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The first time I entered this building was in the early months of 2009, when snow was
on the ground and bitter-cold temperatures chilled my bones. Fear and
disappointment flooded my heart, as I hoped for so much more of life than where it
found me. Instead of fulfilling a lifelong dream of being a mom and taking care of my
one-year-old daughter at that time, I was learning how to take care of myself and the
injuries I sustained in a life-threatening car accident. Every day, I struggled
remembering details and finding words to communicate with others. Fear and anxiety
gripped my heart, as I experienced multiple panic attacks daily, and my body was so
physically broken that it took seven narcotics to somewhat control the pain.

My hand reached down to open the door of hope and possibility as I walked into the
office of a well-known cognitive doctor. I spent many months trying to find a doctor
who could treat a traumatic brain injury, only to find referrals to psychologists. Soon
after my first appointment with this cognitive doctor, I thanked God for his
faithfulness in leading me to her. He hand-picked a doctor who had the credentials
and experience that I needed to teach me about my new life.

Each week, I came to this office building experiencing many different emotions. Some
days I cried, feeling hopeless and scared. Other days we celebrated small victories of
accomplishing cognitive exercises like spelling G-o-d backwards to find another word,
D-o-g. Meeting with my cognitive doctor and other doctors became my full-time job
for the next few years. It was in this building that I learned coping strategies to help
my brain heal by pacing my daily activities and prioritizing what was important in life.
Finally, after 5 years, it was time for my cognitive doctor to let me fly and experience
what she taught me.

While I was recovering from the car accident, the dream that God breathed into my
heart in 1999 of owning a youth ranch for families and children to come to find refuge,
seemed to quickly lose its nourishment to grow, or so I thought. Little did I know,
during this process of healing and recovery, God was preparing me for the dream to
become a reality. I found God to be my place of refuge. He was a safe place for me to
bring my broken heart filled with past trauma and abuse.

In 2015, God started to stir up the dream of owning a youth ranch and led us to a
property we now call Graceful Oaks Youth Ranch, a place where children who are
experiencing difficult times can come to the Ranch and find refuge, where families can
connect and be strengthened, and where youth can be empowered to lead. We have
been serving our community for the last two years, and our programs are thriving.
This growth encouraged us to find a local CPA firm to help support the vision. This last
summer, I made an appointment with a local CPA firm in Boulder, not even thinking
about the address. Walking up to the building was a surreal, full-circle experience for
me because it was the same building where I went for my cognitive therapy. It
represented so much – pain, God’s faithfulness, hope, and growth in my life. And it
reminded me of the person I was when I first entered that building – broken in body
and spirit and full of fear, and how far Jesus has brought me from that place. Today,
my body is whole and without pain, I can live an active lifestyle with a traumatic brain
injury, and I no longer have panic attacks. All because of Him.

Big Daddy Weave states it beautifully in the lyrics of his song “This is My Story.”
If I told you my story
You would hear hope that wouldn’t let go
If I told you my story
You would hear love that never gave up
If I told you my story
You would hear life but it wasn’t mine
If I should speak then let it be
Of the grace that is greater than all my sin
Of when justice was served and where mercy wins
Of the kindness of Jesus that draws me in
To tell you my story is to tell of Him

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