Every now and again I hear a story that stops me in my tracks and captures my heart. I heard one last week from a woman named Kim Meeder who runs a horse ranch in Bend, Oregon.
She told of a beautiful relationship with her big strapping father who would throw her on his shoulders and zoom her down the mountain on his skis when she was a preschooler. He was her hero. And then, on a tragic day when she was just nine years old, a family friend picked her up at school and she learned her father had murdered her mother and then taken his own life.
Most stories like this make me angry and sad. But Kim didn’t let me stay there. To my surprise, I didn’t even think about her dad much at all because she so quickly pointed to the One who, on that same awful day, broke through the pain and promised to never leave her or forsake her.
But what really captured me was her passion. Years after this horrific event, Kim and her husband bought a small ranch with the intention of living on it, planting gardens, and raising livestock. One day they took in two abandoned horses and decided to nurse them back to health. Some local at–risk youth found out and would come by hoping to see the horses. From this humble beginning, she has followed the gentle voice of the Holy Spirit and rescued thousands of horses and kids who also needed rescue.
Kim is such a beautiful picture of how God uses unthinkable pain, redeems desperate stories for good, and turns circumstances around to bless others. I wept as she shared her story with a group of women, calling each one to embody a life of freedom, gratitude, and praise. There was no guilt or obligation, just an invitation to take the more that Jesus offers. She then offered any of her books free for the taking.
Kim’s faith and joy were so present it was like you could taste them. She is a living reminder of abundance and the gospel at work, and that each of us has a unique story of pain and purpose to live out and share.