I had a motorcycle column once upon a time, not because I was a motorcycle enthusiast but because I was a woman motorcycle enthusiast. Riding a motorcycle has had great significance in my life. It has been my personal path to awareness and wholeness. I truly believe any man would have trouble comprehending the significance that riding plays in my life. Yes, yes I know that riding is important to many men but I believe that for most women, it is simple really, we ride for different reasons. Riding is not something I do, it has become who I am. My bike has been an integral part of my journey to self awareness and has carried me to people, places and experiences that would not have been possible with any other mode of transportation. It is a strong, directed and dynamic way to get from one point to another. I heard it said once that our experiences weave the tapestry that is our lives. Well my bike was the loom that weaved a beautiful work of art called “Dottie”. However, beautiful masterpieces do not happen by chance, they are created only under the careful eye and artful hands of the Masterful Artist, somehow that is easy to overlook but let’s talk about that a little later. My bike was and is my agent of change. It has become my vehicle of choice on the journey to personal, emotional and spiritual growth. It is only when I ride that life lessons become crystal clear and I can come to terms with the challenges in my life and learn how to overcome them. When I ride I get the chance to look within and grasp who I really am. It feels as if my bike is an extension of my personality. When I ride I am free and significant. When I ride it is a statement about my competency and power. I feel special because I am doing something few women have the courage to try. I feel nothing short of a rebel. I have learned to know and come together in perfect harmony with my bike. This journey has given birth to a perfect partnership of power, strength, balance and momentum. It makes me stronger and more confident. I feel in control. When I am riding, I feel as if I can overcome anything that life throws at me. There is truth in the saying that “if your image of yourself changes, so do your expectations of yourself and those of others around you.” Riding is a lifestyle and at last it is a place where I belong. Riding feels a little bit like opening oneself and connecting with your soul. Riding a motorcycle teaches you to let go and live a life that is more truthful than is comfortable and certainly more liberating. You get to create your own path and you get to write your own adventure. Road miles have a way of making you feel as if you are meeting yourself for the very first time. When it is just you and the road there is little choice but to accept the you that you are meeting and maybe come to appreciate who you really are. Life in the saddle has a way of making you concentrate on the great horizon ahead of you and you can more clearly identify the dreams worth chasing and the goals worth pursuing. You are literally completely exposed to the elements, there is no barrier between you and Mother Nature. You are totally vulnerable but at the same time, you feel strong and you feel free. Suddenly you have tapped into your (up to this point), untapped reservoir of inner power. The freedom of the road has helped to break down those self-imposed barriers and boundaries I so safely stayed behind. There comes a time in all journeys however that you must stand at a crossroads and you need to decide which way to turn to reach your final destination. That can look any one of many ways, a wreck, circumstances where you have to sell your bike, a voluntary but willing separation between you and your bike, as was my case. I knew the relationship that I had forged with my bike had to be broken or at least altered. The bottom line was, as a Christian I could not continue to look to my bike as the one that was giving me all these revelations. I could not continue to look to my motorcycle as my greatest source of happiness. I knew that I was looking to my motorcycle for things that I should have been looking to God to fulfill. So I made the decision to sell my bike. I gave it one month, the month that Sturgis Motorcycle Rally was going on and when literally tens of thousands of motorcycles are sold by the Harley Davidson Shop there. If my bike was going to have the best chance to sell, this was it. If it didn’t sell, it was certainly a God thing. I knew if I could leave my bike there and trust that God would either allow it to be sold or He would make it known to me that I had finally made the choice to accept all the blessings that He alone was offering me and realize that I no longer had to look to my motorcycle or the road to supply those things. Only when that happened could I start looking to my bike as a special blessing in and of itself, but a special blessing from Him. On the last day of the rally my husband took me to Black Hills Harley Davidson and I rode her back home where she belonged. Yes riding was and still is a special blessing to me. All the things I said about riding previously, still stand true. It is every bit all those things to me. However the special blessing my bike is to me does not come from the pile of metal that makes up my beautiful Honey colored motorcycle or the beautiful countryside it carries me through . It comes from God. The special blessing that God gives me as a female Christian rider, is that riding helps me to see clearly just how much God really does love me and how big a role He plays in my life. Riding is my path to the personal awareness of Him, the path that God so blatantly wants me to see. The special blessing God gives me in riding is understanding that the perfect partnership of power, strength, balance and momentum is with God, not my bike. He made the perfect partnership I have with him more apparent to me through riding. He comforted and flooded my heart with the knowledge that I do deserve this special blessing because He loves me for who I am and not in spite of who I am. When I pull up anywhere on my bike there is an often unspoken assumption that I am a women of strength simply because I ride a motorcycle. I certainly are stronger and more confident…….because I know God is in control. What makes me a biker for Christ is learning not only to grasp what God has shown me as I ride, but living it out every single minute of every single day. God is so good and so faithful. He has given me the sweetest gift by allowing me to ride for Him. What makes me a real biker is having the courage to ride consistently for the reasons He asks me to. What makes me a real Christian is accepting God for who He is and what He has done for me. Dottie ……………and so I ride

