Ray the Shape Shifter

I’m young. Crazy in love with horses, especially my Cindy.

This early Saturday morning shimmers in sunshine and light mist as I walk to the stable. I slow and savor the scent of apple blossoms filling the air from the orchard I stride by.

I love this walk and love having the barn so close to where I live in Richland, Washington.

Ray, owner/manager of The Barn, the local riding stable, slouches against the edge of the huge double wooden doors.

He waves and shoots me a grin, a piece of straw between his teeth, grungy straw hat shielding his sun-burnished face, a not-so-white, long-sleeved shirt, jeans, and boots. Ray’s soft-spoken, generous and everyone’s friend.

Ray’s taught me most everything I know about horses. He let me and a few other teens work mucking stalls, soaping saddles, lassoing horses for paying customers, and more at The Barn.  I’d work for an hour to earn an hour’s ride until I got my own horse. I’m boarding Cindy there now.

A breeze kicks up a dust-devil between Ray and me as I lessen the distance between us.

I’m wearing my crisp new straw hat. I’ve joined the town’s riding group, The Richland Ramblers. My hat’s part of the Rambler “uniform” I’ll wear when I ride Cindy in the Richland Day parade and rodeo this summer.

Ray wears straw well . . . in his hats and between his teeth.

He cocks his head at me and says “I see ya got you a new hat.”

I nod and proudly touch the brim, as I walk into the warm, dusty barn.

Ray arches an eyebrow and shakes his head. “Gotta shape it. Want me to show you?

Shape it? My crumpled pride and I hold my breath as Ray, the hat-shaping cowboy, lifts my new hat from my head and saunters out to the corral . . . toward the water trough.

I follow, close on his heels, trusting, hoping, praying. that he’s not going to somehow totally destroy my brand new hat.

And what in the world does the trough and my hat have to do with . . .

A lot.

I swallow hard as Ray nudges two horses aside, leans over the trough and plunges, no, drowns, my new hat beneath the water. Makes me think he’s done this before a time or two.

And then I watch Ray skillfully roll, push, pull, smooth and angle the now-soft, pliable straw hat. The crown is magically reshaped, the brim, artfully rolled to just the right degree. He works it over until he’s happy with it and hands it to me . . .

now shaped into a hat fit for a Rambler.

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2 NKJV),

I’m like my old straw hat. I was stiff and new and unbending once.

When I opened the door and said yes to Jesus, I didn’t want to be conformed to this world anymore. I wanted God to shape me, mold me, and transform me in every way—mind, heart, body, and spirit—that I might be acceptable to Him.

God does that.

He takes us, raw and unfinished, as we are, and shows us His Way. He loves us through every roll, push, pull, and smoothing we experience, anointing us with His presence moment by moment.

Have you asked the Lord to help you do some reshaping?  Has it been easy? difficult? a challenge?



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11 thoughts on “Ray the Shape Shifter

  1. What a great illustration! I think I’m going through a bit of shaping right now. I guess we both are. It’ll be nice when we’re the shape God wants us to be. We’ll be happy with the result.

    Can you still lasso horses?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Zillah! It seems as if it’s kind of a constant in our lives, to be shaped and reshaped. You’re right, though. Both of us are with new books out now. ☺ Can I still Lasso horses? I haven’t tried lassoing anything in a long time and think if I tried, now I’d end up with that rope wrapped around me! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You touched my heart! I,too, have been reshaped in the past 32 years, not just once! Sometimes it was very painful; other times not so after I learned to let go and let God! I do not have enough fingers and toes to count the changing of seasons in my life brought about by God’ s hands on his potter’s wheel! Judith

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Judith. Loved your comment on how God’s reshaping has happened in your life. You hit on the hard part for me! Letting go and letting God when I really wan to “do it myself” is something I’m still working on. But, oh, how He knows best as I look back. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂


  3. Loved the line, “I see you got you a new hat!” We are starting up the Freedom Writers again once a month in July. Once a month doesn’t seem like enough, but it’s a start. That’s at my church in Viera–Freedom Christian Center. sure miss Laura’s sweet and fun-loving group.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You liked that, huh? Wish you could have heard him say it. He was a man of few words but every word really counted! I’m glad you’ve found a group of writers to work with again. I, too, miss our Laura and our group. We learned so much and grew together. Thanks for commenting, Kathy!☺


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