Valentine’s Day + Broken Relationships + Redemption

life, love, matters of the heart

My heart sank as I read a recent article on http://www.nj.com related to the murder of 30-year old, Ruth Reyes Severino and her two children from Salem, New Jersey. The news of this untimely death at the hands of her abusive spouse and the Valentine’s Day tradition of chocolate, cards, and flowers can remind us that this time of year isn’t so “rosy” for everyone.

Ruth Reyes Severino and her two children from Salem, New Jersey. — Photo credit: NJ.com

The work I do often puts me in direct contact with women who are recovering from broken relationships as they long to make a new life for themselves despite the shame and turmoil of their past.

It’s not always an easy journey, but “redemption” of what has been lost is achievable. Below are a few things to remember about “rebuilding” one’s life after trauma – a wound of the heart after having experienced/witnessed a deeply painful or distressful event.

  • Find “safe spaces” to voice the pain of your past. Talking through the difficult things with a trusted friend, counselor, Pastor, or support group can be helpful. Be sure that such resources can provide what you need (good listening, informative, non-judgemental, etc.) while doing your research.
  • Don’t be afraid to intentionally grieve your losses. This is sometimes difficult for people as cultural beliefs about mourning, crying, and lamenting are seen as signs of weakness or unnecessary complaining.
  • Take small risks. Add new activities and pursuits as you are led. Join a gym. Enroll in a class. Plan a day trip or extended vacation. Treating oneself to a solo dinner or movie is not such a bad idea, especially when friends are not available.
  • Remove yourself from unsafe environments when necessary. As in the case of Ruth Reyes Severino, some situations are more dangerous than others. A quick exit plan may be needed in order to protect the livelihood of those experiencing abuse. Staying with relatives or seeking help from a local shelter, police department, or crisis line may prove beneficial to those who are victimized.
Any thoughts or suggestions about the process of “rebuilding”? Leave them in the comments section below.

Reference: https://www.nj.com/salem/2020/02/funeral-services-set-for-mom-2-kids-killed-in-their-apartment.html?outputType=amp

Upcoming event that I’ll be participating in — #TrentonNewJersey

When Women Gather: Mental Wellness Conversation + More

leadership, matters of the heart

I recently had the pleasure to meet with Kim Jones, founder and organizer of the GEM Experience in Trenton, NJ. Her upcoming event in February 2020 will include a panel discussion on mental wellness, domestic violence, and life changing moments just for women.

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I’ll be one of the featured panelists and I’m super excited about being able to contribute to this much needed discussion that benefits a diverse group of women.  The energy at our initial meet-up was epic as those who will be involved in February had an opportunity to share a bit of their story and their connection to mental wellness. I was able to glean off of the strength in the room as women testified of how they survived and overcame some of the most difficult moments in their lives. Meeting with these beautiful women also reminded me of my “why” concerning the work I’ve done at Healthy Relationships Network for over two years.

It’s always a pleasure to be in the company of focused and like-minded women.

I’m learning more and more that the gathering of women for a cause:

  • is necessary as there are arising issues and problems that need the creativity, intelligence, passion, and attention of women who are willing to help
  • can increase the personal morale of women who often feel “alone” or isolated  in the work they do
  • is advantageous for the communities, groups, and individuals served as talents, gifts, and resources are pooled together to enhance the effectiveness of the mission

*How are you working with other women in collaborative and impactful ways? Feel free to share in the comments section.

Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of #grace

The Call to Serve: Marriage

love, matters of the heart

November 4th will mark thirteen years for us…

I remember it like it was yesterday. On November 4, 2006, we said our “I do’s” in front of about 150 witnesses in the beautiful, cool, and crisp fall season of New Jersey. The wedding reception with our loved ones, Bahamas honeymoon, and endless celebratory moments were a wonderful entry point to our marriage. Real life for us began not only in the good times, but also the bad times. Some of the things we’ve faced together as a couple – I know it was only the Lord who kept our hearts, sanity, and faith.

It’s been an interesting journey and I don’t regret one moment. Every year I’m convinced that my role as a wife is a unique calling designed by God to serve Jason.

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Daytime date of hiking in the park (May 2019)

I feel like I am constantly learning and growing in this area as I depend on God to enlighten me regarding it. Marriage is one of the most intentional areas of my life and if not tended to with a posture of service (sacrifice), I will neglect the important things for sure. I’m not afraid to say that it’s tempting to take my spouse for granted in our busy lives while pushing to the side the necessary dating, couples’ prayer time, spontaneous fun (not just sex), and focused attention.

This thing called marriage takes work.

But it’s worth it and I’m up for the challenge…

Happy Anniversary, Jason. I look forward to many more to come. #Year13 #Called ToMarriage #CalledToServe

———

“Because answering the call isn’t always easy…”

1547466329Ironically enough, Keturah shares her personal and spiritual journey of ending a previous marriage engagement in order to answer God’s call to obedience. She would then encounter Jason – her husband of thirteen years and a deeper sense of just how sovereign and purposeful the Lord is. CLICK HERE to download and read.