The Bow in the Cloud

(Please note: I’m writing this post in response to the Daily Prompt, but I’d like to add that I definitely don’t know more about this than most people – only more than some people.)

All summer evenings are beautiful, but this is one of the loveliest this season. It’s about six o’ clock and the sun’s final rays stretch across the sky like golden bars. Patterned by clouds, the sky is in silent confusion; to the south and west, thunderclouds rule, lightning underlining the slence; to the north the glorious, free blue sweeps on untouched by clouds. In the east, a blue-grey mist over the sun-kissed trees sings softly of the gentle rain that soaks deep.

I am a tiny speck of dust in the midst of all this beauty, but I have eyes to see and a heart to be glad, and I’m using them. I stand beside my horses as they champ contentedly at their feed and marvel at the greatness of all this. And in the east, as suddenly as a unicorn, a rainbow steps out of the cloud and throws a glowing arm into the stormy sky.

 

The mighty bow

 

I like chemistry and lately I was studying a short piece about light and the visual spectrum; I learnt about rainbows and why their colours were always ordered the way they are. But looking at the magnificent arch of splendour, I had nothing about wavelength in my head; all I could think was, “What a promise.”

To get to the story of why rainbows are promises, I have to start with the story of the world. You see, our world was made by a Person called God. He’s not a man, exactly, although they do say He’s a little like us. He’s a mighty King, mightier than you could ever imagine; the Earth that seems so big to us is just a little spinning atom in the universe, and the universe is just a speck in the face of all the things God made, and God holds all the things He made in the palm of His hand.

Thousands of years ago, this wonderful Person called God made the world. He made the sky and the sea and the earth and everything else; He made all the stars, planets and galaxies. He put herbs and grass and trees on the earth, and He made birds for the sky, fish for the sea, and animals for the earth.

Think of all the millions of different types of animals there are: all the bright birds and the noble beasts, the whirring insects, the flashing fish. Everything you can think of, from an elephant to a bacteria. And more than that! Mountains and forests and hills, valleys, ravines, underwater canyons deeper than Mount Everest is high! And even more than that! Stars and planets all dancing in their graceful orbits; galaxy upon galaxy, possibilities stretching on into infinity. God made all those things, and guess how long it took Him to do it? Five days. Yes, just five. That’s how amazing He is! And you haven’t even heard the half of it yet.

On the sixth day, God decided that the earth wasn’t quite finished yet; there was something missing. What was missing? Us. For reasons only God knows (for on bad days I sure don’t know, and I think you have those days, too) He said, “Let us make man in our own image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over all the animals.” So He took a handful of dust and blew His breath over it, and He made Man.

We are all descendants from that first Man, whose name was Adam. God gave him a wife too, and her name was Eve. The two of them are the mother and father of all the people who are and were and are to come, and they had all sorts of adventures together. One adventure was the worst sort of adventure, because in that adventure, Adam and Eve broke the world.

It happened like this. God has a terrible enemy, as all the heroes do, and this enemy’s name is Satan, or the Devil. Unfortunately, Satan is, like God, real. Fortunately, he’s not quite as real as God, or we’d all be dead. But he’s real nonetheless, and in the very early days he turned himself into a snake and went into the Garden of Eden where Adam and Eve lived.

God had told Adam and Eve that there were only two trees that they weren’t allowed to touch or eat the fruit of, because it would be dangerous for them. Satan, however, had other ideas. He slithered up to Eve one day and told her to eat the fruit of one of the trees.

Eve knew better. “God told us never to eat this fruit, because we will die if we eat it.”

Of course Satan knew that Eve would die if she ate the fruit; that’s exactly what Satan wanted, and what he still wants, for everybody. Satan is completely evil, and all he wants is to kill everyone. Once people are dead, he can get hold of them, and then he’ll torture them – for ever.

“You won’t die,” he told Eve. “God knows that if you eat this fruit, you’ll know what is good and what is evil. Then, you’ll be like Him, and He doesn’t want that.”

In that moment, Eve could have saved the world from pain and death. But, like the rest of us, she listened to Satan. The fruits looked so big and juicy and ripe and good hanging there on the branch that she just couldn’t resist. She reached out, picked the soft, sweet fruit, and ate it. It was so good that she gave some to Adam, and he ate it too.

With that fruit, Adam and Eve brought sin into the world. Whenever we do something wrong, that’s a sin, a crime against God Himself. It was a horrifyingly ungrateful thing to do to Someone who had made them and looked after them, but they still did it.

