This devotional is a peek back to Summer of 2023 after our move to Columbia, TN and is a beautiful reminder that even when things do not go as planned, God is in the midst of it. We have seen His faithfulness since this was written and are excited to continually experience Him in the months and years to come.
“As everyone knows, Freedom Reigns Ranch has been growing. We have been blessed with
property of our own and a small, three stall barn was donated and built by a group of awesome folks with a true heart for the ranch. We have had so many generous donors, and many volunteers who have built fencing, cut down trees, cleared pastures, and prepared the Ranch for Sessions.
There have been too many great completed projects to list! We have truly been blessed! However, the process has not been easy. The work was hard. We had construction delays with power, our well, and delivery delays with our new barn and covered arena. We still had a lot to do in order to see our vision for the ranch completed.
Now our first Sessions were upon us and even though much had been done, I realized that Sessions were not going to look the same. Because our horses were still getting accustomed to the new surroundings, we were limited and were not going to be able to ride just yet as we had done in the past. We would just have to shift our typical plans. I introduced my participant, Connor*, to some new horses, showed them around the ranch, and explained where the new barn and covered arena were going to be built. We came up with new activities for the participants which included fly-fishing in our new pond! Connor caught on quickly and was able to catch several hungry fish in a short amount of time! All too quickly our time together had come to an end.
As we were walking to the parking lot, I asked Connor what he thought of the new Ranch. He exclaimed, ‘It’s perfect!’ Each of our young participants left telling their parents about all that they had done and seen at the new ranch with smiles on their faces. Then, as we always do, the Session Leaders and Ranch Assistants gathered to pray for each of our participants…then it happened. As the prayers were passing around the circle, as if God Himself had just spoken into my heart, I came to the realization that even though I had seen the Ranch as incomplete and not ready, with so much still to be done, our participants had seen it as perfect. Through their eyes, they saw perfection. They could see and imagine the new barn as though it were already there. They were excited to work at their chores because they felt as though they were now a part of building the new ranch. Through their eyes it was perfect.
At the end of our prayer time, I found that as I was praying that God would minister to my
participant through all we had done that evening, I was the one being ministered to! If we will
give Him place in our hearts and not be distracted by what we see, He will give us grace to see
through His eyes, and even if only for a moment, through the eyes of a child. I think this was the
best session I have ever had!”
“Then he took a little child and set him in the midst of them. And when He had taken him in His arms, he said to them, ‘Whoever receives one of these little children in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me, receives not Me but Him who sent Me.’”
Devo written by Everett Simmons, Volunteer Session Leader
*Names are changed to protect identities