A New Year, Dreams Come True & Ministry Changes

A great man once taught me to face my fears and ‘do it afraid’, and to never stop believing in impossible dreams, if those dreams can bring about good. 

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Today It is January 2, 2016.

On December 30 2014, I posted a status on Facebook, playfully asking for an interpretation to a dream I had the previous night. The dream involved my former car (beloved old Rustbucket) disappearing, and me being all distressed at that loss, but when I went back out to prove it had disappeared, a brand new gold Mazda convertible awaited me.

I posted the status in jest, asking for an interpretation and expecting nonsensical responses. Instead, I received a rush of private messages and comments on that status, telling me that it had meaning, and many said 2015 would be a year of change–good change–for our ministry.  (To read the status and public comments, click link here or on the photo.)

 

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Dreams come true, when God is in them…  I never though this dream held any significance when I playfully posted this status December 30, 2014. This New Years Day, January 1, 2016, as I reflected on the past year, I remembered the dream and realized just how accurate many comments were. To those who have spoken life over our ministry, prayed for us, and blessed the work God is doing in fighting for the hearts of little children and the wounded grown ups; Thank you!

 

I’ll be honest, I struggled to take any of it seriously, at first, but after numerous people said the same thing, I started to listen. Some joked about the dream–which I could obviously appreciate, since that was my motive–and while many said it related to our ministry, Generations Unleashed, a few even threw in the notion that maybe a new car awaited me in 2015. That part I didn’t take seriously at all, but the thought was nice.

As I reflected today on 2015, I did so with mixed emotions. True to the prophetic words spoken, our ministry changed dramatically! We did only 2 conferences all year, with more stand-alone speaking engagements, as well as partnering in ministry with others. A highlight was partnering with comedian/musician, Kelita Haverland.

But the most dramatic change was the amount of ‘out of country travel’. I love to drive, but even more than driving, I love to fly! I would fly at least once a month, if I could. And by ‘could’ I mean that right now it isn’t reasonable for me to be away from home that much, so I do not pursue that much ministry out of country.  As it stands, I spent about five weeks out of country in 2015, mostly working with victims of sexual assault and hearing stories of pain and trauma, while walking with those victims or parents of victims, to offer support in crisis.

The last quarter took a turn, and doors opened to have international clients move to Ontario to spend weeks at a time, investing in coaching and mentoring sessions. This has proven to be a wonderful option for those victims out of country who have no place to go locally–at least not places they feel comfortable going–and want to spend time developing confidence and pursuing freedom. There are a few pitfalls, bumps and scrapes, however, as there are with any growth. And for us that was predominantly in trying to determine internationally whether a client fits into a coaching/mentoring client relationship, or whether the extent of trauma or need would be more appropriate for psychotherapy with a licensed counselor or other professional, or a mental health institution. Locally I have the option of meeting a client several times, and if the need crosses that line, I can simply refer the client elsewhere, or we choose to work in partnership with licensed professionals, which is not an easy option at a great distance. We are growing and learning, and trust God to continue leading us in this.

As for the car, we did end up with a new-to-us car for our ministry, and it was indeed a blessing from someone, earlier this year. It wasn’t gold; it was silver. And it wasn’t a Mazda convertible, but it was a Honda Accord, 2-door with a sun roof. Close enough. The gentleman who sold it, donated a portion back, and the remainder was gifted to the ministry days after our old Mazda ‘died’, and only days before I was scheduled to drive to USA to spend time with a young woman in a very difficult situation. The car has since traveled thousands of miles to reach wounded hearts, to encourage the struggling, and to be the hands and feet of Jesus in broken lives. We are thankful for the gift, and pray that God’s blessing over the individual who provided it.

In other firsts and changes, 2o15 offered deep trials and confronted fears I would never have thought I could cope well facing. Rejection. Lies. False accusations. Broken trust. Threats of various sorts. Losses. And in each of these I found my God more faithful than ever I have known Him to be, personally. He has kept my heart tender towards those who have wronged me, and given me love in places where I once grew hardened for fear of being wounded. Today He has taught me to embrace wounding, even while He continues to teach me healthy boundaries and extending grace with those boundaries. And by His grace He continues to give me compassion for all, as I learn to walk more and more in the love of Jesus, while acknowledging that which is wicked in the temple courts, and praying He will overturn tables once more.

Looking ahead in 2016, changes will continue. God has opened doors to influence and corroborate with individuals with authority and in positions of influence, who have a vision for changing how sex crimes are handled in religious communities. While the process will take time, our hope is to influence dramatic changes at a level that can and will have life-changing impact in the near future, and for generations to come.

On top of this, I’ve been dreaming for some time about returning to school and, God-willing, 2016 will be the year for this. I had several meetings in recent weeks, trying to determine what is the best starting point. As a result, if I am accepted, I will begin September 2016. Because I will attend as a mature student, hoping to enter a Master’s program, I will start with a 3-month qualifying term during which time I will need to maintain a minimum 75% average in all courses. If I am successful, this will be followed by 16 months of full time Masters program. The reality is I need ‘the official paper’ and credentials behind my name for the next phase of ministry, and to continue to move forward and grow in our community and beyond, and influence changes at the next level. One on one work is good, and it is effective for that one, but the truth is that more can be accomplished with a broader vision. And the need is massive.

