I Like You

I Like You I LIKE YOU Yesterday marked the end of the 3rd week with our kiddos in residential treatment. A group of teenagers aged 13-19 come out wearing their heart battle scars on their sleeves twice a week. We love them so much and each time we see them, we smile, encourage, love and joke around with them as we work on the ranch together and they learn about our horses’ stories and see the similarities in their life wounds to the horses’. The kids are very protective of their hearts and they do not hand over their trust or open themselves to just anybody. In fact, very few people in their young lives get to see who they really are. Their battle armour of detachment, no eye contact and stern expression keeps them safe. It takes time for them to see that you really mean it. If you tell them you love them, it is just words until you prove it. So in the 3rd week of hearing our words of encouragement, seeing our smiles and sometimes receiving our hugs or a touch on the shoulder, their little heart flowers begin to open ever so gently, quietly and cautiously. There is one young man who catches my heart in particular this day. There isn’t much we know about his story except that he doesn’t have many loved ones in his life. He does not look anyone in the eye and he works hard, trying to prove he is worthy. Yesterday, I called him by name, looked him in the eye and said “I like you” and smiled at him. As I waited patiently for him to return my gaze, he cautiously raised his eyes to mine. As our gazes met, he saw my sincerity. For the first time since his arrival, his eyes crinkled up in happy little sparkly half moons in realization that I meant what I said-I really did like him. And for the first time in 3 weeks, I saw hope in his eyes. For that one moment, he opened the windows to his soul and I got to deposit a little God treasure in his heart. Not by my doing, because God gave me the love. I just pass it on. And he deposited a treasure in my heart too. I am looking forward to what God has in store for our kiddos, horses and us. It...
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Lost

Lost Lost That was one word written on the side of a horse. Worthless, unloved, broken, afraid, fat, and stupid were a few others. Our horses became living canvas today on the ranch. We painted them with the labels our rescued horses came to us with, and the teens we work with from a residential treatment facility added words that they have been labeled with. It broke my heart as one painstakingly wrote with their fingers in paint: lost. Wow, what a stark word, what a visual. The thing about labels, and canvas, and lives, is that they can be changed. So we washed the horses, we scrubbed the labels off of their sides and necks. Then we wrote the truth. We canceled out the lies by writing the truth: Loved, beautiful, peaceful, healed, hope, found. Grace is this thing that we don’t fully understand, but once you experience it, you are changed. The thing about grace is that it’s free, and its for everyone. There is no one so lost that God’s grace can not find them, today, on the ranch, I think we were...
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Trust

Trust A boy rests his arm over the back of an anxious old horse. Roper is our oldest gelding. He is not one to trust quickly, he is partially blind and it makes him jumpy, he is scared. He and this boy seemed to understand each other. 10 kids came to our ranch from a local residential treatment facility. For 5 weeks on Wednesdays and Fridays they will come and spend their mornings with us. I am forever changed by moments like this; the quiet hand of a kid resting on the back of a horse, each drawing strength from the other. It seems insignificant, but for this kid and this horse; it means everything. “God my shepherd! I don’t need a thing. You have me bedded me down in lush meadows, you find me quiet pools to drink from. True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction.” Psalm 23:1-3...
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