scaleToday I was thinking about something the Lord showed me a year or so ago when I went to watch Brailee at one of her horse-riding lessons.  I know I have shared this story with you before, but I felt led of the Lord to share it with you again today. 

At the time of this event, Brailee was only four years old.  This child has loved horses for the entirety of her short life.  It is something within her, we thought it was a phase, but her love for horses has never faded, it has only grown over the past few years.  Even today, at five years old, she loves horses more than ever.

However, that day, when she was four, as I watched her ride I was taken back to the first time I watched her ride.  When she first saw the horse, she was amazed.  There was no fear in her, she was simply awe-struck.  It was an awesome thing to witness and I am so thankful that I did.  This little tiny girl and this huge horse was amazing to watch, there was an instant connection between girl and horse that was easily seen on her face.  Her face was lit up with the wonder of this amazing event.  She looked as if she had found the thing her soul loved, the thing she had been wanting all her life – it truly was amazing to watch.  She seemed to have such a strong connection that she picked up everything she was instructed to do quickly, as if she was soaking it all in.  It was an amazing day!

That first lesson was several weeks before the lesson I was watching today.  Everyone at that initial lesson had witnessed the first captivating interaction between the horse and this little girl.  However, this day, several weeks later as I sat watching her ride, it was different.  That look of wonder was gone from her face, it was replaced with a look of boredom.  That excitement and awe had been replaced with ‘hold your hands like this’ and ‘keep your toes pointed up’ and ‘sit up straight’ and ‘don’t look down, don’t look up, look straight ahead’.  I watched this particular lesson with a deep sadness.  I was sad because this little girl who loved horses for the thrill of the ride had been reduced to a list of ‘do this’ and ‘don’t do that’ and in the process had lost her wonder and love of the ride.  She didn’t speak to the trainer through the entire lesson, she nodded her head and smiled but she never spoke, with is very uncommon for Brailee.  Halfway through the lesson she was ready to stop and get off.  Again I thought of her first lesson.   At her first lesson she didn’t want to stop riding, she cried as we had to leave.  That day, I was so sad for her and desperately wanted her to once again find her love and wonder for horses.

I sat there watching all this unfold and the Lord began to speak to me.  He told me this is what happens with many that become born again and fall in love with Him.  He took me back to the time when I first became born again.  I had not attended church since I was a child, I was born again in my twenties.  I had not been ‘churched’ yet and I was so in love with Jesus Christ.  I could not have a conversation without talking about Him.  I glowed like a person deeply in love.  I was in awe and wonder of this person, Jesus Christ.  I was in awe and wonder of this God I had been introduced to and I was in awe and wonder of the Holy Spirit.  I could not get enough of him.  I went to sleep with books all around me, because I fell asleep studying and reading his word.  He was my entire world and I was so free in him.  It was amazing!

Then I began attending church and slowly but surely was taught all the ‘don’t do this’, and ‘do that’ and everything else that goes along with it.  I began to lose my wonder.  I lost my wonder through all the rules and regulations that man put on me, not God.  I had to once again find the ‘one my soul loved’ and I found Him through worship. I found Him through intimate times with Him. I have remained in him through those intimate times.  I have found that we need to always remind people of the wonder of God, not just the principles of God, but also how awesome He is.

That day, watching Brailee, I began to wonder how many believers have lost their wonder, their thrill of the ride of walking with God because of the list of do’s and don’ts that we put on them.  How many have been overwhelmed, thinking they could never get it all right?  How many have come to believe ‘there must be more than this?’  Have we caused them to lose their wonder of the awesomeness of this God we serve?

A few years ago I spoke at a Women’s Conference in West Virginia.  When seeking the Lord for a theme and what He desired for the people at the conference, He spoke clearly to me one day and said ‘I want them to experience bliss.’  At the time I thought that was the oddest thing I had ever heard; bliss did not sound like a biblical word.  However when I returned home and studied that word I found it to mean ‘the extreme joy of salvation.’  God never ceases to amaze me!  He confirmed this word with a scripture, it is found in Psalms 51:12.  ‘Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit.’

God was telling me that He wanted to restore His people to the place of extreme joy of our salvation that comes from Him.

Most people I see today are worn out and battle torn, they certainly don’t look blissful.  I don’t always look blissful.  Many times I am bombarded with the work of the ministry and fail to take the time to remember the extreme joy in the salvation that comes from my Lord.  All this came to mind as I sat and watched Brailee ride her horse. 

I don’t want to be that Christian, who appears to simply be doing the work.  I want to be that Christian who is so full of Christ, so full of the Holy Spirit, so full of Jehovah that she shines with the glory of God at all times.  I want to be that one that is BLISSFULL.  I want to be that one that is still in awe of this amazing God, this God who loves me and wants a relationship with me.

It’s not about the work, it’s not about the rules, it’s not about doing everything right; it is about the relationship and remembering the joy of His salvation.  It’s about the wonder of it all.  Wonder is defined as marvelous, wonderful, surpassing and extraordinary…that is who our God is!  The wonder is not found in what you need Him to do for you – the wonder is found in who He is!  You can’t look outside without seeing the wonder of who He is.  You can look into the face of a child and see the wonder of who He is.  You can look at a rainbow that HE put in the sky and see the wonder of who He is. 

You can read through the bible and rediscover the wonder of who He is.  He is the God who parts the Red Sea!  He is the God who delivers from a fiery furnace and a lions den.  He is a God who walks with you and talks with you.  He is a God who visits His people.  He is a God who created our world – He is amazing!  He is the GOD who loved you so much that He sent His son to die for you – just so He could walk with you and talk with you and call you His own.  He is awesome and we need to be reminded of that from time to time.

There is a song I love from Bethel Music, it is called ‘May We Never Lose Our Wonder.’  Some of the words go like this;

May we never lose our wonder, May we never lose our wonder, Wide eyed and mystified, May we be just like a child, Staring at the beauty of our King.

Wide eyed and mystified, that is what I saw on Brailee’s face the first time she rode her horse.  And that is what I saw missing several weeks later, the wide-eyed and mystified, awe-struck look was missing from her little face, even in the pictures that were taken of her that day.  And it was incredibly sad to this Nana.

May we never lose our wonder.  May we always remember that we HAVE found the one whom our soul loves and may our faces shine with that truth.

It is my heartfelt hope and prayer for you, that God will, according to Psalm 51:12, ‘restore to you the joy of His salvation’…may extreme joy of His salvation be yours today and may you shine with the glory of your King!