Kim Meeder, co-founder of Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch, shares inspirational stories from her ranch, which rescues abused horses and pairs them with hurting children for mutual healing. (Part 2 of 2)
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Mrs. Kim Meeder: It doesn’t matter how barren property is or horses are or human hearts are, before Jesus Christ you can always recover, always when you turn to Him.
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John Fuller: Kim Meeder is returning today to “Focus on the Family” to share more stories of hope and healing in Christ. I’m John Fuller, and your host is Focus president and author Jim Daly.
Jim Daly: John, it’s such a privilege to have Kim back with us again. She was here many years ago, and just lit up the audience. You, the listener, connected with Kim. If you heard yesterday’s program, you’ll say, “Amen,” and if you didn’t, you’ve got to get a copy of it. Get your Smartphone; download the Focus app--it’s free--and listen that way or call us here if you don’t have a Smartphone like my teenagers. They don’t have one either. Go ahead.
John: Or get a CD, the old-fashioned technology.
Jim: It was powerful. I’m telling you what. We need inspiration as the believers in Christ, and He’s there, ready to deliver it. We need to open our eyes, and I would say Kim is the eye surgeon who can help you see the work of God around you. That’s the impression I get. She just illustrates so many things wonderfully to say, “Open your eyes and look. You will see the hand of God in everything around you, including horses.”
And people are saying, “What? Horses?” Yeah! That’s what Kim does. She brings horses, rescues horses and rehabilitates them, and then also at-risk children who come and interact with those horses. We’re going to start today with more wonderful stories of how God’s creation is declaring the truth of God’s word right there in front of Kim and her husband, Troy, on their ranch there in Oregon. Kim, welcome back.
Kim: It’s so good to be here. Thank you.
Jim: I just like, you have that Lord vibe, man. It’s just all over you.
Kim: Thank you, Jesus. Praise Him.
Jim: I love being around you for that reason, just that enthusiasm. You know the word “enthusiasm” is entheos, God in you, is the root of enthusiasm, and you bring it. I think it’s a wonderful thing, and I love your observation of His kingdom and His world, and even with the horses and how you’ve used them to help children who were down and out say, “Okay, God cares for me.”
And I think that’s a great place to kick off. I just love your stories. So in all these years you’ve been doing this, you’ve acquired some wisdom, I’m sure. You’ve seen dozens, hundreds of stories, and I want to hear more of that, because it encourages my heart. And at the same time, I’m sure you’ve learned some models that help you. What does that model look like, that wisdom that God has given you? What do you share with a 15-year-old boy who’s saying, “Whatever. Uh-huh,” just is down on the world because he’s not caught a break?
Kim: You know my husband and I are learning and growing every day, and the more we learn, the more we realize how much we need to. And I’m so grateful that we serve a God of grace, and that His mercy never ends. And what He’s calling us to do is to just press in; press in. I heard a quote about a year ago, and I’ve thought about it every day, and it’s transforming our lives, and it’s transforming our ministry. And this quote was from a pastor in Africa, and his name is Surprise, and he said in his beautiful African accent, “The Spirit of the living God, the Holy Spirit, is like a great, mighty river. You do not tell the river where to flow. Do not do this. Instead, you jump in and you go where He takes you.”
And we’re learning to go where the Holy Spirit wants to go and to follow Him where He wants to go. In all of my travels, as Judy [and I], my dear friend and assistant, travel, we hear the same resounding theme. How do you know what God wants you do to? How do you know God’s calling on your life?How do I know when I’m in a situation with a 15-year-old that’s rolling their eyes? How do I know when I’m in a conversation with a colleague that says, “I don’t believe in God; that’s just stupid that you do. Are you weak?” What do I do? What do I do?
And what the Lord is speaking and I see the whole world in pictures in my very, very simple mind. I’m so grateful Jesus taught in parables, because I get that. I can see it. And James 1:5, it can’t be more clear. You want to know God’s plan for your life? Ask Him. He’ll tell you. But then just do what He says. Don’t say, “Oh, that’s too hard. Next? Oh, that’s too scary. Next? Oh, that will make me feel embarrassed. Next?”
It really boils down to just pray, listen, and do what He says. Most believers are pretty good at the praying; some believers are pretty good at the listening; and very few are really pursuant in the doing, and that’s the hands and feet of the gospel of Jesus Christ. And the fruit of the Spirit is just that overflow of being in His presence. It’s not militant; it’s the overflow of being in the presence of the living God. And so, as I’m learning how to just go with the flow of God through Jesus Christ and His Spirit, just ask Him.
