Heart of Refuge

Unveiling The Hidden Beauty Of Your Heart

Category: God’s Best Kept Secret – Guest Bloggers Page 1 of 2

God’s Best Kept Secret ~ Duana Cooper

Photo courtesy of Duana Cooper

Thanks for having me on your blog. As a young stay at home mother of three beautiful children, I have to make time for everything thing I do especially time for myself. After spending my day catering to my children, I get some “me time” once I put them to bed. During this time, I read my bible, spend quality time with my husband, edit videos, and catch up on shows that I do not watch while my kids are awake. I also have a loving supportive husband that helps with the children when I need a break. He is amazing when it comes to helping around the house. I also get time for myself is when my children are in school. My first two attended a preschool at the age of 2 for two days out the week. Since we are done having children, my youngest son will start once he turns 3. Then, this will give me more time to do things around the house or anything I want to do. I would recommend this for any mother out there with small children. This also helps the child with social development.  My self-esteem has been built over the years because of my family. They let me know how they appreciate what I do for them. My children love to write me notes, give me flowers, or rocks that they find. That alone lets me know that I am doing my part as their mother. My husband lets me know how blessed he is to have me. Hearing that would make any woman feel confident and secure in their marriage. I also like to work out to make sure I look the best that I can. This helps eliminate any stress. It also makes me energized for the rest of the day. Also, making sure that I look presentable helps with my self-esteem. I do not get all dressed up often depending on where I’m going. But, when I do, it makes me feel good about myself. To me, when I look my best, I feel my best and other can tell.

My Christian faith plays a big part in my life. We are members of the Church of Christ. I was raised in the church at a very young age. My mother made it her duty that we went to church every Sunday and Wednesday. Also, if there was a gospel meeting going on, we were there. That is why my love for God is so strong. My husband and I have raised our kids the same way. They never want to miss Sunday school or a chance to go to church. As a family, we are still learning and growing everyday by the grace of God.

Duana’s Bio

My name is Duana. I am 29 years old. I am a wife and mother of three beautiful children, Ia 7, Isaac 5, and Isaiah 2. My husband and I have been married for 9 years. I stay home to take care of my family. However, I just graduated this past May with a Bachelor’s degree in General Sociology. It took me eight years, but I finally finished. We have a YouTube Channel called The Curly Coopers which is about family, fun, and hair.

 

Social Media info

Instagram- @thecurlycoopers

YouTube Channel – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwskTA3Rm_ktVDRxlhLHUgQ

 

 

October DV awareness month ~ Testimony from a Christian Domestic Abuse Survivor

 

October is Domestic Violence awareness month. so this week I will be sharing two stories from Christian women who have lived through this awful experience.

Today’s  blog post is from a Christian woman  I reached out to  and she agreed to write for my blog anonymously. To this special woman, thank you so much and you are truly one God’s best kept secrets!

There Go I…But For the Grace 

“Why don’t you just leave and come with me?” ”You don’t need him, he needs you!” “I don’t understand Cory (renamed), you’re smarter than this.” “You’re a social worker helping women get out the exact type of unhealthy environment that you yourself are in. These are the questions subtly hidden in the form of judgments that I offered a friend Cory during our senior year in college. She had been married for only a year, but I learned later that she had endured such horrible emotional and physical abuse even before she agreed to marry him. I was so disgusted by her choice to remain that I ended our friendship, citing that I could no longer sit idly by and watch her show up to school or lunch pretending not to notice a new puss-filled bruise on her face, neck, ear, eye, or forehead. To me, I was being a hypocrite to the profession of social work as well as to the definition of being a friend.

Fast forward 22 years, I found myself married and in a similar situation. However, unlike Cory, I had no friend standing on the other side of my apartment door, admonishing me to leave. Instead, I had the accusing voice of the enemy, telling me that I am “not smart” and if I shared what was happening to me- not only would I be an embarrassment to the social work profession but an embarrassing blemish to the body of Christ!