I will continue, for the time being, to meet with clients one-on-one, whether local or international, and do what I have done for the past five years. It has been and continues to be something I love, and something that has taught me more in life than any other career or experience.

 

As these things unfold and develop, and as meetings start early in the year to explore next steps, I see 2016 as a year of preparation and strategic planning. This preparation, I pray, will bring to life a dream that has developed in my heart over a period of years. Granted, there is always that tiny fear that ‘it’s impossible’, and I push constantly through such fears.

A great man once taught me to ‘do it afraid’ and to never stop believing in impossible dreams. Particularly if those dreams can bring about good. And my God has taught me that ‘doing good’ is part of being a Christ follower, and to ignore good that He has called me to do is in fact sin.

So I will choose to believe in the dreams He has birthed in my heart, and trust that if it will bring good, then He will go before me, prepare the way, and bless me. Even if all hell rises against me, no evil thing can stand in the way, no religious thing can stop His plan, and no fear or threat will hold me back from following the purpose God set before me, before I was even conceived.

Before my conception, ere ever my frame formed in my mother’s womb, or even the world obeyed your command, You whispered my name. And in that whispering, my purpose donned wings. A destiny spoken in the shadows became the light that would guide me on the way. For it is Your Kingdom, Your purpose and Your plans that fill my days with adventure; the invitation to step into something greater than myself, to live beyond the walls of selfish expectation, and partner with the Divine, to change the world. (Based on Jeremiah 1:5) (Excerpt from When Abba Whispers Her Name, (working title), Trudy Metzger)

Love,
~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger

2014: Embracing A Year of Adventure & Change

Each year New Year’s Eve rolls around, and we gather with family or friends, or both, and celebrate all that has been in the 12 preceding months. The good. The painful. The devastating. The incredible.

Through laughter and tears, we thank God for it all; it blends together to shape our lives, to make us who God wants us to be, if we give it all back to Him.

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Looking back over 2013, it is with mixed emotions, particularly from a ministry perspective. We did more retreats and conferences than any other year to date, and that growth seems to be continuing in 2014. But I’m getting ahead of myself. First, a few more thoughts about 2013…

There was a time I said I would never do ministry among ‘my people’–the Mennonite culture–because I feared rejection. Still, when God laid it on my heart in late 2012, I found myself, almost instinctively, planning a conference for this spring as though it was everything my heart had ever dreamed of. When fears surfaced, I pushed them down, reminding myself that the thing God calls us to, He also gives us the strength for.

The conference took place in April, and went off pretty much without a hitch. Worshiping God with so many believers from my background is one of the most wonderful things I’ve experienced in my life. There was life. The Holy Spirit was present, without question, healing hearts, stirring souls, and denominational barriers were broken. At least for some of us, and for a time.

That weekend opened a floodgate, and many new doors to ministry. I was busier with one-on-one sessions in the months that followed, than I had ever been, and that continues to this day. With those open doors, and those sessions, came more stories of abuse, violation, and violence against children. And as we worked through those stories, and mediated between victims and perpetrators, resistance grew.

Since April 2013, we have experienced more attack, more resistance, more lies circulating than we have in three years ministry. That tells me something. We’re getting dangerously close to exposing something the devil has a vested interest in hiding. It has nothing to do with Mr. & Mrs. Martin, or Mr. & Mrs. Weber, or Mr. & Mrs. Bauman or Mr. & Mrs. Wagler or some Ms. Anybody, or Mr. Anybody Else. Sure, they and their families might slip into a rage over the exposure of hidden sin, or they might retreat in shame and silence, and some will hate on me and spread lies,  but it’s not about that.

It’s about God and the Devil. Ultimately God loves truth and justice, and the devil hates it. When lies come against truth, those walking in the truth continue to walk in the love of God and the truth of Christ. But when truth comes against lies and the devil, those walking in lies get all riled up and begin letting the enemy use them as tools to spread darkness and hate. And they suddenly busy themselves trying to cover their evil at any cost. And that brings backlash to anyone involved in bringing that darkness to light.

I said I expected it, when I went into ministry in the area of sexual abuse in the church. And I thought I did. I thought I was prepared. But when it came, it still blind-sided me. I wasn’t as noble as I desire to become, in how I responded or reacted. From time to time, when I met the people who were responsible for spreading hate against me, in stores or churches, and they glared or turned and walked away, I struggled. It took the grace of God to be kind, to wish them well, when, at times, I would have rather ‘said my piece’.

And that struggle is okay. God never asked us to not feel the anger, hurt or pain. He asked us to walk in the Spirit in spite of those feelings. I failed at moments, but constantly my heart cries out to be more filled with the Holy Spirit, and become more like Jesus.

