Becky Hines has found her calling in FreeHeart Ministry — helping others get past their past.
Everyone has one, she says, whether it’s been dealt with previously or not.
Hines credits God with her gift of compassion.
“I’ve always had people sit down and tell me things,” she said. “I had the ear and the heart to listen to people.”
Growing up on a farm in Minnesota, she learned early about hard work. Her mother, a beautician, also modeled the importance of listening to others and being trustworthy with confidences.
She applies that to FreeHeart, a nonprofit launched in Goldsboro in 2013. It is described as an inner healing ministry.
“Usually what happens is you have someone that has a hurt in their childhood,” she explained. “They get hurt, they put it away in the closet and they forget it. And you reap it when you become an adult, when you get married and you have children.”
These memories, also known as “bitter root judgments” or expectations, manifest themselves in a variety of ways, Hines said.
“They say things like, ‘It wasn’t fair that my parents did this,’ ” she said. “But you know, some things that child deems were unfair were not really unfair. They were for the child’s protection.”
Of course, sometimes the child did get hurt, she continued. There might have been abuse or trauma, and being young they did not have the emotional capacity to deal with it and only in adulthood does it resurface, she said.
“We always say, ‘the problem is not the problem,’ ” she said. “It’s something different that led to the problem today.”
This is important, she added, because sometimes the deep-seated or buried things can also affect one’s physical health or quality of life.
“There’s a saying, ‘Your issues affect your tissues,’ ” Hines said with a smile.
The counseling ministry process involves being “spiritual detectives,” working to unearth what the issues are and why the client is stuck and can’t go on.
It is Christian-based but nondenominational, to ensure clients receive the message and are not intimidated by constraints of any particular religion.
Founding members include Nancy Fail, Christy Lanier, Kathy Moore and Denise Kearney. Hines joined them a few years later.
“Nancy was our director until about a year ago,” Hines said. “Kathy is our director now.
“We have a board and advisers, we have 11 prayer ministers, five that are the original, and then we have people that we’re training.”
The principals are all trained in such Christian-based inner healing programs as Elijah House and Restoring the Foundations, which focus on Biblical healing and deliverance.
The ministry’s name came from a simple basic premise, Hines said, “A free heart is a healed heart.”
“People are valuable, because they’re made in the image of God,” she said. “And I think at FreeHeart we’re telling people, your hurts from your past are not what defines you.”
It’s an intense process, Hines says. The precursor is a 14-page questionnaire, which delves into different facets of the person’s life. There is also a recommended book the client is required to read before proceeding with a two-hour interview and series of ministry sessions.
The counselors follow the Biblical model, working in pairs with each client.
“We do a lot of listening. We pray over people,” she said. “We give them words of wisdom, words of knowledge.
“Some people have never been able to tell their story before.”
She recalled one client, a woman in her 80s, who had never shared her story with anyone, and what it blessing it was to minister to her as a way to heal some of the inner pain.
“You’ve got to let go of the fear to go (for counseling),” Hines said. “I had a pastor who used to say, ‘When the pain of changing is less than the pain of staying the same, you’ll go.’ ”
The success of such an endeavor can be quick, and visible, she said.
“I have literally seen people’s whole countenance change,” she said. “There’s a lightness in them, like a weight was taken off their shoulders, because they release it to the Lord.”
Forgiveness is especially big, she notes, which is not to say the other person gets away with anything. But rather, in the Biblical teaching, is a gift for the victim to let it go and allow God to carry the burden.
“What we do is walk through those things (they’ve gone through) — we forgive a lot of people,” Hines said. “(Usually) your primary people, people who have authority over you — teachers, parents, it could be your next door neighbors, peers you went to school with, family members. So there’s a lot of forgiveness and when the forgiveness is accomplished, then Jesus can heal the memory.
“So we walk them through that healing process.”
The last few years have in some ways exacerbated things for folks, especially being isolated at home or unable to do normal things.
Hines remains optimistic, seeing hope for people, even in the midst of hardship or pain. She is also particularly grateful this Thanksgiving season.
“I’m sometimes amazed,” she said. “It’s like, Lord, I’m just amazed that you chose me for this, to do this, and also that you chose me to be born for this time.”
She praised her women counterparts who established the foundation for this ministry. They all have different spiritual gifts, she said, but they work together well.
“We honor each other. It’s just amazing how He’s (God has) woven us together,” she said. “We all love each other, we all honor each other, we all have fun together.
“It’s like the Lord’s given us a second career.”
As the ministry grows, the goal is to find a larger space to serve clientele. While a nonprofit, there are suggested fees for the services and application process to cover paperwork and materials.
They are also believing for ministry partners to come alongside and financially support the operation.
It is currently located in the front room of Kathy Moore’s Medical Massage, 208 N. Herman St.