Weeds

Weeds; as a new gardener these plants are one of my worst enemies. Oh sure, some of them look pretty, we make wishes on the fluffy white ones, and children give the colorful ones to their parents for a nice present of “flowers”.

But as every gardener knows, these sometimes pretty looking plants are pretty nasty. Their roots go down deep and choke the roots of real flowers. So, instead of getting what you planted, you get a disorganized mess of things that don’t exactly look like the picture on your seed packets.

Sin works the same way. As believers in God we do our best to plant the seeds in ourselves by reading God’s Word and practicing it. However, every garden needs to weeded on a regular basis; especially spiritual gardens. In each of our lives there is at least one thing that we allow into our lifestyle that doesn’t match up with God’s Word. Something we’re addicted to, little “white lies” to soften the truth, looking at things we shouldn’t or gossiping. These things seem harmless on a small scale.

What can they really hurt? The answer is, a lot. 

Two things recently happened in my life that fit this description.

We are making various small improvements at the barn little by little as we are able. One such project was to excavate weeds from the front of the barn. The root of one weed was the size of a small tree stump!

It grew so thick because it was allowed to grow completely out of control. It was like a small tree by the time we tried to take it down. We chopped off the branches without too much trouble, but then we were left with this stump that would make it easier for the weed to come back. The clippers weren’t working on it, so I picked up the shovel and started using it to chop it down.

Long story short, it was quite a while before it finally came down. The vibration of hitting the weed repeatedly and the jarring impact the shovel handle made with each shovel swing, left my hand numb, shaking, and in pain. Though I went through a great deal of pain and effort, the result was satisfying, we’ve yet to see the return of the giant weed after spraying the root with RoundUp. But I digress.

The second thing that happened was something sinful. I’m a writer by nature, and appreciate a good story (especially if I’m the one writing it). I do a bit of written roleplaying with a friend to keep my writing skills and character development sharp. It proved to be so much fun that I decided to try my hand at an actual online roleplaying game. I played it rather often and thought of little else. I forgot to appreciate each day and to renew my mind daily with God’s Word, to keep planting those good seeds and letting God grow me. I felt convicted of it but I enjoyed the game too much to give it up; that’s when I started making the excuses.
“It’s just a game, it can’t hurt anything.” “I’m supposed to get enjoyment out of life as well as work, right?”

Well it did hurt something, and I made it an object of obsession rather than just enjoyment, I also wasn’t living anymore.

I stopped letting God weed my spiritual garden and I began to feel the distance I had put between me and Him.

My attitude towards my family got worse than just the occasional disagreement. I was pushing them away too. That game had turned into a giant weed in my heart and was choking all the good things God was planting in me. That’s when my loving parents came and talked to me. They helped me to realize what I already knew deep down; I had to give it up. The separation was painful to an extent, but gaining back what I was losing was so much more rewarding. God is once more the gardener doing all the planting and weeding in my life.
So I encourage you, if you have these spiritual weeds in your life, get rid of them!

Sometimes we’re not strong enough to give it up without help, that’s why God gave us friends, family, and prayer.

I hope you enjoyed my first blog for my family’s ministry. Please feel free to leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Until Next Time, God Bless!

Aubrey-Shea Cianflone

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Steve’s Story

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

The above verse is the basis of our ministry to the families who love the LORD Jesus Christ. To heal the relationships forgive the past overcome the obstacles and seek victory through the hope that is only provided by our LORD.

Inside the body of Christ there are many abused, neglected, bullied and at-risk youth. Marriages that are in turmoil, and relationships between parents and kids that need to be healed. Through God’s word, and through the amazing horses He has created, we seek to be used by God to start the healing process that is so desperately needed.

My wife has already told you from her perspective of why she was called to do this. So I only think it fair to let you know why I am as well. For many years, as a child, I was bullied by those at school, in my own family and even by the church.  I also suffered debilitating allergies and asthma that isolated me even more from others even when I was not being bullied.

