Their ranch was up and running, but it was out in the middle of nowhere in Colorado. The horses were ready and waiting, the plans were made and a few had even enjoyed the experience of having their lives touched in that special way that only a horse can. But the weariness of separation had worn David and Josie thin. Being so far away from the city had cut off the very children they wanted to serve. But God has a way of opening doors even when our eyes can only see brick walls.
More land. Although there’s only a finite amount of it out there, God owns it all! David and Josie were drawn to a raw piece of wilderness just outside Denver. Leafless Aspens covered the hillsides and the untouched wilderness drew them in deeper and deeper. While standing in the middle of the very creation of God you can feel His breath of hope all around you, surrounding you with a peace that is hard to explain with mere words. While all the rest of creation was brought forth with only the spoken words of God, man was created by His hands and we hold inside us the very breath of God that gives us life. No wonder the wind speaks so fluidly to our spirits.
Praying over the land was the only reasonable response to the new call of God on David and Josie. They called their friends, Troy and Kim Meeder, and explained the situation to them, their desperate desire to give hope to hurting children by building relationships with horses. Troy and Kim have inspired and led and mentored so many other people in this call and it seemed only logical to come and help them in this attempt to call on the Creator and ask for His guidance and His provision.
Troy and Kim Meeder live outside of Bend, Oregon, in the once barren cinder pit that is now Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch. They bought the only piece of property they could afford, the cinder pit that no one else wanted. With all the money they had saved up for a home, they were driven to spend that nest egg on water. The water table was 800 feet below the surface of this rocky, barren soil and took their savings to reach it. They hooked to a manufactured home, drug it up those dismal slopes and began to see with eyes of hope that God was capable of anything He chooses, in any place He chooses as long as He has the full and faithful attention of willing hearts. Seventeen years later, you would never dream that this place was anything less than the picture of perfection you see when you come up the driveway to Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch. However, just as God taught His own children to remember back to that time when He rescued them from their prison, Troy and Kim were careful to leave the back of that cinder pit just like they found it. Those rocky slopes stand looking over the ranch as a reminder that with God, nothing is impossible.
No wonder Josie chose to call on Troy and Kim. They had already been through so many of the same burdens and emotions in their beginning. Who better to call on to pray with them?
As they walked with Troy and Kim on the prospective property, the spirit of God blew through those lifeless trees. The cold of winter had come and the land was lying fast asleep, with the hope of spring deep beneath the surface. The rolling hills were steep and the raw wilderness that stretched out before them spoke with crystal clarity to Kim. The call of the wilderness was deep inside her and the land seemed to call her, to draw her out into itself. The group split up and began to walk around this new property, praying for God to reveal Himself to them and to make His will known to each and every one of them. And He did.
Being alone in the wilderness was the most natural, most comfortable place on earth for Kim. The peace and quiet of the creation spoke to her in the most familiar tones and it reached deep into the very heart of her. The sun would glint through the bare trees and cast shadows on the dry grass, the breeze would wrap itself around her and set her spirit completely free. Although the structures of the wilderness were trees and rocks, it is in the wilderness that Kim feels truly at home. There are treasures to be found in the wilderness that would make even the most novice boy scout stand tall and proud at their finding. Old limbs in the shape of weapons. Leaves that fell perfectly from their home among the treetops without so much as a scratch on their flight to the earth. Smooth rocks lying in the bed of creek with the story of peace etched deep inside it. Only could that smooth stone could truly understand that resting in the turmoil that is a river produces eyes that see peace rushing around it.
