After months and months of being “sidelined” by vertigo and a million other pesky health issues, (brought on by – what I call the spirit of unforgiveness) I finally felt strong enough to make a trek to Bend Oregon and the Crystal Peak Youth Ranch. Something I have wanted to do for some time. I felt a special connection to Kim Meeder (author and co-founder of the ranch), while many of her other “fans” connect to her through her books, all of which I have read and loved, for me the connection was with the woman.. Or perhaps more accurately, the little girl, that survived the murder/suicide of her parents when she was nine.
Our stories are the same, but very different. My mom murdered too, but by my step-dad who then did 13 years, her murder considered a crime of passion – a dressed up name for the abuse we all endured at his hands.
It seems my whole life has been God asking me to forgive something, or someone. Myself; for wishing as a young girl that the violence would end… and when it did, the way it did, I was sure… the eight-year-old me was sure, I had wished it into existence. It took years for me to understand I didn’t wield that much power. Then again, when I encountered this same man standing at her grave years later. Then again, and again and again… Life would hand me things that left me battered and bruised and God would simply ask me to forgive, and move forward.
I have been in a place of unwillingness for a while. Tired of putting my heart out there to have someone take another piece of it. Feeling justified in my unwillingness. Surely God can’t ask me again. Confident that there had to be some quota that I had already met. (You may want to stay away from the book of Job if that is your thinking.)
As I sat across from this women as an interviewer. I knew there was a kinship of experience, our conversation turned to the horses, the ones they had rescued and worked to rehabilitate. In my mind I couldn’t recall the question I had just asked, But as her body was framed in a white cloud, I could hear her say, “not all horses can be saved, they have to choose to trust. Just like people, they have to be willing to put themselves out there again.” She went on to tell me stories of horses who chose to trust, how tender their hearts were. How they could be trusted with the smallest of children. “these horses are amazing, I am convinced that they recognize the pain.”
I fought back the tears. Hoping to hide them. I had come to tell the story of Crystal Peak, but it turned out to be a divine meeting with God for me.
As Kim continued to share, it didn’t escape me that these horses were rescued. God didn’t leave them in the place where they had been injured, instead he provided them a safe place to grow strong and healthy, to be encased in love and care. Sheltered and safe, they too were met with the challenge to lean into that or fight it.
As I walked the grounds of the ranch, I thought about all the kids who had come thru here, and the horses, some 300 plus, all whom had been given a safe place to decide who they would move forward as.. a victim or a victor..
I thought about my little eight-year-old self. I couldn’t bring her this far, just to let her down now, could I? Of course, I couldn’t. How silly would that be?
There I was, once again, on the hallowed ground being asked to forgive. To let the past go and get on with what God had for me. Surrounded by all the things that bring me comfort and healing.. Isn’t that Just like God?
Instead, be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, just as God forgave you. Ephesians 3:32