The Voice of the Shepherd

June 28, 2013 | 22 comments

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.

Her voice.

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.

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
~ Jesus Christ

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.

by | June 28, 2013 | 22 comments


  1. debyholtschlag

    Jennifer – how He has you touch my heart – with the exact Words that I so need at this moment. So thankful and love, I know His voice as you do also – the perks of getting to have you share what you “hear”. God so blesses!

  2. Cheryl Hyatt Smith

    Those girls of yours are truly amazing, showing you Jesus in oh so many unexpected yet pure ways!

  3. Linda Chontos

    She has such a wise heart for such a little girl. This is so tender and sweet Jennifer.

  4. Diana Trautwein

    Lovely. And the perfect illustration of that Psalm 23/John 10 sermonette at the close of the JTRetreat. Thanks, Jennifer. And thank your sweet girl, too.

  5. Dave Vander Laan

    I wonder if Followers of Jesus need to be more mindful of speaking how the Shepherd speaks so our Cosmos will get used to hearing the voice of the One who wants us to live joyfully & abundantly with one another instead of against one another.

    And (just sayin’) – I like how Lydia thinks.

  6. Sharon O

    That is the sweetest story… I love her heart.

  7. Mai Bateson

    I remember my cat (a stray cat i found at the grocery store a couple of weeks ago) I named Letty cuz I just watched Fast And Furious 6 that time and every time I called her name, she responds with a cute meow! i never forget the day I rescued from being hit by a car. She was almost dead but now, her legs are improving a lot. And she can walk now without a cast. I just love the trust she gave in me that even she doesn’t know me (a complete stranger) – can take care of her. 🙂 Thanks for comparing it to our relationship with God! I love your story!

  8. HisFireFly

    to know His voice, one of THE most important things we can ever learn!

  9. Mia

    Dea Jennifer
    Oh, it breaks my heart when I think of our Lord Jesus’ lambs running away from Him, because too often they have been ravaged by wolves posing as His shepherds. What a wise little girl. If she is so patient with her flock, how much more is our Lord Jesus with us.

  10. Floyd

    That is the definition of fierce determination… the Shepard that won’t give up on us… Your little one has the heart of her mom and dad along with her Father. Awesome story, love the pictures…

  11. Pam@Writing...Apples of Gold

    Simple, sweet and tender. I see in this the making of a children’s picture book, Jennifer. Have you ever thought of that? I could really picture it that way with a little more “fleshing out… ” 🙂

  12. Lynn Mosher

    Oh…my…goodness! Jennifer, this is so beautiful. My heart opens to hear that precious Shepherd voice *read* His words to me. Bless you for this.

  13. Sylvia R

    Now why didn’t we think of that, when we had those sheep who knew somebody else’s voice but not ours? What an ingenious little shepherdess! So beautifully presented.

  14. Megan Willome (@meganwillome)

    Smart girl!!

    I have someone that a friend referred to as a “wounded animal.” Unfortunately, the sound of my voice rankles at the moment. I’m trying to find ways. I love that she put the chair nearby, but out of the way. Sometimes that’s what it takes.

  15. Deanne Moore

    Sheep Whisperer. We must to still to hear the Voice. Such a beautiful story.

  16. Jillie

    What a wonderful story, Jennifer. And what a wise girl you have there. I love this illustration of The Shepherd’s Voice, gently speaking over and over and over to us, until we know His voice like we know our own. Always gentle. Never giving up in His own.

  17. S. Rae

    🙂 *hits like button*

    • James Hooks

      Great message. So it is today with so many that fear the voice of Jesus. Some listen to His quiet and persistent voice but many more ignore and run away or try to silence the voice.

  18. Nancy Ruegg

    No doubt your daughter’s calm, expressive, sweet voice attracted those sheep. So it is with our Shepherd’s voice. He, too, speaks peace, love, comfort and more. Thank you, Jennifer, for another unforgettable image for our minds and hearts.

  19. rkrumpe94

    I love this! I come back everyday just to hear the voice of my Shepherd. Love Emily’s link up! Blessings to you! Love,Rachael @ Inking the Heart

  20. Lorretta

    Ah so worth the read. Just saved this for my “must read when I can give it my FULL attention” file. And I’m glad I did.


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