Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Self Portrait.

So this is what happens when I get bored...I have to admit, It was kind of a fun challenge.  I haven't drawn a self portrait since middle school.  I found a photo of myself, opened Paint on my computer, and started drawing.  Maybe next time I get bored, I'll actually pick up a pencil and paper...

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Bucket List: 25 Things I Want to Do!

I was chatting with a dear friend the other day about "bucket lists."  She got me thinking. What "things" do I really want to do in this life, aside from the obvious?  So I decided to give it some thought.  I'm sure it will grow and change over time, and yes I know some of these are pretty simple.  (Laura if you read this, I want to hear yours too!)  Here goes..

1- Go horseback riding on the beach. 
2- Go swimming on horseback.
3- Write a novel.
4- See the northern lights.
5- Swim with a whale (though I'd prefer to ride the whale).
6- Learn to surf.  (I think I've almost gotten over that fear of sharks and jellyfish!)
7- Tour the Paris Opera House.
8- Dance in Nalulau, Zambia again.
9- Learn to play the cello.
10- Sit on a stage surrounded by a full orchestra while they are playing. (I stole this one from Momma.)
11- This one is really silly, but here goes... Go on a carriage ride through the city; it can be almost any city.. (I've wanted to go on one since I was a little girl, and never have.)
12- Road trip across the USA.
13- Watch a meteor shower.  (Believe it or not, I've never seen one.)
14- Visit Sequoia National Park.
15- Ride an elephant in Asia (riding one in an American zoo just can't be the same).
16- Explore a castle!
17- See the Phantom of the Opera live on Broadway.
18- Cuddle a tiger or lion!
19- Learn to ballroom dance. 
20- Ride an Olympic-quality horse.
21- Travel to Alaska.
22- Travel to India.
23- Dance at random international landmarks.
24- Ride in a dump-truck with a snow-plow blade in the snow. 
25- Travel the world with a friend and a camera.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Look Into Their Eyes

"When I look into their eyes, I see all the beauty of God's dreams."  ...A phrase that has resonated within me since playing with the Zambian kids in the soccer "field."  One evening Karen (my roommate) and I walked up to the soccer field (a large, flat, sandy area cut out of a hill) to take pictures of the sunset over the flood plain. 
(Sunset over the flood plain..  <3 Africa)

A few of the children from the orphan school came up with us, some of the boys from the village were playing on the hillside, and one little boy was grazing his goats.. The children know how to be loved.  Before I knew what was happening, my arms were full of tiny African children!  We played.  Karen and I took pictures.  But while we were up there, I remember watching the children and being overwhelmed as I looked into their eyes.  When I looked into their eyes, I saw all the beauty of God's dreams.  (I mentioned this in my last post.)  I saw destiny deep within those big brown eyes.  I got lost in the dreams and plans of God! 

About a year ago I was interning at my church in Christiansburg.  Roughly twice a month the interns would travel to different affiliated church plants.  We would leave early in the morning to get to the plat before the service started, help with odd jobs around the church, and then  leave after the service was over.  I remember one morning, before leaving, one of the "prophetic guys" prayed for us and encouraged us to look people in the eyes that day--to not shy away from really looking at them.  And off we went, over the river and through the woods...

That morning there was little to do, so I sat in on the service.  The church was small--maybe 15 people, and they  had the seats arranged in a large circle.  I couldn't help but look at everyone.  As we worshiped, it was awkward--it was intimate.  As the pastor spoke to us, God began to speak to me.  I remembered the challenge: "Don't be afraid to really look them in the eyes.  Something is gonna happen when you do."  In those moments, God talked and I listened.  He said a lot.  I talked to one of the leaders, at the end of church I was handed a microphone and walked around the room telling each person what I heard God say for them.  As I spoke I looked them in the eyes... Their hearts unfolded like flowers before me.  As I looked into their eyes, I saw them looking into the eyes of the Father and felt the Father looking back into them.  It was intimate.  It was humbling.  The word of God awakened hearts, and it all started with looking them in the eyes. 

Today in church I looked around the sanctuary, and I remembered my "African babies;" I remembered the beauty of God's dreams for them.  But then as I looked from person to person, in the crowd of 300+ people, I saw all the beauty of God's dreams for the people immediately before me.  As I looked at each face, I felt the endless possibilities for destiny; I sensed the works of redemption to be done; I knew that there was an unlimited supply of hope.  And it struck me, why don't I see this every time I look at someone?  What was different about the children in Zambia?  Why do I not always see it?  Is it that I just forget to look?