‘Your witness about the great and mighty God you serve would be a lie. Who’s going to believe how awesome God is if you are supposed to be the example? Just make it easy for yourself and everyone you care about and keep it to yourself. No one has to know that your husband is abusing alcohol and emotionally and physically abusing you. No need to share that during the first week of your “live together portion” of your marriage he held you down in a violently painful and air-restrictive chokehold. You don’t have to suffer through revealing that you became so desperate to survive that you anchored your teeth into the lower palm of his right hand taking out a small gulf of his flesh.”

The truth is, I felt cornered and trapped inside between the inescapable tight walls of my mind and living quarters that felt like an oversized jail cell. I was 900 miles away from the closest immediate family and I was no place near home. I initially shared my matter with an older, respected motherly-type member of a church I began attending nearby-but I was quickly shunned from discussing the details of my situation. I was given a subtle response that (paraphrased) “It was to be expected early in marriage and that after many years, it would eventually improve.” Truth?… I only knew to pray. When the abuse continued and escalated for 5 more months, I eventually called the former pastor (who married us) to disclose my heartache along with a contemplated plan to leave. Preparing myself to be advised to continue with prayer for strength to endure the worse portion of my marriage vows, I was pleased when my plan to separate and leave was being supported with advisement to take caution with my planning. I was also led in prayer for God’s intervening, guidance, protection and successful completion to my reaching physical safety.

With continued fasting and prayer, my heartache and pain has been replaced with gratitude as well as compassion for my abusive husband (now, thankfully “was-band”). My regret has now been replaced with the Word of Romans 8:28.

 

 

 

 

 

 

God’s Best Kept Secret ~ Lorraine Spence

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Image from Lorraine Spence

I have often heard it said “I am not called to prayer” well I would like to challenge that comment as I don’t know where that comes from or what would make any believer even believe such a ridiculous theory. Well if there is one thing we are ALL called to is PRAY so hopefully by the time you have finished reading this you will realise that we are ALL, including you called to pray.  Real prayer is a 2-way activity, which consist of speaking and listening, not the type where you come to God with your list of I wants, Matthew 6:33 tells us to ‘see you first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added’. Real prayer is, praying the heart & the will of God, Matthew 6:10 ‘Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done’ Luke 22:42 ‘nevertheless not my will but Thine will be done’.

There are approximately 650 prayers in the bible and the actual word pray is mentioned over 300 times (KJV), that’s right, that alone should let you know how important prayer is to every believer and your relationship with the Father. Prayer or praying should be the most natural action every ‘born again’ believer should participate in regardless of their position or title, whether you serve in ministry or not, whether it’s congregational, group or alone, whether it’s in church or out of church – prayer is key.

Did you know that babies say their first words roughly at about 6 months and string together their firs 6 or so words by about 18 months? So I’ll just about give you the first 6 months to find your feet and adjust to the change, but after that you should definitely be speaking to the Father on a daily basis. There is absolutely no excuse not to develop a consistent prayer life as it is an integral part of your development and relationship with God. Imagine for a moment that you have a child which never cries, speaks or interacts with you in any way, what would you do? I know for a fact you would not just sit here and accept it, no you’d probably rush to the doctor’s surgery or to the baby clinic looking for answers, not only that what, what would you say to family and friends? Surely not “my child is not required to react or communicate with me”. This wouldn’t prevent you from loving your child and neither does it prevent God from loving you, but you would long for the interaction, as does God.

The dictionary describes prayer as ‘a solemn request for her or an expression of thanks’ well that is pretty sad because prayer is so much more. Prayer is how we interact with God, how we communicate, how we build our relationship and see Him as our father. Without interaction through prayer a real meaningful relationship cannot be properly cultivated or developed. The bible tells us in Luke 18:1 men ought always to pray, 1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to ‘pray without ceasing, James 5:26 tells us the effectual fervent prayer of the righteous man avails much, in Matthew 6:9 – 23 Jesus instructs the disciples how to pray and again in Luke 11:1 the disciples even though having spent a lot of time with Jesus, were asking Jesus to teach them how to pray. So having read this do you still believe that you are not called to pray?

