Sometimes we don’t pray because we can’t believe our prayers will really make a difference. Other times we fail to pray because we’ve become too complacent or we’re afraid of being disappointed. When we do pray, it’s often easier to default to a safe and generic, “Thy will be done,” instead of asking for what we really long for. Perhaps we have forgotten we serve a heavenly Father who loves and desires to bless us, His children! In fact, it is He who created us to have desires in the first place.
My earliest desires in life had everything to do with horses. Growing up I don’t remember a time when I didn’t love horses . . . and I don’t even know why I loved them! I asked Santa for a pony when I was three (and didn’t get one, much to my disappointment). My plan was to put him in a refrigerator box on the porch! The obsession continued until my parents finally relented and let me take riding lessons when I was nine years old. Not able to have a horse of my own, I would clean stalls at the stable and do whatever I could just to ride a horse that wasn’t being used. I was happy to ride anything with four legs and often rode the mounts no one else wanted.
As an adult, horses were no longer part of my life but were always part of my dreams. I began volunteering at a local Christian equestrian center just for the chance to be around them again. My daughters also caught the equestrian bug and as young children they enjoyed collecting plastic horses. However, as they grew older, they lost interest in toys and allowed me to give some of them away. One day as I was packing away these neglected toys, one little horse caught my attention. He was a small black horse with one white foot and a white mark on his nose. This little plastic toy made me smile so I placed it on the dresser in my room.
The girls made fun of me, saying, “Mom, why do you have a toy horse?”
“I don’t know—I just like that one. Now leave me alone!” I said, laughing at myself along with them. Looking at the plastic horse stirred something within my heart to pray that one day God would give me a real horse of my own. This was my dream, but as a single mom it seemed like an impossible request!
Then one day a new horse showed up at the stable where I volunteered. She was a yearling who had been rescued from the meat buyers at a horse auction. Although she was wild looking and untrained, to me this delicate filly was strikingly beautiful! Rosie, as she was called, was a black bay with one white foot and a white mark on her nose. I couldn’t help noticing how much she reminded me of the toy on my dresser. She was then taken to another stable for training but a year later she came back, still fearful and extremely difficult to handle.
At that time, I was going through a painful period in life because of a broken relationship and I was also fearful and difficult to handle. One day I went out into the pasture just to be alone and cry. As I sat with my back against a saddle, I heard a horse breathing behind me. It was Rosie! She came alongside me and laid her head against my cheek, staying several minutes as if to comfort me in my pain.
Not long after that, the stable manager suggested I work with Rosie to see if I could get her accustomed to being handled. So knowing that Rosie’s love language was touch, I began hands-on training every day, teaching her to trust me. Soon I was leading her through challenging obstacles, and she was gaining confidence. Within six weeks she had a saddle on her back, and I was riding her!
Rosie’s owner saw the bond between us and offered her to me as a gift. “She’s your horse!” she declared, amazed at the progress Rosie had made. Another friend offered to help pay for her feed, and Rosie officially became mine. We learned later that this beautiful animal had championship bloodlines but unfortunately had ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time—or perhaps it was the right place in God’s right time!
The Lord had created Rosie for a purpose and created me with a desire. The little plastic horse I kept on my dresser was a model of the gift God was preparing for me! As we delight ourselves in the Lord, He delights to give us the desires of our hearts.
I continue to learn many new things with Rosie. There is so much trust between us that at times I have been able to ride her with no bridle—controlling her only with my voice and legs. She loves to please me, and I love to lavish my affection on her. It also doesn’t hurt her feelings to have a carrot or an apple to reward her good behavior!
Rosie is a beautiful reminder of how God lavishes His love on us every day if we simply allow Him! He takes great pleasure in fulfilling the desires of our hearts. We may not always get what we want when we pray, but we can trust that He will give us His very best. In Christ, He can surely fulfill our wants, our needs, and His perfect will.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. (James 1:17)
Father, You know the desires of my heart and that ultimately my heart is only fulfilled in You! Teach me to love You more and to choose what You desire. As I pray, I trust You to give me what is best. In Jesus’ name, amen.
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