“Daddy, please stop the car! Pleassse!” We were driving by a horse farm on a rural road near my home. The horses and ponies dotted the pastures, and one very plump Palomino pony was near the fence. He was irresistible, and my dad knew that this desire to be near horses was unquenchable.
“Jill, I don’t have time. Now stop whining!” My dad said in his gruffest voice.
I stifled a sob. I was five years old, and totally and utterly in love with horses. Knowing that riding a horse or taking lessons was out of the question, I moaned deep within my spirit.
At seven years old, I had learned to negotiate a bike, and I would steal away on day time excursions to this farm. For hours, I would watch the horses, laugh at their antics, and entice them with carrots I had taken from our refrigerator. They were unkempt and mangy, but to me they were valiant stallions. I would breathe deeply their scent, and it seared itself into my heart. Someday, I don’t know how, but I will own a horse, I said to myself!
I was unwavering in my decision. As soon as I graduated from college and got my first “real job” I signed up for three lessons at a stable close to my home.
Riding with tiny children that rode like champions was almost too much to take, but people my age were not starting lessons they were already accomplished riders. I stood out like vanilla in a sea of chocolate. I was in the beginner class, and the lazy Appaloosa that I rode every lesson was happy with one speed, super slow. I wanted to gallop and jump like I had seen the more advanced riders. It would take me three painstakingly long years.
Then the opportunity of a life time presented itself. A just-turned-four-year-old broken-down Thoroughbred cross was for sale. His bones jutting out against the scruffy red-bay gelding. His name was Raise Your Dreams, and his eyes, large and expressive were begging me to save him. I did not know that he would save me too.
Working in a job I hated, a broken engagement, and a life spiraling out of control, Raise Your Dreams gave me a reason to live. He was extremely bright, and I learned one of the most essential lessons a rider can grasp, a horse needs a reason to do what is being asked. Once I grasped this coveted concept, I excelled in my riding. I even rode with an Olympic coach who saw in me a heart destined for learning. People would remark about the beauty of my magnificent steed, his coat glistened, his eyes were bright and alert, his ears flicking in accordance with the aides (signals) I was giving him.
My heart still yearning for more, I became a certified riding instructor, and taught at premiere farms in southern New Jersey. Then something happened that was a true miracle.
Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart, Psalm 37:4. I began a relationship with Jesus. My life would never be the same! What He gave me was far beyond my wildest dreams………………………………….
(this story will continue)
Who said horse farms are for riding horses? Caterpillars like to tickle and crawl, and it seems we have a gazillion here, and the boys find them irresistible! Horses are here all year and caterpillars are available only for a few weeks, and the little furry critters like to tickle! What can a horse do compared to a caterpillar?
I still couldn’t resist asking, “Who wants to ride a horse?……. No one???”
Jake said, “Miss Jill, we are catching caterpillars!” His tone exasperated, how could I not understand?
I guess I will ride by myself.
After reading my book FIGHTING FOR THE FINISH, the Salem County Christian Association wanted me to speak at their “Men and Women” breakfast.
What an honor! Nothing better than sharing all that God has done in my life!
The sweltering heat is keeping everyone from riding. So, Katie practices with her doll.
The weather can’t break soon enough for Katie and her doll!
I am not sure who is more excited, Bella or me. Isabella is my neighbor, my right-hand-helper-do anything-for-Miss-Jill rider. She takes two to three lessons a week and has become a fabulous rider. Her leg is solid, hands steady, and she loves pushing herself.
So, when the opportunity came for her to ride in a horse show with her absolute favorite pony, Squirt, it was a dream come true. The little pony, naughty as the day is long, has become her best friend. He in turn showers her with affection by placing his head on her shoulder, licking her hand, helmet, and face. But his biggest demonstration of his love came one day while she was warming him up. He stumbled badly and fell to his knees. He could feel Bella falling forward, and he literally caught her with his head and pushed her back into the saddle.
That’s why I agreed to allowing her to ride this little brown and white pony that will try his heart out for his beautiful and elegant rider that loves him more than anything else in the world.
Stay tuned for news of our outing.
As I told Bella, ride with JESUS, He will never let you down!
It is September 1, 1995 at 7:00 in the morning and I’m terrified!
I never thought an opportunity to house-sit my friend’s beautiful mansion would lead me to complete and utter despair. It started with weird coincidences. Music coming on the stereo without it being touched, noises, lights turning on, chairs moving, and more horrible things happening left me desperate for answers.
That’s what led me to say five simple words on that fateful morning. My girlfriend’s pastor was on the phone offering me hope. I was rejecting it like I always had. Just then the phone started to ring while I was on it.
“Ok, if I accept JESUS, will this stop?”
“I don’t know, but you’ll have the power to make it stop,” he said.
That’s when I made the wisest decision of my life. I accepted JESUS Christ as my savior. I instantly became new, everything about me changed in that one decision.
I also entered into a spiritual battle and total victory that started with these simple five words, “JESUS, COME INTO MY LIFE!”
For one year, I was in a fight for my life, but God held me through it all. JESUS was FIGHTING FOR THE FINISH.
Read my true story, FIGHTING FOR THE FINISH, available at Amazon.com or jillmansor.com.
Life can be hard, but I always found peace on the back of my beloved horse, RAISE YOUR DREAMS. He became an extension of me, and I was his. Many hours were spent at the barn with this special horse making my life right with my two-thousand pound hero.
Every Wednesday they pile out of the Deveruex van. They come to ride, pick tasty tomatoes organically grown, and to clean stalls of their favorite mounts. The countdown starts as soon as they leave, for stolen moments of freedom and fun at a little farm in southern New Jersey. They call themselves blessed, but it is me that receives the biggest blessings.
Battling cancer all year, two blown knees, and lymphadema in my left arm, I felt that I was broken beyond repair. Until I had an epiphany!
You are a child of God! You don’t have to live in despair! Claim who you are! God was speaking to me!
“Ok devil, I’m serving you notice! The battle is already won! I’m a child of the most high God! You cannot, will not be able to touch me!” Admittedly it felt good! I got up and started to walk, usually painful beyond belief. This time, I was going to praise God for the healing He promised me the day He died on the cross.
“Thank you Father for my healing! I walk in victory, I speak in victory! I am more than a conqueror through Christ!” Emboldened by faith, I knew that I was learning to live above my circumstances.
That night as I climbed into bed, my husband said, “You aren’t in any pain?” He was so accustomed to me complaining, moaning and groaning throughout my day that he noticed the silence of peace that comforted my heart.
“No, Dan! Do you believe it? God taught me that sometimes I just need to get violent!”
“Yup, violent with the devil! I beat him up so badly by claiming all GOD has for me, that he dare not come near me!” I laid down and a tear of gratefulness welled in my eyes. For the first time in a year, I felt no pain! I was healed, always had been, I just needed to claim what I knew I had!