People sometimes relegate horses to the status of an expensive hobby,
but I want to show you through this series that the life lessons they teach are priceless.
In my very first “What horses have taught me” post, I gave a little background on how I came to own horses in the first place. But today I want to explore a significant lesson I learned in the midst of that story.
For the first time, I truly learned that God is in control–of everything. And I didn’t realize until recently what a treasure that lesson was to learn early in my life, and what influence that has had in my adult life.
After I had spent three long years scrimping and saving every penny (literally, I regularly checked the couch cushions for loose change), at 13 I had finally earned enough to fund my half of the purchase price of a horse. We were ready.
At the beginning of that summer, we began buying the local swap sheet and I circled just about every ad for a horse in our price range. My mom made the calls–one after another. Most of the time, the call was as far as it got–the horse had already sold, or needed an intermediate to advanced rider, or there was some other obvious issue.
But a few times, we actually made appointments to go see the horse, to ride it, to evaluate. We often brought along our neighbors who knew far more about horses than we did.
I remember several of the horses distinctly. Whitney was a gray standardbred, she was calm and quiet, pretty and perfect for a kid like me. We loved her. We put an offer on her. I dreamed about the day we would bring her home and make her ours. Then she was sold to someone else.
I was devastated.
My parents consoled me as they told me the bad news. God is in control, they told me. If it was the horse that He had picked out for us, she wouldn’t have sold to someone else.
We kept looking.
Soon, I fell in love again–harder this time. His name was Mister Mighty Miracle. He was a 16h thoroughbred and absolutely beautiful. At only 6 years old, he was incredibly calm and just loafed around with me as gentle as could be. This was it. I was sure. I wanted him so much I ached for it.
But our neighbor noticed something about him, one knee was slightly larger than the other. He wasn’t limping and it didn’t appear to be swollen, most likely just a congenital defect that would have no impact on him. But we wanted a vet to do an x-ray just to be sure, as part of the usual pre-purchase exam. But the owners said no. They would not allow an x-ray.
We don’t know why they did that, but we couldn’t in good conscience spend $3,000 on a horse of questionable soundness. So we had to be the ones to say no, to walk away. I was crushed. I cried so hard that night. I didn’t want to walk away, I wanted to bring him home, to love him.
But if he had been the one for us, the owners would have let us x-ray his knee, my parents said. God is in control. He won’t allow anyone to take away the horse that is for us.
The summer wore on and our barn remained prepped but empty. It was one of the hardest lessons of my young life.
It’s funny how often that lesson comes back around. How often I think of it. Just recently Husband and I thought we may have finally found the house for us, we were ready to put in an offer. But when we arrived at our realtor’s to put together the paperwork he told us that the house had gone under contract just that afternoon.
He looked at me and asked if I was disappointed. Of course I was, but not devastated.
I told him that we came into this journey of house hunting with the perspective that God has just the right house for us, and He will not allow that house to be sold to someone else while we’re doing due diligence to research it and crunch numbers before diving in. So, it just wasn’t the house He has for us. And more than anything, we want what He has to give.
*A BIG thank you to my parents for teaching me something so crucial in such a tangible way.
**To learn about Cocoa, the horse we ended up buying that summer, read this.
Other What Horses Have Taught Me posts:
“I can do this”