The Traveler, the Horse, and the Woman

(Five days until I leave for Ethiopia) – what is on my mind.

The Traveler, the Horse, and the Woman

She looked at the man and said, “No, I don’t want to get on that horse.”  But the man insisted saying that the journey up to the Citadel was too difficult by foot.  The horse that stood in front of her was emaciated.  Fir and skin covered only the bones of this humble creature with every rib exposed.  Hesitantly, she climbed up on the horse and one could see that the weight of her body made the horse uncomfortable.  I climbed on my horse feeling conflicted with the scene.  The horses were starving but how could I judge? The people were starving too.  I was in Haiti.

Snorting, sweating, her horse painfully climbed the hill as the Haitian man whipped the hind end, screaming at this pathetic creature.  The woman cried, “I will walk!”

The Haitian man insisted, “No, no it is ok.  It’s just you are very fat.”

She ignored him, but written on her face was the mark of insult.   One could see this hit a very tender place in this woman’s heart.

The horse stopped.  The Haitian man pushed the horse.  The woman was crying, angry and now yelling, “I am going to walk!”

The Haitian man was getting angry too.  He wanted payment and knew that he would not get it if the horse could not make it to the Citadel.  “You are fat.  You are fat!”

Finally, we all decided to get off the horses realizing the heart of this woman was breaking in front of our eyes.

We hiked the remainder of the way while this woman sobbed, confessing to us the life-long struggle of her weight.

I tell you this story because in travel, the enemy loves to prey on our weakness.  He loves to take the very thing we are afraid of and haunt us with insults and lies.

Last October, some of you might remember that I went to the Amazon.  I hate snakes.  I fear snakes.  Before I left, at least 20 people asked me, teased me, reminded me of the snakes.  I prayed about it, I gave it to God and by the time I had left for the trip, I was ready to battle any snake that came my way.  I did not see one snake on my Amazon trip.

Yesterday, in a casual conversation, I told a friend I was going to Ethiopia. With a joke this person brought up one of my past fears.  Flying.  I am no longer afraid to fly, but he said something that made me twitch.  He gave me an image, and for a while it bothered me.  My friend, a pilot, was unaware of my past struggle, but his joke carried more weight because of his profession.  Bless his heart, he did not know.  However, this reminded me of how sly the enemy of our soul is.

Fear.

Travel brings out the good, the bad and the ugly.  There are a couple of reasons many people don’t travel.  First, it’s costly.  Second, they are afraid.

Within every group I travel with, there is someone who is battling with a weakness.  Whether their weakness is a fear, like agoraphobia, weight, or anxiety, these weaknesses often become exposed. Often on these trips, life-long battles are overcome and lives are changed.  God does not want us to live in our weakness.  He wants us to live in His strength.   He wants us to live!

The woman, who rode that horse, ended up being ok.  After that trip, she adopted a child, went on a massive exercise program and lost a bunch of weight.   She went into battle, and she won.

My words in my journal today:

Battle

Peace

Armor

Trust

Knowledge

Wisdom

Overcome

Rest

Comfort

I pray today you will not let fear stop you from living!

Ephesians 6:13

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

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3 Comments on “The Traveler, the Horse, and the Woman

  1. Sherry,
    That is very exciting that you are heading off to Uganda!

    My husband only treated my clothes for Ecuador because I was going to a high risk area. In Ethiopia I am staying in the city so not as much risk.
    Anyway, feel free to email me with questions if you have them regarding your trip! I am happy to help!

    Blessings,
    Patricia

  2. This post is so timely. I’m preparing to go to Uganda this summer, and meet our sponsored kids. I’m holding on to what you’ve said: “Often on these trips, life-long battles are overcome and lives are changed.” Yes!

    P.S. Does your husband treat all your clothes with Bug Juice before you head to Ethiopia? I could use some travel tips for Africa. 😉

  3. I just returned from Ethiopia about two weeks ago. Your words resonate with me, and I know your feelings exactly. And I knew as it was happening to me the days before my trip that it was the enemy attempting to sabotage what God Himself had ordained for me. I asked daily for strength to help me not give in to worry and fear, the robbers of abundant living.

    So, I want to say thank you for your words and the reminder that He came so we could have life abundantly, not a life of fear and anxiety!
    Blessings,
    Marty

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Sandra Jones Counseling

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