Kim was especially fond of the treasures she could find in the wilderness. Her senses remained on high alert as she sought out treasures of God in her spirit and treasures in the wilderness with her eyes. Her spirit-foot was grounded! Grounded in the Word of God so that even in the midst of all the beauty before her God could gently remind her of the promises He’d made to her. Her natural foot was grounded, too. She knew both the beauty and the danger around her and respected them equally. In looking upward and outward she was ready for whatever treasure was lying before her. And there it was. Lying under the cover of the leaves and grass she found the most incredible and exhilarating tip of a shed horn! Kim saw everything as a gift and this shed horn was no different! Brushing the leaves away from her new-found treasure Kim quickly discovered that this was much, much more than a shed horn. Those amazing horns were attached to an enormous buck! This was a kill that had not been retrieved. This buck had escaped his killer and died alone under this cover. Kim lifted the heavy head of the buck and was able to separate the antlers from the decayed skull of the magnificent beast. What a treasure!
A long cherished tradition for Kim was treasure finding. Unlike most, though, rather than tucking her treasures inside and keeping them only for herself, Kim looked to God - her covenant God - and asked Him quickly and quietly what He wanted to share with her through this find. She prayed, earnestly seeking for a clear meaning behind the buck’s sacrifice. And God answered her. The horns are a gift for Josie. They are a sign to her of the sacrifices made on this land. So Kim immediately found Josie and relayed the message of the horns to her, and the blessing was passed from one faithful hand to the next.
But the prayer walk over the land wasn’t even close to being finished. Kim set out again on her way, seeking out treasures in the wilderness. Walking carefully, pausing to pray, asking for direction, seeking holy guidance for David and Josie and the call on their life. The Word says that the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man accomplishes much. And that was never more true than for Kim on this prayer walk.
She found another horn. Only the tip of the treasure shone through the grass. There was no way to know how large this horn was, but Kim quickly reached down and saw that this was a shed horn from an elk. Time and other animals had worn down a few of the tines so this wasn’t a perfect horn. The base of the horn had been buried a little deeper in the ground so the front two projections were near perfect and sharp as knives. When held up, this new treasure was about 30 inches in length from base to tip. Smiling from ear to ear would not have described the joy of this adventurous little tomboyish girl, trapped in the body of a full grown woman. Celebrating the find and then quickly thanking God for it was a perfectly normal progression for Kim. And as she looked downward, the blessing, this time, was to be two fold! There it was, the completion of the work - the other horn! Also a little worn, one of the middle tines had been used as a calcium supplement for a passing animal, but completion nonetheless. She had found a matching set of elk antlers. The crown glory of one of God’s amazing animals.
Kim, again, thanked her dear Father for the gift and sought out the answer to the meaning behind the blessing. She held up this crown above her own head and rejoiced in being the daughter of the King of Kings. Who but God would place a crown on a beast? Who but God would have that beast lay down his own crown yearly with the ritual shedding, only to replace it with a much stronger one?
But there was a strong sense of something else going on. Kim began to feel a presence around her that could only be described as evil. Turning slowly to her left, with the horns still in her own hands, Kim looked and saw evil staring her in the face. It was a mountain lion, lying on his belly, crouched near a broken tree. In all the years of walking through the wild lands of Oregon, Kim and Troy had seen all manner of wild animals - bears, snakes, other wild cats - but never once had they seen a mountain lion. This creature was not here by mistake, he was here on a mission. Kim was on his territory and had just placed herself directly in his line of attack. He crouched without so much as a breath, waiting on her very next move. His eyes never left her and with a quiet, still patience that only a predator possesses, he waited.
The spirit of the living God fell fast on Kim and her years of experience in the wilderness quickly rushed into focus for her. “This is your enemy!” the Spirit of God spoke. “If you turn and walk away, pretending he’s not there, you will be devoured. If you stand still and face him, he will revel in a frontal attack and destroy you. If you will trust me with the weapons I have provided you will defeat him.”
With that instruction Kim raised the weapons she had in her hands, the treasured horns she’d just received as a gift! One above her to the right, the other above her head to the left and Kim suddenly became a foe to be reckoned with. With a primal shout she took one step forward directly toward the enemy. And with that step, he never flinched! The prey he sought to destroy wasn’t going to shoo him away like some frightened house cat. He had set his mind on destroying her and wouldn’t be put off by her first attempt to defend herself.
