to know the tender

High sheeps

it’s the first day of school, or it’s a team-building exercise at work, or it’s some cheesy church function, and it’s time to get to know one another.  and the slip of paper before you asks:


if you were an animal, what animal would you be?

[i’ll give you a second to think about it…]


ok, now.  show of hands:  how many of you chose SHEEP?


not me, you’re thinking.  smelly, bleating sheep – that’s baaaaad. (sorry – couldn’t resist).


but guess what?   you’re a sheep. a baby one, at that.


you – the tough guy in the Harley Davidson tee and the faux-hawk hairstyle

– you’re a sheep.


and you — the primped lady with the perfect highlights

and the shoes that cost a car payment?

better buy a second pair – you’re a four-legged, wooly, lamb.


and me, too.


and we ought to drop to our knees in gratitude … for our sheepdom is nothing short of a miracle.

there are days when i roar like a lion – when the dishes get done and the bills get paid and the world runs exactly as i have commanded it to.  and  these days are dangerous … because they lie.  they leave me thinking that i’m standing on my own two feet … when, really, i have four.  hooves.


and so, typically, only on the days when the bills are piling up and the dishes are piling up and the snow is piling up and i feel lonely and powerless and scared – only then, can i see truth.


and the truth does what it always does.

for the truth of my sheepdom guarantees me the protection of a tend-er.  did you catch that?  a tender.

and he is there with me then, my Jesus.  he invites me into his lap.  he pries open my fingers and gently removes the anxieties that i clutch, the grief that i carry so heavy.  he strokes my hair.  he calls me by name. his sheep.  most fortunate of creatures.


i am woman, hear me baaaa.


“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.”

Isaiah 40:11



  1. emily lavenue-roberts

    beautifully, beautifully written as always. you are such a treasure, keli!

    • keLi

      thanks for the encouragement, emily!

  2. Peggy Stokes

    “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, who gave them to me’ is greater than all, and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.”

    • keLi

      such great assurance in that verse, Mrs. Peggy. thanks for sharing it!