“He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside peaceful waters
He restores my soul.”
Our little Easter lived her first 2 days on a bed of grass in a cardboard box. As she began to strengthen and stand, we took her to the little pen in the pasture where her mother and brother were. Her mother continued to reject her, feeding and caring only for her brother. Returning to her carboard box of hay with our family, she continued to thrive, soon joining a few other newborn lambs that had been born (unexpectedly for us!) Easter began to become part of the little flock of orphaned or rejected lambs.
All of our unexpected new lambs became their own little family. Six orphaned / rejected lambs lived in a large pen in the garage until they were strong enough to go out into the real pasture. The ewe-mothers were now in a large pasture of good grass, with a sturdy shelter with fresh water and hay. Several had now given birth to more lambs (unbeknownst to us when they were purchased) and they were enjoying the spacious shelter and pasture of their new home.
The ewes had been in a previous pasture where there was far less space and the winter snows had melted to black mud, They now seemed very content in our grassy pasture. They grazed, drank, and rested under the shade of trees or out in the open field of grass. The lambs who had their mothers stayed close, while the orphaned lambs became their own little circle of playmates.
Much to our surprise, we began seeing more and more newborn lambs appearing, not knowing that all of the ewes came to us already carrying their tiny ones inside.
But the rejected and orphaned little lambs became their own little family, . . hopping and running through the grass together. Their little happy hops always made us chuckle. Easter joined right in with all of them. Their energy and joy together was delightful to watch, Bottle-feeding time was a scene of extreme competition to get their milk, noisily guzzling every last drop, pushing each other off of their bottles as if they were all starving.
Easter joined in with all the other orphaned lambs. But afterwards, she would find me and stay near, even trying to nuzzle my fingers and make a soft purring sound.
She would stand by the gate of her pasture, and if she caught sight of me, she would “Maaaa”
as if calling for her bottle of milk to be delivered, This would quickly alert all the other little orphan lambs to come to the gate and “Maaa” in a chorus that was comical and endearing. Feeding time was a circus, as the lambs fought for their bottles, spraying each other and their human bottle-feeders with the sweet lamb’s milk in the process. Once every drop had been drained from the bottles, the lambs would snuggle together in the grassy shelter and sleep.
But Easter would stay near for more nuzzling and petting, until I’d slowly head back to the gate and home. She’d follow all the way to the gate, watch me walk away, and often remain a while before returning to her little family of orphaned lambs.
Words from so many favorite Bible verses concerning the Good Shepherd ran through my mind each time, This living demonstration of His own care and pleasure in seeing His abandoned lambs well cared for and loved brought so many verses from my childhood alive in new ways, I was now personally experiencing the examples that my Good Shepherd had talked about. My little Easter was now contentedly lying down for a peaceful, safe sleep in the well-protected shelter of loving care. He was showing me in real time a picture of His Love for His lambs, of which I knew I was one.