Counting Sheep

One of my Christmas gifts was pair of fleece pajamas. The red fabric is decorated with sheep. My son wrote on the tag “Counting sheep to help you sleep.” As I sit still before the Lord, I begin to examine this gift. Suddenly God begins to make himself known through a pair of pajamas. Let me explain.

Fleece:

I love the softness and warmth of the fleece, I feel warm and cozy on this cold Winter day. But the fleece is significant for another reason. I just finished a Bible Study on Gideon. This man was hiding in fear when called by God for a great purpose. God called him a valiant warrior. Gideon felt ill-equipped and unsure of God’s plan so he laid out a fleece. Essentially he tested God and asked him to make dew on the fleece while the ground remained dry. He asked and God delivered. Gideon’s story doesn’t take up much real estate in the bible (only three small chapters in one book Judges 6-8) but, it has taken up significant real estate in my heart. As I move into 2014 I too have laid out my fleece before the Lord because there are so many areas of my life that I feel ill-equipped.

Seam:

I examine how these pajamas are constructed because Rachel and I are going to make our own pajamas. (In true Rachel fashion she chose some fun and funky fabrics. The first is pink and white zebra print and the second is pink, purple, and turquoise cheetah print). As I look at the seams, Psalms 139:5 comes to mind: “You hem me in- behind and before, you have laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; too lofty for me to attain.” Psalms 139 is one of my favorite chapters in the whole bible. I just can’t be reminded enough that God loves and knows all about me.

Sheep:

I don’t know where the idea originated that counting sheep will aid in falling asleep. I guess that was the thought behind my red fleece sheep pajamas. As I examined the sheep pattern the Lord reminded me that He is my shepherd and I am his sheep. He knows where I am and tends to me. If I were to go astray He will leave the others behind to go and find me. Such knowledge does allow me to have a good night’s sleep. Not that I need to count sheep, but rather that The Good Shepherd is counting me.

“I will search for the lost and bring back the strays.

I will bind the injured and strengthen the weak.”

-Ezekiel 34:16

“You are my sheep, the sheep of my pasture are my people and

I am your God declares the Sovereign Lord!” – Ezekiel 34:31

Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd and we are his sheep. Christ explains this in parables in the Gospels.

“I am The Good Shepherd and The Good Shepherd lays down his life for his sheep.” John 10:11

“I am The Good Shepherd; I know my sheep by name and the sheep know my me.” John 10:3,15

“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go after the one lost sheep?” Luke 15:4

Red:

If you haven’t gathered by now, red is my favorite color. I spend time with the Lord from a red chair, I drive a red car, even my birthstone, a ruby, is red! (Most people are surprised to know that even though my name is April, I was actually born in July.) So the red pajamas was just another reminder that my family and God know me so well to give me red pajamas. Bibically speaking, red is symbolic of the blood shed on the cross by The Good Shepherd for this once lost sheep.

Dear Lord,

Thank you for speaking to me. Thank you for using a simple Christmas gift of red-fleece-sheep- patterned pajamas to remind me of your constant love for me. Lord, I am thankful I do not have to lay in bed at night and count sheep—that’s your responsibility. Lord, help me to surrender my worries to you, The Good Shepherd. Because you carefully tend to your flock, I do not need to worry. That is reason enough to have a peaceful night sleep—it’s not me counting sheep, but rather you Lord!

Psalms 23

“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures,

He leads me beside still waters,

He restores my soul.

He guides me in the path of righteousness for His name sake.

Even though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death

I fear no evil for you are with me.

Your rod and staff they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.

You anoint my head with oil;

My cup overflows.

Surely, goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life.

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Amen”

~April

“May you and I be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.” Romans 1:12

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