FROM THIS MONTH’S KIDS’ KORNER
“Be back before lunch!” Mom called out the front door. “I have a meeting early this afternoon.”
I frowned. “Seriously?” I sighed. “I thought we had the whole day to ride, Nocona,” I complained to my horse.
“OK, Mom,” I called back.
I pulled the saddle girth tight and gathered the reins.
“Well, at least we’ll be able to ride for a little while.”
My horse turned his head toward me and I patted his neck. Swinging into the saddle, I gently squeezed my calves against his sides and clucked to him. He moved forward and away we went!
I hummed a tune, enjoying the mountains that towered above and the whisper of the breeze through the saguaro cactus spines. We rode down several trails, stopping on various ridges to gaze across the valley floor and breathe in the unique, sweet fragrance of the desert flowers.
I checked my watch. I knew we should be heading back to the ranch, but the trails were too tempting. “We can explore just one more. We have plenty of time to make it,” I convinced myself.
We happily wandered down another exciting trail, and I lost track of time. After a good while, I finally glanced at my watch again… and caught my breath.
“Oh, no! It’s five minutes to 12:00!”
No matter how hard I tried to urge Nocona to move faster, he seemed content to walk along without a care in the world, oblivious to my problem.
In desperation, I dug my heels into his sides with a bit too much energy. Startled, he jumped to the edge of the trail… right into a cholla cactus!
Suddenly we entered our own little rodeo! He sailed into the air, kicking his hooves up as I hung on for dear life!
He spun and bucked again and again, trying to shake the cholla bulbs loose that were stuck in his back leg. With each leap, a cliff loomed in front of us.
“Jesus, help me!” I blurted at the top of my lungs.
Immediately, Nocona stopped in midair, landed, and calmly stood as I dismounted—like nothing was stuck in him at all! Looking around, I saw no trees to tie him to (only cacti—and that wasn’t happening).
So, pointing him straight ahead, I laid the reins over my arm and stepped toward his flank. My heart sank as I rummaged through my saddlebags. Where are my leather gloves? I gasped. I never leave home without those!
Have you ever been up close and personal with a cholla and its lovely, long, needle-sharp barbs? Yeah, I cringed too!
I took a deep breath, prayed, and yanked out the cactus. Surprisingly (and a miracle), the cholla bulbs pulled out easier than I expected. I didn’t get poked too badly, and Nocona wasn’t hurt.
I breathed a sigh of relief and wiped my hand across my damp face. Surveying the territory around us, I realized that we stood in the only clearing—there were no cacti or rocks, only soft sand and grass! Whew!
I swung into the saddle and headed for home. I didn’t want to look at my watch now. I knew I was way late!
I rode to the barn and pulled the saddle and bridle off Nocona. Quickly brushing him, I turned him loose in the pasture and slunk to the house.
The kitchen door creaked as I peeked through it. My mom stood at the sink, washing the lunch dishes and glaring out the window.
Oh, man. I am totally busted!
“What happened?” she asked.
“I kinda lost track of time,” I replied.
“Kind of?” she said, turning to face me.
I decided to ‘play the sympathy card’ so I told her about my adventure with the cactus, throwing in as much drama as possible. But, although she was relieved I was OK, she grounded me for a week.
As I lay on my bed in solitary confinement, staring at the ceiling, I recalled the events of that day.
Yep, I owned the fact that this whole thing was my fault—from being distracted and staying out too late, to my impatience in getting back and almost sailing over a cliff. And I shuddered when I thought of everything that could have happened.
But I had to smile too. Even though I’d blown it, Jesus still helped me when I was in trouble and hollered for his help. I wonder if He sent a big ole angel to calm my horse?
I guess maybe that’s what grace means—God helps us when we’re in trouble, even when it’s our fault. That’s pretty cool.
But I also learned my lesson today—being impatient never turns out good. But, more importantly? I decided to be more respectful toward my mom in doing what I’m told in the first place!
God is our refuge and strength. A very present help in trouble— Psalm 46:1
Shara Bueler-Repka is enjoying life as a singer/songwriter/recording artist, freelance writer, and award-winning author. She and her husband, Bruce, live in their living quarters horse trailer and call “home” wherever their rig is parked. Their mail-base, however, is Hallettsville, Texas. She also loves riding/ministering with her husband and their horses (aka The Boys) in the backcountry and writing about God’s grace in the various adventures on the trail less-traveled. Join the fun and be encouraged on their website: www.ponyexpressministry.com and her blog: www.trail-tails.blogspot.com, or come for a visit on Facebook.