Heart of Refuge

Unveiling The Hidden Beauty Of Your Heart

Month: July 2015

Quotes by Mother Theresa of Calcutta

Mother Theresa was a woman who dedicated her life to looking after the poor on the streets of Calcutta, India. I wanted to share a few of her quotes that have ministered to me.

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” Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.”

” Let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love”

“We shall never know the good that a simple smile can do”

” We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence….. we need silence to be able to touch souls.”

“Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or slow to do the humble work”

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A Young Mother’s Question.

image from sheknows.com

I was asked a question from my other blog site ( www.jennyallensecretplace.wordpress.com) by a young wife and mother who asked “I would like to hear and find out more about finding me and still find a way to be a great mother, daughter, and the love of my man’s life….” I would like to try and answer her question.

I can totally understand where she is coming from because being a mother, daughter, wife/girlfriend is a tall order and you try to be all things to all men and that is something you cannot do or be. I do not know how old this reader is, if she is married, working, studying or any other circumstance about her but I will answer in general terms based on what worked for me.

From my own experience, before I could look after my family in an affective and meaningful way I took time out to do what I was passionate about and did the things that ministered to me as an individual. For example I loved to read so I got books and found times throughout the day to read. I also loved working out and going to Spa’s and I also loved going for walks in the park. This helped me to focus and think about things that I was worried or concerned about. It was me time. After I took those me times I was better able to take care of my family and be the best that I could be towards them because I had ministered to who I was and am.

Another suggestion is to go out with some your friends, have a girls night out. It’s important not to lose contact with other relationships that you have.  Pursue any personal projects that you may have started and not finished. Volunteer in an organisation that you believe in. Volunteering is a great way to give back to the community.

It is very very easy to keep giving as a mother and that’s not bad but it is important to also do the the things that you like to do and enjoy. Create a time slot say once a week or whatever time frame is convenient for you and do something special for yourself. Do you have someone who can babysit for you or can your husband look after your baby whilst you take some time out?

Being in a relationship with someone can be very challenging at times so you want to create special moments to build your relationship. You could arrange for someone to look after your baby whilst the both of you go on a date night. See a movie, restaurant , weekend away, do something that you both enjoy. This could be done once a month for example. It very important that the both of you also talk about what you need from each other in the relationship and take steps towards those goals.

In conclusion St John 16:7 (amp) says that The Holy Spirit is a comforter, helper and counsellor. Pray about your daily routine, ask God to give you wisdom to run your home. Pray as you do the washing, pray as you iron, pray in your children’s room and pray over your home as you tidy and clean it. It does not have to be long prayers but just pray from your heart. Solicite divine help and God will surely honour your prayers.

I trust these few suggestions are helpful to you. Be Blessed!

Book Review ~ Ada, A victim of fate & Cultural circumstance by Barclays N. Amadi.

 

image by lutonculture.com

We have thousands of cultures in our world, with rituals and taboos which to some may not make sense but to the respective culture it is everything.

I have visited Nigeria a number of times and the country is steeped in culture and tradition. This beautifully written book Ada, A Victim of Fate and Cultural Circumstance by Barclays N. Amadi was a joy to read and beautifully written. 

The scene is set in a Nigerian village and it tells the story of Ada who was forced to marry at 16 years of age because her parents could no longer afford to educate her. Educating girls was a privilege  and not a right as education was reserved for male children who would grow up, takeover and run the family affairs. Girls were given in marriage and so would transfer into the family of their husband to become home makers.

The story tells of Ada’s various plights after she marries and the subsequent poligomus relationship her husband enters, causing her much pain. I loved the fact that Barclays weaves the culture and traditions into the story, thus giving the reader an understanding of various culturial settings throughout the book. It helped me to understand the plight of both families involved in poligomus relationships with the added expectations of tradition and cultural. 

The book highlights the plight of women in a society which sees them as second class (however I do believe this is changing) and the devastating effects of poverty on families and women who run single homes in such societies. 

