I was the little girl who didn’t own any Barbies growing up; I played with My Little Ponies instead. I was what one might have called "horse crazy," spending any opportunity to be around these incredible creatures. My father tried to playfully discourage this interest in his young daughter saying, "They are too expensive and will take up all your time." But it didn’t deter me. I had no idea that this fascination of mine would later also be a lifeline for me.
When I was thirteen, my mom was diagnosed with bi-polar depression. I mostly remember her sleeping for the next year and a half, during which time I helped to raise my eight-year-old brother. In this fragile season of my life, when I was forced to "grow-up" quickly, my parents had the love and wisdom to purchase a month of riding lessons as a Christmas present. That month soon became every Saturday for three years out at the barn. I would work all day long for a riding lesson. This was such a dream come true for me, but only years later did I realize it had been an escape too. During these days I didn’t have to worry about my mom or take on the responsibilities of the home. I was able to just do something I loved and release my worries on the neck of my beloved horses.
Years later, I was working in the youth ministry at my church when I first heard about Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch. I hadn’t been around horses much in the previous eight years, but hearing the stories of this ministry re-sparked my love for these animals and brought remembrance of the freedom I felt during that time of my life. (My mom has since been completely set free from depression through the power of prayer.) And far beyond that, the way Crystal Peaks combines Christ, horses and children toward healing, ignited a desire within me to be a part of this work. I’ve known for myself how time spent with these insightful animals can start a path of healing.
One of my greatest joys is to assist our Similar Ministry program, knowing that the Lord is multiplying our efforts a hundred fold as He leads others to invest in the lives of children and families in a similar way across this nation and world. I love that the compassion and care that is demonstrated through these ministries isn’t limited to a formal program that involves horses… it can be extended everyday by any person who chooses to reach out toward those around them who are hurting and in need of a friend or mentor.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I love time spent with my husband, daughter, and those closest to us. That may involve cooking up a meal, camping, spending time by a river or cross-country skiing. I cherish the people the Lord has brought into my life and the amazing outdoor activities that abound around us. I also enjoy photography and am a second shooter for a friend’s photography business. I love to capture moments and memories in this creative and lasting way.
What is one life lesson or thing you have learned from working with a kid in a session?
As I have worked with many children and youth here on the ranch over the years, the Lord has made it very apparent to me that I don’t get to see the end of the story. I have the opportunity to impart His grace, hope and love; but I am not responsible for the choices that someone else makes. While I may see positive or negative choices made, I don’t have the ability to see how the Lord may be working in a deeper way in that child’s life. Nor do I see how the time I spent with them might impact them many years down the road. My job is to serve the Lord faithfully, sharing who He is with those around me, and trusting Him to work in the lives of those around me.
What is something that you are passionate about doing outside of Crystal Peaks?
Continuing to be transformed into the wife and mother that the Lord desires me to be is what most fills my thoughts and actions outside of my work at Crystal Peaks.
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