Friday, August 19, 2011

The Same Ole Thing

I don't know if you read daily devotionals but for your reference I do - well sometimes I do. This morning I found a devotional that I had read a couple times in the past and just on a fluke, literally, read it. I have to say that usually I was more driven by the words of this particular devotional and today I found the words of the writer to be typical. I know what is typical? Well for many of you who may read this, I am a new believer in the grand scope of believers and in devotionals that I come across online or through books or wherever, there seems to be a typical theme.  This theme from the devotional this morning reads like most things that used to avert me to believers. What is that? Well, their struggles with being a Christian, their struggles with growth in anything, their struggles with Christ and running away from God. And, more often then not, the theme is presented by women (sorry sexist I know).  And I am probably allowing the "enemy" to play with my words and drive my fingers, or at least that is what some may think, but I don't believe so. I would love to read a devotional from someone who is admittedly a sinner, not someone who started their Christian life in a Christian home, moved through school with a Christian basis, and then went to college and ta-da their eyes were opened to the life of deceipt, lying, etc, etc, etc.

So what am I saying? Well I hope that somewhere I get to figure that out (haha - I bet you weren't ready for that!). What am I saying? Am I just lunging out at life-long Christians? And if I am I must be jealous of their life and history? Jealous of the fact that from my perspective they haven't really had trials and tribulations, so why are they so distraught? Yep! It sounds like I'm jealous! Whew, boy am I glad thats's out. I hope that jealousy is not the root of my writing today, I don't think it is or at least I hope it isn't.

The devotional this morning did strike me the wrong way, I was being lazy and decided to go somewhere else besides my regular Facebook page and so to some degree I'm sure that my mind and spirit are in a little bit of a heated battle. But I was looking for something when I went there, maybe a glimmer of peace, or a direction of hope and I didn't find that, not at all. What I found, yet again, was the same ole thing. The same temper of writing, the same message of writing, and the same result, the co-writing of a song or book. What is that? Is every Christian who goes through a Christ struggle instantly promoted to song writer or author? See, the same ole thing. It's almost as though these women who write on this particular devotion aren't really in reality. So what am I looking for?  Well in all honesty....the truth.

2 John 1:1-3 "To the chosen lady and her children, whom I love in the truth - and not I only, but also all who knows the truth - because the truth, which lives in us and will be with us forever. Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father's Son, will be with us in truth and love." There it is the truth I mean. Right there, right in the letters from, ok I don't know who, but at least in our Bible.  Do you see it?  The devotional(s) that I read this morning spoke of a woman, raised as a Christian and how she was a great Christian in her life until she went to college and then, literally, all hell broke loose. What happened? She ran from the truth; hid (as if) from God; found refuge in lies; and in the end (as always) she was quickened (or pursued) by God and redeemed. See the same ole thing! What I, a new believer, am having struggles with is, if this short scripture says "the truth, which lives in us and will be with us forever" then how can a Christian, long seeded in Christ run  from Him - because He is the Truth?

There is not doubt, not now anyway, that I am somewhat jealous of these women who are Christians who in my belief have not moved through true struggles. I am jealous that in all that they live they believe the worst struggle they have gone through is living in a world of lies and deception that they allowed to overtake their Christian beliefs. I am on one level very jealous for not living in that life and yet more than not, I feel pity for these women. Why? Because on some level, they will never know what it is like to be truly separated from Christ, on some level they believe that they were truly separated from Him (see this is the true enemy's work-deception of distance).  When I hear or meet of this type of person, man or woman, I feel as tho I have nothing to bring to a conversation. Lets face facts, they are usually the first ones to tell you of their struggles. As a new believer, a struggling seeker, and a true sinner who struggles with Christ daily, I want to read a devotional from a woman who says "Look! I am a sinner, I am truly struggling with my connection with God and guess what? He knows it and He still loves me and is just waiting for me to go through this time no matter how long it takes." Don't you? Wouldn't it be a breath of fresh air to read what a struggling, deep seeded Christian actually feels? And, in the midst of all their hurt and struggles, they say "it doesn't matter what struggles you are going through, it doesn't matter how far from God you think you are, because if you are a believer then the truth, lives in us and will be with us forever!"

Well I'm not much of a speaker, I am a runner (always have been), and I'm not a deep seeded Christian. But I can tell you that I deal with struggle every day, a deep seeded struggle to believe that God, the creator of all good could set my life in a motion of fear and anger so deep, that even I can't see the light at the end of the tunnel, and still I know, from knowledge, that He is good. That He is, somehow, some way, in control, and that He is the truth that lives in me and is forever with me....especially when now, when I am jealous, angry, heartbroken, and lost, He is forever with me.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Deep in the....... Pedigree

More than just an odd title, I know and probably more than just a title in and of itself. I lead with "Deep in the"  followed by a series of "....." why? Well maybe to give you the thought that there is more than just "Pedigree" hidden in the title and well, lets face it, maybe not. I did in all honesty steal this title in part from a blog I am attracted to, one about horses.  I have fallen, unfortunately, in love with most of this author's writings; the way he identifies the love of the horses he writes about mostly because of their individual beauty that can carry from one generation to another. That's the truth about the blog.  What I don't believe he knows is that hidden in some of his writings I have found more than a connection of words.

