Monday, February 6, 2017

Snowman, The Eighty Dollar Champion

Well.... I have returned to the blog.
I just couldn't stay away.
Every member a missionary, right?
Still a member.... Still a missionary.
So the blog lives on. Haha.

Here's to the upcoming lifetime of experiences with learning and sharing gospel!

Folks, I've been back for coming up on two and a half years now. And I can't believe how fast time passes. I thought it went by quick as missionary... But DANG. It seems we're just flooring it with no brake function at this point. Haha.

In the last several months I've learned... well, lots of things.... But two big things:

1.) Missions are easy. [Haha.]
2.) Potential is a permanent gift.

Now. An explanation for the first:
Missions really aren't "easy". My mission was indeed hard. But it was a different kind of hard.
A mission is hard because every ounce of your faith will be tested and you will be stretched to your limits at times. (Just like you are in any stage of your life.)
However, unlike any other time in your life almost every decision is made FOR you as a missionary.(Don't take me too literally here... just understand the point I'm trying to make...)
Where you live, who you live with, what you're allowed to do and when... really, everything you do day in and day out for 2 years/18 months is decided for you. You choose between doing it, and not doing it. That's about it. Haha. And yes, when you're in the midst of it, that seems difficult, challenging and frustrating at times. It definitely requires a lot of faith and patience to adjust to this way of living.
But, it's funny how the tables turn and you beg for this life back when you no longer have it.

When I got home I suddenly found myself with a lot of decisions to make and a world full of options where no one thing seemed like a better idea than the other. All I knew was that, EVERYONE else seemed to have it figured out.
(First mistake: comparing my life to other people's... ALWAYS my first mistake.)

I suppose I came home with the idea that I was supposed to save the world and succeed at it immediately.
As you can imagine, it didn't take long before I was overwhelmed and a bit discouraged by my new life and the fact that I was not just absolutely "hauling right out of the gate".

What did I do wrong? I wondered. Did I not serve faithfully enough to have a sense of direction now that I'm home?
(Second mistake: Thinking that trials are a result of not measuring up.)

A few months after I came home, I had had enough. I was sick of taking wrong turns, sick of disappointment, sick of not being able to visualize a future for myself, sick of feeling like I would never "figure this out", sick of feeling like I should just give up.
I found myself on my knees ONCE AGAIN praying desperately for help. 
(I must sound like a broken record to The Lord sometimes.)

The fact is. We all go through hard times. All of us. Doesn't matter if you are/were a missionary or not. Then, I felt lost and feared I would never forward in my life or be able to readjust to "normal" life. Now I'm married to my best friend, making great progress in my education, working a wonderful job that utilizes my talents. And regardless of all that, I feel useless sometimes and STILL wonder if I'll ever "figure it out".

I want to tell you about a horse named Snowman. Yes, Snowman.

Snowman was originally used on a farm as a plow horse. But he was headed for the slaughterhouse at just eight years of age. On the day, Harry de Leyer, a Long Island, New York, riding instructor, attended the horse auction in New Holland, Pennsylvania, looking for school horses. He arrived late, and the only remaining horses were those waiting to be loaded into trucks bound for slaughter plants. De Leyer made eye contact with a large gray/white horse that he purchased for only $80. He first used Snowman as a lesson horse for small children. De Leyer recognized talent in the horse after he gave him to a neighbor and the horse jumped very high fences to return "home". De Leyer then began training Snowman as a show jumper.

The horse began winning prestigious awards only two years after he was bought off the slaughter truck, his career lasted five long years. He willingly jumped over other horses, and his calm disposition made him a favorite. He once won a Leadline Class and the Open Jumper Championship on the same day.

Snowman later appeared on television shows (Johnny Carson's for one, where Carson climbed on his back). He was the subject of two books, had his own fan club, and was flown abroad for "guest appearances".

A documentary movie was made in 2015, titled The Snowman & Harry, which features a lot of original footage of his years as a family "pet" as well as a fierce competitor. Best Selling author Elizabeth Letts wrote a book about Snowman's journey entitled "The 80 Dollar Champion".

De Leyer, kept Snowman through his retirement until he past away from kidney failure at the old age of 26.

Snowman was inducted into the United States Show Jumping Hall of Fame in 1992. (Bet ya didn't even know that existed.)
Cool story huh? Well. This is also our story.
Yes, yours. And mine too.

We too were headed for the slaughter house.
But someone stepped in and paid for us. He brought us into his own family and cared for us. He taught us how to do things we never believed we could do. Taught us how to make something of our potential. He saw something great, something beautiful, and something sacred in us when NO ONE else did.

Don't throw yourself out. Don't put yourself back on the truck to the slaughterhouse. You have been bought. You are a champion. You may not always feel like a champion, but you are just the same. You will accomplish things you can't even begin to imagine now. Believe that you can do it, and then DO IT.

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