Back to Basics – Week 1

Have you ever felt that you need a “reset” to get things on the right track? As humans we sometimes need to re-evaluate our actions and be sure as individuals, we are following what God wants for our life. That thought takes me back to a song from a group I listened to growing up, 4Him.

We need to get back To the basics of life
A heart that is pure And a love that is blind
A faith that is fervently grounded in Christ
The hope that endures for all time.

We as individuals are not the only ones that need to get back to basics. Sometimes businesses, churches, and even non-profit organizations need to re-evaluate and be willing to go back to those “simpler” times and make changes. Changes are never easy, but sometimes are a necessary part of growing, or reaching your goal.

Back to Basics – Week 2

So, what does “back to the basics” have to do with Reach Out Speak Out? As a board, we have decided to go back to our roots of how Reach Out Speak Out was initially envisioned. This means some adjustments in how we do some things. Our mission is “to help women in need of assistance due to domestic violence; to provide shelter, food, clothing, and the necessities of life; to provide information through books and counseling; to enlist the help of other professionals with domestic violence experience; to speak at faith-based organizations and other community meetings regarding the warning signs of domestic violence.”

This is who we are, and always will be. How we accomplish this moving forward is one thing we are prayerfully making some tweaks on. Next week will show what is changing and how you can help.

Back to Basics – Week 3

Going back to basics related to our mission (see last week’s blog for more on the mission) means enlisting help from YOU, and look for our community and churches to help. We need your BOGO extras to donate to our families. We need your encouraging words written to our clients on holidays, special occasions and in between. We need your creativity in putting baskets together for our auction. We need your time for delivering supplies to our families. We need prayer warrior. We need your organizational skills to plan and organize. We need your talents as mechanics, medical professionals, lawyers, plumbers, etc. who can donate a service to our families in need. We need your donations and time for our fundraisers. WE. NEED. YOU. Period.

We need your time….talent….and treasure.

Back to Basics – Week 4

Reach Out Speak Out cannot continue to reach new clients we know are out there without your help. We have several committed board members who are passionate about what we do. We need to get back to those basics where we had people helping with time, talents, treasures. We, the board of Reach Out Speak Out cannot do this alone. We want to reach more women and families that need to hear that they are worth the effort and “trouble” of leaving an abusive relationship, knowing there is help available, and no matter what God loves them and wants the best.

To accomplish that, we need more people stepping in for an hour, a day, a few days throughout the year. Donate that “GO” of the BOGO sale, ask your friends and families for donations of gift baskets, gift cards, time, and prayers for families working to find their
“new normal”.

Come support the mission of Reach Out Speak Out and help us help more victims become survivors.

Growing Up in an Abusive Home – Part 1

This is part 1 of a 4 part reflection of a grown adult who lived through parents in a DV relationship.

Have you wondered what happens to children whose parents had a unhealthy relationship or domestic violence situation? As someone who has been through it, I am here to give a little insight over the next several weeks of blogs.

It hurts. It has a long-term effect on those children. We see what is going on, and while we’re younger, we may not quite understand what is going on, but we can sense something is off. Even as a young child, I knew there was something different about my parents’ relationship. As I got older, I realized that my father did not treat my mom with kindness and respect. He was verbally and emotionally abusive, and that’s what I grew up seeing as “normal”.

I didn’t know there were marriages that had mutual respect and spouses that supported and encouraged each other. I knew all about the wife being submissive to her husband, but I didn’t know the husband was supposed to love his wife like Christ loves the Church. That’s the father figure I grew up with, and while not every single day was terrible, I didn’t know what a “good” marriage looked like. While my father was not abusive directly to me, I saw the toll it took on my mom. At some point in time (I forget how old I was) I guess he thought I was old enough for him to vent to me about all the “shortcomings” of my mom. (More on this in a later blog). I was fortunate to not be a direct target, but not all children are that fortunate.

Beth is an adult now and through life lessons and counseling has been able to understand what a healthy relationship looks like. But her story and what she went through as a child is a very good lesson for each of us to look at as we are in various relationships.

