Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Why THIS Land?

There are many who have asked over the last few weeks, "Why THIS land? Why don't you go outside of town and put the Ranch there?" I hope by sharing excerpts from my personal journal that you can see why we feel that God has led us to this land.


...Eddie and I tried to buy some beautiful land in Evening Shade. It was so peaceful with the Strawberry River running through it and rolling countryside- a place where we thought we could take the kids and horses for the weekend and get away. We prayed for God's guidance and tried to buy the land. No matter what we offered, the people would not take it. Then the real estate agent completely stopped calling us. It was strange, but very evident that the door had closed shut!

Over the next few months, God began leading us to some land in Jonesboro, near our present home. We had never thought about moving from our house and didn't want to move, but over time it became apparent that God had other plans. He wanted us to buy the land and move. My bible study at that time, Israel and the minor prophets, was invaluable. Each time I had a question or hesitation, God answered it through scripture. When I was worried that I would not be safe living out there by myself, that very week God taught me through David as he was running from Saul in the desert. God allowed him to sleep in peace because He was protecting him. He gave me Psalm 4:8, "I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety." When a friend told me I was making a mistake by moving, that very week God taught me about David's close friend and co-worker Joab and how he was trying to steer David away from God's will. On and on the confirmations kept coming. When I was worried that the kids would not be safe riding, God gave me scripture to ensure His protection. He also confirmed His leading to buy the land with Psalm 37:3 "Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture." It was very evident that He was leading us! However, when the day of closing drew near, I got so scared and prayed, "Lord, is this really what you want us to do? Is this you?" As I was praying , he brought to my mind "Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight." I prayed that scripture back to Him, telling Him that I would trust Him on this. After I prayed, I opened my bible study and the first question led me to look up Proverbs 3:5-6. I turned to it and guess what it said..."Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight!" God was so gracious to make it so clear that we were on the right path and we needed to trust Him!

On the day after closing, Eddie and I met over at the land to catch the sunset before we went out on a date. It had been raining that day and the clouds were moving off to the east. The sunset was glorious and I enjoyed watching it in the quiet solitude (Eddie had not arrived yet). Before long, just before the sun set, Eddie drove up behind me. I looked in my rear view mirror and saw the most amazing sight! I jumped out of the car and beheld the most amazing rainbow I've ever seen! It went from ground to ground with brilliant colors right over the land. Just above the brilliant rainbow was another perfectly formed fainter rainbow. It was glorious! Eddie and I stood there in amazement and we both felt God confirm in our hearts that we had followed His will and been obedient to His leading. We knew He had guided us to this land and He had plans to use it for His glory!


...One night Eddie and I took the kids to a Big Daddy Weave concert in Harrisburg. The concert was held in a little church just on the outskirts of town. When we left, Eddie told me that God had impressed something on his heart. He said he felt that we were suppose to have christian singers come to the ranch to minister to people. I thought that sounded great but didn't give it much more thought after that.

A few months before, Margaret had become a foster mother and had three precious foster children in her home. We were becoming aware of the great number of desperate children in our area. We began to have a growing burden for these kids, but did not know what we could possible do to help. We became aware of the shortage of quality places for these children to go. One day I called my mother to see if she wanted tickets to the Sandi Patti concert when she came to town. She told me no because she was going to see Sandi Patti at Watersprings Ranch and went on with her conversation. For some reason that stuck out to me and I asked her "What is Watersprings Ranch?" She began to tell me that it was a home for children in need. "They come there to live in a real home with christian house parents who are called to the ministry. They hear the gospel and learn about Jesus", she said. She said it was privately funded through contributions from individuals, businesses, churches,etc. "They have christian singers who come and do fundraisers to raise money for the ranch",she said... At that moment the Holy Spirit put all the pieces of the puzzle together for me. All the things that had been occurring in the last several months collided and the picture became clear. God was calling us to start a ranch like that on our land...

That was the first time I felt God reveal to me His plan for our lives. It took two years of wrestling with God and many scriptural confirmations for us to finally surrender fully to His call to King's Ranch. After all, we do have 4 kids of our own, 5 horses, 3 goats, 3 cats, 2 dogs, Eddie's full time medical practice and all the other things of life. We cannot do this on our own - He will do it through us and through all He calls to help us! The land and the call seem to go hand-in-hand.

Since the denial of the MAPC, we went back to the Lord to seek his direction. "Maybe He's moving us?", we thought. Several people called us with land options. We have explored those options and laid them before the Lord, asking His guidance. The Lord gave us several confirmations that we were to stay put. One being 1 Corinthians 15:58, "Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain." As of today, He has not told us to move- and believe me we have asked over and over and over. I hope this gives some clarity to why we do not feel like we can "just move". Psalm 37 has turned out to apply very literally to our lives. I'll end with a promise we are standing on...

"Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;...." Psalm 37:3-7

Waiting patiently,

Lee and Eddie


Shelli said...

Wow! Lee, thank you for sharing your journey! God will abundantly bless this mission to reach out and help children. Obedience always equal blessings.... The Blackburn Family is praying for you all. We look forward to our summer "mission trip" to help you fulfill this great purpose!

Anonymous said...

All I can say is "wow." Really, nothing can compare to what I have just read. We are continually praying for Kings Ranch and for you both. Constant hugs being sent your way!

Anonymous said...

Awesome! I didn't finish that one with a dry eye! It is always encouraging to see real faith in action. I love how God is right on time with His word to answer your every question!!! He is so AMAZING! We are blessed to be able to pray for your family and King's Ranch! Press on! Tiffany

The Reids said...

Thank you for sharing what God is doing! Even before I read this, I knew when I first heard about The Ranch that the Lord was in charge here. Eddie's statement to the MAPC confirmed that he would not be doing this if he did not feel led of the Lord to go ahead at this location. God often does things that don't make sense to us in our human way of thinking, but that is when we get to see Him in all His glory and see that His thoughts and ways are MUCH HIGHER than ours and His priorities are much different than ours at times. We are looking forward to helping, let us know when "work day" is!
Stuart and Michelle Reid

Anonymous said...

As business owners in Texarkana, TX, and strong advocates of Watersprings Ranch, we are following your journey there in Jonesboro, AR. Watersprings Ranch is truly an asset to Texarkana, AR/TX. It is immaculate in every aspect--from the appearance of the properties to the appearance of the children, house parents, faculty--all aspects. The Ranch here is highly esteemed and taken under wing by individuals, businesses and organizations in our city. Our company employees have taken on volunteer projects at the Ranch on their own time in support of the precious children there. We are praying for God's best for King's Ranch of Jonesboro, AR. God Bless you! ANT,SCT Texarkana, TX