stands, and simply rests.

I could never really understand why this print captivated me so, but it did. So much so that I bought it up, finished my weeks work and brought it back with me to Ohio.

PathIt wasn’t until recently though that I realized I relate myself to that young woman in the print. She is tending her flock, keeping them from harm and guiding them to safer pastures. That’s not far off from what I do everyday. What so many of us do.

My white and wooly sheep come in the form of two-legged, blond-haired girls. And yes, I am that weary Shepherdess, hoping for a small moment of rest along this tiresome road I travel.

Do any other moms feel the same way (Or Dads)? We are following in the mighty footsteps of graceful Shepherdesses before us, and leaving mighty footsteps behind us for the following generations. But, just like the Shepherdess in the print, at times we must pause to rest. It’s alright to rest along the weary path.

Sometimes as moms we push ourselves too far. We keep going and going until we drop (sometimes literally). Until we just can’t take any more. We’ve all been there. Short tempered, exhausted and tired to the bone. But, it’s important to rest. When we rest our body, our mind and our spirit, we rejuvenate ourselves. We make ourselves whole again. We restore ourselves so that we can be the sort of Shepherdess our little lambs need us to be.

Roses

So give yourself rest. Stop, close your eyes and just breathe. Lean on Him with outstretched arms. The dishes and laundry can wait. The shoes will still be laying in the middle of the floor. But you are a precious gift from God and must rest. Rest from your worries, your aches and pains. Rest from the constant stream of emails, text messages and play dates. Rest from bills and your job. Rest in Him. Restore yourself. Just rest……

~ At His Feet

Stand at the crossroads and look;
    ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
    and you will find rest for your souls. ~ Jeremiah 6:16

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