Not long ago, it’s been a couple years ago, I was at a women’s conference, and I was the speaker, and it was between sessions, and women were surrounding and I was talking and signing books. And this lady rushes up; she’s out of breath; she’s been running; and she reaches over everyone and says, “Could you sign this book for my friend? She doesn’t think she can come today.” And instantly the Lord said, “This is very important. She’s been running. This is very important.” And as I opened the book and started to sign, I was completely stopped by the Holy Spirit, and my prayer was nothing more than, “Lord, what do You want?”
And what I started to write was the most horrible poem in the world. It was the most “gagatrocious” Hallmark greeting card poem. It was terrible.
Jim: “Roses are red, violets are blue.”
Kim: It was worse! It was worse! I wrote something like—this is a woman I’ve never met—”I love you more than all the stars in the sky. I love you more than all the sand in the sea. All this love together is the love we share, you and me.” It was terrible. “God bless, love Kim.” Wrote some verses. And I’m thinking in my mind, Are you serious? This is awful!
I hand it to the woman. She grabs it. I hold on like, “I can still rip that page out!” And then I let it go, and my first thought, confession, was, Oh no! Lord, I just made such a fool out of both of us. And the Lord just smiled and said, “Honey, I’m God. Can’t make a fool out of Me. Own this, Kim. You were just worried about being embarrassed.”
And so, I just confessed my heart, “Lord, I’m sorry,” And so, at the end of the conference, you know there’s just this sweet crush of people coming up and praying and talking and signing. And there’s this very long line, and I look at the end of the line, and there’s a woman at the end of the line, and she’s wrecked, just wrecked. Her face is swollen. It’s soaking wet; her shirt’s soaking wet. She’s just vibrating. I can see her. I look at her and I point at her, “I see you. Don’t go.”
And it took me almost an hour to get through the crowd. “I’m coming. I’m coming. Don’t you leave.” And finally she comes up. She was the last one in line. And she’s just full body trembles. And she was holding her hands next to her chest under her chin, and that’s when I saw she was holding a book. And then she opens the book; it’s the horrible poem book. Great, you made her cry.
And she points at it, and she can’t even speak, and this fresh flood of tears just flows down her face, and she just said, “How did you know? How did you know? This is what my mother prayed over me every night when I was a child. How did you know this? My mother just died, and I’m so lost without her. And I’ve been begging Jesus, ‘If You’re real, Jesus, if You’re real, would You show me in a way that I know that You see my pain and that You love me and You see my breaking heart. And will You come and heal my heart?’ and now He has, and now I know.”
There is no education, there is no certification, there is no program on the planet that can do that. When we follow the Holy Spirit—and not all those things are good things; there are tools in the tool belt--but there is no wisdom of men that can usurp the power and the leadership of the Holy Spirit. He wants us to follow Him where He wants to go. John 4:23 and 24 says God is Spirit, and He is looking for anybody, anybody who will worship Him in Spirit and in truth. Follow Him where He wants to go. And we get so wrapped around the axle of, “Ooh, I don’t know about that. That’s kind of scary and kind of outside the box, and it might make me feel embarrassed.”
Recently, I was working on some teachings, and my gift to myself, I’m a wild child of the wilderness, and my gift to myself was once I get done, I get to go outside. And so, I was working on a project that I needed picture frame. And I’m learning to invite the Lord in, “So Lord, where do You want me to go buy picture frames?” And the answer was strangely immediate, “Goodwill.” I love Goodwill! It’s like a giant yard sale, and I can afford the stuff in here.
And so, I went and very quickly got some picture frames and headed to the counter and felt a very firm, “No yet.” And I thought, Hm, okay. I’m getting ready to do a speaking tour in Hawaii and I live in cold country, and so I went and found some board shorts and flip-flops. “And wow, Lord, I didn’t even know I needed that.” I again approached the counter. “Not yet.” And so, now I’m kind of creeping around Goodwill, not sure why I’m here, what I’m doing. And so, [I] finally found a couple more little items, and I’m creeping up to the checkout stand, “Now?” And just felt release. And just before I got there, there was only one person there, and I heard her say to her customer, “I’m sorry. I don’t know how to do this. I have to call the manager.” So now it’s all jammed up.
