It all started a little over 10 years ago. My husband and I have been talking and praying about starting a non-profit organization to pair abused & neglected horses with abused, neglected, bullied and at-risk youth. I have many years of experience with rescuing and rehabbing horses and my hubby was horribly bullied for 6 years.
His bullying was so extreme that the families involved went to court and his family ended up moving out of their house to a different neighborhood across the city. We also had done inner-city youth ministry in the “bad lands” of Philadelphia for a few years and loved it! In fact, we still keep in touch with some of the youth to this day.
We began looking into all the necessities to start a Just the paperwork alone seemed overwhelming but, we were willing to forge ahead. So right when I got started with researching things, God had other ideas.
I unexpectedly became pregnant with our second child at 36 years of age. Our first daughter was already 9 years old and we both nearly died when she was born.
So thus, our plans for the non-profit were shelved. My pregnancy became a bit scary when I was told I was high risk again and had high blood pressure and gestational diabetes early on in the pregnancy. I was the bread winner at the time and had to continue working despite my physical conditions.
Things went along okay for a while. Then during a routine check-up, an ultrasound revealed that our child would most likely be born with Downs Syndrome or Spinal Bifida or be severely handicapped in some way.
We were ushered into a conference room at the hospital and encouraged to “make the educated choice”. Translation = [abort the baby]. We were told that due to my “advanced age” that these genetic anomalies were more common in older women and that it would not be fair or “responsible” to the child to allow them to “live like that”.
Of course we were appalled and chose to carry on with the pregnancy and leave the rest in God’s capable hands. So almost mid-term, I switched to a reputable doctor affiliated with a different hospital and went on as if nothing was wrong.
I pressed the call button for the nurse’s station and got out..a throaty, breathless, “I can’t breathe” My nurses were in my room in less than 10 seconds! They immediately hooked me up to a pulse oximeter – it told the tale that my blood now had only 88% oxygen saturation and was dropping rapidly. There was a flurry of activity in the room, a resident doctor wanted to use a chest tube to punch a hole between my ribs and into my lung to drain the fluid, a nurse was calling for my doctor as they did not agree with the chest tube puncture treatment. I was scared. I felt like I was drowning in mid-air. Wild thoughts about how I would not see what my daughter would look like when she got older, what my husband would do for work, etc.. flooded my mind.My husband held my hands and cried and prayed over me out loud. I was starting to black out. Then suddenly while my husband was praying, my oxygen levels started to climb back up.
Then the nurse came back and pushed a huge dose of Lasix through my I.V. This helped get the fluid off of my lungs and soon I was able to breathe a little. The resident doctor who had wanted to puncture me with the chest tube was ushered out by my nurses.After I could breathe a little again, we realized after all that commotion, the baby had only cried enough to wake us up. She went peacefully back to sleep even through all the noise and commotion. We realized, that if she had not cried when she did, I would have died in my sleep.
I spent a total of 5 days in the hospital after delivery and went home. Only to have emergency gall bladder surgery 6 weeks later. When things settled down, we focused on me getting healthy again and getting back to “normal”.
Time went by and ideas of the non-profit went by the wayside. During this time, for many various reasons, we found ourselves in a battle to hold on to our marriage and family let alone being able to minister to others. We had come through some very difficult trials throughout our marriage and were falling apart instead of being strengthened.
We were unworthy, failures, we were physically and spiritually broken, not to mention getting older. We did not have faith in each other, in ourselves and lacked faith in our once shared vision. We wondered what happened to us and our dream of helping kids and horses.
Then it happened. We broke. We became broken for things of the LORD instead of holding on to our own vain ambitions and selfish pride. Our marriage reconciled, our relationship became stronger and more solid than ever. Our baby grew, our older daughter bloomed and found successes in school and her writing interests.
Now we can see that God had this all planned for us to grow through those trials so that we could truly minister to the children AND their parents. Parents who may be struggling with their relationship, marriage etc.. He put us through many fires of varying intensity so that we could know what those fires felt like first hand.
WOW. How wise He is indeed. If we had started this ministry years ago, it was doomed to fail. Now we are ready and God has put many people in place to help us get started. We are fund raising to get the necessary equipment, insurance and feed & hay as we await our official non-profit 501(c)(3) status.
We have begun working with two families and their children at our current barn on a limited one to one basis. We will have our second session on April 21st with the first family to participate. Their boys enjoyed our horse and pony tremendously and we are excited to have them come back! The positive feedback has been such an encouragement and blessing to us!
UPDATE: We have made arrangements to rent a barn, pasture, indoor and outdoor lighted riding arena, hayloft, bathroom, office, tack room & laundry facility in Quakertown, PA.! We move into this new facility effective June 1st, 2012. Thank you all who have been lifting us up in prayer and helping with donations of time and finances as the Lord leads.
For information on how you can help, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks so very much for taking the time to read my blog.
Love In Christ Jesus,
The Cianflone Family