» » The Heart Work of Shepherding

The Heart Work of Shepherding

posted in: Lambs, Raising Sheep | 7


shepherding ~ a person who tends and rears sheep.

The past two weeks have been one of those heart wrenching times when shepherding has not been easy, when the tears flow gently. The dictionary makes the job of shepherding sound so cut and dry, so black and white. It does not talk about the heart work of shepherding-the clinging to life and the letting go of life. It does not talk about the second guessing, the “what ifs” and the “but if only I had”… It does not mention that your sheep count on you, rely on you for their very sustenance and expect you to be there for them when a problem arises. It does not talk about the late nights, the worry, the waiting and the unknown.

Liam rests with his mom and sister, clinging to the hope of recovery.


The past two weeks have been one of those times when life enters the world through your own hands and days later, life leaves through those very same hands. Our last ewe to lamb delivered us two perfect lambs on March 29, Liam and Luna. It was one of those amazing moments when you stand in the barn and watch a miracle unfold before your eyes. When left untouched by human agendas and busy schedules, nature usually knows exactly how to bring new life into the world. Laboring ewes work with their bodies, rocking and swaying, pacing and nibbling, to open wide and  allow the new lambs to enter the birthing canal. When it is time for the hard work of pushing, the ewe will lay down, pushing with each contraction, to bring forth her new lamb. That is exactly how Liam and Luna entered the world. They were both born strong and full of vigor, standing and suckling before their mom could get them dry. As always, they stayed close to mom in the lambing pen for a few days before I turned them out with the flock.

He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart…

The day they were let out of their pen, Liam took off, racing and playing with the other lambs. He never stood still long enough for me to take pictures of him. Though he was the smallest, he played the hardest. Then, one morning, I went out for morning chores and Liam was not running and playing. He lay by himself in the lamb creep. When I picked him up, it seemed his leg was hurt. Since then, it has been one long day after another.

Liam had developed an infection in his knee joint. Regardless of our treatments, he slowly began to decline. We all love Liam-he is one of those perfectly beautiful lambs that tugs at your heart. Even our vet succumbed to him and became captivated by him. His spirit was strong, but his little body was giving up.

Liam means strong-willed warrior and protector

Little did this lamb know that he would have to be strong at such a young age. He would have to fight like a warrior for a battle not his to win. He would be stronger than his shepherd who held his life in her hands, the one who said, time is up little one-time is up.


7 Responses

  1. Katie

    I’m so sorry, Kim. My thoughts are with you.

  2. Lauren

    Oh no! Are u ok? 😢

  3. Terrie

    I am sorry. It’s sad for the loss. It’s the heart work.

  4. Terrie

    I am sorry. It’s sad for the loss. It’s the heart work.

  5. Meloni Blok

    Oh wow, you write so movingly. Thank you for sharing this! Tell Anna hello from Michael’s mom😊

  6. Cathy B.

    Oh Kim, you have such a good heart! That is why it hurts so much. Your sheep are so blessed to have you as their shepherdess, as you love them with all of your heart!!

  7. Elaine

    I’m very sorry to hear of your loss Kim. This year was my first time lambing and you were there for me.

    Though this time around all 3 births went well, I know in my heart that it won’t always be this way.
    Thank you for being there for your flock and for me!