And because they did it, mankind could no longer live forever; they were all doomed to die. God sent them out of the Garden of Eden, because part of what they’d done meant that they couldn’t live with Him anymore. He even put angels – His amazing, powerful servants – in front of the gates with fiery swords in their hands to keep Adam and Eve out.

But God never deserted Adam and Eve. He blessed them all the time, and they learnt how to till the ground and grow crops. They had sons and daughters, and they had sons and daughters, and so the world became full of men.

Now I’m starting to come to the bit about the rainbow, so be patient a little longer. You see, if you think Adam and Eve were bad, wait till you’ve seen the lot that lived in these days. They were evil people, belonging wholly to Satan; they killed, stole, drank, envied and disobeyed their parents – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg! In fact, in this whole generation, there was only one good family, and that was the family of Noah. Noah was a wonderful man who loved God very much. He would do anything for God, and that’s a good thing, because of what happened next.

This generation was so evil that God decided to send a flood to destroy them as they had destroyed each other so cruelly. But God didn’t want to destroy Noah or the beautiful animals that lived on the Earth and had been horribly abused by the evil people. So He said to Noah, “I want you to build an ark – a gigantic boat made of wood, so big that you can fit in your family, two each of all the animals in the world, and enough food to last you for months.”

What did Noah do? What would you do? I think I would run away and hide. Can you imagine how big that boat would have to be? But Noah, you see, was a man of God who loved God. So he said what all believers should say: “Okay, Lord, I will!”

So Noah built the enormous ark and he and his sons fetched two of each animal and enough food for them all, and they loaded themselves into the ark. It rained for days and days until the whole earth was just covered in water and all the evil was washed away. It was a storm such as has never been seen before or since, but God blessed Noah and his family and the animals in the ark, and none of them were harmed at all. Eventually, the rain stopped and the ark settled on Mount Ararat. When all the water had dried up, Noah and his family and the animals all went out of the ark and saw the beautiful, clean new earth without evil people to spoil it.

Noah thanked God for the lovely, clean earth as all the animals ran out of the stuffy ark and began to play and graze in the perfect sunshine. He built an altar and made a sacrifice to God. In those days, they had to kill animals (the way we do for food) and burn them to sacrifice to God, because Adam and Eve had broken the world. (Luckily, God had told Noah to bring some extra goats).

God smiled at Noah and at his clean earth, and do you know what happened then? Then God put the first ever rainbow in the sky, and it was the loveliest rainbow in the world. It had all the colours you could ever imagine, and it arched all the way from one side of the horizon to the other. It glowed until all the earth was bathed in different colours that danced and shifted like the best corps de ballet.

God put the rainbow in the sky as a token of the great promise He was about to make. It was a fantastic promise, and it still is. God is so very big that He could squash the entire earth with just the flick of a fingernail, but in that day, He promised never to flood the earth like that ever again. He said,

“And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you; and with every living creature that is with you, of the fowl, of the cattle, and of every beast of the earth with you; from all that go out of the ark, to every beast of the earth. And I will establish my covenant with you, neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.”

And God said, “This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud: And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh. And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.”

This is the promise that Someone as big and wonderful as God made to someone as unimportant, tiny and worthless as you and me, in our broken world. It would be like us making a promise to a speck of dust. Compared to Him, we have about as much love, power and courage as a speck of dust!

So why on Earth would He do that?

The answer is the reason why God is the most amazing thing that was and is and is to come.

GOD LOVES US.

Isn’t that amazing?

To Be Continued…

 

Questions? Comments? Anything to add? That’s what the comment box is for, people. I’m not a pastor and not an expert, but I have a Bible and a minister and a pair of knees, and I can use them!

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1000 Words

 

Do you know how difficult it is to meet a self-imposed word count?

I would LOVE to take part in NaNoWriMo this year, and I think I could, if I put the hours into it. You see, writing the novel in a month isn’t my problem right now; in fact, with the motivation and a decent outline, I’m pretty sure I could do it. Finishing Another Sword so that I have time to write a novel in November… that’s another story.

You see, National Novel Writing Month might not be suited to every writer, but I take for ever and ever to finish a first draft, quibbling over details, beating down fears and generally being lazy. I need some motivation to do what a first draft is all about: sit down and write until you hit the end and then start worrying about what’s wrong with the thing.

