Shekinah, Hebrew for "God's Glory" - is a ranch where broken spirits meet and can be healed - a place where we are Giving Hope a Home.
In 2004, we were challenged to choose a Bible verse for our family. After much searching, Barry and I stumbled across Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” We quickly adopted that promise and have called on it more times than we can count. With that promise, we began an awesome journey!
In 2010, two things happened- we decided to buy a house and we fell in love with a horse. We began working toward that goal, but to our dismay, it just wasn’t happening. I couldn’t get the two things out of my head and the dreams just wouldn’t die! On a visit to Louisiana, I lay awake with these thoughts swirling and I clearly heard a voice telling me that our horse would be used with children. I immediately picked up the phone and called my husband in the middle of the night, with tears streaming down my cheeks, and told him what had happened. He wasn’t very surprised- he had received the same message! We knew then and there that something bigger than we could dream of was in the works! As we told family and friends that we wanted to get involved somehow with horses and children, it was suggested that we volunteer at Panther Creek Inspiration Ranch in The Woodlands. Barry was the first to go out and was completely awestruck at the work that David and Linda Darnell are doing with special needs and at-risk children. We began to volunteer with their at-risk program and were hooked!
We continued house hunting and broadened our search to include an acre or two so that we could have horses on our property. After many obstacles and discouragement, we finally turned it over to God and put our future in His hands. Property with 7 acres, complete with stables became available and the transaction went through without a hitch! At that point, there was no doubt that God indeed had a plan for us and we couldn’t wait to get started!
I was searching for a name for our Ranch and while attending a Beth Moore bible study, she used the word SHEKINAH- which as she explained, meant God’s Glory. I knew I had found the name for our Ranch because what can show God’s Glory or give God Glory more than working with rescued animals and children in need. Barry agreed with me and Shekinah Ranch was born!
It took several months to get the property ready and I grew inpatient! I was ready to get horses on the property and it wasn’t happening fast enough for me! Barry gently reminded me that it would happen in God’s time, not mine! The very next day I got a phone call from someone referred to our ranch offering us our first rescue horse! The horse was found wandering in the National Forest, starved,about 800 lbs underweight. Amy took her in and nursed her back to health and was offering her to us…how appropriate that the first horse in our herd would be one that was abandoned and forgotten, but had received a 2nd chance. We named her Hope because that is what we want to offer to those visiting the Ranch.
Hope has been our inspiration. She was not always easy to love, her actions were not always pretty, but she learned to trust us and love us and to understand that it’s okay to have hope. She’s much like the children we want to work with- those abused, abandoned, forgotten. We want to be able to consistently show them they are loveable even though their actions may not reflect that. We want them to learn, from our animals and our mentors, they are worthy enough to be loved and that it’s okay to hope for a better future. Now we have been blessed with numerous rescues, horses and other animals that love life at the Ranch. This is truly what Shekinah Ranch is all about… “Giving hope a home” to all who enter our gates!
Melanie and Barry Irby