 

Lorraine’s Bio

Born 2nd of 4 children of Jamaican parentage, I grew up in an area
what was considered quite suburban. I grew up going to the local
Baptist church with my siblings where we were taught all the bible
stories and basic prayer.  I wasn’t taught anything about the gift of
Salvation nor my need for it. I remember about a year or so before I
gave my life to the Lord having a ‘strange’ desire to go to church & I
didn’t know why, nor did I know my life was about to change – forever.

I gave my life to the Lord aged 28, on my 2nd visit to a local
Pentecostal church & have not looked back since. It was at Alpha &
Omega Christian Fellowship where I discovered prayer & naturally
gravitated towards it. I used to listen to the Pastor & the older
church members pray and with all my heart wanted to be able to pray
like them. so I started to attend prayer meetings & arrive at church
extra early, the same time as the ‘Prayer Warriors’ (yeah that’s what
they were called) so I could join in the prayer. I was recommended a
book called The Joy of Prayer by Larry Lea, after reading this book I
was well & truly hooked. My desire is to see all nations come back to God through the power of prayer & intercession.

I currently serve as team leader of an Intercessory prayer team. I
love to train people & help them develop their  God given gifts but
more so help ‘believers’ understand that their natural should be
‘supernatural’ & this is possible through understanding the Word of
God & relationship with God through the Holy Spirit via prayer.

 

God’s Best Kept Secret – Angela Smith

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Courtesy of Angela Smith

Right about now, my heart is saying “Look where God has brought you!” It’s hard to comprehend that I am living a total and completely different lifestyle to that of even just a year ago.  After being married for 31 years, working full time and raising 4 beautiful children, I can say like the old chorus “Through it all, I’ve learned to trust in Jesus, I’ve learned to depend upon his word”.  God has been faithful even when I didn’t feel as though we could make it together as a couple, God held us together, by his chords of love.  There were times when those chords were so stretched that it felt that with the slightest tug, we would have fallen apart – but his favour on our lives said ‘Not so’.  There were times when I would sit in church beside my husband, the tears streaming down my face; people thought I was being touched by the worship.  How wrong they were – I was sitting beside my husband (a wonderful married couple people would say), but I was in pain.  Deep pain, gut wrenching pain, unbearable pain.   We had an argument at home, can’t quite remember what on earth it was about, but we left for church angry bitter and very hurt.  Did I find peace, solace and upliftment there – unfortunately not.   You see you can be in church with the spirit moving and still not feel a thing.  We would do the niceties after service and greet people with a smile, but still be in our hurt & pain.  The journey home would be in silence only to continue where we left off, raised voices, high volume discussions, and me in tears with frustration.  We were getting nowhere, I couldn’t understand him and he as far as I was concerned he didn’t even try to understand me.

We needed help, major help – not just “I’ve got you in my prayers” help, but practical help. God met that need through a devout woman of God who mentored me and in turn ‘us’.  Our lives are so much more fulfilled now, yes there are challenges, but God has made our journey together a more happier and joyous one.

 

Courtesy of Angela Smith

 

Angela’s Biography

I was born in the early 60s, one of seven children and have known God for the majority of my life. My early days of church were of accompanying my mother to services, crusades etc.  I loved being by my mothers’ side and sitting with her in church, taking in the blessings of the word of God.  My closest sister and I heard about the inception of a community gospel choir and thought it would be a great thing to be involved with.  The choir days were so rewarding, we ministered to diverse congregations and sang at various concerts.  We travelled widely and saw many sights.  It was at one choir rehearsal that a handsome young man approached my sister and I and said “don’t just stand there staring, come and say hello”.  This gorgeous man was God’s blessing to me and later become my husband and soulmate.  It wasn’t love at first sight, but we soon realised that we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together.  Obviously in the early days we had no clue as to what that would mean but we felt that we couldn’t face a future without each other.  He was the man of my dreams – loved God, serious about his faith, strong, determined, hard worker with great potential to be my Boaz.  We sought God earnestly to get our own answers as whether it was his will for us to be married.  God did answer and it is this sanction from God that has kept us focussed all these years.  Learning to love, when he was unloveable, learning to trust and believe even when the energy wasn’t there to draw on.  People were saying we wouldn’t last and unfortunately there were times when I started to believe them.  But the scripture says ‘who’s report do you believe?’  I chose to believe the report of the Lord; and now some 31 years down the line, we are still in love, still in God and have been blessed with four beautiful children.

