Jesus Saves Wretches Like Me

I came to accept Jesus Christ as my Savior, not because I wanted to, but because I had to.  While staying at one of the oldest homes in a quaint little town in southern New Jersey, I was in trouble, spiritual trouble.  I was house sitting this beautiful masterpiece.  But what I did not know was that it was haunted.  Lights going on, chairs moving, banging, thumping, electrical humming sounds, and most disconcerting was the overwhelming fear I had.

That morning, the phone kept ringing, and as soon as I grabbed the phone, all I heard was a dial-tone.  Frustrated, I went to the only thing that could help me, a pastor.  While speaking with him on the phone about what I was experiencing, the phone began to ring.  An impossibility, there was no other line except the one that I was on.

“Pastor, if I accept Jesus Christ, will this phone stop ringing?” I was desperate for answers to questions that I did not know.

“I don’t know, but what you will have is the power inside of you to stop it,” he said the  word that I longed for- power.  I knew deep in my heart that it was essential for me to have that power, without it, I was surely going to be destroyed.

I accepted Jesus Christ that day as my Savior out of desperation.  Little did I know that for one year, I would be harassed by strong demonic forces at my little home in Delaware.  During  that year I learned and understood the significance of the power living inside of me, and my life has never been the same.

It is a fantastic story and available in my book, Fighting for the Finish, on http://www.jillmansor.com or amazon.  I am currently holding a contest on my FIGHTING FOR THE FINISH WRITTEN BY JILL MANSOR FB PAGE to win a free signed copy.

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This is a picture from my farm, Raise Your Dreams, in southern New Jersey.

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The Farm That Hope Built

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“Miss Jill, you are the luckiest person I know,” Josh held out his hands trying to encompass all of my farm.

“Josh, this has nothing to do with luck,” I stated flatly, for he had no idea how much time, planning, and effort “all” of this luck took.

“Aw, c’mon, Miss Jill, it was all luck,” he laughed awkwardly, as if it were inconceivable to have anything without some luck.

This conversation gave me many flashbacks.  I was thrust into my past with my many friends who became nay-Sayers who discouraged me and sabotaged me.  I saw myself on my knees and recalled the countless hours in prayer.  All the extra jobs I would take no matter how tedious to make extra money.  All the hours in careful planning of how I would get the money to open my own farm.  And after I got my farm, how many times I went without food.  This labor of love, Raise Your Dreams Farm, had nothing to do with luck.  It had everything to do with my relationship with Jesus Christ.

The day I accepted Christ, I felt a tugging on my life, to give it all to Him.  I read His Word, memorized His promises, and I kept mine to Him.

One day I read, “As a man thinks in his heart, so shall he be,” Proverbs 23:7.  I set about immediately casting out negative thoughts.  I am being honest here, I always hated myself.  I grew up in an abusive household, it was ingrained in me that I was a worthless waste of space.

Admittedly, it was a struggle to change my thinking, after-all, I had lived this way for my whole life.  I filled my mind and words with His promises of who I was.  If Jesus knows me, then I MUST be something special I would tell myself.

I would spend hours in the stalls, listening to tapes that I made of promising scripture.  I woke up to these tapes, and then I would fall asleep to them.  I felt God prompting me to write down my goals, make plans to achieve them, and then set about doing something every day that got me a little closer to my goals.  Some days they were big steps, other days they were small steps, but every moment was spent thinking of my goals.

I remember going to a tack store and buying a brass key chain with the name, RAISE YOUR DREAMS FARM, so that each time, I grabbed my keys, I saw the dream and felt the farm.  I could visualize my farm, a yellow house, tree lined driveway that curved, and it all fell into place on May 1, 2002, the day I found my farm.  By May 31, of that year, I was laying in my Jacuzzi tub looking out on my horses at my very own farm.

A single woman buying a farm, sheer craziness, but with God ALL things are possible!

One of my dearest friends gave me a tiny figure of a woman that was on her knees praying, and she wrote in her note to me that she knew that this farm could ONLY be possible by copious hours spent in prayer.  It is not what you show outwardly, but what you do when no one is watching that produces the biggest results.

Do you have a dream?  Go after it with all your heart.  Make a goal, set a plan in action, ask God for His help, and believe in your heart that WITH GOD ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE!

Sometimes the World Becomes Right when Riding a Horse

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.

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Sometimes You Just Need to get Violent!

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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!”

“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!

 

Lesson Learned

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“Miss Jill, I want to pray!” Luke, the just-turned-seven-year-old-who-grew-one-inch, stood before me.  He was part of the six-strong nuggets that lived next door to me

“Great Luke, what do you want to pray about?” I asked.

“I want to thank God, but I don’t know how to do it,” with that he tilted his head, seeking an answer.

“It is easy, just talk to God like you talk to me,” I held my hand out, a signal that we were going to pray.

He bent his beautiful head, “God, thank you for horses, Miss Jill, and Luke (a paint horse that had his same name), AMEN!”

He looked up at me, proud of himself for praying on his own.

As I walked into my home I was struck by his heart that sought Thanksgiving. When was the last time I thanked God for all that He has done for me?  Thanks Luke for teaching me a lesson.

