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An Object on the Back of a Horse

It was a sunny Fall day when we welcomed a group of girls from Mercy Multiplied to the Ranch for a Group Session. Mercy Multiplied is a local nonprofit that provides residential treatment to girls ages 13-32 who are struggling with addictive behavior. We love to partner with them and other residential nonprofits to provide sessions for their residents. While we were preparing for this Session, we felt God leading us to use physical objects to represent something that our "Mercy girls" had walked through or were currently struggling with and name it. It could be a silly name like “Squishy” or “Steve” or they could choose to name it after what it represented. We broke them into groups and gave them the challenge to build an obstacle course, place their objects on the horses’ backs, and lead the horses through the course. If their object fell off, they had to scream the name of their object as loud as possible and then stand with it. I heard several murmurs of, “Oh, I don’t want to say mine."

Bronson and Pogo began their walk through the courses and the first object hit the ground. Words began to ring in the air, some screamed at the top of their lungs and some murmured tentatively. As more objects began to fall I heard “eating disorder,” “silent,” “depression,” "running," and other words that brought tears to my eyes. One girl with piercing blue eyes and matching beads in her hair began to cry quietly next to me. I felt like God was stirring something in her heart.

“It helped me open up. Using the objects to explain what was holding us down was very helpful due to being a visual person. It allowed me to connect my brain and my heart.”

- Participant from Mercy Multiplied, 2022

God created a powerful Session that day as the girls caught on to the meaning behind it. For the next round, they chose to sing worship songs, yell God's truth about them as their objects fell, and encourage each other through the course. Afterward, Carissa issued them a challenge. They had to take their object and get rid of it. Tear it up, throw it, destroy it, do whatever they needed to leave what it represented behind them. It had no power over them anymore and they were free.

I left the area to give them some privacy and started tidying up the barn. I glanced up just in time to watch a pair of loppers sail into the pasture. The beautiful girl with beads in her hair had flung her object into the pasture and fallen to her knees, weeping. She buried her head in her hands. Her word, “eating disorder,” had stolen so much from her. Now she was taking it back and reclaiming her freedom. It had no power over her anymore.

“It was very eye-opening and freeing, throwing away your past with a physical, representative object. It was very empowering.”

- Participant from Mercy Multiplied, 2022

When I go back and think about that day, all I can feel is gratitude. What a privilege it is to witness such special moments. God spoke to 20 girls through a simple object on the back of a horse. This year has been a whirlwind of joy, heartache, excitement, and eager anticipation. It is days like those that make the hard moments so incredibly worth it. Next year is going to be such a special journey with moving to our Forever Home as well as holding regular Sessions. We are honored that you are choosing to join us in the adventure!

Written by Rachel Moore, Executive Assistant

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