In our Healing Through Christ workbook we learn that suffering behaviors include remaining a victim, holding on to guilt and shame, or worry and fear. We are taught that these behaviors can disconnect us from the power of God in our lives. None of these feelings seemed to fit with my horses’ situation until it was time for the farrier to come and trim my horses’ hooves.
When I got my first horse, Ally, I had a regular scheduled visit with a farrier. She came about 6-8 times each year until she retired. I tried to find another but no farrier was taking new horses. Because my horses were not being ridden and outside constantly I knew their hooves would naturally wear as they ran the acres of pasture. Still I always worried about not having their hooves trimmed properly. When my horse trainer began working with my horses this fall he told me all my horses’ hooves would need to be trimmed before he would begin riding them. It was my job to find a farrier. This is when my suffering behaviors began.
As I started looking for a farrier the guilt set in. How could I tell a farrier it had been years since my horses’ last trimming? What would they think of me? What would they say to me? I am totally responsible for this and should have done something before now. Maybe I should have just sold them years ago if I couldn’t keep up their care. All these thoughts just made matters worse. I contacted an Amish store to see if they knew of a farrier I could use but no luck. Then I thought, “I’m just getting what I deserve. I don’t believe that I can even ask God to help me because I don’t deserve any help.” Despite all the negative chatter in my mind I finally found a farrier online who was willing to come and trim my horses.
The trimming appointment was for the following week. With the appointment taken care of now worry and fear filled my heart. Though I told the farrier it had been years since the last trimming I worried about how the horses would behave. Would the farrier simply leave if they treated her badly? What would I do if they attacked her or wouldn’t cooperate? I was certain the farrier would just pack up and leave without touching my horses. This type of mental chatter went on for days as I went out each morning to do my farm chores. How could I face my horse trainer after the farrier refused to work on my horses? I didn’t know how to stop the voices that filled me with worry and fear.
Finally the morning of the appointment arrived. I was in tears as I went out to the barn to get things ready. As I walked out I remembered reading in our Healing Through Christ workbook, “Seek spiritual help and peace. Be strong and courageous, you can see it through.” I stopped in my tracks and said, “Please, Lord, I need your help. What can I do to help my horses cooperate?” The thought came into my mind to move the horses from the paddock into a pasture and ask the farrier to trim them on the grass. I wondered if the farrier would be willing to do this but I knew this was direction from the Lord. I quickly went out and opened a new pasture, and my horses eagerly went in and started eating. Within minutes the farrier arrived.
I immediately liked the farrier, a woman in her 30s, who was fine with trimming in the pasture. She started with Dusky, the horse I knew was going to be the most difficult. As the farrier began she handed me a small salt block for Dusky to lick as she worked on him. Salt is like candy to a horse and Dusky never stopped licking his salt lollipop and was soon trimmed without any trouble.
Dusky was happy to go back to the grass and Tomie was next. He also did just fine as he licked at the salt I held for him. Ally, the mare, who I expected to be the easiest was the most challenging. Yet she too was soon trimmed. I stood in amazement. It was a miracle. The horses had been fine. All my guilt, worry and fear were over. I made an appointment for the farrier to return in 6 weeks.
So what did I learn from this experience? First that condemning myself over past choices and mistakes didn’t help me. Then as I listened to the voices of guilt, worry and shame I became disconnected from the power of God and suffered even more. It wasn’t until I remember to reach to the Lord for help that clear guidance and direction came. The Lord even sent the perfect farrier for my horses. I need to remember with the Lord’s help I can face my past with courage, forgive my mistakes and learn the life lessons they can provide me. And with joy I can continue moving ahead with my horses with the Lord at my side.