Today the pastor at the church I attend spoke about the reality of Heaven and Hell. Quite frankly, it was scary. I found myself wondering if this was fire and brimstone preaching or was the intent to not sugar-coat a reality that so many do not believe to be true or, at very least, minimize. We talk about the golden streets of heaven but do we really talk about just how horrific life apart from God truly is?
He spoke about the “outer darkness”, the fires of hell, the gnashing of teeth and the stench of the beasts. The despair, loneliness and complete separation from God. Ugh! Can you imagine complete separation from our God? I found myself frightened, sad, triggered, crying. Not because I don’t believe 100% that I have a room reserved for me in Heaven. But because there are so many who don’t and that breaks my heart! It reminded me of how alone, desperate and ashamed I felt in my own “outer darkness” over the years. And it left me humbly in tears asking the question, “why me?”. With all I’ve been through why did He save me? There is nothing good about me apart from God, so how did I get to be one of his children, a kid of the King? I’m not questioning the Gospel, the truth and grace of our mighty God in the story of salvation. I’m questioning why “better, kinder, more mature and loving” people are out there changing the world but still do not know Jesus. It feels more like God chose me, not the other way around.
So what does this have to do with an Equine Therapy center, you may be asking? It has everything to do with it. Because the entire reason for it’s existence is to follow the vision of a God who has chosen so many others to be his children, too, but they need help choosing Him back! Just as he pursued and gently wooed me to him during my own rebellion, we are called to do the same with/for others. I can’t think of a population of people that need our patient, long-suffering love, care and practical provision more than those coming from the “outer darkness” of sexual abuse, assault and torture. If there is an evil in this world that does the most damage to our ability to love god and let him love us back, it’s this heinous form of abuse.
When I think about this place, this ranch, I do not see much of myself. It feels more like I get to be a piece of a beautiful puzzle, a puzzle that cannot be complete without many other pieces. And all those pieces form one big picture – the grace, love and redemption of our amazing God! For this to happen, God will have to move hearts, mountains and perform a whole heap of miracles! He IS the God of the impossible. As he continues to heal and grow me I am more capable of seeing his truth, his work in others and the world and the impossible miracles that are happening around me every day.
Just as God has chosen me specifically, he continues to show me his love through your decision to choose to walk with me on this journey. I am slowly coming to grips with the sad truth that I had parents who may have initially wanted me, but ultimately, they they didn't have the tools to care for me properly. But now I have YOU! And God is showing me what it’s like to have a real family of brothers and sisters that truly care about me – no strings attached. Your example is teaching me how to do the same with the people God puts in my life.
Thanks for being a part of this beautiful puzzle! I can’t wait to see what it looks like when all the pieces are in place!