I have eleven days to finish the last 20 000 words or so of Another Sword, which is a bit of a NaNoWriMo in itself by my standards. My usual word count goal for the day is 1000 words. I can’t remember when last I actually met it for more than two days in a row. Once I start writing, I break the 1000-word barrier effortlessly; it’s starting to write that’s the problem.

So now, I must churn out 1000 words of fiction, and I shall leave you with a gallery of old faces and new. It’s an exciting time at Bushwillow Stables – one owner is starting up a Paint Horse stud, and the first foal has just hit the ground, with at least four more to follow. Thankfully, I doubt any of mine are harbouring some more little surprises for me, but I would love to breed Skye again in a few years’ time. She’s such an excellent mother and I’d love a filly from her.

We’ve nearly survived the first week of no riding after the AHS vaccine. She’s starting to sulk again, but it’s worth it for the immunity the shot gives her. Still, I can’t wait to get back in her saddle.

On a slightly sadder note, Secret and Dancer went to their new home on Wednesday. It’s certainly not sad at all for the lovely people who bought them, but even though I know they’ll be well looked after and that it’s really for the best, I miss them – especially little Secret with his gentle nature and kindly expression. However, the Horse Mutterer is teaching them riding and training the babies up for them, so I’ll be kept up to date on the siblings.

The bright side is that I’m two horses closer to the mighty silver thoroughbred called Magic. I rode him again today; he is so much better, even compared to Tuesday, and didn’t buck or get stroppy or do anything stupid at all. He has three issues right now that we need to work on; firstly, he doesn’t tie up (although I haven’t seen this in action), secondly, he canters flawlessly to the left and counter-canters flawlessly to the right, which isn’t exactly the right idea; and thirdly, for the first few minutes of trot or canter, he pokes his nose up and to the side as if he was stargazing. We’ll have to work on that, but I’m still falling in love with him. I can’t wait to jump him. His flatwork needs to get up to scratch first, but I’m itching to pop him over something and feel that floating movement that first got me smitten with this lovely grey horse.

God, as usual, orchestrated everything absolutely perfectly. All praise goes to Him!

What has God done for you in your life so far? I can’t wait to hear it.

A Different Silver

Check it out, people.

Magic

As of 1 November 2012, I’ll be officially leasing the beautiful young thoroughbred known as Magic. Three months of lease later, if everything is still working out, Magic might just become mine.

We look so happy. I am so happy. Magic is so obliging; Magic might even be happy too, having come amiably up to me in the paddock when I went to ride him yesterday. He was well behaved, too. I spent a few minutes riding him in the lungeing ring, as he isn’t ridden very often and tends to blow up if his energy builds up, before taking him out into the arena. In walk and trot he was fine – forward, responsive, and calm, though he does tend to toss his head about, and sometimes pokes his nose out in one direction while his body goes in the other. Fixable stuff.

Then we started to canter and to my amazement I found that, as far as I can tell, Magic is left-handed. Like people, horses are one-sided, and also like people, most of them are right-sided – Skye, Arwen and Thunder are all right-sided. Magic is the first horse I’ve ridden whom I could consciously tell was left-sided. It’s different, and kind of cool. To the left he canters beautifully, calm, in balance and comfortable, but to the right he’s hesitant to start cantering, slips back into a trot now and then, and tends to rush. He got a bit stroppy as well, threw his head about and gave a little buck, but a few laps of trot cooled him off and we finished off by getting two laps of consistent canter to the right without any nonsense.

He’ll improve massively as he gets ridden more often and we get to know each other. He’s pretty awesome already. I just can’t wait to bring him home!

He has a great sense of humour, too

After riding him, I groomed him as well, and he proves to have decent manners; he wandered about a bit at the start, but I firmly told him that there was no way I was following him around, and he stood like an angel for the rest of the grooming. He’s a bit ticklish on his back, but he doesn’t have any issues with having his face/ears/legs touched, as a surprising amount of adult horses do. (It’s my pet peeve – if the horse won’t let me touch its ears, what on Earth am I going to do if it gets lice or something?)

I also found out the poor guy’s racing name. Somebody who thought that 15.3hh is small for a thoroughbred decided to name him Gadfly. I mean, Gadfly. If he had to be a fly, why not Dragonfly or Firefly? Even Butterfly is better than Gadfly. Thankfully, his current owner renamed him Magic, which suits him far better.

