I had made it to the other side, the side where the grass truly was greener after the end of a toxic relationship, although I feel quite certain that a baron, stinking wasteland would have produced more life than the parasitic relationship I had escaped. However, from where I stood, I was free and unburdened. I was planted upon plush, green blades of the softest grass and gazing upon a blossoming future of wildflowers.
A few weeks ago my boys and I went to Hawaiian Falls for some fun in the sun. Little did we know that on the same day Girl Scout Troops had also planned a full day to play at the water park too. So tons of little girls were all giggling around us having fun on the water slides, floating down the lazy river, standing under the huge bucket of water and feeling it downpour on their heads and so much more.
They had a DJ announcing karaoke time and the little girls rushed to get in line. They searched over the music list wanting to sing to their favorite tunes. The line began to get longer and longer as the girls were waiting to sing their hearts out. They were clapping and jumping up and down and so excited.
Lots of girls sang, but this one girl stood out to me the most. She was around 6 years old. She walked out to the center of the stage and held onto her microphone and looked out into the crowd. Her mom was recording her on video and capturing the moment. The song began to play and she began to sing. She sang with such a confidence and a sweet innocence of a little child.
She sang “who says, who says you’re not perfect, who says you’re not worth it, who says you’re not pretty, who says you’re the only one that’s hurtin’, who says you’re not beautiful… Who Says” by Selena Gomez.
The words to the song and the little girl singing began stirring up something inside of me that I have not been able to shake.
I felt the same thing yesterday at church during worship. We were seated in overflow room and a sweet Embrace Grace mama that is pregnant sat beside me and she was holding her little 3 year old girl in her arms. She was singing her heart out to Jesus. I had my eyes closed for a moment and could just hear her voice singing and I heard a whisper…
“Tell her I love to hear her sing to Me!”
I looked over at her and smiled. She had what looked like a tear falling down her cheek and she said “she is singing with me”. Her little 3 year old daughter was singing along with her mommy to Jesus.
That made Jesus smile!! He loves to hear us sing to Him. We can be singing in the shower, singing our baby to sleep, singing along to the radio, singing with the worship team, or even making up our own melody. Jesus absolutely loves to hear us sing to Him.
“I will sing a song to the Lord.” Judges 5:3
“I’m singing my heart out to God.” Exodus 15:1
No matter if we are feeling happy, sad or a little in between, we can sing and praise Him and it begins to lift our hearts. Begin to sing to Jesus and everything else seems to melt away in His Presence.
Now, back to that song that the little girl scout was singing… the lyrics to the song keep ringing in my ear even now as I am typing this. I am sure you have heard this song and have sang along to it on the radio many times. Look with me at these words like you have not heard this song before and I hope it speaks to you in a whole new way.
“Who Says” by Selena Gomez
I wouldn’t wanna be anybody else, hey
You made me insecure,
Told me I wasn’t good enough.
But who are you to judge
When you’re a diamond in the rough?
I’m sure you got some things
You’d like to change about yourself.
But when it comes to me
I wouldn’t want to be anybody else.
Na na na na na na na na na na na na na
I’m no beauty queen
I’m just beautiful me
You’ve got every right
To a beautiful life
Who says, who says you’re not perfect?
Who says you’re not worth it?
Who says you’re the only one that’s hurtin’?
Trust me, that’s the price of beauty
Who says you’re not pretty?
Who says you’re not beautiful?
It’s such a funny thing
How nothing’s funny when it’s you
You tell ‘em what you mean
But they keep whiting out the truth
It’s like a work of art
That never gets to see the light
Keep you beneath the stars
Won’t let you touch the sky
Who says you’re not star potential?
Who says you’re not presidential?
Who says you can’t be in movies?
Listen to me, listen to me
Who says you don’t pass the test?
Who says you can’t be the best?
Who said, who said?
Won’t you tell me who said that?
Yeah, who said?
Who says you’re not perfect?
Who says you’re not worth it?
Who says you’re the only one that’s hurtin’?
Trust me, (yeah) that’s the price of beauty
Who says you’re not pretty? (Who says you’re not beautiful?)
We know who puts those thoughts and lies in our head- the enemy does.
Let’s fight back with singing our hearts out to Jesus!
Jesus says you are worth it! You are pretty! You are beautiful! And You can do anything you dream.
He says: “I Love to hear you sing to Me! Start today. You have a beautiful voice. Lift up your voice to Me. Just open up your mouth and let the words come out. Sing a new song to me.”
