2-18 – Anna Smit

Anna Smit is one of the authors I met in Geneva last year at the writers intensive. She has a heart to see others set free because she has her own story of emancipation.

Below is a picture of her, her daughter, and her mom not too long before her mom died. Anna had the privilege and the trauma of caring for her mom before she lost her battle with cancer, and the experience profoundly affected her.

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How Our Stories Intersected

As I mentioned, Anna and I met in Geneva, and I was immediately impressed by her deep connection to Jesus. He oozed from her, actually. She had a long period of being away from the Lord, but some painful circumstances brought her back. She’s written about caregiver PTSD below:

What I Wish Christians Knew About Caregiver PTSD

PTSD is not something to trifle with. Trauma has a way of infiltrating our lives, and Anna was no different. However, God chose to intersect her story in beautiful ways. I prayer her reawakening inspires you today.

[There is such a thing as Caregiver PTSD. Anna Smit experienced it & through it Jesus brought her back. #RestoryShow.”]

As in all my episodes, I pray for you at the end. It’s my sincere hope that you’ll walk away from the Restory Show changed and challenged.

A Note from Anna

Anna asked that I add this portion, which I was happy to do. She has some deep insight into healing and God’s nearness. I pray her words bless you.

Recently, I went back and listened to the recorded prophecy spoken over me that I shared of in my interview. I thought the man had told me I had to cling to God in the coming storms. Turns out he never said that: in fact the opposite- that God would be with me. I couldn’t understand how I had misheard him…until God showed me the power of listening to thoughts that are not of Him. I must have heard the word “storms” and frozen- choosing to listen to my accuser’s lies that began to pour into my head, rather than the rest of the encouraging prophecy.

What has helped me understand how this could of happened is something from your book Live Uncaged…

In it you share of a conference where you were asked to write down on a piece of paper what one thing you so badly wanted to leave behind at the altar and pick up one of the pieces of papers lying at the altar (all different Scriptures). I found it such an amazing idea and could see how wonderfully freeing and healing it was for you, so I did it myself, but asked God to give me a verse (He ended up giving 4 because I wasn’t satisfied with just one ). What a powerful eye-opener. Because once again it showed me how powerful these little foxes (lies of the enemy) are!!!

The first verse (every knee shall bow) had me in tears and filled me with lies that told me I struggled with this thing (my need/desire to always be right) because I didn’t want God to come first. But because I know God is good and true I asked Him to give me more verses for wisdom. It wasn’t till the final verse (Blessed are those that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled) that I understood what God was showing me. It wasn’t that I didn’t want God to come first, it was that I was listening to the wrong voices in my head- the second Scripture He revealed was John 10:5 “But they will never follow a stranger; in fact they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” And the third was: John 6:2 “and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the signs he had performed by healing the sick.”

These voices tell me that everything is my fault and that what I do makes others suffer. But that if I can show others that I am “right” (good) then I can counter the internal shame. I have to prove my worthiness to them by proving my actions or ideas as “right” (good).

This is especially prevalent in parenting. Like on Monday- we have banned television and I-pad for a week because it has been affecting Emily’s ability to fall asleep at night (her mind is not at rest), but of course Emily was not happy. My response was to internalize her temper tantrum and tears as my fault. I saw myself as causing her pain and I tried to prevent the shame I felt by explaining why our decision to ban was right. So, when of course that only exacerbated things it made me angry. And I couldn’t understand why I was feeling SO angry and at the same time filled with such grief because really I could rationalize her response as being completely normal for a six-year old!! But I desperately needed to be right.

I now see why: I was hearing- “see, it’s all your fault Anna. She’s upset and angry and it’s all because of you. See, you are a terrible parent. She wouldn’t be this upset if you parented her better.” And then I countered this false guilt and shame with questions to turn the guilt away from myself to Emily: “why doesn’t she understand me, why doesn’t she see me, why doesn’t she accept me?” And that fueled the grief and anger in me and my impatient and argumentative responses to Emily.

The little foxes (Pharisees ) were the voices of false guilt trying to stop me from putting safe boundaries around my child (no I-pad or TV for a week). And I listened to them, rather than God’s loving voice, who would have been encouraging me, comforting me and affirming me as a Mommy, not shaming or guilt-tripping me.

