The King’s Ranch Story, Part 1
I remember my calling vividly. I was reading in 1 Kings 19 about Elisha being called by God to leave his way of life, to burn his equipment, to sacrifice his oxen, and to follow the Lord, and I knew with searing clarity that the Lord was calling me to do the same. He was calling me to leave my life as I had known it. He was calling me to follow where He would lead. Although I could have never imagined the twists and turns my path would take from that day on, as I look back now I can see His sovereign hand. And I can see how He truly does do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine …
“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”
- Ephesians 3:20-21
The first turn in my path came in the way of a heavy burden for orphans, the kind of burden that would leave my heart so heavy that I would find myself pouring tears over stories of the plight of orphans, stories of children who had been abused, neglected, and abandoned. I knew that God wanted me to take action -- there was no doubt in my mind about that -- but in what way? The answer to that question took about two years to uncover. I prayed and prayed, and finally expressed to my husband a strong leading to open a children’s home.
Unexpectedly, however wisely, he was cautious. It was a huge step, one not to be taken lightly or carelessly, as we were in the trenches of raising four young children of our own. I finally resigned to not to argue my case, but pray and let the Lord lead our family in unity. He did. After several more months of praying, the Lord made it clear to my husband that if we would be obedient to His call to open a children’s home, He would bless our children, and not only that, but also that they would see His glory in a way they would never see it if we were not obedient.
So it was settled. And King’s Ranch, A Home for Children in Need was born. In our hearts at least.
The next twist came as we set about going through the necessary steps to open a children’s home on our land, and we encountered, much to our surprise, intense opposition – a mountain of it. We wondered if we had heard the Lord incorrectly, if this wasn’t the right path for us… but the Lord made it clear: He had given us the acreage of land we lived on for one purpose – to start King’s Ranch. So we persevered. What else could we do when we knew God had spoken so clearly? The fight raged on for three long years, in the form of a legal battle regarding the use of our property. We couldn’t understand; all we needed was a measly little conditional use permit and we were ready to open our doors to the abused, neglected, and abandoned children God was calling us to serve. We prayed and prayed for that measly little conditional use permit. So why wasn’t He giving us victory? We would later understand that it was because He was doing immeasurably more than all we could ask or imagine.
Advisory Board Chili Supper 2007
Discussing how to proceed in the midst of opposition
During this three year period of intense opposition (and the delay of our conditional use permit, causing the delay of us opening King’s Ranch), the Lord sent a young lady named Crissey into our lives. She was broken, she was wounded, and He sent her to us for rescue. We brought her home to live with our family, and the training began – OUR training. After a year and a half of miserably trying to help Crissey heal, using all of our best parenting tools and tricks, loving and caring for her the same way we had loved and cared for our four biological children, we were sinking. It was then that we began to learn about therapeutic parenting, and specifically, how to parent children with compromised attachment. We learned the hard way that it isn’t the same way we had parented our bio kids -- far from it -- but the Lord was training us in therapeutic parenting, not only for Crissey’s healing, but for immeasurably more… for all the rescued children, just like her, He was going to send our way.
Crissey and I enjoying an afternoon together.
Eighteen months later we were equipped, we were ready, and we had a legal victory. Not just any legal victory, mind you, but -- keeping with His recurring promise of immeasurably more -- we had a Supreme Court victory, one that cleared the way not just for us to open a little children’s home in the middle of Northeast Arkansas, but for many more children in crisis to have fair housing. (And to think that we were just asking for a measly little conditional use permit!) In our years leading up to the opening of King’s Ranch, the Lord proved again and again that He is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine. This would be the foundation for all our subsequent years of active ministry serving abused, neglected, and abandoned children. This remains our foundation today.