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For the One

Every week a van pulls into the parking lot and out pile a handful or two of teenage girls. If they’re new, their faces are tight with resentment and anxiety, and their shoulders are rigid with self-protection. If they’ve been with us before, they typically jump out of the sliding doors with a pep in their step, a smile as wide as the blue Idaho sky and their arms open for a hug. It’s the difference between one who has yet to meet Jesus, and one who has already encountered Him.

Each of these girls is in recovery from some addictive substance or another, and most of them have a dual diagnosis like bipolar, depression, or PTSD. When they come to EMBRACE, all we see are the faces of children who likely don’t know their heavenly Father yet. Our job is to introduce them by showing them His love and inviting them to know Him more. We put them on a horse and teach them things like balance, hand-eye coordination, trust and mindfulness. They typically learn basic horsemanship during mounted exercises, and they always learn how to have sober fun. Laughter is a key factor in our ministry. However, neither of those are our primary goal.

Before they leave us we ask them what they learned most from their time with us, whether it was in three weeks or six weeks. Their answer, in more than 90% of cases, is some variation of: “God loves me, and I need to be in a relationship with Him.” The gospel message is woven into the fabric of every aspect of our instruction because we believe it is the most important lesson.

What good is mindfulness if, in the present moment, a teenager doesn’t know how loved they are by their heavenly Father? What good is trust if they don’t know the One who will never fail them even when the rest of the world has? When you realize you were created with a purpose and born to fulfill a specific plan laid out by a perfectly loving God who turns all things out for the good of those who love Him, suddenly even the most difficult of circumstances are worth fighting through. Suddenly the fight to be free from addiction, abuse and destructive thinking becomes a fight worth fighting. Nothing other than the love of Jesus Christ demonstrated on the cross is powerful enough to change the hearts and minds of the broken.

When the love of God is known, the power of God is experienced, suddenly the most broken and lost one of all becomes a testimony to the loving power and grace of God who then receives all the glory He’s due. One soul saved is worth every barrier we fight through. And when we fight with love, no barrier stands a chance. We love for the one.

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