Growing Up in an Abusive Home – Part 2

Last week I said I was not directly abused, but grew up seeing my mom stay in a verbally and emotionally abusive relationship. That impacted me as a child, and carried on into young adulthood and even middle age (now). Because I didn’t know what a healthy marriage looked like, I grew up having no desire to meet or marry someone. I didn’t want to go through what I saw happening to my mom. No way, no how! I deserved better, and was happily single and fiercely independent.

No man was going to put me down!

Thankfully, later in life my mom learned how to set up boundaries to keep herself somewhat protected. Sometimes she was very good at enforcing those boundaries, and sometimes not so much. When my my father ended up in a nursing home, and my mom finally realized he wasn’t going to come home, I could see a weight lifted from her shoulders. She was a new, free woman once My father didn’t have 24/7 access to her. Other people noticed she had more “pep in her step”. As an adult “child” then, I realized how profoundly he had affected her. I was glad to see her happier than I had ever seen before, and it gave me some hope that things could work out for some people.

As someone in my early/mid 40s now, I still have no desire to be married. I know there are MANY healthy, happy, positive marriages out there. I have seen them. However, growing up seeing and experiencing what I did, I don’t have any strong urge to see if I would end up in a good relationship or something like my parents had. I believe there is hope for all children that have lived through abuse or grown up around it.

Don’t forget about the kids that see the abuse and get them the help and counseling they need. They are the future!

Beth and her mom had a very special relationship. As her mom became ill, Beth took care of her until God saw that it was time to take her home in December, 2022.

Growing Up in an Abusive Home – Part 3

I often wondered why my mom couldn’t or wouldn’t leave my father when he treated her so badly. As a Christian, she would never consider a divorce, or even a separation. Over the years, the behavior my father exhibited gradually became worse. I remember working up the courage as a teenager to ask mom why she put up with my father’s “temper tantrums” (that’s what I called them). She told me what I mentioned above- that she didn’t believe in divorce, that it wasn’t Biblical and was not something she would consider. She also told me that he hadn’t always been this bad. The man she was married to now wasn’t the same person she married. Yes, that happens to a lot of people/marriages, I know.

What I wanted to know from mom was, had he ever been a “nice” person? What was it about him that caused her to fall in love and want to marry him? She was honest, and said she found him attractive/interesting, but it was also convenient because her sister was married to his brother, and she already loved the in-laws. She also freely admitted that she always wanted to get married and have a family. When I asked her if she regretted her decision to marry him (because of the way he treated her) and she said no. My sister and I were the best thing that had ever happened to her. I loved that response, but I always wanted to know WHY my my father was like he was. The answer (or my best educated guess) is coming next week.

There are Biblical reasons for divorce. Abuse in all forms is one of the reasons. There are many books that give biblical stories and scriptures. Two by Dr. David E. Clarke Ph.D “Enough Is Enough” and “I Didn’t Want A Divorce, ”It Started With A Hamburger” by Jan Porter and “Black Eyes and Sweet Talk” by Rev Michael Neely

Growing Up in an Abusive Home – Part 4

So, WHY was my father a mess and emotionally and mentally abusive to my mom? And why did she put up with it? We found out when I was about 25 or so, that my father had Aspergers Syndrome (now called high functioning Autism). He likely started with a mild case, but when he was young there was no treatment or help. It wasn’t even a “thing” to be diagnosed at that time. As time passed, he got more and more angry, unhappy, and cut off from the world. My father had a mental illness, and my mom put
up with it for years before knowing what it was.

So, does having a mental illness excuse abusive behavior? Not at all. Once we learned what was “wrong” with my father, my mom started getting some counseling and working on establishing boundaries. It was a rocky journey, and often did not work out for her, after so many years of him being abusive, and so many years of her letting him. As I mentioned in week 2, mom did work on boundaries, but her “freedom” came when my father ended up in a nursing home, away from her. After my father learned his “diagnosis”, he used it as an excuse to why he couldn’t help the way he was. I often wonder (especially when he was “venting” to me about how terrible my mom was for saying this, doing that, or NOT doing the other) if he really could have changed. I always harbored a bit of resentment for him not being willing to try any kind of counseling or therapy because “it’s just the
way he was”.

