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Archive for the ‘Enlightenment’ Category

A Walk with Willow

     There is a secret among some equine enthusiasts who desperately desire to own their first horse. One is good. But two are better. Three will love you. Four will thrill you. Five is uneven. And, six will complete you…unless you have room for one or two more.

     We already had five horses when Willow came looking for me.   She’s a six-year-old quarter cross, (half Quarter horse/half Tennessee Walker) seized with several others in a serious neglect case.
Since she was strong enough to survive on her own, rescuers attended to the sicker horses, and let her go out to graze.

     An unexpected email in my inbox asking if I might be interested in this black beauty peaked my curiosity. Since I didn’t go “looking” for her I thought it was safe to say this might be part of a grander plan. So, I put out a fleece like Gideon did in the Old Testament book of Judges. I asked God to confirm for me if I should attempt to take this untrained horse home. In my mind, if she let me halter her, and obeyed a few simple commands, then I had God’s “go-ahead” and Willow was mine.

     She did everything I asked and I accepted her obedience as a big bold YES from God.

     But then a few weeks later when it was time to transport her, she put up an incredible fight refusing all
attempts to load on the trailer. Three stressful hours later, with much persuasion, she finally submitted; but by then I was having second thoughts. The entire painful process left me walking on wobbly knees of wavering faith.

     By the time we got home she had settled down, she unloaded gracefully, walked slowly into the round pen, and posed for pictures.

     Then the rains came, the snow blew in, and the ground froze up.

     By the time the ground thawed all that was left was thick, slick, mud.

     I’m not opposed to suiting up in my outdoor armor…coveralls, neck warmer, insulated ski gloves, ear band, double socks, and muck boots but it was way
too dangerous to work with her. So, she stood her ground and I stood mine, squaring off like two gunslingers at high noon. I would move to the right, she would move to the left. I would move to the left, she would move to the right. I would reach for her halter and she would tremble and turn away.

     One friend recommended a natural supplement that would help calm her…it worked wonders…for two days.

     Another person suggested I ignore her, walk away, and let her stew in her own stubbornness. I did. She did. It only worked once.

     And finally another friend said, “This might not work. You may have to admit it was a mistake and send her back.” Thank God He does not feel that way about me. I probably would have been returned a long time ago.

     Since I am, at best, an amateur, I consulted a professional. The trainer recommended I be the only one to feed and water Willow so she would see I was now her sole source of survival.

     Willow understood. But, she is very smart and by Day 17 she was only inching up to the bucket of oats. She shuddered at the slightest move of my hand as I made many attempts to touch her.

     Remember, this is a horse I haltered and took for a walk the very first day.

     Since I believed God had given me the go-ahead to bring her home, I assumed she would respond to my requests. I was praying the whole time, but while I was dropping to my knees, my mind was already outside in the round pen. And, I struggled.

     One hundred days is the amount of time some of the Mustang tamers take…so that was the amount of time I told my friends and family I was prepared to train. What I really meant was more like two weeks.

     I was okay not being able to ride her. I just wanted to touch her. Hug her. Kiss her. I wanted her to recognize this relationship was good and I wanted her to love me. Those were the words that came pouring out when I was right on the verge of giving up.   And, my husband reminded me of the words spoken by Jesus, “…how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.”

     If you only read my horse stories you might think me a failure. I sometimes feel like a failure; well actually I feel that way a lot. But, then I go over to see the other horses and I am reminded to take my time and trust. As my husband gives me a leg up and I hop on our horse Judah who stands perfectly still out in the middle of our pasture…the wind blows, the sun beams down, and I thank God for the moment… remembering that in some ways Judah was once worse than Willow. It took me months to catch her and a couple of years before she decided she was as hopelessly in love with me as I was with her.

     Judah still walks away from me at times…she heads out as far away as she can get only to discover there is no one out there who will clean those little boogie things out of her eyes, there is no one to dig the packed mud out of her big flat feet, there is no one to prick the ends of their fingers picking cockleburs from her mane and tail… and she returns. She nudges me with her nose, let’s me kiss all over her face, bears up under the full body hugs I press against her neck, and she fully submits to the fact that I am her Alpha.

     So I decide yet again, to submit to mine. Every day I try to inquire of the Lord. There are days, sometimes weeks, when I don’t work with Willow. I try to be patient. She seems to be learning from the herd, so I let it be. There are other days when we accomplish what I consider to be serious milestones in her training. We are not all the way there. But the difficulties continue to draw me and I inquire again and again.

