In the past, I mechanically did some 0-5 eating and even lost 70 pounds. I was working so hard up here in the hills getting the place done up for horses, carting tons and tons (literally) of rock up and down the hillside to help prevent erosion from horsie hooves that when I wasn’t working outside, I was hungry from working so hard. I didn’t have enough time to eat for long before I had to head outside and work again…so I released the weight.

(Below is a photo of one of my horses on the rocks after I had placed them on this one particular hill…obviously, my plan failed, but it sure kept me moving a lot doing all the laying of the rock!)

I am now almost as low weight-wise as I was then, but a bit leaner, as I have been exercising my cardiovascular system specifically to help my heart be healthy. Thing is, back when I did the mechanics before, my heart was still not given to God in this. I was still resentful, bitter, frustrated. It was a prideful place to be and I know I gravitate back to that again rather easily. I can’t believe it, but I do!!!

I am seeing this time, some definite heart changes God is making in me. Not just in my willingness to allow Him the Sovereign right to BE God, but also in transforming my lusts and desires. No, I don’t assume that it is a done deal. Again, I know that I can, like a dog, return to my vomit (that is a bible verse…sorry for it being so gross! But it works!!!)…but I will praise Him for even the small steps forward. As I keep my eyes on him, I know we will continue FORWARD. It is when I get my eyes on myself or the praise of man that I falter.

That said, while the outer changes may seem the most obvious to onlookers, I know the truth…the most profound changes are in my heart where no one but the Lord sees. I also am keenly aware that there is a truckload yet to remain. What lies in the dark recesses of my heart? I have offered God access to those places…the places where there is disease. I have invited him to please expose the truth, cut out all that stands against him and cleanse it all.

I have often wondered about the connection of my horsemanship with my walk with God in this stuff. I know that sounds weird to most people, but God has shown me there are many connections. The latest one is related to Breezy’s feet.

Breezy’s front feet have had thrush…and this thrush has been deep in the crevices of his frog…one of the most important components of the foot of a horse. When you think about it, the feet of a horse have a HUGE job. Those tiny little hoofs (relative to the size of the horse) have to carry his weight. That is a LOT of pounds per square inch. Without getting too technical, the frog is the tissue that simply must function to help the hoofs do their job.

Yet Breezy’s thrush has worked it’s way into the deep dark recesses of his frog…it is an anaerobic bacteria, I guess. It doesn’t need oxygen to survive. Once it gets into those hidden places, covered by flaps of other frog tissue (which can even grow down around the thrush, effectively protecting the thrush further while it works as an enemy!), it does its nasty work which is to make “swiss cheese” of one of the most important parts of a horse’s hoof. This can ultimately cause pain and lameness and it can do this even while the foot looks relatively healthy to most people when you clean it out as tissue can grow down around the pockets of diseased tissue.

Below is Breezy’s frog after it had begun to heal! All those chunks of stuff missing…they are a problem. The flaps of skin are also a clue that there is more of the disease hidden away underneath. Thrush often gives off waste that is BLACK. Hmm….

The only way, it seems to really deal with this is to cut the tissue out and away. I have tried just soaking his foot in all sorts of concoctions (my neighbors think I am nuts), but the thrush didn’t really start dying off until we began (I had the help of a skilled hoof care practitioner) to cut out the very thing we were trying to save. We had to dig dig dig with a knife…a sharp one. Breezy didn’t care for this much. We cut away the flaps of frog tissue that hid the dark “caves” where the thrush was thriving. It was only THEN that the topical soaks could even GET to the places where they could do their work.

Was this pleasant for Breezy? Heck no. Was it worth it…wow. Yes. It really affected ME to see us cutting so much into the very tissue we were trying to save. I had to trust the more skillful one of us….and then and only then could the healing begin. I mean everyone in hoof care circles says you don’t want to cut or carve or trim the frog at all…that a normal hoof will be healthiest when allowed to shed the frog on its own. Thing was, Breezy wasn’t. The foot desperately was hanging on to the frog…even though it was diseased. And this was leading to a complete change in his entire hoof structure…and his soundness and comfort.

How like that hoof I am. I seem to cling to the darkness, the disease…the very thing that is choking off life inside, that is killing my ability to live as one alive to the things of God. It is like I grow around my sin, protecting it from exposure to the light and air…to God…to his probling, loving, careful and skillful knife. He wants access. The blackness is exposed as he cuts deep into me. No, it isn’t pleasant. It is quite painful in fact. Just to SEE it…to be made aware of the ways in which I have clung to my sin…it is quite shocking. But it is then and only then, that all of the less invasive things that I might do to walk in godliness can really be effective. Where does my study of God’s Word get me when I harbor sin in my heart? Scripture tells me and I don’t much care for it.

Anyhow, the most obvious changes to ME are not what is obvious to others. Just as Breezy’s frog, being on the bottom of his foot, is rarely seen to anyone else. Yet the changes are tremendous and affect everything.
I praise God that He is at work, carving and cutting out the very thing he is remaking and shaping. He is making my heart more a heart that chases after HIM. I must avail myself to this…I must let Him do it. Sometimes, I don’t want to….