Names have always been important to us. When you think about it, the challenge of picking just the right name comes up fairly often. We’ve named businesses and nonprofits we’ve started, for some reason we name inanimate objects like our vehicles and favorite tools, but undoubtedly the biggest challenges have been naming our babies. We agonized over each one. I was particularly interested in the definition and historical significance of each name we considered. It’s daunting to give a child a name that they will have for the rest of their life. After all, our names help define who we are.
Certainly not as important, but always difficult (for us at least) is what to name our pets and farm animals. We usually like to choose something joyful and playful, so when the horse we were considering came with the name Storm, it didn't conjure up the joyful and playful feelings most of our animals have. It turns out, Storm got his name because he was born at midnight in the middle of a storm...and all of a sudden his name started growing on me.
More on that in a minute, but first some backstory.
I have been searching for a horse that has a special way with kids in an effort to incorporate some aspects of equine therapy into our daily lives as part of the lifestyle therapy theme we’re building here on Barefoot Bluff. We’re just starting some “real” equine therapy with the kids, and since horses were such a Godsend to me as a kid, I knew that having horses of our own would certainly enhance the professional therapy for all of us both physically and mentally.
I tell you what, growing up, our horses pretty much saved my junior high self from going off the deep end. I’ll never forget how God used my sweet boy Benny to keep me from being self-absorbed and “boy-absorbed” (much to my parents’ delight). My not-so horsey parents bought Benny for me not realizing he was only green broke. I wouldn’t recommend that, but with God’s grace there were no major hospital visits and Benny helped me build confidence, while also keeping me keenly aware of my own limitations. He seemed to know when I just needed to bury my head in his mane, feel the rhythm of his breathing, and just cry. But Benny also knew how to keep me grounded … literally. Let’s just say it’s quite humbling when you’re trying to show off to your friends and get bucked off.
Back to my search, I recently spotted this young gelding for sale by the name of Storm. The name didn’t conjure up anything very positive, but out of curiosity I decided to look up the definition. The first one was, "A disturbance of the atmosphere marked by wind and usually by rain, snow, hail, sleet, or thunder and lightning.” Well, I could have guessed that one. But then as I scrolled down to another one , this caught my eye, “By or as if by employing a bold swift frontal movement especially with the intent of defeating or winning over quickly.” I read it again. Then I LOVED his name.
You see, the first definition of storm matched the road we’ve been on the past few years….”disturbance of the atmosphere” … Whew….“It starts with a little wind and then comes the rain or snow, hail and thunder and lightening.” Can I get an amen? We have many days like that. But my favorite is the second definition, “…the bold, swift frontal movement especially with the intent of defeating or winning over quickly.” Listen, there are hard, stormy roads that we all walk. Eventually we reach a breaking point where a shift has to come. That shift can either send us plodding along with little hope or maybe even a false sense of security. OR that shift, when rooted deeply in the strength of the almighty God, is when we finally take our eyes off our circumstances and focus on His word and His truth. That’s when a “BOLD, swift movement” toward something better happened for me. My confidence and strength is no longer found in my ability to do ALL the things, to meet ALL the expectations or check ALL the boxes. I started loving to learn about how God created our minds and bodies and asking - What do we need physically, mentally and spiritually based on scripture? How can we heal by drawing closer to our creator and reaping the benefits of the gifts He created for OUR benefit? And oh, let me tell you… I am still tempted to worry, I still struggle with trying to figure it all out and do it on my own, but there is so much rest and peace when I stop and make that shift again to learn from and lean into Him, trusting that He will guide me and give me eyes to see what He is providing.
Storm is just a horse, but as I learn more about how the relationship between humans and horses is a scientifically based form of healing, I have eyes to see Storm as a gift from our merciful and gracious creator. We received him in the midst of some storms, but his name will always remind us how important it is to be swift and bold in turning to Jesus when the storms of life seem overwhelming. We look forward to sharing more with you as we train him for his important role at our therapy farm on Barefoot Bluff.
So, next time you’re looking for a name, check out the definitions. It might just lead you to a treasure like this one…
“Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He calmed the storm to a whisper and stilled the waves. What a blessing was that stillness as he brought them safely into harbor! Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them."