Sunday, June 6, 2021

Sharing Our Stories: A conversation with Robrenna Redl about race, faith and hope


Kristen Rimer Terrette’s interview with Robrenna Redl 
for Sharing Our Stories

Today, Kristen is sharing an interview that she conducted with her friend Robrenna Redl.

Read a bit about Robrenna below then enjoy her interview!

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Robrenna’s Bio:

Robrenna is a wife, mama, writer, podcast host, coffee lover, and survivor. She describes herself as a real, raw, no-filters kind of girl, so she doesn't do small talk. Robrenna likes to dig deep and be a safe place to have real and hard conversations. 


She is a volunteer for the anti-sex trafficking organization I’ve Got A Name and an apprentice facilitator for the Trauma Healing Institute. Robrenna lives in Lincoln, Nebraska, with Troy who is her husband of 21 years, two young adult children, and her 60 pound labradoodle, Evie.

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The Interview:

Kristen:
Hi, Robrenna! Thank you for joining me on Sharing Our Stories. I’m fascinated by all you have your hands in. Your influence is strong and done with excellence, which is very hard to accomplish, so certainly God has His hand over you! Tell us a little bit about your background so we can get to know you, including something fun that’s not on your website.

Robrenna: Thank you for your kind words. Yes, God’s hand is in everything I’ve been doing. He’s challenging me to step out on faith while stretching and blessing me along the way. It’s interesting because I didn’t grow up a Christian. My childhood was a nomadic one. I was born in Chicago, but my stepfather was drafted into the Army, and our first duty station was Germany. I remember playing with the local kids on our cobblestone street, unable to understand a word of the language the other spoke, but still playing and having fun.

Our last duty station was in Texas, where my parents divorced when I was a junior high school. It was tough because we were homeless for a year. Since shelters weren’t available at that time, my mom made a difficult decision to split up the family to ensure we had a roof over our heads. My brother stayed in town with a teammate on the basketball team. My mom and sisters lived in another town 30 minutes away. After living with a cousin in another town for a few months, my friend Anne, who is still my sister-friend today, asked her mom to take me in. That experience shaped the way I see people, see struggle, and see the marginalized.

After quitting college for financial reasons, I joined the military, where I met my husband. I served in the Texas and Nebraska National Guard for 21 years. At age forty, I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. While in the military, my colleague Sergeant Gina Johnson asked me to lunch and invited me to church. I declined her invitation. I told her I didn’t want to be a hypocrite. I’ll never forget Gina told me, “Jesus will take you just as you are.” Although I never went to church with her, I remembered what she said. Ten years after Gina shared her love of God and His love for me, I professed my faith in Jesus Christ. Fun Fact: My friends say I’m the queen of GIFs. I’m also an avid true crime fan to see how detectives put clues together and solve the case.

Kristen: Thank you. You’re a Rockstar! Now, you have two terrific podcasts. Can you explain the purpose and your inspiration behind each one?

Robrenna: When my daughter entered 6th grade, I was a Bible teacher for her class. It was then I noticed girls struggling with the question of, “Who am I?” Therefore, I created a Bible study to help answer this and engage moms to join me in the quest. That’s the inspiration behind my “Mama Take Heart: Understanding Your GenZ Girl” podcast. It is my mission as a podcaster to help moms be the compassionate, gospel-centered, influential voice in their girl’s life. The first few episodes help parents understand the world of GenZ, such as what they value, fear, and their worldview. I also ask guests on the show to discuss different topics like the effects of screen time, social media, anxiety, and trauma, to name a few. I offer practical takeaways and resources to walk alongside their girl, graciously imparting truth.

The other podcast, GRIT-Getting Real while Immersed in Truth, started in response to George Floyd’s death. The first five episodes are Conversations in Black and White. Friends and acquaintances sit with me, a black woman, to have conversations about the state of race in our country. I like to talk about things the church is reluctant to tackle. I began the episodes with race because it’s relevant to what’s happening in our country and the church. The other part of GRIT is for those experiencing church hurt. I experienced this myself, so I want to help people process the anger or grief that accompanies it. It’s much more complicated than people think.

