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.
He is forty-something years old, and if there is one thing he loves more than life it is this pudgy, sometimes naughty pony. His name is Frank, and he comes dutifully every Wednesday morning to help lead this pony while he carries his special people for equine therapy. Frank, was not sure that he could be loved, but this pony demonstrated what few have demonstrated in his life- unconditional love. While leading Buttons, he would sometimes say, “Miss Jill, I don’t think Buttons likes me.” As if on queue, Buttons began to lick his hand in response to his insecurity. This pony was proving what I did not have to say.
“I think he just showed you how much he loves you Frank!” I began to laugh. That’s my pudgy pony’s power, to make all believe in the impossible. He has carried people on his back to victory, once placing 6th place out of 21 thoroughbred horses at a hunter show. But his greatest gift is loving all that come here and for them to know that he finds each one as a true treasure. Buttons graces this small farm in southern New Jersey and all that get a chance to meet Buttons knows that he truly has pudgy pony powers.
He is as round as he is tall. But his heart is even bigger. He loves deeply, and if you ever had a chance to be loved by him, then consider yourself blessed immensely.
I had two cancers, one was Invasive and the other was a pre-cancer. One would respond to chemo, the other would need to be surgically removed. I started chemo on October 18, 2017. That was the day that sealed my fate. I was receiving mustard gas, and it took two weeks for me to lose my thick mop of golden blonde hair that was my trademark.
I also learned that cancer tears at your soul. There is a brevity in all of the appointments, in the faces of the patients and the staff that cares for us. Precariously we stand on the precipice of life and death.
Cancer is not what necessarily kills you, but the treatments, surgery, and side effects of these chemicals that they pour into your veins. By the third chemo, I had been in and out of the hospital so many times, that I was a frequent flyer to our little country hospital. They would even call me by my first name before I even registered.
My white blood count was down to a mere 600, it should be 12,000. My liver was shutting down and my gray skin and black eyes staring back at me, confirmed what I knew. I was dying. Right in front of me, I saw a skeleton with gray skin, black circles under my eyes, and it was then that I knew what I had to do. I was going to stop the chemo.
The beauty of knowing the Lord of Lords and King of Kings, meant that I had total peace that He would embrace His child, me. Was my mansion on streets of glory ready to receive me?
My husband was horrified when I told him that I was stopping the chemo. “Please don’t Jill! I need you to live and beat this, you must give the doctors a chance to beat this too. Please don’t stop,” my big burly husband was trying to hide the tears that began to fall.
After fifteen years of marriage, there was something he knew, I was a fighter and resolute in decisions. He knew there was no turning back.
I had lost thirty-five pounds, lost all interest in reading God’s precious Word, praying, or growing closer to Him. It was just too much to bear. What is there to life, if I cannot grow closer to the One that I love with all of my heart?
Darkness was turning to dawn. I felt lighter and brighter in hope that my body would strengthen and spill out these poisons. After three weeks of stopping chemo, I could eat, not that I could keep it down, but I tried.
Funny now, but it wasn’t then. Dan would time everything so that I could get a clean shot to the bathroom after I ate. One time, I did not make it and he carried me to the bathroom while I cried over the mess. By the time I got out of the bathroom, he had cleaned it all up. Grateful for his kindness.
My doctors were very, very mad at me.
“This is your life. why would you stop what can save your life?” she tipped her head back, squinting at this weird subject in front of her that was not going to do everything she told it to do. She was perplexed at this pint sized specimen.
“My life is not here, and it is all well with my soul.”
“Whatever!” I made no sense to her and the disgust was palpable. “I am scheduling all of the tests to begin next week and we will go to surgery in two weeks,” and with that I was dismissed.
Two weeks later I was back in her office as she was going to go over the results, she pushed her glasses back and kept staring at the report. Her lips pursed together, her eyebrows lifting quizzically. Finally after a long sigh, she spoke, “Jill, I just don’t understand, but …………………….”
The journey that I never wanted to go on was commencing and it was during this time that I learned that a battle was raging, not in my body, but in my mind………
My prayers are ALWAYS for protection. I am an offensive prayer. I try to think of everything that could ever happen and pray against it. Cancer is always my biggest one to rebuke and rebuff. I thought I was covered under the blood of Jesus. I am a believer in Jesus and His healing power, never doubted, not once.
“God, what do you want me to learn through this?” I implored in the early morning hours of August 31st.
“I want you to be able to relate to others, and for them to relate to you,” His still quiet voice spoke into my spirit.
“Ok, God, I want to learn. Please Lord, help me to go through this with your victory and countenance” I said through tears.