It was the end of the year and I could see it in them again. Tired. Cranky. Intolerant. Needing space from humans. Needing to just be a horse.
These amazing horses have poured out sooo much again this year. Felt the brokenness of hearts. Waited for those confused. Softened for those who hurt. However did God created a horse to do these special things? Each carried out their assignment in their own unique way. Surely a mystery. Surely a miracle.
Some hearts came for only a short time – they got too close to the hurt inside – they decided not to risk. The horses carried the unresolved emotions. Some hearts came for an extended time – pursued the healing – and took the roller coaster of pain all the way to joy. These “gifts” just took the ride with them. It is always a wonder to watch young and old – as their eyes squint to try to figure out what’s being heart-revealed – as their body language changes to attempt to communicate with the horses with a new relational skill learned – and sometimes, as the tears come with relief of a heart spilling. And the horses stay close and risk.
But, God knew our needs, so He created seasons – and now we are in the season for all at the ranch to just be. For the humans to reflect on His goodness and cuddle in His presence for the cold winter months. And, for the faithful herd to play in the pasture – to kick all those risks into the winter snow – needing to just be horses.
And me? Feeling a little cranky. Feeling a little worn out. Feeling a whole lot empty. And … feeling guilty of my feelings. This was God’s work – He would surely continue to provide me with all I needed – He would surely continue to pour out through me – right? Thinking, surely I was not needing this slow-down season in my life. I would just take more supplements and work harder to keep going.
But … oh no. He loves me too much. He was drawing me into needing-to-just-be.
So now, in this season, I am practicing being; reflecting on His goodness and cuddling in His presence for these cold winter months. A smile. Warm tea. Fuzzy blanket. Fire in fireplace. Horses in snow. Silver moon making earth and horses blue. A heart emptying busyness to be peace filled.
My season of needing-to-just-be His.
Maybe … a run in the pasture with the horses?
Or … maybe not … thinking it’s the season to just walk.
Merry Christmas ! Celebrating HIS birthday so we can enjoy the reason … blessings and joy in just being HIS.
just being –
Roxanne Van Riessen
If you would like to be notified of future blogs on the Returning Glory web site, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
She will not put her leg up on the low mounting block. Stiff. Tight. As I gently stretch one leg forward she pulls back hard. I needed to make her better for the farrier – I had a goal – in the midst of the manure of life.
I was face to face with what I taught. Over and over I repeated this phrase to others. “It not about getting it done – it’s about the journey.” I was reminded to stop and be with her in this step of the journey. Had we been to this place many times? Yes, oh yes. But she needed it again today. She needed to “fail” into love – again.
I rubbed her legs. I changed any posture of mine that I thought she may perceive as pressure. I changed my thought – no – changed my thinking. It was trust I began thinking – not the pressure of getting the hoof on the mounting block. It was peace I wanted to offer her – peace inside that settles trust.
I pick up her leg again. The mounting block was way in the back of my thinking. Her peace – her trust is want I so wanted to feel. There – – – as I change – – – I quietly feel some of her tension let go. Her head bows. I gently let down her leg and rub in more love. I try again – now with the joy of feeling more softening. I was reaching a place that had nothing to do with the task. Her heart was trying. I soften more with her try.
This journey was deep – going where only trust could go.
We walked this journey for a while – softly together. Consideration and asking being offered. A little trust offered by Shiloh. Then a snatch back of her leg. “It’s not about the mounting block.” We continue to work the deeper thing.
As I feel her trying trust, I rub that trust in deep. I thank her for that try. I dare not ask more than she can give. Trust would be lost. I welcome her “fail”, because I know it is not ‘fail’ really. It is a want-to into trying. It is testing the trust.
Her eyes soften as she dares to believe that trust. My heart breathes in that softening. My thoughts dance over her. I smile. We continue forward in the trust journey.
Do I want to ask her hoof to touch the mounting block? Will she continue to soften and trust? Now my mind goes to the mounting block – ready to be interrupted by the “fail”. She’s softly trusting – I softly ask. She lowers her head and reaches deep in for more trust. Her hoof touches the mounting block. Shiloh’s head bends in toward me – checking to see if I approve. I rub in the approval!
Most of Shiloh’s training, even at the beginning with me, was her waiting for a harsh correction when she “failed” to do the right thing. I know that way, Shiloh – I too have lived in that harshness many years. It has now been 10 years since I have been training a new way – a way for us to go deeper to the trust of the journey. This trust journey goes on and on – day after day – challenge after challenge – but the harsh memories run deep. How long will it take for Shiloh to trust that she will “fail” into love?
How long, Shiloh? How long will it take us … to trust “failing” into love?
a quiet, small YES
There are so many stories on my journey with horses and Returning Glory and Jesus. Over the years people have encouraged me to write them all down, but I was not interested. I love to share the stories, but writing down all that hanging-around horses teaches? That was overwhelming to me. In the last verse of the book of John, it says that if everything Jesus did was written down, the world could not contain it. I understood that – thinking of all that He did through horses in people’s hearts. It would be a forever book – on and on – His heart-touches through horses.
When I wrote a few short articles for our newsletters in the past, the computer said I wrote on a 6th grade level. Why would I put that out there? Embarrassing. My pride was making a decision, so I pushed that idea of writing away.
Then – a few years back – others began to encourage me to write a book. I have heard that enough – but I am not a writer and finding the time in the midst of this ministry would be challenging – just another thing on my plate. Again, I so enjoy sharing these Jesus & horse stories – but to write it all down? These book-writing encouragements stuck in my mind more than in the past, so I talked with my Father specifically about this writing project. Really? You really want me to attempt this? I asked Him to confirm it with one other person.
WOW! He made it so obvious. That next morning my very own husband – out of the blue – told me he thought I should begin to write the stories – at least begin to blog. My heart became very still – very quiet – recognizing He was making it clear. My spirit said a very quiet and small YES, my mouth did not utter a word. I dare not – it could not be spoken now – it seemed a holy invitation – it needed to be kept just in my heart for a while.
YES – but feeling totally inadequate at my 6th grade writing level – feeling bothered by the time it would take – anticipating that I would never be able to shut my brain down – always thinking about the next story.
Feeling I’ve had this feeling before – – – pondering – – – ohhhh – – – now remembering. A past quiet, small YES – when Jesus was inviting me to begin working with horses and hearts. Inadequacy had nothing to do with anything. It was just the small heart YES that was being asked of me then – and now again.
As Jesus does often with me – my mind went to my horses. What would a small YES look like from them? My heart knew. A small YES from Shiloh would be just to have her stand by me and let me rub her – no ears back, no pushing shoulders into me – just letting me love on her. A small YES from Topaz would be to just have her trust me fully – no popping up her head at the slightest thing in fear. A small YES from Destiny would be to just let me fully be her leader – not always checking boundaries. All small YESes in progress. All YESes that Jesus was asking of me.
I recently learned about the Hebrew word for YES. In Hebrew the letters in each word combine to paint a “word picture” that describes the meaning of the word. With only two letters in the Hebrew YES – the first letter means to freely give and the second letter means life. My heart was pierced with this simple word. My quiet, small YES – could it freely give life to others? Jesus was encouraging me.
So … YES – a quiet, small YES just between Jesus and me. A YES in progress – to let the Father just fully love on me – to trust Him fully, with no fear in what He was asking of me – to willingly let Him lead me fully through this writing-of-stories thing.
This is the beginning of my YES – 3 years later. Trusting I will freely give Jesus-life to your heart in this writing-of-stories.
Roxanne Van Riessen
If you would like to be notified of future blogs on the Returning Glory web site, please contact email@example.com.