Do you like adventure stories?
They usually begin with a dream of something that you want to find, or a place you want to go, or a mystery you want to solve. The trail leads through many different situations. Sometimes it goes up a steep mountain and the path is dangerously close to the edge. A misstep would be dangerous. Sometimes it passes through a grassy meadow where there is lightness of heart and seemingly not a care in the world… Giants walk onto the scene. These terrible and powerful creatures attack and there is a big battle- doubts, depression, questions.
After a while you realize that you are not alone on this adventure. You can’t see this mysterious presence, but you know that He is there. There was help beyond yourself to win that battle! Now the trail winds through a forest which is mysteriously beautiful and full of wonder yet it suddenly becomes a desert and there is no water. The heat gets awful and the scenery gets monotonous, but you are determined to find what you are looking for, so you keep pushing on.
Every now and then there is an amazing breakthrough and you more clearly see the prize which you are seeking. This energizes you to keep on going when the clouds roll in and you cannot see a foot ahead. You must keep pushing through the darkness responding to the unseen desire of your heart, till finally you find the treasure and it is yours forever.
Eventually you discover that you are not the same person as the one who began the journey. You are strong. You have become a warrior. There is no fear. There is great confidence. There is now a clear concept of the treasure. Having seen it you know it is yours. You discover a company of people that are seeking the same treasure that you are, but they have come from different directions. Yet they have gone through all of the dangers that you have and they too are not the same people as they were when they began the journey. This treasure is so wonderful that there is enough for all of you. In fact, there are so many aspects of this treasure that you each discover that there is an aspect of it that is especially made for you and no one else, just as the fingerprints of each of you are different from anyone else who was ever created!
Suddenly you realize that the treasure is the great King Himself for whom all things are made! Who holds the atom itself together by the word of his power. He is the beginning, the first born from the dead, the mystery that has been hidden since the world began. He is the one in whom all the fullness of God has been revealed in bodily form. His name is Jesus!
I had been searching for this treasure in many ways since I was a very little girl. In fact from my earliest memories. This was strangely tied up with the love of a horse. As I became a wife and a mother my husband and I wanted to be able to share with people the wonders we were finding in this fellowship with the Great King. We asked God to give us a story that by the very facts of it we could prove to others that the God of the Bible was who He claimed to be.
We began our adventure when we moved our family of four small children from our “regular life” that was like everyone else’s, from our home on Heathermoor Road in Mountain Brook to a tiny farm in Rocky Ridge. We took with us the name Heathermoor and thus began the saga of Heathermoor Farm. It wasn’t long before we had outgrown our five acres. We had acquired a small herd of one stallion and three mares. We began yearning for a bigger farm where we could increase our herd, but we had no money with which to buy one.
I remembered a verse my 7th grade Bible teacher had taught us:
“Delight thyself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4
She said that if God was first in your life He would give you the desire itself as well as the object of it. So we prayed that if this desire was indeed from God that He would have to give us the object of it because we had no money to bring it about ourselves.
We had only prayed this way for a few weeks when John’s boss came to him and told him that he had found a farm in Leeds that was for sale at such a bargain price that he wanted to buy it for an investment. He would have to keep it for years until its investment potential was ripe. But he couldn’t do that without someone to live there and keep it up for him. He said it would be ours totally to build and plant until the appointed time. Would we be willing to do that? We were so excited that God had answered our prayers in such a hurry. So we moved our little herd of children and horses to Leeds taking with us the name Heathermoor, where we lived for 25 years.
The beautiful 100 acre farm had once been a show place, but had fallen into disrepair as the family had slowly died off. We set about to restore it. We decided that we needed to buy a few new mares to breed to Richlieu, our beautiful stallion that we had traded a heifer for to an aging lady on a farm in Tennessee. She could no longer care for him.
The prevailing theory at that time was that if a mare didn’t make a show horse she would be a broodmare. We had been taught by our mentor, Bob Smith, who owned the wonderful stallion, Blanchita’s Society Rex, “That John D. Rockefellow couldn’t afford to own a sorry horse. It doesn’t cost anymore to feed a world’s champion than it does a nag!” he would say. Our budget was in the nag category so we went looking at local mares. Five times for five different mares, when we began to write a check, the owners suddenly decided they didn’t want to sell them to us only to sell them to someone else a week later!
What was God trying to tell us? Maybe he was directing us to Bob’s advice. We took a trip to Memphis, Tennessee to look at some mares that a well known trainer had. They led out three mares. They were all beautiful. Two were the most beautiful and well bred mares we had ever seen. Plus one had a foal by Rex and was in foal again to him. But, we couldn’t afford them so we ended up with the lesser mare. We took her back to Birmingham with her breeder’s certificate in hand guaranteeing her to be in foal. The next day after we got home she was in heat. We had not bargained for an empty broodmare so we had to return her.
What was God trying to tell us? It certainly seemed He was directing us to the two most gorgeous mares. They couldn’t be sold apart so we would have to take them both or not at all. Our guidance seemed clear. We used the barren mare as a down payment and signed a note for the balance. We called our mentor Bob Smith to tell him what we had done. There was silence on the phone when slowly we heard, “I would have given anything to own those mares but he would never sell them.”
God is faithful!