I felt God whisper... "In Zambia you looked because you needed to look;You needed My heart to help you stand amidst the attacks of hopelessness.  At the church plant, you were reminded to look and challenged to not shy away from loving.  Today you chose to love and then asked to see."

What would it be like if I lived life looking at hearts instead of faces?  Would it be too much?  Could I really handle being constantly aware of what God is doing in everyone around me?  Could I handle that much love?  When I really look into their eyes, it's not about me anymore.  When I truly see as He does, how can I not respond? 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

In My Heart There is Zambia...

I had several dreams last night.  In one I dreamed that Felix (one of the Zambian interpreters from Hope Church) came to visit my church in America.  He was talking with several of my friends at the front of the sanctuary.  I walked up to say hello and was greeted with all of the usual "Mbuya" warmth.  I miss Zambia.  In another dream I went to Zambia (but it looked like the backyard of the house where I grew up).  When I realized that I was in Zambia, I fell to the ground weeping and buried my face in the grass because... I miss Zambia.  

A few weeks ago the Pastor at my church, Ron, showed the dance team a slide show of the orphan school in Zambia.  Ron took me to Zambia a year and a half ago; he took me to Zambia again that night.  I recognized several children and some adults.  I couldn't help but cry... because I love Zambia

When I was in Greece this spring, all I could talk about was Zambia... because in my heart is Zambia! "For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart." (Matt. 12:34). 

The people are beautiful.  The children, dirty, hungry, and sometimes sick, are beautiful.  I remember the little boy that smelled of urine who fell asleep in my lap, during the soccer tournament.  He slept for nearly an hour--probably the safest, and most comfortable sleep he'd had in a long time.  The older boys kept trying to wake him.  I remember that I smelled of urine too after he got up.  It was so worth it.   The little girls had a field day with my long golden locks of hair, little girls who had no hair to speak of.  When they got done, my hair was knotted and dirty.  I think they are still my favorite hair stylists.  I remember the girls of Nalulau taking me swimming!  I remember having to press past the shock of everyone else running around naked... I remember the women teasing me for days.  I want to go back there.  Swimming with them was an honor. 

I remember expecting to face hopelessness in Zambia.  I remember what I saw in Zambia... When I looked into their eyes, I saw all the beauty of God's dreams for them.  I saw destiny in the eyes of the boy who probably wouldn't live to be an adult.  I saw beautiful plans, plans to prosper and not to harm, plans for freedom, in the eyes of the girl who was abused.  I could only see what God has for them, the dreams that He dreamed before the world began, the hope that He still has.  I saw the beauty in the ashen sand. 

"Dear God, When will it be time to go back?  Love, Me."

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sunday's are always the best days for painting...

"The Birdcage" (Left) is almost done.  It probably needs a bird somewhere... or some verses. I'm trying to resist the urge to paint brown leaves all over it... I love Fall too much.  It's trying to creep into my art!

"Fire Breather" (Above) is finished!  I decided to let the profiles be two different profiles... it supports the concept of one being me and the other the Holy Spirit.  I wasn't able to work a bird or butterflies into the flames.. oh well.

Here's a new one (Right)!  The name doesn't fit yet, but I plan to call it "A Crack in the Wall."  In theory this is just the bottom layer of the painting.  It will get leaves, words, and maybe pictures... then I'm covering it partially with an image of cracking stone.  ...the cracking walls of Jericho around the family tree.  God has been speaking to me a lot about my family--past, present, and future--and how this generation is forming a crack in the wall which has blocked destinies for generations.  I'm not sure how it's gonna work, but I'm psyched!

"Baptism" (Left).  Still in the early stages... It kinda looks like a whale. It will be water-like eventually... The idea came from the following quote: "The freedom of it, to be tossed effortlessly into the air, practically a sacrament to kids whose own fathers could barely hold themselves up sometimes; to hear the whoosh of the water as it covered their heads, to feel that moment of confusion when the rules of the world were suddenly undone. No wonder they'd been baptized in it: the way that water changes lives." (Vows, 67)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Button Bling!

I stumbled upon the Amy Cornwell Designs blog recently, and I found this post:  DIY Wrap Button Ring (i.e. Tuesday Tutorial on Wednesday!!).  I love crafty things... so I decided to try it out!  I bought dark brown wire and wooden buttons.  (The wire cost roughly $3, and the buttons were $1.)  Here's what I came up with!

Ponies and Pictures!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Miracle of Miracles... I forgot the date!

"Wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles... like he did so long ago, at Jericho, God just made a wall fall down!" (Fiddler on the Roof).
I have an odd knack for remembering details... like dates, days of the week, conversations, interactions, etc.  Sadly, this didn't really benefit me in History or Science courses...  But for varying moments in my life, I can list off absurd amounts of detail.  Sometimes these are good details, and other times the memories aren't so pleasant.  And for a few dates, I see them coming a long way off, feel them while they are here, and wave, with a sigh of relief, as they leave.  
One such date was June 19th.  June 19, 2005 was a very bad day.  In the past few years, God has done a lot of healing in my heart in regards to the events of that day.   As I received more healing, I began to increasingly forget to remember.  Now, it's not a big deal.  I remember the events of that day with something better than a mere passing thought; I remember it with redemption!  (Does redemption feel like broken wings?  No.  It soars and flies, and then it sings!)
All that being said, recently I forgot another big date!  
I've been wondering what this September 23rd would be like for quite a while.   As usual I anticipated it's coming... and on that date, I remembered it only when mentioned that night at a local Bluegrass show.  As I heard the date announced, I chuckled to myself... I'd almost forgotten!  I was so proud for just a moment, and then I went on with my flat-footing fun!   You see, I was anticipating the three-year and four-year "anniversaries" of my only two breakups, neither of which was remotely pleasant.  Can we say victory??  Yes we can!  
Tonight after a long, happy day, I sat at my kitchen table, eating cookie dough and drinking milk (just cause I can), chatting with my roommate, Karen.  Seemingly out of no where I burst into laughter!  God corrected my memory calender.  "Karen!"  I exclaimed, "I forgot the date!!"  As I sit there giggling, a song from Fiddler on the Roof starts playing through my head... "wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles.."  I thought I'd forgotten the date, but I REALLY forgot the date!  Those breakups happened on September 21st of 2007 and 2008... not the 23rd.  I totally forgot the date.  And, what's more, September 21st was one of the best days I've had all month, in a month God told me would be filled with redemption!  Miracle of miracles... I forgot the date and focused on better things!!  Like Jesus!  And what He is doing in my life now!!  Miracle of miracles, I'm free to forget!  I think another part of Jericho just fell down... 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Painting is good for my heart...

"Psalm 1:3"

"Fire Breather"

"The Bird Cage" (Cages aren't ideal, and idols are cagey kings.)

"Dancing Shoes"

The last three are unfinished... "Fire Breather" needs a face, "The Bird Cage" needs paint, and "Dancing Shoes" isn't sufficiently messy just yet... and I've got another painting rolling around in my brain... baptism. 

Monday, August 8, 2011

"it soars and flies, and then it sings."

I started this poem in late May; I'm still not sure it's finished. It's happened as a response to some.. stuff. I was in a nasty funk, sulking in my room.  I didn't know how to get out of the mood, which plunged me into a worse mood.  I grabbed my sketchbook and instead of drawing, I started writing.  I found that as I allowed the rhythm of the words to come out I began to break free.  As the poem changed, God changed my heart with it. 

Stormy skies.  A scattered heart.
I still struggle through this last part.
The hatred gone, but an ache remains.
Are shakings merely growing pains?
I’ve said goodbye a thousand times
And written out much more in lines.
I despise the longings and the whist,
My mind poisoned by what is missed.
Like mist, like fog, like vapor—gone.
Just trust. Remember why ‘twas wrong.
Then why, my heart, do you mourn?
And why this sense of being torn?
Does redemption feel like broken wings?
No, it soars and flies, and then it sings.
So sing, little heart.  Now, sing a song;
Sing out loud and clear and strong. 
Bring life into this bending reed—
Not strife, not fear, nor spiteful deed.
When healing comes, walls shall melt,
And then with truth I’ll be rebuilt.
Not like a tower strong, an island rock,
But as a raindrop or garden without lock.
Freedom feels like a small child’s song—
Like love, like peace, like nothing’s wrong. 

Monday, August 1, 2011

Confessions of a Former Military-girlfriend

So many letters, so many emails, colossal phone bills, and an obsessive presence on instant messenger… We dated for two years and ten months.  In total, he was gone for a year and six months.  He was in Iraq for seven months; I was eighteen when he left. I was so young.  I didn’t even know how to begin to wrap my mind around his job.  I didn’t try to.   I supported him; I had to.  I never wanted him to go into the military. 

