Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Cowgirls Don't Cry [my first & last rodeo]

I should've been a cowboygirl
I should've learned to rope and ride
Wearing my six-shooter 

Riding my pony on a cattle drive
I ran across this old photo a few days ago from when I was about 5 or 6. Suited up in about as much denim as a person can wear at one given time. I was about to compete in my first [& last] kids rodeo.

The first event was grabbing a ribbon off of the tail of a goat. Sounds easy, right? Not so much. The goat is tied down to a stake in the ground but still had plenty of rope to move around. I don't remember a ton of details, just a few flash memories. The main part of the story is seared into my memory, thanks to my dear mother telling it for years and years. You see, I go out there ready to get that ribbon, but as soon as I was about to grab it, the goat begins pooping. Obviously, that was happening rather close to where I was suppose to grab the ribbon like any logical child would do, I stood there and waited for the goat to finish. And all the spectators thought it was hilarious. And I was quite disappointed to end up only getting a participation ribbon [which I still have]. I thought I should have got another try, considering no other competitors had to deal with what I did. 

The second event was mutton bustin'. Sorry to disappoint, but I never got on a sheep. 1. My dad couldn't cut enough of the mouth guard off with his pocket knife to fit in my mouth. 2. I watched other kids ride and decided that hopping on a bucking sheep was not for this little gal. As I got older and realized what mutton bustin' is  I question my parents' sanity that they almost let me get on a massive, jumping sheep...and then I question why they didn't make me do it, because I am sure it would have been good for me. 

I also once chased a chicken at the
 Dixie Stampede in Pigeon Forge, TN...
but that's another story for another time.

 I guess the rodeo life wasn't for me. 
I am sure I cried at the rodeo. 
Even though cowgirls don't cry, right?
According to Brooks & Dunn anyway:

Her daddy gave her, her first pony
Then taught her to ride
She climbed high in that saddle
Fell I don't know how many times
Taught her a lesson that she learned
Maybe a little too well

Cowgirls don't cry

Ride, baby, ride
lessons of life are going to show you in time
soon enough your gonna know why
it's gonna hurt every now and then
if you fall get back on again
Cowgirls don't cry

When I was 7 we started looking for a pony to add to the herd of  two horses. We wanted one us kiddos could manage on our own. We found one, she was bigger than we wanted, but I fell in love before I even saw her. And like any 7 year old horse crazy girl about to get a pony, I had BIG plans for her. She was to be called Cupcake or Muffin, I just couldn't decide. Praise the Lord she was already named Cinnamon. I remember the Saturday morning she was to be delivered. I sat on the front porch swing in my lace up boots, jeans, and denim vest-my excitement barely contained. Then we got a call, the seller's kids just couldn't part with her...even though they hadn't shown much interest in her until she was for sale. Talk about a crushed cowgirl. A few days later we got a call, saying they decided they would sell her after all. And Cinnamon spent 12 years here.
I still like to consider myself a cowgirl at heart.
Even though it has been years since I last rode. 

Let me tell you something else, 
cowgirls do cry...and it's okay.

I am not a crying kind of a gal. I am not an overly emotional gal on any level, aside from excitement, when it comes to expressing myself. Besides this fall, I can count on one hand how many times I have cried in front of anyone in the past 6 years. It's actually a total of 2 times. Once when i was 14 and landed on my face while doing a back handspring. And somewhere around two years ago during a college Bible study when Lauran and I were praying for each other. We both cried as God bonded our hearts together- she has become the dearest of friends since then.

I use to think crying was a sign of weakness...not in others, but in myself. I thought if I let myself just cry in front of people that meant I didn't have a grip on my emotions. I thought it was embarrassing. And one of my worst fears might become reality...I would be one of those emotional females who cries about everything...hallmark commercials, songs, quotes, someone letting them go in front of them at the grocery store, etc. We all know the variety I am talking about, and I love those females dearly for their sensitiveness. 

In some ways, I had allowed myself become callous. Crying in general had become foreign to me. It had been so long since I had wept, it was almost hard to do. I had allowed myself to rely on my own strength and wasn't leaning on God and seeking His strength alone. ["Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always." -Psalm 105:4]  I have been reminded that it is in Christ alone that my hope, joy, and purpose is found. 

I have been humbled by my tears that I couldn't control. In the last three months, I've cried in front of more people than I can remember and more times that I have in the past 10 years combined. I was so prideful in my appearance of seeming to have my life all together, in being able to control my emotions. But I am realizing that there is sweet fellowship in opening up and sharing our hearts-the good, the bad, the brokenness. In our weaknesses, Christ's power shines brighter. When I don't have it all together & I don't pretend like I do, others can grow and learn from the work that the Lord is doing in my life. They can learn about His faithfulness.
  "A time to weep and a time to laugh..."-Ecclesiastes 3:4 

"Jesus wept." -John 11:35. 

Go ahead, unabashedly shed some tears
even if you are a cowgirl. 

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