© Angela Smith.  Jenny Allen & Heart of Refuge  2011 – 2016. Unauthorised use and /or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and owner is strictly prohibited.

God’s Best Kept Secret ~ Being a Military Wife by Maxine Reyes


The difference between a non-military wife and a military wife is the challenges that we face when it comes to separation from our husbands, knowing that separation is inevitable. Being a dual military wife is even more challenging because we get to experience deployments multiplied by two.  Deployments take a toll on most marriages of military couples.  Deployment separation has been a key contributor or the cause of many divorces.  Ken and I have experienced hardships that challenged our relationship, but we never consider allowing those challenges to overpower our love for each other.  We have been huge supporters of each other’s careers and personal goals and we refused to let the forces of the world stop us from having the best marriage that we know we can have with God leading us.

Placing trust in God and knowing that we must keep Him at the forefront of our marriage at all times, has allowed us to face our challenges with the utmost boldness. Ken and I are definitely each other’s soul mates.  We feel one another’s pain and happiness and always find ways to make each other feel special and uplifted during unhappy times.  Our Happily Joint movement blog has allowed us to display our determination to love and care for each other for the rest of our lives while living a joyful and sacred Christian life.  Couples who know us usually compliment us and ask us our recipe to happiness.  We have written a book to share experience with others.  There is no trick to a happy marriage, but we will definitely share what works for us.  We teach resiliency in relationships to couples in order for them to have the ability to withstand the challenges of marriage and find ways to recover from difficult times.

After 19 years, we are at a beautiful point of our marriage where we know more about what makes us happy and sad. We know our priorities and are absolutely supportive of our careers and personal goals.  Ken is the most wonderful person I know and I am so grateful for his love and his adoration.  I am most grateful for the father that he is to our adorable daughter.  He is such a gentleman and I can speak all day about him in a positive way.

Success for me is persevering through my lifelong goals. We have always kept God at the forefront of our life.  Being an empowered career woman while being a wife can be challenging.  Women get treated sometimes tougher than our male counter parts so we have to work twice as hard.  I am blessed to have a husband like mine who encourages me to be a strong woman.  He empowers me to pursue my dreams and he makes me feel confident in being his wife.  My husband makes it so much easier for me to pursue my passion.  I am grateful for our relationship with Jesus, which has allowed me to be a successful mother and wife.   Our faith has taken us a long way and we look forward to growing old together.

 

 

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courtesy of Maxine Reyes

MAXINE REYES – Bio

Maxine Reyes is a burgeoning singer/songwriter/speaker whose vocal talent have embellished countless of people around the world.

Born in Kingston and raised in Manchester, Jamaica, her family sang in the community church where she was encouraged to share her special talent. With her rich and earthly Jamaican accent seasoned with grounded grace, you can see right away when she shares her infectious smile that you have just met a new friend.

These endearing qualities also helped Maxine, when she moved to Pembroke Pines, Florida as a teenager – where she began participating in local talent vocal competitions and winning on numerous occasions. It was at that point that she gained the confidence as a vocalist that allowed both her inner and outer beauty to transcend.

Voted Most Talented” of her graduating class at Miramar High School, FL. Maxine desired to pursue singing, but also having a strong sense of reality and being very mindful that is was also more important to be a positive representation of her native Jamaica, Maxine decided at that point of her life that it was much more important to secure her advance educational goals. She also felt like she had a higher calling to serve in the United States Military.

After graduating from High School, Maxine joined the United States Air Force which afforded her advanced education. However, this vibrant and energetic artist still kept her passion to share her gift of song by volunteering to sing at numerous nationally supported Military related events.

