When God first gave me the words "Glory Reins Stables," it seemed like an impossibility. We had just taken our "perfect" suburban house off the market after a year of almost no prospects. We were grieving the loss of our dream of living in the country, trying to be content with what God had given us. But then Bob's co-worker dropped a picture of this cabin on his desk. It was a fixer-upper, but we fell in love with it anyway. And that perfect house nobody wanted the year before? Sold within 24 hours.
Over the next 2 1/2 years we worked on things we couldn't see the use for. Stalls and fences for horses we didn't have. Siding on the barn that we only used for cutting lumber and parking our trucks. We knew God must have a plan, but it was a jumble of possibilities with nothing clearer than the next project in line.
One Friday I was on my way home to Bob with a job offer making more money than I had ever made before. It seemed an answer to prayer--the property's constant needs had been difficult for us to fund. But on the way home, I stopped in at the little Amish store down the road and noticed a book featuring a sweet-faced, blind horse named Joey who lived on a farm called Hope Reins. Riding high on the rush of the job offer, I splurged and bought it. When I got back to the farm, Bob and I laughed and rejoiced our way through Saturday, thanking God for the coming financial relief. But then I started reading, and when I finished the book at 3am Sunday morning I was in tears. I knew I wouldn't take the job. I knew what God wanted. I knew what all our work had been for.
I felt incredibly guilty for destroying what we had been so happy about only the day before, but I poured out to Bob what God had laid on my heart. The crushed spirits of the foster children I had transported in my last job, how I couldn't do anything to help or love them, not even offer them Jesus. The story of the horse, Joey, who had brought out an abused girl's first words. How God had given us Gator, our own partially blind horse. How we knew God had a plan for our farm and He had finally let me see it. Bob was quiet, tense, and I could tell that he was frustrated to see me rejecting that job that had seemed like such an answer to our needs. But after a couple of hours, he came back and asked, "Are you sure God wants us to do this?" I could only nod. He chuckled and said, "That book just got real expensive. We're a team. Let's figure this out."
That was easier said than done! We didn't even know how to write a business plan, let alone navigate the tax status, articles of incorporation... we were already overwhelmed. "Lord," we cried, "we need help!"
The following Friday, we were on our way down to North Carolina for our granddaughter's dedication. Bob asked, "Did you say Joey's farm was in North Carolina?" I checked online, and found that it was, in fact, only 15 minutes from my son's house. Okay, God, that gave me goosebumps!
When we pulled in at the gate, we were in awe. It was absolutely beautiful, and people were working everywhere. Planting flowers, cleaning arenas, working or grooming the horses, tractors and other farm machinery moving around. And best of all, children laughing, all in the misty rain. It was obvious: we were walking on prayed-for land.
Brandon, the ranch manager, gave us his full attention, answering our many questions. While we were there, a mom approached with her little girl hiding behind her leg. "Sir," the woman said, "my daughter has something for you." Brandon stopped everything and knelt in the dirt to look the girl in the eyes. "Do you have something for me?" She timidly held out a $100 bill. "This is for the sad children and the hurt horses," she said. Her mom relayed the rest of the story. She'd found the money at Disney, and after failing to find the owner, her mom had asked her what she'd like to spend it on. She'd said the sad children and the hurt horses. As Bob and I both looked away with tears in our eyes, he took my hand and whispered in my ear, "We have got to do this."
Brandon's gift of advice was, "Tell everyone what God has asked you to do, and trust that if God has laid this on your heart, He will provide for it." So we tell everyone, and God's works have been too many to count. We receive hugs and phone numbers in restaurants and lumber yards. Several kids and families have already begun healing at Glory Reins. We have received a gift of a round pen and hours of physical labor, along with a generous financial gift that's helped us get started. Glory Reins Stables has been bathed in prayer, and the words of encouragement have always come just when we needed them most.
We do not yet fully understand God's plan for Glory Reins Stables, but we trust His leading. As we seek to serve our Lord well, we have found one purpose: to give hope. And at the end of this journey we pray we have pleased God in all that we have done.