     Willow is becoming more social, allowing others besides me to groom, feed, and lead her.
I’ve been up in the saddle several times; and Sunday September 10th, with the help of my husband, son, and a
dear friend, I rode her in a few round pen circles. You can tell she’s a bit confused but she remained calm. We brought her home in December and I didn’t get to ride her for the first (2nd, 3rd, 4th…) times until September. I’ve now fully accepted that horse training cannot be measured in hours, but understanding…hers and mine.

     There were many late nights listening to praise music together. Mornings when all I did was sit close by and let her relax on my watch. I still find myself bypassing the prayers and running right out to the pen, anxious to see what we can accomplish. But, every time I think, “I’ve got this,” God reminds me that I train on his terms and his timetable. He’s going to do a mighty work in Willow. I can sense it. And, so, I wait.

“For the dream comes through much effort…”

Ecclesiastes 5:3

 

“Breaking a pony is the fast way, gentling a pony is the sure way.”

~Grandpa Beebe, Misty of Chincoteague

 

“Ask often, be content with little, reward generously.”

~Jack Brainard, Legendary Horse Trainer

 

God often puts us in these places because no matter

how much we know, we still have to be reminded.

~Greg Mangrum, Farrier

How is God working in your life?

What is He teaching you?

What draws you to Him time and again?

Do you inquire of Him or go it alone?

 

© Copyright 2017, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved

Guatemalan Getaway

Heavy black exhaust fumes are unwelcome visitors barging in bus windows we have quickly opened to escape the heat.  We are two hours from the Guatemala City airport and there’s no quick way out of here.Getway 6

Not now.

We are officially committed on a nine-day course.

Our tag team of new age missionaries has set out to make monetary modifications; while our first visual encounters threaten to submerge us in a sea of hopelessness.  Poverty has clearly permeated every community in this war-torn country. So, in self-defense, we make jokes about the “chicken bus,” the obnoxious horns, and the extra-large Taco Bell.

Getaway 2

Still, it’s hard to ignore the little tin huts and greasy auto repair shops that are all around us as we head deeper into the abyss. The obnoxiously rude blaring bus horns continue to assault the senses and the smell of blackened filth seems to sit all around us.

Just as the sun is setting low over our arrival in this third world country, we pull into the place that will be our refuge. There is barely enough light to see and a hot shower is considered a luxury. Even when we have hot water, it is so contaminated we are warned not to get it in our eyes or mouth.

The temperature has dropped to a brisk 54 degrees with a noticeably cooler breeze blowing.  The rain started, but quickly stopped, and everything feels just a little damp.  It might dry out in the heat of tomorrow, but more than likely another little cloud will drift in again.

Yet, we feel incredibly blessed.

We were expecting much worse conditions.  

Our guard goes down and we settle in.

 

Morning comes with hot pancakes and coffee.

Our arrival is anticipated in the Guatemalan village of Getaway 31Patzicia where their reactions, and ours, are mixed with apprehension, anticipation, and excitement.  It’s a pleasant place with happy home visits, a few minutes at the market, and a spontaneous soccer match.

We are good to go on.

 

Bland refried black beans for the next breakfast, with grainy unseasoned corn tortillas, signal that the trip is about to change.  Our initial introduction into this mission is finally morphing into the real reason we are here. Happy home visits segue into an introduction to small hidden huts not fit for human habitation.

Getaway 30They are homes for families with five or ten children.  The despair runs deep.  The necessities for their existence are lacking at every level.  Our hearts sink.  Our emotions steel. We take inventory of what we have to give and we get to work.

Prayer is priority as our God sees and He knows and He is able.  We dole out compassion, understanding, encouragement, and love. Getaway 29  We offer up hugs, and smiles, as laughter seeps through the cracks and out into the courtyards.

God is in this place.

And, he has more for us to see.Getaway 33

 

 

Up on a remote mountain, where we experience a million miracles just riding safely in that chicken bus, we see and smell a society so far removed from our own that we are stunned!
Children, under the age of five, are dying here in San Antonio Nejapa on days when the smoke inhalation is more than their Getaway 12little lungs can filter and fight.

We are anxious to help solve this unnecessary situation and we set about installing new
stoves.Getaway 13

The inventors of this quickly assembled contraption should be honored at the city gates, as they have been given the great gift of God’s wisdom.

Getaway 15

We are humbled.

Truly humbled to help.

Our iPhones are pulled out of pockets and backpacks for the sole purpose of taking pictures so this moment of meeting on God’s terms is recorded outside of our hearts for others to see.

Getaway 17We have to share their story.  We have to tell about the stoves.