All of this caused me to walk away from God.

I began to live a life that was filled with self-gratification. I sought those who would accept me even if it harmed me and my future. No longer did God matter and the sheer mention of the existence of a God, that I felt had wronged me and even thought hated me for allowing all that I went through in my life angered me. 

Those feelings and a sense of isolation followed me into my marriage. It not only sought to destroy me, but also my wife and eventually our children.

Again I fully blamed God for all of this. Yet it is through my oldest child who was 4 years old at the time, that the Lord chose to reveal Himself through her and call me as one of His own.  At that time, things were the worst for my family that they had ever been. Divorce was most assured. Losing all that I said that I held dear, was going to happen.  I was brought to the end of myself. I was crying in the bedroom when my daughter came to me wrapped her arms around me and said, “God is going to make everything okay!” It was that sentence, which if it had been spoken by anyone else, that person would have met with my full wrath. But coming from this precious little one that I was about to lose ,changed everything.

In an instant I knew she was right. It was then the LORD started to show me why I had been allowed to go through what I had been through in my life , why I was still standing and how He was there with me.

 

The LORD, in a very short time healed my marriage, my relationship with my child,  many of my wounds, and allowed me to overcome many obstacles.  Using the experiences that God has brought us through, and gave us victory over, we will serve His children. This is the mission of The Lord’s Lead Line. To God Be All The Glory!

Stephen Cianflone

Do You Get it?

I am 44 years old now and just decided what I wanted to be when I grew up.

How many of you are with me? OK put your hands down 🙂 I can’t see them anyway. But, a vast majority of you probably either physically or mentally just shook your head in agreement right? yep thought so.. I know, I’m good.. *smile*

Anyway, why the heck does it take so many twists and turns in life to finally “get it”?

THAT IS IF WE EVER GET IT... Some sadly, never do….

Well, after much pondering and soul searching. I have come to one conclusion. We cannot decide because we are too busy being busy! I mean, think about it. From the time we enter kindergarten – well.. now it’s pre-school! That means school before school! what?!…

We’re too busy figuring out how to go to school, how to fit in when we get there, completing tasks set forth by others, finishing school, find a job, make a living, pay for school, find a spouse….. we’re always busy! Mostly about what others want us to do…

We’re hardly ever resting. Resting in what God has planned for your life.

My husband and I are finally resting. No we’re not unemployed or beach bums somewhere, nor are we back packing across the Himilayas. What we ARE doing, is we are heeding God’s calling on our lives to start this ministry for Him. To help care for and nurture and heal His glorious equines and those whom He calls His children. For His purposes and glory.

Currently, my husband is still working and getting recognition for good work at work. He even recently received a raise and promotion.  But, he realizes that man’s praise and goals are empty. He does the right thing because it is what God would have Him do. He loves the Lord and so do I. We are finally getting “it”. To live for Him and what He has called us to do with the lives He has blessed us with.

Do you have a calling on your life? Are you currently busy about other people’s work and goals? If so, I challenge you to evaluate where you are. To start, just sit still and be quiet. Listen to His still small voice and pray. Pray about what blessings God would have for you if you just stop being busy and be still.

My husband leads us in a home study of the bible on a regular basis. We are in my favorite book. Ecclesiastes. The Lord had me in this book for two years until I finally “got it”. This verse in particular really struck me..

Ecclesiastes 3:14

New King James Version (NKJV)

14 I know that whatever God does,
It shall be forever.
Nothing can be added to it,
And nothing taken from it.
God does it, that men should fear before Him.

OK take that first line. Whoa.. “Whatever God does shall be forever”

Yep it’s true! Simple example “old as dirt” check.. ok dirt is forever 🙂

Nothing can be added to it. – Can you make what God made better? Umm the answer is no. Staying with the dirt example, here is a favorite joke of mine.

