Heart of Refuge

Unveiling The Hidden Beauty Of Your Heart

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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 Grace is Tailored Made For You

image from pixabay.com

image from pixabay.com

My mother learnt to sew in her mid teens during the early 1950’s in Jamaica. Mummy can sew. She can take a piece of fabric and turn it in anything. She is a master seamstress.

My mother can take an outfit that is made for a size 14 and tailor it so  someone who is a size 10 can wear it. She made all of our clothes growing up, its her therapy.  When she needed quiet time or to relax she would retreat with her patterns, thread, fabric and sewing machine.

Thinking about her made me think of God’s grace. It is tailor made for you and it is tailor made for me. A perfect fit for my heart!

Let’s take a look at a couple of verses that talk of God’s grace:

Hebrews 4:16 ~ Did you know that grace has a throne, a place where you can go and receive? You can go there and find help in the time of need.

Ephesians 2:6-8 ~ God’s grace has exceeding riches and it is His gift to me.

God’s grace is rich and it is a gift for you to receive and wear. It’s a beautiful garment. I dare you to try it on because it will be a perfect fit!

© 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 ~ 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.

 

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.

 

You are a Trophy!

From Freeimages.com

From Freeimages.com

Take a moment to read 2 Corinthians 2:14-15 in the amplified bible.

What is a trophy? It is an object that is given as a prize for winning a competition. Something gained or given in victory or conquest.

You are  a trophy of Christ’s victory & a sweet fragrance of Christ unto God.  Jesus’ death on the cross signalled a winners trophy in the spirit and you dear reader are the prize.

Is that a beautiful thought to consider? Think about it for a moment……..

So from today I encourage you to see yourself as God sees you, HIS trophy and a winner!

 

The Act of Forgiveness by Monica Ambersley

 

What is forgiveness?

Forgiveness is an act of strength. Strength that enable you to move on from that situation or person; not tied to resentment and anger which can turn into bitterness.

Why hold on to resentment for that person when we can let go and live? I am not saying that it will be easy to forgive; it may be hard, but the longer you hold on to it the harder it will be to forgive.

I have heard people say, “Forgive and forget.” Forgive and forget can mean that you forgive the offender and move on with your life, because God expects us to forgive, using godly wisdom.

The Bible says “Forgive those who has trespass against us.” (Matthew 6:12).
What does that mean? Trespass is an act of offence against a person. In order for us to receive God’s blessings and forgiveness when we do wrong; we have to forgive. The sad thing is that when we do not forgive, we leave unresolved issues behind on loved ones who do not have the opportunity to say, “I forgive you.”

Forgiveness brings peace and freedom and it releases you from the power of that person. The only way that you know you have genuinely forgiven that person, is when that person walks into the room and you feel nothing negative; only forgiveness.

We all have one life; a life that should be filled with peace and tranquillity instead of anger or resentment. It is impossible to move on with a heart that is not forgiving and live your life fully.

Is it right for a person to take over one’s life and emotion with an unforgiving heart? Forgive, and move on, in order to let go and live your life more abundantly. We should also, forgive ourselves of mistakes that we have made in the past. The past is the past. We should not stay in the past, but use the past to learn from the mistakes!

You may be saying, “It’s easy for you to say because you have never been in my position!” Yes, you may be right. But it does not make one’s hurt emotion different from another person. We have all experienced hurt, rejection and pain from loved ones, strangers and people. No situation is different to another person when it comes down to hurting emotions. Forgiveness brings healing and with healing brings joy. The act of forgiveness sees blood pressure and heart rate lowered, reducing the levels of depression and anxiety.
Resentment is self-inflicted and will always hurt you more than the person who you are angry with. In fact, the person may have moved on with their life over the years and you’re still worrying about it!!

According to the Bible, we have to forgive so that God can forgive us (Matthew 18:22). We cannot expect God to forgive us when we are holding on to grudges with someone else (Ephesians 4:32).

The key factor is to take a leap of faith and forgive in order to receive your healing through forgiveness.

Courtsey of Monica Ambersley

Follow Monica on her social media:

Facebook ~ Monica Ambersley

Blog ~ https://abundanceoffaith.wordpress.com

Twitter ~ ma_monicaa  (abundance of faith)

©ABUNDANCE OF FAITH (MA) 2014-2016. UNAUTHORISED USE AND /OR DUPLICATION OF THIS MATERIAL WITHOUT EXPRESS AND WRITTEN PERMISSION FROM THIS SITE’S AUTHOR AND OWNER IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED

Jenny Allen’s Voice – Domestic Violence ~ How to support someone.

Image result for support

                image from www.workyourway.com

Supporting someone in a domestic violence situation is a crucial life line that can safe a person’s life.

The link below is the giving support page of the Woman’s Aid website. Please click and read to see how you can be a lifeline to some one.

http://www.womensaid.org.uk/page.asp?section=000100010008002300020002&sectionTitle=Giving+support

Jenny Allen’s Voice ~ Domestic Violence in the Church -Raising Awareness

No More

What can a church do to help and raise awareness? Here are 3 ways  a church can help.

  1. The church can liaise with local or national domestic violence forums and organisations to raise awareness. They could also raise awareness  in their sermons and by displaying information in their church.
  2. Pastors and leadership may be the first to hear of domestic violence situations in their church. The leadership can start to hold men accountable and be an effective change agent in the community.
  3. Leaders can refer victims to a DV agency or the police and have share information regarding safety plans.

The links below have additional resources for churches.

http://www.focusministries1.org/pastorstools.asp

http://www.hiddenhurt.co.uk/religion_and_domestic_violence.html

http://www.faithtrustinstitute.org/resources/articles/Role-of-Churches.pdf

Domestic abuse is very common is our society and will be reflected in the church. Please do all you can to raise awareness in your local church as it is a growing epidemic that the church cannot afford to ignore.

Jenny Allen’s Voice ~ Domestic Violence in The Church (Part 1)

image from www.amazon.com

In this post and the next post  I will be sharing about domestic violence in the church. I have decided to post a video as it offers much more information. Please watch.

Dear Father God Prayers – A Prayer for Hurting Mothers

Image: African American Art Print by ” A woman’s work” By Kevin Williams

Dear Father God,

I just want to lift up to you every mother that is hurting right now. Father you know the pain and burdens she carries for her children, Lord you see the falling tears and the muffled cries at night in her pillow. You see the sadness behind that smile, Father you see her heart. As she cries out to you on behalf of her children, answer the cry of her heart.

Any child who has an addiction set them free through her prayers Lord, those who are in gangs,  fulfil those children’s need to belong. Whatever needs your hurting daughters are lifting up to you on behalf of their children answer their prayer.

Father, I lift up the tears and prayers of these mothers to you as they intercede, fast and warfare over their children. Father your word says that the children you have given them are for signs and wonders, Father you said that children will be a fruitful vine around the homes of their parents. Restore and repair the mother child relationship bring healing as only you can do.

Lord I lift up any mother reading this prayer who is bereaving the loss of her child. Father only you know how to comfort her in this difficult time and you Lord are the God of all comfort.

Father I lift up to you any mother that is feeling guilty about her motherhood. Lord help her to forgive and release herself from that burden. Minister to her in a very unique way, let her know that she is released and forgiven in Jesus name Amen.

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