Scroll down for detailed descriptions on each breakout.
Joy Forrest and Darby Strickland – The Spiritual Impacts of Abuse & Hope for Healing
The spiritual impacts of abuse creates confusion. When we cannot find meaning or purpose for our suffering, we often look elsewhere to find it and to escape the pain. This session will open your eyes to the various ways we try to find peace outside of God, how these attempt to escape usually intensify our suffering, and how we can replace these items this session will open your eyes to the various ways we try to find peace outside of God, how these attempts to escape usually intensify our suffering, and how we can replace these idols with the one true God.
Darby Strickland – How God will Redeem your Story
Domestic violence victims carry a story about what has happened to them. The first draft sounds like one laced with guilt and shame. It is likely that the people around you, including your abuser, contributed to your shame-filled version. Over time these stories need to be more accurate and reflect what actually happened. Your story needs to be about what happened to you, the wounds you carry, and God’s disdain for the abuse you endured. It is powerful to tell yourself the truth and even more healing for your story to emerge in community. Your story will benefit the hearts around you and, eventually, be about what God has done.
Joy Forrest – The Faith Healing Connection
Living through the trauma of abuse can damage our faith. Yet, scripture tells us that faith should be the very essence of our lives (Hab. 2:4). We know that Jesus’ ability to work miracles on earth was most effective among those who had faith. He commended those who believed him for the impossible— and they experienced answers to their prayers! Do you struggle to believe that God has the power to answer your prayers? Or do you doubt that he will? Do the physical impacts of trauma (the triggers) seem to overcome your faith? If so, how do you rebuild hope in God again? In this session, we will look at practical ways to repair what trauma has damaged, and to rebuild our lives on a foundation that cannot be shaken.
(PH) People Helper
(CSA) Child Sexual Abuse
BREAKOUT A – FRIDAY AM
Georgia Shaffer – Spiritual Principles for a Better Tomorrow (S)
“The path you have chosen spiritually, emotionally and relationally will determine where you end up.” Andy Stanley
As you develop characteristics like resilience and grit, you will strengthen your spiritual and emotional immune systems and promote your ability to deal with uncertainty, anxiety and the challenges brought by loss and trauma. This workshop will cover the spiritual principles, tools, and steps needed for you to build a better life.
Christine Chappell – Help! I’ve Been Diagnosed with a Mental Disorder (S)
When we’ve been diagnosed with a mental disorder, it can feel like our entire world is being redefined. We may wrestle with questions like: Does this label define me now? How can God redeem this? What hope is there for change? In this session, author Christine Chappell addresses common fears and concerns about what a disorder diagnosis does—and doesn’t—mean for life moving forward. Speaking from her own experience of God’s transforming grace, Christine helps women to consider stabilizing biblical truths about their personhood, purpose in life, and potential for experiencing progress on their post-diagnosis journey. It’s our prayer that women would walk away from this session feeling encouraged, equipped, and empowered to face their nuanced challenges with fresh perspective.
Dale & Faith – Hope & Healing for Survivors (S) (PH) (CSA)
This session looks at both Biblical and Practical ways to promote healing for abuse survivors.
Heather Elizabeth – Rebuilding after Abuse: Body, Mind & Spirit (S)
I will share how I chose to remove toxins from all areas of my life, connected with counselors and holistic doctors and made major lifestyle changes by establishing healthy habits.
I have been on a fierce and intentional journey to heal after a lifetime of abuse.
Childhood abuse laid a foundation for other forms of abuse and at age 42, I was sick in my body, mind and spirit. In a 3.5 year span of time, I was diagnosed with multiple chronic illnesses, separated, divorced, lost my faith community and empty-nested.
Greg Wilson – Inside the Mind and Heart of an Abusive Person (S) (PH)
Why do abusers do the things that they do? How should victims, advocates, counselors, and church leaders think about perpetrators of abuse? What kinds of help and services does he need? These are the types of questions that will be answered in this session.
Beth Broom – (S) (CSA) The Good Shepherd’s Delight in Your Healing Journey
Relatable testimony and encouragement for the journey of healing. Beth will teach on Psalm 23 as well as stories from the gospels about His care and kindness. She is very passionate about communicating the love and gentleness of Jesus toward those who are healing.
