Tonight marks the fifth night at The Parsons Ranch in the mountains of Orville Washington, but this adventure really started a couple of years ago when I was on a quest to find a cowboy church in Eastern Washington. Tired of the normal church experience, and re entering my cowgirl roots, I longed for that simplicity that I saw so wonderfully represented in and through those that I knew in the Cowboy Church. My search kept pointing me to one name; Al Parson. Al, not only a cowboy pastor, mentor, Christian Cowboy, but also a well known Rodeo Announcer. Everyone, who is any one, in the Columbia Circuit and beyond knows Al, so I became familiar with him and his ministry.
We had a lot of friends in common, friends that I have known for ever it would seem, and friends that I count as some of the best people I know. Over the next few years we would become familiar with one another via social media, mutual friends’ prayer requests and so on.
Six weeks or so ago, when Pastor Al was looking for someone to come sit at his ranch while he and, his adorable wife Joanie, headed to the NFR, for some reason, I answered the call. I, for some unknown reason, then, felt called to it.
I am sure that when Al and Joanie received our offer to come, they may have felt that “their” prayers had been answered. We all know, that it is hard to leave a ranch, full of animals and . . . . with out someone to keep the home fires burning…… They could not have known that they were not the ones who would be the most blessed.
Those that know me know, there have been health issues. Those that know me even better still, know there have been “heart -break” and, those that really really know me, know that just learning to sit still and “be” is almost not possible for me…..
A friend gave me a quote two weeks ago that has been life changing for me…. I have written about it already, but the quote challenges me to change my thinking… to that of a victim to one of a victor. To consider that God in his measurable doesn’t allow things to happen TO us, but rather FOR us.
Certainly I, nor Al, could not have guessed that even years ago, the restlessness in my soul would lead me to this Mountain Top experience. While I couldn’t have known that in this moment, when I needed a retreat, God had already planned one for me. And, only in the way that God could know…. He knew exactly what I would need to shore me up and move me forward.
It is a dangerous thing to judge God based on our own human experiences. People disappoint, so God must too. When in the truth of it… WE are created in HIS image, not the other way around. He (God) isn’t working against us, but for us. He isn’t plotting against us, but rather planning on how to move us forward out of the hurts that come, the disappointments that happen.
I have learned this week that there is no need for me to be less trusting of people, because God has gone before me.. He isn’t sitting on his heavenly thrown pre-judging me in the negative… “there she goes again, when will she ever learn to not lead with her heart.” He created me, he knows me, he knows that I tend to jump into friendships and life with both feet….and like any good father, he is ready to catch me when I jump off the edge.
I have found a peace in knowing that HE, this heavenly father of mine, doesn’t want me to change, He created me, rather he wants me to trust that no matter what comes, HE has me.. and that no one, no hurt, no disappointment should change, me other than to encourage me to “press in” to all that I know He is.
I feel so blessed that Al and Joanie are the kind of people who wake up asking the question, “how can God use me today.” As in this moment, their willingness to be open and vulnerable , making their place of paradise, a place of health and healing.
Just my thought from Top of the World.