Mental illness is a very real thing. Many abusers have a mental illness, but that does NOT give them an excuse to be abusive – mentally, emotionally, physically or controlling. Whether the illness relates to personality (Aspergers, Narcissism, Personality disorders), trauma (PTSD) or any other type of mental illness, IT IS NOT AN EXCUSE. Period. Full stop.

If you find yourself in a Domestic Violence situation with someone that has a mental illness, please get counseling from someone who is licensed to help. Get the abuser counseling if they are willing. Set up those boundaries. Maybe there’s a resolution to be had through counseling and putting in the work, although it may be a separation or even a divorce. Take care of yourself, not just the person with the mental illness. You are worth it.

You Are Loved

You Are lovedHaving one of those days when your abuser or memories of them have you feeling down and/or doubting your worth? Don’t let the devil get you down. YOU ARE LOVED. YOU ARE WORTHY. YOU ARE AMAZING.
Just. The. Way. You. Are.

There’s a song by Lauren Daigle that Reach Out Speak Out has “adopted” and I’m including the lyrics here:

I keep fighting voices in my mind that say I’m not enough
Every single lie that tells me I will never measure up
Am I more than just the sum of every high and every low?
Remind me once again just who I am, because I need to know (ooh oh)
You say I am loved when I can’t feel a thing
You say I am strong when I think I am weak
You say I am held when I am falling short
When I don’t belong, oh You say that I am Yours
And I believe (I), oh I believe (I)
What You say of me (I)
I believe
The only thing that matters now is everything You think of me
In You I find my worth, in You I find my identity, (ooh oh)
You say I am loved when I can’t feel a thing
You say I am strong when I think I am weak
And You say I am held when I am falling short
When I don’t belong, oh You say that I am Yours
And I believe (I), oh I believe (I)
What You say of me (I)
Oh, I believe
Taking all I have and now I’m laying it at Your feet
You have every failure God, and You’ll have every victory, (ooh oh)
You say I am loved when I can’t feel a thing
You say I am strong when I think I am weak
You say I am held when I am falling short
When I don’t belong, oh You say that I am Yours
And I believe (I), oh I believe (I)
What You say of me (I)
I believe
Oh I believe (I), yes I believe (I)
What You say of me (I)
Oh I believe (oh)
Songwriters: Paul Mabury / Lauren Ashley Daigle / Jason Ingram
You Say lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Look at that again….

This is not just me, or anyone from Reach Out Speak Out, or a friend or family member telling you this. God says you are loved. And worthy. And you are His! If that doesn’t thrill you, I don’t know what will. God loves you and says you are strong, even when you feel weak. The God of the universe is holding you when you are struggling and keeping you safe. He is giving you worth and loving you.

Let me leave you with this….you are loved. Be encouraged and find you strength to get yourself where you need to be…. Safety, freedom, stronger boundaries, you fill in the blank. Let God show you your worth and value and take it in – You are loved!

Here is the YouTube video if you’d like to watch/listen:

The Value Of Volunteering

Value of VolunteeringHave you ever considered the value of volunteering? There are numerous benefits to volunteering: development of connections and networking, creates a sense of altruism, helping others is good for body and mind, generates a feeling of fulfillment, advances life skills, builds community, develops relationships, gets you socially active, and perhaps most importantly- it’s FUN!

At Reach Out Speak Out, we are always looking for auxiliary members. We only require 30 hours of volunteering a year, which averages to 2 ½ hours a month. A good portion of that time is spent in our major annual fundraiser, Purple Passion, in October. There are a number of ways to help:

Main fundraiser (Purple Passion) help

Set up/break down for events

Gathering items for silent auction

Sending thank you notes

Encouraging clients

Praying for families needs

Artistic help for assembling gift baskets

Coordinate small fundraiser



Car maintenance

Reaching Out and Speaking Out to your friends about domestic violence

This is far from an exhaustive list but gives a few examples of ways everyone can be involved and help. With so many people in religious settings involved in a DV situation, one of the most needed things is simply being aware and sharing that there is hope and help.

If this sounds like something you or someone you know would be interested in helping with, please contact us!