Heart of Refuge

Unveiling The Hidden Beauty Of Your Heart

Category: Parents

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

 

 

From the Heart of a Man – Ashley Taylor

Living every day, looking into a mirror” 

It took me a while to sit down and write this blog, I guess because the topic is quite personal and sensitive. If there are two things in my life that I treasure above all, it’s my relationship with God and the relationship with my wife.

When I got married, or rather when I got engaged I was only 20 years old. I took the time to make sure my proposal was amazing for my bride to be (which it was – if you don’t believe me ask her! LOL). I married at 21 and so this new life began with a young lady who I have the responsibility of loving and taking care of. My marriage didn’t start in the clouds of love, floating away into the sunset, but it started in reality. No money, living in one bedroom within a Brixton South London crack-house, and I now have to learn how to be a husband in the worst conditions. Although my wife and I were committed to each other to be together no doubt, the truth is we had to learn how to love each other.

Does that sound backwards? Well, maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t – but that was our reality. Having the questions going back and forth in both our minds – Did I make the right decision? Was I too young? Did I hear God right or wrong about this person? As I write this blog, my marriage has survived good days, bad days, arguments, laughs, a pregnancy, a miscarriage, a miracle baby, counselling, bank overdrafts, poor financial decisions, homelessness, miracle money, depression, new cities, redundancy, new homes, new jobs – but most of all, new love. You see, I had to grow up a whole lot to become a real man.

Almost being married for 6 years now, I can say that it was my relationship with God that changed my marriage. I had to force myself to ask myself the question, “Do I love her like Christ loves me?” This means, do I love her faults, forgive, cover her, and be there for her like Christ does the same for me? This question changed my perspective forever when it came to my marriage. I realised I had no right to be mean, cold, selfish and distant – because I treat Christ so awful many times, but guess what He still loves me! Wow, that’s amazing. It was when I got a revelation of the love of Jesus Christ, I was able to love my wife in a brand new way.

Though we still have many years ahead of us, I know without a doubt that we are in our best years now. I challenge any young man out there, if you want to get married, get ready to live everyday looking in a mirror. When you see your lady, get ready to see yourself: flawed & imperfect – but just like Jesus you have to pour out love and care.

 

Ashley Taylor – BIO

Ashley Taylor, 26, a dreamer & visionary favoured by God, currently resides in Nottingham, England with his wife Sabrina and son, River. Having been in Christian ministry since he was 8 years old, yet not one to be in the spotlight of church circuits and circles, Ashley recognises that God has kept him hidden. He understands that He has been called to be a major influence cross-denominationally within Christian and church environments, and is therefore ever heeding to the instruction of God found in Psalm 2:8, “Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession.” Ashley is an active member in ministry at Heart Church – based in Nottingham, under the leadership & covering of his spiritual father, Pastor Malcolm Baxter.

 

From The Heart of a Man – Micheal Smith

A Man of Faith by Micheal Smith

Courtesy of Micheal Smith MBE

Whatever we as men do in our lives, we have an underlying desire to be great in the eyes of our family. We strive to prove that we are the provider, defender and ruler of the home. The truth is we are overshadowed by our spouse who really runs the home, builds bridges between us and our children and generally keeps the home in order. For some men this can be uncomfortable because we feel out of control, even to a point that the home feels like a bucket with many holes and we struggle to keep everything and everyone together in that bucket. A good man soon learns to operate in the areas of the home that is his domain and allows his spouse and children to operate freely in theirs. No matter what we do, at the end of the day it always comes down to family and the value we place on it.

 

There are many things that drive men to become successful. The one thing that has driven me to do my best is my desire to please my God. I am a firm believer that if we serve God with all our heart and all our energy, he will take care of everything in our lives. I have learned to trust God totally to be my guide, my provider and a very present help in times of difficulty. If we want to really please God, we must first believe that he is God and allow him to be in total control of the steering wheel, the accelerator and the brake of our life vehicle.

That vehicle becomes ‘the desire of our heart’ and we need to get to the point where we recognise that it is God’s calling on our life and we have the choice to accept it or decline that calling. An important saying to remember is this, “A winner never quits and a quitter never wins” we must keep pressing forward. A book by John Maxwell called ‘Failing Forward’ (ISBN: 8601300489926), taught me that failing your way to success is commonplace with most, if not all of the most successful people in the world. Another important secret of success is “Never, Never, Never quit!”

 

Micheal’s Bio
Born and bred in Britain and son of Jamaican parents, Michael had a thirst for excitement in life and as such pursued a path that has led to his current position, as a committed Christian, husband and father.

As a young man Michael was destined for leadership and at age 15 he joined the Air Training Corps where he got a marksmanship in shooting before even getting his uniform and went on to becoming a Sargent. He wanted to be a fighter pilot and went on to gain a Glider Pilots Licence and also flew single-engined light aircraft. After deciding not to join the Royal Air Force as it may have involved taking the life of another, he decided to join the Police, where a major change was needed to improve the poor relationship between black people and the police.

He served as Police Officer for over 22 years, during which time he developed a desire to positively address knife and gun crime amongst young people. In 2007 he founded the charitable organisation Word 4 Weapons, the UK’s first weapons surrender and exchange programme. To date they have removed over 20,000 weapons from UK’s streets. Michael pursued this venture alongside his full-time job and in 2015 took early retirement to spend more time developing Word 4 Weapons. In March 2016 Michael was awarded a MBE by The Queen for his dedication to making the UK a safer place be. In addition, Michael and his wife Angela have now started a new venture offering respite care for Church Leaders and a service to couples experiencing difficulties in their marriage.