Maxine continued to not only sing whenever she can, but she also elevated her service to the Country by proudly becoming a Commissioned Officer in the United States Army and earned her Master of Arts in Management and Leadership. She is currently the Company Commander of the United States Army Recruiting Company in Orlando, FL. It is this same presentation of excellence that makes her performances a breath of fresh air to all. Maxine founded Happily Joint, Inc along with her husband. Happily Joint is an organization that helps couples deal with challenges in their relationships while living their best life with each other. Maxine and Ken know too well the challenges of keeping a relationship together as they met when they were teenagers and have been married for 18 years, both being under the age of 40. With multiple military separations some up to 15 months, the couple kept their marriage in tack and uphold an image that is admired by many. They have vowed to help others who deal with similar challenges as they have by hosting seminars and speaking to audiences interested in Maxine and Ken’s story. They are in the process of writing their first book together “The Happily Joint Guide.”

 

Additional Activities and Musical Performances:

  • Performed at sports games and ceremonies filed with dignitaries on multiple occasions when she sang the National Anthem at Orlando City Soccer, Independence Day Celebration, NBA game San Antonio Spurs vs Charlotte Bobcats at the Time Warner Arena, Ambassador of Qatar and government officials of Qatar, Fort Lauderdale Air and Sea Show, Toyota Indy 300, Miami Grand Prix and Marlins Opening ceremony.
  • She has performed for the President of the United States of America at the Miami Arena.
  • Maxine is loved by many and her broad appeal has won ardent supporters wherever she has performed. She returned home in April of 2014 after a year of serving in Operation Enduring Freedom in Qatar and Afghanistan where she entertained Coalition forces in the area where she was based.
  • Her versatility and diverse background makes her the perfect ambassador for her nation. Maxine’s style can be described as “Reggae Soul” blending sultry inspiring Inspirational love R&B/Jazz grooves with Reggae.
  • Her Patriotic song “I’ve Got You/Military Wife” which she penned after her husband’s First Sergeant was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2012 tugs at the heart and displays her writing skills and soulful vocal style. The song is perfect for any function honouring veterans, their spouses and the memories of the lives lost in the fight against terror.
  • Besides work, she is active in her community volunteering for different causes at every moment that she can. She is currently working on creating a non-profit organization, which offers mentoring and educational opportunities for the young girls. She actively supports her primary school back in Jamaica with her very own Maxine Reyes/Doctor Bird Award Program since 2000. It is a program that encourages students to work hard in school and reach for the stars in everything that they do. It fosters education, positive attitudes and selflessness. Her passion for people and her family is commendable and is noticed by the way she cares for her Soldiers and their families.

 

Social Media and contact Information

Happily Joint
Www.HappilyJoint.com
IG,FB,Twitter,Pinterest @HappilyJ

God’s Best Kept Secret ~ Dahna Fearon

Finding Me Now 

The last three years have been life changing for me; I made the decision to obey God’s call to go on a journey that I could never have imagined would bring me to where I am right now. I am sure for those of you who are reading this right now, you have been through transition. You see transition is the psychological shift from one paradigm to the next. The physical manifestation of this is change- I liken my experience to that of the eagle. Around the age of thirty years old, the eagle starts to get tired, their wings become worn out, and its beak and talons become old. So in this place of frustration and being worn out, the eagle has to make a decision, it can either continue this way and die or go to the top of the mountain and experience the painful process of metamorphosis- where it rips out its talons and wait for it to grow back then it rips out the feathers from its wings and wait for it to grow back, then they beat their beak against the rock until it falls off and waits for it to grow back. After this process, the Eagle then gets a further forty years of life added to its existing life.

I see so many similarities in my own life like the eagle- because I got to a point where nothing was no longer working for me- the money stopped working, I was unemployed, I could barely keep up with my bills; and whilst all of this was happening, I was a minister preaching and teaching Sunday School. No one could tell the pain I was in because I hid behind my makeup and sophisticated outfits, you would have never known that I could barely afford to keep the electric or the gas on or the fact that I was suffering with depression, I would literally be in my house for days without opening up the curtains but by Sunday I would be back on the front row smiling as if nothing was wrong but deep down inside I was screaming “Help”.

