On Sunday, June 19, Lori Miller shared her story with us. In case you missed it, here’s her story of how God has transformed her:[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dTe4mLPBTDk?rel=0&showinfo=0]
Hi Northstar, my name is Lori Miller and I have a confession. My horse is the one who bucked Cody off a few years ago in the video for the Volunteer Appreciation Banquet – the video that kept getting played over and over… Did I mention I’m a horse trainer? The Lord has such a sense of humor… But I’ll tell you how it all began.
I’ve dreamed of working with horses for as long as I can remember but I started out on a very different path. I grew up going to church with my family but it was more out of obligation to relatives instead of a desire to know Jesus – He wasn’t part of our lives outside of church. When I graduated high school, my family stopped going to church, my parents divorced and my mother, who was the governing force of our family, moved away. I went off to college with out a guidance system and a giant void to fill. I spent the next 10 years filling that emptiness the same way as the rest of the world, with parties and alcohol and one broken relationship after another.
It’s important to tell you that during those 10 years, I had a friend who would look me up every 2-3 years, we’d meet for coffee and he would encourage me to go back to church. I’d listen to what he had to say and then we’d part ways until the next time. So it was on the same weekend 10 years later that, on Friday met the man I would later marry, on Saturday I met my friend for coffee and on Sunday I went back to church.
I had a lot to learn and the first major lesson was what it means to follow Jesus. i already had a plan for my life that seemed good enough but looking back on it now, it was awful! First, I married a man who didn’t love the Lord so that brought immediate turmoil to our marriage. Second, my horse dreams at that point were so small and nearly got buried altogether. The 2 1/2 years we were married were extremely painful for both of us. I am an eternal optimist and I love to smile but during that time, I could barely breathe. I physically felt like I was suffocating and I remembered many times thanking the Lord for my next breath. Eventually, we decided to end the marriage and, in God’s great mercy, we separated on friendly terms but not without lasting scars.
When my husband left for the last time, the first person I ran to was Jesus and I surrendered everything – my plans, my dreams and my life. On August 15, 2001 I got my smile back and I have been on a grand adventure ever since! I’m still a work in progress but I’ve learned that waiting on the Lord’s timing always pays off and that His plan will always be better than mine and so mostly I just enjoy the journey.
The places I’ve followed Jesus over the past 15 years have been incredible and I found out that God planted the love of horses in my heart, not just to bless me, but for His glory. I have skied behind a horse in dinner theaters across the U.S., including Las Vegas and L.A. I’ve had dinner with William Shatner and was hired as a stuntwoman in a movie, climbing onto a moving train from horseback. So many crazy stories, but the best ones are about the people – because early on when I started training horses, the Lord showed me how he would use them as an open door for me to build relationships, earn trust, and share Jesus with my clients. As an introvert, small talk doesn’t come easy, but ask me about Jesus or horses and I might not stop talking!
Before I go, I’d like to tell you about one of my first training clients. Joanne was a woman in West Virginia. She lived a hard life, had been married seven times, endured her share of abuse and infidelity and ended up very broken and alone by choice. Her one dream was to own a horse so, at the age of 72, she bought a six month old filly, put a halter on her and turned her out in the five acre field next to her house. Joanne was not healthy enough to handle the horse but she made sure there was food, water and shelter. Two years later, I received a call from a veterinarian. She had driven by the property and noticed that the horse, then 2 years old, had a halter embedded into her skin. The halter was surgically removed in the field but the owner was given an ultimatum: she needed to allow someone to work with the horse so she could be caught and handled, receive regular healthcare and have her head would treated, or she needed to forfeit the horse to someone who would care for her. The vet then called me and asked if I would be willing to help but she warned me that the owner did not want me there and that there was nothing nice about her. But God had a plan. From the very first lesson when Joanne saw me loving her and her horse, all of her barriers came down.
For the next two years, Joanne would sit in the lawn each week and we would talk while I worked with her horse. It was a highlight for both of us. I even started the horse under saddle and, at the age of 76, she was able to ride her horse a few times before she became too ill and was diagnosed with stomach cancer. In just a few weeks, I was at her hospital bedside in her last hours to hear her confession of sin and profession of Christ. And the following week after she passed, I was there to see her horse go to her new loving owner and I recently got an update that they have been enjoying a fabulous life together. It is the most humbling thing that the Lord of the Universe allows me to have a part in His work. I’m also grateful for my Northstar Family and for the Grisso’s small group (the best small group at Northstar). 😉
This is my story. This is His story.
If the way God worked through Lori resonated with you, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll put you in touch with Lori.