The cell phone rang when I was half way across town running a routine errand. “Our cousin is moving to Florida and he has two horses he wants to give away,” my aunt announced. “He’s had offers, but he wants someone who will love them.”
My heart pounded. My mind raced. And then just as quickly, I reasoned my way back to reality.
“I don’t have a place to keep one horse,” I told her. “I sure don’t have a place to keep two.”
“Well then, find one,” she said matter-of-factly. “And you’ll need to do it soon. He’s already leased his land and needs to find a home for them by Saturday.”
It was Monday.
We hung up and I did what I always do when I don’t know what to do. I called my husband and blurted out all she had said.
“Go slow,” he warned. “This could be God.”
I had been praying for a horse for over 30 years. I was so passionate and so determined to have one, I was even able to convince my “city husband” to buy a house out in the country. I had spent the last year praying for a very specific horse I really couldn’t afford.
“But God knows I want an Appaloosa,” I whined.
“Well,” my husband responded, “Do you want what you want? Or do you want what God wants for you?”
“I WANT WHAT I WANT,” I said, somewhere between laughter and tears.
“Then the best way to know if it’s God,” my husband encouraged, “is to take it one step at a time and see where the road leads.”
The fact that he didn’t think we were all crazy was the first step.
Monday night I called a stable close to our home. It was full. I called two other places. No response.
While all this was going on, my uncle had passed away, and we were preparing to leave town. I had no idea where this cousin lived so I called to tell him we might not be able to come see the horses. He told me he only lived about five minutes from the funeral home and if worked out for us, we could stop by after the visitation. On the way there, we joked that they were probably going to be run down old farm nags, and we would have to politely decline. Of course, they were beautiful, healthy and happy to see us.
When I REALLY don’t know what to do, I ask my dad. He almost always gives me his opinion. So I ran to him. He just laughed, hugged me and said it was up to me.
But it was starting to feel a lot like God.
We came home Wednesday night after the funeral and I called the stable again. Despite being full on Monday, they now had two openings. It was even less expensive than I had imagined. The horses would need tests and shots. And this process, I was told, usually takes a week or more.
Thursday morning, a veterinarian agreed to see them and return the tests in 24 hours.
We still needed a saddle because, no matter how pretty the horses were, I couldn’t bring them home without riding first. I found a used saddle online but it was in another town. I called my husband again. No problem. It just so happened, he was scheduled to do a presentation for work that afternoon, just a few miles away from where the people were selling the saddle. I think I knew, before we saw it, that the saddle would be perfect. It even cost hundreds less than it was worth.
There was still one thing I hadn’t thought much about… how to get the horses home. Three people had told me they would be available with a trailer if this day ever came. But none of them could do it.
Little did I know, my stepmother was already online looking and had sent an email, earlier in the week, that for some strange reason I hadn’t seen. It had the phone number of a man with a brand new horse trailer for rent, and it was on the way between our house and the horses.
I had no control over anything that was happening and yet everything was in control. It even seemed as if each detail had been meticulously planned out in advance.
We got up early Saturday morning, stopped for a few horse supplies (one of the greatest shopping sprees ever) and off I went with the three most important men in my life…my husband, my son and my dad. We took pictures every step of the way and we’ve told the story many times. I share it with you now, because I am reminded, God wants to give us the desires of our hearts. He sees us. He knows us. And even after 30 years of praying, some days begging, some days crying, never really understanding why I couldn’t have something I wanted so desperately, God had planned double for my trouble. I wanted one horse, he gave me two. His timing was perfect. The stars were aligned and we were ready. While I didn’t get an Appaloosa, we did get a Palomino, the horse my husband had dreamed of owning when he was a boy.
Their names are Star and Judah. It’s been one year since they joined our family and it is still so surreal. Some days I just shout toward heaven, “Oh God, you gave me horses!!” Because it is true, good things happen over time, but GREAT things happen all at once. Don’t give up. Keep praying. Keep asking. Keep believing. He hears you. He loves you. He wants to bless you!
“Delight yourself in the Lord
and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
“But be sure to fear the LORD and serve him faithfully with all your heart;
Where were you when Elvis died; or maybe more recently, Michael Jackson? Do you remember what you were doing as the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded? What was happening in your life the morning terrorists hit our largest city and our nation’s capital? We probably all remember exactly where we were and what we were doing.
But where were you and what were you doing when some of your most persistent prayers were answered? When a problem was finally solved? When a question swirling around in your mind for days, months, maybe even years was finally answered? Where were you the last time you just received a totally unexpected blessing?
I don’t sing in the shower, but I do seem to find some of life’s solutions there. It’s probably one of the few places where the non-stop noise of daily living is drowned out by the white noise of the water and I can think more clearly, listen more intently.