For reasons unrelated to his military career, we broke up roughly a year after he returned from his deployment. I still loved the Marines; I’d grown fond of their shenanigans, as well as their odd militant ways.  But I was free of the questions looming over head and lurking in the shadows of my mind.  I didn’t have to fight to ignore them—they were gone from my life.  And life moved on.  I packed up my USMC hoodie and hid the letters in the basement.  I threw away the addresses to all the various military bases and untagged a bunch of pictures.  We still chat from time to time; we’re still friends, but life really has moved on. 

Over the past few years I noticed a resentment stirring within me towards American pride and patriotism.  I’ve cringed at the sight of “support our troops” written out on signs, pasted to cars, and at the sound of it echoed in churches.  I hated the patriotic songs—“blind patriotism” I called it.  Blind to what?  Even I didn't  know.. I hated my country.  And I grew more apathetic than ever towards my government.  I didn’t know why. 

Recently I crossed paths with a military gent' who believes God called him into the military.  When he spoke about it, I believed him, but I couldn’t grasp why and lacked the gumption to ask.  Days later, those ghostly questions, unanswered, arose again…  Only this time I let them come.  I felt them, turned them over in my hand again and again and again.  This time I wasn't afraid of what the answers might be.  I wasn't afraid to grapple with them until they told me their names.  I had nothing to loose this time and only answers to gain. 

While I cleaned stalls at work, the battle raged within my heart.  I needed to know the truth.  I could feel the answers, knew they were real, but couldn't discern their shape.  I believed him; I could not deny the conviction with which he carried himself.  But I couldn't comprehend my God calling him to that.  How could war be acceptable when it ruins even the victors' lives?  The guilt and shame, only seen in the vulnerable moments when love takes down the wall.  How could it be God?  I’ve seen what it does to them.  I’ve seen a man red-eyed and scared. I’ve seen him twitching in his sleep as the haunting dreams come.  I’ve seen him broken, seemingly beyond repair.  All for what, and why? Why call it good and godly when it ruins men’s lives?  Why would God commission one of his sons to a life of death—a life of killing to not be killed and dying within himself every time he kills? 

I had to have answers this time, and I had to have them from the source of truth.  “God, why would You call one of Your sons to a life of death?”   As I asked the question, He echoed it back.  Why would I send my son to die?  Do you really not understand that?  Immediately I understood.  More words reverberated through me... the first Adam, the second Adam, now a third. Dying for the bride, trusting in the resurrection. Greater love has no man than he who would lay down his life for his friend.

I didn't know how to respond.  My paradigm had just been shaken.  As I stood there silently in the barn, He continued to speak.   How could you not understand?  You’ve seen what it does to them.  You’ve seen a man red-eyed and scared. You’ve seen him twitching in his sleep as the haunting dreams come.  You’ve seen him broken, seemingly beyond repair.  I understand now; compassion overwhelms me.  I understand a Son willing to sacrifice Himself for the lost and broken, trusting His Father to heal every wound inflicted in the process.

I understand the commission and the response.

I am moved.

It was my world for three years, and I never understood it until now.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Just a follow up...

 I've started drawing again... It's not been as painful as I expected! I've even started drawing horses!! Here's a sketch I did a few weeks back:

Friday, February 25, 2011

I don't want to be afraid of drawing.

Yesterday after Intern class, I stopped by a local shoe store to try to find, what I like to call, “dance feet”—nude colored, sued, sandal-like dance shoes.  They didn’t have them.  So instead of going home I went shopping with Jesus.  As I walked out of the shoe store and into Target, I felt him whisper, “I have something for you in Michael’s,” and so I marched into Target instead, knowing that I’d buy nothing.  I looked at swimsuits, shirts, jeans, shoes, wallets, jewelry… nothing.  I exited the store and trudged through the rainy parking lot to my truck.  I looked across the road at Michael’s.  And there He was again, “I have something for you in Michael’s.”  “Oh!  Like modge-podge and paint brushes and spray to finish my fundraiser,” I thought, “Or feathers for my painting!”  I headed over to Michael’s—which, in case you’re unfamiliar with Michael’s it is a craft/art supplies store.  I go in.  I wander through the aisles; beads, feathers, paints, canvases, brushes, calligraphy pens… nothing.  I can’t find the modge-podge or acrylic spray.  Near the canvases, I notice a “how-to-draw-horses” book.  Curious, I flip through.  I put it down dissatisfied with their teaching methods and confident that if I bought it all I’d do is replicate their finished product and have an absurdly unoriginal, though pretty textbook-drawing.  (I quickly stuff the lid back on my old drawing issues.) 

