Tending His Flock

Let’s talk for a bit about deep desires, the kind that you cherish.  The kind that makes you want to simultaneously tear up and heave a sigh of beauty at the idea of it being a reality.

I’ve been struggling lately with the truth that sometimes in life our deepest desires go unanswered or answered with a definitive and resounding “no,” from our Heavenly Father.

I had a friend who took the greatest delight in romantic stories.  She loved Beauty & The Beast, Pride & Prejudice, any chick flick.  You name it, she’d be there, quoting the lines and tearing up at the end.  She longed for a romantic love from a man.  But God took her away from this earth before that could happen.  And it’s thrown me for a loop, wondering why God would have given her those romantic desires if she would never experience them in an earthly form.

Did God give her those desires?  Or were they the result of her life experiences, inserted into her heart by our culture?

I have some “deepest desires” too, although I’m currently living out my best and most cherished ones: being able to stay at home with my kids, being a wife to my best friend, being open to adventure and wherever God calls us.

That being said, seven years ago, Michael and I were in serious consideration of purchasing a farm in which we intended to have a small herd of sheep.  The only thing that held us back was adoption paperwork and some delays in our oldest child’s adoption.  We had already jumped headfirst into carding, spinning, and dyeing wool, and there was not a part of the process that I didn’t love. I found peace and joy in the process of taking raw, filthy material and turning it into something beautiful.  There is nothing better than getting your hands dirty and feeling satisfied after engaging in an experience with God’s creation, whether that be dirt, the forest, chopping vegetables, or washing wool.  And Michael had further agrarian dreams.  Chickens (which eventually materialized at this new urban home), gardening (always and forever, except for this coming spring,) and he had dreams of a guardian goose.

Go ahead, laugh.  Because I did until he provided me ample research that certain breeds of goose are actually phenomenal “guard dogs.”

And those dreams were put on hold.  We moved to a larger city after a career change made Michael’s hours away from the family less than desirable.  We had also dreamed of owning a diaper service, in our effort to conserve God’s creation and because of our willingness to do dirty jobs.  This was a business plan that would hopefully enable Michael to stay at home and work alongside us, so the move to town became a business decision more than anything.

When we got to town, we weren’t in our new house more than two months, before Michael began sensing a call on our lives to serve in France in a missions role. This wasn’t the way we expected God to answer that “Michael staying at home and working alongside us” bit.   Living life in town has been hard on us, but perhaps our kids most of all.  And now, we’re moving to an even larger and more populated metro area in France.

One of my favorite verses is Isaiah 40:11, “He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.”  I love this verse because the love that our Father has for us is palpable in the words.  His gentle care and provision for us are evident.  

Because of this, I can confidently trust even my deepest desires in the hands of my Shepherd.  Even if there is no farm to be had, not even a smidgen of property in the future–even if I never own a small flock of sheep, I know that He cares for me best.  He tends His flock and gathers me into His arms without my contingencies and despite my earthly expectations.  And I can and do choose to trust in His goodness.