What was vs I Am

July 1, 2019

Brodie Croyle, Executive Director


If we take a moment to reflect, we can probably remember defining seasons or experiences, ones that undoubtedly were used to transform us. Complete game changers that propelled us to new heights whether it be personally, professionally, in our marriages, in a particular friendship. For a Christian, the most significant marker in one’s life is the day they enter into an intimate, life-giving relationship with Christ. When great depths of peace are discovered because of the love of a never-failing Father. When purpose is at last found and abiding in it feels like home.  One of our young ladies, who came to us at age 10, has found this new life. The countless partners who have come alongside Big Oak have placed opportunity after opportunity in her path, each of which she has taken hold of with such gratitude.

You see, it wasn’t too long ago when sharing her testimony she was asked to describe herself prior to coming to the Ranch and then describe who she currently is. Throughout her time at the Ranch she found love and identity through her Heavenly Father and the two descriptions were starkly different. She described her former self as depressed, angry, resentful, lacking hope. However, the words she uses to describe herself now are the antitheses of the former. Our life is a testimony to what we believe and hers declares the hope she has found. So much so, anyone who spends a moment around her is moved to be better.  

This young lady, along with several of our other children, recently went on a trip provided by On River Time. On River Time is a Birmingham, AL based organization that provides a once-in-a-lifetime fly fishing experience on the Snake River in Idaho for children who have endured abuse and neglect. They teach lasting lessons through this trip but also serve as committed mentors throughout the year. The young lady I mentioned spent the trip fishing in the same boat as one of ORT’s board members and as the trip came to a close, this board member pulled me to the side and said, "The servant heart and joy that young woman finds in life has truly changed my life." A complete stranger was yet another confirmation of the vast difference between who she was and who she is. Like all of us, her growth is still a work in progress, but she is strong, hard-working, joy-filled, effortlessly funny, kind and unashamed in her Christian walk. We are deeply grateful for the many who helped clear her path and laid brick after brick so that she could take one step after another.

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Song of Gratitude
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