For me, the universe, without an overarching, creating energy force, whom most humans refer to as “God” is unfathomable. I believe in God. I believe he has a plan for my life, and its’ a good one. My problem is how the heck do I know when God is telling me to do something…like after I have prayed about it, and think I have an answer…and get to work on it, but soon find myself straying off of the path, onto another…and then wondering if God is now pulling me another direction, or if I just lost focus of my original plan and am now hopelessly lost?
Over the last few years…or really, my whole life actually, I’ve felt lost at times, overwhelmed with all the things I am trying to do, and knowing I need to cut down on something so I can focus bigger in another area. I have sooo many interests. I’ve never experienced boredom in all of my 51 years…always waaayyy too much to do to ever be bored.
Okay, so every post should have a point, or at least be interesting Right? So here it is. I have been praying fervently for direction in my life as to career choice. I have spent 9 or so total years in college, working on a degree in English and Creative Writing, but stopped short just 6 credits shy of my degree in my senior year because I procrastinated on getting forms in for my financial aid. So, there I was, having lost my regular job a few years prior and now without a degree that I had counted on, my partner left me with an old run down house and farm that I have no money to fix up. During that time I was praying for my partner to love me and realize that I loved him and that I wasn’t doing all the horrific things he constantly accused me of. He was an abusive type person, and I clung to him like glue for years until he finally abandoned me because I had put him out of the house on a restraining order…due to my fear of him and his increasingly violent and bizarre behavior that extended to threats against my friends.
That whole time I was with him and a period of time in between when I was not, I prayed to God to make me a good enough person for him. I read all the articles on how people should just keep trying harder and not give up on relationships. I tried for 15 years. I don’t know if he ever loved me. He never once, in 15 years told me he did, but he often told me he hated me and couldn’t stand the sight of me. But there I was, thinking that if I just tried harder, he would finally see that I was a good person, and treat me well. Every once in a while, if he was speaking to me, he would actually be nice, and I would think all the bad stuff was behind us. But then something would break that spell, and instantly it would revert to insanity once again.
For example. I never kept my phone locked. He often looked through it, which my counselor had advised me to let him do. I did not have anything to hide, but I had an older phone and it often lost messages. One day, in the middle of a perfectly nice conversation, he asked me when the last time I had spoken to my ex-husband was. I said it had been a long time. The kids were grown and we didn’t really communicate anymore. Then he asked me a couple more questions about my ex-husband and our contact about the kids and my grandson. (We had been divorced for 20 years). He then went livid, absolutely livid. He had been setting me up, and I fell into the trap. A few weeks prior, my ex-husband had texted me asking if I had any roosters I didn’t want..he was having a barbecue or something and they wanted to do fresh chickens. I had forgotten all about it. I don’t know if I had sent him a response text or not, but it wasn’t in the phone, therefore, my partner said I lied about not being in contact with my ex and tried to hide it by erasing my responses. I still feel guilty when I think about this scene. In a way, I was lying…although I had actually just forgotten. And I don’t know what happened to my response, or if I had responded. This was an example of how I failed him daily and how I could not be trusted. Ever. A normal couple might have laughed about this. What a dorky question my ex asked me. This, however, was one of probably 7 major cracks in our relationship that could not be fixed. Could not be talked about, except how I had failed, once again. There was never any blame put on him for setting me up to fail. For not trusting me, for expecting the worst from me and when it didn’t show up, fabricating something.
I never tried so hard to get something to work in my whole life. I never prayed so hard for God to fix something…or at least show me how to fix it. In all the Christian books I read, a woman who tried really hard would be rewarded with a good man and good husband…. And then I started reading books on abusive partners, “gasslighting”, narcissistic people, and the likes, and I realized I would not be able to have a good relationship with this person, although some online “life coaches” claimed his behavior could be fixed by certain things I could do, like going on a trip together and proving that I could use maps and people skills to get ourselves unlost…that sort of thing. It all hinged on me, and my behavior, and reactions.
And I wondered how my prayers had gotten me into such a fix. I was envious of my friends good marriages and always surprised when their husbands would talk to me like I was a worthwhile person, or laugh with their wives, or fix them dinner without drama, take them places, declare their love for them, hold their hands, etc. And I wondered what I had ever done to never have found a partner that would love me for life? Or even love me a little bit?