One day a group of scientists got together and decided that man had come a long way and no longer needed God.

So they picked one scientist to go and tell Him that they were done with Him.

The scientist walked up to God and said, “God, we’ve decided that we no longer need you. We’re to the point that we can clone people and do many miraculous things, so why don’t you just go on and get lost.”

God listened very patiently and kindly to the man and after the scientist was done talking, God said, “Very well, how about this, let’s say we have a man making contest.” To which the scientist replied, “OK, great!”

But God added, “Now, we’re going to do this just like I did back in the old days with Adam.”

The scientist said, “Sure, no problem” and bent down and grabbed himself a handful of dirt.

God just looked at him and said, “No, no, no. You go get your own dirt!”

Ha! Simple truth.. right there. Something we walk on every day. God made for us to plant in, play in, make houses out of, heal bee stings, throw at your little brother.. uh.. scratch that last one…. *grin*

And nothing taken from it. – Self explanatory 🙂

God does it, that men should fear before Him. – God’s word says that the beginning of wisdom is fear of the LORD.

Anyway, you see? God took care of it all. He owns it all, made it all to bless us. His children.

Now I am not advocating quitting your job, eating just beans, making your own clothes out of animal hides and wearing tissue boxes on your feet. No, I am simply asking you, challenging you to sit still and ask yourself and God, “Is this what I am called to do with my life?” If you’re not sure, then seek hard after what it is that you ARE called to do.

You my friend, are missing out on huge blessings not living for Him! I know that you’ll figure it out in time just like we did. Whenever I prayed, I prayed specifically and told God (like He didn’t know already) that I’m a little thick and a lot hard of hearing Lord, so could you make your plan reallllyy clear?! So I don’t mistake it for my own selfish nature and go down the wrong path? OK Thanks.

Then I would get a “sign” something someone said, a divine appointment, a word in the Bible.. then I would be like Gideon and ask God for more and more signs. Finally God gave me the ultimate sign. He put so many people in my life to help kick start this ministry all at once, that there was no denying that YES. This IS what He wants for my family’s life!

So with that, I will end my little story and remember, be still, pray, seek, be still, pray, seek. I’ll be praying that you “get it” too!

All the best & God Bless!

Patti

That’s it! I Quit!.. Pogo’s Story

Before you begin, you may want to grab a cuppa cha (tea) and put your tootsies up, this one is a little long 🙂

All set?.. okay, groovy.. here we go.. (insert wavy flashback scene and music here) *SMILE*

One day a few years ago, I learned of a horse that was headed to the kill pen in two days if no one took her. Of course, my heart broke but, all I could do was pray. My husband was a copier technician and well.. needless to say, copier techs are not rich by any stretch of the imagination.

We had limited income and were already taking care of some expenses for Lady Pony like vet, farrier, teeth etc. So it was that left us with little to spare. While driving to the barn that day, I started telling my husband about this horse that the barn owner told me about and asked him to pray that she ends up in a good situation. He listened and then said, “Lets get her”. I literally stopped breathing for a second, then said, “Oh no! I did not tell you about this so that we could buy her I am simply asking you to pray.” He replied, “Well honey, we’ve been talking about rescuing horses for a long time now. I think it’s time to stop talking and start doing.”

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I sat there stunned for a minute. I found myself making arguments against saving this animal because of limited income etc.. My husband, however, went right on ignoring me and my reasoning. Instead, he made pleas on behalf of this mare that he had never met and to top it all off, he’s not the horse person! I am!

So it was, that upon getting to the barn, I asked the barn owner, if she could contact this broker and get more information. She had already had some dealings with him and thought that he was pretty honest. (A rarity in the horse world). She called and spoke to him at length with the broker’s wife in the background cautioning that this horse had, this and that issue, hates being tied, saddled, rears, it’s not for a beginner, a real “B” word etc.. but they’ll take $450.00 for her if we want to come & see her.

