January 29, 2014

Whispers on Horseback

    My body stiffened, jaw tightening. A brown head flashed up then down in front of me. Just hold still, will you? My mind screamed, and my hands urged the same through the taught leather reins. Tenebrae's mane flashed again, and she vigorously chomped her bit and pranced sideways. I pressed my leg and heel into her side and hauled back on the reins. My efforts solicited a few stilted steps in the general backwards direction I desired, but as soon as I released the pressure from my hands, Tenebrae shifted her weight forward again. I tugged on the reins, and she pranced in place. Don't you see? It's for your own good if you stand still... just chill for a second, and you'll be better off when it's your turn! I watched the rider before me sail over a jump, then returned my attentions to Little Miss Impatient. Through my seat, hands, and legs, I could feel Tenebrae working herself into a frenzy as she fought my command to be still. It was a simple thing, to be still. And for her own good, besides. But still she fought her rider. Her master. 
    There, in the hazy arena, on the back of a thousand pound bay beauty, I understood. Myself. In an instant, thoughts and prayers from the weeks before flickered before my eyes, a mirror image of the horseflesh struggle beneath me. 
Tenebrae - I think she's sneezing in this picture :P
    Be still. Know my presence and let that be enough. My master had whispered through my devotions, day after day. In return I fought, tossing my head and craning my neck, searching for something to do, something to be. 
    Be faithful in the small things I am asking of you now. Obey me in the moment, God whispered. I was prancing in place and tugging at God's gentle guiding reins. I want to do something big! My mind screamed. I want to take off on a wild adventure with you, God. Why are you holding me in place? I was chomping at the bit, sidestepping God's guidance, and working myself into a frenzy trying to go somewhere my master did not want me to go. For the moment, that is.
    Tenebrae and I did go over the jumps. I did eventually ask her to move forward, to canter, to fly. But before that, I asked her to be still. Because if she had trotted full steam ahead with no restraint from her master, she would have messed up someone else's timing or run into another horse. There was a reason - multiple reasons - I asked her to be still. She just didn't - couldn't - understand. But because I loved her, because I wanted the best for her and everyone else, I persisted; tugging, nudging, pressing, restraining. And still she fought. 
    And still you fight, God whispered. Rest, He urged. I felt the reins tighten in my mouth. Be still, and He guided me with strong nudges of His leg. Do what I have asked of you, the little things, and wait for me to release you for the mountain ahead. Scrabbling at it's base, stretching and clawing at handholds will only tire you before I ask you to climb. Just... be still. 

January 16, 2014

Adoration and Two Brilliant Lights

"I was so excited when I saw the sun this morning that I dropped what I was holding and ran down the stairs," I declared to my sister as I encountered a pile I had abandoned on the floor. 
The sun - it gets me so excited in the winter... inwardly I call it my "pool of liquid gold" when I watch it spill over into the trees trying to hold it back and rises, molten, to the sky.  
See that speck of light down in the tree line? That's the sun. And it's a thousand times more beautiful in real life, I promise. 
But that sun? It shines through the darkness around it. No matter how dark those trees try to be, the sun still shines bright. 
Through the darkness the sun finds a peephole and lets loose a barrage of brilliant rainbow particles.
And the darkness? It only serves to make the light more bright. 
Instead of drowning out the light, the dark only makes it more beautiful, more precious. 

And it's just like God to christen our guiding light the sun. 
Because, said out loud, no one can tell the difference between the sun and the Son. 

Who also happens to be our guiding light. Coincidence? I think not. 

I get so excited when I see my pool of liquid gold...it's so beautiful, so exquisite, so alive. 

But the Son is alive. He's alive, people! Why doesn't anyone get excited about this anymore? I mean, if I can stampede down the stairs in the middle of my morning to gaze at and snap pictures of something I see every day... well, then I truly have no excuse for being ho-hum about the Son. I am capable of adoration. 
I adore the sunshine.
I adore my friends. 
I adore creating things.
I adore cheesecake.
I adore the Son.

Yeah, but how do I adore Him? I mean, if I grin ecstatically at the sun 
And spend hours talking to my friends
And work long head-aching hours crafting things from my fingers
And close my eyes in bliss at the first bite of a cheesecake

Then my adoration of the Son should be a million times more.
Really, Ariel. How much has the sun sacrificed for you?
When have your friends stepped down from a heavenly throne to die in your place?
Do the things you create ensure you'll go to heaven?
How many times has a cheesecake given you selfless, overflowing joy? 

Yup. I'm convinced. I don't adore the Son nearly enough. So, yeah... I've got my journey cut out for me, somewhere along the lines of learning to adore Him more.

But along the way, I know of someone who is always there. And He's given me an exquisite reminder of Himself in the glowing, spreading, darkness-hiding light of the sun. So much like the Son. 
One last thing. Remember how light always wins over darkness?

Well. The Son is light. So the victory's already won, my friends. But that doesn't mean I can go traipsing off into the enemy camp, now does it? I've got a journey to live, and battles to fight. Mission nĂºmero uno: 

January 8, 2014


He is here. 
Blank screen, pulsing line. Cursor.
He is here.
Not scolding in the past, or waiting in the future, but here.
And more loving than the world and bigger than life and more real than the ground under my feet.
Do you comprehend that word? Unable to be imagined. 
Let that sink in a second.

Because the ground under my feet is only holding me up with the attraction of minuscule molecules, one to another, keeping wood particles whole.
He holds those molecules together.
And He is here. 

Can you imagine someone more real than reality, a fifth dimension, ten thousand new colors and bigger than the biggest universe? 
And He holds those molecules together, under my feet.
And He is here.
"I am," He said. 
He is. 
He is not "I was," nor "the great I will be" 
"I am who I am."
Because the only thing that's real right now is something that is here. In this moment. 
He is. Here. Now. Holding together the molecules under your feet and loving you more than you could ever comprehend. 
Let that sink in a second.

And if the Great I Am is here, holding together wooden floors and loving and being Himself - ginormous and brilliant and stronger than strong and infinitely, wondrously, good - then who are we to fret and question and worry and complain? 
He is here. 
And that is enough. 

If you want more info on the subject and/or the story behind God calling Himself "I Am", you can look it up in Exodus  3:1-14. :)

January 1, 2014

To smile and slow and breathe and grow

On my to-do list for 2014:

Smile at more strangers (because who knows if they have anyone else to love them?)

Climb more trees (and smile and breathe deep and press into rough tree-skin and feel the unseen wind bending the strong holding me up)

Always watch the sunset and the sunrise when I can (because God is an artist and breathed into me a dimension of his own beauty-love)

Read my Bible more than once a day (remembering that it is meant to be my constant food, not an occasional dessert)

Run faster (and feel the strength God placed in my body and the perseverance He's working in my heart)

Crack open my mask and be who God made me to be (because that's when I'll feel truly alive)

Sweat more (hard work, playing, laughing and sunshine)

Eat slower (because God made food taste good for a reason)

Go on more adventures (life is not boring, nor should it be)

Allow others and circumstances - and ultimately God - to stretch me beyond my comfy zone (because God designed me to grow, but who can grow without stretching taller?)