I do not want to give away to much of the book but I will encourage you to read it as it gives great insight. Barclays does a great job of  “Highlighting the limitations and hardships forced on women in a traditional, male dominated society”

image from luton-dunstable.co.uk

The Story Behind Your Smile

We all have a story and scars due to the things we have been through. Our smiles will never reflect that pain because we want to hide it.

I always admire people who go through so much adversity and use the adversity as steping stones to go higher. Malala Yousafzai from Pakistan would never have dreamed that at the age of 16 years she would be giving an address in front of the United Nations. At the age of 15 she was shot in the head by the Taliban because she wanted to go to school. She took that adversity and used it to speak up for young women who wanted to have an education. Despite the damage done to her head by the bullet she has retained her beautiful smile and is now an ambassador for young women.

What ever you do, do not allow whatever issue you are going through to rob you of your smile and tenderness of heart. Keep going and keep smiling. Your story is not in vain or wasted but can be used to encourage someone who needs to know they are not alone.

You may never get the opportunity to speak to the United Nations but you can speak to one person and change the entire trajectory of their life.

One of my favourite portions of scripture in the bible is from Psalms 3:1 ~ 3.

“1. Lord, How are they increased that trouble me! Many are they that rise up against me.  2. Many there be which say of my soul, there is no help for him in God. Selah.  3. But thou O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.”

Dear Heart, The Lord Jesus is your glory and He is the Lifter of your head. So please keep pushing and keep smiling.

Image from thewowstyle.com

 

 

Religion  ~ Take The Mask Off

image from jessicablain.deviantart.com ….

I have heard this topic preached on so many times in the past but as I look back over my Christian walk over many years, I began to realise  some years ago that I substituted a relationship with Jesus Christ for religious activity during periods of my Christian walk. My religious activity covered personal pain and there was no true relationship where I could be totally honest in the place of prayer regarding how I felt about my life and the direction it was taking.

I thought the more religious activity I did the more I was pleasing God. But it was so far from the truth. I decided you know what, I am taking the religious mask off so what was underneath was exposed. 

I said God I am a mess, please come and heal my heart and all the bruising, cuts and infected wounds. It was a long process and I am still on that road. I took the first step and God honoured it. I realised that painful periods of my past had infected my relationship with my Heavenly Father and I needed healing.

A skilled surgeon knows where and how to cut with a scalpel in order to get to the root of a wound. He knows how deep to go and how much to take out. he also know how to stitch up the wound so only a hairline scare would be evident of the wound you once had. Jesus dear one, is the great physician of your soul.

God is faithful as he knows my weakness. He gave and is continuing to give me beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for morning and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.

I shared this to encourage you dear heart to not be afraid to take the mask off. Do not let pride convince you to keep the mask on. Expose what is underneath and let the Lord heal you. Be honest and open before him in the place of prayer. Let your healing begin.

🙏 Lord Jesus I lift up this precious reader to you. As they have read these words touch them in the place of their heart where they need healing. Help them Lord to take the mask off to begin the healing process with you. Wash them with the water of your word in Jesus name. Amen .

My second Blog  ~ Jenny Allen’s Secret Place

I started my second blog a couple of weeks ago. Posting will start on Tuesday 28th July 2015.

For timely devotionals please follow my blog. Www.jennyallensecretplace.wordpress.com  The direct link is in the “about” section of this blog. See above. 

Encourage Yourself

 

photo by sampson-anointed-tech-resources.com

 

1 Samuel 30:6.  “And David encouraged himself in the Lord……..”

There are going to be times in your life when you are going to have to encourage yourself. Life has many valley and mountain experiences.

During a valley experience I encouraged myself by reading through the book of Psalms via a daily devotional app by You Version. I can’t tell you what that daily reading did for me. I would pray and ask God to speak to me through a verse, something I would need for the day and the verse highlighted really ministered to me for that day.

I have found ways to encourage myself daily that work for me, a few of them are:

* I declare encouraging scriptures over myself.

* I thank God and express my gratitude for the the things I have and for the things around me.

* I declare God’s Word into my future regarding the things I would like to see.