 

 

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…………..and so I ride

I ride a motorcycle. My husband rides a motorcycle. I have noticed there is a huge difference in how we approach riding. I cannot speak to the male version of riding for I have never been a man on a bike, but I can speak to my more feminine version of riding a motorcycle.

I ride because:

  • In a world where women are often taken for granted or underestimated, it reminds me I can indeed do whatever I set my mind to.
  • I am more than the sum of my parts, I am beautiful, strong, independent, rebellious, incredibly unique and more than a little adventurous, and I ride a motorcycle.
  • Where society says I can’t, I know I can
  • We all deserve to be given the chance to inspire, to ride is to inspire other women to be the best selves they can be, whatever that may be. It may not involve a motorcycle at all, but riding provides the inspiration to go for more than the ordinary.

As I ride I listen to what is being said, the melody of the motor quiets all that is out of order. To ride is to relax my mind of the stresses that bind and to breathe in the beauty of the connection between the road and the soul.

When I take the time to discover and define what the road and my bike are telling me, I find it is God talking, not nature and not mechanics. He is whispering beauty and truth in every direction. He is wrapping me in the warmth and comfort of a road well-traveled, a road with a destination not found on earth. The only road I need to travel in fact.

It is called meditation on wheels.

It is called finding God in the surroundings He created.

What riding does for me does not end there however. God has allowed me to ride so that I can spread the gospel to those who are the same unique and unconventional individuals that I am. I have the privilege of sharing my hope with those who I probably would not cross paths with in any other way.

It is conventional evangelism in an unconventional way.

For me, riding is more than entertainment, more than stress relief and more than wind in my hair or pure joy and fun. Riding is a way to introduce Christ to those who are hurting and uncomfortable and are hiding from the light because they might not feel worthy. It is sharing Christ with those who might not be comfortable in a traditional church setting but they are comfortable with the freedom and solitude their motorcycle affords them. They are comfortable when they find a kindred spirit.

In the truest sense of the words, riding offers freedom, the kind of freedom that only Jesus can provide.

My ride is defined and exemplified by my desire to go where I am needed, not necessarily where I am comfortable.

I ride for freedom in the truest form of the word.

Dottie

……………………..and so I ride

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Wasting Time

I am hearing that it will be motorcycle riding temperatures the next couple of days. Those of us who ride spend the winter counting the days until spring. We wait impatiently for a day or two of warmer temps so we can break the monotony of winter and fire up the bikes and ride.

We usually put the “Winter Wait” to good use, we plan our summer riding schedule, we work on our bikes if there are repairs that need to be done, pour through catalogs our browse our favorite motorcycle showroom looking for motorcycle accessories. We generally get our plans and bikes in shape and ready to roll as soon as spring rolls in.

I wonder do we take the same interest in seeing that the time spent on earth waiting for our Heavenly Father is a productive time. We know that time is short here on earth and there is no time to spare, but how seriously do we take that?

