The Oak Tree

A mighty wind blew night and day
It stole the oak trees leaves away,
Then snapped its boughs
And pulled its bark
Until the oak was tired and stark

But still the oak tree held its ground
While other trees fell all around.
The weary wind gave up and spoke,
"How can you still be standing, Oak?"

The oak tree said, "I know that you
can break each branch of mine in two,
carry every leaf away, 
shake my limbs and make me sway.

But I have roots stretched in the earth,
Growing stronger since my birth.
You'll never touch them, for you see,
they are the deepest part of me.

Until today I wasn't sure
of just how much I could endure.

But now I've found with thanks to you,
I'm stronger than I ever knew."

--Johnny Ray Ryder, Jr.

Pilot Program Feedback

Program Title: How to Forgive What You'll Never Forget: Discovering Divine Purpose in the Passions
Copyright © by Wendy Redroad 2019

This teaching

  • explores virtuous expressions of the passions (Aquinas) in contrast to the vices that hinder healing and forgiveness.
  • is appropriate for men and women.
  • is beneficial for pastoral care, lay ministers, and professionals who aid victims of abuse.
  • references the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC).
  • focuses on overcoming the psychological effects of abuse and traumatic betrayal rather than specific details of abusive acts.

Location: Good Shepherd Catholic Community

"I believed that forgiveness was equal to absolution, but I was not capable of absolving how I felt about my experiences. I felt guilty. I was not taught how to trust God with my emotions. As a "cradle Catholic", I was not taught how to discern and talk to God. I liked how the psychology of the teaching goes hand in hand with the sacraments. A lot of Catholics are not familiar with the Bible verses and stories. This forgiveness program is a good way to teach Catholics (young and old) a refreshing way to view the sacraments. "There is no condemnation in Christ"--not even in our emotions. God will not forsake us no matter how we fell about the wrong done to us."

"This class was different then what I expected. It got me out of my comfort zone. I never understood forgiveness. I was surprised and in awe of how human the teaching is. I'm interested in a deeper understanding of the class concept with scriptures and bible stories."

"I'm a recovering alcoholic. In working the twelve steps, I've learned over the years how to identify my destructive behavioral patterns. What I've never understood is how to move forward. How to Forgive What You'll Never Forget is the first teaching to show me HOW to get from A to B."


"I have a better idea of how to take brokenness to the cross--rather than attempt to "pray it away."

"This teaching showed us how to identify the sacraments at work in us as we journey through forgiveness."

"The importance of self-care and having a voice."

Location: First Baptist Colleyville
Valiant Hearts: Freedom from Sexual Exploitation
Closed Group: Cherished Women's Group 

"I was abused sexually, physically, and emotionally. The first time I told my bible study group that I hated my dad they prayed God would help me to forgive him. What I needed was healing in my heart. Validation and comfort were my greatest needs. Wendy's program helped me to understand WHY I struggled to forgive and helped me to move forward." --Laura

"God is not angry or disappointed in me. He grieves for and with me!He is angry about what happened to me, and He will avenge me. We can't always pay forgiveness forward right away. In the beginning it's about yielding our pain up to Jesus. Eventually, we are filled enough to give forgiveness away. Wendy reached down into my soul and gave my thoughts and feelings words." --Faith

"Wendy Redroad is our go-to-girl on the topic of forgiveness. She shares a powerful journey that intertwines healing and forgiveness with women who've suffered all manner of abuse. She is relatable, compassionate, and biblically sound in her approach as takes women by the hand and gently walks them through their own journeys of healing and forgiveness." --Carrie Gurley, Former Executive Director of Valiant Hearts

Location: Gatehouse Grapevine: a hand up for permanent change

[Personal interviews were not permissible due to the anonymity and safety of residents.]
"Wendy, I cannot tell you how impressed I am with this material . . . and with you, the creator of this amazing body of work! Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!" --Deb Lyons, MS Psy, former Director, The Gatehouse Grapevine

Victims of Domestic Violence
"In church, I always felt like I was wrong to feel rage. This teaching freed me to express the pain and anger and hurt that was bottled up in the deepest places of my heart. It was a real turning point. I was able to release what had been trapped inside for so long. God gave me my voice back. He gave Wendy Redroad a key to open the door for me." --RP

"I've heard all the same lessons most people hear in church--how if you don't forgive others you will not be forgiven. What I learned from Wendy Redroad is how to look beneath my emotions, how to identify the core lies behind them, and HOW to entrust them to Jesus. I recommend her program for  to all women who struggle to forgive. It will change you forever." --Laura

Women's Prison Ministry: The Murray Unit, Gatesville, TX
"In nine years of prison ministry I've become acutely aware that the main issue the majority of inmates struggle with is forgiveness--for themselves and others. Wendy's forgiveness program unlocks the mystery of how to forgive what you'll never forget and provides the guidance to do it. Her message opened their yes to new ways of understanding and approaching." --Donna Criswell, Prison Ministry Director