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An exercise in trust and obedience

It’s hard to believe that the simple act of turning on the radio could completely change the course of a life, but that’s how it all began.

It was my daily morning commute to work in December 2005. I innocently tuned in Dr. Dobson’s show and got my first introduction to Kim Meeder. I was immediately drawn in by her voice, and what a voice it is! I didn’t know what they were discussing, but I was buying whatever she was selling!

I soon learned of a special place that exists in Bend, Oregon, called Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch (CPYR). Kim told story after story about lives changing on this tiny ranch where horses and children help each other heal from past abuse and neglect. I couldn’t believe my ears, and I was hungry to learn more. I started stalking the CPYR website to glean as much information as I could. I read Kim’s books with tear-filled eyes and aching heart. I couldn’t get enough.

Things got scary when I started to believe God was calling me to create a similar ministry in Colorado. I had no idea how to tell my husband. We didn’t own property, we just built a new home, and we didn’t own a single horse! This was not going to go over well with my city-loving husband.

John was shocked but supportive from the start, and that has continued for 9 years and counting. The next step was to convince my parents, who conveniently owned 2.5 acres 5 minutes away, that their property would be much improved by the existence of a couple of equine friends I didn’t yet own. I drove to their home twice a day to “feed” our imaginary horses. I left them a note early each morning with a bunny count and love message to prove I had been there doing my “duty”. This went on for a couple of months until I proved my level of commitment. They jumped on board the youth ranch train and joined me at a local horse auction to enthusiastically help me dive head first into the horse world I knew very little about. I can still hear my Dad’s resounding, “What’s the worst thing that could happen?”

There’s a seeming lull in the story for about 8 years. We were now horse owners but didn’t have the facility or resources to host people. My husband and I were still raising relatively young kids. My siblings and I spent several years taking care of our aging parents. All the while, God’s calling on my life burned steadily in my heart and my brain. I never lost touch with CPYR, I regularly read books on horses, ranches, non-profit businesses, etc., and continued to pray that someday we would finally be in the right place to bring about God’s will.

Everything started to come together this past year. After Mom’s death, we launched a search for the perfect location for a youth ranch and our family. It wasn’t long before God led us to Loveland and a little ten-acre ranch with the most amazing view. We had to agonize over the decision for a few weeks before we finally understood this was the future home of Stillwater Ranch. After that, we fell completely in love with the home, the property, the neighbors, and the entire Loveland area. We settled in quickly, and started to make this place our own.

In June, John and I took a giant leap of faith right onto the road to Stillwater Ranch by way of Bend, Oregon, to finally meet Kim and Troy Meeder. All those years reading about this special place, the people who bless and are blessed, the horses, the activities, all came rushing at me in single moment as I stepped foot on the sacred soil of Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch. All I could do in response was cry! God is great, and He brought us full circle to the place that started it all.

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