Each week, I feel so privileged to hear the heart and stories of the session participants and their families. Recently, I was spending time with a 10-year-old girl who was volunteering at the ranch and has also come periodically as a participant. After completing chores and while brushing and loving on Luna (one of the ponies), she shared much of her background and talked of her struggles. It was the most open, honest, and raw conversation I’ve ever had with her, and my heart broke as she told me of her past.
This sweet girl who was once so quiet and shy spoke about how her parents (separated now) were never married and that she has two other younger siblings who also come from relationships with two other men (both of which were not married to her mother). She opened up about her struggles to gain her mom’s attention and win her love, all to no avail since the mother only has eyes for the youngest of the three. This young lady stood squarely and spoke bluntly. She remained matter-of-fact and unemotional as I was on the verge of tears for all the heartache she has already faced in such a short amount of time.
However, she didn’t share all of her personal information for her own benefit. She used it as a launching point to tell me about her middle brother. The brother who is “not in a good place,” as she described. “He’s angry and not making good choices,” she said. She told me that their grandmother tries to step in and help when she can and even pays for many of their needs and wants. “But, he needs someone else to help him,” she told me.
And then this formerly timid girl shared: “I have loved coming out here and have learned a lot working with the horses. My brother’s not sure about horses, although he thinks they’re kinda cool. I think this would be good for him, though. And I want him to come out here. But, I don’t want my grandma having to pay for it; I want to pay for it. I know a session costs $20, and, so far, I’ve saved up 19 dollars and 45 cents. I’ll get the rest soon, and then I want him to come out here and have the ranch do for him what it has done for me.”
As I’m sure you can imagine, while I held my emotions in check for the rest of our conversation, I eventually broke down and wept. I sobbed over the absolute heartbreak these kids are experiencing (and will continue to experience). I cried over her amazing selflessness in wanting to offer help to her brother. And, tears of joy overflowed as I praised the Lord for the process of growth in her own life during her short time at Bright Side.
Some days, the steps towards hope and healing seem incremental. And then there are other days like this one where strength, purpose, and hope are radiating out in overwhelming brilliance.