Time is so precious that God gave it to us in one second increments. How many of those seconds, minutes, hours, days, months and years do we waste while piddling around here in our earthly home? Do we really take seriously the urgency facing us?

We can recoup a lot of things in our lives, with enough money and work we can usually replace almost any material possession we need to. That is not true with time that we should have been spending cementing our eternal home. When that time is gone…………………….it’s gone.

One day it will be too late.

I don’t think that God put us here on earth to waste time, I believe He put us here to prepare for eternity and to help others find the way too. I don’t know about you but when I finally meet Jesus I don’t want to be standing in His presence  and have to admit that I found almost everything in my life more important than Him.

I don’t want to admit that I was too busy wasting time to prepare to meet my King. I am not sure how long I have left on this earth, none of us are. I don’t believe we have time to waste.

I do think I have a solution however, if you love to ride…………. you love to ride and you are probably not going to stop. I think one way that I shall prepare for eternity is by riding for Jesus. In all that I do I hope to bring glory to my Father that includes riding my motorcycle. So excuse me while I go work on my bike……..I have eternity to prepare for!

Dottie Rankin

And so I ride……………………………………………..Motorcyclefish

Gossip, it has the power to consume everything in its path

Human nature, we are all human, we are all imperfect and believe me we all act like it.
One of the most powerful things we have in our possession is something we can use for good or bad, with this weapon we can move mountains or we can watch as things go up in smoke because we didn’t use this weapon in the right way.
Words, a few simple words have the power to change things in a big way. The trouble is that way can be either good or bad, depending on how those words are used.
We as Christians try to avoid those pesky things called sin. Apostle Paul gives us a list, in Romans 1:29-31 we are told that the list includes, evil, greed, envy, murder, deceit, malice, gossip and slanderers, arrogance, disobedience.
Did you catch the fact that gossip is included in this list. Gossip is nothing more than our words spoken to another. Seems pretty innocent.
A couple of thoughts are running around my mind. I read a very good example of gossip that painted an excellent word picture.
We have all lighted kindling and set that kindling beneath a stack of logs. The fire began to spread first to one log then to another until finally the blaze is burning hot and consuming all in its path.
Words are just words but if they are about someone else and their life and those words are whispered to another, good intentioned or not, those words become gossip. Those words are more likely than not going to be like that kindling, they are going to spread whether we swear the hearer to secrecy or not.
Yes, I know that most times when we talk to someone else we claim we do it to try to get a better understanding of the situation, to try to sympathize with the person we are gossiping about but are we accomplishing any of that by talking to another person about a situation that we cannot possible know all the pertinent details about and most probably only have unsubstantiated facts about? Don’t assume you know all the facts even if you are a good friend who has seen more than your share of the situation.
The thing is, the person you are talking to someone about is a real person with feelings, and they are not their situation. They are a hurting, vulnerable, humiliated, embarrassed, dejected and feeling hopeless real life person.
Your good intentions can backfire and leave the person being talked about feeling like an outsider and questioning good intentions and their walk with God and more than likely wanting to crawl into a hole and never come out. Yes, I am preaching to the choir here but life has a way of teaching us valuable lessons.
If you must talk about a situation that someone is dealing with, talk with the person dealing with the situation, or better yet, talk with God. He will give you solid guidance.
Dottie
…………………………..and so I ride.

Think about the people you have met on your motorcycle.

I think of the guy in the Snowy Range Mountains of WY who took our photo in front of Lake Marie. That beautiful photograph now adorns our wall. I think about the weary traveler who lost his sister to a motorcycle crash earlier in the week, I think about the lady who sought us out in a restaurant as we were waiting for a table, just to tell us thank you for the work we do.

You know the people I am talking about, the lost souls who somehow gravitated to you, the battered and beaten spouses who somehow found their way to you. The lonely widower, the spunky new retiree, the young man on his first bike, you know who they are and you remember talking to them.

Now, let’s switch gears here for just a minute.

