Many years later, Kim had almost forgotten how much Country had meant to her in those formative years. But recently, when Kim was reeling from the death of her mother, a friend convinced her to begin riding again. She found it healing and therapeutic. The more she rode, the more she wondered if God had a greater purpose in mind for her.
One day at the library, Kim found herself typing the words Jesus and horses into the online catalog. There she found the book by another woman named Kim. God does work in mysterious ways. She soon found that she couldn't stop thinking about starting a similar program in Raleigh.
Granted, the idea seemed far-fetched. She had only just recently gotten back into riding, and she didn't have the slightest idea how to run a fully functioning ranch. Not that it mattered. Before you could 'run' a ranch, you had to have a ranch.
"I'm just a stay-at-home mom," Kim had lamented to her friend Lori one sunny afternoon at Chick-fil-A, as they sat watching their children romp around the large indoor play area. "God wouldn't really be calling me to do something like this, would he? I mean, I haven't worked since Chance was born," she said, smiling at her five-year-old son. He turned at the sound of his name before running to catch up to his almost four-year-old sister, Isabel. "I'm probably just reacting to the book, right?"
Lori had patiently listened as Kim shared about her past, the book, and the crazy dream of creating a place for children and horses to help each other. Finding herself out of words, Kim took a deep breath and waited. She valued Lori's opinion, as both a friend and a spiritual mentor.
"I think it's a great idea, Kim," Lori said.
Kim's eyes widened.
"I mean, you obviously are passionate about this. You have personal experience with horses, and you have a husband who adores and supports you." Lori sat back and studied her friend. "Go for it. If it is God's will, then he will make it happen."
Is it really that simple? Just trust God and start working toward making the idea a reality? Kim left Chick-fil-A that day both excited and terrified. There was just one last thing to do—make sure her husband, Mike, was on board.
"Are you really serious about this?" Mike asked later that night after the kids were tucked in. "I know you've been thinking about it for a while—in fact, you haven't talked about much else—but are you really sure you know what you're taking on?"
"I think I am," Kim replied, looking down at her tightly folded hands. "I mean, it's been a month, and I still can't let go of this idea. I've prayed about it, we've prayed about it, I've talked to my sister, to Lori, and to Pastor Scott. And then today my devotional reading included 2 Corinthians 1:3-4: 'God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others.'" Kim turned to face her husband as they sat together on the sofa.
"What if God allowed me to be comforted by Country so that one day I would be able to help other kids be comforted by horses too?"
She drew her legs up underneath her. It was so easy to talk to Mike. It always had been, from the first time they met more than fifteen years ago.
"I even thought of a name for the ranch!" she said, then paused for dramatic effect.
"Well, don't leave me hanging."
"Hope Reins. You know, spelled like 'horse reins,' but sounding like 'God reigns.' What do you think?"
Mike was quiet for a moment. Kim held her breath. His opinion was so important to her. What if he doesn't like the name?
"I think it's absolutely perfect, babe. I say...let's do it," Mike said, his gaze tender.
"Wait! For real? Are you serious?" Kim laughed.
"I've never seen you like this before. You're different. Energized. There's something going on here. So yeah, let's see where it goes."
"But it's going to be a big change for our family," Kim pointed out. "I know your new marketing position lets you work from home, but it's not like you can watch the kids and do your work. And we can't afford a nanny for Isabel and Chance until they start school! And the up-front costs...we don't have that much in our savings account, and...Mike, is this crazy? How are we going to do this?"
Mike took his wife's hands. "Slow down and take a breath. We obviously have a lot to figure out, but let's just try to take it one step at a time for now, okay? You want this. You can do this. So we will figure it out."
He looked her in the eyes. "I believe in you."
This excerpt ends on page 13 of the hardcover edition.