The title where I stole my words is fully "True Beauty Lies Deep in the Pedigree", and for those of us who are horse people, true horse people, this statement is very true.We don't just see a horse when we meet a new one, we ask for their lines, their heritage.We want to know about the horses past, his or her ancestors. Why? Mostly because that history tells us more about the horse then the horse does about itself.  Believe it or not, we do this with people too. Go ahead try to have a friend and not know about their family current and historic, I'm gussing that's not an easy thing to accomplish. I probably know more about my friends families then I want or need too! So we search the horse, finding out who that animal should be, not what they are, we dig to find a historic pattern to the horse, despite all of the things the animal may be at that moment. We strip away all the distorted items and problems and get to the animal's basic core, the way they were designed from history, deep in the pedigree.
The theft of this partial title stems to a set of scriptures that I love, one set that I could read a hundred times and, from recollection, don't remember these few words:  Eph 3:16-19 "\I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being. So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Saints, to grasp how wide and how long and how high and how deep is the love of Christ. and to know this love-that surpasses knowledge- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." I know these two seemingly odd things do not go together! They seem farther apart then anything I have put together before, or are they. These few scriptures seem to strip away the person that the writer is speaking to, the words don't go with the person's or persons' life at all I am guessing. (And yes, you can tell that I am far from a biblical scholar so guessing is the game.) But the author does not  say to the recipient, "don't be like this or that" "stop being what the circumstances have made you" and "I can't believe you are allowing the life you live to dictate who you are". And actually, I'm glad he doesn't say these things because that would immediately make the recipient throw away without reading the end of the long letter that makes up Ephesians.  What he does is looks past the person who is receiving the letter and goes deep within their history to find who they are in the core. The author looks at the deep rooted, inner being, not the flesh picture of the person receiving his letter, similar to what horse people do with a horse.

I believe somewhere in the mix of these two unlikely themes you see the point, far stretched as it may be, that I'm trying to find. The one that connects the two far fetched ideas and pulls them together and if you don't thats okay. Somewhere in the midst of the disconnected ideas is the point I'm trying to make and maybe thats not suppose to be the point that I need to make. But just like a horseman who looks at a horse and asks the owner for his life history and then his pedigree, I believe that God looks past the things that I am today. He looks deeper than what I am and what I have allowed the life I am in to make me and finds my true beauty deep in the pedigree (so to speak). And maybe I don't see it or know it and maybe I never will, mostly because it is much harder to find that in myself than in a horse, but that's okay. It is God who sees what lies deep, hidden in the lines that life has created, He, just like a horseman with a horse, knows that there is love, deep within, even if I can't see it.

I don't know if you are a horse person or if you can even relate to this similarity and it really doesn't matter. Mostly I hope that you see the connection between the two, an unlikely title that probably shouldn't end with "pedigree" and a scripture that looks farther than skin deep, both that look for the true beauty that lies deep in the heart.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Our Kind of Love

"Just like driving on an open highway, never knowing what we're gonna find, like two kids, baby, always trying to live it up...yeah thats our kind of love."

I looked up an old video that I love this morning and found some new ones - that I love just as much; they are without a doubt about endurance horseback riding. One that I found was put together to this song by Lady Antebellum and it is bits and pieces of rides from here to there by someone who may not even do endurance but its placed perfectly in order and ends with only hoof steps on pavement. What a way to love a 'thing'! What an ability to have a desire to be part of something that is more than anything else in my life! I have this ability to connect with horses, mostly because I love them and always have but also because as I've have aged (haha), I've learned to appreciate them as part of me. This song talks about a couple that is in love and going thru life without a care in the world and just taking every obstacle as it comes, just like we do in endurance.
I have in the past connected this blog with endurance riding, maybe because I connect best through the love that I have for my horses. And in the past, I have found a verse or words (usually from someone else) to describe my connection between endurance riding and my journey through the trials of the past year. But this morning, I am not finding that connection. Instead, I have found a new connection with the 2 or 3 links above, a new sort of way to see endurance. 
1Tim 6:11 "But you, man of God, flee from all of this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and patience."
I have fled from many things in my life in as many ways as possible from hiding inside of my head to ignoring those around me and everything in between but something tells me this is not the kind of fleeing that is being referenced here. What I did find throughout my life was an ability to escape from my life in sort of a fantasy world of my own on horses. And I was not patient, faithful or loving in any pursuit of riding. I was aggressive, active, demanding, requiring, and sometimes mean. Looking back at my life with horses, I see a life that is also similar to this verse. I have aged and have begun to see things that I missed in my past, like growth to faith, struggle to love, and weakness to patience and endurance. And I learned most of these things through a horse.
I am not currently riding, I had a plan and then let it slip away and haven't returned to it, but this morning, in light of new faith, I find that I really miss being inside of that partnership between me and my horse. Why? Because just like the song above, every time I ride it is an adventure on an open highway and everytime I learn and go a little more toward the ever so new person that I am starting to see. I will start this partnership once more very soon, moving along toward a goal that only I am aware of and one that my horse has to be free enough to take me on. A partnership that started in anxiousness, ability, control and determination that has now moved toward unity, patience, faith, and love. I don't know how God is navigating the exact way to your heart, but to mine He used and escape, in the form of an animal, that was as high spirited and anxious as I, and through her He pursued me. Through her He is bringing us full circle, from looking at to looking through, from being alone and with no purpose to being a partnership with more than one purpose. Endurance riding isn't for the faint at heart, the weak who think the horse can not handle the task, it is like faith, a direction built solely on one trusting another, with no hesitation and no looking back.

