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As I Walk through the Valley on Shadow

There’s a line between wisdom and insanity that gets blurred, every time anyone willingly comes into Shadow trail ridecontact with Shadow.  He’s a kind, loving and obedient boy, but make a move he’s not expecting, and he’ll
Shadow head shotsnort, bolt and run.  He’s the ultimate contradiction.  A “kid broke” horse that kids can’t ride.

We love him. He’s beautiful.  He’s a gentle herd leader. And he is truly something to see when he reaches top speed running across the Shadow boltpasture.  But trust him?  Not a chance!  He doesn’t just spook, he spooks at the same things sometimes, not at all other times.  When you expect him to spook, he doesn’t; and when you don’t expect it, he does.  You can never be sure.

Shadow supposedly had lots of training before we bought him, and we were told he had worked at a kid’s camp for years.  So, given that we were looking for a “kid broke” horse and he was ebony black and beautiful, we bought him.  Paid money.  From our perspective, quite a bit of money (relative to the budget) and we confidently brought him home to join our other (free) horses.  They’re the ones that haven’t had much training, but can likely walk through a war zone with only a slight tremble or twitch. Shadow will run from his own lead rope.Shadow Dad's saddle

It’s fear, plain and simple.  We’re not sure why or what his history might be.  He is a registered Tennessee Walker, with a long lineage of family champions, and there’s a strange little quirk about him when he sort of bounces up high before he trots; but what his early life must have been like before us is an unknown. Shadow tarp  What we do know is he is very afraid…not always… and not on any recognizable timetable… as best we can tell.  It’s more like the movie, Groundhog Day.  What he learns not to fear today, he will freak out over tomorrow.

And, this is why I now think we may all be just like him.

In an attempt to get Shadow some help from someone other than myself; I was making a video to submit to a master horse trainer, showing Shadow’s sporadic spooky behavior.  As I was explaining how Shadow can be desensitized to scary objects one day, but is afraid of the same objects another day, the realization of what I was saying was not at all something I wanted to see in myself.  But, unfortunately I think it’s true.

I get afraid.  God calms my fears.  I realize there was no reason to be afraid.  And, then, confronted with the same things that scared me before, I’m afraid again.  This is an agonizing epiphany.  We worry Shadow at pondabout Shadow.  We stress over Shadow.  We don’t understand Shadow.  We make fun of Shadow.  And, yet, he’s a walking, talking testimony of what we need to work on in our own lives.

Let’s take money and bills for example, because that’s one of “my things” that causes me great fear.  I’m afraid of a bill we can’t pay.  God provides, as he tells us over and over in His Word that he will.  The bill gets paid. I’m no longer afraid.
Then another bill comes.  I look at our account and there’s not enough money to pay it.  But, it comes due and somehow (thank you, God) it gets paid.  I’m no longer afraid. Until…

Shadow walking on tarpMaybe it’s not money for you. Maybe you’re afraid of your mother-in-law…maybe it’s your boss…you’re afraid your husband is going to cheat on you even though he never has and never will…maybe you’re afraid to fly even though you’ve always landed safely.  Yet, that SAME fear keeps coming back again and again.  Shadow is a shining example of what happens.  He’s supposed to be Shadow and Bobbya “kid broke” horse and yet he can’t live out the life that was intended for him, because fear (False Evidence Appearing Real) has rendered him incapable.

Shadow saddleYou may have heard this before, but fear is the topic most often addressed in the Bible.  Our fear is no surprise to God. He knew this was going to happen.  He prepared all these many verses for us.  Right now, I’m thinking, “If Shadow could only read,” but the fact is, I can read, and I have read the verses and it would probably help me to go read them again.Shadow tarp on head

There is always going to be a bill coming due.  And, until I learn not to be afraid the next time, God is going to have to desensitize me to it this time.  He often turns up the heat until we can handle the pressure.  Remember the Israelites 40 year journey around an eleven-mile mountain? God wants to get us where he wants us to go, more than we want to get where we want to go.  But, we have to be willing to give up our unhealthy relationship with fear.  Fear is an enemy intended to keep us from fulfilling our intended purpose.

We’re still trying to teach Shadow, but maybe now it’s just time to stop for a minute and learn from him.  We can bolt and run, or we can hide under the shelter of God’s wings, and in doing so, be reminded that First John 4:18 says there is no fear in love because perfect love casts out fear.

After all, a shadow is just an obstruction from THE LIGHT!

Shadow herd leader

Who knew more about fear than David the shepherd boy?

 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil:

for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:

thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:

and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever!

 Psalm 23

 

 Learning to turn away from the crooked road of fear

will lead us straight to the gateway of freedom.

Shadow and the tarp

© Copyright 2015, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserve

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

Just Keep Breathing

Keep Breathing 1

The wilderness is dry and dusty

                 The heat almost unbearable…                   

The desire for nourishment insatiable…

For water, unquenchable…

Just Breath 7

 The sun peaks through the clouds.

But just as quickly, it slips back in again.

There is hope.

But not every day…

Just keep breathing 9

 Fear hovers like a repetitive nightmare.

Stealing what little peace sleep might bring.

Worry wears down the defenses and erodes its lifeline.

Guilt begins to guide.

Just Breath 5

 The loneliness is confusing.

The temptations torturing…

The soul wrestles for freedom.

Knowledge knows this won’t last.

Wisdom calls out for rescue.

Faith falls on its face again and again.

Just Breath 6

 The winds pick up.

A storm rolls in.

The rain beats down.

And there is silence.

 Tears leave traces of resisting and submitting.

Laying it down and picking it up…

Choosing…

Choosing again…

The struggle weighs its odds…

And makes one last stand.

 

The weary can go no further.

And there will certainly be no compromise.

But, things have already been worked out.

Prepared in advance…

A plan falls into place.

Keep Breathing 2

 There is no earthquake, fire or flood.

Just a still small voice…

A lamp for the feet…

A light for the path…

Just Breath 8

 And the wanderer is mercifully extradited from the wilderness.

 All that was held so tightly…

Just fades away…

 When eyes that could not see…

 Finally turn toward The Promised Land!

Just Breath 4

   There is something you are going through right now…something you are about to encounter…something you have already experienced.  It may not be as bad as what your friends or family are facing, but it is your burden to bear, your cross to carry, your test to undertake.  No matter what it is, no matter how you hurt, no matter how lost you might feel, our God is still faithful.   Nothing in all creation is hidden from his sight, no matter where your feet are about to walk. 

He will NEVER leave you, nor forsake you. 

Just keep breathing because even when you don’t see it or feel it,  

help is on the way. 

I know this to be true, because I just came out of the wilderness,

and believe me, it wasn’t my first walk.

During the times I thought I could take no more,

this song reminded me just how much I needed Him and still need him NOW!

 “Before you ever get a problem, God has your deliverance planned.”

~Joyce Meyer

 “In the fourteenth chapter of John’s gospel a puzzled Thomas says to Jesus, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going.  How can we know the way?’ Jesus answers him with no small boldness: “I am the way…” (John 14:6)

~Melissa Moore Fitzpatrick

 Happy New Year! 

I hope you are off to a good start and that you will continue to seek the will of God.  Our will and our way often lead us down the wrong road.

  If you would like to get an email when there’s a new post just click the little box at the top of the right column.  There’s no set schedule for publishing so I’m happy to send you a note.  Thanks so  much for everyone’s support and to all the subscribers.

 It’s a journey that often requires another start.

🙂

© Copyright 2013, KeziahCarrie.  All Rights Reserved

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