Just the other day, I was explaining in detail to a friend all about the consultation process with Sustainable Stables. I made mention of the fact that it is nice to have someone helping us with the design and layout of the Ranch in general, since it will not be a normal horse farm.
With a big smile this friend said, "Well, to be honest, there's not much normal about your dream at all."
Ha, well, that's quite true. In fact, there was a time where I struggled with just how unusual this vision really is. And, after speaking with Devin about it, I found that he did too. The vision for Bright Side involves horses and kids and time spent around the barn, but it's not exactly all about riding lessons. Learning to ride is not the end goal. The vision also includes creating a safe place for those with hurts to learn to work through their emotions and connect with a mentor who cares deeply about their life and heart, but Bright Side Youth Ranch is not a special needs therapy program. Really, it's not a therapy program at all. It's a mentoring program. Yep, it's a unique vision that was at one time hard to put into words.
When this vision was first placed upon my heart, I found pieces of my life and passions truly coming together, but it also felt like too much. It was too big and required too many sacrifices. I often wondered why I just couldn't be satisfied with something else that just made more sense (or was easier to accomplish). Looking back now, I can see how the waiting process was an opportunity for God to prepare my heart to step into the role He placed before me. Those years were spent wrestling and grappling with the vision and my view of it. It finally came to the point where I could no longer deny what God called me to do, regardless of how ridiculous or impossible it might sound.
The Bible is full of "not much normal." God asked Noah to build an ark when there had previously been no rain from the sky. He also asked Moses to lead His people out of Egypt. Gideon was required to take his army down from over 30,000 to 300 men. I am in no way placing the vision for Bright Side on the same level as the vision for rescuing a chosen people in various ways, but through those stories, I see how God often uses what seems improbable as a way to reveal His glory and power. What other way could any of those instances come to completion but by His own hand?
Now, I'm pretty good with the fact that the vision for Bright Side Youth Ranch is not normal, easy, or safe. It's brought me to a place of obedience and trust where I have learned to lean harder, speak bolder, and pray deeper. It's brought me to moments of complete humility that have me looking to the Lord and asking Him to make it all possible. We serve a big, creative God who I believe takes great delight in what's "not much normal."