Friday, I watched in amazement as my 11 year old daughter used her gymnastic skills to stand up on the back of her horse. Perfectly comfortable and with elegant balance, she made it look so easy.
I know about this concept of “looks easy.” Some women seem to effortless glide through life, struggle with little, and handle many things. Trust me when I say they are just in a place where God is allowing them to reap the benefits of the hard times before the next growth period comes. Or they are quietly suffering alone. I find it interesting that out here in rural Ohio, many people put blankets on their horses to save on feed costs, protect their coats, and other reasons. In Montana, real ranchers never do this. With temps dipping to -30F before the wind chill is counted (and sometimes, that’s -80F, no kidding) these horses sometimes have inches of snow on their backs as they huddle together, sharing warmth, growing tougher and hardier by the minute. Together they survive, literally sharing life. Alone they could easily perish.
We’re not so different in that regard.
My friend Shanyn is a follower of Christ, a mom, a photographer, and a ranch woman. These are her horses. Shanyn is a deep soul, seeing God’s ideas, love, thoughts, and promises in His creation around her. I’m proud to introduce her to you as today’s guest blogger. I hope you love it! J You should know she’s on our Greater Impact team. You may already have received encouragement from her here, in our ecourse, or on our facebook page. She’s stellar and worth knowing. Feel free to check out more of her writing over at StrawberryRoan.
They are all mares. Each is as different as you can possibly be and still be horses.
Tika, on the left, you can see is the cheeky one. She likes who she likes, and lets you know it one way or the other.
Belle, her mama in the middle, is our son’s horse. She is calm and stable, opinionated and reliable.
Lola, on the right, is working hard at being a house horse or a dog. Anything but a riding horse. She is stubborn and strong, gentle and able to be silly.
Could be a group shot of women though as well – but would we be so complimentary?
Tika - she has a big mouth, always talking talking talking.
Belle – her mother, can never make her shut up. She doesn’t say anything.
Lola – she is too big, too bold, too much. Why can’t she just tone it down?
What makes us so cruel to each other sisters? What makes one woman feel the thorns while another smells the roses?
Some horses are tough, like our ranch horses. No cozy barns. No blankets. They also don’t have stalls to confine them. They don’t have arenas as their only place to move. They have freedom to roam, to run, to play to be a bit wild.
Some horses are pampered. They live in a gilded barn. They have ‘people for that’ around them day and night. They are not ‘tough’ like us but they are ‘strong’ in their own right. Many of them are athletes, therapy horses and performers with demanding lives.
Horses don’t judge though. You can take a show horse, a ranch horse and a pony. Once they know who is a dominant personality they are busy being horses – playing, grooming, snoozing.
People not so much. Women sometimes even less.
A horse who is scarred up, rough and not pretty can have an enormous heart and take you through any challenge. A horse delicate and refined can be tough enough to cross a desert. We can’t judge them by their appearance alone. Nor can we judge each other.
Ladies – sisters. My pasture, your palace. My small family, your empty nest. My Mary, your Martha. In the end as different as we are, we are much the same! One is no better than the other for being different. A homeless mother, a struggling gifted teen, a military Mama or a farming wife.
1 Corinthians 12:4
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them.
There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.
There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.
Some horses are tough ranch horses, others talented athletes and there are as many others as there are people who love them. Women are not so different, are we? Talented, unique, gifted by God with talents to build up, to bless, to encourage.
Sisters, I challenge you to embrace the unique in ours sisters, and to encourage them to use the gifts that God has blessed them with.
Dare you today to intentionally encourage one of your sisters. Take a moment and do something special that you otherwise wouldn’t. Somewhere inside your house right now is probably something you don’t need, and God knows who it could bring His life to today. Maybe a widow you know would appreciate a phone call or a card from you. Dare you to be a woman of strength and dignity, living charitably out loud on a daily basis, loving and encouraging His daughters as you go.
Love to you,