Each child or teen that comes to the ranch has a story. A story of the heavy burdens that they carry. We may know pieces of it prior to their arrival, yet it is their story to tell as they feel comfortable. Our desire is that a child or teen feels safe and loved enough to trust us with their stories, because holding onto all that hurt inside is what can hold them back from healing. Crisis and trauma fragment our minds and separate fact from feelings and leave us feeling trapped and overwhelmed. We have to get the hurt that is inside out and in the open, and in sharing our stories, our brains begin to form new pathways and healing begins.
On a recent summer evening, a teenage girl who had been quiet, reserved, and hesitant to trust in previous sessions met a horse at Bright Side who had experienced physical abuse in her past. She saw that this horse had made huge steps forward in healing and yet still struggled with trusting people. Later in the session, this teen opened up to her mentor about the pain in her past, her current struggles, and her desire to see a different future. With a history of sexual abuse, this girl carries deep scars and some wounds that are still healing, much like the horse she worked with. As she shared openly, her mentor listened without dismissal, judgment, or censure, and it was the love, care and concern felt in this session that led the girl to say, “I feel heard.”
This is one of the beautiful moments that emerge from one child, one mentor, and one horse coming together. All of these dynamic elements can be used by God to provide an opportunity for a teen to know that she doesn’t have to carry those burdens alone, that there is someone who cares about the hurt she’s experienced, and that there is One who will never abandon her when she’s struggling with memories of her past.
We are so thankful to see God at work at the ranch and for you to be on this journey with us to help hurting kids and teens find hope and healing in Jesus.