Tammy Hinson knew four years ago she needed more than family to get her through what became the battle of her life.
Diagnosed with breast cancer, Hinson said it was a time in her life when she needed more than family to listen.
â€œI needed a womanâ€™s opinion,â€ said Hinson from her job at Scratch Pizza. â€œI needed somewhere to go.â€
The place she turned to in June 2003 was â€œFinding Peace in the Midst of the Storm,â€ a women-only support group through Westport Baptist Church, N.C. 16, Denver.
Hinson said she discovered the group through the churchâ€™s vacation bible school.
â€œThatâ€™s where I met Susan Hearld, the ministryâ€™s founder,â€ said Hinson. â€œShe pitched the idea of the group.â€
She went to the group meeting the next week and has been attending since.
â€œMost of the women are having hard times,â€ said Hinson. â€œThey are mainly having domestic problems at home.â€
Hinson â€“ age 42 at the time â€“ was having problems with her diagnosis and subsequent treatment.
â€œI felt bad because some women went through abuse or divorce,â€ said Hinson. â€œIâ€™ve been married 27 years to a man whoâ€™s not been physically or mentally abusive. Here I am, just with cancer.â€
Now out of chemotherapy, Hinson said she has a checkup in the near future to see if the cancer is in remission.
According to group founder Sue Hearld, the groupâ€™s first meeting of this year was May 25.
â€œThe ministry is strictly for women, to address stress and difficulties in their lives,â€ said Hearld.
When the group started in the beginning, there were two 12-week meetings per year.
Now, the group meets for one 12-week session.
â€œAfter the 12 meetings, then the group becomes a support group,â€ said Hearld, adding attendance in the support group is 15 – 20 women.
Hearld said she has had difficulties in life.
â€œI had a bad relationship that lasted for 15 years,â€ said Hearld. â€œWhen I turned to God, life became totally different.â€
Hearld authored the lessons for the group meetings herself, calling the lessons â€œa different approach to life.â€
Sheâ€™s also planning to write a book titled â€œFinding Peace in the Midst of the Storm.â€
Hearld said while women come from all different backgrounds, one thing remains the same.
â€œEverything is based on relationship,â€ she said. â€œThe ministry covers everything from what constitutes a difficult or bad relationship to how to establish relationships with God and what the Bible teaches about separation and divorce.â€
Hearld added the program also helps the participants to understand Godâ€™s purpose for their lives.
She estimated up to 60 women have taken the 12-week course.
According to Tammy Hinson, she and Hearld are prayer partners.
â€œWhen I started telling my story at the first meeting, other women started crying,â€ said Hinson. â€œThey told me it was nice to hear problems other than relating to family.â€
The most important aspect of the group is confidentially.
â€œWhat goes on and whatâ€™s said in the group stays in the group,â€ said Hinson. â€œThe group helps to manage life and improve self-esteem.â€
After being in the group for three years, Hinson decided to apply for a job at Scratch Pizza on N.C. 16 in Denver.
â€œNobody else would give me a chance because of cancer,â€ said Hinson. â€œRandy, however, gave me a chance.â€
Owner Randy White said heâ€™s seen changes in Hinson over the last six months sheâ€™s worked for him.
â€œHer confidence level has increased more and more since she came here,â€ said White. â€œI admire her for the fact that sheâ€™s punctual and keeps her responsibilities covered in the face of battling cancer.â€
For more information on Finding Peace in the Midst of the Storm, call (704) 483-5851.
by Jon Mayhew