Braveheart

I confess I’m one hundred percent passionately addicted to horseflesh. I have been all my life! I love to bury my face into their necks and breathe in that unmistakable aroma. There is something beautiful and majestic about God’s creation, the horse!

However, in enjoying Gods’ beautiful creation, I somehow managed to cross the line of worshipping the creation in place of the Creator. All my time and thoughts were consumed in equine literature while my Bible collected dust on the shelf, not to mention my neglected times alone with God.

My family also suffered. Yes, I was present in my home, doing the daily routine and home schooling our seven children alongside my husband, but the difference was that my heart was absent from my family. My focus was no longer on the relationships within my family, but on myself and the relationship I was building with my horse.

My dream was to establish a partnership with him, so that when he is at liberty to come or go, he will choose to be with me. I also desired to be able to ride him without the aid of bridle or saddle. For anyone familiar, I follow the Parelli Natural Horsemanship program and have had great results. I am hooked.

There is nothing wrong with having the desire to do these things, or even in doing them, but what I failed to see at the time, was that I was neglecting something far more valuable. My relationship with my children!

These beautiful children are my inheritance from the Lord. In losing my focus, I gave ground to the enemy to enter my home and rob us of the fullness of blessings God had given to us. Much of my time and energy, were spent elsewhere.

In January 2006 the Lord drew me back to Himself and totally captivated my heart. One morning He showed me how we are strategically placed in our homes. I looked up the word strategic and discovered it is essential to the word strategy, which means: intended to render the enemy incapable of making war, as by the destruction of materials, factories etc.  In effect, we destroy those things that would make the enemy powerful. We take away his power.

But what was I doing? I was giving ground to the enemy because I had abandoned my post. I had left the door wide open. I was not watching or even aware of the signs indicating I was being robbed. Yet the thief was at work, trying to rob and destroy my family.

The Lord showed me that as parents we are His representatives on this earth. As we submit ourselves to Jesus’ leadership, we are anointed to teach, guide and correct the children He has placed in our care. We are their covering of safety and protection from the enemy. It is our duty in serving our Lord for we are building a godly generation for our King.

As a mother, God has placed me strategically within my family. When I listen and obey His commands, I render the enemy incapable of making war. I take away his power as I stand on watch and move as God directs my path.

One night The Lord woke me with a vision of  Braveheart, my horse.  He was a fair distance away from me and as I asked him to come to me, his ears pricked forward and all his focus was on me. He began to canter towards me. When he reached me, he stopped with his nose almost touching mine. (He’s a big horse, 16.3 hands high.

When he does this it can be quite awesome, making me wonder if he has time to stop!) In that moment I heard God speak to me. “Natalie, just as your heart delights and is excited by the way Braveheart runs into you when he has the freedom to go elsewhere, that is how I feel when you run into me.”

Then I remembered how in the last few days Braveheart had been distracted. Instead of running toward me with all his enthusiasm, he had slowed down and was even contemplating heading in another direction. His focus wasn’t totally on me anymore.  I was so disappointed. He was losing the desire to run into me.

Again God spoke to my heart, “Natalie, the disappointment you feel is the same disappointment I feel when you choose not to run into Me”.

My heart sank. I realized I had not been putting Him first in my life. My Lord was gracious enough to show me and bring me into a closer walk with Him. Jesus longs for us to run into Him.

I know now that if God asks me to give up the horses for Him, I will have to obey my Heavenly Father, for I know He has a plan for me for good and not evil, to give me a future and a hope. At present He has not asked me to. Phew! But I have changed my priorities and I keep a diligent check on them.

Mother, can I encourage you to keep watch over your families? It is not always easy and can be very challenging to say the least, but hold fast and build that relationship with your children. Do not let the enemy distract you from your position, for you are the heart of your home.

You have been commissioned by the Lord Himself to be a nation builder. His reward will far outweigh any reward in the here and now. Your passion may not be horses, it may be something else. Keep it in its rightful place. Do not let the pleasures of this earth rob you of your royal position within your home.

NATALIE STRIPP

Tallai, Queensland, Australia

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