• Vanessa Schmidt

A Few Updates (well, it started out that way)

It's been about 5 weeks since my last post and a lot has been happening. I'm never sure what I'm going to write in these posts but something always seems to make it's way to the surface.


I thought today I'd just give you an update. The thing is, I kinda see my life through the lens of "when I'm doing Equine Therapy.... one day". That means that I have a sense of purpose surrounding most things in my life that are directly connected to God's preparedness plans for me and my future - helping hurting people with the help of horses (say that 5 times fast!). Ironically, the biggest part of my future "preparedness" is my present relationship with God. This is hard. All. The. Time.


Some of you know I'm continuing to move through my own traumas by utilizing a therapy called EMDR. If you'd like to know more, you can find info HERE. But EMDR basically helps the brain connect and release trauma that is literally trapped in the brain/body from the moment the trauma took place. It helps dislodge and eventually discard the wrong beliefs the trauma caused me to believe about myself and others (including God) and replace it with truth. Sounds pretty cool, right? Well, it is. It's also pretty painful!


Think about a time you had a sunburn, a really BAD sunburn. You can't move, sleep, sit, stand, etc. It may be hard to eat because your stomach is so upset. You're burning up and chilled all at the same time. Once your skin is burned, there is no going back, only forward through the healing process. You CAN'T MAKE THE PAIN STOP. But you can use ointments, temporary pain relievers, aloe and gels, etc. to help. In the end, the sunburn/body gets the say in how long it hurts, how bad it hurts and what the healing process is going to look like. And, if you are fair-skinned like I am, even once the burn is healed your skin may never be quite the same.


Such is the way of trauma to the heart and spirit. You can't undo it. You can't force it not to hurt. You can use different forms of pain relievers for a time ( I used dissociation, eating disorders, depression, self harm, isolation) to escape the searing pain. But like my body is ultimately the one that gets to heal the sunburn, God is the only one that can truly heal the soul. And I'll never quite be the same as I was before. Praise God!


The major difference in this analogy is that our bodies will continue to deteriorate over time. They weren't meant to be permanent. But with God, our souls heal and transform for eternity. Let that sink in.... eternity is FOREVER and EVER and EVER. "To infinity and beyond!", as our little Pixar friend in Toy Story would say. So, that means that the work he is doing in us will eventually be perfected and is permanent - FOREVER!


You may be wondering where I'm going with this (I'm wondering a bit myself). I think the point is that suffering is worth it in the end if we allow God to be our ointment, our pain reliever, our aloe vera in the heat. Because unlike the burnt skin that is no longer as healthy as it once was, he transforms our souls to be better than they were BEFORE they were ever touched by a flame. And herein lies so much hope, for ourselves and for others! Herein also lies our hope for helping others!


In addition to EMDR I've decided to get my Christian Coaching Certification. (The actual certification is called Biblical Life Coach and Soul Care! Isn't that cool?!)  Practically, I've decided to get my coaching certification to enhance my creds! Working in mental health requires licenses and certifications and advanced degrees and CEU's and hours of supervision, etc. I don't have these things, stuff that is legally required to work with people in our psychotherapy world. Heck, I don't even have a college degree! What I do have is my own story. But there are no credentials for that. The coaching cert is just a way to make myself more marketable in our world. However, probably 70% of the reason I decided to start the courses was because I knew it would present truth that would disrupt my wrong beliefs so I could continue to work on them. And, well, I've gotten what I wished for! So both the EMDR and coaching classes are squeezing me like a way-too-small girdle! And it hurts! A LOT!


My first couple of weeks I could hardly watch the online lectures. They talk about all these things we "should" be to be an effective helper to others. Which brings up my intense insecurities about ever being healthy enough to help people without hurting them. I'd cry through the videos. Have to watch them over again because my thoughts drifted off into the land of "there's no way I can do this!". There are bible verses that make me mad and bible verses that provide gentle comfort. It brings up my past. It gives me hope for my future. It's all quite messy, really.


So I'm asking you to please continue praying for me. Please know if you are going through icky junk you are not alone! Please reach out to those around you who are hurting and hug them, comfort them, share your hearts with them. And if YOU'RE the one hurting, let others do that for you. Because in the end, that's what all of this is really about. The equine therapy center will be a beautiful vehicle for God to do unique and impossible things in people. But it's just one vehicle. We all have the opportunity to reach people each day. And it's those seemingly small interactions that are seeds of growth for trees that will one day reach to the heavens.


Thanks for being my soil, my water, my fertilizer, my pest control! Thanks for giving me a space to plant my seed and let it grow no matter how long it takes. Thanks for remembering I exist. Thanks for pulling the weeds around me. Thanks for believing I can one day be a tree reaching for the heavens!



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