Again, raising her weapons heavenward, Kim lunged forward and shouted again at her enemy. His response was to hold his ground and he fixed his gaze even more solidly on his prize. Her options were few. Kim could lunge forward one more time and would be standing at the mouth of this enemy or she could lay down her weapons and surrender. To try to run from him would be useless and to stand still and just wait him out would ensure her defeat. To attack him was the only option she had.
Where was her mind while she was standing face to face with her enemy? Most would be paralyzed with fear. Many would crumble to the ground under the weight of the decision she had been forced to make. But God, in His infinite wisdom had chosen to use this most dangerous situation to wrap His child in peace! Where there is peace, fear cannot exist! And this peace was the firm footing on which a child of God would stand and fight with everything in her, and with the weapons she had been given, to accomplish a work that had been set before her.
So with that, weapons in her hands and peace beneath her feet, she shouted and raised the antlers high in the air and stepped with one more powerful step toward the predator! He finally responded. He slipped back into the grass and fled. The enemy was defeated and Kim’s life was spared.
As her heart pounded with fresh air and blood to every single cell in her body, Kim once again cried out to God to thank Him. He heard her cry and quickly wrapped her in those arms of love that only a child of the King would recognize. “Kim, I have a message for you, now. Defend My land! The enemy is ready to attack and poised to do so. He is destroying families and killing the children. Husbands and wives are being torn to shreds at his ruthless hands, hearts are being stolen away, and minds are being destroyed with fear and doubt. Defend My land! Look in your hands and see what I have already provided. You have everything you need to defeat this enemy, but you must stand strong! You must fight! There are those who will be offended by truth, but you must fight. There are those who will stand on the side of the enemy to fight against you with him. But you must fight.”
As her tears drenched the precious ground beneath her feet, Kim realized that this message wasn’t just for her. Her husband and her friends rested at the meeting point, wondering what amazing things Kim had found, but she wrestled alone with the words of her Lord and the instructions He had given. This was a cry that would have to go out to all believers. “Look at what the Lord has already provided! Hold your weapons in your hands and fight! The battle is already won, but the war is all around you!!”
I recently found myself sitting near Kim Meeder as she relayed this story to those of us who had come to their ranch in Bend. They shared with us wisdom from God’s word, vision about the future of our own calls of God, and encouragement to keep pressing on. But on hearing this battle cry my heart was armed with a charge to keep pressing on. The war is raging for my own family and my home. The hearts of my own children must be defended. The love I have for my husband must be strengthened and covered in armor so that the enemy will be unable to destroy what God has created. The men and women and children who come to our ranch must be protected against the invisible enemy of their soul who is trying to steal their lives and destroy everything around them.
I have heard the call from God to “defend the land” and I have chosen to take on that charge for my life and my family. I have chosen to arm myself for battle with the weapons that God Himself has especially fitted for me. I will arm myself, first, with His Word. I will take that weapon that is a sharp, two edged sword and I will use it to attack the enemy and defend His land. I will take the gifts and talents that God has given and I will draw them out and use them to pull those who are weak near to me and teach them to be strong. I will use faithfully each and every horse that comes my way to show that God is the God of relationship and by submitting to His authority alone will there be the rest and peace that every human so fiercely desires. I will use my marriage to show other women that submitting myself completely to my husband only makes me stronger, shows him the respect that he was built to thrive on, and allows God to work more freely in our lives. I will use every single hurt that I’ve experienced in my life as a testimony of the faith I have in the God who has never once left me or abandoned me. I will use my home as a refuge for those who are hurting from being in this battle, to feed those who are hungry for His Word, and to shelter those who are lost.
I am thankful to God that the battle is already won. I am thankful that the enemy has already been defeated and that Jesus Christ will soon reign forever, with every knee bowing and every single tongue confessing that He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. To Him alone be glory forever and ever.