And this employee cuts in front of me so close she almost knocks my basket out of my hands. She’s really short, she’d got flaming red hair and fiery blue eyes, and she’s mad, mad. And she comes around, and I’m like, oh dear Lord. And she’s like, “Did you find everything you need?” And I put my basket on the counter, “Uh, yes.” She gets a phone call and [mumbles angrily]. And she slams it down. “Did you find everything you need?” “Actually, I found more than I need,” and I shared with her very quickly, “I’m getting ready to go do a speaking tour and found things I didn’t know I needed.”
“Oh, that’s great. So what do you speak on?” And at this point, she still hasn’t looked at me. And I just told her that I speak about hope. And she’s thinking about that, and just a thumbnail of the ranch, and then this little woman rocks back on her heels and says, “I’m so glad that you talk to people about hope, because I’m sick and tired,” she’s yelling in my face, “I’m sick and tired that nobody takes responsibility for anything anymore, and I’m sick of it! I’m sick of it!” She’s shouting in my face. And I’m standing there just saying, “Dear Lord Jesus, what do You want me to do?”
Jim: Yeah, right.
Kim: And like a bell on a winter’s day I heard His voice say, “I want you to point blank her with what I’ve done for you.” “God, are You serious? Look at her! She’s mad! She’s not going to receive it. The guy behind me is mad. Everybody is mad. Really, Lord, this is not a good time. Okay, okay. I’m going in. And I look at her name, little name on her little blue smock, and it said, “Angel.” I said, “Angel, you’re right. I’m so glad that I get to share about hope. Hope is so vitally important to our life that I remember the moment, the very day and moment that genuine hope came into my heart, and it was the same day that my dad murdered my mom and took his own life, because that’s the day that I met Jesus Christ, the Author of hope.”
And she just went, “Uuh!” And she stood there for like a day, and finally she exhales, her beautiful blue eyes start to raise, and they’re flooding with tears, and in this tiny little broken girl’s voice, she looks right in my face, right in my eyes, and she said, “I’ve never shared this with anybody. When I was 12, my mom killed herself right in front of me.” And all I did was just open my arms, and she came right over the counter and just buried in my neck, and I just hugged her. She’s kneeling on the counter in a Goodwill store in Central Oregon, and in that moment hope was found.
You want to know how to live your life for Christ and what God wants you to do, what the whole purpose of your life is? It’s easy. You pray, you listen, and you do what the Holy Spirit tells you to do. And that’s when you will see the release of His glory where He just gets to go where He wants to go. Anyone who knows Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, you pray, you listen, and you do, and then get ready to see His glory.
Jim: Man, that is amazing!
John: Kim Meeder is our guest today on “Focus on the Family,” and she, as you can tell, is a dynamic follower of Christ, and if you need hope, get a copy of her book. Give us a call. Stop by our website. There’s a lot of help and hope at http://focusonthefamily.com/radio. Or call 1-800-A-FAMILY.
And Kim has written a book called Hope Rising. It’s the story of what she and her husband, Troy, do at Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch. Get a copy of that today, and a CD as well.
Jim: You know, with the ranch, as it was developing—and I want to get an update before we leave today—yet there was the one story that so gripped me, I mean had all of us in tears last time you were here, and that is the story of Matt. And it’s kind of, for me, it’s just such a wonderful story of redemption. Tell us about Matt.
Kim: Matt was part of a group that was coming from the juvenile justice department, and they came to the ranch for seven years, every week. And these were young men who were all high-school age who had committed an offense; they were in prison; and they had all earned the right to come to the ranch through good behavior.
And one day they were coming, and one of the counselors called me ahead of time and said, “Matt is coming. It’s his first time. I just want you to know his back story.” And she said that, “What I can tell you is that his mother loved drugs more than him, and when she was pregnant, she did a lot of them, and Matt was born with a deformed arm and a deformed hand, and this young man has been fighting with the world his whole life, trying to prove that ‘I am not a freak,’ and he’s been in and out of the system his whole life, and he’s coming to the ranch today for the first time.”