David had to encourage himself because his enemies had destroyed the families and property of his army and his army turned against him. I imagined David worshiped, prayed and danced before the Lord. This would have shifted his consciousness from his current surroundings to the fullness of who he was in God. The one who delivered him from the lion and the bear would see him through this situation.

Dear Heart, what situation are you currently going through that you will need to encourage yourself through?  What encouragement strategies are you using? Share them in the comments section below, Take some time today to encourage yourself.

 

 

Serving in your local church

The local Church can be a very hectic place if you serve or volunteer  and for some  it can be like taking on another job. There are so many things to do behind the scene, so when Sunday comes around, it looks flawless.

There is a pressure to do things for God, you are not serving man but you are serving God. I heard that so many times but no one spoke about balance. balancing home, work and church life. many who serve in church have imbalance in there serving and the important areas of their personal life suffers because of the ” vision”.

Please note I am not knocking volunteering in your church because I still volunteer and I think it is important to give back but what I am talking about is getting the balance right and not neglecting your family or yourself.

I know a few people where the pressures became overwhelming and it affected their families and themselves.

Work life balance or church life balance is very very important. God created this world for us to enjoy, see and experience. God is not going to abandon you if you need to rest or take sabbatical. He created and blessed rest  (Gen 2:2-3).

Jesus also rested from his ministry and encouraged his disciplines to do the same (Mark 6:30-32). Many Christians will take the lead on many things Jesus taught but rest appears not to be one of them.

I want to challenge you today to REST and enjoy your life and do not feel guilty for doing so. Develop the art of saying no without feeling guilty.

Here are a few tips that you can use to REST and ENJOY. There are others but these are only suggestions, if you have other things that you would like to do to relax then do that.

1. Visit the theatre and see a play or ballet.

2. Start to pursue your dream, research it.

3. Take a trip to a spa

4. Go on holiday to a place that you have always wanted to visit.

5. Visit museums.

6. Take up a hobby.

7. Read books on topics that you are interested in.

8. Keep in touch with family and friends.

9. See a movie that you have been meaning to see.

Jesus came so that you can have life and have it more abundantly. This is not only spiritual but we are to enjoy this physical world also. There is so much beauty in it. When you are relaxed and recharged then you are better able to serve your local church with a spirit of excellence and excitement.

 

Letting Your Adult Children Go. 

 

Each day I look at my children and observe how they are sorting out their lives to make a positive contribution to society. I think on the fact that it was only the other day I gave birth to them and they are both now in their mid twenties. When I look at them I see them as gifts from heaven, that have been entrusted to me. 

I tell them that I am proud of how they are living their life and that I pray for them each day that they would walk in wisdom and make the right Godly choices that would in turn bless their own children. 

When my children began to reach a certain age I began to release them. The boundaries that I had placed around them from a young age have been gradually removed until there are now no more boundaries. Why? Because as parents we have a responsibility to release our children to live their lives and trust what we have imparted into them will keep them and assist them in making their own decisions. They still come to us for advice on things but once we give that advice we let them know that the decision they take is their responsibility.

Some parents get stuck when it is time to release their children. They make their children dependent on them and use emotional blackmail to keep them bound to them. Parents please note this is not godly and you actually offend God when you do this. God created us with a free will to make choices, so what right do you have to take away that right to choose from you adult children. You are actually crippling them in their heart and emotions. let them go, they are gifts of God to you, now release them back to God through prayer. Let them be whom God created them to be. When you think of your relationships with your parents and if they tried to control you how did it make you feel? I am sure you remember.

Release them, let them enjoy life. let them know you are praying for them on a daily basis. let them know you love them and that you are there if they need to talk or need advice on something. Please do not abuse the parental rights God gave you because if you do you become a stumbling block in your children’s life and the destiny they have in their heart.

I am writing quite strong here because I know of so many people whose perants have not released them to enjoy life and it is painful to see. As the adult child,you are responsible for your life now and you have to take the painful steps to move away and start living your life. Emotional blackmail from your parents will harm you in the long run and may damage your future relationships.

We are by no means perfect parents but we are prayerfully seeking to do the right things for our adult children. parents let your children be whom God has created them to be. Release them into their destiny with love and prayer.

  

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