Five years ago, Devin and I went to Oregon to visit Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch for an informational clinic in order to learn about their equine mentoring programs and see first-hand what is truly possible when you connect a child, a horse, and a mentor together. At that point in the journey, I was still wrestling with the vision God set before us and struggling with our period of waiting.
While at Crystal Peaks, we had the opportunity to meet Troy and Kim Meeder, the founders of the ranch. We discovered Kim had been personally praying for us by name and that she had a couple of specific things God laid on her heart to share with us. One went something like this: “I feel that God wants me to tell you, ‘Soon.’ It will be soon.” In that very sweet, personal moment with someone I looked up to, I couldn’t hold it together. I began crying – well, weeping is probably a more accurate description. There were a myriad of thoughts and emotions flowing through me. I was humbled that she had prayed for us and that God spoke so clearly to us through her. There was a glimmer of hope at the word soon, but I also felt a little like Sarah from the Old Testament who doubted the prophecy that God would give her exactly what she cried out for. Part of me just simply couldn’t believe it to be true. We were at a totally different location and point in our lives, and I just didn’t see how it was possible.
Looking back now, I can see just how much can happen in a few short years. Little did I know that we would move back to the Carolinas a little bit more than three years from that point. It seemed almost as if God was waiting for us to be willing to step forward and take a risk, because once we set our hearts and minds on moving toward the vision, He set things in motion very quickly.
As of today, we’ve been back in the Carolinas for two years. (I like to say back to the Carolinas because I’m a native returning to her roots). And in those two years, I have witnessed so many firsts for Bright Side Youth Ranch. We started this adventure with one horse, a horse trailer, no property, and no fencing or structures in place for a ranch. Some ranch this was going to be! But we stepped forward in faith and trusted God would provide exactly what we needed along the way. In December of 2014, we received our official 501(c)3 nonprofit status, and in less than a year, we have a beautiful home for our family, 15 acres of land, a dry lot, two paddocks (with another one to be completed soon), a run-in shed, two horses, a round pen, volunteers, donors, participants, prayer partners, and many helpful items for sessions. Wow! Little did I know standing and listening to Kim share a word from the Lord that more than I ever thought possible would come together in such a short time.
What a day of rejoicing! What a day of celebration and thanks! God was close to this girl who wasn’t sure when the dream would come true, and He continues to make a way for a vision that is much larger than I could ever accomplish on my own. Along the way, He guides me, directs me, and molds me into the person He needs me to be, and I do my best to learn from my mistakes, allow Him to lead, and hand over all of my worries, fear, and doubts. I’ve seen firsthand that God can make the impossible possible and that He does not leave us to face hardships on our own. I can’t look back on these past two years and say, “Look at what we’ve done,” because this journey had nothing to do with our own power or ability. And, we certainly have not done this alone. There are so many of you, from over 11 states and 3 countries who have prayed with us, given cheerfully and generously, worked and volunteered joyfully, and supported unconditionally. This is a vision that we work toward together – to inspire the next generation toward Hope.