Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Thanksgiving Day 6: The Gift of Farm Work

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. - James 1:17

I have the privilege to work a couple days a week at a therapeutic riding stable near my home. One day a week I go clean the barn, and the second day I help with lessons. I love lesson day when I get to be in the arena with the directors/coaches, students and horses, but cleaning day is my favorite. 

Occasionally, on cleaning day the directors will come to the barn and chat a little, filling us in on life at the farm. On other mornings, it's just The Girl and I left to enjoy the fellowship of four-legged friends, and the physical work of pitchfork and shovel. We talk. Life with a 13 year old always involves a good chat of one sort or another.

We've learned a lot too, The Girl and me. We've learned how to properly clean up after suicidal squirrels. We've learned how to bathe a 1200 pound animal. 

We've learned that our capacity to face our fears is greater than our will to quit. We've learned that a little hard work brings benefits beyond the scope of our service. Scooping poop sounds like a drag, but believe it or not, it's a gift.

A good  and perfect gift...

Last year I wrote a small post of our time here at the stable. The truth is when I wrote that post I was still on the up swing from my great battle with anxiety. To the outward appearance all was well, but in side I still felt uncertain and fragile. I haven't written much about it here on the blog, it's still too close to go back and revisit. The synopsis is: the Lord new I needed time at the therapeutic stable. 

Today I am well, with only a few moments here and there of manageable anxiety. But it's so strange... when I'm in the barn, I'm not afraid. Even when I get nervous around these animals who are powerful and strong, I'm never panic-stricken.  

I am drawn to this place. Not because its glamorous and showy, but because the beasts of the field remind me of a God who concedes His awesome power and might to the likes of broken and feeble riders. God will carry his children. 

The physical labor reminds me that we are made to work. And even if that work involves getting dirty, it is still a Holy calling. Doing work you've been called to do brings joy that rises up over the messes.

The mornings spent fishing squirrels out of water troughs, or tacking a horse for the rider, reminds me that the best way to heal a troubled heart, or a broken spirit, is to quit looking inward. Instead, look up for God's direction, look out to serve His people. There, in that space between upward and outward, is a place of peace and rest.  

For these good gifts I am humbly grateful.


Gretchen said...

If you look at any of my past comments, I think I have encouraged you to WRITE A BOOK OF DEVOTIONALS, ALREADY!, love, love each word, as it drips with love from the Father and blessings from above.