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It's Complicated

It's Complicated

By twentyTHREE61, Inc.
A weekly podcast of twentyTHREE61, Inc. to help you heal the past, find joy in the present, and affirm life for the future.
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Partnering to Bring Healing
Two long-time friends reminisce over their first retreats where their abortion healing journey began, as well as what God has done in their lives since then to today, where God is bringing them together in partnership to bring healing to the cities. Carissa Hodges, Executive Director of Janesville Pregnancy Helpline, and Donna Brendel, Executive Director of twentyTHREE61, Inc. each lead Rachel's Vineyard Retreats, along with their retreat teams. In order to reach more people, especially black and Hispanic women and men in the cities, they have combined their retreat dates and retreat teams in order to have a bigger voice and a greater reach. Not many people know that healing from the emotional and spiritual impact of abortion is available. And we want to change that. Not only that, but once folks do learn about the healing that's available, the next hurdle is helping them take courage to come forward to ask for the help. Most people have never told anyone about their abortion, so to consider telling complete strangers that you need help to heal is terrifying. We know this firsthand, as we've both been in that exact situation. But we are both so thankful to have been carried through that fear and make it to our first retreats, and now it's our passion to make this possible for other women and men, especially now in the cities.  Here is the retreat schedule, click here to learn more and to register: February 19-21, 2021 March 19-21, 2021 May 14-16, 2021 (for Spanish speakers) September 17-19, 2021 November 5-7, 2021 If you need a scholarship and/or travel assistance, please email To see the graph of the statistics mentioned in this episode, click here to's website Community Awareness page. To learn more about Janesville Pregnancy Helpline, click here or visit their website at 
January 28, 2021
Seeking Healing So I Can Help Others
Look out when two sisters in the Lord have some precious spare time to chat! This is a long episode jam-packed with a wide range of important topics. Help us spread the good news! Please share after you listen. Darlene wanted to go through healing again, even though she'd been through a similar but different type of healing 10-15 years prior. But now she wanted to prepare to offer help and hope to other hurting women. Not surprisingly, she was blessed with additional healing of her own, as God always has more blessings for us each step of the way as we faithfully follow His leading. She courageously shares her story and this new blessing with us in this interview as well as why she has joined our team, and why she's so passionate about helping others not only heal but become transformed in the process as she has experienced. We give glory to God for her courage and for the work He's done in her life. Trigger warning - - - this episode discusses traumatic experiences that may trigger difficult emotions. Please listen with a friend or support person if you know you might struggle. Here is our Rachel's Vineyard Retreat schedule for 2021, click here to learn more and to register: February 19-21, 2021 March 19-21, 2021 May 14-16, 2021 (for Spanish speakers) September 17-19, 2021 November 5-7, 2021 If you need a retreat scholarship and/or travel assistance, please email To see the graph of the statistics mentioned in this episode, click here to's website Community Awareness page.
January 27, 2021
January 22, 1973 to 2021 - It's Personal, It's Cultural, It's Trajectory-Shifting
Executive Director Donna Brendel shares her personal story of why this date in history is so big and life-altering for her and for our nation, and hence the catalyst and passion of this ministry. Visit our website to learn more about us and our 2021 Initiative: Bringing Healing to the Cities, at 
January 22, 2021
Beauty*Joy*Praise Podcast Within a Banquet
We recorded this mini podcast in the midst of our online Un*Banquet last night. So in addition to listening to this portion of our conversation, you can visit us on Facebook to watch the recording of our live feed at  In this episode we briefly discuss the three words we highlighted from the passage Isaiah 61:1-4 which was the theme of our Un*Banquet, which are Beauty, Joy and Praise. We could and should do an entire episode in the future on each of these words, as there's so much to expound upon.  When we submit to God's healing grace, we are able to begin to experience each of these in a brand new way.
November 13, 2020
Grief - from Mourning to Joy
Grief is a thread that runs through all of our clients' complicated stories and lives. In this episode we discuss the different types of grief, some of our own complex stories, how you can process grief, help those around you who are grieving, as well as how we help women and men process the specific griefs of abortion loss and the loss of innocence through sexual traumas and pornography. We talk about the physical way we were designed to grieve as well as the spiritual connection God desires to grow in us through grief, not only with Him, but also with each other.   "We are all broken and wounded in this world. Some choose to grow strong at the broken places." Harold J. Duarte-Bernhardt
November 05, 2020
Creating a Safe Space for Healing
What does a safe space look like and why is it even needed for healing to take place? Listen in as Donna Brendel, Executive Director, and Alyssa Valenza, Board Member and Volunteer, discuss this important foundational topic and get to the heart of the matter. A safe space is where people are first protected and cared for, and then bound together by that caring and by the love of God, which bonds us together in unity.
October 29, 2020
The First & Hardest Steps of Healing From Abortion
Peggy & Donna reminisce on how hard it was to make that first phone call, send that first email, make that first reservation for their first healing retreat. They were blessed to have each other. You may be alone looking for help, or you may be looking for help and resources for a friend or a loved one who is struggling. Let Peggy & Donna's stories about their first steps toward healing, and the powerful moments that followed, give you the strength and courage to take your first steps or walk alongside another person to encourage in their first steps to heal from a past abortion. Whether it was a few months ago, a few years ago, or even a few decades ago, the pain is still there buried deep, needing a place to go. If you're in Southeastern WI, you can attend a Rachel's Vineyard Retreat hosted by twentyTHREE61, Inc. in English in November or March, or in Spanish in May. Visit for more details. If you're anywhere else in the United States or around the world, you can look for a retreat near you that is hosted by other great ministries and organizations at  Two versions of the retreats are available, Catholic or interdenominational. Each location will note which version they provide and which language will be spoken. twentyTHREE61, Inc. provides the interdenominational retreat, but both versions are available in Southern Wisconsin and can be found at
October 22, 2020
Road Trip Down Healing Lane
On this episode of "It's Complicated," three friends and colleagues of twentyTHREE61, Inc. sit around the table during a weekend getaway in Northern Wisconsin. After having enjoyed a refreshing day of kayaking on the lake, shopping the quaint downtown area, eating lunch, talking and laughing, they take time to look back and reflect on the journey that brought them to such a close friendship. That journey was healing from post-abortion trauma. twentyTHREE61, Inc. is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping women and men heal from post-abortion trauma, sexual trauma, and pornography addiction and betrayal. We'd love for you to join us in healing the past, finding joy in the present, and affirming life for the future. Learn more about us at All rights reserved.
October 15, 2020