I'm writing this as we await the arrival of the first lambs to be born on our Tennessee farm. It gives a whole new (and literal!) meaning to the expression that March "comes in like a lion and out like a lamb." 🐑 Since these Valais-cross lambs are officially due today, I thought I'd give this sleep-deprived shepherdess a break from writing and share an archived post from my horse blog, ChristianCowgirlPoetry.com. Once these seven F3 lambs are "out" of their mommas and my brain is back in service, I'll be posting new updates and reflections. For those of you with horses in your life, you'll know firsthand what I'm talking about...for those who don't, come along for the ride! 🤪
The Spooky Winds of March!
Yesterday’s 25 mph gusts made me sigh and wonder if this lion-hearted March will ever become a lamb. The calendar read “First Day of Spring” but it might as well have read “National Spooky Horses Day.” How fitting that the word “spook” comes from the Low German word “spōk,” which translates to “ghost.” The effect of the wind on the herd was scary indeed!
With each new burst, they’d toss their sensitive noses into the air and brace for flight. Invisible predators — lions & tigers & bears (oh my!) rustled branches and rattled gates. To make matters worse, tumbling bits of paper, leaves, and random, unsecured objects made it seem to them as though everything was running for its life.
I stood at the rail and called to Hook, who huddled with his pasture mates in a triangle of closed ranks. He turned his head to acknowledge me. Lately, he’s been eager to meet me at the gate, but yesterday his ambivalence was clear. There was safety in numbers, safety in the open space, safety untethered to a girly-pink, ten-foot rope. He took several strides toward me, then abruptly stopped several feet from where I stood.
I heard his question: Can I trust you?
I answered: I will keep you safe.
He slowly closed the distance between us. I clipped on the lead rope and opened the gate. As we stepped through, he looked over his shoulder at his pasture mates once more, as though second-guessing his decision — and me. I paused and gave him the choice to move forward with me or to go back to the herd. He snorted and shifted his gaze to the open field across the driveway where I often take him to graze on tender shoots of new grass. And so we walked headlong into the wind.
He settled and began to graze. But at the next big gust, he spooked and bolted nine feet backward and poked his nose into the air. Then he gave me the stink eye as though to say: I thought you had this under control.
“I never said I would stop the wind. I only said I would keep you safe,” I replied. He snorted indignantly, returned to grazing, and didn’t spook again.
I’m pretty sure I’m guilty of giving God the stink eye now and then. I’m pretty sure, more than once, I’ve become spooky and indignant and said: I thought You had this under control!
There are days when I wish I could be as trusting as my horse and surrender to lush, green pastures and the promise of safekeeping.
The Psalmist clearly knew that deep, soulful feeling of divine peace and protection when he wrote:
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want;
he makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul.
Ps. 23: 2-3
Sure sounds like Spring to me. Hmmm, maybe it’s not an exact date — but a surrendered state of mind, body, and spirit.
Perpetual springtime in one's soul? I like the thought of that — don't you?
"Holy Sheep" Footnote: I invite you to discover "The Surrender Novena." You can find it here, on the Hallow app. The prayer, a mere 3-minutes long, is led each day by Jonathan Roumie, who portrays Jesus in The Chosen.