They are not expensive. In fact, their affordability is astonishing.   Who among us would not give $110 to save the life of a child?

Getaway 16

 

Time is running out.

It’s not the setting of the sun, but thick white clouds coming down on the mountain that send us back to our weeklong refuge.

The revelation of all that we own will be a bit more relevant tonight.  We gather together around a fire to sing praise songs, share stories, and make plans with a new purpose.

It doesn’t have to be us. It can be anybody.  It can be you.  There are volunteers trained in the art of stove assembly.  They just need people who are willing to pay for the life of a child.

 

 

We walk reluctantly back to our rooms.

There is still barely enough light to see.

We know that a hot shower is a luxury they have never had.

 

Getaway 19

“Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD,

and he will reward them for what they have done.” 
 — Proverbs 19:17

http://www.compassion.com

© Copyright 2016, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserve

I did it His way

          If not for the 25th chapter of the book of Psalm, the confrontation would have come as a complete shock.  But that morning, as I His way onebusied myself with the routine of feeding, mucking and watering, the reminder to do my Bible study kept pressing on my mind.  I finally set all the chores aside and submitted. 

           The words written on the tattered and torn pages were a warning to my heart and soul.  And, so, instead of going forward ill prepared, I put on the full armor of God and waited for what was about to happen.  

           I almost laugh every time I think back on it because, somehow, I think we all thought it had something to do with us.  And, maybe, at some point, it had. Maybe there were things said, and done, that had set the course in action.  But, in the end, as in the beginning, it was a test and God was offering us a choice.

          I am grateful for the compassion of the one who had to tell me I was losing my job. I am grateful for the honest words I was allowed to speak.  I am most grateful for the peace that passed all understanding at a time I could have chosen a much different path. In the natural, my normal reaction might have been anger and resentment. His Way It would not have been unlike me to say things I would later regret.  But, in the presence of a Holy God, I did my best to remain silent and wait. 

          There were bouts of blame. I mainly blamed myself.  And, even though I participated in parties of pondering…who, why, what, where and when…I was quickly reminded to go back to The Word.  The next few weeks were spent about as close as I could get to the One who warned me, the One who already knew, the One who would know what to do next.  There were days of grief, sorrow and repentance.  There were times spent praying for those who made the decision. There were messages of hope, sent periodically, by those who knew I needed encouragement. 

          At every turn, I asked God to please tell me what to do before I hit the deadline to pack up and leave.  In response, God made me wait even longer.  He showed me that His plan had a purpose and that He was not bound by a date circled on the calendar.  He brought me out…so He could bring me in.  And this time, I trusted.  I watched.  And, I waited.  There were so many things He could have done…so many things I thought He was going to do.  But His way  has brought more happiness than I had even imagined. 

           Every time I am placed in a position where I must trust, I find myself promising I always will.  But each walk in the wilderness His way 4is different, and it is always the unknown that leaves us vulnerable to the accusing voice that says, “What if he leaves you this time? What if he abandons you now? What if you are left out there alone to fend for yourself? What if you look like a fool for your faith? If this is your fault, shouldn’t you be forced to face the blame and the shame?” 

          But I find that voice can always be silenced by going to God, by staying in The Word, by watching, by waiting, by also recognizing the voices of those who try to convince you to do it their way.

          This time I did it HIS way and I have in fact received an amazing reward!HIs Way 2

 

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him,

so that you may overflow with hope

by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:13

 If you are facing a time of uncertainty, a disappointment, an unexpected occurrence, or any change in your life that has left you afraid and confused, lift up your head.

He is the light. He sees, He knows, He has the answers.

Just wait. No matter how long He takes.

He may not be early, but He is never late!

HIs Way

© Copyright 2014, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserve

 

 God of mercy sweet love of mine

I have surrendered to Your design

May this offering stretch across the skies

And these Hallelujahs be multiplied

 Written by: Bo and Bear Rinehart

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGF-MGGLpB0

God, I run into Your arms

Unashamed because of mercy

I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You

Music & Lyrics: Mike Weaver / Phil Wickham

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BiGb14tTaH4

 

Coffee Shop Community

          The old man held court in the corner of the coffee shop. It seemed every other person, who came through the smudged glass door and braved the blinding rays of sunshine cast through the wall of windows, made their way to his table.

