Hmm…I have been SO focused on FOOD in my mind today. WHAT IS UP WITH THAT? I know I am tired. I know that I am more vulnerable when I am tired. But this is crazy.

So tonight, when hubby brought home fresh french bread and I hadn’t eaten dinner, but only “shaved my hunger a bit” with a few almonds, I had a bunch of it with real butter. I chased that with some ice cream with graham crackers and Hershey’s syrup. I couldn’t believe it, but I wasn’t past a 5 even ten minutes later, but I know the truth….It was rebellious eating. My heart wasn’t right. I should have fasted my hunger (or almost hunger) until my heart was in a different place.

All day I thought about food…a LOT…more than EVER in a long while. So, I asked myself what my accountability partner will probably ask me if, in spite of the way my hunger graph reads for today, I ‘fess up and tell her about my struggle with my thoughts and attitude:

“Who do you need to forgive?”

Hmm…I couldn’t think of anyone.

And then there it was. THIS is who I need to forgive:

This sounds pretty pathetic, but the “person” I need to forgive is Harley–the horse in the photograph. Today I had a lesson with my trainer and Harley (and my trainer’s horse, Amadeus). It was really challenging for me. I was anxious before getting there and had to acknowledge my fears.
For five years, I have tried to be something I am not for Harley or to make him be something he is not for me. I think I am only now beginning to realize this. God uses my horses to teach me a lot…and now, tonight, I wonder if the pain of yet another lesson is coming to fruition…I could be on the verge of changing a lot myself (not necessarily a bad thing if it is from the Lord)–in a way which would affect my relationships with people–I believe I can’t separate out who I am with my horses from who I am with people and with God. So…right now, I may be either on the verge of “becoming,” which, as “romanticized” a notion as it is is verrry frightening to me, or I must let Harley go to a new home. Most who have never been owned by a horse would think that should be no big deal. Well, I have to tell you…long story short…that neither option feels very good. In fact, either option throws me into an emotional bout with insecurity.

While I “should” be praising God for the blessing of having horses at all, let alone four!!! I am fussing about “becoming”…good grief. The truth is, the way I am isn’t satisfactory. I have to change to experience that for which I have longed. In a way, it touches on my…well…inadequacy…again.

And here it boils down…releasing my unmet needs, my disappointments, my failures, my unmet expectations, even my so-called “rights,” means letting go of a dream (or 10). Does God want me to cling to Harley and what we almost experienced together last summer? If I continue with him it will mean always wondering if we will be safe. It will mean never letting down my guard, but always being ready for filling in to give him what he needs assuming I am even capable of that. It will mean my confidence will be shaken time and again, as it has been these past 5 years, and each time I will try to “pull myself together” to offer again, leadership with calm confidence…yeah, right!

As with all horses, Harley is a prey animal and his instincts are all about flee now and ask questions later. Apart from him developing a tremendous amount of trust in my “leadership,” we will always be riding the wave, ready to crash land. Something I haven’t been able to offer him in all the time we have been together is trusthWORTHY leadership. The fact I have never had a bad accident with Harley is a blessing…but one I am not sure I want to presume upon.

So, why my obsessive thoughts with food today and why the rebellious eating? Well, boiling it down, it appears that I am, again, disappointed with God. After all, I have gone to him every step of the way about this. When we bought Harley…well, I better not “go there” in this blog entry, but let’s just say, from the very beginning…this has been something prayed over and decided and yet so many things have “gone wrong.” Or maybe they have gone according to God’s plan and His ways are not my ways.

Then, too, It could be that Harley just still reminds me of Daniel as he did when Daniel was going through the first stages of puberty…and that is the most difficult thing I have to accept in my life–that God makes some people autistic and God makes some autistic children with mothers who aren’t equipped…who were never nurtured properly themselves…and, well…

It is all connected for me in some really warped package. It is warped and add to that the fact that the very thing which God intended that I receive with thanksgiving, I treat as a “curse” of sorts. He wants me to welcome the trials, the testing, the learning…as opportunity for growth to be Christ-like. Does that mean I welcome Harley and what he challenges me to “become?” Can I give up the cuddly but potentially volatile relationship I have with him in exchange for a no-nonsense business partnership that says, “This is what we are going to do and that is the way it is?” He needs me to be confident and, while he loves to be scratched and is quite solicitous, interprets my doting all over him as weakness. I don’t know why, but he does. Can I offer boundaries and leadership? Solid, reliable leadership? Fair, consistent, calm, confident leadership? Boundaries? When all I really want is to bury my head in his mane, drink in his scent, throw my leg over him bareback and canter (heck, a walk would be fine) across the field? I don’t need him to be perfect. I don’t need him winning ribbons running barrels or working cattle. I don’t even need him to *do* that *much*. Just cart my sorry bum around a few days a week and be relatively ok and calm as we go.

See? Even as I write that, I realize how like my unverbalized thoughts about my son this is…Daniel needs to be accepted for who God has made him to be, just as Harley does. Daniel needs me to provide him with calm, consistent, confident and fair leadership. He needs me to not love the cuddles and giggles more than the gift of providing clear concise boundaries so he knows the standards all the time. Sure, in Harley’s case I can send him packing to a new home…but then am I allowing myself to grow and mature the way God wants me to? And what if becoming what I need to for Harley would make me a better Mom for Daniel (and Michaela too for that matter)?

No wonder this has been a day consumed with thoughts of food and then this evening’s massive inhalation of french bread and dessert…it touches on the deepest places in my heart, where I feel failure the most keenly (in my parenting).