The girl walked out past the crab-apple tree, down the hill, and through the farm gate, straight into the sheep pen.
She called out to the sheep, but they didn’t yet know her voice. They ran, wild and afraid, straight into the dark corners of the little red barn.
She called again and again. Each time they ran.
So the girl in the black chore boots — a tiny shepherd — came back through the gate, trudged up the hill, past the crab-apple tree and into the house. She found her favorite book and her father’s lawn chair, and then headed back down once more, fiercely determined.
She creaked open the gate, and walked into the pen. She set her chair in the doorway of the dim barn. The wind rattled against the roof. She slid into her seat, cracked open her book, and in a gentle voice, began reading out loud to her sheep.
They needed to begin to know and trust her voice.
So, she thought, if she could speak gentle words to them again and again, while the wind whistled through the cracks in the old barn, they just might begin to hear and trust her. Maybe they wouldn’t be so afraid anymore.
And the sheep stood still, faces pointed to their shepherd who sat in the shaft of light. And they seemed to listen, like they knew on the inside of their small selves that this voice? It’s a voice that they would someday come to know.
She closed her book, looked out on her flock, and told them she’d be back again tomorrow.
This? It’s what I’m learning in the corners of a dark barn on our farm. So, I submit the story today with Emily Freeman’s series on what we’re learning in June.
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
~ Jesus Christ