Wednesday, after blogging, I headed to the barn to ride. Here’s another confession for you: I’ve been riding horses for over 35 years, and I’ve never fallen off. I’ve come close a number of times, but have never been launched. All those years of watching the rodeo growing up must have taught me to hold on… This summer, however, I had the privilege of being schooled by a tremendously talented young woman who really should train full time. I realized that the things she was having me do to “find my seat” (like ride bareback), could send my arthritic bones from horseback to ground hard and fast.
And I was seriously scared to fall off.
I was afraid of getting hurt. And I was taking more risks in riding, like trotting without my feet in the stirrups to work on balance. So the fear of falling and getting hurt was fresh and fierce.
Wednesday, I tried to ride Libby bareback.
I’m sure I could have sold tickets to the spectacle that ensued.
Moving the huge mare over to the mounting block (three short railroad ties stacked loosely on top of each other), I lurched my leg over her, and found myself stuck half on, sliding off.
She’s REALLY wide and round, like a barrel. I was nearly doing the splits.
So I slid off and tried again.
And found myself stuck and sliding once more.
At this point, I was starting to feel like a big goofball, and was thankful that where we were was hidden nicely behind the barn.
With grand determination, I slung myself up again…
And stuck I was.
And then, the next thing I knew, I was BOUNCING my back off the mounting block (WHAM!!), and whacking my helmet-covered head against the fence. Libby’s foreleg was inches away from landing on my shin bone. I moved quickly, wondering if I was seriously hurt.
And I wasn’t.
Not at all.
Not a scrape, not a bruise. Not a single bump.
I was literally stunned.
Not only did the thing I was afraid of most happen, but I didn’t get hurt, and it built my confidence.
(okay, yes, I know the horse wasn’t even moving, but seriously, it was enough – God knows I need baby steps here)
Realizing I just didn’t know how to get on her, I put her saddle on and we road that way.
When I told my oldest son about the experience, he suggested a Parkour move that might help me next time. I’m not sure I’ll be able to do it, but I am going to try.
Or maybe I’ll just bring my step-stool with me.
Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”
I’ve always been about being real with the people in your life – my kids, my husband… and I’ve realized recently that the depth of our understanding of God’s love for us will be something satan is not only familiar with, but uses really well to derail us in our obedience to the Father.
And I know God allows this to happen, but allows it for our good and for His glory.
If you’ve been reading the last few days, you are familiar with the recent journey.
But I did what I was supposed to do, and standing in my kitchen, as soon as I hit, “Publish,” I encountered this nagging feeling about a devotional I used to read daily. My thoughts were drawn to the shelf in the bookcase where it was, even though two days before, I had taken it out of the bookshelf and left it who-knows-where in a menopausal moment. I kept trying to get on with my day, but my mind kept being drawn to the bookcase, bottom shelf.
So I walked over to the bookcase, knowing full well that the devotional wasn’t there. Squatting down, my eyes surveyed the titles on that last shelf. And there was another devotional, one I’d put there because it literally was falling apart…and I pulled it out of the shelf. I opened it to what I thought was Wednesday’s date, July 24 (yes, I know that was wrong, but God knew I can’t keep the dates straight in the summer!), and I was met with 1 Thessalonians 5:16-19, which reads:
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit.
And Revelation hit. The opposite of giving thanks and rejoicing is to complain.
And in focusing on the complaints in the reviews, I neither gave thanks, nor prayed for those whose comments were nasty and mean, and as a result, I quenched the Spirit.
And then I complained myself… and to a handful of people, under the guise of “Will you pray for this? It’s not going well.” And in doing so, focused on sin instead of glory.
So this morning, I asked God to forgive me for those things.
And then I read through the reviews again.
And I had another Revelation. They weren’t as horrid as I originally had thought. I can clearly see that there were just a couple of reviewers that wouldn’t have liked what we did regardless of what it was. I read what they wrote again, and saw them for what they were: as broken and messed up and sinful as I am. And I forgave them for their mean words. And then I thanked Him for helping me SEE.
I also saw some more Truth: there were more that gained TONS from the class than those who didn’t like it or us.
And I learned something else, equally important…I saw that what I had created needed have some things fixed to be stellar – which I knew, but for the first time, I felt like it was doable, and was motivated to do the work. We don’t have the money to fix it right now, but I need to just do the next thing, and trust God to figure it out for us. And I need to do the next thing He’s asked me to do.
The biggest thing that I have learned is that I spent too much time trying to please God (which is Biblical, but should be second) and not enough time trusting God. TRUST needs to gird my relationship with Him. I need to obey out of TRUST. Not obey out of trying to please Him. He’s already pleased. I’m already a butterfly. If you read the DNA of a caterpillar, it is 100% butterfly. You wouldn’t know you were looking at a caterpillar’s DNA unless you were told. Jesus makes me a butterfly, even if I’m still slowly scrunching myself forward, gorging on leaves, as a caterpillar.
I let my self-image get wrapped up in the doing, and when the doing didn’t end the way I thought it would, I didn’t know what to do. I lost my value. I handed over my joy – through complaining, a lack of trust, and an absence of prayer for those who hurt me. How immature is that? Duh. TRUST HIM. He’s got it covered, even though I don’t know how we get to where He’s taking us.
And in the middle of all of this, I’ve also learned more about His Great Love for us all, being transparent, and where my strength comes from.
When I set my coffee cup down Wednesday morning, I saw “Nehemiah 8:10” written in the bottom of it. I’ve been drinking out of this cup for well over a year now, and I never saw that in the bottom! I knew it was on the outside…but…
“The joy of the Lord is my strength.” Nehemiah 8:10
Now I knew why I had no strength.
And when we complain, instead of “counting it ALL joy,” and praising God in the middle of trials, when we stop praying about literally everything, we hand our joy over to that other guy. And as a result, lose our strength.
Dare you to ask Him to help you be thankful and rejoice for something tough you are going through right now. Seriously.
Double-dog-dare you to obey Him, as that changes everything, even when it is hard!
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I’m so glad you are here.
Thanks for being on the journey with me. Thank you for encouraging me this week. Thank you for your prayers.
You’ve helped me become stronger. And with all my might, I will do what God has asked me to do, focusing on whatever is pure, noble, right, lovely, admirable, praiseworthy, and excellent, finding contentment in my current circumstances, doing ALL things through Christ Who strengthens me.
I’ve remembered (there’s been SO MUCH!! too much to go into on and on here) that ALL of His people in the Bible struggled like I have. I’m in fabulous company! One of them even denied and abandoned Him – and was fully restored.
His name was Peter.
Love to you,