If you have ever pushed a dog around in a doggie stroller you will not want to read this post. This post is not for people who carry dogs in their purses. If you understand that humans have dominion over animals and that sometimes things have to happen to keep the animals as healthy as possible, keep reading. Don't get me wrong I love animals. If reincarnation was a thing I would love to come back as an animal of mine.
Look at that sweet face. This is Tillamoo. We call her Tilla. She is our most reasonable goat by far. She is steady and no-nonsense. She will straight head butt the other girls if they get squirrelly. But she has an issue.
Now listen I am not here for body shaming anyone. But if she was going for the unicorn look she missed the mark! This is called a scur. It happens when a goat is disbudded as baby and it doesn't quit get all the horn. So this funky little horn grows all jacked up and was about the grow right into her eye. So it had to come off. I called the lady we bought them from and asked for help. She said we had three options. I could wait until she knocked if off on the fence, I could take her to the vet to have them sedate her and cut if off or I could use our hoof shears and cut it off myself. I picked the last one. I could tell you why the last one felt like the best decision, but that is an entire post of its own. I'm sure the fact that I made that decision makes you thankful that I am in therapy.
So I put her in the milking stantion. She already was wary because let us all remember that a few weeks ago was our first goat show and I had to body clip them. Goats have to be body clipped to be shown, did you know that? Yeah, me neither. Guess who has school everyday(Sydney), and guess who is home(Me). So I got to do the body clipping. We now know that you should use a 7.5mm blade. We know that now because we clipped them with a 10mm blade and they looked like hairless goats. Seriously picture a hairless cat, then imagine a goat looking like that. So I don't blame this sweet girl for wondering what was about to happen.
I surveyed this weird horn. I picked up the shears and made a little cut. It bled like I had just slit her neck. Plus she was highly offended by it. They say these scurs have very little feeling and blood supply. That is a LIE. To make peace we both took a moment. I gave her more food, she ate it. I re-grouped and thought that maybe, to make it as quick as possible, I should use my tree trimmers. I went and got them and as I was walking back to her something in me said that if she died from what I was about to do I did not want the explanation to Sydney to include, "I used the tree trimmers." So I went back to the hoof shears.
I'm gonna describe the next 5 minutes as this:
(talking to myself and Tilla)
"Ok, girl, 1..2..3...oh gosh I can't do it."
"Ok, 1....2...ugggh I feel sick, I'm so sorry Tilla."
"Ok, 1...2...maybe I should just take you to the vet. How much could it cost really?"
"OK, seriously, this is going to hurt for a second but it is for your own good, I promise, I'm so sorry."
Then, I got my nerve. 1....2....3.....BBBAAAAAAAAHHHHH! She let out one long BAH that broke my heart into a million pieces. And of course it was bleeding. It looked like a bad horror film. I had a clean towel and I just held it there, applying pressure because I have 1st Aide training and I know you have to apply pressure. I was also becoming more sick to my stomach. She was becoming less and less impressed with me.
It did finally stop bleeding. I put medicine on it and got ready to put her back in her stall. I was not prepared for how she was going to RUN AWAY when I let her out of the milking stanchion. These goats are like dogs, they never run from us because they know we are food dispensers. Well as soon as she took off, the horn hole started bleeding again. You know how that is, heart rate goes up, wound starts bleeding again. To get her back I had to let her sisters out and then round them all up. Since she wanted to be with her sisters and her sisters were not mad at me, I was able to get them all back in the stall.
It took me 4 days to become friends with her again. I had to spend a lot of time coaxing and wooing. I had to pet her and sit with her. I had to be a safe person that didn't hurt her over and over again for her to trust me again. In those quiet times of trying to make this goat love me again, Jesus spoke to my heart. He said, "How many times have you and I been here Sarah."
Scripture says that Jesus is the vine and God the father is the gardener. Check it out:
John 15: 1 “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. 3 You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.
Tyndale House Publishers. Holy Bible: New Living Translation. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2013. Print.
What I see here is the parallel of God pruning me and me having to "prune" Tilla's horn. That horn was eventually going to affect her eye and vision and would be bad for her. Even though it was good for her, it hurt! There are things that God as my Father has to prune from my life so that I can better follow Him. When a pruning comes it hurts. Tilla and I both run when the pain comes, even though the pain was for our own good.
If you think for one second walking with the Lord is going to be all butterflies and rainbows you are dead wrong. There is pain. When God prunes something it hurts. The cool thing is that when he prunes some thing and you get over the pain and see that he has ultimately made it possible for the to produce more fruit and be more free you are thankful for the pruning. There are pruning that I have thought would kill me dead, and I ran from God. Every time He woos me back to Him.
In the same way that I had to be close to Tilla while she was bleeding and applying pressure to the wound to stop the bleeding, God is so close to me in the pain. When I am metaphorically bleeding He is so near to me, holding me keeping the pressure on the wound. As the bleeding slows down He turns to wooing me back to himself. He gives me space to question and be hurt and scared. Ultimately He loves me back to life (as my friend Celine Dion says). He holds my hand while I take my first steps to trust His goodness again.
I trimmed Tilla's horn because I love her and I wanted her to be able to see for her whole life. And this is how I know that God can prune and love me at the same time. Pruning comes because He loves me. He is not uninvolved in my life, He is in me. He sees when something in my life will ultimately cause me problems. He intervenes and cuts it out before it cause me to be fruitless. As I saw that goat run from me I saw how ridiculous I am for running from God. With Tilla I was like, "How can you run from me? I built you a barn, I buy you food, I bought you a really nice trailer to take you to shows, and I gave you half of the property to roam on! How do you not get that I am just taking care of you?" And as I thought those things I heard God say, "I KNOW, RIGHT?!?!!!"
My prayer is that I grow to trust God more and more. That the pain of pruning drives me to the Lord and not away from Him. That I grow to never question His goodness, but trust His goodness. He is in this to grow me to be a beautiful fruit producer, not a goat with a faux unicorn horn.