Sis. Vickie Hodges, tell us a bit about yourself and your ministry.
I was born in Louisiana. My husband, William Hodges, and I live in Pearland, Texas and attend Greater Life Church, pastored by Bro. Mark Hughes. We’ve been married for 46 years and have two sons: Shane (37), Shannon (39) and six grandchildren.
I have owned Land of Little People Child Development Centers for 38 years with multiple locations across the Houston area. I founded the LIFE Non-Profit Foundation and LIFE Recovery Seminars, and have been a life coach and Anger Management Therapist for 20 years. My formal studies are in Child Development and Family Studies. My ministry is discipleship, and my passion is helping people who have experienced emotional, physical, substance and sexual abuse.
Share your testimony and the story behind how your LIFE Seminar was started.
As a young child, I suffered sexual abuse 3-5 times a week from the age of 3-12 years. I was born into that environment and thought that was the “normal” way everyone lived. My early years (3-5) were years of extreme fear, just trying to stay alive and breathe. The first male hero figure in every young girl’s life is her daddy. My father was my hero but also my perpetrator. At the ages of 9-12, seeds of anger, bitterness and hatred began to grow in my heart. I married at 16 and buried those childhood memories, without any intention of ever visiting that childhood grave. The next 40 years, I had minimal contact with my family.
I opened numerous childcare centers, sank myself into child development and early brain development research. I became certified in four different 12-step programs to help those who had experienced all types of abuse. I didn’t realize I was creating safe havens for little children of the centers. Through all of this, I was trying to heal myself from the outside in, but true healing begins from the inside out. By being around children and helping people, I kept my guilt, shame and unworthiness hidden. Tainted, damaged goods . . . that was me behind my professional mask.
In 2016, my parents were diagnosed with cancer, bringing us together again. I helped with doctors’ visits and any way I could. In the past two years, I have revisited that childhood grave to bury the guilt and shame that actually belonged to my father and so God could help the “little Vickie” forgive her father.
Why do you feel this ministry is needed? How prevalent is this problem in our society?
This ministry is desperately needed, whether we’ve been churched or unchurched, whether we’ve been raised in the pew or on the streets. People suffer from abuses of every kind, and with those abuses come damaged emotions. We sit on pews and keep everything hidden, because we have no safe place or safe person to open up to. And the suicide rate of children who’ve been bullied is at an all-time high. These are just a few of the reasons LIFE Seminars are needed.
How does a pastor or minister help a person who has suffered from abuse?
Usually, a pastor helps by supplying spiritual/scriptural-based content as well as sound advice regarding mental health. Counseling and/or life coaching is also recommended.
What are the greatest needs of a person who has suffered abuse?
The greatest need for people who have suffered abuse is to have a safe environment where they are emotionally, physically and socially safe. Their will, emotions, feelings, choices and senses need to go through a transformation process. Confronting damaged emotions brings them to the forefront, and a person can work through them in a healthy rather than toxic manner. This takes the person out of the survival or flight mode, and their brain can be taught how to interact with the mind/emotions in a healthy, positive manner.
Once a person is in a physically, emotionally and socially safe environment, then they are able to relax for the transformation process of Romans 12:2: “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.”
Tell us about your LIFE Non-Profit Foundation and Seminars.
LIFE Non-Profit Foundation and Seminars is a 501(c) foundation committed to equipping men and women in recovery from damaged emotions. LIFE Seminars are held on Friday evenings from 7-8 p.m. The Saturday schedule is from 9 a.m.-noon with LIFE sessions.
Tell us about your LIFE (Living In Freedom EVERYDAY) Recovery Series.
With all of my formal education, certifications and self-help studies, there was still a missing component. Then I had a dream about all the people I had LIFE coached. Their faces appeared before me, and they were speaking emotion words to me. I began to place the emotion words and phrases into the cycle of healing stages. What good was healing from abuse if the damaged emotions were not healed? I woke from the dream with tears streaming down my face. I had found the missing component to total healing and recovery from abuse.
Without giving names, can you share with us some success stories of people that have been helped by your ministry?
One lady who was severely sexually, verbally and emotionally abused had decided to live an alternative lifestyle to protect herself from ever being hurt again by a man. She was at the point of suicide when she attended a LIFE Seminar. She is now making progress in her journey to recovery. In another case, a man, abused by his coach at age four, came to me with tears. He said the LIFE Seminar had helped him learn so much about dealing with his emotions.
Can our readers contact you if they have more questions? Your contact information?
Those interested in hosting a LIFE Seminar or would like more information and testimonials, including pastoral testimonials, may contact Vickie Hodges at (281) 489-0055 or email VickieHodgesSharingLife@gmail.com. The website is www.vickiehodgessharinglife.com.
Her pastor, Bro. Hughes, said this about Sis. Hodges’ ministry: “The evidence of just how broken our world is confronts every pastor every week. Sis. Hodges came out of such agony and brokenness. As a pastor who looks for help in dealing with abuse of every kind, I highly recommend her ministry to your assembly.”