There is so much hope in a new year and a fresh start, but a recent visit from one of the girls who calls Big Oak Ranch home reminds us of the realities they and so many are facing. Our children are trying to understand why life has been as hard as it has. They’re trying to envision what their life will be like at Big Oak and trying to make sense of what we’re teaching them and the unkept promises of people in their past. Maybe you are facing the same battles. Maybe you, like our children, are sorting through the teachings of where true Hope is found and the false hopes of people who’ve let you down.
This young girl I mentioned came to my office with these exact struggles and I told her a story that I hope will help you too. I was out riding my bike one day at the Girls’ Ranch and I saw a mountain that was sure to be difficult but one I wanted to make it to the top of. I was too out of shape to make it immediately, so I picked a milestone each time I rode. I would focus on a stick and make it there. The next time, a rock a little further up and make it to that. The next time, a bigger rock further up from the last, and make it to that. Before long, I made it to the top. My encouragement to her was to focus on the next steps in front of her. To say to herself, “I’ll focus on completing my school project due this week.” Once that’s reached, “I’ll focus on the field trip I’m going on this week.” Once that’s reached, “I’ll focus on enjoying my birthday this month with my Ranch family.” And not only that, but to be grateful in each place, intentionally looking for God’s provision.
In our desire to reach the point in life when we can make sense of what we’ve been through and use it for good, may we not lose sight of the consistent, small steps required to get there. May we focus on the stick, then the rock, then the one after that, until we arrive at the top. The key parts of the journey to success happen in those small victories. And hopefully we will realize one day that success wasn’t really in the mountaintop at all, but in the journey to healing and the growth along the way.