Noelle stayed outside after the trail ride. It was now late in the afternoon and Chip went to shovel the back walk since the new fallen snow had piled up a bit.
The fresh air helped Noelle sort out her own thoughts. Hope was walking around the outside corral. She was a lively horse. She might have walked with a large limp but that didn’t seem to slow her down. In fact it only made her more determined to run with the rest of the horses. Suddenly, footsteps crunching on top of the snow alerted Noelle that someone was coming.
“How’s Hope doing today?” a deep male voice asked her. Noelle turned around and saw a young man with auburn hair approach her. He looked to be around Noelle’s age.
“She’s running a lot” Noelle smiled.
“She needed the exercise” the man smiled. “I’m Jeremiah” he held out his hand.
“Noelle” she shook his extended hand.
“It’s nice to meet you Noelle, and Merry Christmas.”
“It’s nice to meet you Jeremiah, Merry Christmas to you too. Do you work here?”
“Yes ma’am. I’m in charge of the horses and managing the home” he leaned against the corral posts.
“So you raised Hope?” Noelle asked.
“She’s a beauty isn’t she?” Jeremiah answered her question with another question. “Hope has come a long way; the poor little filly was always anxious too. I couldn’t calm her down half the time, she wanted to move but couldn’t.” Jeremiah paused as he watched Hope leaping for joy like a calf let out of its stall.
“When a horse can’t move it gets anxious and sometimes even violent; Hope was never the violent type but her anxiety prevented her from learning to walk for a while. People kept telling me to just put her out of her misery” Jeremiah sighed. Noelle looked over at the horse and couldn’t imagine her being killed.
“I refused to put her down though. Gran kept saying that all Hope needed was a little faith to spur her on.”
“What got you to calm her down?”
“Reading Scripture of course” Jeremiah looked at Noelle as if it were obvious. “I found all the verses I could that talked about faith. Every night after dinner I’d sit down in her stall and read to her.” Noelle looked at Hope then back at Jeremiah.
“That’s all it took?”
“Noelle, if you’ve got faith as small as a mustard seed-”
“You can move mountains” Noelle finished his sentence. “My mother used to say the same thing to me.”
“Well that kind of faith can only grow if watered and tended too. I already knew that Hope would walk someday. It ended up taking a mustard seed of faith for it to happen.”
“That’s a beautiful story” Noelle whispered.
“Jeremiah, Noelle, you two come inside! Christmas dinner will be ready soon” Maudie called out to them. “Jeremiah, please round up your father! He’s shoveling the back walk for me!”
“Ok Gran!” Jeremiah called back. Noelle was shocked. Maudie was Chip’s mother and Jeremiah’s grandmother? Who would’ve thought?
“I’ll see you at dinner Noelle. Nice meeting you” he smiled.
“Nice to meet you too Jeremiah” she whispered even though he didn’t hear her.
Shaking off the emotions of the day, she slowly but surely made her way back to her room and decided to get ready for dinner. Noelle took another hot shower. She thought about the things she learned that day and how it had already impacted her.
My joy is not something that anybody or anything can take away. I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.
Not take the silence? How could you go on without the silence? Unless you can take to time to listen for that still small voice then I’m not sure my life would stay sane.
It could just be too hard.
I never said it was easy.
Babies don’t come out of the womb walking. You gotta start somewhere. In quietness and trust is your strength.
I refused to put her down though. Gran kept saying that all Hope needed was a little faith to spur her on.
I found all the verses I could that talked about faith. Every night after dinner I’d sit down in her stall and read to her.
If you’ve got faith the size of a mustard seed and you can move mountains.
Noelle took a deep breath and smiled a real and genuine smile for the first time in a long time. She looked into the bathroom mirror and began to recognize the face staring back at her. A true smile touched her lips, there was a hint of color in her cheeks and her eyes no longer had a dull look to them.
On her bed was a gift with her name on it. She opened it up and found a Bible. Inside it read “Merry Christmas Noelle.” She couldn’t remember the last time she actually stopped to read the Bible.
Noelle sat down and opened it up. Everything she learned that day, all of it, was in the pages of this Book. Her joy seemed to come back bit by bit as she sat in silence, listening for and trusting that still small voice while she held on to the faith that everything would be ok.
Scriptures referenced: Malachi 4:2 and Luke 17:6 along with previous ones in Part One and Two
(Disclaimer: This is a fictional story with fictional characters and a fictional plot. All copyright belongs to Whispers to the Heart blog.)
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