Coffee Shop 1He smiled and greeted each one with, “It’s a beautiful day isn’t it?” His salutation seemed amusing, given the fact that it was freezing outside. The younger crowd could be heard mumbling throughout the room about the unexpected drop in temperature.  It’s all in the perspective I guess.  As I watched him entertain a young, long-haired coffee shop employee on a break, then take company with a frazzled sweat-clad, errand-running mom, talk to a dad with a young child, and congratulate a pregnant woman, I looked on in fascination and remembrance that–even in this fast-paced technology-driven world where I frequently communicate with my own husband, daughter and son, via text message– we are still in need of personal, face to face, one on one, affirming, loving and entertaining socialization.  Years ago, this same older gentleman might have found a seat out on a park bench in the town square or down at the corner hardware store.  But his well-placed position here in the coffee shop serves him well as he caters to the needs of a younger generation more desperate than they know for his words of wisdom.

            We were created to live in community.  No matter how much we feel Facebook connects us into an online world of communal living and no matter how we feel connected to our tribe through the 140 characters allowed on Twitter, we still need some real genuine, authentic, in person, huggable, loveable, face time.Coffee shop 3

            The little girl hugged tightly to her daddy’s arm with the biggest, sweetest smile on her face.  The older gentleman reminding her dad of the innocence and beauty he was charged with protecting. The frazzled mom in her peach sweat suit, took time to talk to the little girl eye-to-eye, attention full on, and was quickly rewarded with a big bear hug before the girl followed dad out the door. The older gentleman and the mom were beaming.  And I wasn’t the only one watching.  Several people stopped to watch it all; the hope, the promise, the expectation that all will be well with the world regardless of how it sometimes seems we are losing our societal grip.  Sure, that little girl will probably open up a new iPad on the next Christmas morning or text her friends on her new iPhone; but today, she stopped to smile at the old man, to hug the frazzled mom, to cling tightly to the daddy who loves her more than anyone else.

          The old man’s attention turned to another visitor who came straight to his table. This one was sporting a new engagement ring and anticipating a brand new life.  He gushed right along with her.  Then, one by one, each visitor went out the smudged glass door with their backs to the rays of sunshine.  He reached for his coffee cup and, with a shaking hand, picked up his fork to finish off a piece of Coffee shop 2lemon cake.  He’ll probably be back tomorrow.  You could tell from the steady stream of visitors that he is here a lot, in his corner seat holding court, for anyone who has time to stop and talk.

 

© Copyright 2014, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserve

The “Who Can Do It” Way to a Happy Relationship

Come on, let’s laugh a little.

There’s a reason we draw lines in the sand. 

It’s so we can smudge them out.

And draw them again.

     As an at-home mom for the 16th year, I still dream of that day when the house is SPOTLESS, the laundry is DONE and dinner is on the DINING ROOM table, not the coffee table in the den.  Dinner in denBut then dreams wouldn’t be dreams now, would they, if they were just our simple reality, right? So I keep dreaming. 

     However, what I never really dreamed about, growing up, as I pondered the forever husband who would come through the back door happily exclaiming, “Honey, I’m home,” was the possibility that it would be me coming through the back door yelling, “CAN SOMEONE PLEASE HELP ME WITH THIS STUFF???”  Despite the fact that I no longer hold down what most people would consider a NORMAL job, I do work a lot.  I work about four hours a day as a taxi cab driver, an occasional television producer, three or more hours a day as a horse trainer, groomer, feeder and poop scooper, at least an hour running endless errands, about an hour as a cook, an ironing board attendant, a wet clothes cleaner as opposed to the nicer — more expensive — dry cleaner, a freelance writer, a band mom, a dog feeder, dog waterer and a let-them-in-and-outer.  I often wonder how many hours of my life I actually lose letting the dogs in…and out…in…and out…but I’m getting off track.  Oh wait, I do that too on a regular basis and it’s work just getting back on track and figuring out where I was and what I was doing.  So, you see, as this story goes, the little woman at home vacuuming the floors in heels and pearls was NEVER in my DNA.  I love a clean house, clean clothes and dinner on the table; but, sometimes, if that is going to happen, it’s my husband doing it after he gets done at the office.  YEP, you heard me.  I have one of those crazy husbands, who not only supports every non-paying job I have, but helps pick up the slack so I can maintain all of them. 

     When my dad needs a ride to the doctor, my husband believes I’m the one who should be there.  When I have a friend in need of moral support, my husband finds something else to do.  If I take up the better part of a day doing back-to-back Bible studies, he tells me how glad he is that I do it so I can share what I’ve learned with him later.