A few years ago, faced with what looked like the potential destruction of our family, I cried out to God for His help. His answer came almost immediately through the car radio. Nope, didn’t hear His actual voice. But as I drove across a ten-mile stretch of highway, a song started playing on a station I didn’t remember punching up on the dial. The words took my mind back to a place we had visited seven years earlier and the people there knew what to do.
After months of praying, researching and striving to find the right place for our son to attend school the answer came at a spontaneous dinner gathering. The kids were horsing around; dinner was on the stove and at least three conversations going on simultaneously, when a friend suggested a school we had never considered. Casual conversation in our friend’s kitchen changed our direction and put us on the right path.
Just a few weeks ago, 35 years of praying, hoping and waiting came crashing into our lives like a tidal wave of blessings. We were just running an errand, returning a baby swing to another friend, and the cell phone rang. A simple conversation was the first piece of a puzzle that slid snugly into place over the next five days and my dreams of owning one horse, became two.
In the shower, driving, talking with friends, taking a call…just doing what we do…and God is there…letting us know He has not forgotten us. He still answers prayers, and if we’re not listening for His still small voice, He may have someone call! 🙂
It’s easy to remember where we were when the big things happened…when the bad things happened…but I also always want to remember where I was when God looked down (like He did in the Beginning) and saw that it was GOOD!
Where were you the last time something really good happened…something really GREAT? What were you doing the last time God answered your prayers or gave you the answer you needed?
Our former pastor used to say, “Good things happen over time. Great things happen all at once.” It sure seems that way some days. My husband accuses me of going from great thing to great thing and I am here to tell you, I am GUILTY as charged! 🙂
“The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise him.”
As Diane Lane sang in the Disney movie Secretariat, which I have now watched five, six… okay, maybe seven times…
He taught me how to watch and pray and live rejoicing every day
O Happy Day!
“This is the day which the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.”
A Tahoe packed to the top, with suitcases and ski gear, is where I first heard one of the most profound and best pieces of advice.
We were on our way to the Canadian Rockies and had begged my father-in-law to come along with us. His wife of 63 years had died two years earlier and we felt like it was time for him to live again.
He seemed quite excited when the trip first started, riding shotgun in the big SUV, but after several hours on the road he was silent. I’m sitting way in the very back, third seat on the right, and I’m thinking his silence is not a good sign. I’m wondering if maybe he’s sad or even sorry that he let us talk him into this long trip. So, never at a loss for words myself, I decide to ask.
He quickly responds:
“The less I say, the less I have to give account for.”
Well…WOW…that shoved some more silence right across the great expanse of seats. It was followed by nervous laughter as our minds raced back over all our conversations. If you are religious or consider yourself spiritual, you might recognize some biblical implications. But if not, let me just venture to speculate how this one little quote could be a life changing piece of advice for all of us.
Let’s see…the less I say…what, like when I’m angry? Well, sometimes, when I’m upset I say things that are mean or hurtful, frequently using words that are somewhat short of factual, words like always or never. And, in the end, if I choose to make amends, I must apologize. Thus, I have been held accountable.
Okay, then, what about the less I say when I have a new rumor in my repertoire of words? I really try not to, but maybe you know how hard it can be not to pass on word of friction in the family, a fight among friends, or perchance a real dramatic tale all discreetly disguised in a prayer request. The less I say, the sooner the talk dies down. Or, what if I’m wrong and I’m found guilty of spreading gossip? There will, by all means, be an accounting.
And then there is the less I say about my son who, at age thirteen, completely recoils when he hears his mother gearing up for a full-blown play-by-play of something funny he did or something he said. He didn’t seem to mind his life being put on display for the amusement of friends, family or total strangers when he was a toddler…not even as a young boy. But now, for some reason, at age thirteen, he seems to want ME to be seen and not heard. Wait, isn’t this backwards? I thought that’s what MY parents said about KIDS. Now, for some reason what I say frequently leads to “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to embarrass you,” thus an accounting of the most painful parenting type.
Let’s see… “The less I say, the less I have to give account for.” It is a new day and a new age where words aren’t just out there in the spoken variety. Now you can engage in a rapid email response, tap out a text, fib on Facebook, blab on your Blackberry or even become irate on your iPhone. Sometimes you slide by and no one takes offense…but. more times than I care to count, at least in my own life, I’ve paid a price for the lack of wisdom in my words.
Almost every day I think to myself “I wish I hadn’t said that.” But every day since that eye-opening encounter, I move a little bit closer to saying less!
“He who guards his mouth and his tongue, Guards his soul from troubles.”
Proverbs 21:23 (NAS)
Do you ever wish you could take back what you just said
or the words you just sent?
Log back in on Valentine’s Day for LOVE of course. 🙂