Church was fantastic this morning, and packed to the rafters. A chap called Matt got baptized. He spoke very well about why he felt his life would be better if he told Jesus he had reached rock bottom and was willing to let Jesus take over the reins. The preaching was spot on, too, obviously about the fact that Jesus rose from the dead and is alive for evermore. How amazing is that, really? I have been a Christian for 25 years, and have never doubted once that Jesus is alive. Before I became a Christian, (I was 17) I used to have terrible panic attacks about dying. Mum said she could hear me crying in bed at night, and didn't know what to do, or how to comfort me. It was in the '80's and nuclear war was still a big threat, much more than it is now. After I gave my life over to Jesus, I was invited to a Bible Study group, and they were looking at the whole concept of heaven. I can remember praying with them and never having a panic attack again.
About four years ago, I still had my old pony, Crispin. I can remember riding around a place called Lindrick, still my all-time favourite place to ride. It was summer, the poppies were startling against the wheat, the birds were singing, I was on my favourite horse, strolling along. I thought, 'This is stunning.' The Lord said, "Heaven is more beautiful than this." I began to cry, and bawled most of the way home. Crispin just rolled his eyes, 'she's off again.'
So yes, death has lost its sting, and all because Jesus died on the cross for me. What an honour, what a privilege.
Finally, our Lenten fast is over, and I am scoffing quite a bit of chocolate. Missis bought us an Easter egg as well, so we have quite a bit to get through. It is a challenge I am prepared to accept wholeheartedly.
We drove to a couple of different tack shops yesterday, to put the advert up and also look for green jods, of which there were none, unless I want to pay ninety pounds (for a pair of jods, for goodness sake!)
I forgot to take my phone with me, but when we came back I found it and it rang in my hand. A woman has seen the advert in Parklands and asked me loads of questions and has arranged to come and see Max tomorrow. Then today another woman has rung and asked if she could come and see him this afternoon. I was tempted to say yes, but I must give the first woman the chance to see him first. They are both women with daughters who ride, and they think Max sounds suitable, so we'll see. I'll have to ride him up the road to the manege, so they can see he's sound in traffic, ride him in the school for a bit, then let them have a go, and canter him on the verge on the way home, so they can see he pulls up well and doesn't try to tank off with me. I just hope he doesn't spook at anything on the way there. Mr O has ridden him today, and he was very silly, but Mr O is obviously stronger than me, and kept his leg on and made him behave himself.
Max knows something is going on. I have to say, I have quite a peace about selling him now, and don't have a massive urge to ride him any more. It's very strange, I thought he would be mine for ever. I've got to admit, though, I felt physically sick after these phone conversations. I have had Max for such a long time, I never thought I'd have to tell a prospective buyer about him. As I described him on the phone, I thought, 'He sounds lovely, why on earth are you selling him?' But I know I'm doing the right thing.
Barnaby knows the situation is changing, too. I have explained to Mr O that I want to ride him a lot on my own, and really get to know him before I ride him out with someone else, so I rode him yesterday. He seemed to say, 'Right, if you're going to be riding me a lot, you need to know that this is how it's going to be,' and off we went. It was a fabulous ride, but he needs to know he can go more slowly. He will get the hang of it, though. He looks at the odd thing, but doesn't spook at anything.
When I am at my happiest out riding, I have been known to burst into song. Max usually walks faster, trying to get away from the hideous noise. Barnaby seemed to know I was singing about him, and let me trill along harmlessly. I either sing, "O'er the hills and o'er the vales, in Flanders, Portugal and Spain, the King commmands and we obey, over the hills and far away...' but yesterday it was my favourite song. Do you know it, or maybe remember it from school?
When a knight won his spurs in the stories of old
He was gentle and brave, he was gallant and bold
With a shield on his arm, and a lance in his hand
For God and for valour, he rode through the land.
I hope you've all had a wonderful, blessed Easter and feel rested and refreshed.