Heart of Refuge

Unveiling The Hidden Beauty Of Your Heart

Tag: marriage

Order My New Ebook called “Cut The Apron Strings”

Hi Everyone,

I am so excited to share with you that my first Ebook is now available for pre order. It has been a vision that I have had for over twenty years and I am so greatful to God for honouring this vision

Click the book cover  below to find out more information and links for you to order the book. The cost is  $5.99 (USA)     £4.58      5.29 euros.

 

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.

From The Heart of a Man ~ Kenneth Reyes

 

Courtesy Kenneth Reyes

Nothing in life carries more gravity than being a good father and husband. Serving in the military adds a level of complexity that most families do not have to deal with. Most civilians are unaware of the lawful demand that the profession of arms asks of its members. This demand is simply stated as, the mission comes first. If you are unfamiliar with the term, the mission comes first, allow me to get you up-to-speed. The “mission” is any military requirement that is asked of me. This can stem from as mundane as administrative paper work to the extreme of a combat deployment. The mission comes first regardless of my family situation. Child being born < Army; Wedding Anniversary < Army; Death in the Family < Army. True, with special permission these conflicts of interest can be resolved but you need the Army’s permission first.

This requires me to be on top of my husband and fatherly duties at all times. I need to build emotional resiliency in my wife and daughter so they can mentally manage the disappointment of my absence and all the little things that are on the daily battlefield of emotional happiness. School plays, playtime, tucking my daughter into bed, being there to hold my wife after a rough day. These are just some of the constant challenges I face as a father and husband in the military.

The question for those that know me is, how did I stay married for 19 years and be under 40? The answer is simple but the execution is much harder. I loved my wife as I wanted her to love me. I tried to be as understanding to her needs as I want her to be understanding to mine. Lastly, forgiveness proved to be the most important element to our success. I strived to forgive her for all perceived wrongs against me as I hoped she would try to forgive me for all my perceived wrongs against her. It didn’t hurt that the Lord scripted onto my heart that I would take care of her till my dying breath either.

Our relationship enjoys the unfair advantage of the Lord’s favor. We have faced challenges that have crushed other couples, but our love has the spiritual backing of one that is greater than the world. Therefore our love is able to resist the world’s challenges. This doesn’t mean we don’t fall victim to the snares of being rude, impatient, or hurting-one-another. We just seem to have an unending well of forgiveness for each other. This allows us to enjoy an unbreakable bond. After reading this you may be disappointed if you came looking for answers that could easily be replicated in your own relationship, but in the end we give God all the glory.

 

 

Captain Kenneth Reyes  ~ United States Army Paratrooper

Kenneth Reyes was born in Hoboken, NJ in 1978 and grew up as a military dependent.  Ken travelled the world with his mother and older brother; Hawaii, California, Puerto Rico, Germany, and Texas.  He graduated from High School at Killeen, TX and promptly enlisted in the United States Air Force at the age of 17 in 1996.  He attended Basic Military Training at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas.  After Basic Military Training, his first permanent duty station was McClellan Air Force Base, Sacramento, California.  He soon deployed to Bosnia to support the NATO led Stabilization Force in Bosnia and Herzegovina for 3 months. His mission was to assist in halting Serbian forces from completing their campaign of ethnic cleansing the Kosovo Albanians.

In 2000 while serving as a Senior Airman, Ken completed his first Associates in Applied Science in Information Technology Systems form the Community College of the Air Force (CCAF).  The CCAF is a federally-chartered degree-granting institution that serves the United States Air Force’s enlisted force.  In 2005 while serving as a Technical Sergeant, Ken completed his second Associates in Applied Science from the CCAF in Education & Training Management. He also completed a Bachelors of Science in Management from the University of Phoenix.  In 2006 Ken competed and was awarded an opportunity to attended Officer Candidate School.  After successfully completing Officer Candidate School, Ken received a commission from the President of the United States as an Army Second Lieutenant in the Adjutant General Corps.

In 2007 while serving as a Second Lieutenant, Ken volunteered to serve his country as a United States Army Paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division.  Ken was assigned to the 4th Squadron, 73rd Cavalry Regiment in the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment (4th Brigade Combat Team).  Ken served as their Adjutant General Officer for 46 months.  While in the 82nd Airborne Division he served 27 months in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

In 2011 while serving as a Captain, Ken took command of Charlie Company, 120th Adjutant General Battalion (Reception), Fort Jackson, Columbia, SC for 22 months.  During this time Ken received, equipped, motivated, and shipped over 36,000 Soldiers to Basic Combat Training.  In 2013 Ken completed his Masters of Arts in Human Resource Management from Webster University.

Since 2013 Ken has been serving as an Assistant Professor of Military Science for Army ROTC at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Stetson University, Bethune-Cookman, and Daytona State College. Some of his awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, theArmy Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement

Medal, the Air Force Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal (with two campaign stars), the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the NATO ISAF Medal, the Polish Army Service Medal, the Combat Action Badge, and the Parachutist Badge.

 

 

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.

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.

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!

Heavy Love

Have you ever experienced a love that is so strong that it makes your heart feel full? A heavy Love.

Over the past couple of days I have been listening to Mali Music. One of his songs is called Heavy Love (check it out on you tube). I love it.

It speaks of a love between a husband and wife that is all compassing and endures under much pressure. It’s a love that lasts 10, 20, 30, 40 years. Thats a lot of love.

My parents have been married for 52 years and it have been subject to all kinds of pressures as any marriage would be for that length of time. This kind of love has to be elasticated, tested and reaffirmed. This type of love has been put through the fire of life and is worth its weight in Gold.

We always admire marriages that have so much longevity but do we really appreciate the sacrifice that each person has had to go through in order to have such longevity. Marriage goes through the fiery furnace of financial struggles, In law issues, raising a family, personal growth and a host of other challenges. Let’s not take marital longevity for granted, it’s a heavy love. It’s taking responsibility to sustain something that both parties have entered into.

If you are a married Person reading this, never take your spouse for granted. Show them that you appreciate them, learn their love language. If you are a spouse that does not show much affection then you must do something about it quickly and find ways to show that you love and care, if not you can end up starving you spouse emotionally. Appreciate their acts of kindness towards you.

A heavy love will also include telling your Inlaws no and drawing needed boundaries. Toxic in-laws can crush the heart of your spouse and cause untold damage to them and defile your Union. I will be writing a post about in-laws shortly because parents must release their children to enjoy the person they have chosen to spend the rest of their lives with. When they interfere they crush the family unit of their children for selfish gain. Please release your adult son or daughter and allow them to blossom in their new relationship.

If you are courting someone with a view to marriage please begin to establish healthy boundaries with both sets of parents.

Heavy Love is a wonderful place to be but remember it comes with responsibilities.

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