I buried my face in the horse’s mane and circled my arms around his neck. Hank’s gentleness and calm spirit was exactly what I needed. He simply stood and let me hug him for a little while, his warm hair against my cheek, his head resting on my shoulder. He didn’t even fish for the carrot in my back pocket. He simply stood and waited for me to be done. Having my fill of horse “hugs,” I finished tacking up and we went for an uneventful ride, my intention just to enjoy God and His creation on the back of this stable horse. Were I in search of excitement and thrill, I would have been extremely disappointed.
Sometimes I ride Libby, whose obedient nature once saddled and bridled is worth the hassle of her unpredictable and sometimes disagreeable temperament. She generates opportunities for patience and “taking courage” (she’s tried to kick me and nearly thrown me more than once), and forces my attention while riding, as I never know what will startle her or how she’ll react. The upside is she is so well trained that subtle communication can send her immediately into a spirited canter, causing heart pounding thrill and delight. And then she’ll stop on a dime when asked. She’s wonderful.
Actually, I love them both, and they each fill different needs in me at different times in different ways, and I’m privileged to even have the opportunity to choose what experience I want when I ride. I love it that they are so different. I am thankful.
After riding, I talked with my friend who actually owns these lovely creatures. Somehow we ended up talking about kids – two of mine seem to be perpetually in conflict with one another.
I told them both yesterday that they better learn how to get along with each other NOW, because God had given them to each other to smooth out their rough spots, like sand paper on wood. I told them that when they felt bad, that was a cue that something in THEM needed softening, and to stop blaming the other for their feelings. God had given them EXACTLY the sibling that they NEEDED – and that person was going to help them learn how to do well in relationships. If they don’t figure out these things now, they’ll take their rough spots into marriage, where they’ll experience the same things, only the stakes are higher. And if they divorce, they’ll still take those rough spots into the next relationship. Learn it now, as each of you were given to the other for this very purpose!
If you know anything about woodworking, sandpaper literally scrapes off the rough edges and pulls up the grain into something smooth and lovely. Difficult people and relationships do the same thing, and I believe we get the siblings and spouses we NEED, not the ones we necessarily WANT.
He knows best and means it for our good.
And daily, we actively choose to “take courage” and listening to Him, decide whether He wants us to “overlook the insult” or “confront sin.” Both are Biblical, but both need discernment, because only He knows the right course of action in any given moment.
Or you can choose to flee, and avoid what God is attempting to teach you now. Understand, however, that there will soon come another opportunity, if we refuse to learn the lessons in the present.
Dare you today to actually thank God for the conflicts and difficult people in your life, then actually ask Him what YOU need to do to grow. Chances are He has a ton of opportunities for growth for you within your current relationships – especially the tough ones, and yes, even if the other person is wrong as wrong can be – guess what? We are also wrong, and need to own what’s ours to own instead of issuing judgment. God was pretty clear – even Christ didn’t come to judge the world, but instead so we would have life abundant. It’s God’s job to judge, not ours.
Glad to be on the journey with you.
Love to you,