Willow

“I have a horse that I would like to donate to your ministry.”

 

            The woman’s soft voice on the phone is difficult to hear.  As I strain to listen, she tells me about her little mare. 

 

“She is not much to look at,” she says.  “I adopted her from the sheriff’s dept after she was abandoned in a field here in the local area.  Her halter was left on her head for at least a year, and because she was so young, as she grew, her bones formed around the halter and it had to be cut off.  She is built well, just has bumps on her face….”

 

            Her voice trailed off as she waited to see what I would say. 

 

My thoughts were racing… “Could we take on another horse right now?  Is this one that God would have be a part of this place?”

 

            As if sensing my thoughts, she broke in, “I can no longer keep her.  I am a single mom and money is so tight.  I don’t know what I am going to do with her….”

 

            Three days later, we pulled in to her driveway, trailer in tow to pick up our little horse.  An incredibly small property was crammed with horses, vehicles, trailers, trash and junk.  Our hearts heavy and apprehensive, we walked around the corner of a tiny pen and shelter to find a little red mare peeking out.  Bumps on her nose, thin, bites from her hide from fighting with other horses for food, her outside was battered and scarred but as we approached, her spirit shone from her soft eyes.  Speaking softly, we haltered her and began to lead her to the trailer.  She came slowly and fearfully, trembling slightly every time the former owner approached. 

 

       “She has been difficult to handle,” she said.  “My kids have done all her training and sometimes the neighbor down the road.  They all mean well but my kids don’t know a whole lot and the neighbor is often rough.”
 

            Praying hard for peace and patience, we kept our thoughts to ourselves as we worked to load the little horse in the trailer.  She was panicked at times, rearing and pulling, but finally stepped into the trailer and allowed us to close the door behind her.

 

            Pulling into our driveway a few hours later, we slowly opened the trailer door.  A little red nose peaked around the corner as if to see if it was safe to come out.  Several whinnies greeted her from the spacious corral.  She lifted her head and scanned the open vast horizon.  She sniffed the prairie breeze, gave a deep sigh, stepped out of the trailer, and nudged us with her nose. 

 

         She was home. 

 

            We named her Willow.  God created willow trees to bend and sway with the storms.  Despite the battering and scarring that they receive, they grow green and beautiful each spring.  Usually found by streams of water, their roots reach deep for sustenance. 

          Our little Willow has had to bend with the storms in her life, but despite her battered and scarred appearance, she is beautiful and graceful.

 

            Teenage girls have often come to our ranch to see the horses.  As we share the different stories of what each horse has gone through, Willow’s story resonates with them.  In this life of media bombardment of what beauty is supposed to look like, as they struggle with how God has created them, they look at Willow and see her inner spirit.  They see her beauty and grace as she moves.  They don’t see the bumps on her face or the scars on her hide. 

            Once they see that in her, they realize that God sees that in them.  God created their inner spirit.  He created their beauty and grace.  He does not see the pimples, or the teenage awkwardness.  He does not see the scarred and battered outside.   

He sees the heart of who they are.  

            And just like the willow tree, if they reach their roots deep for Living Water, they too will grow strong and beautiful.

Pwillow-21salm 1:3 They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither. In all that they do, they prosper.

      As Willow has grown, her bumps have faded and her scars have healed.  She is truly now the beautiful creature that God intended her to be.

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  1. Your story about Willow has touched me dearly. I had a hard time reading the rest after reading the part about the halter being embedded in her skin.I cried for a bit. I can only imagine the relief that poor horse felt when your wonderful facility rescued her and took care of her. I am so glad to know there are wonderful people like you out there. I wish I had the land and money to do the same. I would love to dedicate my time and love that I have for horses like you do. God bless you.


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