      Laundry roomNow, don’t shoot the messenger, because it’s not always, “Oh honey let me do that for you,” around here.  Just this morning, as he headed for his car, he told me how NICE it would be if he had some CLEAN underwear for tomorrow.  Just as he was backing out of the driveway, I grabbed a pair off the floor, swung them around, and told him ,“I am on it!”  Salute!  He called on his cell phone mere moments later, as he drove away, to remind me how he had joyfully folded my underclothes just the night before.  But, wait a second; this is where the title of this story plays in.  He folded laundry while he was watching a basketball game.  Why?  Because he could.  It’s one of those little secrets of a happy relationship.  I ironed his clothes and packed his lunch because, at the time, I was the one who could do it.  He took our son to school and gave me the morning off because he could do it.  I dropped off a business package downtown, because, hey I was already going that way.  He stopped by the pasture and fed the horses because he could make a quick detourFeeding Lucy and Shadow

      “Whoever can do it” should just be the way things work all over the world.  It’s worked for us… well, except for all attempts I’ve made to draw a line in the sand when it comes to the shower.  I think he should scrub it as many times as I’ve had to do it. 

     He just washes that idea right down the drain.

 

I Peter 4:11

Do you have the gift of speaking?

Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you.

Do you have the gift of helping others?

Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies.

Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ.

All glory and power to him forever and ever!

Amen!

© Copyright 2014, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved 

 

The Three Wise Men

         The tumblers inside a tiny little padlock we use on the hitch of our horse trailer were stuck and it wouldn’t close.  I was struggling in the dark trying to get it done and get home before bedtime.  My son, my dad and I had returned from a tripThree Wise Men Dad later than we expected, had just unloaded the horses and turned them out into the pasture.  As Dad took over, fiddling with the lock, I stepped back and busied myself with some of the other details.  I wasn’t really aware of what all was happening until I heard him say, “If I had some WD-40 I could fix it.”  My son and I glanced at each other, both of us knowing there was a can in the barn, but neither of us wanting to make the trip up the steep hill in the dark. So, rather than ask us to do that, my dad went about looking for the next best solution.  I’ve watched him do it my entire life and now my 16-year-old son is witness to what happens when you can’t get the answer on-line. 

          Once Dad had driven his SUV over and turned on the headlights so he could see the lock and trailer in the dark, he popped open the hood.  Then, with a little hand-held flashlight shining on the engine, he reached in and slowly removed the dipstick from the oil container.  He carefully let a couple of drops ease into the lock and it snapped shut.  As we got into our separate vehicles for the 45 minute drive to our homes, my son, a straight A Honors English and AP History student, looked at me and said, “Gramps is brilliant!”  In a laugh that let him know I was in total agreement, I responded, “Yes, he is, but I bet that’s not the first time he has used that little trick to fix something.”

           My Dad is one of those people who took a 12th grade education and turned it into an ability to fix, build, design, and create just about anything he wants or needs.  He even has the most amazing and precise handwriting.  And, anytime he starts talking mathematical equations, measurements, or geometry-type stuff, I slowly slip away, hoping he won’t ask me if I know the answer.  My college-educated brain just doesn’t work that way.

           Likewise, my husband’s father took his high school education and not only ministered a church for 40 years, without a Three Wise Men Papawsalary, but also built houses…entire houses.  It wasn’t like he hired an architect and a contractor; he did it with sweat equity and his own two hands.  All this he did after his regular job as a weigh master at the stockyards. Some of the men he worked with used to tease him about his volunteer labor at the church and nicknamed him “Preach.” But when anyone was in need, sick or dying, he was the one they sought after.  Even at his funeral, a child of one of his co-workers credited him with leading his dad to the Lord. 

          The “Little Flock” he tended still talks of all they learned from him.  And the many houses he built are all standing as shelter for families he never met but had a hand in protecting.

          Three full-time jobs, one man, one wise and remarkable life.  

          My Papaw only got to go to the 3rd grade.  It’s unheard of these days, but back then, it wasn’t at all unusual for a child to be required to leave their opportunity to learn in order to care for family. He wasn’t very tall, mostly bald and wore bib overalls almost every day.  A little like Jesus is described in the book of Isaiah, there was nothing about the way he looked that would necessarily attract anyone to him.  Yet, he was a fascinating man.  During two weeks every summer, at Christmas and any opportunity in between, I wanted to be his shadow…except, of course, when he got up before dark, in the freezing cold, to draw water from the well and get a fire started.  Those times I was content just to lay under a heavy mountain of blankets and quilts listening as he moved about the house preparing it for the rest of us. Papaw Sumner Edge

          He grew the best garden for my mamaw, planted and worked a large tobacco crop; he worked at a lumber mill, for the railroad, and he used mules and slip scrapers to help build a highway.  (Don’t ask, I have no idea what a slip scraper is, but he told me about it once.)  And while all of this may make him sound somewhat like a common, blue-collar man, it’s totally uncommon in our society today.  Would you know how to cut a perfect beam out of an old tree sawed down in the woods?  Could you operate a freight train or connect the steel with sharp spikes to form the track?  What about hitching up a couple of stubborn old mules, convincing them to move in the same direction and then using them to navigate hills and valleys scraping out the right amount of rock and dirt for a new highway?  I have no idea where he acquired the necessary tools to make it in this world, but I know where he got the wisdom.

