It is dawn.
The air is heavy with moisture, the sun just barely beginning to make its appearance over the gently sloping hills. The soft sunlight shimmers through the dew-dropped trees and knee-high grass, and not a sound is heard as the world begins to awaken.
My Beloved himself gently wakes me, invites me to come.
“Good Morning, My Love”, he whispers. “The day I have brilliantly and lovingly created for you is now ready! Walk with me and leave your fears behind. I will prepare you fully for all that the day has to offer.”
And we walk. Slowly, talking quietly, basking in His loving presence. He fills me up and I gratefully breathe Him in. We make our way to the pasture…
Where Heart is waiting.
She is indeed a beauty! Strong and majestic, brimming with life! Full of potential, and yet still quite untamed. She often shows herself to be stubborn. Willful. Wayward. Passionate but misguided.
She has been mine since we were both very young, and Beloved has been teaching me daily to “break” her. As we climb the last hill to the pasture where she is kept, I see her – and she sees me. This morning, like many mornings, she immediately shows signs of defiance – she stands tall, holds her head high, and digs her hooves into the ground. She whinnies and grunts and takes a few steps back.
It is early in the morning, and I am already uneasy. Can I do this?
Misgivings and fear begin to cloud my thoughts, and I hesitate.
Beloved chuckles. A deep, soothing sound… and without a word, He walks towards her… and she is calm. He certainly has a way with her. In His presence she is tame and peaceful. And I am suddenly filled with gratitude, knowing that He is always available to me throughout my day’s journeys.
He takes hold of the reins and slowly offers them up to me. I receive them and, with a gentle boost from my Father, I take my seat in the beautiful, worn leather saddle.
And we’re off.
I use the reins to turn Heart towards a new path, one I have not yet traveled. Admittedly, I am a bit fearful! I know for certain that trials and tests await me on that path. I know that at times the trees will be thick and it might even be hard to see even the sunlight. At other times it will lead me through an open meadow, bright and lively and quiet. I may even encounter dangers…
He walks just beside me for a little while, affirming me with kind words and offering bits of advice. He places his hand softly on my mine.
“You’re ready,” He assures me. “As you know, I am always available if you call out my name. You are prepared for what will come your way today – just keep your eyes on the path. I love you and will see you soon.”
It is evening, and I am tired.
Heart had her share of failures and difficulties. Oftentimes she had been spooked by hearing something moving in the bushes – that each time turned out to be nothing but a little bunny or a skittish partridge. Sometimes she insisted on eating the wild rhubarb leaves, which she knows makes her sick (and she wasn’t even hungry – Beloved had graciously provided the both of us food for the journey!). When our path crossed with another horse and rider (who were having a more difficult day’s journey than we were) who were less than pleasant in their interactions with us, Heart acted callously, responded inappropriately with anger and impatience, and pompously trotted off on our path, leaving the needy horse and rider hurt and perhaps more needy than before. When our path sometimes led through a hedge, where progress was slow or hard to discern, Heart would sometimes stubbornly search for another path, an easier way through…
I sigh a sigh of relief as I see Him waiting for me at the gate. Beloved meets me as the sunlight fades over the mountain and helps me dismount. I don’t need to recount the day’s struggles, for He was watching all of them from a short distance. But He is eager to answer any questions I may have about what I encountered. But as I begin to complain about Heart’s immature behavior, He is quick to graciously question me –
Who holds the reins, My Little Joyful One?
When Heart was spooked, did I take the time to calm her? Did I call my Beloved for help?
When Heart insisted on grazing on forbidden food, did I firmly redirect her?
When Heart selfishly ignored the needs of the other horse and rider, was I strong enough to turn her around and put their needs above our own?
When Heart refused to follow the path even when it proved to be more exhausting, did I encourage her to trust Beloved and bravely move forward?
Sometimes I did… sometimes I didn’t. But this is why we are in training. I am learning to be faithful in the small trials and temptations so that, one day, I can graduate to more challenging ones, where the stakes are higher. My Beloved goes with me, and Beloved goes with you.
So ride on.
Written February 20th, 2014 at 5am