There’s a burr under my saddle!

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Some horses wear the saddle like they were born with it…

It’s seems inevitable…

Some horses take to a saddle like bees to flowers:D

 

And others…well, it’s more like taking a bee stinger to people:D

Have you ever had a burr under your saddle that you just can’t seem to get rid of?  Big or little, this burr, causes irritation, frustration, tries your patience and maybe even causes some pain.

My burr…well, it’s a gate…

One simple gate.

But that one gate has caused me more grief, trouble, annoyance and sometimes just plain, old weariness than all the other gates combined on our ranch…

For that one gate…no matter how often I tighten it, it gets loose.  When I repair it, it gets broken.  When I tighten it so that it’s standing straight and tall, it ends up sagging down to my knees…sometimes even stooping so low as to lay down on the job!

And the intruders who keep attacking this gate are…

Cows!

For whatever reason they have chosen this gate as their scratching post…or maybe it is the training tool to teach the calves how to dart through, fly over or crash over a fence.

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Some horses act like there is a burr under the saddle…

Cows have been breaking through this gate almost since the first year that we set up our yard.  Part of the problem could be that we decided to build our yard in the middle of a cow pasture!  Maybe there is some ancient aroma of cows long ago that beckons to them:D

Actually the real reason why cows love this gate is because there is a lush, green hay pasture on the other side of the fence.  And I guess it is just too tempting, for without fail, every year some will get out and into the hay crop…which isn’t so bad, I guess.  It’s when they get into our yard that they seem to wreak havoc.

And one night in the spring of 2015 was no different.  In fact, I have to take off my hat to the group of cows the instigated this great escape for it was…well…um…hmmm…

Let’s just say that you don’t want to hire cows to be your landscape artists:D

For their definition of what will look good and what yours is will probably be vastly different…

At least mine was.

That night over 200 head came and transformed our yard into…

A mess.

I am thankful that it was dark when it happened, for I needed a night’s sleep before I viewed the full impact of their escape and subsequent capture.

The next morning as I viewed the damage, I had to admit their timing was impeccable.  The spring thaw had just come out of the ground, and the yard was very soft…

Which was perfect for making nice molds of cow tracks…which would harden into nice lumpy nobs all over our lawn.  About 100 yards in front of our house the cows decided to dig a large hole!  I will be the first to admit that I never knew cows could burrow…but they can!  They can move large amounts of dirt in a very short period of time:D  And that day I also learned that they have an opinion on the placement of ornamental trees…and their opinion didn’t match mine…

Our yard was a disaster…we are still working on getting it fixed.  Thankfully, trees grow back…dirt can be moved…tracks can be squished down or filled…

You know, today I can look back on and write about this event with even a bit of laughter…but about six months ago my perspective was vastly different.

Once again it was spring and once again there was going to be cows on the other side of…

The gate.

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Riding up to “the gate”

I went into strategic planning mode.  Some of my plans included boycotting the fence…allowing no cows into it until metal gates were put in to replace the wire ones…or camping out there to keep guard on the gate…and “dealing” with any cow who dared to try to infiltrate my yard.

 

My burr no longer fit under my saddle…it had grown into a full-fledged…

Hmmm…what is a full-fledged burr called?

I don’t know…

But I am sure you get the point:D

One morning I was out on a walk with God, and I had decided to head east and walk through the pastures.  You know, there is a verse in the Bible that says God directs our steps…and that morning He did…my physical steps…for I came face to face with…

The gate.

As I looked at the cows, peacefully grazing on the other side of the fence, I could feel the raging inferno of frustration beginning to erupt in my head again…

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Summer pastures

But then I did something different.  I remembered Who was on this walk with me…

And I prayed for a gate:D

I said something like this…

“You know what, God?  You have promised to provide for my needs.  If the cows get out of this gate again, I know you will provide what I need to deal with that at that time…even though it will not be easy.  So I am going to trust You and Your promises, and I am going to place this gate into Your hands.  Would You guard this gate for me?  And if any cows get out, they get out.  You will enable me when and if that time happens.”

And I left it at that…I placed my burden in God’s hands…

I didn’t know how He would answer my request, but I did know that He would be faithful to provide what I needed when I needed it…however, my prayer was answered.  If He allowed the cows to come through, He would give me the strength and endurance to deal with that when it happened.  If no cows came through…well, that would just be a miracle, for every year at least a few get through that gate…if not more…

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Sometimes cows just “look” like they are plotting their escape:D

But when I placed my request into God’s hands, I decided to leave it there.  I wasn’t going to stress about it anymore.

 

Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

That day, when God’s peace went on guard duty on the gates of my mind, the burr from my saddle was removed.

As I walked away from that gate, I didn’t know how God would answer that request.  I didn’t know if I would be facing a plethora of cows in my yard again or if this year would be the first year on record of not having cows get out…

But I did know that whatever happened, God would provide what I need, when I needed it…for that is His promise.  Philippians 4:19 says, “And my God shall supply all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus.”  I also knew that I could leave my burdens with Him…I didn’t have to carry them, because He cares for me (1. Peter 5:7).

And because He cares for me…He also cares about the struggles I am going through and the frustrations I face…big or small.

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Another struggle I faced was when I didn’t have very much money to buy groceries…in fact, I had $15 and change in my wallet.  Before leaving home, I had prayed that I would have enough money to buy the basics.  I had searched my purse for any other change, and couldn’t find any.  So I went to town planning what I could buy for $15.  Just before I went into the store, I checked my purse again…

And I found another $20 bill that I had not seen before.

It was enough to get what I needed that day:D

God had provided for my needs in a very specific, very special way…

Because He cares.

A different time, I was having more than a difficult day…in fact, the burden that I was under was crushing me…I had almost given up hope…and that is a very dark place to be.  In the midst of this, I received a phone call, from my sister…and you know what?  She cried with me and then prayed with me.  And somehow, in those moments, with a simple phone call, I was strengthened…

There was another time that I was speaking to a group of young people outdoors, and it started to rain.  Before I went to speak I asked God that since He controlled the rain, would He just put the rain on pause for a few minutes?

You know what?

It started to pour…so much so that in order to be heard I was finally yelling, one decibel short of screaming:D  And then, ever so slowly the rain let up…and stopped.  My voice was a bit hoarse, but that was ok!  I closed the service in prayer, and as soon as I said “Amen” I was hit with a raindrop, and within seconds it was pouring again:D

These are just a few of the incidents that God has used to teach me that following Him with my life doesn’t mean that my struggles are removed…or that I will never have any needs.

In fact, it means the exact opposite.

Following Him means that I will face times of trouble, of need and of struggle so that I can learn that I don’t have to do life on my own.  He is with me and as I trust in Him I will discover that He will be faithful to provide for my needs…

Because He cares…

A lot.

My friend, I don’t know where you are at today, or what struggle you may be facing, but the fervent prayer of my heart, is that you will look up and see a God who cares…

For you…

A lot.

And whatever you are facing…a crushing burden, lack of resources, crazy cows, a weakness, loneliness, a burr under your saddle or the regular struggles that we all face with everyday life…

Roll your burdens onto God’s shoulders.

I have prayed and asked that God would somehow provide for your needs in a way that will leave you knowing that He does care for you…

A lot.

img_7337-1Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.  1. Peter 5:7

Oops…I almost forgot…

Just in case you are wondering about what happened with “the gate”…

We have not had one cow in our yard…or a hayfield this year!

Thank-you God!