 “If any of you need wisdom, ask God for it. He will give it to you.

God gives freely to everyone. He doesn’t find fault.”  

James 1:5 (NIRV)

           If I weren’t always so busy telling my husband what “I” think “He” should do, I might be able to learn more from the wisdom God has given him.  He is a very wise man. When I’m in over my head, he frequently rescues me.  But this is “The Three Wise Men” — not the “Four” — so he’ll have to wait and get on our son’s “wise man list” in the lineage of family storytelling.

 As you celebrate this holiday season, look around you and identify three wise men in your life.  

You might be surprised by the great gift God has given to them.

 Remember, God took a shepherd boy and made him a king.

He took a bunch of fishermen and made them apostles.

And He took a little baby and made Him our Savior!

 

Merry, Merry Christmas!

Happy New Year!

Hope to see you again soon!

© Copyright 2013, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved

Worn Out on Words

          The rooster doesn’t seem to know the difference in daylight and dark.  He crows in the morning, he crows at night, and Rooster edgeat high noon, sun shining, or rain clouds forming, he perches somewhere near and wears us out with his cock-a-doodle-doo’ing.  Likewise, his harem of chickens cackle on all day, boasting of their latest egg laying experience, while those of us at the horse barn get caught up in the chaotic cacophony.

            It’s not unlike the commotion of constant chitchat, which seems to ensue at work, home, or any other event where co-workers, family or friends flock together.  Someone doesn’t meet our expectations and we assume justification in trash talking them to anyone willing to listen.  We are overworked, under-appreciated, taken advantage of, and now we feel we have a green light for gossip. chickens at barn edge

         A family member decides to ditch a once-in-a-lifetime event, and we feel we have every right to replay what they’ve done, long after they’ve forgotten it themselves.   A friend makes a foolish choice and they are fodder for tantalizing talk at the dinner table.  Someone is rude to us for no reason and the gloves come all the way off.  A boss places unreasonable demands on us and we just have to let off steam.  Venting is therapeutic.  Or, so it seems.  In reality, it’s one of the easiest traps to slip into, and one of the hardest to escape.  While we are fanning the flames, we’re the ones getting burned.  It wears us down mentally, physically, and anyone with half a conscious begins to feel guilty.  But we continue to convince ourselves it’s our duty to rake the “really guilty ones” over the coals.

 Proverbs 26:20 Without wood a fire goes out; without a gossip a quarrel dies down. 

     The words are right there.  We see.  We know.  We’ve done this before.  After all, there’s nothing quite like the righteous indignation of thinking we are the ones who are right. Even if our self-focused opinions lead to anger, stress and frustration — for some insanely repetitive reason — we keep signing up for the scenic route around the same old mountain. 

          I recently found myself in more than one situation with no shortage of words.  The Holy Spirit reminded me to keep quiet.  My late father-in-law’s wisdom reworked its way through my mind, The less I say, the less I have to give account for.  And yet I ran into the fray, stumbling over everyone else’s words to hurry and get in my own.

          Chicken edgeAnd now, I am worn out on words.  I am worn out on my own words, and I am worn out on the words of others.  I feel frustrated, angry and stressed about all that has been discussed.  I’m certain nothing that was said changed any of the situations.  But every word I spoke contributed to the “dis-ease” of all that was happening.

           In the book of Titus, Chapter 3 verses 1-7, it says: “Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.  

           Trust me, I’m not climbing up on a self-righteous soapbox.  In fact, this is more of a confession.  I’ve been doing a lot of  “fence-sitting” next to that rowdy old rooster.  The more I flap my mouth, the harder it is for me to hear from God.  The louder my voice, the quieter His becomes.  It causes me the greatest stress. It causes me to stop and look around; and when I recognize the same old path I’m on again, I realize it’s time to turn back.  I need His direction.  I need to hear His words, not my own.

