Monday, March 14, 2011

Calf Wrangling - THE RIDER

Several years ago in the mountains of Colorado I had the opportunity to help a friend move his small herd of cows from his summer grazing land to his winter pasture. The thrill of me connecting with a horse to carry out the task of wrangling cows made an imprint on my life.

My move to the low desert of Arizona resurrected childhood fantasies Zane Grey books emblazed in my mind of riding the desert of the Wild West on my trusted horse. Scottsdale is home to a unique outfitter with the passion to carry on the traditions of a cowboy, the Arizona Cowboy College. I recently participated in a first of its kind half-day, calf wrangling event with a group of friends at the college (see documentary video above). The event provided an opportunity for me to play out my dream to be a cowgirl at least for four hours anyway and develop material for another outdoor adventure object lesson. 

I’m a parent of two precious blessings. The responsibility of shepherding their tender hearts intimidates me. But, like a horse a child can sense fear. I am called by God to confidently shepherd the children under my care to a life of True Greatness (1 Peter 5:2-3). I received riding instruction at the Cowboy College, I am to seek and receive parenting instruction and apply it with earnestness.

As the Arizona Cowboy College teaches all that is cowboy, Dr. Tim Kimmel teaches all that is parenting. Good riding to carry out tasks like cattle wrangling comes about from the personal relationship between the rider (parent) and the horse (child). A horse responds to the authority of the rider whether gracious or tormenting as does a child only the implications have a far lasting effect.

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Grace-based parenting requires me and you to treat our children the way God treats His1. But, in order to realize this, we must first know for ourselves the character, the promises and most importantly the heart of God2. As children of God we must experience Him in our everyday lives so that we can reveal His love to our children: He sees our truest needs, He knows our deepest longings, He understands our greatest challenges, and He envisions our highest potential1. We offer the greatest gift to our children when we pass this truth along to them.

Often, our salvation by Jesus’ gift of grace is freely received but rarely played out in our everyday lives3. The enemy craftily schemes against our spiritual life by preventing and perverting God’s Word and keeping it from taking root. Evil forces afflict the wayward heart binding the lost to darkness and despair.

If you any of these statements resonate with you4:

  1. You find yourself without the peace and joy some people seem to have.
  2. You are disillusioned by God because you are disillusioned by the church.
  3. You are annoyed because you have been told all you need is a relationship with Jesus but no one tells you how to find it.
  4. You want to know the truth about life, love, and death.
  5. You want to know God but you don’t want the religion attached to it.
  6. You want to know why God doesn’t seem real to you.
Then, invest your life in learning about and experiencing God’s grace, fortify yourself against the scheming of the enemy by becoming a disciple of Jesus. Encounter God for yourself so profoundly that you burst with songs of “Wheee!” instead of sighs of “Whoa.” I pray you desire to know how God works to rescue the lost, redeem the broken, and restore all His children to a love relationship with Him.

From this abundance, your children can be shepherded to live a life of true greatness: apart from God we can do nothing (John 15:5). Join me over the next five weeks as explore how grace plays itself out in our everyday lives as we continue to explore the parallel between wrangling calfs and difficult task of parenting.

Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain.
- Psalm 127:1a

Be sure to read other posts in this Calf Wrangling series:

The Rider
The Horse
The Relationship
The Roundup
The Team

1. Raising Truly Great Kids conference manual, Dr. Tim Kimmel, page 10.
2. The Whee Factor, Edy Sutherland, page xiii.
3. ibid, page 4.
4. ibid, book back cover.