We've had some amazing moments in the last year in our lives and for Bright Side Youth Ranch, and we are so incredibly grateful to God for making a way where there often didn't seem to be one.
This past weekend, we received another one of those moments: a letter containing an official 501(c)(3) nonprofit status from the IRS. Going into this process, I had no idea what a long, hard journey that would be and how many hours and mounds of paperwork it would take to accomplish it. We spent 6 months putting it all together and then handed what felt like our very hearts over to the IRS. And then we waited. And waited. Five months later, our answer came, and what a blessing it is!
I look back on all that God has accomplished in the last year, and in my celebration I remember the times (just a short as two years ago) when we sat with this vision in our hands but no idea how it would ever possibly come about. I remember the frustration of wanting to move forward into what God had for us but not sure what the next step should be or how to go about it. And now... now I hold a precious document in my hands that says Bright Side Youth Ranch truly exists in the eyes of the federal government. I cannot even begin to describe the joy I feel in reaching this turning point.
So much has happend and now so much else lies before us. In my career with horses, I've spent most of that time riding hunters. I have some experience with jumpers and have a handful of moments in the western world, but pretty much it's all been in the world of counting strides, changing leads, and searching for the perfect distance to a fence. I know many of you may not know what I'm talking about, and that's okay. It just gives the framework for how I've learned to face major obstacles in life moment by moment, hurdle by hurdle. Before children and starting a nonprofit, I used to show quite regularly, and I remember sometimes being overwhelmed by what I saw waiting for me in the arena. Large fences scattered about in varying heigths and widths could start to seem insurmountable if I continued to look at it in its entirety. While I did need to know how to ride the whole course and know what to do in the corners, I also needed to face it one jump at a time, one line at a time. With the map of the whole course plan sitting in the back of my mind, I would ride in and focus on the first verticle. Then, I would ride through my corner, make my turn and ride the next line of fences. And little by little, I would finish a whole course.
With the nonprofit status in hand, we now enter a whole new world of fundraising and opening the doors of the ranch, and all that seems completely daunting and vastly overwhelming at times. Yet, God has been with us the whole way, and I know He won't abdandon us now. He gives us the strength and wisdom we need for today to face the hurdles of this moment.
For now, though, I'm going to celebrate and take in all that God has made possible!