So I wonder about all the clues God gave me that I ignored. I wonder what it was that I missed, that I was just not paying attention to? How many good potential partners did I overlook because of one thing or another? And I wonder the same thing now, as I sit in my run-down farmhouse, broke, and worrying about how I’ll make the next house payment. How many career chances did I overlook because I was just not focused on what God was trying to tell me?
About 13 years ago I got my first horse as an adult. I grew up with horses and loved them for my whole life. I got interested in natural hoof care and horse-keeping and soon found myself doing a program to learn to barefoot trim…quite an intensive program I will say….soooo much to learn, and much of it not even about hooves, but how everything can affect horse hooves, from diet, to boarding, to training, tooth trouble, and more. I loved it sooo much! When I lost my “real” job, I used my retirement to live on while I attempted to build my trimming business into a full-time occupation. In the meantime, I had gotten dairy goats, and started a small soap making business too…then went back to school to work on my degree.
I had thought I would quit trimming horses after I turned 50. I thought it would just be too much on my body, so I tried getting my soap business going bigger. I opened a shop with a “partner” in my town, and that fell through, so I took everything back home and continued the business there. I like making soap, but the constant mess and clutter in my dilapidated house is overwhelming and discouraging. I’m never good at organization, and that business really, really needs to be organized. There is constantly supplies to buy and it seems like any money made needs to be put back into the business to grow and expand it.
So, that takes me back to where I was praying fervently for God to help me figure out a clear career path..something I can do that I love and that will bring in the money that I need to do the work that needs to be done around here. So I was sitting in a roadside deli one day, out on a hoof-trimming trip. I had noticed all the new spring beauty around me as I drove through the countryside, and it had put me in a particularly grateful mood. I saw the old men (actually they were probably my age) sitting in another booth talking about farming and hay planting, and it was as if a light from heaven descended upon me, and I suddenly thought, “I must be the luckiest person in the world to have a job where I can drive through the beautiful countryside, work with the loves of my life, (horses) and their owners, and have the flexibility to attend to my own farm and family matters when needed.
I had not been promoting my hoof-trimming business at all because I had planned on quitting when I turned 50, and was too old. Ha ha ha. So, my client base has dwindled a bit as long-term clients have moved or their horses have passed on. Some decide to shoe one or more of their horses and then I lose that client as they prefer to have just one farrier so the shoer will get the whole job. On at least one occasion I’ve lost a client to my fees, which are not negotiable…who negotiates with a farrier over a known fee after they have just worked their butt off trimming their unruly horses?
I’ve thought about shoeing. For a regular horse, it goes against all of my training. When I went through Jamie Jackson’s program years ago, I was made to sign a contract stating I would never shoe a horse. His program has gotten a bit daft, and once I had completed all of my required courses and practicums, I distanced myself from that group. There are other courses out there of course, and all have their merits. At 11 years in, I have found that I am wanting to learn more…and so have enrolled in another course that teaches much more than just hoof trimming, but more of a whole body approach to hoof and natural horse care. I have also decided to learn to shoe with Epona shoes! Epona’s are a plastic resin shoe with a very wide base…not just a rim shoe, but a shoe that will support the whole foot on those few horses that need it.
I could go on and on about barefoot horse care, but this blog post isn’t about that. It’s about listening to God when he is speaking to you, and to know when he is actually speaking to you. At times I am still feeling myself pulled in different directions. After losing a client this week because the vet wanted two of the horses in shoes, and another cancellation due to finances, (a total of 8 horses), my bank account is looking a little bare and I was getting discouraged. The devil always wants to discourage us. He wants to stop us in our tracks and take our successes and turn them into failures. I have often doubted the presence of the devil, but after taking a bible study course called “The Armor of God”, I can clearly see how the devil will try to derail us when God gives us clear answers.
God had warned me in the beginning of my failed relationship that it was not a good idea. He warned me the very first time we met after 8 years of being apart at a Chinese restaurant. I sat in my seat opposite him, scared to death of saying the wrong thing, or looking in the wrong direction. ( when we had dated 8 years prior, he had constantly accused me of looking at other men, cheating, lying, etc.) I told God I could handle this, and ignored his warnings, and didn’t, until this moment, even realize those feelings in the pit of my stomach were coming from God. I thought if I could just make myself good enough, my partner would love me. What I didn’t realize was that I was already good enough. And God loves me more than any partner ever could.
I wish you all a peaceful, beautiful day, and pray that you too, will allow God into your life, and allow that still small voice to direct you into greatness.