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"Wendy Redroad is our go-to girl on the topic of forgiveness. She shares a powerful journey intertwining healing and forgiveness for women who've suffered all manner of abuse. She is relatable, compassionate, and biblically sound in her approach as she takes women by the hand and gently walks them through their own journey to healing and freedom."

--Carrie Gurley [Executive Director] Valiant Hearts

 

 

 

 

Creating content behind the scenes . . . videos coming SOON! 

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Click the heart to sponsor my service work at Valiant Hearts throughout the month of October. In their weekly support group, I will offer practical steps to overcoming the effects of childhood sexual abuse. For more information about this organization, visit www.valianthearts.org

 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017 12:23 PM

"MADE FOR EACH OTHER": The Relationship Between Self-care and Healing From Abuse

Wednesday, October 4, 2017 12:23 PM
Wednesday, October 4, 2017 12:23 PM

WEEK ONE

I recently kicked off a series for Valiant Hearts in Colleyville, TX. It's a closed support group, but I'll share it because I think you'll find it beneficial. 

  • week one: Value

Foundational Scripture: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself" (Luke 10: 27 NKJV) [Emphasis added].

Core Principle: We cannot overcome what we deny.

In this series the emphasis is on as yourself because often times women express their love for God in Bible study commitments, church attendance, and service to others. And that's all good and godly, but it's not the whole picture. Somewhere along the way loving ourselves has become a distant after-thought. (And we wonder why we aren't healing.) 

The well from which I draw to love others must first be filled with my love for God coupled with the love He gives me for myself.

The fulfillment of Luke 10:27 is challenging for most women I think. Throw a history of traumatic abuse into the mix and at times it feels impossible. But it isn't. I promise. More importantly, God promises. (Matthew 19: 26.)

Why break from social media long enough to read this blog? What's in it for you?

This is what's in it for you:

Learning to love yourself will require daily ventures outside of your comfort zone. Brian, the counselor for Valiant Hearts says, "The capacity to tolerate feelings of powerlessness is essential to healing."

I couldn't agree more. If you're not sure, practice what I'm teaching in this series and you'll find out in a hurry. Survivors of abuse must offer self-love (value) in three areas on a daily basis if they are to live in victory: physical, emotional, spiritual.

Physical: Are you indifferent to your physical needs?

  • Recognize areas where you withhold physical needs from yourself. For example, when you're thirsty do you hydrate? When your bladder is full do you stop what you're doing and go the the restroom or do you hold it until you've completed the task at hand no matter how long it takes? 

Personal reflection: What would it take for you to support your own physical healing?

  • List ONE action that reinforces physical value: For ex., I will practice responding to my physical needs in a timely manner when my bladder is full. Or, I will hydrate when I feel thirsty.

Emotional: Are you indifferent to your emotional needs?

  • Identify areas where you place unreasonable demands on yourself through self-abandonment, forced isolation, and the reliance of faulty support systems that foster anxiety. Emotional abandonment can be something as simple as putting off cuddle time your child and opting to wash the dishes. God hugs us through our children. To refuse counseling/help is a form of forced isolation. When you are in a crisis or hurting do you call the person who has the capacity to encourage you or do you call the "friend" who consistently adds fuel to the fire and increases your level of anxiety?

Personal reflection: What would it take for you to support your own emotional healing?

  • List One action that reinforces emotional value. Ex. When I'm washing dishes and my child wants me to read her a story I'll either A. invite her to be my helper in the kitchen and read together in ten minutes or B. drop what I'm doing, read to her, and then finish the dishes afterward. Another example is to take time to rest. If you have 15 minutes to yourself what do you do with it? Do you put your feet up, breathe deeply, and say a little prayer, or put one more load in the wash?

Spiritual: Are you indifferent to your spiritual needs? 

  • Does your path to healing foster authentic trust in God or merely sharpen your survival skills? You can read your Bible every day, attend church regularly, and even serve in church, but if your spiritual life does not require you to step out of your comfort zone your capacity to trust God will go under developed and your healing hindered.

Personal reflection: What would it take for you to support your own spiritual healing?

  • List One action that takes you out of your comfort zone and causes you to rely more heavily upon God. (Spiritual value.)

 

You did it! You know have three actions that foster the growth of self-worth on a daily basis. 

