One Sunday a couple of years ago, I ended up getting a sermon within a sermon. Both messages were awesome. One came from my pastor who was continuing his series about golden calves. The other came through a verse that was part of our Scripture reading for the day. It’s a verse that I hadn’t noticed before but it struck a chord with me on that day.

He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.
— Isaiah 40:11 (NIV)

That last sentence sprang to my attention: “He gently leads those that have young.” I stopped and re-read it wondering if it said what I thought it did — what I needed it to. It does. Tired mama of small children, God sees you! He gently leads you, because He knows having young children isn’t easy. That was what I needed to hear as I was looking forward to a really difficult and busy week without much relief. God knew it. My pastor facilitated it. And my heart was renewed because of it.

I am not a fan of the line of thinking that nobody understands what I’m going through in life or how hard it is, because I have been down that path and found it to be a bunch of nonsense. Just after grad school, I spent my early 20s in a horrific, years-long flare of interstitial cystitis, a chronic painful bladder condition. I was laid up on the couch, inside more than out and trying one medical procedure and appointment after another to try and get my bladder into manageable condition again. I felt woeful. I felt sorry for myself. I felt like nobody else understood. And that line of thinking only made me feel worse. I have been down that path again in the years since when other hard times have inevitably come. In the last few years, though, I have seen how I’ve let that stinking thinking cloud my thoughts.

Life is hard. Everyone has a story and a struggle. We all have stuff we deal with. And maybe my stuff is different than yours. But that doesn’t mean we can’t relate to each other having a struggle. We all know what it’s like to have something turn our lives upside down. As mothers, we all know what it’s like to get up each day and try again to make it a good one and find that balance of getting things done and spending time with our children. We all know how sometimes just making it through the day is an accomplishment. We all know how sometimes we want to hide in the bathroom for five minutes of peace and quiet just to get away from the fray. We can relate. We are more alike than we are different.

And God knows that, too. He knows and understands us even better than we do ourselves. He’s been involved with mothers of young children since Eve first delivered Cain and Abel. If ever a young mother needed help, it was Eve. She was the first to do it. She had no sisterhood of mothers or even her own mother to talk to or learn from. But she had God and what more help can any mother ask for than that of our Divine Creator? He saw her needs. He has continued seeing the needs of mothers ever since. Years later this verse was penned to remind mothers of young children that God sees them and leads them.

I particularly like that this verse promises to lead us gently. The last thing I need in my life right now is more complication or even more forcefulness. I battle to make sure my children are listening to me. And to make sure they are taken care of, have clean clothes, food packed for lunches and homework done. When they were younger, the battles were certainly longer and more intense. Like during the toddler phase when they wanted their own way all the time no matter what. Or during the newborn phase when they decided sleep at night wasn’t a good idea. Or during the preschool phase when they wanted to test their limits.

And that’s just the abrasiveness I face with my children. There are lots of other things coming at me from work stuff, family relationships, finances, major life decisions and more. I don’t need more conflict. I don’t need a heavy hand. I need a soft place to fall. I need a gentle hand on my back guiding me the way I should go. That is just what God has promised in this verse and what He continues to do now — years and years after that verse was written. His Word stands strong and true even in 2018.

I am left feeling thankful and awed. He knew the struggle and had a response for me. I’m sure there are different ways to interpret this verse; that’s usually the case with Bible verses. All I know is what this verse said to me. It gave me a promise to hang on to. It gave me hope to know that God sees me. God understands. More importantly than other people understanding our plight (and trust me, others really do understand more than you might think), God understands our plight. He sees our hearts. I feel like every year I learn more about who I am and how I tick. These are all things He has known about me since I was in my mother’s womb.

I praise God for the promises in His Word. Self-pity gets me nowhere. Reassurance that God is always with me keeps me moving forward. Come, Lord, and continue to gently lead me.

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About the Author: Stacey A. Shannon

Stacey A. Shannon is a freelance journalist and blogger who has been published internationally. She's also a Christian, a wife and a mom of two school-aged children. She started Families with Grace in 2019 to encourage Christian moms as they create homes filled with grace, love and faith.

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