Karla’s Story

Karla and her husband Jim on the farm.There are two things you should know about me right from the start:

1) I was “raised in the church,” in small-town-Iowa churches, mostly Methodist, but also Presbyterian, and I spent lots of time with my Lutheran friends.  After I married, we “were” Dutch Reformed, Evangelical Free, Christian & Missionary Alliance, Assemblies of God, and Non-denominational.
2) I have spent more years of my life NOT believing, than believing, in psychology.
Both of those facts significantly influence who I am and what I am doing, so I thought you should know.

One other fact about me that I’ve discovered is more unusual than I originally thought is that I grew up with one of the most happy-go-lucky, All-American, Midwestern, safe, cheerful childhoods that is evidently possible.  I say “evidently” because I used to think all the rest of you were enjoying that sort of life, too – which has a direct correlation to #2 above.  My dad was (still is, in my mind) the school superintendent and my mom was the traditional stay-at-home-bake-cakes-for-the-basketball-team-party kind of mom.  I have an older brother who challenged me and a younger sister who I picked on more than I should have.  I took piano lessons every Saturday morning (EARLY Saturday morning), delivered the Mason City Globe Gazette every afternoon, was in every club and sport available, knew every single person in Thompson, Iowa, and graduated as valedictorian of my class – although, ever since I gave my speech, no one has ever seemed to care.

Karla and her father on a tractor.I went off to Iowa State University to study biology because this land-locked kid had decided that marine biology was her future.  Organic chemistry changed all that; thankfully so, because switching to music education introduced me to the Love of my Life.  Jim and I married, moved “home” to the family farm, and started our family.  One day I thought I heard the Spirit of God tell me to home school my four kiddos, so – although I didn’t even know what that was – I did.  I raised huge gardens and canned or froze everything possible, while my husband worked in the shop outside or in the field down the road.

And that’s the way I expected life to go forever.  Why wouldn’t it?  I had no paradigm except that.  Work hard, play hard.

Then it all turned upside down.

While doing my best to faithfully follow God, something broke inside.  I started behaving strangely, and I could not get the Karla I knew to show up.  I called my younger sister, who had been a PhD psychologist all the time I was playing with chickens and sheep, and told her I was losing my mind.  “I think I’m going crazy.”  As I explained my symptoms, she calmly assured me, “You’ve just got PTSD.”  Since I didn’t speak that language, I had no idea what she meant.  So she sent me a book, Trauma and Recovery by Dr. Judith Herman.  Dr. Herman didn’t tell me to pray or read my Bible or spend more time with Christians.  Dr. Herman said I needed to be safe.  Be safe and find someone – just one person even – I could trust.  And that’s when my broken brain began to heal.

By the Barn with a Deuteronomy 28:8 verse.Trauma and Recovery introduced me to the science and semi-predictability of psychology.  I learned about problems that I had never considered, that I had no idea existed; then it taught me how to resolve those problems, to bring healing and recovery.  I was hooked and I needed to know more.

Soul SafetyTM is the result of all of these – and more – aspects of my life.  Dr. Herman explains that many trauma survivors – once they have reconnected with themselves and their community, find a “survivor mission.”  Soul SafetyTM is that – a place where we dare to “speak the unspeakable,” directly face the uncomfortable truth, and deal with even the tragic, in order to find the healing and wholeness that are rightfully ours as children of the Most High God.  I believe it’s the result of an All-Knowing God not wasting a single moment of our lives, even – or maybe especially – the tragic moments.

As you look through these pages, I hope you catch a vision for a community of Believers in Jesus who are healthier than we presently are.  Healthier in all ways – because, as we improve our mental and emotional well-being, our physical bodies and the Body of Believers will benefit as well.  If you’re the younger Karla I described and find no use for all of this, I understand.  And if you’re not, Soul SafetyTM is here to serve you hope.