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After Devastating Family Trauma, She Remains Unbroken

Author Wendy Baisley Roache discusses how she turned to Christ and started over after she and her daughter experienced unimaginable family trauma. Read Transcript


On one Monday many years ago, Wendy was at work.

10 minutes to the end of the day, the new receptionist

ran to Wendy's desk and told her that she

had to take an urgent call.

Soon after Wendy picked up the blinking phone line,

she knew her life would never be the same.

NARRATOR: The nightmare started when Wendy Roache got a phone

call from the police.

In a horrifying moment, she learned

her husband, who was in law enforcement, had been arrested.

He had been sexually abusing her daughter

for the past six years.

Devastated at the news, she cried out to God for help

as she faced humiliation, homelessness,

and even unemployment.

In her book "Unbroken," Wendy shares her story

of starting over and offers words of hope and comfort

for those who are suffering.

Wendy Baisley Roache is here with us now.

And Wendy, thank you for sharing your story with us today.

You had no clue this was going on.

No clue at all.

You know, there was an unsettledness in me

for a few months before the phone call.

TERRY MEEUWSEN: You sensed something was wrong.

Something was wrong, but I thought it was me.

I actually thought I was going crazy.

There was a stirring and an uncomfortableness,

and I even went to a counselor to try to seek help.

Was the phone call the first moment

that you had a clue about this?

I mean, what went through your mind?

OK, so because I had gone crazy feeling,

and there was a moment just weeks prior to this phone

call where I literally pulled off to the side of the road

and screamed at the top of my lungs, "Help me, God."

You know, I received that phone call.

And when the officer told me what had happened,

a flashback of just the unsettledness and the craziness

that had been going on, and it suddenly made sense.

But I had no idea it had anything

to do with my daughter.

TERRY MEEUWSEN: How was the abuse discovered by the police?

You know, that's the amazing part.

I cried out to God, and within a few weeks,

an enormous amount of events transpired that rolled us up

to that moment where she actually had the courage

and opportunity to tell.

She was actually traveling out-of-state

with her biological father and her brother

and stopped at a girlfriend's house in Texas,

which is where she ended up telling her friend.

And her friend told her to tell her mother.

And then they were able to talk to her father.

TERRY MEEUWSEN: You know, people who

are perpetrators of this often are very manipulative

and know just what to say to a child

to make them silent about the abuse.

I mean, your daughter had gone through this for like six years

and been told by your husband that you would not make it.

You would harm yourself or not want

to live anymore if she ever came clean with this.

Because I think people think, well,

why wouldn't a child come forward and say this?

But I've heard story after story of this kind

of manipulative action taken by the person who's the abuser.

You must have felt so incredibly overwhelmed by all of this.

I don't know how you even took it in.

You know what?

He had her convinced that I would end my life if I knew.

And you know what, she had every right to believe that.

Because the truth was I was an insecure woman.

I'd been through broken marriages.

I'd been through the insecurities

of never feeling good enough.

TERRY MEEUWSEN: And she could feels that.

And working so hard to always be good enough.

Matter of fact, in that craziness I spoke of,

there was a time where I literally

wanted to end my life.

And there had been times in my childhood

where I didn't think I really mattered,

or I thought that maybe life would be better without me.

And so she had every right to be manipulated that way.

And I'm just amazed at her courage.

You were not a believer at the time.

You had cried out to God at the side of the road.

But you were not someone who was personally committed to Christ

or really practicing a faith walk of any kind.

How did this whole scenario for you

turn around because in the book you

recount just the myriad things that

happened to you, with the press coming to your door

and peeking in your windows.

And you couldn't go out, and the kids couldn't go to school.

So much shame involved in it.

How did God take what the enemy had meant for evil

and begin to turn it around for you?

Which is the amazing thing.

It was all about His love.

TERRY MEEUWSEN: Yeah.

I realized after the phone call,

and everything just literally being stripped away,

as I laid there and contemplated like a movie of the events that

brought me up to that moment in my life,

I realized that although everything was stripped away

with this phone call, literally I

had no, I didn't have my children with me.

I ended up losing the house and a job

and moving out of the area.

But I realized that as life was stripping everything away,

God was busy rebuilding.

And I realized that the events that transpired to actually set

up the appointment for her to be able to tell,

that was God orchestrating and answering my cry for help.

I suspected that, but then soon after,

day after day as the book unfolds,

the stories and the events that transpired

that are so numerous, I would cry out to God,

and I would hear Him.

And I would feel His presence.

And He would open doors I never could have opened,

But the process was so long.

I mean, you had to endure.

I think about having to, after you'd moved with your children

and reestablished and begun to start a new life over,

you had to come back for the court scenario.

I mean, just facing those things was incredibly difficult.

You know, one of the first things I learned,

and the court date reminds me of this,

is I had so much forgiveness to give to myself

besides the perpetrator.

I had a lot of regret and guilt and how could

I have not known that my daughter was suffering.

And the agony that a parent goes through

is just, oh, it was so enormous.

TERRY MEEUWSEN: And then walking your children

through this whole life-impacting process.

It also brought you to a place of forgiveness

with your own mom.

It did.

TERRY MEEUWSEN: Yeah.

You know, I realized that, as I saw God unfold and rebuild

our life and answer my cries for help, He was loving me.

And I thought, but I didn't do anything to deserve that love.

If He could love me when I didn't deserve it,

perhaps I could love someone else who I didn't think

deserved it.

And the most important thing I learned

about the forgiveness was forgiving someone doesn't

mean that what happened was OK.

And I used to think it was all the same.

If you said, I forgive you, that means it's OK.

TERRY MEEUWSEN: We're good.

We're good.

It's over.

But I realized that's not forgiveness.

I could forgive the person, meaning

I could let go of the bound-up, tied-up knot

that I wanted to just say, you owe me for this.

And the anger, I could rip that IOU note up,

and I could say, you know, what happened was not OK.

It may never be OK.

But I'm letting go of you owing me for this.

And I'm laying it at the cross, and I'm

giving it to Jesus, the one who died on the cross

for me, who was broken for me, and who forgives me.

I'm going to do the same.

TERRY MEEUWSEN: It's a remarkable story.

I just want to say the book is called "Unbroken: a True

Story of Hope in Starting Over," and who doesn't

want to hear that message.

It's available in stores nationwide.

If you've been yourself in a similar situation,

let me say if you need help, if you need prayer,

we'd love for you to give us a call.

Our number is toll free, and someone on the other end

will be there to talk with you and to pray with you.

The number is 1-800-700-7000.

The book is called "Unbroken," and our guest

has been Wendy Baisley Roache.

Wendy, thank you so much for your candor

and for being with us today.

Thank you for this opportunity to share God's love.

Amen.

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