Tuesday, May 3, 2011

I Don't Trust Horses....but I DO Trust God

Our Spring Break family adventure this year involved a moment of humor for my boys, at my expense.  It's one of the services I provide for my children....an occasional, up-close-and-and-personal view of Mom in a ridiculous situation, and then the freedom to laugh and point with impunity. 

Here's the short story:  It was our second horseback ride of the week.  The day before the entire family had enjoyed a leisurely walking ride through the Michigan woods.  This time, it seemed like a good idea to sign up for the Walk & Trot ride to look for a few more thrills.  The girls were too young for the trotting, so they were gonna head one way while the boys headed another, each group of kids with a parent.  Through a series of unplanned events, I ended up with the boys and Scott with the girls.  I think he was secretly disappointed, hoping for some action with the fellas.  I was excited, I always like a chance to keep up with the boys with something that they think is fun....and I'm always hopelessly optimistic about my abilities to keep up.  I'm not a horsewoman, but seriously, how hard could it be?  They take people on these rides all the time - if others can do it, I was sure I would be just fine.   Off we went, down the trail, Mom and the boys, and the poor guide.  After the obligatory instructions, we began our first little snippet of trotting.  I was not smooth...my teeth rattled together and every muscle in my body was clenching opposite the horse's bouncing.  After the second burst, our guide asked us how it was feeling.  Instead of asking if they had a chiropractor and dentist on call, I gamely asked him how he rode so smoothly, fished for the magic difference between his riding and mine.  His advice?  "It just takes a lot of practice, you've gotta feel the rhythm of the horse."  The light bulb went off in my first-born, achiever, people-pleaser brain....I'm good at following directions and I'm good at trying hard.  I was too distracted with my plans to notice how ridiculous it was to "try hard" my way into doing something that required instinct born of a lifetime of practice.   I tried hard, I was focused, my joints were loose and I was feeling that rhythm....while we were walking at least.  The guide turned again, "Ya'll ready to try it again?"  and off we went.  I was chanting to myself, "feel the rhythm, feel the rhythm, feeeeel the rhythm...." trying so hard to stay loose and just go with it.  I made progress, rode a little smoother, enjoyed it a little more, I was even feeling the rhythm enough to enjoy the scenery instead of just hope I wouldn't fall off....until my horse slipped.  My horse slipped.  Everyone else rode through the same patch of deep sand, only my horse found it slippery.  The horse is smart though, she compensated.  Took a little hop to the right, out of the sand, and was on her way again, barely breaking rhythm. Here's the moment the boy's got to take home with them as a memory....my horse slipped and hopped, I was feeling the rhythm.  Except I realized too late, as my left butt-cheek hit the sandy road, that I had been feeling the wrong rhythm.  What I though was the rhythm of the horse, was really the rhythm of what I thought a trot felt like based on the vast data I had collected during the previous 40 minutes.  I was feeling the rhythm of my plan - worked well, until the horse zigged and I zagged.  Can't blame her, she probably saved me from a worse fate.  The boys wouldn't have been able to laugh and enjoy the fall if it had ended with a thousand pound horse on top of me.  She saved me.  Her zig wasn't even that big, just enough to avert disaster.  I'm sure I could have stayed on if she had given me warning, or if I had been feeling her rhythm more than mine.

So, my Spring Break trotting companion (wish I could remember her name - that's how good of a horsewoman I am, don't even remember my horse's name - Chloe will probably remind me....) came right to my mind today when my devotions in John talked to me about fear.  The disciples, who had just watched Jesus feed 5,000+ people with 5 loaves and 2 fishes, were headed across the lake in a boat.  It was dark, the wind was blowing, the waters were rough.  And then gravity shifted...they saw a man approaching, walking on the water.  Their response?  They were terrified!  Of course!  That makes perfect sense!  The circumstances were already scary, they were doing all they could to save themselves and it wasn't enough, and then an apparition appears out of the mist.  Who wouldn't be terrified?  Verse 20 of chapter 6...."But, he said to them, 'It is I; don't be afraid.'" 

It's pretty common to see saints responding in fear when their worlds shift.  Peter's fear overtook him when he saw the waves in the water he was walking  on(Mt. 14:30).  All the disciples were afraid when they heard God's voice from heaven at the transfiguration (Mt. 17:6).  The woman who was healed when she touched Jesus' robe was afraid of His response (Mk. 5:33).  The women at the tomb were alarmed and fearful when they found the stone rolled away (Mk. 16:5,8).  Zechariah, Mary, Cornelius & Daniel were all seized with fear when angels visited them with messages. 

Fearful saints are all through the pages of the Bible and I'm starting to recognize the footprints of fear all through my life.  My first impulse is to fear when I feel my weakness, when it's obvious Idon't have what it takes.  I fear when I'm faced with the unfamiliar, especially when it's unexpected.  I loose my grip and clench up out of fear when the gravity of my life that I thought was dependable, makes a 15 degree shift.  When gravity shifts, I zig instead of zagging.

Didn't even realize I was carrying fear with my on the "Walk & Trot," thought I had it all under control.  But  fear showed up when my sense of gravity shifted and the expected rhythm changed.  I clenched up and leaned away, just an instinct to keep myself safe.  But the thing that would have kept me safe was trust in my horse.  She had ridden this trail a thousand times before, probably slipped in that same sand before.  She had carried  a thousand riders before, probably some more inexperienced than me.  If I had leaned into my fear, the shifting that made my eyes go wide, I would have let my horse's instincts save both of us and given myself bragging rights for my boys to take home as memory of their Mom. 

I'm feeling gravity shift very often these days.  I clench my muscles, grit my teeth, my mind screams, "This doesn't look like the plan!"  But maybe, when the world tilts, it's not because of something that needs fixing, maybe it is the fixing.  Maybe it's just God working, keeping me out of the sand pit.  Maybe, if I start to lean into it, my fear will turn to excitement and I'll stay on the horse a little longer and sway with God's rhythm a little better.  I've learned that I don't trust horses very much....but come on, that makes sense.  They're huge and strong.  I have no idea what's going on behind those big, glassy eyes.  I don't know horses enough to trust them and they don't know me well enough to love me.  I don't trust horses, probably shouldn't, but I do trust God.  I know Him and He loves me.  If He zags, I wanna let out a whoop, throw my hat into the air, and zag too.

3 comments:

  1. Hey mom this is Chloe. I love you. And yes I do remember your horse's name its Sassy. I love you. It brightens up my day I get to see you or hear you. I love you. I can't believe I ran 3.6 miles today, I could not of done it without you cheering me on. I love you. I am so thankful that we are able to adopt it makes me so excited and happy!!!!!! I love you!
    <3,
    Chloe aka DooDaa

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  2. I hope you found the answer to the question you had yesterday. I prayed you would a few times through this day. After reading this latest blog, I have a feeling you did!! Ya know, God chose to put a beautiful brain inside your pretty head, Mrs. Lori Full-of-Flowers. That is what FLORIDA means in Portuguese - full of flowers. Did you know that? Love ya much.

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  3. Love it, Lor. Lots of life lessons to be found on (or off of ;)) the back of a horse. I'm proud of my sister, who's brave enough to take a deep breath and do her best, learning from both triumphs and "unplanned dismounts." :)

    Hooray for the zags!

    Psalm 20:7

    Like always, I'm with ya, Sis.

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