But something happened in the midst of this hardship, purpose and destiny woke me up, it was the tragic death of my uncle in Florida that started this life changing journey. It was when I went for my uncle’s funeral in February to March 2014, where God filled me and ignited me with the passion to move to London. I did not know how I was going to make it but less than one year later; I took the leap of faith with one suitcase, my laptop, my handbag and £9 to my name. It was in this season that I surrendered to God and became vulnerable- I slept on my friend’s sofa for seven months, all I had was a dream, no money, no job, but I held on to the reason why I had to move- the purpose behind moving from my place of obscurity to my place of purpose and destiny. Brene Brown says that it is at the place of vulnerability where you experience innovation, creativity and change- it was in those seven months where I experienced a new burst of creativity, I started getting new ideas and I could see the change .I discovered my passion for writing. It was in those seven months where the book, I had started in Nottingham is now completed and will be published at some point this year. I started to master my craft. Just over one year later, I am seeing doors open. I am no longer the little girl who once looked in the mirror and would say daily “I hate you”. I am no longer that weak, timid little girl who allowed people to abuse or walk all over her. In this journey of my metamorphosis, I realised that God had to allow these things to happen in order for me to un-become everything that I was so that I could become everything who God had created me to be. It is only now that I can say I am Finding Me Now.

  
Dahna Fearon is the founder of the movement Release Me. After graduating with a Law with Psychology degree, she had a sense of a deeper purpose for her life. After one year of consistently being rejected by law firms, she decided to take rejection as direction and instead took a purpose driven journey with the Lord to discover herself. She encountered a long period of unemployment and it was at this point where she began to search within herself and started tapping into a creativity that was unknown to her.

It is during this time of extreme hardship and great loss where the project RELEASE ME was given to her by God whilst she was attending a work related training course. RELEASE ME was launched in October 2015. The aim of Release Me is to educate, empower and establish young men and women to walk in their purpose and destiny; she does this through her Release Me seminars and workshops, social media and through her blogs.

She is a passionate believer in the Lord and is excited about her relationship with the Lord and living her life on purpose. Dahna has accepted the mandate and mission to empower others to walk in their God given purpose and embrace their identity in Christ the way she did. Her life’s purpose is to educate, empower and establish individuals through speaking, writing and singing.

God’s Best Kept Secret ~ Zenice Harasymchuk

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Image courtesy of Zenice Harasymchuk

One in three women are victims of domestic violence worldwide. That is too many women in my opinion. Hi, my name is Zenice and I am a 48 year old survivor, mother and disciple of Jesus Christ. My life has not been easy, it has been a series of one type of abuse after another but about eight years ago I began a journey with Jesus that has transformed my life.

Transparency and vulnerability in the church is important to me. Many churches don’t talk about domestic violence. My question to those churches is why? It’s a topic that many would like to sweep under the rug as though it were not a huge and growing problem. Think about this: there are upwards of 20 people per minute who are suffering from physical violence by an intimate partner, and that is just in the United States! That is just one type of abuse! So in the last hour, 1200 people were physically abused by their intimate partner. That’s too many.

There are so many types of abuse: child abuse, physical, emotional, mental, financial and sexual abuse, elder abuse, human trafficking and bullying. This is out of control. The church is silent on most of these things although human trafficking is growing in awareness. I cannot sit in my church any longer and be silent. I know that God has called me to help those who are broken and abused. My role is to walk alongside and point them to Jesus who is the Healer. My passions are Jesus, prayer, revival, awakening and helping women. How do these things come together? By being the church to this lost and dying world. Being a voice to bring awareness to the Body of Christ to no longer turn a blind eye to those who are being abused in their midst.

