“As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you . . .” (Isaiah 66:13, NIV)
The Ranch phone rang, relaying information about a filly in need. The voice on the line was upbeat, “The mare you rescued named Bethlehem, would you be interested in her daughter?”
We were so thrilled we could hardly believe the offer. Crystal Peaks adopted Bethlehem two years earlier and she had already become one of our finest children’s horses. Unaware that Bethlehem even had a daughter, we already knew that if she was anything like her mother—we would offer her a home at Crystal Peaks.
Kim and Sarah made the familiar trek back down to Christmas Valley. Threading the truck like a colossal needle through the sage and debris on the property, they were surprised to see a tiny filly corralled in the farthest corner. She stood looking in their direction. Her ear position gave witness to her inquisitive nature. It was also noticed that she bore a beautiful but very shaggy roan-pinto coat. Even though she was three years old, she had only grown to the size of a horse half her age. Her tiny stature and bony frame indicated lack of nourishment during the vital growing stages in her young life.
The owners of the filly reminded the Ranch team that they were the same family who had acquired Bethlehem in the years prior. Desiring Crystal Peaks to know all they did, a brief history was shared. The kind couple relayed how they tried to rescue the filly earlier as a 6 month-old along with her mother. Sadly, they were denied. Two and a half years later they discovered that—like her mom—she was headed for slaughter. Immediately they rushed to her rescue and made temporary arrangements for another horse on their meager homestead.
Sarah and Kim were impressed with each stage of the tiny horse’s evaluation. Repeatedly, she proved her desire to be with them and do all they asked. The team discovered that from the inside out, she was simply adorable! Her quiet willingness to try and learn new things especially delighted them. Because of this beautiful servant’s heart, they immediately decided to add her to the herd at Crystal Peaks.
On the drive back to the ranch, they discussed how God’s faithfulness to this filly needed to be captured and remembered. Often, the Ranch does this by giving every horse a new name to signify the promise God has for each of their lives when He brings them to Crystal Peaks. It was also important to honor the filly’s Arabian heritage and legacy from her mother. After prayerful consideration, a single name rose to the top of the list: “Nakia.” Her new name was Arabic for, “pure and faithful.”
Finally, the day came for Nakia to arrive at her new home. After 2 and-a-half years of separation, a daughter was about to be reunited with her mother. We watched with tears welling in our eyes as Bethlehem first caught sight of her long removed daughter—and ran to her. Nakia stood alert and quiet as her mother circled in what appeared to be disbelief. All the way around, Bethlehem gently traced Nakia with her muzzle. It looked as if they were asking each other in astonishment, “Is it possible? Is that really you?”
Finally, mother and daughter touched noses with a silent recognition. “Yes, it IS you!”
In silent maternal welcome, Bethlehem dropped her head and walked away—displaying clear equine body language for “Come, follow me.” Nakia fell in line behind her mother and the two walked together for the rest of the evening. Occasionally, Nakia, with glee only a foal can muster, would whinny softly toward her mom.
Within this little horse’s life, the Lord rescued, reunited, and began His work of restoration and redemption. Like Nakia, each of us need His rescue, reunion and redemption in our lives. Our King is reaching for us and beckoning—will you respond and fall in line under His banner of love for all. Jesus calls each of us, “Come, follow Me.” (Matthew 4:19, NIV)
Nakia has made a full recovery and remains a constant joy to train and handle. She loves living life with her mother and has also enjoyed being adopted by an entirely new horse family that surrounds her in love.
In an astounding parallel to Nakia’s story, a young girl named “Ashley” visited the Ranch. Previously, during a season of being separated from her mother, this child felt a special connection with Bethlehem. While being shuffled through the foster care system, Ashley found great comfort in the consistent friendship of our gentle Arabian mare. Sadly, over time, her presence at the Ranch became more and more infrequent, until she disappeared from sessions all together.
After Nakia’s arrival, Ashley inexplicably arrived as well. We were elated to see this beloved little girl again. And she was especially excited to meet her favorite horse’s filly. Ashley listened intently as we shared the miraculous reunion between the equine mother and daughter. Encouraged by Nakia’s amazing journey of redemption, she decided to trust the Lord for redemption within her own life.
Another year went by before Ashley was able to return to the Ranch. Arriving now as a young teen, we asked what had happened during her absence. Eagerly, Ashley recounted what only God could do. After three years of being shuffled from place to place, this cherished daughter—like Nakia—was reunited with her mom. She was finally home.
Jesus is already using Nakia’s journey of hope—to shine His hope—into the lives of those walking through trials. With the gentle kindness of a Father, God carried Nakia faithfully through her season of hardship and near loss—into a family. By doing so, He revealed a beautiful circle of redemption. Similarly, we look forward to the many children she will carry—straight into the loving hope, redemption and family of Jesus Christ.
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