Some of us have walked a longer road than others. Sometimes exciting and romantic and sometimes lonely and endless. If you have reached a certain age, you start looking back at your past and it seems like a story written down in a book. You can see yourself doing something that seems so real that for a few seconds you are actually there. That memory becomes like a movie, alive and tangible and you are experiencing the same feeling you did when it happened. Hopefully it was a good time in your life and you enjoy the moment. For all of us certain sadness follows the joy of reliving some good memories.
It is like paradise lost when I remember the beautiful days spent in the mountains riding my horse on trails where few people ventured. Sometimes with friends and my husband, sometimes alone, just me and Jazelle, my grey mare. Those memories elicit the true meaning of sweet sorrow to me. As I looked through old pictures to find something to use with this blog I relived a lot of good days on the trail.
We usually rode in the San Bernardino Mountains but one year six of us riding buddies took our vacation at the same time and headed north to the Sierras. We followed a logging road high into the mountains and camped at the end of it at an outfitters lodge.
One day we started out before sunrise heading for a camp so far in and remote that they had taken all the materials to build the camp by mule back, even the wood cook stove in pieces. We were determined to make it there and back in one day but the further in we rode, the closer we came to half of our day with the camp seemingly no closer. We should have planned to stay overnight at the distant camp but in those days we all had trucks with campers on them, no tents or sleeping bags. We did make it to our destination in time to hang around for an hour or two and have baths in the hot mineral water before heading back. We got back to our camp after sunset with the use of flashlights and very good horses. We talked about it for years and felt proud of ourselves and horses.
Most of my good memories involve horses and dogs but there were some goats that made my life joyful too. A few years after the trip to the mountains my life fell apart for a while with a bad horse accident and eventually loss of my soul mate and best friend through divorce. Those are the memories I don’t try to recall. After a few years life moved along as it must and I found joy again. You always do if you try and if you have God on your side. He just won’t let you stay unhappy for too long if you let Him have a chance.
I ended up some years later in Montana working for an outfitter and then for a rancher. I weathered a blizzard, an ice storm and temperatures to 40 below zero, drove cattle out of the mountains on a working ranch, worked on a real wagon train and rode two days into a mountain hunting camp to be a the cook for dudes from New York City. This was actually a fly fishing trip in mid summer but I still had ice on my tent in the mornings! It was real and it was alive and something I’ll always remember.
We can still have joy in life. We just have to work at it harder. I don’t pay much attention to the news on TV and only look casually at internet news. With God’s help I’ve learned to rest in Him, feel His peace around me and the sudden spells of joy that come from no place and just light up the space I’m in. No matter what happens in your life God is able to bring good things into your life to displace the bad. Joy comes in the morning and peace can be with you all the time if you let it.
I’ve been confined to my house pretty much for going on two years. I go shopping and to church and down to the river for walks but nothing like the active life I had when I lived and worked in the Territory with the Aboriginals. But in this time of what I sometimes call “limbo” I’ve learned the true meaning of being a “prisoner of hope” which comes from Zechariah 9:12 Return to the stronghold, You prisoners of hope. Even today I declare That I will restore double to you. I found a good teaching early on in my trial which started right after God gave me a beautiful promise that contained the desire of my heart. It was by Bill Johnson from Bethel Church in Redding California. It was called Hope in all Circumstance and was the start of a new journey with God. In the teaching he talked about that scripture and as he said, “what better place if you must be a prisoner, than to be one with God” because the stronghold we need to return to is God. Psalm 27:1-3 The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid? In times of need that we can’t fix we turn to God for hope and our faith in Him causes us to become prisoners of that hope.
When we have circumstances keeping us from our promise we become prisoners to the hope that God will get us through the trial, the problem, to the end result of obtaining the promise. God uses that time, that delay to teach us things we need to know, changes in attitude, trust, love, patience all things that draw us closer to God. I have come a long way with the Lord in this and been on a fast track learning plan with Him. My pastor says I’m like a new person compared to 2 years ago when he first met me so I guess it is working.
God has directed me to mentors in the faith online and in books, prophetic words and His own whispers in my spirit. It amazed me how each new person or book or prophesy God put before me was like another piece in the puzzle of this trial. He even directed me to a teacher named Graham Cooke and a teaching called Opportunity in the Place of Confinement. Wow. Could you be any more specific God? That was just recently and it was exactly what I needed to really tick all the boxes I was dealing with. I listen to that in my car, at home and I had wrote nearly word for word and typed it so I could read it too! Somethings God does to get your attention and teach you what you know are just amazing.
It has not been an easy journey and has produced a lot of tears, anger, frustration and sometimes near despair and I lost track of how many times I wanted to just quit and lay down and hope I could just die. He has taken me completely out of my comfort zone, out of being a wage earner in control of my own life, away from contact with people, into wet, cold weather that I dislike and have never lived in, away from spending money for fun or pleasure, and into a reality of looking at the person I was, compared to who I thought I was. He showed me the flaws, the bad attitudes and strong will that needed to be broken. Any of you who have been there know it isn’t pleasant but the end result is peace, joy, learning to rest in the Lord and really have patience and a calmness that stills all the fear, anxiety, anger, worry, stress and impatience.
I’ve been driven back into blogging and writing because of all this teaching and the changes I feel in myself and the peace that passes all understanding. I don’t have my promise in my hand yet but I know beyond any doubt that I will have it and it will be soon. God is so faithful that when He gives you a promise you can believe it will happen no matter what the world says or looks like. Graham Cooke uses Sarah in his teaching I mentioned and it is so true. Here is a little of what he said;
“Sarah was know for laughing behind the tent but in Hebrews she is one of the heroes of faith. By faith even Sarah herself received the ability to conceive even beyond the proper time in the life since she considered Him faithful who had promised. She chose to go with the promise. Even though in the natural there was no possible way of that promise happening. Sarah ignored all of that and said, “But I have a promise”, and she realized,“if I stand in that promise then I open myself up to all the possibilities of heaven.” And here she is way beyond the time of conception, beyond proper time of life and suddenly she chose to believe God was going to be faithful to the very thing He’d spoken.”
That is what we have to do when it comes to believing God for anything in our lives whether it is health, a new job, finances, a new relationship, anything that God has promised He will do as long as we cancel all doubt and unbelief and trust Him. Paul said I know whom I believed and I am convinced. You need to become convinced about the place your are in, about what you are learning, what God wants to be for you, what’s on offer to you, what your promises are. You have to come to a place where you are absolutely convinced and that you’re unwavering because you don’t want to be double minded. So that is my journey so far and I hope to impart the many things I’ve learned along the way with the hope of giving someone who might read hope for their circumstance delaying their promise.
Below are some of my favorite words I hold close for my life.
I lift up my eyes to the mountains from whence cometh my help. My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. Psalms 121:1-2
So I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany them in their toil all the days of the life God has given them under the sun. Ecclesiastes 8:15
Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life. You stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes; with your right hand you save me. Psalm 138:7
I will sing to the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. Psalm 104:33
However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace. Acts 20:24
Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding? Job 12:12
Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. Psalm 23:6