Jesus: “Hmm, let’s look at the sketchbooks.”  Me: “Fine.”  I turn the corner and face a wall of sketch books.  I pick up a few and put them down—confident that I’ll never need to buy another one of those.  Jesus:  “This is what I have for you.”  Me: “No.  Really? Why?  Do I have to?”  Jesus:  “This is what I have for you.”  I start looking for something I might buy.  Am I really doing this?  I hate drawing.  Spiral-bound, hardback, large, small, removable, 70lb or 60lb, PRICE, texture.   Hmm, that one is pretty… expensive.  Ugh too small, too cheap, too not for me.  And there it was:  off-white, canvas, hardback cover; not too big for transport, but not too small for using; decent paper; acceptable price.  Jesus:  “That’s the one.”  Me:  “I don’t think I want one of those; I don’t use them.” Jesus:  “That’s the one.”  I picked it up.  I put it down.  I picked it up.  I put it down.  I picked it up, and this time I walked away with it.  I grabbed some new pencils (I hate those too, but they are good for drawing—they are pretty versatile, and in this case woodless and pretty exciting).  I grab a piece of chocolate in the checkout line as a treat for being good and march back into the rain. 

So it’s gonna be like this, eh?  Apparently I’ve got some drawing issues to deal with. 

A History of Me and Art:
Growing up I loved to draw.  I don’t remember using coloring books much; they were too easy.  At six-years-old my school tested me for its Talented and Gifted Art program (TAG Art).  My mom submitted a few random drawings of mine and they scored them.  In 1994, I had the highest score ever for a child of my age at Prince Edward County Public Schools.  At seven-years-old I enrolled in the TAG Art program.  From 2nd to 4th grade I had two art classes each week—one with my regular class and the other with the TAG kids.  From 5th to 8th grade I had one hour of TAG Art five days per week.  I had the same teacher all seven years—she was great!  She never pushed me to the artistic strife of fighting myself for perfection; it was all about learning, creativity, and enjoying my friends and my gift.  Those were happy times.  In 9th grade I entered high school, teachers changed, assignments changed, grades changed, everything changed.. I stopped art pretty much until my senior year, at which point I took up doing acrylic paintings on canvas. 

I started to dabble in impressionistic art—it was less pressure and very expressive.  Gradually painting was redeemed—I’m not afraid to see my own paintings on the wall.   It doesn’t pain me to share them with friends, or to look at them myself.  My paintings are now a place of meeting God, a visual record of my personal restoration and revelation.  (And some of them are actually pretty good!) 

But still the drawing thing is tough.  Maybe it’s because… well, I actually don’t know why.  All I know is that drawing frustrates me—I know how to recreate what I see but can’t seem to accomplish it.  My eye is good; my hand struggles; my heart refuses to practice.  I view my own playful cartoon-like sketches as cop-outs (standards…), and get frustrated when I lack the patience to see the drawing though to the finish (condemnation maybe, or another standard).  How did I miss the memo that a sketch is an incomplete drawing and not a masterpiece on paper?  I know I’ve done some comparisons.. and loathing.  I was just talking to a friend about the way artists chronically loathe their work, yet see their work as themselves, and thus loathe themselves, and trying to fix it all by fixing the art which they loathe… it’s a nasty cycle.   I don’t want to be in that cycle.  It sounds like performance.   I don’t want to be afraid of drawing. 

And so, now I’m the owner of a pretty white sketchbook with 110 blank pages and two snazzy woodless graphite pencils.   I’m pretty sure Jesus has got this covered… He’s not one to lead you to Jericho’s walls and not help you take them down.  I know that there is a gift, a promise, freedom, and a facet of the Lord’s heart to be found in drawing… Jesus, help me to find it!   

"Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed on you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery." (1Ti 4:14)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Realizing the Right to Read

I graduated from my university just a little over a month ago, with a degree in English. It took me 4 1/2 years; add that to the 13 years in public school (kindergarten through 12th grade) and the 2 years of preschool/hanging out in my brother's home school lessons, and I have been in school for 19 1/2years.  I'm only 22. The transition out of academia has been nice thus far--such a relief to have no papers or exams looming overhead; though, admittedly I have tried to assign myself a paper or two already.  Despite the relief, I am still struggling to adjust to my new-found reading liberties.  Ever since high school I've not had time for endless leisurely reading, and now that the freedom is found, I don't knowwhere to begin!  For years, as a matter of self discipline, I've ignored books, their titles taunting me from the self.  When I read nothing else happens; I reject socialization, I don't care to eat, I definitely don't sleep, I don't even check Facebook, and when in school, I didn't do homework.