I have a dream of seeing women who have survived abusive situations to rise up and share their stories and come alongside the women who are in abusive relationships now or trying to get out. I believe that Jesus heals us from all of the effects that abuse can leave as long lasting scars on our lives whether it be depression, PTSD, suicidal thoughts, anxiety or isolation and fear. Jesus alone is our healer. On January 11, 2009 Jesus healed me and the healing was instantaneous but I had to learn how to walk out my healing. I had to learn how to live a life that didn’t include pain, fear, depression and suicidal thoughts. This journey has taken me seven years but today I am an on fire disciple of Jesus dedicated to seeing women set free from bondage to the effects of abuse.

I am at the beginning stages of starting a ministry in my region that is what I believe to be different than what is available now. My desire is to begin with a support group that will really be more than a support group. I’ve been in support groups before and I only see that people talk about their issues and nothing changes. I believe the missing element is Jesus. I believe there needs to be prayer and worship along with education and support. I pray that this will not just be for my region but that others will take this to their regions as well. One in three women worldwide are victims of domestic violence. How many will the church reach? Let’s get started now.

The link below shares Zenice’s social media and contact information.

http://en.gravatar.com/losing4christ

God’s Best Kept Secret introducing Dr Lanette Kincaid

image courtesy of Dr Lanatte Kincaid 

Beaten before I was beaten

Hello My name is LaNette Kincaid and I’m the founder of Women With Gifts and I’m the VOICE for both sexual abuse and domestic violence. God gave me the vision of creating a platform to speak openly about my past but I ran from this vision for along time because the pain was so deep and to help others meant telling my story and this time telling it without shame.

My story isnt really different from any other women in the world. The only difference from my story and the next person is I’m telling my story and most women will die trying to hide their story of abuse. Before I was ever physically abused I abused myself mentally. I was molested at the age of 12 and raped by the age of 19 which you can read about in detail in my upcoming book.

I named this article Beaten Before I Was Beaten because I beat myself up mentally well before my physical and sexual abuse experiences started. As a child I saw my mother beaten by the man that was supposed to love her. It didnt stop there….I saw two of my aunts with bruises and sometimes broken bones from their spouses. After seeing so much domestic violence at such a early age, I equated being loved with being beaten by the person  who loved you. So mentally I was prepared for being BEAT because in my mind I was already beaten down and probably already gripped with low self-esteem.

I stayed in my situation of being abuse because I didn’t know any better. Its a known fact that when you know better you do better. I also stayed in my situation because it was my way of creating the greatest façade known to man.. It was my way of painting a white fence for a house that was run down and delapatated. So basically I stayed in my abusive relationships for those who were watching. For the people that didn’t care about me or my well-being but pretended to just to see the outcome of my downfalls…Yes I stayed for them. I was too ashamed to be that family member who just couldn’t get their life right-AGAIN. Even after I was beat up physically I beat myself again mentally not trying to leave but beating myself up trying to figure out how to make myself stay comfortably and make the other people around me happy.

I’m now the voice of domestic violence and sexual abuse because no little girl ever deserves to live in fear the way I did. Every women is beautiful and doesn’t need the accent of a black eye or bruises to intensify their beauty. No women should every die by the hands of a fists.

In closing I would like to thank Heart of Refuge for accepting me as a person and sharing my story. It is my prayer that my story and my book will save another life.

Image courtesy of Dr Lanatte Kincaid

LaNette Kincaid is a marine wife and mother of two. LaNette is the Chief Executive Officer to Just Pearlz, a fashion and jewelry company and of Vendor’s Preferred, a business consultant company. LaNette founded both Vendors Preferred and Just Pearlz shortly after graduating from Texas Wesleyan University and receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology with emphasis Criminal Justice.  she is also founder of WomenWithGifts.com

 

In addition to being an entrepreneur and a volunteer, LaNette is an author, radio personality, motivational speaker, business and fashion expert. Currently LaNette contributes to several fashion and business publications .

LaNette is a strong advocate of religion, high education and family and has been recognized for the following skills: Public speaking, writing, business planning, business management, creativity, event planning, social media, sales and marketing.

LaNette Kincaid recently received the  “Pearl” award from Perfected Magazine and was noted as the best blogger of the year by Examiner.com (2012)

God’s Best Kept Secret!

