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?

Love,

Sally

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Ongoing Event: June 26 through July 7, 2015. An interview What Floats Sally Chambers’ Boat? And a Book Giveaway  Leave a comment for a chance to win!

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Upcoming Event: Sunday afternoon, August 16, 2015, book signing. More information coming soon

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Novel – The Stonekeepers

 

Into the Deep

“When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, ‘Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.’”

Sunrise

Has God called you to move away from your safe harbor, from the security and comfort of the known? Are you hanging back, fearful of what might lie ahead? Is your trust in safety, or in God?

 

So many times I’ve moved away from my safe harbor–and dog paddled like crazy, nearly drowning until I finally learned to trust in God.

But it didn’t feel crazy when I said “Yes” to my high school sweetheart when I was seventeen or when I said “I do” a year later or when I said “Hello, Baby Girl” a year later than that. Looking back I wouldn’t change a thing, but in between then and now, I’ve passed judgment on myself many times with “You must have been out of your mind!” But honestly, I don’t believe I was wise enough to have hung back or to have been fearful of the future  back then. Not to say I’m any different now. Do we really ever change much? I wonder.

“But Simon answered and said to Him, ’Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.’”

Simon was hesitant, but he went with what faith he had in what he knew of the man, Jesus. Our Lord is so patient, loves us with all our faults, and walks with us even when we don’t know He’s there.

My mother insisted that if I married at that age, I must have more than high school, and business college had an important impact on my future. After our July wedding, I sneezed my way through our honeymoon at Niagara Falls with allergies that wouldn’t quit.

And a year later, along came baby number one, but not without the side effects of high blood pressure, labor with complications, and an emergency C-section. All that made a man and a woman out of a boy and a girl, strengthened my faith, and scared the stuffing out of my husband. The net was full. Yet it didn’t break.

Those were the rough beginnings of “on my own.”

As God holds his hand out for you to grasp, he promises not to leave or forsake you, but to always be with you as you launch out into the deeper, unknown waters. They are well known to God. God asks us to trust him, not the waters.

Leaving harbor at sunset

In the hills of Bethlehem in Judea, a young man was called by God to leave the safe haven of shepherding and walk into the unknowns of kingship.

Generations later in Nazareth of Galilee, a young woman was called by God to leave the safe haven of her girlhood and walk into the unknowns of motherhood.

Because King David, and Mary, mother of Jesus, were willing to walk into uncharted waters when God called them, the Son of God came into the world to bring us forgiveness of sin and eternal life. Through them God gave us priceless gifts.

What will you do when God calls you out of your secure environment to do something for him? What will God do with your obedience if you trust him?

Choice? You have one to make. You are called, not commanded. Will you trust and go? Or will you remain in your safe harbor?

Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid . . . ” What have you to fear with your hand in God’s?

From the Book of Luke, here’s the whole story of what happened that day on the shores of Lake Gennesaret.

“So it was, as the multitude pressed about Him to hear the word of God, that He stood by the Lake of Gennesaret, and saw two boats standing by the lake; but the fishermen had gone from them and were washing their nets. Then He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little from the land. And He sat down and taught the multitudes from the boat.
When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, ‘Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.’
But Simon answered and said to Him, ’Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.’ And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, ‘Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!’
For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken; and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.’ So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him” (Luke 5:1-11 NKJV).

No, our stories may never be anywhere near as wondrous and dramatic as this true story, but they are God’s gift to us as we journey through this life. Treasure yours.

I’d love for you to share part of your story in the Comments.

Father, in the name of Jesus please grant us the patience, flexibility, and perseverance to accept all the changes you place before us with graciousness and with courage. Amen

Love,

~Sally~

Sail away from the safe harbor.
Catch the trade winds in your sails.
Explore. Dream. Discover.
~ Mark Twain