Now that school is out of the way, I have more time and the freedom to pick my own books, but I'm alternately bored and overwhelmed with the choices.  This very moment I have several books begging to be read:  Seabiscuit, Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, Eragon, A Priest and Nun and their Son, Write To Ignite, If This Were a Dream What Would It Mean, and The Importance of Being Earnest. There are also other, less pressing, books:  Anne of Green Gables (the series; I have all 6), A Picture of Dorian Gray, Sherlock Holmes (Vol 2), the last few books of Narnia, Joan of Arc, A Tale of Two Cities, etc.. A few weeks ago I read The Alchemist, and over the holidays I read Pride and Prejudice for the 10th time.

I know I'm over thinking this!  I'm still regarding my reading time as too precious to be wasted on anything but the best book.  I feel like that child adopted from a 3rd-world country that hides food for later rather than eating it, just I'm a college graduate hiding books. 

Any advice on how to acclimate myself to the freedom to read?  Anyone know any good books?

Monday, January 17, 2011

A dreamer who's scared of dreaming.

Way back in December, well maybe just two posts ago, I started processing through one of my forgotten/forsaken dreams—horses.   When I began the post I had no idea how deeply embedded in me my passion for horses still was, and honestly I had little concept of it even after I’d finished writing.  Three days after posting Once Upon a Dream I found out.  I found out that I really do still care—deeply, and it wasn’t until I was crying so intensely that I couldn’t stand that I understood.    

It all started at Intern.  We (the 20 or so interns) were asked to individually pray and write down how we know God loves us.  We each got up one by one to share; when it was my turn to share I became incredibly nervous (which doesn’t happen often, even in front of masses of strangers).  I started sharing:  “I know this will sound a little cryptic, but I’ll say it, and then explain what it means.  I know God loves me because He gives me the moon with a ring around it and a star so I do not lack.”  I proceeded to explain that in some of the roughest times in my life God has comforted me with stars and the moon as reminders of hope and His promises.   I began sharing one of those stories—one which explains the bit about the moon with a ring—the night I decided to drop APSC (If you want to hear it, let me know and I’ll post it later). “The night that I decided to drop APSC, the decision actually came down to trusting God with horses.  It then had little to do with careers or parents or grades; the last decision was all about the pretty ponies and trust.  I was so afraid to let go of my hold on my passion again, afraid that it might not come back, afraid that it actually was over this time” (Once Upon a Dream).   That night God whispered to me about trusting Him to do what He promises—to hold, protect, and restore my dreams.  

As I began to tell my friends about that night, masses of emotion welled up from the depths of my heart.  I started crying.  I looked out at them as I was confused by my own emotions, saying, “I didn’t think I still cared about this.”  As I finished one of the intern leaders turned to me and began sharing the heart of God with me.  (Paraphrasing...) “Amanda, I believe that God wants to redeem horses; that He is going to restore them to you.  I don’t know when; I don’t know how.  But I believe God planted this dream in you.  God loves horses too.  God created horses for you.” He took a purse strap and asked me to hold it like a pair of reins; I started sobbing.  He and another leader and one of my bff’s started praying for me; I collapsed wailing.  (An aside: It’s funny to me that I cry more intensely as an adult than I ever did as a child.)  I cried loudly and for a long time.  It was good.  

In the weeks following I've allowed my heart to indulge a bit in the horsey things—somewhat ironically I watched Dreamer, I started reading Seabiscuit (I'm still only through the intro and first 2 pages), I considered looking for a way to teach beginner riding lessons, I thought about emailing my old riding coach just to catch up, and I allowed myself for just a moment to imagine riding my horse again.  But I'm still scared, or is it scarred, maybe both.  I find myself scared of dreaming again, dreaming from the depths of who I am, and either never realizing those dreams or willfully walking away from them again.  Still I feel God whispering, "Just trust."

"Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but desire fulfilled is a tree of life." (Proverbs 13:12).  

“Delight yourself in the LORD; and He will give you the desires of your heart.  Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will do it.” (Psalm 37: 4-5). 

"In Your right hand there are pleasures forever."  (Psalm 16: 11c).

"'There is a hope for your future,' declares the Lord, 'and your children will return to their own territory.'" (Jeremiah 31: 17).