If you have been around us at the Ranch for more than 5 minutes, you will know that we love to laugh and be silly! The barn has so many joyful memories that we cherish. I truly believe God delights in making us laugh and enjoy the things He has created.
Horses can typically be viewed as majestic, powerful creatures. And while that is definitely true, any equestrian will tell you with confidence that horses are also goofballs and have the silliest quirks.
When those little quirks and habits are unlocked in Sessions, the pure excitement and laughter they bring are so special! When you scratch a horse in juuuuust the right spot, or when they lay down and roll in the best mud patch they have ever found, groaning in contentment, or when they curiously pick things up in their mouth and wave them around, a cacophany of giggles and squeals follow. One of my favorite sights is our horse, Remi, surrounded by people scratching his back. His eyes droop, his upper lip sticks out, and the expression on his face is one of pure bliss.
It's amazing to know that God CREATED horses that way!! At the Ranch, we believe one of the reasons God created horses is to teach us about Himself. And the more I am around horses the more convinced I am that God has a sense of humor and loves to see His children laugh. One of the most meaningful moments I have witnessed at the Ranch is a group of Junior Ranchers cracking jokes during chores and making me laugh. I commented to a fellow leader how funny I thought the girls were and she looked me in the eye and responded, "Those girls have been through hell." It struck me that, sometimes, all a kid needs is a place to be a kid.
"My happiest memory at the Ranch was... when I was the sack of potatoes on Finn!" -12 year old Participant
"My favorite horse is Freedom because he is so goofy, and adorable, and willing to listen!" -14 year old Volunteer
"My happiest memory with Bronson was when I hadn't been at the ranch for awhile and he put his head in my arms and fell asleep! It's the simple things!" - 13 year old Participant
Psalm 16:11 says "You make known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand." Many of our participants have walked through so much hardship and difficulty that they struggle to let themselves go and enjoy the little things in life. It is amazing how, even in the midst of pain, God's presence creates an atmosphere of peace and joy so that participants can rediscover laughter and happiness. It is such an important piece of igniting hope again.
When life gets stressful and burdensome, our prayer for you is that you will discover the little things that God has placed in your life to bring you joy. Proverbs 17:22 says, "A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.” Fun and laughter are good for your soul! Whether it be a silly donkey falling in a trough, a fun hairstyle on a mini horse, or the eagerness in the eyes of a pony gazing at a treat, I pray you have the eyes to see moments of fun and that they bring peace to your heart.
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope" (Romans 15:13)