Check it out! Over on Instagram, I’ve become a volunteer writer for the account Daughter of Delight. She’s doing wonderful things out there, and I’m delighting to be writing for this! I’ll be reposting my writing on this blog, too. First, let’s catch up with the four that have been posted so far!

Solid Ground

We were helping out some local ranchers, trying to sort the cattle with yellow tags on a place they call “Alkali Flats”. But it’s the Rocky Mountains, so nothing is actually flat.

It was a glorious fall day, and my horse was ready and willing to do his job; aspens golden, sky blue, cows black. The area was drier than most years, and once I got my horse over the boggy low spot, I wasn’t worried. We scrambled up the bank to check an alcove in the land where a few cows were trying to hide.

What my horse and I didn’t know, however, was that the alcove was basically one big bog. Before I knew it, his hind end had disappeared up to the top of his tail in mud that had the consistency and color of wet concrete. My stomach did a little flip flop and my stirrup hit the only solid ground nearby. With scarce a thought, I swung off and wobbled on that little patch of earth. My gelding struggled and lunged, getting himself up and out where his feet could be on dirt once more. I got back on and we kept sorting out the cows with yellow tags.

Sister, there will be days when you watch the news and it feels like the world is crumbling before your eyes. Times when you get into a toxic relationship and are struggling to wade out of the wet concrete of the situation.

Jesus delivers the solution for these situations in Matthew 7:24-25:

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock” (ESV).

You see, the solution is the same for all of us as Christians: plant your feet on solid ground.

Poetry, Symmetry, and Expertise

Speaking as a horsewoman in my own right, the animals meant historically by this verse aren’t just a flowing mane in a fantasy tableau of glorious battle. No, they are made of grit and long hours in heat and cold, rain and dust, and hard communication over years with animals that weigh north of a thousand pounds, and even then…

Victory belongs to the Lord.
I have ridden through rough country and rougher circumstances – battles, if you will. The trust and training in the bond between horse and rider is almost holy itself. The referenced victory is more impressive when you realize the weight of the first half of the verse, isn’t it?

Taken as a whole, Proverbs can seem to be a fairly random collection of good ideas and excellent sayings. Since the surrounding verses hold nothing else on battles or horses, we may look to the author for context: King Solomon, son of King David.

David was a man of war, his entrance into the Bible was through prophetic anointment followed by his single-man combat that turned the tide against the Philistines. He went on to fight for King Saul and then for his own throne in spectacular fashion.

Solomon, by contrast, was not a king of war. After being crowned, he spoke with the Lord and asked for wisdom above all else. He never had to lead Israel into war like David.

We can speculate on the kind of stories David might have told his sons as they grew up. The story doesn’t end there for us, however, and our perspective adds one more layer of context to this verse…

Sister, I invite you to appreciate the poetry of the King of all Creation riding into the battle for the souls of mankind and victory against death itself, on a colt. Not a warhorse. Not trained for battle. Not even trained to ride.

“And they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it, and he sat on it. And many spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut from the fields.” (Mark 11:7, ESV)

Victory belongs to the Lord, indeed.

The Word is filled with moments of recurrence and poetry. What has resonated with the Word for you because of your unique experience or education?

A Certain Kind of Courage

We stood in a prayer circle, our third so far, and it was only Tuesday morning.

It’s not uncommon for my team to pray, but for us all to join hands in the open, something has usually gone very wrong. We were beset with a series of bizarre misfortunes that week – everything from sick horses to riders with undisclosed medical conditions. I had to send one of my people out with a challenge, one that was not fun.

“Lord, thank you. This week isn’t what we would have chosen, but we are all closer because of it, praying for each other. For that, I am grateful.”

The words took me by surprise. I hadn’t thought to be thankful for the madness of the week until I’d opened my mouth and heard the sentiment spill out.

Most Christians raised in the church are brought up on stories of thankfulness in the midst of trials. Mine varied from martyrs of the early church to missionaries living off miracles. And I still missed it. All those years, all those stories.

That gratitude doesn’t come from naiveté or a skewed reality.

Did Moses thank God for the Red Sea before it parted?

Did David thank God for Goliath before the giant fell?

How about a hard one: did the disciples thank God for the loaves and fishes before he multiplied them to feed the 5,000? Did they remember to thank Him after?

It is tempting to shine up the silver lining on the edges of the thunderheads and declare there are fair skies ahead. But Christians aren’t called to live in days without weather. We serve a God who can walk on the water through the storm and even calm the waves with a word.
He is not some idol sitting pretty on a shelf.

We serve the living God, the One who made this world and us in it, and we can know beyond a shadow of doubt that He weaves the pattern around us with singular purpose. All things work together for good and for the Glory of God. (Romans 8:28)

Who is your Goliath? Where is your Red Sea? The outcome of a struggle may not be obvious, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find a way to thank God for it. This may be the means to a much greater end if only you can find a certain kind of courage to be grateful.

Call to Prayer

God’s Word calls us to pray for one another. (1 Tim. 2:1)

If I were to ask you how many times you have promised to pray for someone and then forgot to actually do it, you would likely say, “too many.”

At least, if you’re anything like me, you would…because you get busy, the prayers feel formulaic, and then you feel bad about not praying for everyone you have ever met once you get started.

Then a friend of mine died – a remarkable woman of God.

In my grief, I realized there was a lot more to not praying for people than forgetfulness. I was isolating myself from others with a politely vague promise of “keeping you in my prayers.” I was scared of saying something silly in front of someone else – of praying wrong.

I realized I was sick of being afraid even if I wasn’t done grieving the loss of my friend. So, I made a list of friends and associates (believers and not), and I began contacting three a day. I asked how they were doing and how I could pray for them.

Truly, the hand of God was present in the timing of this list. The responses amazed me. They were facing the anniversary of a death, a fear in their career, or a crisis… and I hadn’t had any idea. I texted them back the prayers I was praying for them, the verses I was reading, and my own struggles when they asked if they could pray for me in return.

Sometimes my hands were shaking when I hit ‘send’. Most days, I shed tears as I crafted these little snatches of prayer. I could see lives changing at the other end of my texts just as my life was changing. Ripples going out from each pebble of prayer.

On my journey, I hit upon James 5:16. “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” Sure enough, as I had been praying and been prayed-for, I had begun to heal from so much more than just the grief of losing my friend. I began healing from hurts I didn’t even know I was carrying; old scars on my soul began to fade.

I no longer promise to pray for people: I do it. On the spot and out loud, if necessary, though I still prefer texting my prayers if I can.

Sister, let me ask you this:

Who can you pray for today?

That’s what I’ve got for ya’ll so far! It’s been an interesting adventure, and I look forward to continuing to write in this vein as the season goes on.