           So, I crank up some contemporary Christian music to drown out the sounds of those crazy chickens.  Music can change our moods quicker than most anything.  Then, I stop long enough to sit down and look  for some answers to this age-old problem of talking too much.

           I get more words. 

           But these will never wear us out.

“And the words of the Lord are flawless, like silver purified in a crucible, like gold refined seven times.” Psalm 12:6

The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing Proverbs 12:18

 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.  Philippians 4:8

 What are you spending your time thinking about?

Who are you talking about?

Have they done something far worse than the things you have done?

Sometimes it’s so hard to extend our mercy.

But mercy has been given to us, over and over and over again.

Barn edge

© Copyright 2013, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved 

Did They Drop the Nails?


The old Catholic convent smelled like smoke as we walked toward the flickering glow of small candles illuminating TVCthe altar.  Everyone had been handed a nail and most of us knew what we would be asked to do before the night was over.  It’s an annual tradition, a ritual of sorts, and a precious opportunity that only comes around on Good Friday.  Sometimes I think I would rather not go.  I came up with any number of excuses that sounded legitimate this year.  But just when I thought I had made up my mind to do something else, I felt drawn to go. 

            Our friends wanted to go with us this year and the desire to share this sacred moment with them was leading us back on the path that was now lit by tiny votive candles. 

            It was supposed to be a silent service.  But we, as a society, find it so hard to sit still, so hard to unplug, so hard to quit whispering messages to the person next to us.   When the auditorium was almost full and we had just begun to settle in and try to still our thoughts, a cell phone began to ring in the row in front of us.  The man’s wife gave him that scolding look only a wife can give a husband.   He struggled to turn it off as it rang and rang and rang.  About five minutes later, her phone began to ring and there was no stopping the laughter that came from all those around them.

          Then the ping, ping, ping of nails hitting the floor seemed just as distracting, at first.  But then I started to wonder, did they drop the nails?  Nails EdgeDid the men who crucified Jesus drop any of the nails?  Were their hands shaking in anger?  Were they shaking in fear?  How must it have felt to place that sharp point on His most perfect and innocent flesh and then raise the hammer, make contact with the head of the nail and drive it into those loving, giving, accepting, amazing, most beautiful hands?

          Our choir sang in Latin with an English translation on the large video screen.  It was amazing.  We silently read the last seven sayings of our Lord and Savior before He willingly gave up His spirit.  Tears were flowing throughout the darkened church as we each stood and walked toward the old wooden cross.  There, just beyond the altar, we each nailed our sins to the cross.  It is always the hammering that makes it almost unbearable.  Our son said he imagined the sound to be steady beats from a drum as he tried to contain his emotions while stepping forward to accept his part in the process.  No matter how many times you have heard hammering, you have not heard it like this.  It feels like the floor is moving, with our hearts pounding, and our hands shaking.  No matter how many times you participate, it feels much the same.  My sin, my shame, my fears, my failures, held Him there on that cross.

          Oh the sweet relief of communion.  The hammering finally subsided.  We ate the bread of life and drank from the fruit of the vine and it was over.  It was finished.  It was done.  He is alive.  Resurrected in all His glory and sitting at the right hand of our God.  Our debt PAID IN FULL!  Our lives begin again.  We are renewed.

          As we walk toward our cars, our friend says she has never gotten more out of an Easter service in her entire life.  We smile.  I joke that no matter how it made us feel, I will walk right out that door and sin again.  They double-check to make sure I’m not planning to sin anytime soon.  And I’m not.  But I know I will, probably even before the night is over.  He knows I will.  He knows me.  But He came to save me.  And He will save you too.   He can even save the men who crucified Him.  Did they believe in Him before their wretched job was over?  Did the earthquake, the sun going dark, the dividing curtain of the Temple ripping apart, convince them that He was and is in fact the Son of God?  Did they have extra nails?  Did they drop the nails?

Nails Edge

And Jesus said to the thief on the cross, the one who believed in him at the last-minute,the one who had sinned up until that very moment,

 “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:43

© Copyright 2013, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved

An “A” Student

     There’s probably no one who gets in the way of what God wants to do in our lives more than we do.  We get in a hurry. We want what we want when we want it.  And when we have a need that isn’t resolved on our schedule, we lose faith and start to fret.

     Since this is so often the case, I am determined to be an “A” student in the study of Psalm 46:10I would love for you to join me, but, I will warn you in advance, I keep taking this class over and over again.

 He says, Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.

