Thursday, May 21, 2015

Ready to Work!

I heard some quotes this week that got me thinking about working on the farm.  I thought I'd do a little traveling back into the past while honoring the hard working farm families out there.  We need more young men and women who are willing to work!  Youth that have a willingness to work are rare and are greatly appreciated.  There are jobs available for those who are willing to put their hands and brain to work!  

"Opportunity is missed by most because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."    --Thomas Edison

"Working with the hands sets the brain to work."
--Charles C. Coffin 

It's great being a farm kid!

Go to the ant, you sluggard!Consider her ways and be wise, Which, having no captain,Overseer or ruler, Provides her supplies in the summer,And gathers her food in the harvest.How long will you slumber, O sluggard?When will you rise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber,A little folding of the hands to sleep-- So shall your poverty come on you like a prowler,And your need like an armed man.
                        Proverbs 6:6-11

Monday, May 18, 2015

Hitting the Dirt

"Wisdom is knowing that you know nothing."
This saying rang true for me last Friday as I found the young horse I was training turn into a real bucking bronco that caused me to literally "hit the dirt" and think frustratedly "What made me think I could train a horse?  I know nothing about horse training!"  

If he does that one more time, I'm a goner, I thought as I rode the biggest buck I'd ever felt.  I closed my eyes as I knew where I was the hard ground.  Thank God, for riding helmets, chiropractors, and guardian angels.  As soon as I felt it was safe, I jumped up off the ground and staggered to a corral panel holding hands over my throbbing face that was beat up by my glasses smashing into it (random thought: Hmmm, maybe it would be safer to not wear glasses when training an unbroke horse?).  I looked at the mangled glasses and realized a lens was missing.  "Oh, great!" My thoughts groaned.  I walked over to my horse who looked a bit dazed himself as I could tell he had went down as well.  I tied him to the edge of the corral all the while imagining that the grass crunching beneath his feet was the sound of my glasses lens being crushed to smithereens.  I asked God to help me find the lens.  As I got down on my hands and knees to search I realized this might take a while.  I called out to my brother and sister who were in the yard to help me find it.  Within a minute, my sister cried out, "I found it!"  "Thank you, God," I breathed. 

Despite a noticeable bruise under my eye, body aches, and wearing my old pair of glasses for the next 3-4 days, I fared quite well.  I was very grateful for God's protection, but I couldn't help blame myself for what had happened (sort of like I'd just lived out the second part of Provers 27:12--"A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself; the simple pass on and are punished.")  Although it was the horse's fault, I had this feeling ever since I'd started riding him that he wasn't quite ready.  I knew there was an underlying issue that needed to be addressed and if I didn't get if figured out it would rear it's ugly head and Friday had been the day.  It didn't take me long to realize, I'd been negligent and unthorough in teaching one of the most important skills a horse should know--yielding the hindquarters.  I felt really stupid, I'd been told over and over again that the horses' hindquarters are it's whoa and it's go.  I had worked to perfect that skill with my other two horses.  If I had prepared this horse properly to move his hips immediately and submissively when I asked, I could have diffused that buck.  I had failed as a teacher and put myself at risk.  Why did I have to be in such a hurry?  Teaching a horse how to respond to a human in preparation for riding is what I enjoy and the reason I'd gotten a young horse to train.  Had I forgotten that there would be plenty of time in the future for riding him?  If I didn't do this right to begin with and spend the time doing those little exercises from the ground first without being on his back, I would ruin my joy of riding him later.  Because I had not gotten him properly prepared, I could have ruined my horse by teaching him that he could buck off his rider.
How often do I want to rush through things or want the end result sooner than later in other areas of my life besides horse training?  Often the reason I get myself into trouble is because I try to do things my way rather than the right way or God's way.  All good things take time: relationships, habits, cleaning projects, gardening, farming, answers to questions, you name it.  It doesn't help that we live in a world that caters to instant gratification.  Patience and thoroughness are qualities I must continue to learn.  Along with that goes humility which can include being willing to start over, admitting when you're wrong, choosing to forgive, and learning from your mistakes.  So this week, I'm going to focus on the present, enjoying the here and now, willingly waiting for the things that will come over time, trusting my Savior to work things out for my good and His glory. 
 That's all for now.  Time for me to head out to do some groundwork with my horses, put on my riding helmet, and say a prayer before I step into that saddle!

"To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven:"  Ecclesiastes 3:1

"A man's heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps."  Proverbs 16:9

"Commit your works to the Lord, and your thoughts will be established."  Provers 16:3

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things.  Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."  Matthew 6:34

"Be diligent to present yourself approved unto God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."  2 Timothy 2:15

Yesterday is history.  Tomorrow is a mystery.  Today is a gift.  That's why it's called the present.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

God's Sheep ~ Inspiration from Psalm 23

"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want."
Psalm 23:1

I read Psalm 23 the other morning. It's a short and familiar Psalm which caused me to read it fast and when I'd finished, left me thinking, "That was fast, I don't know if I really even thought about what I just read." I felt like I should stop and think about it some more, but didn't know what I was to be thinking about. I looked down at the foot note in my study Bible.  It said,

"Believers are never pictured as mighty lions, independent and self-sufficient; rather, they are sheep who are dependent on the shepherd for His provision and protection. The believer is more than a dependent sheep, however; he is also like an honored guest since the Lord prepares a table for him. Connected with this honored position is abundant provision, vindication before one's enemies, and eternal celebration of God's goodness."

I hadn't heard it put that way before and found it encouraging.

First, I was challenged by the dependency we put on our Savior to provide and protect us.  Bosses, friends, and family members will disappoint and fail us.  No one is perfect. No matter what we do, we cannot keep ourselves from getting hurt by other people or ourselves, but God will protect us and carry us in times of suffering.  There will also be times when we have needs, and rather than worry about them we should trust that God will provide those needs.

Now as an encouragement to young ladies living at home, this also made me think how as a woman, the world shouts at me to be a "lion", while God's still small voice whispers over and over that I need to be a "sheep".  The world promotes independence, while God wants us to be dependent on Him.  The world says to make something of yourself, follow your dreams, and you deserve a better life, downplaying the importance of being a keeper of the home.  Don't feel you're less important for staying home and serving your family.  God created you to be a helper!  If your dad is supportive of other ways to minister outside the home, do it, but if there are things you can busy yourself with at home be content where you are.  Being content with my present circumstances and not feeling like there is something more important I should be doing, is something that I am still learning and struggle with.  At the heart of the issue, is the desire for approval and acceptance, but I need to remember that God loves me just as I am and earning His approval, doing what He created me to be, is the best!  Know that you are important and precious in God's sight (Proverbs 3:15)! It doesn't matter what the world's definition of success is or what people think you should do or be. The relationship with our Creator is what is really important and doing His will for us, is all that matters. As has been quoted from the pulpit, "The Lord is my shepherd, that's all I need."

"Since you were precious in My sight, You have been honored, And I have loved you;..." 
Isaiah 43:4