My first walk- Hadrian's Wall - was 'inspired' by a wish to lament. As part of my own recovery I threw myself into learning all I could about domestic abuse including the theology that traps women - what I call the 'theology of abuse'.
I was so gripped by the horrors of what I learned that I was grieving, angry, dismayed, you name it...... I felt I needed to do something that expressed my sorrow.
My initial plan was, as an act of lament, to walk it barefoot in a red dress!!! Yes. You read that right. However, I backed off the barefoot bit because it meant me training barefoot around my neighbourhood and that was a degree of embarrassment too far, even for me. So I relented and wore walking gear. I absolutely loved it.
I raise funds for Restored because of what Restored means to me. I stumbled across them 'by accident' and it was reading Restored's material on theology that was the launch of endless theological explorations, leading me eventually to freedom. It might sound odd, this theology thing, but having spent my life with the 'no divorce' and 'wives submit' message and being committed to following Christ whatever the cost, I couldn't just leave my marriage and ignore Scripture. To find that much of what I'd been taught was in fact wrong meant I could, with a clear conscience, leave an abusive marriage. Years later, I'm now on the verge of being ordained and part of my ministry will involve this area.
I found that it was the emotional impact of what I'd learned about what women suffer and the Church being part of the problem rather than part of the solution that gave me the drive to do these walks. At the start of every walk I dedicate each step to the memory of victims* and every step is a prayer for my involvement in the issue.
If you're wanting to fundraise for Restored, please do it! Have a reason; something that will motivate you to see it through to the end. Depending on what it is, please train and use the proper gear and then go and enjoy it. Every walk for me ends with a posh cream tea so make sure you have something wonderful to look forward to afterwards and remember the lives you are affecting for good by doing this. When I've found myself in pain, because yes, walking 100 miles does hurt, I've spent the time thinking about the fact that my pain is only for a few hours until a hot bath but some women suffer for years (like myself) with no relief. Do it for them.
*I deliberately use the word 'victims' rather than 'survivors' because not all victims survive. On my walks I keep in mind those who have died. Further, even some who have not died never recover and I walk for them too. Also, I refer to myself as a victim because for me, it emphasises my innocence. I know a lot of people feel strongly about the use of words but that's why I use 'victim'.