You are a born again believer and you know that time in not on our side. You are anxiously waiting on heaven. There is nothing that can take that hope away from you. It fills you every day, it boils within you until it spills out in your life. It is seen in your every action, every reaction, every thought. Living for Christ is who you are and what you do.

Our bikes become a mighty tool, we jump on and go on a search and rescue mission for God.

But what if we rode our motorcycles just to ride, just to enjoy the scenery, just to feel the wind in our hair and to experience those glorious twisties and turns we all seek out.

My heart has never sang quite as joyous a song as when I saw a roadside sign last summer on a trip that said “Curvy road next 99 miles”!

Oh yea!

We do experience all that (and love it more than a little) but if that is all we ride for we are stealing hope.

We are stealing the future and we are robbing unbelievers of the chance for the glorious love that fills our every pore. What if we are the only person to connect with a certain somebody and give the message of hope that Jesus Christ offers? What if our words are the only words that somehow get through the walls and fortress that so often are built around hearts?

We are robbing ourselves of knowing we made a difference. I doubt very much any one of us would give up what we experience every single day with Christ in our lives without a lot of kicking, screaming and an all-out war. How can we rob someone else of the chance to experience what we cherish so much?

Look what we go through to follow Christ. It is not easy but yet we are steadfast in our pursuit.

Finally we are robbing God of the glory that is ultimately and completely His as He adopts new followers into His family.

I want to offer hope, not steal it!

Dottie

………………………….and so I rideImage

Hope for the Heart

imagesI am sitting here in my bed and vowing to listen to my Dr the rest of the time I am recovering. Orders are to rest and stay pretty close to home. This past couple days has given me ample time to ponder.

The pondering tonight was on Hope for the Heart Biker Church.

Tonight was the first “official service” of Hope for the Heart Biker Church. I was not supposed to be out of bed but I could ‘t stay home.

What I am pondering is the fact that God has brought us together with a group of amazing people to spread the Gospel. I am also pondering on the fact that He is using motorcycles to do that. To those of us who ride, this is no surprise. There is no better way to start a conversation than with your bike.

Bikers are also people that at least during the riding season, are apt to be out riding rather than in church on a Sunday morning. God seems to have missed no detail in planting this church when He suggested Friday evenings, it is a great way to start a weekend ride.

Testimonies were given last night, and the story of how God whispered this church into reality. There was no pretense, there was no hierarchy, there was only the love of God and the unquenched desire to let as many know of Him as we are capable of reaching.

I will be the first to tell you that those who ride motorcycles are a special breed of people with a common thread binding us all together. If God has told you to get on your bike and minister, you do it, if God has told you to plant a biker church you do it.

Does this mean it is not scary? Absolutely not, stepping out of our comfort zone is hard for all of us. Does this mean that Satan won’t throw every monkey wrench into the works that he can in the hopes of crippling this new church. Absolutely not, before the first service we saw jobs lost, medical emergencies and crippling fear, and those are just the troubles I know about.

However, just as Satan knows, God wins!

Stand on the truth because we know that God won’t lie to us, it is impossible for that to happen.

God will never stop being, He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. I don’t know about you, but to me that is remarkable and so comforting.

One service, the first service and this is what I got. Comfort, confidence, worries were replaced by thankfulness, I found hope and joy and deep down inside happiness.

I truly believe that God loves all of us and is seeking us out, He is preparing the way and He will take care of us as this church grows. How do I know this?

“I’ve seen the lighting flashing,
I’ve heard the thunder roll,
I’ve felt sin’s breakers dashing,
Trying to conquer my soul;
But I heard the voice of Jesus,
Telling me still to fight on,
Because He promised never to leave me,
Never to leave me alone.”

 

Dottie

……………..and so I ride

 

Note to Self- You may read if you need to think about keeping commitments also

Note to Self- You may read if you need to think about keeping commitments also J

Commitments are not just words you say, they are actions you keep.  Wow there’s a thought, think about New Years Resolutions.  By definition a commitment is a decision to do what needs to be done, whatever the cost. Read that again…….whatever the cost.