The Generational Gap

image from www.pokeyournose.com

The other day I was sharing with someone about the generational gap. Our young people are experiencing things that we never experienced or had to go through. They are exposed to a lot more sex, drugs and so many other things that use to be in the closet but are now the norm and open.

My own children come and ask questions or want to discuss topics  that to be honest at times make me cringe but I have to listen and discuss it with them. I have heard many young people say that their parents don’t understand or there is no way I can discuss this with my parents.

Listen, our world is changing at a rapid rate technology is changing every few weeks and we have to prayerfully rely on the Holy Spirit whilst we have conversations with our children and young people. Some churches have not developed to the point where there can be open dialogue and as a result the church is losing young people. The millennials are turning to other gods and religions.

As adults we can prayerfully discuss topics with our young people in a way that they know we are hearing them and that they are being understood. We cannot afford to let ourselves become obsolete. Technology is shrinking our world rapidly and the iPhone, iPad etc is normal everyday equipment to them. When I was growing up there was no internet, no email, no computer games, no nothing.  All we had was the park, our bikes and a skipping rope. ( If you can relate to that please “like” this post so I know I am not on my own).

Please don’t get me wrong we are not lowering ours standards or anything like that, but we have to talk, try to understand and give a listening ear to our young people. I can appreciate that as an adult you may never have had anyone listen to you and you were not given the chance to express yourself, but you now have the chance to prayerfully extend to someone what you never received. God can help you. Read books, investigate how you can be a listening parent there is a lot of material out there to help you.

Young adult, take your time with your parents. One thing you must do is respect them despite whatever shortfall they may have. Being a parent is the hardest job on the planet, it’s no joke. You will see when you have your own children.

Let us close the generation gap with love, prayer, understanding and a listening ear.

Your In-Laws Need Boundaries


I was ministering somewhere a few days ago and the issue of interfering inlaws came up. It is really really important that we know and understand that they cannot dictate the relationships their children have with their spouses.

Those of you that are thinking of getting married please begin to discuss it and put boundaries in place, especially if you feel your partner is a mama’s boy or daddy’s girl, because if you do not your inlaws may start to interfere (if they are not doing so already) and poison your relationship.

The control is ungodly. Sir, stand up and protect your wife to be/ girlfriend from your mothers’ onslaught. You can see what your mother is doing is not right but you will not defend the woman you call special. Young lady if he cannot defend you in front of his mother, will he defend you at all and is this the start of things to come when you both get married?

The bible clearly states in Gensis 2:24 “Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother and shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh.” 

Why is it significant that the man clearly leaves, even though the woman must leave also? The man is the foundation of his family. He is the main cornerstone that his wife and children will come to and if the man is too caught up with his mother then his family malfunctions and the foundation is shaken. You are not only to leave physically, but also emotionally and spiritually and you must start to cleave. Pray about this and ask God for wisdom on how to create parental boundaries. It may be difficult but it can be done.

Gentleman when you ask a woman to marry you do you actually know what you are asking? Do you know and understand your God given responsibilities? Your God given responsibilities towards your wife does not involve your mother. Yes the bible says that we are to honour our mother and father, that is very important but it does not say honour them at the expense of your wife. Remember God takes the position of a wife  very seriously. He compares marriage with Christ loving his church, the bride. Christ loved the church and gave himself for it. Jesus did not allow Mary his mother, to interfere with his relationship with his bride and what he was assigned to do for his bride.

Ladies in your rush to be married please make a careful note of the relationship your husband to be has with his mother. If there are clear boundaries in place then it’s good, but if not and she feels it is ok to dictate to her son and place ungodly influence over his choices then watch out. If you are having red flags or the Holy Sprit is nudging you about something then step back, pray for direction and ask questions.

If you remain silent then you will not have a happy home and instead of having a 3 fold cord ( you, your husband and the Holy Spirit) that is not easily broken, you will have a 4 fold cord that will break any minute now.

The damage done by interfering inlaws is not spoken about much in church but I want to encourage you to be prayerful and watchful in this area. Let the Holy Spirit be your teacher and do not enter a marriage with someone because you are desperate to be married.  Marriage is not the wedding day, marriage is the beginning of the rest of your life. Cleaving is a life long journey which must be protected.

I heard of a woman, who happens to be in church leadership, who tried to hinder the marriage of her son to a beautiful christian young woman, because she was worried about who was going to look after her and keep her company. When I heard that story I felt sorry for her other adult unmarried children. It is so selfish and manipulative on her part.

Naomi in the book of Ruth was a beautiful mother in law who respected her daughters in law, so much so that they did not want to leave her. There are mothers in law that have a beautiful spirit and if they see anything go wrong in the lives of their children’s marriage, they will take the time out to pray. They honour the spouse their children has selected. I honour such inlaws. If you have inlaws like this treasure them, love them and appreciate them.

What I have stated works both ways. There are some women who cling to their parents and will not allow their husband to lead. Leave and cleave to your husband, do not be a stumbling block.

Dear heart, what does God say about marriage? If your inlaws are disrespecting what God says about your own marriage, then you need to take steps to do something about it. I appreciate that some cultures place a high value on in-laws and their input in their children’s marriage. Their input has proven to be detrimental in many cases. Your spouse is not a tool for your in-laws to abuse as they please. Please stand up for your spouse because the two of you have become one. You do not become one with your parents.

Please share your feelings about this in the comments section.

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