Jesse & Anna: A Pact of Trust
When Anna stepped foot on United States soil after spending the first seven years of her life in a Russian orphanage abandoned by her biological family, she felt overjoyed to be adopted by Americans. “When I was 7, I moved into a house with people who would become my parents.” And, even though she was surrounded by kind and loving family, Anna still found herself feeling very alone. But she was determined that this “strange American life” would help repair the pain of her past – and immerse her into learning how to speak English and adjust to a new and different culture.
When Anna turned 15, something terribly sad happened.
“My parents got a divorce,” shared Anna. “I was in denial for a very long time. I never asked for this, I never wanted this. And, because I had no choice, I became depressed. I was supposed to have the healthy family that I did not have in Russia. But now, I did not even have that.”
Through the next few years, Anna felt like her hopes were dashed over and over again. The ability to trust became very difficult and she felt hopeless about her life.
Yet, in the midst of all the turmoil, she found respite at Hope Reins. Here at the ranch, our mission is to comfort hurting kids with one-on-one sessions between a loving leader and an “equine counselor.” Anna’s story is an amazing testimony not only to God’s ability to heal wounds, but the impact you, as a donor, a volunteer or supporter, make every day at Hope Reins.
“Hope Reins gives two hurting beings a moment to connect. When they connect, it’s outstanding. It’s through this connection that God is healing hearts,” says Anna.
When Anna met Jesse, the beautiful brown-eyed mare at Hope Reins, she was immediately drawn to her. Rescued by the United States Equine Rescue League from starvation, the vet did not think Jesse would survive. But remarkably, she did, and today delights everyone with her insightful personality. Anna found Hope in how Jesse overcame the excruciatingly hard parts of her life and deeply understands why Jesse continues to have difficulty feeling safe. “I made a pact with her,” says Anna. “If I trust you,” she recalled saying to Jesse, “then you need to trust me.” And as Jesse made good on her pact, she cultivated a characteristic Anna’s life had lacked: the ability to trust.
When the bridge to trust was rebuilt, Anna began to draw nearer to God every day. When she wasn’t at Hope Reins, she found solace in drawing, and she is talented! One night during Bloom, the ranch’s teen girl discipleship program, God united Anna’s trials and her talents. A Bloom leader read Psalm 91:1, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.” The leader then asked the girls, “What does this verse mean and how does it display that God is All-Sufficient?”
Anna boldly said, “I can’t explain it, but I can draw it.” After a piece of paper and bin of markers were placed in front of her, she chose a blue marker. Line by line, the drawing unfolded before the group’s eyes. Anna explained each stroke almost unconsciously- she drew a weak creature asleep underneath an enormous, indescribable force. Then, she chose a red marker and finished the drawing with a small, red circle. Everyone was amazed to see what she revealed.
In her drawing, Anna accurately displayed how weak and small we are, yet she equally drew the mightiness of God. The shading she filled the red-eyed creature with showed how the shadow of the Most High was protected and provided rest for the weak creature underneath.
As Anna reflected, she was reminded of three options a therapist had given her: “In life, I can either fight, flight or freeze in the midst of scary circumstances.” While Anna is often frozen in fear, she has learned a great lesson through horsemanship– when a horse is scared, they also have the choice to fight, flight or freeze. By watching Jesse’s responses to fear, Anna has realized the best place for Jesse to be when scary objects come to her: resting in the trusting relationship they share.
Psalm 91:1 so dearly articulated what God was already showing Anna through her relationship with Jesse: when reason for fear arises, there is a greater reason to trust God in the midst of the unknown.
We couldn’t have provided Jesse or programs like Bloom to make such a difference in Anna’s life if it weren’t for YOUR support. Your financial contributions provide True Hope and Real Healing. Thank you!