The Mama Promise: Following the Shepherd’s Leading in Our Lives
By Traci Robinson
#An Unexpected Pregnancy
Anxiously, I waited for the nurse to return with the results. I felt disoriented and alone as I sat waiting in a cramped room of the local pregnancy center. The nurse returned and revealed that the test was positive. For several moments, the room seemed to spin out of control. I was pregnant.
I tried to catch my breath. As an unwed pregnant teen, I didn’t have a clue what to do next. The nurse asked what kind of decision I was leaning toward regarding my unexpected pregnancy. A look of confusion rippled across my face. I had no idea. I didn’t even know my options. The nurse handed me some papers, briefly explained how to make an appointment for an abortion, and sent me on my way. Scared and ashamed, I made a call to an abortion clinic just a few days later. The woman on the other end of the line didn’t inquire much about me, or my circumstances. I gave her my contact information in exchange for the appointment instructions. When I hung up the phone, I waited for some feeling of relief to pour over me. It did not come.
The day before I was scheduled to have the abortion, I called to cancel the appointment. This time when I hung up the phone, I felt instant relief. I knew I couldn’t go through with an abortion, yet I still felt alone and lost. I needed someone to take the lead. Someone to guide me toward a better plan for my unborn child. Thankfully, someone did. That night as I laid on the floor of my childhood bedroom with a child growing inside me, I prayed. I asked God what He wanted me to do. I trusted that Jesus would take the lead. The very next morning at work, I noticed a bright yellow flyer for an adoption agency hanging on a bulletin board. The flyer hadn’t been there the day before. In fact, the bulletin board had remained empty for as long as I could remember. That morning was different. I knew the flyer on the board was an answer to my prayer.
When I dialed the phone number to the adoption agency, I felt scared, but not alone. I had a reassuring peace that, while I still didn’t know what to do, I would connect with someone at the agency who would be willing to help me. Someone, who would act on my behalf and patiently walk me through the adoption process.
#A Mom Standing Proud
On Mother’s Day, only eleven days after I’d placed my daughter into the arms of her adoptive mom, I sat in church. Tears streamed down my face as I reflected upon my choice to make an adoption plan for my baby girl, and imagined Jesus holding the three of us; myself, my newborn daughter and her adoptive mom, in His arms. I didn’t feel regret, but rather joy mixed with heartache. My tears flowed out of an exceptionally full heart within a heart wrenching loss. These conflicting emotions overlapped and welled up together as one.
I deliberated as the pastor asked for each of the mothers in the congregation to stand and be honored. Should I stay seated or stand? I chose to stand alongside the other moms. As I hesitantly rose to my feet, I felt an overwhelming sense of pride. I was proud of my daughter. Proud of myself. Proud that God led me to adoption. I couldn’t deny that I was now, and always would be, a mom. I felt strongly that I’d been the very best mom to my daughter by making an adoption plan, regardless of how much it hurt. As I stood tall and proud in church, I came to realize the deep and unrelenting truth—just because I chose an adoption plan for my daughter, it didn’t make me any less of a mother.
#Understanding the Lord as my Shepherd
I had truly lived out scripture that I now refer to as “The Mama Promise.” Isaiah 40:11 reads, “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.” He promises to be our Shepherd. Our Shepherd watches over and cares for His sheep, careful to keep them close and provide everything they need. He knows each sheep, and when one wanders from the flock, He leaves the ninety-nine to go after the one. He searches until the one is recovered, places the sheep upon His shoulders, and restores it to its rightful place within the flock.
His promise goes further by vowing to “gently lead those with young.” This includes a girl who faces an unexpected pregnancy, an adoptive mom who struggles to answer questions from an adopted child, a new mom at her wits-end because her two-year-old won’t listen, a weary mom who waits up late for her teenage son to walk through the door, or a stepmom who listens gently as her step children cry over disappointment and broken promises. The Shepherd will lead every one of these mothers. His promise is for every kind of mama.
I am thankful as I consider His leading. I am a birth mom, a mom, and a stepmom. He leads me every day in ways I have come to expect, and ways that still surprise me. I have learned time and again that He knows, far better than I, what my children need. I am reminded, as I watch how He carries them, that He also carries me. As moms who are “sheep with young,” let’s choose to follow the gentle leading of the Shepherd each day. As we follow His leading, we will find everything we need for God to sustain us in our different roles as mamas.
Traci studied at Rocky Mountain Bible Institute and went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Denver. She relishes the never-ending journey in discovering the Father’s redemptive heart as He leads her through motherhood and writing. Living in Arvada, Colorado, Traci is married to her soulmate, who also happens to be her eighth-grade boyfriend. She keeps busy with their sometimes chaotic, but always beautiful, blended family of eight.