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I Will Build A Boat

I've been putting off writing this post for eight weeks. I kept telling myself that for it carry the weight I want it to, the story needed a fairytale ending. And I just don't have that yet.

See, this is my first blog post since March. It was going to be powerful, full of WOWs. I stepped back from the card business to focus on writing, but I haven't written anything. Why? Because of the excuse I needed the right ending. But tonight God gently suggested I should go ahead and write it out. So here we are. Here are the words.

Many, many times in my life I have wandered through the desert. There seemed to be no rain, no relief, no discernable path. But I kept walking, and, eventually, the rain came, an oasis bloomed, and I could look across the dusty trail behind me and understand how it all worked together.

Last year was one such time on the horse front. December of 2020, Frankie tore her meniscus. Late fall 2021, Bay made it known he didn't want to be a barrel horse. In February 2022, my favorite vet told us Iceman best retire from the barrel racing life. I bought a cute little mare a few months later that I just couldn't figure out so I made the hard choice to move her.

I felt like a failure; I was completely defeated. I questioned my riding ability, my jockey skills, my desire to ride, my decision making capabilities... all of it.

Enter two (incredibly) unexpected blessings. First, my sweet friend Mattie offered to let me ride her awesome mare, Poppy. Then, my fun friend Izzy trusted me to jockey her new mount, Rebel, while she continued to recover from an injury. I suddenly found myself hauling not one, but two!, outstanding athletes. Both horses helped me remember that I could actually ride a horse; I was actually capable of laying down runs.

And, throughout this season, I focused HARD CORE on my health and fitness. I was working out consistently, running some, stretching. I was the smallest I'd been since high school and probably the most fit I'd ever been.

"Finally!", I thought. Finally, I am back where I want to be. But then Poppy and Rebel had to go home, and I was again afoot.

Back in the dang desert. But now I felt like I had a boat. I was ready for the rain, ready for my own horse.

It wasn't that I hadn't been looking... I was this close to road tripping to ride multiple mares before my vet looked at the xrays and said, "I can't advise that." (And she's never led me astray.) I'd made a mad dash to Texas to try one. Heck, my best friend even told me if I wanted one before the apocalypse I had better expand my search.

I had built this ideal horse in my head, and I just couldn't find her. So instead, he found me. When I first learned about Scooter, I wrote him off because he was "too old." My friend who was going to ride him to sell hadn't even seen him yet, so when I heard he was 14, I just told her I wasn't interested.

Then she kept him for two months. And kicked some tail. And had some fun. And thought he was the bee's knees. So when she actually posted him for sale, of course I called. And low and behold, it was the same horse.

Even though he checked literally two of the many boxes I had listed, I told Angie I'd come ride him. "What can it hurt?", I thought.

My pocketbook, that's what it ended up hurting.

Scooter was stupid fast and wicked quick. He was the power I was looking for, he was the rain for which I had prayed for almost two years. I rode him twice, vet checked him, and brought him home. After I had signed my savings away and was driving back to my barn, the song "Build A Boat" by Colten Dixon came on the radio. I won't lie, I cried. God speaks to us all differently, but often for me it's through music. I felt like He was telling me, "See, you kept building like I asked, and here we are!"

Now, here's the part of this post I wish read a little different. Scooter and I are still trying to figure things out. He's a different style than I'm used to and, because he's so fast, I have to think more quickly than I've had to in many, many years.

But every single time I think, "God, did I make another mistake?", He reminds me to trust Him. Whether it's a song on the radio (not kidding, Build A Boat has come on twice as I'm driving down the road questioning my life) or a verse or a note from a friend, I find peace knowing I'm riding the horse God sent me.

And just this last week, I was reminded that I have to find joy in the process. I was reminded that I do this because I love the horse, I love the challenge, I love the speed. As Scooter and I put the final touches on the boat, I remember that the rain is coming.

I can't promise that every desert you walk through will end in a beautiful oasis or every boat you build will end with the rain you expect. Trust me, I can tell you stories of those long times, too.

But I can tell you that if you build your boat, if you trust God's plan, if you do everything you can to chase after Him, the rain will come. It may not look anything like you thought it would. But God is faithful. And when the time is right, you can give God the gory for walking with you though the desert, helping you build that boat to move you forward in the great plans He has for you.

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