It has taken a lot out of me, the battle in the mind. Hearing absurd lies about oneself, and having friends turn their backs, gets a bit wearing. But it has not changed anything as far as vision is concerned. Whatever God leads me into, even if it ends in twice the ‘hell’ I’ve fought this year, I embrace it.

Having said that, it appears as if 2014 may be a different flavour, and He may not be asking me to do any conferences here, with the local hostility. I’ve felt no ‘pull’ to find a host church for a similar conference, and don’t feel the slightest bit compelled to plan anything of that nature. (That will change in an instant, however, if God speaks the word.)

The only exception is a women’s conference, if it works out. We have a dynamic Old Order Mennonite woman from USA, who I hope will speak at a conference for women. She has a powerful testimony and is an anointed, Spirit-filled believer with a gift for speaking. If that works out, we will have her come join us for a local conference in late 2014.

All other conferences, so far, are scheduled out of the country, beginning with a mixed audience, Shatter the Silence Conference in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. We will work in partnership with Pastor Dale & Faith Ingraham, of New York, whom we had at our conference in April 2013. With true ‘servant hearts’, they will join us in sharing through testimony, and teaching.

Chambersburg conference posterChambersburg conference brochure outside

brochure insideAfter the conference,on Saturday evening, we will also do our first ever sessions–like a mini-seminar–for married and engaged couples. We will teach God’s design for marriage, and share vulnerably about the impact sexual abuse has on marriage.

It is exciting (if not a bit scary) to think about opening that part of our story to the public. Exciting in that I know it will help other couples, and scary because we’ve never shared that part of our story. Even my closest friends know only little snippets of our journey, and the hell we went through. I’ve never even written much about it. There was so much trauma, at times, and it was where the ‘hell of childhood’ came out in night terrors, flashbacks and angst like I had never known or acknowledged in my life. I think of those early years with Tim as my safe place to ‘feel the past’, really, for the first time.

Even now, as write, I’m back in that era… I even went back in time and purchased Silverwind music on iTunes, and am listening to ‘Only Jesus’. How I remember listening to that song, over and over again, knowing there was truth in the words. “Like a bird, whose wings are broken, wishing I could reach and touch the sky, Then the word of God was gently spoken, Suddenly my heart was free to fly… Only Jesus…. Jesus… makes my heart soar like a bird… Only Jesus… Jesus…  can free my soul with His word…”

Tears pour unashamedly as I listen to the words, the music, and remember what once was, and the healing God has brought into my life. And the sweet truth that, when His word was spoken, my heart was healed, set free.

And that is the message we will share with couples in Chambersburg Pennsylvania, who are fighting the demons of past abuse, and hiding the shame of that struggle. That part thrills me.

There are several other ‘out of country’ events in the works as well, including a 4-week conference/speaking tour in New Zealand and Australia this fall, God willing.

Writing will continue to be a big part of my life. Possibly even more than in the past. A friend awakened an old dream to write fiction–something I tried years ago and did not enjoy then, and didn’t feel was my niche. But I may just give that a ‘go’ again, when I finish my current projects.

There is also ‘rumblings’ of a bill being passed that will prevent me from continuing with one-on-one sessions, as I do them now. While I have never called myself a counselor or psychotherapist, the reality is I work with trauma and using a Christ-centered approach to working through that trauma with people. It’s effective. It produces results. It’s life changing for my clients. But soon–I’m not sure when, exactly–it will be against the law for me to do what I do, as I do it now, I am told.

This will change my life dramatically, unless we work around it. Instead of sitting with clients 3 to 5 days a week, I will look at moving into doing more conferences and speaking. It’s a tragedy, in my opinion, though I’m sure the motivation is to protect the public. Or at least so they say.

Makes me wonder what the world was like before the government controlled everything. Probably some negatives, but maybe some positive things too?

The only way around it will be to do fundraising, and offer a free service to people in need of a listening ear. And, as donors get on board with Generations Unleashed to make that possible, we may just end up being busier than ever. What I know for sure is that God has redeemed every potential negative in my life and in ministry. No doubt this is a set-up for something very different than it appears to be.

As this change and the unknown lie before me, and our ministry, all I can say is, I can’t wait to see what God has in store. Each year brings with it pain and tears, intermingled with great joy and celebration. Looking back there isn’t a year in my life that I would erase if I could. Some are hard to remember. Very hard. Particularly those early years of marriage and parenting when the hell of the past revisited me mentally…. If it were not for the husband God gave me, with a patient and godly heart, I don’t know what might have happened to me.

But even those years God is redeeming and using for His purposes and His glory. Knowing this about Him gives me confidence that 2014 will be a Kingdom building year. A year of relationships. A year of Redemption. A year of Change. A year filled with God’s blessing in every trial and every success.

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2014, I welcome you, with all you offer. My God has given you to me, and I am jumping in with passion, purpose and commitment!

© Trudy Metzger

Return to First Blog: September 2010, “Running on Empty”

Return to first post in Sexual Abuse Series

Return to First Post in Spiritual Abuse Series

Return to the First Post in ‘Abigail’s Story’ Series