I have been in love with horses for as long as I can remember. I got my first horse when I was ten years old, worked at a horse barn for a summer when I was thirteen, and started my own business teaching kids riding lessons at my home at the age of fifteen. During my quiet time one day when I was approaching high school, God gave me the idea of pairing abused or neglected horses with teens who struggle with depression, anxiety, etc. to work together towards healing. Being a girl who was obsessed with horses but also had a passion for people and the Lord, I was PUMPED about this idea!
Towards the end of my senior year in high school, reality sunk in and I recognized that I could not afford to attend the one university I wanted to attend – a university that had a perfect program to prepare me for the career idea God had given me. I made plans to take a year off and work full time to save money to attend the following school year. I landed a full-time (DREAM) job at a nearby horse farm, and prepared myself for the best gap year ever. It’s funny how our expectations are sometimes way off.
After my first day working my “dream” job, I came home sobbing. Everything I thought I knew about my plans for the future (and about myself!) was called into question. I hated this job. More than that, I hated the way it made me feel. As weeks went by, I became lonely, depressed, and confused about who I was and what I was to do with the rest of my life. This season, though the most difficult season I had endured in my whole life, was extremely fruitful in my walk with God.
One of my favorite things about the Lord is His ability to make beautiful things out of messy situations. This is what I observed happen in my life over the course of my gap year. The Lord used this dark and difficult time in my life to draw me closer to Him and reveal Himself to me in new and wonderful ways, resulting in a transformed relationship with Him and a brand new perspective on life.
God used my confusion and worry about my future to teach me about His ability to provide for me. Matthew 6:25-34 is a beautiful passage about how God cares for us and will provide for us, part of it stating, “seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” God also used the days when I was lonely to teach me some lessons about hope and the power of His presence. One of my all-time favorite verses, Isaiah 40:31, gave me lots of comfort during this time. It says, “but those who hope in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” Finally, God used the times I felt depressed or discouraged to remind me that this earth is not our home, and that the best is yet to come. Just check out Revelation 21 if you need some sweet encouragement from the Lord.
After enduring a year working this not-so-dreamy job and learning many lessons the Lord had to teach me, I can say with confidence that the Lord does work all things together for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). He makes beautiful things out of dirty messes, and He uses our trials to shape our hearts and change the lives of others. I know with all my heart that He will take care of me, that I can always find hope in Him, and that the best (Heaven; eternity with Jesus!) is yet to come. God is good!