I will share an important lesson I receive from my horse every day: humility.
I was bucked off four days before my sons wedding! I can admit that now because I wasn’t hurt but I was horrified by the risk I took. I was a little ragdoll flying in the air when he spooked at the squeal of a passing train’s brakes. He doesn’t care what I have, what I know, or how much responsibility there is in my life. He only responds to how well or how poorly I ride him moment by moment. At that moment I was loose in the saddle and thinking about my to do list and not about him. If I dare bleed daily emotion or stress from my life into my ride I do find myself in a somersault over his shoulders and flat on the ground dazed by a ring of stars swirling before my eyes. I might be a well-educated woman with much worldly experience and extensive book knowledge but when it comes to horses I’m an absolute novice, even as I enter my fourth year riding. The greatest lesson I have had to face while learning to become an equestrian is to ask for help with almost every decision I must make with these equine friends. I’ve been humbled lower than any activity I’ve ever pursued in my life and I count it among the highest blessings of my life.
I want to learn. But I don’t like needing to ask for help with everything I do. I know I don’t have the equine knowledge and I’m seeking it from friends and professionals who do. Humility gives me the ability to be teachable. I also strive with equal ferocity to learn to do orphan care in Uganda with integrity, compassion, and wisdom. Parenting definitely requires humility and teachability.
When our first of five children arrived I was struck by my lack of knowledge for making wise decisions in parenting our child. Actually, I was a little panicked. This is when I began to read the Proverbs from the bible daily because being a parent didn’t come naturally and I didn’t trust my own instincts or selfishness while making decisions.
Here’s a passage from Proverbs 15:32-33 to consider while we wrestle with being teachable at any stage in our lives:
“He who ignores instruction despises himself but whoever heeds correction gains understanding. The fear of the Lord teaches a man wisdom and humility comes before honor.”
I’ve given it my all to raise children in our home who can rise up from a fall, learn from a mistake, get better after a failure, or persevere when it seems impossible. We seek the lesson and the take away from any life experience and hope it makes us more useful to God and others.
We have the same hope for the children and staff at Kirabo Seeds. Starting up an orphanage from scratch was no simple task. We didn’t take the easy way in this work either. We chose to go deep as possible into the help and healing of each child in our home, get to know their families, and assist them in discovering how God has made them special. During devotion each day we ask them to take what the bible teaches and apply it to their lives. We ask them to allow the teaching of the bible to change their minds, their hearts and their choices.
It is difficult for a child who is angry and holds a grudge to shift to forgiveness. It requires their ability to trust the teacher, God, and consider giving up their way for God’s way. With practice they learn God’s way is always better than our way. Try convincing a preteen child that it wasn’t their fault that their mother died when everyone has told them this since they can remember. Imagine a boy who was treated like a slave in his stepmothers house every day of his life to understand he is equal and has as much value as anyone else. Try to teach a child who has had to steal for his meals that he will not have to worry about being fed in this home. What about the child who has been told he was trash when he was born and should have been returned to the trash, how do you convince this child he is loveable, worthy, and valuable to God?
These things are only possible when the teacher is trusted, the source, God, is revered, and the love flows unconditional.
To grow our organization we have had to learn from many mistakes. Rather than kick ourselves for falling down we have learned to get back up, get “back into the saddle” and figure a way to avoid the same mistakes and continue on in giving good care to children. If I had not taken our initial failures with Kirabo Seeds as lessons and rather than persevered to do orphan care but instead quit where would these seventeen children be today? I’d say dusting myself off and getting back into the game with new information was the better choice. How did I know to do that? The bible has been teaching this to me all my adult life. I trust God more than I trust myself. And I believe the bible cancels cultural differences. I believe God’s truth is truth on every square inch of this earth.
Can you relate? Do you struggle to be teachable in your life? Do you find humility ushers you into teachability? Do you have a story to share about lessons learned from a hard fall? Or do you resist learning and prefer not to engage because change is difficult? Are you so afraid to be wrong you refuse to learn anything new?
I’m wondering if God wants us to be like the little children because they are so teachable and we are naturally so stubborn and set in our ways.