"God doesn't minimize the circumstances that break our hearts. We do, when we deny Him access to the pain."
--Wendy Redroad, Founder, Survivor, and Advocate
"I don't give compliments unless I mean it. This teaching gave me goose bumps, and I'm only on part one. It's amazing. You tell us it's okay if we can't forgive right now. Girl! I get! I was sick of hearing I had to forgive. You are relatable and that's how women like me will get through this. You get us! You have a gift, and it brings me hope. The church is SO hard on women who struggle to forgive. Wow, is all I can say."
--Kelly [Focus group participant, Redroad Outreach]
"What you wrote reached down into my soul and gave my thoughts and feelings words."
--Faith [Focus group attendee, Redroad Outreach]
REDROAD OUTREACH: Validate. Comfort. Empower. Restore.
Provide an innovative pastoral response to abuse and traumatic betrayal that aids individual healing, speaks to the needs of our time, and strengthens the moral fiber of the Church.
Church advocacy for victims of abuse/betrayal that fosters individual healing and leads to restored faith and effective evangelization.
Forgiveness is a Christian imperative--a fundamental truth that does not change. What can change in the era of #MeToo and unprecedented religious scandal is how this truth is articulated to survivors.
Urging survivors to forgive immediately and/or challenging their gratitude for Calvary diminishes the psychological impact of their reality, perpetuates despondency, and increases the risk of further harm. Wendy Redroad, a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, illustrates how justice, mercy, and empathy serve as a medicinal function that champions restoration in Christ.
Program in Development:
Love Makes A Way: Encountering Christ in the Aftermath of Abuse and Traumatic Betrayal
- Brief Overview:
An innovative pastoral response created by a survivor of childhood sexual abuse that fosters individual healing and leads to effective evangelization in the midst of unprecedented religious scandal.
- Discovering Divine Purpose in The Passions: How to leverage intense emotion to overcome the effects of abuse.
- What Would Jesus Do? Regaining discernment when faith is shaken by the careless sins of pastors, clergy, or lay ministers.
- Forgiveness is Greek To Me!: How to broach the topic of forgiveness with those who've suffered emotional and psychological trauma.
- Group discussions include five common ministry phrases to avoid, and Q & A with a survivor who abandoned her faith for over twenty years before returning to the Church.
Founding Sacred Scripture
- Jacob to Esau: My lord knows that the children are weak . . . And if the men should drive them hard one day, all the flock will die . . . I will lead on slowly at a pace the children are able to endure (Genesis 33: 13).
- So I spoke to those in captivity of all the things the Lord had shown me (Ezekiel 11: 25).
- They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, 'Peace, peace,' when there is no peace (Jeremiah 6:14).
Focus-Group Participant Feedback & Relevant Scripture
"My parents abused me verbally, sexually, and psychologically. The first time I told my Bible study group that I hated my dad they prayed God would help me forgive [him]. What I needed was healing in my heart. I wish they'd prayed for me. Validation and comfort where my greatest needs. A shoulder to cry on from someone who wouldn't criticize me for my inability to forgive. Wendy helped me to understand WHY I struggled to forgive and helped me to move forward."
--Laura [Support Group Attendee]
"The Sovereign Lord has given me an instructed tongue to know the words that sustain the weary )Isaiah 50: 4).
"I've been a Christian a little over seven years, and I've never experienced any type of healing from the past abuse. I was in a really bad place when I agreed to participate in Wendy's focus group for a study guide she's writing on forgiveness. My heart was broken. I was scared. I didn't know where Jesus would take me, but I knew I'd get to the other side if I would allow myself to feel everything I needed to feel. In church, I always felt like I was doing something wrong for feeling rage.
Wendy freed me to express the pain and anger and hurt that was bottled up in the deepest place of my heart. It was a real turning point. I was finally able to release what had been trapped inside for so long. God gave me my voice back. He gave Wendy a key to open the door for me. And I love her for this." --Ronda
"To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet in the way of peace" (Luke 1: 79).
"Everyone has need of forgiveness. Previously, I dealt with my wounds by pretending they didn't exist. I heard all the same lessons most people hear in church--how if [you] don't forgive others you will not be forgiven. (And all that it implies.) What I learned from Wendy is how to look beneath my emotional wounds to see the core lies behind them and HOW to give them to Jesus. I recommend this study to all women who've struggled to forgive. It's Bible-based. It's a few months of your life. And it will change you forever." --L [Support Group Attendee]
"They have healed the hurt of My people slightly, saying, 'Peace, peace!' when there is no peace" (Jeremiah 6: 14).
Stephanie: I wouldn't have gone ahead toward healing if it weren't for you. All the times I would start to go ahead and then have a sh*#*% day, I'd quit. I felt like a failure for feeling.
Wendy: Feeling isn't failing. Faking is failing.
"God can handle my freak-outs! I can cry, scream, swear, all the while smoking a cigarette, and He won't leave me. He's not angry! He's not disappointed in me! He is grieving with and for me. He is angry about what happened to me, and He will avenge me. We can't always give forgiveness right away. In the beginning it's about constantly yielding our pain up to Him. [It's cyclical.] At some point we are filled enough to give forgiveness away. Wendy reached down into my soul and gave my thoughts and feelings words." --Faith
"And every one who was in distress, and every one who was in debt, and every one who was discontented, gathered themselves unto him" (Samuel 22: 2a).