I don’t understand all that Jesus implies when He calls Himself the Good Shepherd. My familiarity with sheep is quiet limited, unless you consider the number of times I’ve watched the movie, “Babe”. So I find it helpful to have a friend who is a Good Dogherd. My friend Jan is a dog breeder. But in contrast to your run-of-the-dog-breeding-mill, Jan really loves her dogs-evidenced by the sacrifices she makes for them. Her care extends far beyond the clean water/best food/romps in the park routine. She knows their individual needs and bents. For instance, she’s keenly aware of the one in her charge who, like the rat in Charlotte’s Web, thinks the world is a veritable smorgasbord, (orgasbord, orgasbord), and removes anything remotely attainable by paw, snout, tongue or unwitting co-hort. She drops everything to assist the fearful one through labor and birth, and proves she’s in it for the long haul by training the puppies over and over and (sigh) over, until they obey commands instantly -an extra challenge because -well- let’s just say, rocket scientists are rare among this particular breed. Jan calls her dogs by name, and they recognize her voice. In fact, she is so connected to her dogs, it’s hard for her to view life apart from them, and others may have a difficult time relating to her perspective. Case in point: Years ago, when I confided in her that I was pregnant (again), she said, “Why, you’re just like my breeder bitch!” She must’ve seen the look on my face, because later she called to make sure I knew that was a compliment. For Jan, a fruitful bitch is a very good thing. Apology accepted. I understand now: Her ways are not my ways. But I’d still really like to be one of her puppies.

Isaiah 40:11 He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs in His arms and carry them in His bosom, and will gently lead those who are with young.

Thank you Lord, for providing exactly what You know is best for us. Thank you that when I feel scattered, You gather me. Thank you for holding me in Your arms where I can hear Your heartbeat, feel Your life. And thank you for being gentle and strong, giving counsel and guidance to us moms who have no idea what we’re doing, or how to do it.

And thanks Jan, for modeling the things my Good Shepherd does for me, and teaching me to be a good sheepdog.

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