Horses…Not just a passing childhood love. Not merely a fading passion that most kids experience at one time or another. Rather quite the opposite.
For years Reece has made it clear in word and deed that her passion for riding, taking care of, and owning a horse is a goal that will not go away. Perhaps her desire took root in her birthplace of Lexington, Ky. While riding in her little car seat in the back of a Corolla we would often stop to “say hi” to the horses as they greeted us across the expansive wooden fences. Apparently, in her little mind, she took note of every simple encounter and carried it with her as she grew older.
Through those years, an across the fence relationship would prove not enough for her. The “oh they are so cute” became “I must have one.” At first we kind of laughed it off. Big mistake. Once Reece learned how to read, she began to soak up information about all animals. Horses were at the top of her list. Now, years later, ask her anything about almost any animal and she will more than likely humbly spout out an answer…a scientific type one that often leaves one wandering, how in the world did she know that? So it was fitting that early in her little years on earth she would announce her career goals as a veterinarian. It was also fitting that she would one day begin her experience with riding.
Thanks to a dear friend who has lived and breathed the horse life almost his entire life, Reece was able to learn the ropes of caretaking, bonding, and riding. It would not be long before she would pursue the prospect of competition. Now she is weekly instructed in the area of English riding. Many times, she has wondered if she is ever going to get to the “greater stuff”. Not that she wasn’t already having the time of her life. To her, cleaning stalls is as fun as riding. But she was ready for more. She knew learning technique was not going to be easy. She knew that riding is not just sitting on a horse. But there were times she wondered if the things she was learning were ever going to pay off. Recently, making those successful higher jumps made the hours of hard work quite worth it.
“Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord.” Proverbs 16:20
I have heard it said that if you are not in the process of learning something, you are not really living. I can see truth in that. When I was in college I remember encountering older adults taking classes just for fun. What?! I was stunned that someone would put themselves through the time, effort, and not to mention, the financial burden, of college just for fun. As I get older, however, I understand it a bit more. A stagnant mind can be a dangerous thing.
Scripture has a lot to say about being idle, whether in the mind or with actions. Proverbs 19:15 says “Slothfulness casts into a deep sleep, and an idle person will suffer hunger.” 1 Timothy 5:13 also heeds a warning about those who get themselves into trouble with idleness- “Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not. ” All you ladies out there striving to fit even one percent of the mode of the Proverbs 31 woman?…. “She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.”- Proverbs 31:27
So I go back to my original quote of Proverbs 16:20… “whoever gives heed to instruction…” That person prospers. Do you remember as a child accomplishing your first math problem? 2 + 2 = 4. When it finally made sense? Remember sounding out your first word after the endless Phonics worksheets and realizing “Whoa, this stuff really works (minus the million exceptions in the English language).
Years pass and you realize the beauty of instruction. You see the truth of the biblical law of sowing and reaping, the principle of seeking wisdom and finding it, and the reality of having the faith of a mustard seed carry you through the hardest times of your life.
Why is it that God desires we read his word daily? Why does it require diligent study and not just a simple “read it and remember it”? So we can bathe in the instruction of the Lord. Why do we experience trials and times of testing? Why can’t God just take us out of that messy situation? So we can bathe in the instruction of the Lord. Why is living the born again life so difficult at times? You guessed it. We are all students, my friend. We should never be “not learning” and growing in our faith.
Years ago Reece made a comment that has stayed with me. “Why in the world would someone not want to learn as much as possible?” She never ceases to teach me about life.