From Secret Rider to Horse Whisper

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My article was published in Renaissance Magazine, July issue.

Check it out!

Pudgy Pony Power

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.
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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.

Never Fear the Nuggets are Here!

IMG_0382The large rambling mansion held bedrooms that boasted of ample sitting areas and soaking-tubs in each bathroom.  It was a beautiful home and truly the talk of the town.  If I was describing where I lived, I would say I am right near the big yellow mansion and then my home could be identified.  Unfortunately its hefty price tag was too burdensome for most home owners.  My riding students and their families would frequently gaze at the mansion next door that stood vacant for over eight years and fantasize over living right next door to what they considered a dream.

To my utter surprise it was bought by a young family with six children ranging in age from two to nine.  Their mother is a tiny dynamo and she quickly shared why they chose to move from northern New Jersey to this little town in southern New Jersey, it was because it was next to horses.  Her girls had begun to ride horses in northern New Jersey and they all seemed to have been bitten by the “horse bug” and it could only be satisfied by close proximity of a horse farm.  It also helped that each of their back windows gazed out on my pastures where they could watch the horses daily.

The girls each enrolled in lessons and they would frequently ask if I needed help.  Of course I needed help, and this little next-door-army of helping hands were eager to organize the riding ring for the special needs children that came from a local school or muck stalls.

Each one had something different to offer.  The oldest, a determined young lady that soaked up everything that was taught.  I would mention something in passing and she had it memorized.  She was also eager to employ it, and I found myself giving her more responsibility each day.  She was a child I could trust because she knew that this was an earned spot at the farm.  The second to oldest child fell madly in love with our big Quarter Horse Paint.  She would ask me if she could meet her goal of riding him.  The day I allowed her on his back, she could not stop smiling or fawning over his massive body that glistened in the sun.  She would explain every little nuisance of each lesson.  She would critique how the horse did and how she handled it.  She was the one that would explain each goal she had and whether she thought she could achieve it.  The youngest one had an iron core.  She was tiny but undeterred and the day that Milkshake decided to do a drive-thru and grab a quick bite to eat of the luscious grass when she was leading him back to the field demonstrated her grit, because he had stepped on her little foot.  She squeaked and Milkshake quickly lifted his foot.  She hobbled over to the chair and we put ice on it, but her face was set, she would never let a horse do that to her again.

Everything has a nickname here.  After proving their unwavering devotion to the farm and our horses, we christened them THE NUGGETS.  We have grown quite fond of their generous spirit and desire to do their best.  It is quite refreshing to find children that love to please others.

They remind me of the verse in Galatians 5:13-

…..serve one another humbly in love.

They reflect what we all need to do for one another, seek to serve.

Do you know someone that has served you? Please share.

Zelda Speaks Love Without a Sound

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Zelda has never spoken or written a single word in her life, but she writes everyday letters of love and hope on the hearts of those she has touched.  I’m blessed enough to say that I have witnessed it firsthand.

Zelda was born with cerebral palsy that crippled the left side of her body and in response her hands and feet have turned inward, making that part of her body useless.

No one is certain why she can’t speak or why she can’t hear.  But last night she heard the silent cry of a young woman in anguish and she answered it with all the love she has inside of her colossal heart.

Chrissy is twenty years old but looks more like she is forty.  Her life has left her heart broken.  She cannot speak and signs only two words Mommy and Hungry.  Her mom was unable to care for her once she reached adulthood, and she made the difficult decision to allow her to be with adults similar to her.  She found it in a wonderful group home for adults where she is cared for tirelessly by the most wonderful people who truly care about her.

On this particular Thursday she came to equine therapy with a sad face.  She was uncomfortable and frequently picked at her pants.  She was not going to ride because she seemed upset and she would whimper periodically no matter how much we wanted to see her buddy, Buttons, the fat pony.  She would shake her head vehemently and sit resolutely in our comfy Adirondack chairs.

That’s when Zelda came to the rescue.  With her numb leg she drug herself across the yard, which is the equivalent of crossing the Mohave Desert.  She sat in the chair next to Chrissy and tried to speak.  Her lips curled and her tongue puckered as dribble washed down her face.  She didn’t care; she wanted Chrissy to know she cared.  It did not matter that only grunts came out, her eyes and genuine smile said it all.

Zelda looked at me and signed love and then she pointed at Chrissy.  In her poignant and loving way, Zelda spoke the language everyone wants to hear- someone cares!

Zelda, you amaze me everyday!  I am the one who is richer for knowing a champion that conquerors everyday battles that all of us take for granted.  You do it all with a smile or giggle.

Keep loving all the people that you meet because I am the woman you have most changed!

Be Still and Know that I AM GOD!

In the rush of life, sometimes it is just good to be still, pray, and allow God to work in my life.  My students start every lesson off with prayer.  They have come to recognize the importance of asking God to be with them as they ride and work around 1500 pound animals that could spook because a simple plastic bag is flying across a field.  It is here that we begin with the most important aspect of RAISE YOUR DREAMS FARM!

Do you need peace?  Be still, pray, and allow God to work it all out!

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