Of course, mighty those this silver horse is, I am still deeply in love with my golden one. Splendid Skye has been given her African horse sickness inoculation, and has to have six weeks off while the shots take effect, but I can still groom her and spend time with her and simply hang around in her presence. Sometimes, a horse and a person just click. Magic and I clicked a few months ago, but Skye and I clicked eight years ago, and with all that time to build on the bond, there’s something very special between us two.

On Sunday, before inoculating them, the Mutterer, Skye, Arwen and I went riding

The silver mare, pretty in her clipped coat

out. Skye still recovering from her injury, we rode gently, but it was still fantastic. Arwen was pretty lively, but well-behaved, and Skye was her usual, general awesome. She was feeling a bit feisty too; when we went out to catch them Skye took one look at me and took off like a rocket. Skye used to have major issues with being caught, about six years ago, out of fear; but one look at her pricked ears, high head, shining eyes and tossed-up tail told me that my big, beautiful friend was just playing.

Thundering away, neck arched, the golden horse threw out her powerful legs and flew for a

The golden mare

few strides before spinning around and galloping straight back towards me in a blaze of bright colour. I reached out to her, but she shied sideways, head tossing in play; slowing to a trot, she lifted up her knees and showed off, an effortless gait extravagant with pride. Then, of her own accord, she slowed to a more ordinary trot, turned towards me, and stopped within my reach. “Okay, game over, let’s ride.”

That’s Skye, my shining, golden Skye. Bright Skye, pretty Arwen, patient Thunder have nothing to fear. Other horses may come and go, but the gold and silver trio last forever – Skye in her blazing gold, Arwen in her darkest silver, Thunder in his coat of blushing garnet. God willing, the trio will become a foresome with a horse of a different silver.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Big

It’s a big, big world out there and even I know that it can sometimes be a harsh one. Even for a Christian – to whom this life is really a fun warm-up for what comes next – there are fiery trials and storms on the sea. At least a Christian can face them knowing that they’ll never be alone.

This is a big world and by no means a gentle giant. It has mountains that toss their ivory heads high above seas that plunge to thoughtless depths, spinning in a dangerous dance with balls of fire that burn hotter than the brightest earthly blaze. It is a tiny part of the massive, whirling galaxy that we call the Milky Way, and that is a tiny part of the yawning space that we call the Universe.

And all that, all that, is but a speck of dust compared to the magnificence of Heaven.

In all this greatness, one teenage girl is less than an atom. But this one must try hard to never forget that for all the might of Earth and all the splendour of Heaven, God holds it all in the palm of His hand. Because our God is a very big God.

And big as He is, He cares for us.

Climbing

Change is rustling over the idyllic hills, singing in the wind, humming in the silent song of roots and blades as the grass awakens to the touch of new life.

As spring spins into summer, the slumbering world continues to reawaken. Siobhan, always quick with her shedding, is the first to grow her full summer coat and shimmers like beaten copper, her night-black mane a sharp contrast against her bright coat. The whiter heifers appear to have been washed as the dirty old coat falls away; Unicorn, Pearl and Florence Nightingale have all justified their names again. The goslings have grown from adorable fluffiness into goofy adolesence with queerly mixed feather and gigantic, ponderous feet. We had our first real thunderstorm, too. It came at night and it charged over the hills like an army, and it left behind the soft, rich blush of Highveld green.

More change came with a rush of Rain’s ballet exams; believe it or not, I did ballet for eight years. I never much liked doing it, but I do adore watching it. After I quit, I found myself hanging gloomily around the hall during Rain’s exams feeling like a lost puppy, until I ended up becoming the stage hand. Cranking the curtains open and closed is not a job to be undertaken lightly; nor is running across a stage in riding boots, carrying a very heavy Christmas tree and trying to make no sound at all.

Comedy aside, it was brought to me with a shock just how much Rain is growing up. She’s thirteen now (and often acts it), and there’s a depth to her dance, a maturity that was not there before. Her very first dance was the most difficult, Major Medal II (I only ever went up to Gold I). Dressed in a flowing, sky-blue gown that matched the colour of her eyes exactly – a gown that, I may add, you would have to bribe me into wearing, and even then it would have to be a very big bribe – with her loose hair in a golden cascade down her back, adorned only by a simple, bright blue flower, Rain looked like a princess. And then she began to dance, a most beautiful contemporary dance to the most beautiful lullaby. And then Firn sat behind the curtain and wept quietly to herself because it was all rather overwhelming.

