My dad sent us the sweetest e-mail regarding the move. Here's a little excerpt of what he wrote:
Aiden left Hunter Oaks at 10:40 a.m. in good spirits and in a box stall. I said goodbye to him with apples yesterday, treats today, told him that we all love him, that Chels will see him soon, and the rest of us before long. It was a bittersweet time for me. Chelsea and Taylor, I have lots of fond memories of time with you at Hunter Oaks and watching you ride lesson and leased horses and then, Scottie and Aiden. I am sad to see this time end and can only imagine what it is like for both of you when you left Scottie and Aiden behind. Sweet, because I am choosing Taylor's outlook, " I am happy that he will be with Chels and have a good home."
How great is my dad?! There's a quote from a Focus on the Family article that we used to repeat when I was young: "the best way to love your daughter is to love her guinea pig." I happened to have a series of guinea pigs, so it was very practical advice for my parents. I think the same wisdom applies to loving whatever your daughter's pet happens to be!
Here's a picture of Taylor and me with MaGeester shortly after we adopted him from our friends in Virginia, the Knopps. (A family from the same barn had purchased my other horse, Scottie, from us a year earlier, so it's been a neat relationship of buying and loving one another's horses!)
All of us have grown up a lot since then! As Taylor thoughtfully said tonight while we chatted on the phone, "I think Aiden's matured a lot." Read: she has done a fantastic job with him--hope her out-of-practice big sister doesn't mess him up! Here's a picture of Aiden and me when I (sort of) knew what I was doing:
In vulnerability, can I just admit that I struggle with that?! Anyone else want to fess up? It's such an easy trap...we find ourselves with beautiful friendships, dazzling possessions, or some exciting new adventure...and suddenly we "want the Father's gifts more than the Father," as Tim Keller has succinctly put it. The opposite can be true, too, at least for me. In moments when I feel deprived of something, I can start to imagine that the something will fill me more than God can. I "feast" on it, as Sarah describes the tendency. How foolish to love His creation more than I love Him, the Creator! Crass idolatry.
So I was really praying about this whole thing tonight, and as I read from Valley of Vision, I came across a prayer for worship. Here's my favorite part in light of how God has been directing me tonight:
but what thou hast given I return,
content to feel that everything is mine when it is thine,
and the more fully mine when I have yielded it to thee.
I love that! Along this journey of figuring out the logistics of Aiden's cross-country move, I've felt that this horse business is significant. I moved to New England to know people outside the Church. To engage in the culture. To be obedient to the Lord and let Him use me as a worker in the Harvest. Building relationships at the barn seems like a strategic way to do that.
On a larger scale, money is tight here in Fairfield County, where the cost of living is extremely high. In his lesson on giving for our high schoolers last Sunday, an adult leader said, "Let me un-confuse you--giving is not just about money." Well put, I thought.
I know that I need to grow in my willingness to give generously out of my limited finances, but I also know that God is calling me to leverage other gifts in His service (namely, my apartment, which He's blessed me to be able to afford, and this horse, provided by my generous mom and dad).
Is it just me, or is there something profoundly relevant about Proverbs 3:9-10 here?
"Honor the LORD with your wealth,
with the firstfruits of all your crops;
then your barns will be filled to overflowing,
and your vats will brim over with new wine."
Many use these verses to preach the health and wealth gospel, which of course I think is a heinous interpretation. The point of the passage, I think, is that we're blessed to bless others. Just like in the Parable of the Talents, when we are responsible with that which God entrusts to us, He blesses us with more--so that our generosity can increase. I so want to excel in that art of giving!
So, Lord, in the sweetness of this blessing, I yield all I have and all I am to You.