And so, we prayed over him. Every day, I have the greatest staff on the Planet Earth, and every day before the kids come, they gather and at that time I was able to gather with them, and we pray, name by name, over everyone coming to the ranch. And the boys came early, so I left them and walked down to greet these boys. And I didn’t hear this, but I did see it. There [were] six boys and a counselor, and as they walked up, I’m, “Welcome to the ranch! We’re so glad to have you guys here!” and all the things that I was saying, and I saw this young man, who was actually 200 pounds, not a boy, as big as I am plus, and I saw him get down in his counselor’s face, and what I was later told is he looked at her and said, “Doesn’t she know who I am?” “Yeah, she knows.”
And as I continued to greet them and close the distance between us, I saw him gently take her by the elbow and turn her to face him, and he bent down and got up in her face and very gently said, “Doesn’t she know that I’m bad?” And she said, “Yeah, she knows.” And he was just grappling with the love of Jesus that doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t make sense, and it knows no boundary or definition; it just roars. And as he was coming into that spirit of love of the One who made him and was drawing him, he was grappling.
And so, I came up into this group and we did all the stupid bumps and handshakes and the goofy grips, and I was very aware that Matt did not want me to see his arm or his hand, and he stood turned so I could not see that. And I noticed, and I just prayed, Jesus, lead on. And at that point we had just brought home the worst case of starvation in the history of the 22 years of Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch. This horse, on the day of her rescue, was a 3 1/2 year old quarter horse thoroughbred. All the horse people will know that’s a big horse. That’s 16 hands and 1,200 pounds, all day long. On the day of this horse’s rescue, she was about 14 hands, and she weighed less than 400 pounds. You could almost put your hands around this horse’s flanks.
She was so emaciated that she had grown this rampant lanugo, which is excess body hair, trying to hold in heat, and in our cold mountain country, it didn’t work, and she had these huge flaps of necrotic skin that had frozen and was peeling off. It was the most horrible thing I’d ever seen, except of the bones at my feet of the horses that had died. And she was home, and she was recovering, and we put her in the back of our ranch, because people had to be prepared for what they were going to see. And so, I told the boys, “She’s in the process of socialization, she’s very shy; she’s very gentle. Can you just come and say hello? And then I’ll release you for your day.” And they’re, “Yeah, sure, whatever.”
And so, we bring them in the corral, and they are standing in a semicircle, and I’m with them, so there [are] seven of us. And she was behind a wall of a wind shelter and they couldn’t see her. And very quickly they were bored and, “Oh, this is so boring.” And so, all of a sudden this little head leans around the wall, and she looks out at them, and it was like watching a fawn step out into a clearing. And she just came up so quiet, and this little nose, and she stopped right in the middle of all of us, and one at a time, she would stretch her nose out and smell us and then pull her head back and think about that.
And she did this to everyone, including me, and because Jesus is Lord, I watched this emaciated horse drop her chin straight down so the front of her face was vertical, and she took two steps forward and pushed her forehead against Matt’s chest. She chose him. And he didn’t know what to do and he kind of put his palms up in the air like, “Uh, what do I do?” And he kind of starting beating her on the top of the head, patting her, and I grabbed his wrist and I said, “No, no. Just make little circles. She really likes that.”
And he never looked at me again. And all the other boys were excused. I gave Matt brushes. He stayed there. He answered every question of mine with great respect and honor. He never looked at me again. And it was as if this object that had chosen him would disappear and he would lose her. “I just have to stay with her.”
And at the end of the day when the boys had to go back to prison, we couldn’t find Matt. In a short search, we found him right where we left him, in this corral with this recovering horse. And so, he went back and the following week his counselor called me and said, “Something has happened to Matt and my first response was, “Jesus, no! He was doing so good. He is doing so well. Please, Lord, no!”
And she said, that, “When we went back into incarceration, he just pulled away from everyone, and he stopped eating and he stopped talking.” And she said, “He would say things to me like, ‘I need to talk to you, but not yet.’ And ‘I still need to talk to you, but not now.’” And she said, “It took me a couple of days to realize he needed privacy.” This young man is 200 pounds and six feet tall, and as a woman counselor, she had to arrange that. And she said, “Finally, we sit down in this room, and this huge young man just slumps into this chair,” and she said, “these giant tears were just streaming down his face.
And he grabbed his shirt in front of his heart in a handful, and he just started to speak through his tears, ‘My heart, my heart, something is happening to my heart. I never knew that anyone in this world could ever love me or believe in me, and now I know that if the people and the horses that live on that hill can believe in me and love me, that now it’s time for me to start believing in myself.’”