She’ll still be my little sister, but she’s not going to be a little girl forever.

Afterwards came a moment of charming contrast as Rain, dressed in her purple Silver III dress, complained that she was going to get wet and Dad came up with a splendid solution.

More changes come on the equine front, too. Do you remember Magic? And here’s an older post about him, too (scroll down to “Much Ado About… um… Everything”. I quote: “VERY cool horse…” “… I think he’s brilliant…” “… such a beautiful feeling…” “… lucky enough to get the opportunity to ride him…” “… it was amazing…”

Such is Magic, a young thoroughbred gelding. Such is Magic, who has become available for sale or lease. Such is Magic, who has yet to be discussed tomorrow morning and is still waiting for his fate to be declared, but suffice it to say that said fate may have me in it somewhere.

By the way, my parents are the awesomest parents in the whole wide world, and I’m not just saying that because they’re offering to buy me my dream horse. They’ve made me work – a little – for what I’ve got, but they’re willing to work alongside and to dream with me. They’re not just my parents, they’re great friends, and I can never be thankful enough for them.

Part of their “Magic conditions” was first and foremost, sell some horses. So I made the heartbreaking decision to put Secret on the sale list, too. He’s got a superb temperament and a really kind heart, and if I didn’t have Skye and Thunder and Arwen already, I’d keep him without even thinking about it. But to be fair, there’s nothing he can do that Skye and Thunder and Arwen can’t do; it’s pretty pointless for me to have another colt to get under saddle and I wouldn’t do anything with him in any case. He’d be a fun ride, but I already have my fun rides – Skye and (later) Thunder. Still, when he goes, a hefty chunk of my heart will go with the doe-eyed little dark bay colt.

Some very nice people who are interested in him and Dancer came to look at them this evening, and they may even take riding lessons with me and need my help backing the twosome later on, which would really be ideal. I’m going to miss all of them – Achilles, Copper, Dancer and Secret – but especially Secret. However, they are all going to make great horses for somebody with more time than me.

His mother’s son

And the bright side is that I’ll still have three awesome horses, which is a lot more than I deserve and certainly more than a lot of people have. There will be my beloved Skye, best horse ever, best four-legged friend in the world. Thunder, gentle giant, patient, willing, the beautiful young gelding I’m raising myself. Arwen, sweet, silly, sharply pretty, my junior jumper and first ever competitive project. And – maybe – God willing – possibly – perhaps – a certain silver thoroughbred called Magic, a horse to take to the highest level he can go in competitive showjumping. (Squeeeeeeeeee!!!) It’s all tentative right now, but if it works out, Magic will end up with a good home, his owner will end up with peace of mind, and I will end up with my dream jumping horse.

Although Arwen still has a lot to say for her in terms of jumping ability and talent. I was jumping her again today – she will have a lot of work for the next six weeks, as the others have all been vaccinated against African horse sickness and need to be rested – and she was going superbly. The Mutterer and I clipped her last week. With her increased workload, she simply wasn’t coping in her thick Nooitgedachter coat, and although it was something of a mission (Clippers, Arwen announced, are Scary) it was worth it. She looks gorgeous and apparently she feels gorgeous too, and she doesn’t sweat anywhere near as much.

I set up a triple combination of three simple 60cm uprights 9m (theoretically two canter strides) apart. Arwen and I always had trouble cantering triples, but lately her rhythm has been much improved, and today she popped over the jumps without any trouble at all. She tends to drift to the left quite a bit, but she didn’t stop, didn’t get flustered and didn’t run out. As long as I focus, get the strides right, and do my job she does hers. Arwen is like that; a really honest horse. What you give is what you get.

I ended our combination work by raising the last jump to about 80-90cm, making her think a bit. She had no problems at all, cantering and then trotting effortlessly through the combinations.

Arwie’s getting good at these pictures

Then, time to practice the bigger stuff. I set the jump up to around 0.95-1.00m, approaching in canter from both sides, and she had no problems, jumping it calmly and clearly from both sides. She was going so well that I decided to challenger her and raised it to somewhere between 1.00 and 1.10m, which is quite a jump for Arwen, but a height that I’m sure we can achieve – after all, at one point I despaired of ever getting her over 80cm. The first time we both got our strides wrong and panicked and she jumped straight into it, kicking the pole down and taking a bit of a rap on her legs. Thankfully she was wearing her bandages, so she was fine, but it must have been unpleasant; she stopped the next time round – Arwen usually stops after pulling a pole.

