A Horse called Freedom

*Names and some details have been changed to protect privacy

“We have some horses here that might be what you are looking for.  Why don’t you come and check them out?”

We had first met Adam and Cyndy the prior year when they answered an ad for a horse for sale.  Cyndy loved horses and, at age 36, was finally ready for her first horse.

After months of searching, she met her match, a beautiful painted draft horse that we had available. It was love at first sight and he became hers.  Upon moving their horse to a larger property, Adam decided that he was interested in a horse of his own.

A friendship had begun after Cyndy had purchased her horse, and we had many conversations with them, especially Adam, on the phone and in person.  He had told us he was an atheist but was very interested in what we did with kids, families and horses.  He expressed many times that there was a sense of peace and hope at this ranch that he could not explain.

Many times he asked us to tell him how and why it was different here, but could we please leave God out of the conversation?  After we shared how that was impossible, that we were only who we are, and this place is only what it is, through the grace, love and peace that a relationship with God brings into our lives, he began to open up.

He had been struggling for many years with overwhelming depression and anxiety.  He and Cyndy had only been married a few years and his burden was threatening to tear their marriage apart.

Voices in his head bombarded him with many lies- that he was completely worthless, no one could ever love him, his past was too much to overcome, he should end his life and take away the burden of himself from others. 

His bondage was so great that often the only way that he could make through the day alive was to stay on one couch in their house.  He knew that if he did not leave that couch while the voices in his head were raging, he would not do himself bodily harm.  This had happened several times a week for many years.

He worked from home and was responsible for caring for Cindy’s horse while she was gone for the day.  He began to realize that while he was in the corral, doing chores and feeding, his fears were lessened, his bondage was eased.  In his hope, he came back to us, to find a horse that could set him free.

“We have an overwhelming situation here.  We have 40 horses that are starving and need immediate help.  Do you have any room at your ranch for a group of them?”

I got off the phone with the sheriff’s deputy with my heart saddened, but with the pull to help in any way we could.  We were bordering on full with horses at our property, but I knew that we needed to help in this situation.  A horse “rescue” about an hour away had been finally shut down after the abuse and starvation became public knowledge.  The horses and other animals were in horrific condition with bones and ribs protruding.  For most, this was their only health issue.

The woman that had run the rescue had hay just outside the fence.  She just chose not to feed it.  These horses were tortured by the smell of the hay right outside their corral with no way to get to it.

5 horses, 2 ponies and a little jack donkey arrived at our house and slowly and weakly moved to their pens and dove into large piles of hay.

Over the next few weeks, as the weight began to be put back on, the life came back into their eyes.  They began to play in the pens and their personalities became more evident.  One little gelding emerged as the clown, always starting games of chase with the other horses.  One gelding was sweeter and more mellow, always ready for a scratch.  Two were mustangs and their fear was very strong at first.  As they realized that our arrival meant hay and grain, they began to whinny and call when they would see us come.  Our mornings were greeted by the little donkey’s bray.

Usually, we rename each horse that comes to the Ranch as a symbol of their new life, but for the first time, new names did not come easy.  Knowing that the plan was for each horse to be adopted to a new home, we decided to keep the names that the horses came with and allow their new families to name them if they chose.

Adam and Cyndy arrived to check out the horses.  The horses had put most of their weight back on and were just about ready for new homes.  We walked through the herd and talked about the different needs of each horse that was available.

 For some reason, we felt God holding us back from sharing the horses’ names. 

The sweet little gelding stood out to Adam.  He followed us around as we walked and was ready for attention at all times.  Adam asked us if he could consider him more carefully.

Adam and Cyndy spent the night with us that night and Scott had the opportunity to share more about God’s deep desire for relationship with us and the gift of sacrifice He made in His Son’s death and resurrection. Adam’s face was thoughtful as he headed off to bed.

The next morning, he came to us and told us that he felt like God had told him to take that horse.  I looked at Scott in amazement.  He knew what I was thinking and as I turned back to Adam, I said,

“I find it tremendously amazing, and a sign of God’s love toward you, that God told you to take a horse named Freedom.”

Adam came to visit Freedom several times after that.  The last time he came, he stayed for five days.  As he was preparing to leave, he fought back tears as he shared that he had not had a single struggle with fear, depression or anxiety while he was at the Ranch.

It was the longest stretch he had ever gone and he was afraid to go home.

His heart had felt peace and he did not want to go back to the bondage that he had been under before.  He knew that God had given him what he needed to break his bonds, and yet he was still afraid to reach out and trust in His grace and love.

Freedom went home with Adam and Cyndy that week.

Our prayer continues to be that through this little horse, who was in bondage himself and set free, that God will shower His grace and love on our friend whose bonds still linger.

That the unconditional love of this horse will mirror the unconditional love of God.

That through a little horse named Freedom, those iron bands will be broken forever.

John 8:32

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

 

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Published in: on July 16, 2008 at 8:47 am  Comments (1)  
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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Wow, the story is so touching and True. God does set each of us free from our Past and give us a new future and Hope. Is29:11


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