Collision with Change

by Tracy Johnson, Executive Director of Open Hearts MinistryTracy

“I have been in therapy for so many years. This week in my small group I experienced freedom and healing that I have been wanting.”

“I broke a vow that I’ve lived from for as long as I can remember. My group and my leaders helped me see it and for the first time I feel real hope.”

Those words are unique to the testimony time from our recent Regional Journey in San Antonio, Texas and yet they are also very familiar, words we have heard over and over again as participants stand to share what they’ve experienced during an Open Hearts Ministry training seminar.

These Regional Journey’s are a change, something we started a year ago.  They are new and different and yet they carry the theme of OHM’s mission that has always been the same, training people to provide care to the sexually abused in the context of a small group environment.

Change is inevitable, it comes when something is growing and it comes when something is dying. We cannot stay the same. As the OHM community walks into 2016 we each come with our own perspective on the changes that have taken place and those that lay ahead.

Change greeted me early this year with Matt Kenney’s resignation the first week in January. I felt a myriad of emotions: sadness over losing him as a staff member, a twinge of betrayal that he was leaving us for something else, hints of abandonment as I felt the reality of where I would be “alone”, gratitude for all he brought to OHM and for the friendship that grew between us, happiness for where he was making a choice that honored his heart and the desires he and his wife share for future ministry together.  It was a change, in one sense the death of something, Matt’s time on staff, and in another sense opening the door to new life for Matt and Renee.

Lots of feelings to hold and honor, I have been thankful for where the board, the staff and the lead team have been alongside me helping make the decisions about how we will move ahead, reminding me that I am not alone.  That first week I couldn’t begin to see where “life” could come from this for OHM, but as the weeks have unfolded God has been faithful to give me a peek at His plan and where there is life in this change.

OHM trains people to cultivate communities of care where stories of pain and abuse can spoken, heard and redeemed. The statement is relatively new, but it reflects the truth of what OHM has always been doing. Those stories include things that happened in the past in our families of origin and the truth is those stories happen in the present.

I wonder where you are in your journey, where you find the story of your childhood showing up again in the story you are living today? Does it feel like life or more like death?  For me, it showed up that January morning when the themes of change, abandonment and betrayal were all felt in my body. The changing journey of Open Hearts Ministry colliding with my own journey, leaving me in need of community, people to care for my heart and process what was happening with me.

The collision leaves us with choices, we can turn to others and ask for their help and presence, or we can turn to ourselves and try to figure it out alone. I hope you are choosing to turn towards kind friends who can journey with you, and that you are offering your presence to those needing the same kindness in their story.

And, I hope you are finding that while the death is real, resurrection life is just as real and always surprises us in how it manifests itself.


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