That seems like it should be easy but I am ashamed to say that I am as bad as anybody else in offering a commitment but when the time comes to fulfill that obligation, any excuse will do.

There are lots of areas in life this can pertain to, promises to ourselves, promises to others, when you get a pet you make a commitment, when you get a drivers license you make a commitment, the list is endless. How often do we find ourselves slipping or completely ignoring the commitments we make?

We promise ourselves that we will save money by not eating out so often but when we have had tough days at work we say, well just this one time. Then at the end of the month you realize you have eaten out more than you have eaten at home. You make a commitment to help with something for a friend but when the time comes you are too tired, to busy, etc. Our pets don’t get walked and exercised like they should and we continue to break the laws when we drive, texting and driving, prime example.

You get my drift. If it doesn’t seem like a priority at the moment, more than likely it won’t get done, no matter your previous commitment.

I’m not calling anybody out here, this is strictly being written for me and a certain commitment I made that I don’t feel I have been living up to.  I am writing this morning about a commitment I made by joining CMA.

I think it is pretty common to join an organization and have good attendance at first but soon it slips on your priority list for one reason or another and as it goes lower and lower on the list participation drops. Is that fair to the organization as a whole and is it fair to the fellow members of the organization? Probably not.

With your commitment of joining comes responsibility, but lets back up a bit.

What does the Bible say about our commitments? Lots – and words about commitment are not minced. Numbers 30:2 says if a man vows a vow to the Lord, he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth. Ecclastiasted 5:4-5 says not to delay paying our vows, it is better that you don’t promise rather than promise and not pay. Perhaps Psalm 89:34 says it best. I will not violate my covenant or alter the word that went forth from my lips.

It doesn’t get much plainer than that. If you make a commitment – keep it.

I guess what makes me write about this today is the fact that I have been incredibly busy at work, there is a grant due, we are in the process of moving our school and switching fiscal agents. You know, life happens. In the meantime, I have been letting my commitment to CMA slip. Last night I missed a ride. Last winter I seldom made Bible study.  I always claimed to be to tired, to stressed from work , etc. there was an excuse a day.

Last night stress from work was affecting my tummy so I opted to stay home. I could have rode, but I chose to wallow in my stress. I guess that means I didn’t trust God enough to ask for the strength to do what I made a commitment to do. Ouch and I apologize.

There are times we genuinely must miss functions and everyone understands that but when you start missing more than you are attending maybe it is time to re-evaluate what is going on.

Lets make some comparisons here.

Humans: We are too tired to go to meetings, to go on organized rides, to show up and promote the cause of the Kingdom.

God: For God so loved the world He gave His only son…………….John 3:16

Humans: Can’t afford to ride or eat with the group because I had a few to many stops at Starbucks this week.

God: God decided to save a lost world. The cost was the cruel, despicable death of His only son.

Lets face it, there is power in a gathering of our members, I have seen it work. There is especially power when we ride and our colors are blowing in the wind. When we chose to forsake the gathering for selfish reasons, we forfeit a portion that power.

When we choose to disobey and not honor our commitments the effects are much more than is apparent to the eye. As Christians others are watching us, if we don’t think the early morning CMA meeting is important enough to go to, others are watching. They could very well chose to take the same opinion. Thus we lose potential members.

If we don’t make every effort to make the rides we have made a commitment to, others will think it isn’t important enough to do either. I can hear the rumble, well the members of that club don’t seem to like to attend the meetings, I think I will find another club.

Yes, we can grow weary. Yes, motivation will grow dim. Yes, we will put other things in the more important category than fulfilling our commitments to CMA but we have not yet been the ones who witnessed the shedding of blood of the innocent one, for our salvation. Sure we know there was great suffering so that we might live eternally, but knowing is different than taking it to heart and living like we “know” it.

What Christ has done for me, what Christ does in me and what Christ well continue to do for me, that should be enough motivation to get out there and fulfill my obligations.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light’ ” (Matt. 11:28–30).

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Dottie

………………..and so I ride