The horse dream ended up in a very real way being a nightmare—God continued to shut down everything to which I looked for satisfaction but Him (including my horses!).
I stopped riding due to challenges the horses faced (the one in the picture wasn’t even 5 yet and came totally lame…surgery was required…he is only 9 now and is retired). Between that and my escalating weight (again), I stopped riding. This was a heartache as well.
God was insistent. Gentle, yes, but insistent. Would I look to Him? Or would I continue to resist His call?
In the fall of 2006, I got involved in an online Christian horse owner’s list. I wanted to fellowship with other believers who loved and were owned by 🙂 horses. I guess the group owner “Googled” my name and found out about my involvement with Thin Within.
The internet is an amazing place. We can be whoever or whatever we want independent of how we look. In real life, had this woman seen me, she might have been very polite and never even mentioned a “Christian diet book” to me given I carried 100 (or so) extra pounds—even if I “helped write” it! But, not having seen me, she didn’t know I didn’t practice what I preached…And innocently asked me about it. She had no idea that this was something from my past—or was it?
She was a tool in God’s hands to flush me out of hiding!
In fact, she asked me to lead the horse group members through an online study of the Thin Within book. Good grief! God was actually pursuing me! Rather than interpret it as indicative of His great love, I felt trapped. 🙁 And a bit annoyed.
Not willing to be Jonah and run the other way, however, I went along with it. After all, no one had to know the truth–that I was almost as big as ever and didn’t give a flying fig about surrendering this to God…right?
I am sure that precious woman didn’t have a clue how God was using her. She may have only known that she and others in the group wanted to lose weight (or, at the very least, make it through the holidays without gaining) and Thin Within was a “Christian diet” (or so they thought—it isn’t at all, but they didn’t know that yet).
It is funny how the Lord works things out.
Early in November 2006, I began to share lessons about Thin Within on the Christian horseman’s list. Getting to know the group, I also shared the video of Daniel and Dodger.
In response to that, I discovered that a young mom of a four year old boy…who had been diagnosed with the same autism spectrum disorder as my Daniel—Asperger’s Syndrome—was also present on the list! When we began to talk about our sons—hers only 4 years of age and mine 14 years old—we shared and talked and shared and talked some more. I had walked this road 10 years ahead of her…and God used her earnest questions to soften my heart some more. There were times when I would come through an email exchange in tears…both at the pain I had touched upon in my own life in order to reach out to her, but also with joy that the years of heartache had an outlet…a positive one.
God showed me again…He spins straw to gold if we allow it.
The question was, would I yet continue to resist that God is God? Could HE use me in some way to encourage another about her child’s autism?
How ironic…I found that, in spite of myself, I did have encouragement to offer her. If nothing else, I could share pitfalls to avoid, blessings to rejoice in…and as I shared with her, I found that God was redeeming many years of pain, years of resentment that He chose to make my son autistic, years of feeling God’s “cold shoulder.” I began to consider that God had much more tenderness toward me, and toward Daniel, than I realized.
As I shared daily in just two short weeks with the online horse group about Thin Within, God continued to melt my heart…this time, combining the awareness of the truth about Thin Within with his gentle nudge to look at all the areas of my life I had yet to surrender or to surrender…again.
Because of what I learned in 2001, I knew forgiveness of others, of myself and, even of God, was an important factor. I knew that, if nothing else, it would help clear the air in my life and lift burdens I was carrying needlessly.
Not so nearly the huge undertaking it had been in 2001, I was able to move forward quickly.
Early on, a song came on KLOVE radio that echoed the stirrings in my heart for the first time in a number of years:
You are my desire,
no one else will do….
help me find a way,
bring me back to you…
You’re all I want.
You’re all I ever needed.
You’re all I want. Help me know you are here.
God was making a way in the wilderness…and a way to bring me back to Him. That song was like a healing ointment applied to my heart, softening it. God gently peeled back the callus…and the heart beneath was tender.
Another song ministered to me deeply– “He’s My Son” by Mark Schultz. God used that song to show me that He was, indeed, aware of my heartache and pain. He reminded me that He, too, gave up His Son…only He gave His Son over to sinful man. He was not asking me to do that. He asked me to trust my only son to HIM—to the Lord. To let God be God.
As if to confirm what He was showing me in the stillness of my quiet times with him, another song came on the radio while I was driving through the canyon near our home:
God is God and I am not
I can only see a part
of the picture He’s painting
God is God and I am man
So I’ll never understand it all
For only God is God
God showed me unmistakably that he cares, that he is here, that he is making a way, even when I see no possible way for that to happen. He IS doing a new thing, even when I don’t perceive it.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.
He is faithful to complete that which He has begun (Philippians 1:6). I had allowed my vision to be blurred by bitterness and fear. As these blinders came off, I could begin to see the truth. Truth sets me free (John 8:32)—The truth that He loves, He cares, He is involved…He calls to me, to you. He beckons to us to draw near to His love…so great a love. So unfathomable, in fact, that we may miss it.
I challenge you, dear reader…believe Him for the truth. He says the truth is that He IS doing a new thing. Will you choose to believe God? To believe what He says?
Tomorrow, I promise 🙂 the close of this lengthy testimony.