See, I realize I still feel responsible for not protecting my brother. So, when others suffer in front of me (and especially because of something I’ve said and done- even if it was a good thing to say/do) I still hear that same voice of blame. “It’s all your fault. You should have done something different.” I see their emotions as something I’m responsible for (their anger or grief). And if I can prove I was right, I can prove I am not to blame for their emotions and worthy of love. But you see, if I listened to God’s affirming and loving voice I’d be able to counter the shaming, guilt-tripping voices and place a safe boundary around my thought world: a wall that stops me from shouldering others’ emotions. I’d be carrying a light yoke, rather than a heavy one. And this light yoke would allow me to feel loved and show love.

The End

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Get on the Show

We’ll be featuring your mini-story at the end of the Restory Show. If you’d like to be featured, record your voice below.

 

 

  • Susan G.

    Anna and Mary,
    Thanks so much for this wonderful re story! I love how God can and will use everything that happens in our life to help us become who He wants us to be. This was amazing hearing how God just kept Anna, protected her, and just lead her day by day by His presence in her life.
    I loved this!
    I am always behind in listening to these podcasts, but I don’t want to miss a one!
    Bless you both!

  • Ralph Chen-Green

    Dear Mary and Anna

    Thank you guys both so much for sharing Anna’s story.
    A very powerful testimony of how God NEVER gives up on us.
    It’s been very helpful to me both professionally (as a physician )
    and personally (as a fellow pilgrim) to hear about Caregiver PTSD.

    It was so encouraging to hear what you had learnt and to realise that He has been teaching me some of this too e.g
    Being first NOT doing first
    Totally accepted in His love
    Getting up on to Daddy’s lap

    Our God is so so amazing!
    He never gives up.
    His love for us is jealous and passionate, stronger than death.
    The thief comes only to kill and destroy,
    But God comes to bring Life, Life Abundant
    He is the God-of-the-more-than-enough.
    The God of overflow.

    I love those two words, “but God”.
    He is the God of the 180 degree turnaround for us.
    He turns things around.
    And
    Through Death He brings Resurrection Life.

    Anna, I believe God has given you prophetic compassion, first to sense pain, then to speak His words of Life infused with His Agape.
    This is the Prophetic compassion that caused Jesus to weep over the grave of Lazarus and to weep over Jerusalem.
    Resurrection for others then came though His compassion.

    Shalom & blessings

    • Dear Ralph,

      God so blessed me when He prompted Mary to connect us. You are such an encourager. Thank you for your heartfelt words. So wonderful also to hear how this interview spoke to you personally and professionally. God is so, so good.

      Blessings to you too,

      Anna

  • Carolina

    Anna! I love what the Lord is doing with your story and how it is invigorating people toward his light. I love you, friend. I miss you so. Glad to see the beauty you are exuding. Wrapping you in prayer and hugs. Mary, thank you for having Anna on. She’s a special soul.

    • Love and miss you too, Carolina. So appreciate you and the blessing of your compassionate and truth-filled writing. I’m so thankful for this opportunity to share of God’s powerful love in my life. Mary is such a gift from God (to so many!). Praying for you too.

  • Debbie Barrow Michael

    I loved listening to Anna’s interview. Her fatih and love and empowerment iinspire many. God is always there. Anna makes Him visible. He is not a far of Father. He comes to us and makes us better.

    • He is, isn’t He, Debbie? You too have made God so visible in and through the suffering you walk through. He never ever leaves us alone, does He? And suffering just makes His miraculous Presence all the more visible. I’m thankful to Mary for this opportunity and for her beautiful encouragement.

  • I listened to this on the drive into work this morning and cried. Ugly cried! My goodness, there was so much I could relate to in Anna’s story. There was a point where she said she just wanted to sit in someone’s lap and be held (at least that’s what I think I heard her say), and I said almost the same thing to my AA sponsor last year. I just wanted someone to hold me in their lap and rock me while I cried.

    And Anna’s note above is so encouraging on top of the podcast!

    • Mary DeMuth

      So glad it resonated!

    • I’m so sorry to hear you too have been through such hard. I pray that God will continue to encourage, comfort and strengthen you in your journey of faith.

  • Meghan Weyerbacher

    This is such good wisdom. Thank you Mary and Anna for sharing. I got to know Anna through the blogging community and she is so filled with mercy and light. I will be sharing this!

    • Mary DeMuth

      Thanks so much, Meghan!

    • It was an honor to be asked by Mary. I was so grateful for the opportunity to share how loving, gracious and faithful God has been in my life. God has also blessed me so much through Mary in the short time I have known her. You too have been such an encouragement to me, Meghan. Jesus shines through you both so much.