Welcome to another Spectacular Sunday! I’m so glad you’re here. I hope you’ve had a blessed week.
This week here in The Land of Making Do has been interesting. Nothing special going on, really…just working along on a couple of projects. But, I have a little story to share with you.
I was supposed to be with HH on his motorcycle, traveling through upper Michigan and into Canada this week. During the final few days of preparation, the weather forecast looked too cold, and I decided to stay home. As it turns out, they had an unexpected and unusual heat wave during this week in Southeastern Canada, and I would have been fine (for the most part).
When planning a trip, have you ever had a nagging feeling that you shouldn’t go? You have a reason or two for staying home but nothing severe enough to make you cancel your plans. That’s what it was that kept nagging at me about this trip – the cold forecast and that feeling…the unsettled feeling that wouldn’t go away. I finally decided God was nudging me to stay home.
Spunky Daughter was on a youth trip, so it was just Fun Son and me here this week. Uneventful. Mostly.
Our final night at home before HH’s return, we had a hard storm. Fun Son and I were both awake much of the night from the loud thunder, lightening, and pouring rain.
Our freezer alarm starts beeping each time the power goes out, and it must be reset manually. After my third trip out of bed to turn off the freezer alarm, I decided to shut my door and cover my head with a pillow so I wouldn’t hear it beep again. That was around 3:30. The freezer alarm was sounding when I woke up at 5 o’clock and removed the pillow from my head.
That’s when it happened. At 5 AM. The thing I’ve always been afraid would happen, finally happened. The thing that I never wanted to happen while HH is away from home happened.
Still seeing flashes of lightning, I turned my head to look out the bedroom window. Habit, really. I do it every morning, about 5 AM, often earlier. It was still dark, but I saw a large white blob move across the yard at a distance during a flash of lightning.
Still groggy, it took a minute to register… ZEP!
Our horse, the Paint…how could it be? They’ve never gotten out of the fencing before. And, they were safely behind the gate when I’d checked on them earlier.
It couldn’t be! It’s not daylight yet, and it’s still raining, with lightning and low rumbles of thunder. I stepped out onto the porch for a better look.
There he was, visible in the flash of lightning – pacing back and forth along the tree line, about a football field’s distance from me. I was thinking the other two horses must be nearby, because they’re a herd, after all. But, it was too dark to see them.
I ran upstairs to get Fun Sun, and we each threw on some jeans and ran out to gather the white blob and his herd of two. While Fun Son rounded behind them with a halter to keep them from running farther away, I shook a bucket of feed and walked in their direction.
Still in near darkness of early morning, I saw Scarlet’s wide blaze appear at a distance. She was looking at me. Good. Then Davy’s “golf tee stripe” appeared, both near the big white blob. When they realized what I had for them, they came right to me – galloping at full speed – right at me. Another moment of panic. I’m too far from the gate. Run!
With no way to outrun them, I turned and ran as far as I could. I was not quite to the south pasture gate as the three came close at their gallop. I turned and threw my arms up to back them off a bit without scattering them in fear. (I knew they wouldn’t hurt me intentionally, but when it comes to sweet feed, they compete for it, and everyone get out of the way!) I lowered the bucket behind my legs and motioned toward the opened gate.
It was unbelievable how they sauntered past me, mare first, and filed through the gate all in a row. Wow. Thank you, Lord. That was easier than I ever dreamed it would be. The escapees were all too happy to get a taste of sweet feed, their reward for good behavior, once the gate was shut behind them. 🙂
When daylight came, I found that the north pasture gate was wide open. Unexplainable things happen during storms. Sometimes the horses get scared and kick fence rails down, act rowdy occasionally, but they’ve never opened a gate! Our gates open in, so it’s unlikely that a horse could do it. Maybe lightning?
How this story would have turned out if I’d gone with HH on the trip, I cannot say for sure. But, I can imagine the horses would have roamed around until about mid-afternoon (or longer!) before Fun Son happened to look out the window at an opened gate, wonder why it was open, and finally begin a search.
I envision horses at the highway a mile away, scurrying across the pavement in panic and terror. Or, I see them foundering from tummies stuffed full of corn in the mature corn fields surrounding our yard and pastures. Death. Either scenario, I see death of our three horses.
Things happen sometimes. Unavoidable things. We try to protect our animals, but you can’t protect them from everything. When I remember that white movement out in the yard (and my moment of realization), it brought some thoughts to my mind.
Horses are powerful animals, physically, with a will of their own. Most times, when you want them to do something, they do the opposite. We have to somehow get them to decide on their own to follow us, to follow our directions, or suffer the natural consequences.
I thought of how God gave us our own will, and how He must feel when we bust out of our gate and wander off on our own in the middle of a storm. There are many dangers for us in life, just as there are dangers for horses – like a hay spear under the lean-to and other dangerous tractor implements gathered near the outside of their newly opened gate.
God wrote a set of instructions for us, to guide us and help us along in life – in good times and scary times. Horses don’t have a set of guidelines, so you can’t fault them for their sometimes stubborn ways. We, on the other hand, have no excuse.
If we make the choice to bust out of the gate and run head strong into trouble, it’s pretty much our own fault when consequences come. God is not a manipulator. If He insisted we love and obey Him and didn’t give us the choice, what good would our love for Him be? It would be meaningless.
Yes, I manipulated the horses with a bucket of feed. They knew something good was in that bucket. But, what drew them into the gate? I wasn’t inside the gate with that bucket. They walked right past me and through the gate while I was holding the bucket.
I can only explain it this way. We have luscious and delicious 007 Bermuda grass inside that south pasture fencing. We grow it, free of horses, during summers so we can cut it for hay. It’s their winter food – the good stuff. The north pasture, their summer home, has plenty of grass but not the good stuff. It’s just regular Bermuda. Good, but not the preferred.
Our horses are drawn to the south pasture, not only for the 007 Bermuda, but for shelter under part of our barn that is inside that pasture. Protection from storms. A shaded area to rest during the heat stress of the day. More regular contact with us as we go in and out of the barn. In a word, it’s home to them. OK, two words, their preferred home.
Doesn’t that remind you of what we look forward to with the Lord – reasons to remain close to Jesus and not bust out of the gate? Protection, rest, relief from stress, regular contact with Him (prayer), and food – the good stuff, our spiritual food.
Life can seem well enough outside that gate, but the preferred is inside.
No coercion needed, no bucket of sweet feed. Our decision. Our will. Home. Our preferred home.
I’m sharing with One Sharendipity Place Link Up #11
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