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FOR TEENS

BACK IN THE SADDLE

From the September 21, 2009 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel


My first horse show was when I was four and a half years old. Horses have always been a major part of my life. I feel this connection with them that is just soothing and inspiring. My relationship with God and practicing Christian Science are also huge parts of my life. And my most memorable healing actually involved horseback riding.

It was a Sunday afternoon, and I'd been studying for finals all weekend in the spring of my seventh grade year. So after church, my mom decided it was time for a break. To my surprise, she took me to try out a horse for sale. I was so happy and couldn't believe it! While I was riding in its owner's backyard pasture, the horse suddenly decided that he no longer wanted to listen to my commands. He began to take control, ran me into a tree, and I took a major fall.

As I lay on the ground, I felt scared and confused. But I began to pray, turning to God, my protector, for comfort. If there was one thing I did know, it was that I needed to hold on to the spiritual truths I was praying with instead of giving in to fear.

My mom quickly ran over to me, and she began to tell me that God was right there taking care of me. For a few minutes, I was unable to open my eyes. At that point, I felt I had to make a decision. Did I have to let this scary situation, which felt like a nightmare, control my thinking? Could I ever be outside God's care? The answer came: No. Fear didn't have to take the reins of my life. Soon, I was able to open my eyes, and with God "holding my hand," I stood up.

At that point, my mom decided it was best to drive me to a nearby medical center because it felt like the right thing to do under the circumstances. We prayed the entire way, talking about the idea that every animal was a part of God's kingdom and that the horse was "harmless." This quote from Science and Health supported our ideas: "All of God's creatures, moving in the harmony of Science, are harmless, useful, indestructible" (p. 514). I realized that I could fall only into God's loving arms.

When we arrived at the medical center, the doctors took some X-rays and said that besides a few scrapes, everything was fine, nothing was broken. However, the one thing I felt the horse had broken was my trust in horses.

From that point on, I didn't trust any horse I rode. I would always ride defensively, and jumping a horse over a three-foot obstacle now seemed impossible. That was something that I used to do every other day, but now it appeared terrifying. I felt like I had to learn how to ride all over again. With any slight reaction from the horse, automatically my whole body would tense up, and my heart would pound so fast that I thought it might jump right out of my body. Fear and panic would set in.

To overcome this, I prayed with a passage from the Bible: "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths" (Prov. 3:5, 6). I had to learn to trust that God would never put me in a dangerous situation, or abandon me when I needed guidance. He had never left my side. Before long, I was able to feel confident riding my trainer's horses during lessons.

About four months later, our family found and purchased my "dream horse," Sebastian. From the instant that I rode him for the first time, I felt safe and knew that he would be one that I could put my trust and faith in. Sebastian and I even jumped 3 ft. 3 in. jumps together. With God at my right hand and my new companion supporting me, I was able to break through the brick wall of a terrible memory. I began to remember the incredible feeling I got as I soared over jumps. I felt accomplishment, freedom, trust, and gratitude.

One of my favorite quotes is from Psalms 91:4:

He shall cover thee with his feathers,
and under his wings shalt thou trust:
his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.

If I hadn't trusted in God's help, it would have been hard to overcome my fear. That riding incident could have been an obstacle standing in the way of something I love to do. But instead, I look back and see how this healing of fear helps me better in understanding my relationship to God and improves my skills. This past summer I was a horseback riding instructor at summer camp and worked in the barn taking care of the horses each day.

Now, every time I get on a horse, I make an effort to remember that God is the One in control. ♦

I began to remember the incredible feeling I got as I soared over jumps.

The Sentinel's Teen Editor, Jenny Nelles,
wants to read about
your ideas and experiences.
Send her an e-mail! nellesj@csps.com
Subject: Sentinel teens


Kendra New is a senior in high school.

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