The barn owner thought that the wife may be exaggerating as the broker assured her that this horse was indeed not for a beginner but, was not as bad as the wife made her out to be.

We decided that we would at least go and see her. We made arrangements with the barn owner to drive out there with her truck and horse trailer hitched up just in case we decided that we would be coming back with her.

ImageSo after withdrawing $450.00 from our account, we discovered that we were left with .10 cents to manage for another week! I was getting more and more uncertain of the wisdom of this potential transaction. I forged ahead trusting God and my husband’s leading and went out to see this horse that I heard so much conflicting information about.

During the trip, I stared out the window and prayed that God would guide our decision making and give us wisdom.

We arrived at the broker’s place and there she was, a sorrel and white paint. She looked like nothing special but she did have striking markings. She was tied to a post, standing quietly.

Hmm I thought. Yes, the wife was exaggerating. The broker quickly saddled her up but made an offhand comment that she had not been ridden in about six days so “it ought to be a rodeo”. I thought, OK not building my confidence here Mr. horse broker but, I appreciated the honesty none the less.

He mounted her and she stepped off quietly at a walk. He put her through her paces and she only popped up a little at the end of a canter when he pulled her up to a stop. I thought, perhaps it was a teeth or bit issue which could be easily remedied.

As I watched him ride, it appeared that she was green broke and she was confused at some of what he was asking her to do. He rode her in a straight line up and down a pathway. She turned mechanically and with some hesitation, for which I again mentally blamed the bit or her teeth. He stepped off of her and before I could really discuss anything, ask for more time to think about it etc.. the barn owner was handing over my $450.00 and agreeing to the sale!

< Now on this piece, my husband and I remember this event a little differently > Apparently, my husband recalls verbally agreeing to buy her but, in my recollection, I was still hashing it over in my mind.

In any event..

Well.. okay.. I thought, I guess we just bought a horse. She followed me right onto the trailer without hesitation, at which the broker seemed a little upset and made some muttered comments that he and his brother in law spent 3 hours getting her onto a trailer etc..

She stood still and was calm for the entire ride. I could not help but think about the look of mixed emotions in her eyes. The dullness with just a shadow of fear and a hint of hope of being saved. I knew then that she must have been given a calming agent and I silently waited for the storm to happen.

I did not need to wait long, a day or two after being calm and sedate, she literally broke through the concrete stall and tore down all of the boards that made up the the front wall and in the process, nearly ran over the barn owner’s husband who was in the middle of feeding.

I received a frantic call from a fellow boarder and the barn owner’s daughter. They told me what happened and that I needed to come get my horse. They said, after busting through the stall, she ran out of the barn and was now running around and they are not going to go near that crazy animal!

*Sigh*

My husband and I got in the car and drove to the barn. There she was, grazing on the little patches of grass in the front yard. As we pulled up in the car and approached the gate, she calmly walked right up to us and nickered softly. She allowed us to catch her easily.

Wow.. ok.. I did not expect that at all. I expected a game of catch me if you can at the very least.  We decided to let her graze a bit while we went to look at the damage to the stall. We cleaned up the mess, spilled buckets, hay, dirty bedding and spent that evening rebuilding it.

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Again, she was easy to catch and she allowed us to put her halter on. We put her in the newly rebuilt stall without any problems. We gave her some feed, hay and fresh water. Stayed for a little bit to make sure she was not going to try and break out again. When we were satisfied that all was well, we left.

A few days later, the barn owner told me that she needed a gate over her stall door. She came down in the morning to feed and found my horse half in and half out of the stall. She had apparently reared up in her stall and got her front legs caught over the stall door.

*Sigh*

I ordered the gate and installed it as soon as it came. A few days later, she broke the stall down again.

*Sigh*

I started working with her and lunging her in the corral. Doing basic ground work to see what she knew. She knew very little of what I was asking her to do. When she got tired of working, she broke from lunging and charged inward at me with ears back and teeth bared.