  

There are so many people who have gifts and talents that lay dormant in there spirit. Gifts and talents that the world is waiting to be blessed by. That’s why I called my guest blogging feature “God’s Best Kept Secret”  (click onto the page God’s best kept secret, at the top of my blog for more information)

These people go to work, look after their families, go to school and basically live their lives. But there is a creative part in them, that is a true expression of whose God created them to be. Be it singing, writing, painting, sewing whatever, that creativity needs to be shared with the world

What is your gift? What is that creative part of you? Are you hiding it because of fear of what people will say? Are you worried that if you share it people may not like it and reject you? Listen if people reject your gift they are rejecting the person who gave you that gift.

Do not be afraid to shine in your sphere of influence. Matthew 5:15 ~ 16 says

” Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candle stick; and it giveth  light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your father which is in heaven.”

Are you hiding your light in a secret place? Is it just you enjoying your gift? Remember your gift is to bring light to others so it can iluminate the dark areas of their lives. Jesus came and shared His light so we can have abundant life and light and He expects us to do the same.

So dear heart dust off your candle stick and prepare to shine because you are one of God’s best kept secret.

 

God’s Best Kept Secret Series introducing Beatrice Byemanzi

 At His Feet By Beatrice Byemanzi

“I am a wife and mom”. I am a lawyer” I am a writer”…The words we use to describe ourselves are usually about the role we play in society, not really about ourselves: Us. WHO WE ARE, beyond the roles and responsibilities…

You see, little girls are taught to nurture from the day they can hold a doll. We play mommy, and somehow before we know it, our value is pegged to what we can do for others.

We are celebrated for our upright behavior, good grades, acceptable manners…the things we do.

These are great things to celebrate. But if our identity is attached mostly to what we can do, then we are in trouble, because the things we can do are both temporary and limited.

Unfortunately, we carry this attitude into our relationship with our Father – God. We start to measure ourselves by what we can do FOR Him; how many religious meetings we attend, how much scripture we can quote, as opposed to what He has done for us.

I truly believe that the most important role of a child of God is to receive His love.

We are not able to give what we have not received. If we want to be givers of LOVE, we must receive love from Love Himself constantly. And that requires a complete change of mentality.

One of my favorite scriptures about what God really values in our relationship with Him is the story in Luke 10:38-41 about Mary, Martha and Jesus.

Martha and Mary are sisters, and are friends of Jesus. Martha invites Jesus over to her home, and she lives with her sister Mary. When Jesus gets there, Mary sits at His feet to hear His words, and Martha, according to the Bible is “distracted with much serving”.

Martha asks Jesus “…do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.”

Jesus’ answer in verse 41 is “And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. 42 But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

That’s it. Never replace relationship with service

God calls us first to have a relationship with Him. That’s the one thing that cannot be taken away from us. And He says it is the one thing that is needed.

He also refers to our need to serve as a distraction. Serving God is great, and we should do it. But it should never become the definition of our relationship with Him. Service should be a result of relationship with the Father.

The world (and the church at times) will celebrate our service to God more than our relationship with Him, but we must remember that Jesus said “one thing is needed”- relationship. That is the fuel for service.

God is interested in you. Not what you can give Him.

Our labor for God can be taken away. But our relationship cannot. However if all we know is service, once it goes, we are left bitter, empty and alone.

Choose that good part that will NOT be taken away from you.

How do you define yourself; is it first as a child of God or a servant of God?

What if everything you do for God was taken away? Would you still be ok? What truly defines you?

You are an heir. A daughter of the King. Don’t compete to be named a servant.

 

Beatrice has been married for 7 years,  she has two girls, ages five and two. She pastors with her husband at one of the locations within Worship Harvest Ministries in Uganda. Her passion is adding value to people, mostly through communication: speaking and writing.

You can follow her on:

Facebook Page – Beatrice Byemanzi – Bee3

Twitter – @Bee3Byemanzi

Blog – bee3blog.wordpress.com

 

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