Kristen: You also blog, and one discusses the topic of color blindness. I admit to having used this term before but now believe what you say to be true: “I would rather hear that all our different races, ethnicities, experiences, and backgrounds are of value.” To people who have said this with good intentions, like me, but fell short in understanding the ignorance of it, can you lovingly explain and help us see the faults in the term color blind?

Robrenna: We’ve all used the term color blind during diversity training of the ‘80s and ’90s. Color blindness means acceptance. It falls short because it makes a person of color unseen by devaluing their experiences, culture, and heritage. For Black, Indigenous, and other people of color (BIPOC), a lot of cultural heritage was stripped away to assimilate to the majority culture to be accepted.

As a black woman, the color of my skin has affected my ancestry. People who look like me were kidnapped from their homeland and enslaved in another country. People who look like me couldn’t drink out of the water fountain, sit at the counter in a soda shop, swim in a pool, or go to specific beaches. People who look like me couldn’t live in particular neighborhoods, receive equal medical, educational, and job opportunities, or even apply for a bank loan. All because of the color of their skin. When a person acknowledges the skin I’m in, he or she acknowledges my heritage, struggle that of my ancestors, meaning my parents, grandparents, and so on.

Kristen: Thank you. Great explanation to help us all learn and grow in unity. Okay, so here on Sharing Our Stories, we’re all about getting real and helping open eyes to racial disunity while striving to be a part of the “change we seek” in racial unity. So, get real with us, what are your current hot topics in regard to racial reconciliation? Where are we failing and where are we making strides in the right direction?

Robrenna: I have a family that is multi-ethnic and multi-racial so my husband and I purchased a DNA Ancestry test for our 20th anniversary. My husband is white with 99.6% European, comprised of French, German, British, and Irish. I’m 87% Sub-Saharan African, including West African and Nigerian, Ghanaian, Liberian, and Sierra Leonean. The fascinating part is I’m also 11% Northwestern European consisting of British, Irish, and Scandinavian, and 1.2% East Asian and Native American. I tell you this because one of the current hot topics surrounds the construct of Whiteness. People don’t realize God created ethnicity—which is where ancestry is derived. Race is shared physical qualities and assumptions about a group of people created by an Anthropologist/Biologist, a supporter of Darwinism, and an agnostic Thomas Huxley. It’s a man-made construct.

Whiteness refers to people setting aside their ethnicity as a primary form of identity for the benefits and normalization of being White. When the Irish first came to America, they were mistreated because of their ethnicity. It’s through Whiteness that acceptance is achieved. I say well done to those in the church who recognize all are created Imago Dei and function as such regarding justice, voice, position, and power. To those still grappling with this part of Scripture, to move forward, we must acknowledge and lament the sin of racism, unlearn, relearn, and repent to get to reconciliation. How wonderful would it be to see Revelation 7:9 as the church?

Kristen: You are so right! Thank you for taking the time to share with us. You are an inspiration!

Note to the readers: Follow Robrenna on Instagram or check out her website. Find her podcasts here: Mama, Take Heart Understanding Your Gen-Z Girl and GRIT-Getting Real Immersed in Truth.

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Author Bio:

Kristen's passionate about storytelling and helping people take their next steps in their relationship with Jesus.


She lives forty-five minutes outside of Atlanta, GA. where she served as a Children's Ministry Director for many years. With the support of her husband and two children, she now stays home writing fiction and non-fiction.

She also serves on the women’s leadership team at her local church and writes for Crosswalk and Wholly Loved Ministries. You can check out her articles and novels at www.kristenterrette.com.

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Connect with Kristen:
Website - www.kristenterrette.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/authorkristenterrette/
Twitter - https://twitter.com/KTerrette
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/kterrette/
Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16252020.Kristen_Terrette
BookBub - https://www.bookbub.com/profile/kristen-terrette
Pinterest - https://www.pinterest.com/kterrette2/

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