Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Reading the Signs


      The Monday before Thanksgiving my husband and I decided to go to Livermore and look at a pony. We had been searching the Internet for a few weeks hoping to find a pony suitable for a beginner rider (in this case four beginner riders)…our grandchildren.

      Since we moved out of the city into the country seven years ago, it has always been a thought in the back of my mind to eventually get a horse. It is one of the fondest memories I cherish of my childhood. I still remember when I was four years old visiting my uncle in Arkansas and being sat on top of a pony, handed the reins and told to say, “Getty up.” Word to the wise – before you tell someone how to start a pony, make sure they know how to stop it. In any case, I loved it! A part of my heart has been a cowgirl ever since.

      As a teen I hung around the stables at the fairgrounds as often as I could, taking care of friend’s horses when they went on vacation, for the privilege of riding them. We sold our home in town around the time I turned fifteen and moved to the country. Our one acre parcel was soon filled with chickens, ducks, and to my delight – horses!

      That seems like such a long time ago. I have raised a whole slew of boys since then and now I am watching my grandchildren grow up before my very eyes. Every time I see them, they are inches taller. Children grow up too fast! Sometimes things you put off never happen at all (like getting a horse). That saying, “Time stands still for no man,” is true, it doesn’t. It has finally come down to getting a horse, or stop dreaming about doing it.

      I prayed that God would show me His will and help my husband and I be discerning. I have ran ahead of God’s will before and it has gotten me in places I didn’t want to be. That was the last thing I wanted to do again. This time I consulted with Him first. Just the fact that my husband was looking on the Internet with me at horses and discussing the possibility of getting one, was a miracle in itself. He is not a cowboy, and the only things he will ride are things with engines, like tractors and motorcycles.

      Now, I’ll get back to the Monday before Thanksgiving. There we were in the car headed for Livermore. I was very nervous. It had been so long since I had a horse, so much was going through my mind. Would I remember how to care for it? How to put the saddle and bridle on? What if it got sick or died because I didn’t know what to do? I prayed again and asked the Lord to help us know if this was right or not; to give us signs or a bad feeling about the horse if it wasn’t right.

      We pulled off the freeway into the town of Livermore and followed the directions leading to the home with the horse. Right before we turned onto the last street, we stopped at a red light with a big sign that read, “Charlotte Way.” I grabbed my camera and took a picture since I had never seen a street sign with my name on it before. I thought it was kind of funny and I said to my husband, “Maybe that is God’s way of letting us know we are on the right path.” He made some remark about how the sign was there long before we decided to go looking at horses, (but I knew God’s plans reach farther back than that).

      To make this already long story a little shorter, I’ll just tell you…we bought the horse. In retrospect I see now that it is just like going to “look” at a puppy. Once you feel its breath on your cheek and touch its soft fur, it is almost impossible to resist. Now we will be going back before Christmas to pick up our pony and bring her home.

      That night I laid in bed thinking about how little I remembered about horses as I dosed off to sleep. In the morning I woke up with this troubling thought, what if that sign we passed – Charlotte Way - really meant Charlotte is going her own way? What if I am doing my own thing, my own way (again)? I mentioned this possibility to my husband and he just gave me that look, you know, the one that says, “I can’t believe you’re still thinking about that pony stuff.” In his mind it was all over, the decision had been made, and he had already moved on to other things. He reminded me that we asked God for wisdom and to give us a bad feeling if it wasn’t right. Neither of us had a bad feeling about the horse, so we shouldn’t misread a street sign with my name on it.

      I am not a superstitious person by any means, and I don’t usually look at street signs in any other way but to name a street. It’s just that I have learned over the years that I do not know what is best for myself and I have occasionally misread obvious signs, and for that reason, I want to be careful to bring God in on all the decisions made in my life. He knows everything and sees the things that I can’t see. Nothing is hidden from Him. When I call on Him to direct me, He brings all of who He is into the situation, and I have great confidence in that. He doesn’t always say yes to what I think I want, but He always says yes to what is best for me.

      I’m not sure how a pony fits into the big picture He sees of my life, but He knows. I’m hoping that it will be a part of many happy hours spent with my grandchildren, as I pass the reigns to them and hear them say, “Getty up!”

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