Unveiling The Hidden Beauty Of Your Heart

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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

 

 

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.

The One who lifts My Head

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Image from www.freedigitalphotos.net

 

But you, O Lord, are a shield for me, my glory, and the lifter of my head ~ Psalms 3:3 (Amplified Bible)

I remember during a certain period of my life that the only glory I had was that of the Lord. I fasted until I could fast no more, I prayed and prayed and prayed until I felt I could pray no more. But you know in the midst of the intense onslaught of the enemy the Lord showed me and covered me with his glory. His glory brought an unusual peace, it became my shield, defence and shelter.

During times of pain and hopelessness the Lord was my glory! When I cried and could not see my way out the Lord was my glory! When I felt like giving up the Lord was my glory!

He was and still is the shield and protector of my heart. Sometimes I don’t know what to say in prayer and all I can do is thank him from my heart,  my heart that he covers with his love.

I would like to encourage you dear heart, that Jesus wants to be your glory and strength. You will daily face challenges but be assured that daily he will lift your head.

Be Blessed!

 

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

Others see what you don’t see

At times having to take a good look at ourselves can be a painful process but it can also be rewarding.

The Johori window is a tool which is used to understand how the world sees us. There are things about our personality that we do not see but others can see. We all have blind spots in our personalities.

How do we respond when those close to us speak the truth to us in Love. Do we go into denial or do we become offended? For a moment step back and just think about what someone has said. Have you heard the same comment said about you before. Is there a pattern that keeps being repeated?

I experienced this several times and I decided not to become offended but took a step back and said are these people seeing something about me that I am not seeing?  I decided to pray about it and make changes. In the end it all worked out for my good.

If you have heard the same comment repeated to you about areas of your personality don’t become offended step back, think and pray about it and make the nessary changes. In the end it will work out for your good.

How to Forgive Yourself ~ Letting Go of the Past Part 2 

Letting Go of your Past is a key step to walking in self forgiveness. Here are a few key points to consider if you are struggling in this area.

  1. Realise that you are not  perfect.
  2. Do not dwell on past mistakes. The key word here is dwell because dwelling on the past strips you from living in the present. Your life becomes stagnant.
  3. Plan for a bright future today by not being stiffed by the past.
  4. Investigate your past choices. What emotional triggers do you have? Investigate how your emotions during the event that led up to the incident that caused you to not be able to forgive yourself. What were your feelings?

It is important to realise  that forgiving yourself is crucial to enjoying a bright future. The chain of guilt shame and embarrassment can weight heavy on your spirit and emotions. You deserve better and you deserve to be free of this weight. Do not let anyone keep you bound to your past because you do deserve to experience freedom and liberty in Jesus.

Take a moment to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to help you forgive yourself.

 

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

 

Would Jesus prefer hooped earrings or studs?

I was reading my Joyce Meyer bible devotional the other morning and she was talking about how use to be judgemental about how people use to dress to go to church. Then the Holy Spirit began to challenge her about the way she use to dress to minister, she was actually considering wether she should wear denim. Joyce could not make up her mind so her son said to her “Do you think God is worried about polyester or denim?”

It reminded me of an incident I witnessed once when I went to church and a young woman was wearing hooped earrings and she asked to remove the earrings. “Do you think Jesus prefers hoop earrings or studs? Skirts or trousers?”

I know some of you may be thinking that the type of trousers or skirts or whatever should not be worn because it maybe to tight or to short. I totally understand that when standing to minister that our apparel should not be distracting to the word preached. I totally understand that, but my concern is focus on the outer garment and not the garments of our heart.

I have also seen people dressed with the “appropriate” church attire and their attitude is questionable and Inhave seen people come to church in attire not considered acceptable by the church but their attitude is reflective of love, joy and peace.

Many of the lessons I have learnt  or from people who would be rejected by the church because of their clothing. Our rejection does not mean Jesus’ rejection. he died for them, he had his hands paired for them and Jesus is forever mindful of them.

So what do you think Jesus would prefer hooped earrings or studs?

What ever you do…….Keep walking

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I remember a few years ago I did a sponsored 8 mile walk to raise money for Haiti that had been hit by a devastating hurricane. Around the seven mile mark I wanted to stop because my feet hurt and I was tired. My friend who was walking with me said “whatever you do just keep walking, we do not have far to go.” The reward at the end was worth the pain my feet were experiencing at that moment.

What goal or vision do you currently have that makes you feel like giving up? Please don’t,  just keep walking towards you goal. Push through the pain and keep moving. The tears and heartache you are experiencing now will be worth it in the end.

What would have happened if Oprah gave up when she was told that she is not television material ?  That statement must have hurt her but she just kept walking and looked what she walked into. The same goes for Steve Jobs the founder of Apple, Bill Gates the founder of Microsoft and Richard Branson the founder of Virgin. They were all told they could not do what they eventually did.

Don’t Listen to any negatives, block them out.  You are in great company so just keep walking!

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A legacy of Faith

As we have now entered a new year I have been looking back and pondering on the living legacy I have left behind. What have I done that has made a lasting positive impact on those around me? What living legacy of my faith is encouraging others for good.

In 2 Timothy 1:5, Paul describes the legacy of Timothy’s faith that first dwelt in his grandmother Lois and then his mother Eunice. This is a generational blessing of Faith which Timothy as a young minister could draw on for his own ministry and life.

What generational blessing can we draw on for our own life and what are we passing on to our children and our children’s children. What are they seeing in us? If you have no children then what are people around you seeing in you by way of a positive influence.

Our lives are never about us but it is about giving. We breath in and out. What we breath in we may not always breath out. We breath in Oxygen but breath out carbon dioxide.

I want to encourage you dear reader to be a person who makes a conscious effort in 2015 to be living legacy of faith with each person you come into contact with. let your smile, kind words say something about who you are.

let 2015 be a year for you to be a good book who can be read by those who meet you.

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