A life can change in a moment, and you never know when that moment is going to be. As those who love Jesus Christ, were you and I to speak His love and His hope and His truth into the hearts of the broken, we never know where those arrows of love are going to go, but what we do know is that the words of Isaiah 55 are true, and that God’s Word never returns to Him void. It doesn’t matter if we see it or not; it only matters that we pull back with all our might and release those arrows into the broken around us.
That was the day that Matt’s life was transformed. He’s out of the system; he’s doing great. He came to the ranch a couple of years later and he walked up the hill and said, “Kim Meeder!” Picked me up like a sack of potatoes and hugged me and dropped me and then looked around and said, “Where’s my horse?” A life can change in a moment because of the love of Jesus Christ.
Jim: Speechless, I mean it’s just such an awesome story. And that’s what God can do in your life, honestly, and it’s just a matter of opening your heart to Him. And I hope you will do that if you’ve never done it. That’s what I’m hearing Kim talk about today, and it’s so beautiful, so beautiful. Man, the quick update on the youth ranch. Where are you at? What has the Lord done over these years? What’s happening today?
Kim: Oh my goodness. The ranch has gone from nine acres of cinder pit to 105 acres of farmland, and we are moving at a fast pace toward self-sustainability and providing for the families in need that are coming to the ranch. And in the 22 years of the ranch’s existence, we have helped to shoulder with others to start about 200 other ranches like ours in the United States and in Canada, and over 10, I think it’s a dozen now, in foreign nations. And that is what following the Spirit of the living God can do. From a rock pit in the middle of Oregon to around the world, His love and His hope knows no boundary except for what we place in front of Him. And if we will just jump into the river of His presence, only then will you see where He wants to go.
Jim: Beautiful. I mean so good. Man, John, you need to take it away, because I’m a mess over here. So Kim, thanks for being with us again, a celebration of that 40th anniversary. You are just, you are amazing, and the Lord has used you in such amazing ways.
Kim: We serve an amazing God.
Jim: Amen and say hi to Troy. Give him a big hug, one big guy to another big guy. But that’s just so sweet what you guys have done and what the Lord will continue to accomplish through you.
Jim: Thank you for your faithfulness.
Kim: And yours.
John: Well, we’ve heard about God’s redemptive power throughout these past couple of days with Kim Meeder, and I’m gonna encourage you to get a CD of this conversation and her book, as well, Hope Rising. That’s got the story about Matt that she just shared and so much more about the work and the wonders, frankly, that are happening at Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch.
We do have other resources as well to encourage you in your faith, as Jim has suggested this past couple of days. In fact, the Focus on the Family online store always has the latest new books and Bible studies and other helps, from Focus and broadcast guests, available for you and your family.
And this reminder, that we’re here to help, and if you’re at a point of spiritual need, if something Kim has said or prayed during this past couple of days has gotten ahold of you, then give us a call. Our number is 800-232-6459; 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY.
And when you get in touch, please consider a generous donation to the ministry of Focus on the Family. Your support allows us to produce radio programs like this and create resources to strengthen marriages and to provide trusted parenting advice and to guide people ultimately to a faith in Christ Jesus.
In fact, when you donate today, we’ll send a copy of Kim’s book, Hope Rising as our way of saying thank you for joining our support team and doing your ministry through this one. Donate and find out more about Hope Rising at www.focusonthefamily.com/radio.
Well, we hope you have a great weekend and that you can join us again on Monday. We’ll be talking with well-known sportscaster, Ernie Johnson.
Ernie Johnson Jr.: And I said, “And it’s worse than we thought.” I said, “It’s cancer.” I don’t wish that moment on anybody, because it’s as real as it gets and it’s tough as it gets.
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John: I’m John Fuller and on behalf of Focus president, Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for listening. Join us again next time, as we once again, help you and your family thrive in Christ.
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Kim MeederView Bio
Kim Meeder and her husband, Troy, are the co-founders of Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch, a non-profit organization that rescues abused horses and pairs them with hurting kids for mutual healing. Kim is also a motivational speaker and the author of several books including Hope Rising and Bridge Called Hope, which feature inspirational stories from her ranch. She is a recipient of the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Award and the Red Cross Local Heroes Award, two prestigious honors given for public and community service. Kim is also a gifted athlete who has set two world records in power lifting and participated in the U.S. Olympics biathalon trials.