My precious J9 has only one riding lesson left--the one she's paying for out of her Christmas/birthday money. The ones that we've paid for are over.
When I watch her with the horses, though, my spirit cries out that this must go on! I cannot take this nourishment away from my small but growing girl.
I cannot afford it.
It cannot end.
I took my worries to my Heavenly Father . . . tentatively . . . informally . . . just wishfully . . . "I wish (J9) could keep riding . . ."
(That's not how I was taught to pray.)
I decided that one lesson per month cost the same as a month's worth of music or dance lessons, and we'd be willing to pay for those, so if she wanted to, she could continue with one lesson per month. It would have to do. It would have to be enough.
J9's beloved riding teacher is the owner of the barn (What delicious understatement it is that she calls her breathtaking arena and stables and farm "the barn."). Her daughters are beautiful, successful young women now, and as she cleaned out a few of their childhood possessions she thought that perhaps our family would enjoy giving them new life. I was so very touched.
Our conversation gave me the courage to bring up my wish for riding lessons to continue, though on a much reduced scale. I opened the topic with, "I never would have dreamed that horseback riding could be important, but when I look at my girl it is . . ."
And this dear woman said to me, "I've been thinking about that. I think that (J9) knows how to work. She has chores and responsibilities at home. I have chores here at the barn that she could do in exchange for riding, if that would be all right with you."
I can't even type this without weeping . . .
She was thinking about that?
If it would be all right with me?
I looked at the shining face of my precious daughter and I swallowed the lump in my throat so that I could accept her offer without blubbering like a baby. We agreed to email back and forth about the details. She and J9 turned to head off to the tack room whereupon I stepped quickly outside and did blubber like a baby.
I just prayed and prayed my gratitude.
She gets to ride. She gets her first job at age 9. She gets to keep spending time with one of the loveliest women I have ever had the privilege of knowing. She gets to grow her talents--to be fed and nurtured and mentored beyond anything I can give her.
Heavenly Father answered this smaller than small prayer in a way that is sweeter than sweet.