  • Back each action up with a supporting scripture.

You're on your way! Next week, Dr. Robin Witt will teach us how to breathe and reduce anxiety. We'll need this as we move forward.

We get better together,

Wendy

Friday, September 8, 2017 11:48 AM

The Dangers of an "Us and Them" Mindset

Friday, September 8, 2017 11:48 AM
Friday, September 8, 2017 11:48 AM

[My first night of group therapy for survivors of child sexual abuse. Circa 2003.]

I'm not a fan of this circle. Too late to run, introductions are underway. One by one we confess the nightmare of our childhoods. I liken it to watching a televised documentary on child abuse with no option to change the channel. My profile is up. I bow my head in shame and fight to hold back the tears my eyes are spilling. Am I crying? It feels more like bleeding. I look up to reach for a tissue and see these women for the first time. The hollowness in their eyes validates the hole in my heart deep as betrayal and wide as indifference. Intellectually, I know I'm not the only one. But I've yet to embrace this truth until I see the familiar pain in their faces. I am not alone. And I am right where I need to be. 

[Six months later.]

Her name is Gracie. He father read the Bible to her at night before molesting her. She has associative identify disorder. She is a recovering cutter. And she has no desire to attend church (imagine that). She is twisted and honest and funny and I love her. She inspires me to reach for the Jesus who understands what I've been through, and He's mad as hell about it, too. 

Gracie shares about a time she babysits at age thirteen.

She is broken.

We all know why.

And when she tearfully confesses a day she behaved inappropriately our circle of broken embraces her. Not the broken behavior, rather, the fragmented being slumping before us in shameful regret. The group assures her. God forgives.

I listen.

I watch.

I am me.

The only me I can be in any moment--ever, and I have a peculiar way of peering into pain. It's one of the perks of surviving a senseless childhood with a steely determination to assign meaning to it all. Here's how I see it: For all we know, the toddler (now grown) of whom Gracie speaks, is sitting in therapy professing what a monster his babysitter is and how she's ruined his life forever. And for the first time in my own broken life, I half-wonder what broke the man who broke me. 

 

"Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do" (Luke 23: 34 NKJV).

 

The take away for me is that what Christ accomplished on the cross is for all of mankind. We all fall short of His glory. We all need forgiveness--whether we've sinned or fallen victim to the cruel and careless sin of another. When I'm honest with the woman I see in the mirror, I can concede that in this world I reside on both sides of the fence of sinning and being sinned against. 

The only true "other side of the fence" is perfection--where the shed blood of Christ makes all things new. Grace has the power to redeem me when I trespass against you, and you, when you trespass against me.

If what I'm proposing prompts a single digit of disapproval hold off if you can. If not, no worries. I've been there, besides, I'll be none the wiser. You gotta know, I did not invite you on this journey only to minimize your pain and your circumstances. I know how it feels when the pastor insists, "You must forgive,"--but you can't. I know the longing for validation, comfort, and justice. The rage of being discounted and the despair of feeling misunderstood. But I'm also familiar with the danger in thinking: I'm not perfect, but I've never sunk to the level "they" have.

We became the new them when the first drop of Christ's blood was shed on behalf of mankind. And that includes me, you, Gracie, and a man clearly in bondage to evil. Darkness knows an us and them mentality obscures spiritual insight and hinders healing. Your healing is for you, rather than the person who harmed you. Forgiveness is for mankind; collectively and individually. 

 

           Jesus     "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do."

                           us (abused)   |  them (abusers)

 

To those who've suffered abuse,

Keep your eyes on Jesus. Look up, not to the side. The Greek translation for forgive is aphie'mi. It means to lay aside, leave, let go. From apo and hiemi, which is to send forth, in various applications (as follow): cry, forgive, forsake, lay aside, suffer, remit, yield up.

The earliest stage of forgiveness is when you choose to suffer and cry and yield up to Christ what has happened to you. You're gonna have to feel it, Pumpkin. Fix your eyes on Jesus and enter into your own suffering. You will heal. You will. And you will go in the strength of His unfailing love. And one day He'll ask you to give away the forgiveness that's been growing in your heart all this time. And you will have it go give. Forgiveness . . . the fruit of time spent yielding your broken heart to Jesus.

You are not alone,

Wendy

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