The next time I pulled myself together. I got her in a strong, fast canter and stared over the fence instead of at it, standing up at the last strides and planting my heels in her at the right take-off point. Arwen did what she always does; exactly as she is told. With no fuss and no extravagance but a workmanlike willingness, she tucked up her forelegs and jumped beautifully. She proceeded to jump increasingly well from both sides and we ended the session on a really high note.

Times are changing, the world is shifting and sometimes it’s hard to keep on top of it all. But there are some things that do not change, and three of the best are Jesus Christ, family, and good horses.

The Matchless Mare Rides Again

If writers of all ages could imagine worlds and settings and people as effortlessly and perfectly as small children can, writing would be a breeze. Anyone who thinks that small kids are stupid should try to turn a dingy backyard into a magical paradise using a ball, a blanket and their imagination.

Of course, my sister Rain and I had it easy. We had a whole farm to build our world on, and from the ages of about nine and eleven onwards, we slowly build our own beautiful kingdom of which she was the Princess and I was the Prince (princes, as Corin said in The Horse and His Boy, have all the fun. Besides, no one ever said that girls can’t be princes, did they? Did they?). Our kingdom stretched from the marching Shuddering Woods to the great tall dryads that wept in the streams, to Over-the-Hill, Swaelkrans, the Barren Lands and the Great Way. We called it Imaginthia. It was ours.

We had the most glorious adventures in that world; we fought magnificent battles with terrible monsters, hunted the stag who would grant your every wish if you brought him a spot from a brown-and-white spotted cow, rode through gateways to other worlds and raced the storm dragons on the windy days. Black-shouldered kites transformed into flame-winged phoenixes; duikers became silver pygmy unicorns with pixies on their backs. Trees became dryads that danced in dizzy circles. And the jackals? They were wolves – wolves the colour of moonlight in midwinter and the size of ponies.

And the Prince and Princess went everywhere accompanied by their valiant steeds; the Fearless Filly and the Matchless Mare. And matchless that mare remained long after the Prince stashed the remains of her plastic broadsword at the bottom of her wardrobe and replaced it with the Sword of the Spirit.

We built Narnia in our backyard and we loved it. Though now my imaginary worlds are confined, for the most part, between the virtual covers of a Word document, I won’t forget Imaginthia. And some of the names still stick; our little bluegum forest is still the Shuddering Woods; the kikuyu lands retain their old title of Ethelmoor. I never ride through the Woods without thinking about the story of the three greatest, oldest dryads sleeping away until the true King comes. I’m still waiting for a King, only this One is even bigger and better than my wildest dreams could ever imagine.

There was never any Imaginthia without the Matchless Mare. Skye was the queen of that fabled land, and without her, it disappeared. The dryads just became willow trees again. The moonlight wolves faded to little jackals and melted into insignificance. The wonder was gone.

There is still wonder left on the back of that mighty horse, that thunder-clad horse who belongs to God. There is still something about her, something that no other horse I’ve met has ever had, and perhaps I’m the only one who knows it’s there – Skye and Jesus and I. But we know, and that’s enough.

You see, any other horse has only to sneeze for my adrenalin levels to shoot up so fast that I can feel it burning my hands and feet. It’s stupid, I know. I’m working on it. But Skye can leap and buck and rear and prance and bolt as much as she likes and I will never be afraid. God put something special in the heart of that horse that has wonderfully changed the heart of this girl.

In herself, Skye is a wonderful, proud, fearless, fiery creature with not a malicious bone or a timid hair on her; all beauty, all power, all life, all courage. To let me know that He gave her all those things, God put His fingerprint in her neck – a little indent known in horsy circles as a prophet’s thumbprint. She is an amazing horse, but God is all the more amazing, because He’s the one Who made her.

And if I can be that faithful and that fearless on the back of that horse, if I can – calm and unafraid – lay down my life at her hooves (as you do every time you step into the saddle of a horse), then I can lay it down at His feet. That is the key to getting rid of my nervousness. The only way I will ever be able to live my life is to lay it down, for as Jesus Himself says, “He who gains his life shall lose it; and he who loses his life for My sake shall find it.”

While I work at that faith (for faith is a verb), I will ride God’s horse Skye, a beast handmade with love. Because when we fly out there all alone but for the wind and the grass, life is perfect and unlimited. Because we can conquer the world together. Skye and Jesus and me.