     There are endless examples of times when I got in a hurry and made huge mistakes.  Times when what I wanted was the worst thing I could have requested.  And opportunities to be sure of what I hoped for and certain of what I could not see that ended up with me striving instead.  As much as I continuously try to tell myself I am not as hardheaded as the Israelites in the desert, I’ve been around this mountain more than a few times.  I want to pass the test.  I want to graduate from slipping down the slope of things that don’t go my way.

      And, there seems to be some progress, if only a little.

        In June, I was tentatively scheduled for a working vacation that was beyond anything I could have asked for or imagined.  The idea was pitched to me on a normal day when I was just doing what I do.  Factor in the concept of getting paid for doing what you love and it was almost unbelievable.  I was afraid to think about it for fear it might not happen.  And then it didn’t.  There were scheduling conflicts, endless phone tag, an injury, and it just didn’t work out.  The former “C” student in me would have behaved in a bit of a spoiled rotten way.  The aspiring “A” student sat back and analyzed the possibility that our timing wasn’t necessarily God’s timing.

     As it turned out, something happened that week that really required me to be at home.   I am so grateful God knew more about it than I did.

     In July, the trip came up again and His timing was PERFECT!  The trip was AMAZING!  And our lives were forever changed by many of the people we met…good, godly people who poured much wisdom into our hearts and souls.

     Last week, I had a similar experience.  My dad and I have been looking for a cheap horse trailer.  We found one, but couldn’t go look at it on the seller’s schedule.  When we could go, it was gone.  We found another one and it was so far away we debated the wisdom of it.  We looked at a few more and shared the laughter of What were those people thinking?  Then we found a beautiful trailer right in our hometown.  Everyone loaded up and off we went, thoroughly convinced we would be pulling that trailer home.  But, it wasn’t at all like the photos had depicted it.  I didn’t flinch.  I didn’t get upset.  I never even felt disappointed.  I was a little shocked that it was so different from what I thought it might be, but it was clearly not the one.  Instead of allowing it to mess up our evening, as I might have done in the past, I was relieved when my dad agreed we should walk away.

     We had a nice dinner, shared some laughs, enjoyed being together as a family and looked forward to our next opportunity.  Until then, I will remain a student of Psalm 46:10 and I will be still.

     Please don’t misunderstand, I don’t believe God is putting all things on hold in heaven to make sure our plans pan out, or we get something we want and think we need.  I do believe His eye is on the sparrow and His eye is on us.  I also believe He cares enough to use whatever matters in our lives to grow us and bring us closer to Him and closer to our completion.

     When I finished writing this I wasn’t at all sure if I should even share it.  So, I decided to put it aside and spend some time doing my Bible study.   It included a comment that sounded a whole lot like confirmation.  

God is always teaching me something because I have so much to learn. About the time I think I learned it, somehow I un-learned it. And here we go again.  The same lesson again.  Because God is going to make sure we get an A.  So we keep having the same test. ~Beth Moore Faithful Abundant True

      I guess I could have taken the title An A Student from Beth Moore’s quote but I had already written it.  Things like that just seem way cool.  Maybe I focus too much on the little things.  But I know He’s got all the big things covered, so why not the little things too?

 Is God asking you to be still and trust him?

Are you the one standing in Gods way when He just wants to bless you? 

We all do it.

We all want what we want when we want it.

But His timing, His economy, His favor, His gifts are always perfect!

Just watch and wait.

Keep your eyes on Jesus.  At least TRY 🙂

He really does care about every little detail of your life!

     We finally found an old trailer and wouldn’t you know it, it was HALF the price of all the others.  I love what happens when I wait.  But today, tomorrow, or next week, I’ll probably get in a hurry again and loop around the base of that mountain one more time!

What about you?  Do you ever find yourself on this journey?  

Are you also trying for an A in this class? 🙂

© Copyright 2012, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved

Our Provider

(Audio Version) I pondered if God would provide again.

He showed me a squirrel, sitting on top of the fence, feasting on a hickory nut.

I pondered if God would provide again.

He showed me two blue birds fluttering from tree to tree.

I pondered if God would provide again.

I saw a butterfly, lighting on a pool of water, with plenty to drink.

I pondered if God would provide again.

A bumblebee landed on a flowering bush.

I pondered if God would provide again.

And He reminded me.

 “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.

Are you not worth much more than they?” 


 Matthew 6:26

 Every day should be Memorial Day!  

 As we honor, and always remember, our military men and women,

let us also be reminded that

God is our Foundation, our Rock and Redeemer, an ever-present help in trouble.

 
“ Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”

Matthew 11:28

 How does He remind you?

© Copyright 2012, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved

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