The Dream Becomes A Reality
A piece of land is just land without a vision. There are mysteries I know I’ll never solve and there are other things you just know in the depths of your soul without any logical reasoning. I have had a vision burning in my soul for decades that I haven’t been able to deny yet didn’t know how it would come to pass.
This land that is now evolving into a retreat center known as Selah Ranch, was given to us by a lovely gentleman moved by the compassion of my late father. It turns out the ripple effects of love cannot be stopped once they begin. It was a little slice of heaven, 17 acres of untouched paradise that was meant to become an oasis for the soul. I was stunned when this long-ago friend of my father’s approached me with his intentions.
After attending my father’s funeral proceedings, he had learned about the ministry my family had started and said, “I’d like to buy you the land that is for sale next to you in honor of your father. Maybe one day, I’ll share with you how much he meant to me.” And so it began, this humble man of few words bought the land.
When he approached us, my husband and I had just bought a new farm. The original plan was that my father, a veterinarian, was going to help my sister and I run a ministry using horses for healing. It was now six years later, and we had outgrown the facility we had been using. So we were just about to purchase a new property when my father died.
It is crazy how seconds can change your life, change your path. One Sunday morning in August, he died suddenly while sitting in the church pew next to my mother. I was rocked. Left shattered into a billion pieces. I didn’t know it then, but this was the moment everything shifted. One dream came to an end, but it became the catalyst for God’s unique plans for me to begin.
It seems I’ve had a long history of wanting to fix and make the world a better place. I grew into this pursuit, or so I thought, by becoming a counselor. We live in a culture that has stigmatized counseling and healing as something only the “messed up and broken” need. Once people find out I am a counselor, they seem to disqualify themselves from what Shine Healing Ministries must be offering. I’ve had many conversations with women who dismiss their own need saying, “Oh, is it for women who need healing?” As if we all don’t? I haven’t met a soul that doesn’t. What do we mean by I don’t need healing? Are we saying, I’ve got it all together, I’ve never wrestled with things within my own heart, or ever felt restless, disappointed, or like I have no purpose? Are we saying I’ve never been hurt, angry, betrayed, fearful, or struggled to forgive? Or maybe we are simply saying, “I don’t fit in to ‘that’ category.”
To heal is to grow. It is to become the best, most free version of ourselves. It is to surrender and recognize our own blind spots so that we can live fully into all we were created to be. Who isn’t seeking this? We all want to succeed, live a full life and love well. The thing is we can’t have one without the other. Healing and surrender precede a life fully lived.
It was in reading Psalm 23 one day that this concept hit me square between the eyes. David said, “He offers me a resting place in his luxurious love…That’s where he restores and revives my life.” I was finishing my book, trying to launch a new women’s ministry, counsel clients, and be a mom and wife all at the same time, when I experienced a physical and mental collapse. I exhausted myself swimming up current in the pool of perfectionism and striving for decades. Remember when I mention I wanted to fix and became a counselor. I had mistakenly thought it was my job to fix and heal. To be trained extensively so that I knew just what to do with any hurt that came my way. But I’d been looking at it all wrong.
This is where Psalm 23 became so important to me. I realized that I needed to learn God’s way of rest and to experience for myself how he restores the soul. I placed a burden on myself, that led to a stressed ridden body that revolted and said, “No, more!” It was then in the quiet and the stillness that my vision shifted from what I could offer others to what God alone could do.
There are places meant for God’s touch alone. When faced with the reality of my own frailty, confined to a hospital bed and at the mercy of testing results, something shifted in me. A burning desire that had been calling me, yet I’d been ignoring was resurfacing. I knew at this moment that I needed what David spoke about in his famous Psalm. I needed to learn to rest, to cease, and to fully surrender to God’s way, and once I did, I experienced how he restores.
Once I finally gave up the striving, I was able to receive the best gift of my life. REST. I hadn’t truly known what it felt like. Because I was constantly revolving on the hamster wheel of you haven’t been or done enough. This was when I knew other women needed a space to discover this too. They needed to know they’re enough and that they can stop striving and find restoration and acceptance in God’s unimaginable love.
So the planning began. I reached out to a long-time family friend and developer. My husband and I brought him and his wife to the land, laying out our vision and asking him if the two fit together. He could see the vision so clearly and was moved to make it a reality. He and his wife decided to take the next huge leap and fund the first phase of development: a common gathering place with a stone fire pit and shelter.
Selah Ranch began taking shape and God continued to confirm his desire for a safe spaced to be created where women could experience God’s heart for them in ways they never had before. Where they could experience the undoing of his love. By undoing, I mean him fixing all the things we’ve put in place we thought were protecting us, but ultimately enslaving us.
Yes, I am a firm believer in community and the healing power of relationships. And the most powerful relationship of all is found in pursuing God’s presence and his heart for us. I am convinced there is no greater pursuit. No worthier goal. No higher achievement than oneness with him. Learning to be shaped, molded and freed into his image is ultimately the road we all must travel if we want to grow.
The next phase is about to begin. Also, another miracle. I’ve always heard stories of how “Where God guides, he provides”, but have never experienced it quite like this before. First, we didn’t ask for the land, it came to us. Second, we didn’t ask for the firepit and shelter, God-inspired hearts and they responded. Third, we didn’t ask for cabins. Another gentleman moved by hearing our story decide he wanted to fund one along with the generous original developer and his wife that have lovingly taken our vision under their wings. God continues to show up and remind us this is ultimately his land, his vision and we will remain faithful to steward what he provides and follow where he guides.
Check out our website at shinehealing.org to find out more about the plans we have and the services we provide. We would also love for you to become a donor or monthly supporter of our ministry. We are dreaming big and pray that you will dream with us!
Josie Muterspaw, Co-Founder
Shine Healing Ministries
- S Prev