That only earned her more work. So as I made her work harder, she then tried a new trick, to corner me in the corral and kick my head in. I ducked and rolled under the fence. I thought that’s it! I quit! This horse is insane! She is going back on a stinking trailer! I labeled her an outlaw horse and wrote her off and gave thanks that I was not emotionally attached to her yet.

When my husband came to pick me up from the barn that day, I told him what happened and of my decision to get rid of the crazy animal. As it turned out the broker’s wife was not exaggerating.

My husband calmly said to me, “I have never known you to give up on anything”

POP!!!

There went my anger, my frustration and my determination to rid myself of this “orangutan” as she was now dubbed by everyone at the barn and even by the barn up the road!

*Sigh*

I studied, consulted, studied some more.

I even dug around and made many phone calls trying to learn more about her history. I came to learn very little other than the fact that she was mainly used as a broodmare and that the man that owned her previously used to abuse her with a broom handle. A vet confirmed this when a rectal exam revealed deep fissures and scar tissues. The vet had to sedate her to even to get close enough to examine her properly. I called the vet out because, I noticed she had some blood in her manure and seemed to have a hard time with bowel movements. My heart went out to her in a new and fresh way.

I had my challenge set before me, I was going to be victorious!

I decided I was going to try some new approaches with her. I prayed and then saddled her up for a ride. She reared and bucked, twisted & bulled. I stayed on (Thank God) – and thus earned the nickname “Krazy Glue Butt” or “Liquid Nails Butt” … 🙂

Anyway, Pogo was peeved! Right or wrong, I started to feel a sense of amusement come over me not anger or fear. I calmly told her that if she bucked me off, she’d earned it. She turned her head to look at me and with a look of resignation, walked calmly off.

EUREKA! we achieved a break through that day. I continued to work steadily with her and teaching her ground manners, lunging and working off of hand and leg commands. Worked on despooking her and other fear and trust issues.

Even after all of that, she still had some issues. So much so that the barn owner’s daughter asked to take her out riding into the park bareback. She was an experienced rider so I agreed. She told me later on, after the ride, that she was feeling down and decided, as she put it, “it seemed like a good day to die”.

It turned out that Pogo was very well behaved and did not do anything wrong! So the training was indeed sticking with her and she was learning to trust more & more! I was so very glad that she was coming around.

Now my beginner husband is riding her after she had not been ridden in about 10 months due to a sciatic nerve issue I have been suffering with for some time now.

So needless to say, I am very happy that I allowed my husband to lead and did not quit! She is now an important part of our family and ministry.

It just goes to show you, to truly trust in the Lord’s leading and don’t quit so easily! I am fully aware of the fact that if my husband had listened to me and allowed me to give up on this beautiful creature, she would have been shipped to slaughter and destroyed.

Thank you for reading! All the best and God Bless!

Patti (Yeshuazgirl) and proud horse momma of Pogo 🙂

By the way, the barn owner named her Pogo because, she used to rear up and down like she was on a pogo stick. Now we just call her Pretty Girl Po’ 🙂

Waiting on the Lord and Lady Pony’s Story

It seems like yesterday that my husband and I spoke about starting this ministry with horses & children.

In reality, it has been about 11 years since that idea was planted in our hearts by the Lord. This series of articles is being written for two purposes.

1. To give you a little history of our journey with the horses specifically and tell you their stories individually.

2. To thank the people that have prayed for us, helped us start to network with families and given financial and spiritual support.

Part 1 – The Horses

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Pogo (Left) & Lady (Right) Grazing

Lady Pony’s Story

I was born with a defect of sorts, a hole in my heart, a hole not in the literal sense, but a hole in the shape of a horse. From the time I was born, I loved all horses. I was privileged enough to fill that hole for a time when I was twelve years old. I was able to rescue and own a horse through high school and kept him at a barn in Northeast Philadelphia. Fast forward many years, now with a twelve year old of my own. One 4th of July weekend, I decided to take the family to visit the old barn then go for a family picnic in a park. It was during this visit that an old ex-stable mate’s daughter pulled me aside and asked if my daughter would be interested in taking care of and riding a pony that she and her mom had recently rescued from the New Holland Auction.