BREAKOUT B – FRIDAY PM
Rebecca Davis – Untwisting Scriptures (S) (CSA)
God’s Word has been used against you to keep you in a place of bondage to those who wish you harm. In fact, for some, the Scriptures have been so badly twisted that they can’t even read the Bible. But because the Bible is where we find the hope and heart of God, untwisting these twisted Scriptures needs to be a priority for everyone who wants to know Him. This workshop will give you some practical tools to be able to untwist these twisted teachings for yourself so you can know the true God as He really is.
Ann Maree Goudzwaard – Walking in Heels (PH)
Many women know what it feels like to walk in high heels. That common bond between us when it comes to shoes is also a dynamic when it comes to our relationships. Women get other women. We have the ability to feel each other’s pain. We may not share the exact same experience, yet God has gifted each of us (as helpers) with the capacity to walk in another woman’s shoes.
Michael Gembola – Divorce & God’s Mercy (S) (PH)
“Divorce and Mercy” presents the Bible’s teaching on God’s mercy to those who experience profound suffering in marriage, and the nature of his provision of divorce, as well as common Christian understandings. We’ll consider how best to navigate the complex decision for ourselves or those we love.
Sharmen Kimbrough – Spiritual Self Protection Bootcamp (S) (CSA)
God’s truth always leads to life, light, and freedom for your soul. And wisdom tells us to seek truth above all else. But, what are we relying on as our source? Most often it is some sort of “authority” in our lives, like our pastor or church, a spouse, or people in our lives we view as more spiritually mature than ourselves. Jesus, however, told us that God himself, through the power of the Holy Spirit in us, is our authority. He has the final say. He makes the final judgment call about the status of our soul. We’re going to account to him for our personal journey with him. Not for the journey someone else may have decided for us. So the question becomes, how do we walk with God as our authority, making room for the people around us to be where they are without losing our soul to them and their ways? How do we use boundaries to show up well, love well, and maintain who God has designed, called and proposed each of us to be? We will talk about how to structure your life in such a way that you walk steadfastly, consistently, and honorably as a daughter of the Most High King, created for such a time as this.
Tabitha Westbrook – Managing your Mind to help Manage Trauma Aftermath (S) (CSA)
Abuse and trauma can do a number on our minds and souls. We can have thoughts and beliefs that get stuck, flashbacks, nightmares, and a whole host of other things that try to keep us from moving forward. We know God says to set our minds on things above. Additionally, research shows learning to refocus your mind on the present moment can reduce depression and anxiety as much as medication when you practice these skills as little as 10 minutes a day over eight weeks. But the question often is – “How do we do this? What are the tools? What does it practically look like to set our minds on things above?” In this session, Tabitha Westbrook, LMFT, LCMHC, LPC, CCTP will teach you exactly that – practical skills to help refocus your mind so these things don’t continue to haunt you. This session will be experiential and participants will leave with a list of tools to help them in this present moment begin or continue to take back their lives after experiencing trauma and abuse.
Renee Best – ANEW You: Giving yourself grace on a journey to “Anew You” (S) (CSA)
You ever wonder if you made the right decision or what is next in my life? In this session we will focus on you, the woman and what that means. God tells us that “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalms 139:14 NKJV). As women we tend to focus on our roles and forget our own hopes and dreams. We will explore your hopes, fears and strengths. We will challenge and decrease the symptoms associated with intrusive thoughts. We will learn how to set new goals for ourselves by using self-care and coping skills. In essence, we will work to get back to who we are as women and what that means in the aftermath of domestic violence. By the end of the session I pray you will be able to answer this question: Who am I?
BREAKOUT C – FRIDAY PM
Darby Strickland – Rewriting your Story Continued (S)
This workshop will walk participants through the plenary session. Giving them structure and time to write the first new draft of their story. Abuse has often done so much damage to one’s relationship with the Lord. So, it is critical to restore your ability to speak to him about the hard things you face and how you feel about him. This workshop will facilitate honest lamenting before the Lord.