Monday, August 1, 2011


Have you ever had a time when you were hungry for something and even tho you eat everything in your house, you are just not satified? So like most of us who are not wanting for food, I just move to the next item in the refrigerator or cabinet line and proceed to search for the thing that I am looking for, of which, I have no idea if I will find it or what 'it' may be.  I am in this way very much like my mother, not to mention other ways I'm sure family would like to point out, but this way seems to remind me of her the most.  Yesterday, and already this morning, I began eating like I was a famished child from Kenya and continued that way to eat until I went to bed, and still then looking for something to satisfy me. This morning I, although I haven't eaten anything yet, I did find something that doesn't satisfy me. I bought a new creamer for my coffee, something I thought might be a good change to my regular coffee (or as my friends would say a creamer for my coffee to be added to), and that's when it dawned on me. I'm not looking for a food to eat to satisfy me, I'm looking for something to comfort me. You see, today, I am branching out to a new job/career; a position I have absolutely no skill at and have never attempted. So, needless to say, I am anxious, nervous, and apprehensive, hence the non-stop looking for something to eat. In my little world of craziness, I have used food or lack of food to comfort or hide my actual emotions and when I have made it through the task or moment at hand, the need to fill that time with/without food subsides. So why food? Well for one, food doesn't have an opinion, ok that's 1, 2, and 3. Why now? Because I have been holding on to my position at Webb & Graves (my previous career and work place) for more than 7 months, and last week I was given an opportunity for change.
Gal 4:20 "how I wish I could be with you now and change my tone, because I am perplexed about you." I know, I know, I'm using this statement out of context and I'm sure that there is much more before and after this that I am not willing to read. Why? Because this statement, this verse says alot about me. I am sure this is one of the apostles or disciples writing to the Galatians that he is not with or close to, but this says something completely different to me. I have, for all intense purposes, been ignoring God for whatever reason I can really come up with at that particular moment. This statement says exactly why. I wish on some level that I was no longer here in this world, no longer dealing with the day to day agony of heartache, finances, problems, hurdles, you name it I wish it. And, on that same level, I feel as though if I could be with Him then my tone about Him and His plans would change, my heart would change; why? Because I am perplexed or even angry about the life that I have had to live. I'm sure you would have never of thought of this statement in that manner, you probably never even read this statement alone or separated out from its full context. And yet, this is how I feel.
Gal 4:20 "how I wish I could be with you now and change my tone, because I am perplexed aobut you."
Psl 51;12 "Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me."
Ok why did I repeat Gal 4:20? Well because it was needed first and second because it is my situation in a different way. I am reluctant to change, well change in a major way. And now, in the wake of change starting today, I am wishing more and more that I could just stay home, keep with the part-time work I am doing at Webb & Graves and work on the side with catering. I'm sure without fail I will find some way to hid the way I am feeling and press thru this week, but I am anxious beyond means.
I had no intention of finding Psalms this morning, I wasn't looking for verse and I couldn't tell you which one I was looking for but I suppose this is the one that I most needed. I am finding at some level joy again, personal joy not His joy, and I most need that joy to continue. I was born with a stubborn attitude, probably for just like moments of this where I an reluctant to move forward, my stubborn streak takes over and pushes me through.  It is on some level the same with Christ, I hope anyway, He has a stubborn streak too. And somewhere in the midst of last week, I told God I think a couple of times, 'if this is the job you want me to have, then I'll wait for you to provide it' and He did, or at least I believe He did.
In some aspects of my life, I am still perplexed and anxious about the future, fearful and not ready by any means for the coming year. In some aspects of my life, I am ready to move forward but my feet like being propped up on the coffee table. In some aspects of my life, I laugh and really feel happy and yet there is a part of me hesitant to let joy return. I'm still hungry for something, and I still don't have a clue as to what it is, and I'll probably be eating today without thought and maybe this change will help restore some of the joy that I am missing, maybe its in His plan for me and I'm reluctant to move maybe I don't need to find that something to eat after all.