This pony had a three month old foal by her side and was blind in one eye. She was taking care of and training the foal but, they wanted someone to give some TLC to the momma as well. I had no idea what to think, say, or do. Our intent was to come for a quick visit, say hello how’s it going after all these years, pet a few horses and then head on to the park for our picnic and fireworks not get into commitments of caring for a pony.

We were told that she was somewhat shy of people and was purchased for this ex-stable mate’s niece who wanted no parts of the pony. My daughter entered the pony’s stall and it was love at first sight for both of them. Oh great! (Insert best sarcastic voice here).

Well, how could I refuse? They were not asking for any money, just help with some stalls in exchange for helping to care for and ride this pony. Sensations of the deep, hot ache through the once empty horse shaped hole in my heart shuddered through my body. I knew that God must have arranged this meeting so I prayed that He would show me what to say and do. Well, we agreed. It was not long before Lady (previously known as Cloud) became my daughter’s best and dearest friend.

My husband was Mr. Mom at the time and we homeschooled our daughter (another story for another time). So it was that they faithfully went to the barn daily to muck stalls and work with Lady, get her more acclimated to being handled, groomed, saddled, ridden etc.

Since I was the one with the horse training experience, I would give my husband and daughter some tips and they would implement them into Lady’s daily program. Hubby came up with some good techniques of his own as well! Soon Lady was pretty “bombproof” – in horse people lingo that means that nothing much bothered or scared her.

After several years of being at the barn faithfully and helping out where we could, chores, stalls, laying concrete, fixing fences, installing fence posts etc. for some reason, our relationship was starting to decline with the woman who had offered this pony to us so freely. It occurred to me that if we were ever asked to leave, that this pony that was so near and dear to all of us was in fact, not technically ours.

I prayed that the Lord would make a way for this woman to offer us the pony and, or that He would soften her heart towards us. Well the time came when I sensed that she was getting ready to sell a few horses. In my heart I knew that Lady was one of them. I prayed and then asked her how much she wanted for Lady.

She said $400.00 well, at the time we were on a very tight budget. My husband drives to client’s offices to repair machines and our car had just died. We had to buy a relatively new one that would be reliable and large enough for my husband to carry his equipment, parts and tools in. Needless to say, this put a huge dent into our cash flow.

Knowing there was no way we could afford to buy the pony on our own. I prayed again that the Lord would make a way. He put on my heart to ask my friends to help out via Facebook. Within 24 hours we had exactly enough money to purchase Lady! God is so good and my friends are so kind and generous! I was moved to tears! My daughters and I danced around the living room!

Then, as suspected, a few weeks later, we were asked to leave. I still have no idea why, or what happened with the relationship but, am so thankful that the Lord allowed for her heart to be soft enough to allow us to buy Lady from her.

Now Lady is an integral part of our ministry with these wonderful children and their families! So you see God is faithful no matter what things appear to be on the surface. Our ministry’s verse is Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

We have experienced this verse over and over again in our lives in real and mighty ways! God is always making beauty from ashes over and over again. He even uses our own mistakes and short comings to bless us for His good intents and purposes. How awesome is that?!

Just think of it! If we had continued to just be at that other barn, day to day, happy & content with just helping out for the privilege of riding and working with Lady, we would never have had that “shove” to get our own place and start this ministry that we have been praying about for so very long!

For more background on that, see our about page here. http://www.thelordsleadline.com/about

Until Next Time, Thanks so much for reading & God Bless!

Patti Cianflone

President and Co-Founder of The Lord’s Lead Line (Pending Non-Profit 501(c)(3) status.