Dr. Debra and Panel – Tips to Parent Traumatized Children (S)
We receive many requests for help with parenting traumatized children. Each developmental stage has parenting strengths and challenges. Come join myself along with Nicole Stania and Hannah Steinke for an opportunity to learn from us as leaders and parents what works, what failed, and new opportunities to move outside your parenting box. We will engage you in a process of shared wisdom from your leaders and each other. Share techniques you use to connect with your traumatized children. Gain parenting tips to help build resilience in your children to stand up for themselves when placed in less-than-ideal situations with their abuser parent. Learn to build strong children to break the cycle of abuse.
Beth Broom – Bearing Witness: The Helper’s Role in Healing Trauma (S)
Take a deep dive into how trauma affects the helping relationship. You will gain information on how the brain processes trauma (so helpers can understand the need for slowness, trust-building and connection with traumatized people), and also some basics of the ways to go about walking with someone through processing their trauma.
Carolyn Weaver – Art for Trauma interactive class: Becoming a New Creation in Christ (S) (CSA)
The Encounter Class intertwines teaching on our identity in Christ as taken from the scripture with a short look into my own journey of identity coming out of abuse and a meditative prayer time in which we will explore our identity in Christ. We then incorporate your takeaways from our prayer time into an artistic expression led by your healing art coach. “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord, “plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jer. 29:11 All art supplies will be provided for the class, and no art experience is necessary. If you are able, a suggested donation of $10 is appreciated.
Peter Escue – Technology Safety for Domestic Abuse Advocates (PH)Technology can make our lives easier in some respects, but it can also be used to track, harass, and harm our clients. This session with help you understand some of the ways perpetrators can use our cell phones, home automation devices, Internet services, and other technologies to further or continue the abuse of their victims.
BREAKOUT D – SATURDAY AM
Greg Wilson – The Church Can (And Must) Be A Place of Safety and Peace (PH) (S)
This session will describe how the church can be safer for victims and dismantle the systemic conditions that allow abuse to exist. We will consider how the church should respond to abuse by caring for victims, confronting perpetrators, and making the changes that are necessary to create peace and safety.
Shannon McCoy – What helps, what hurts; replacing shallow substitutes with the one true God (S) (CSA)
When we experience abuse, it can be difficult to make sense of what is happening. Our world feels turned upside down, and we may feel like we are going crazy. In times like this, it is easy to turn to other sources for comfort and meaning. We may seek out things or people that can give us a sense of control or power over our lives. But these substitutes for the One true God are counterfeit gods that cannot truly satisfy or heal us. In this session, we will explore some of the most common counterfeit gods and learn how to replace them with the Son of God.
Tiffany Lesnick and Carolyn Thompson – Putting your Best Legal Case Forward (S)
“Putting Your Best Legal Case Forward:” A panel discussion with Judge Carolyn Thompson and Attorney Tiffany Lesnik as they discuss the ways that you can best be prepared for Court whether you are representing yourself or are working with an attorney. Topics to be discussed include: how to find favor with the Court; best evidence to collect and present; how to be an asset to your attorney rather than a hindrance, how to tackle alienation claims; dealing with a narcissist opposing party, getting the best custody outcomes, special considerations with domestic violence, how to handle fees and expenses; and more.
Darby Strickland – Sexual Abuse in Marriage (S)
Sexual abuse in marriage occurs in about 70% of the Christian women I counsel. Many are not even aware what they have endured is abuse. I will define marital sexual abuse, explain what it looks like and address the false teaching that has harmed too many women.
Latonya Allen – Fill your own cup; Healing from Trauma (S)
As a survivor of domestic violence, I will share my healing journey and include some practical tips on how to heal and recover. This session will also cover the relationship between grief and trauma.
Optional Breakout E – Sat PM
Tiffany Lesnick and Carolyn Thompson – Legal Issues Q&A (S)
Legal Q&A Session (with a judge and a lawyer). Retreat participants should submit their legal questions to email@example.com in advance with the subject line “Retreat Q.” The questions will be compiled and answered at the Q&A session.
Tabitha Westbrook and Norma Digeso – Hands-on EMDR Restorative Skill Demo & Activity (S)
TrainingLicensed Counselors Tabitha Westbrook and Norma Digeso will provide a brief overview of EMDR therapy and lead a small group (limited to 15 participants) in a hands-on, Scripture-based restorative skill demonstration and activity. This optional session will last 60 minutes and will help participants use scripture and self-tapping to reduce feelings of distress.