Written by Salina Duffy
Picking adoption profiles was so much fun although so painful. Just having to picture my daughter with another family for my entire life brought mixed emotions. Having to let go of her for the rest of my life seemed almost impossible. We chose a family that both Jordyn and I felt amazing about. We set up a time to meet them so we can get to know them. There was only about 3 weeks left until our baby was to be born so it was time to start asking some simple yet important questions that we were curious about.
“How open will our adoption actually be?”
“Will you go on daddy-daughter dates with her?”
“Will you love her as much as I love her?”
Asking more and more questions, I was starting to realize all the emotions involved with this decision. The realization of the entire situation was hitting me hard. I had to ask all of the questions that I would have asked myself if I were to raise her.
I felt great about our family choice and the decision to place her in their loving arms. What I wasn’t sure about is if I would be able to overcome this knot forming in my stomach. A few days before I was to become a father, I cried myself to sleep every night. This should be a happy time for all of us. But I guess my circumstances were different.
The continuing lack of support from my family only made things more difficult more me. Their constant anger towards me for the decision for adoption only hurt me worse. I had made it that far without them so I knew I could get through this too. Deep down in my heart I knew I was making the perfect decision. Even though the decision was difficult, God gave me peace about our decision and that was all I needed. God has always been there for me, holding my heart and comforting me like a real Father does.
May 26, 2011 finally came. All this anticipation and patience for the past 9 months is finally paying off! Jordyn was admitted into the hospital. Her belly looked like it could just pop at any second! We were anxiously waiting for her to be induced so we could begin our brand new life on the road to happy ever after. What came next change my life forever.
“Just a few more pushes Jordyn, just a few more! You’re doing great!”
Baby Abby popped out like a champ. I cut the umbilical cord. An overwhelming sense of happiness and excitement just completely overcame me. I was in shock. She was even more beautiful and more perfect than I could ever imagine. Her smooth skin felt as smooth as silk to the touch. Her deep sea-blue eyes captured my heart. Her chunky cheeks were so precious I could just kiss them every day for the rest of my life. Her full head of hair only added to her angelic beauty. I felt so deeply in love with her. I was completely speechless. I could not take my eyes off her. Every second not loving on her was felt like a second that was wasted. Abby was and still is, my treasure, my true love, my heart and soul, my absolute everything. After holding her in my arms kissing her repeatedly, I was mesmerized by every inch of her.
Everything felt so worth it. I would never take back everything we have gone through, all the hard times. She was worth every second of it.
Abby is the greatest gift God could have ever blessed me with. She is more perfect in every way than I could ever imagine. Tears streamed down my face, as family showed up to comfort us. There had been so much pulling and tugging on my heart regarding the decision to place Abby with another family. But I would want nothing more than to give Abby the best life possible, and that would only come true if she was in more caring and capable arms. Our decision became final.
Abby, we want the best out of life for you. Daddy loves you, sweetheart.
Written by Josh Malkosky
I have a challenge for you this week. It may seem really simple to some … but it may seem huge for others.
My challenge is for you to take 1 step towards your dream.
I’m not talking about your dream of getting married or your dream of having a huge house or anything like that. I’m talking about a dream that is all yours. It is a dream that you have for yourself.
My husband has always had a dream of being in an Ironman Triathlon. He has always been mesmerized by the stories and watching the big Hawaiian one ever year. He has always said it was his dream. One year from today, is the big Triathlon that he wanted his first big one to be, so he made the commitment and found a buddy to do it with him, and he’s going to finally make his dream a reality. He’s buying his ticket next week and he will push himself until that dream happens, no matter how hard it might get.
Maybe your dream is to be a writer … or a speaker … or start a company … or try acting? Whatever dream it is, it is YOUR dream. God is the author of dreams – He is speaking to you. Are you stopping long enough to listen?
I’m sure if you’ve already had your baby, you have noticed how fast time is flying. It seems like yesterday that your baby was born. It’s just going to fly faster and faster – the time is NOW. There’s never a “perfect time.”
So what is your dream? What is it that you have always had a desire to do? It might seem like you are gifted in this area and maybe even people have even confirmed this gift in you through compliments or encouragements. So let’s give it a try. Let’s capture the moment and make something happen. Let’s step out of our comfort zones for the ultimate fun life! What do you have to lose? Even if you don’t win the gift card, at least I gave you a little push!
So here is my challenge for you: If you take a valid step towards your dream that you have not taken before between now and July 10th, and you write me at Amy.Ford@iEmbraceGrace.com on your story of what your dream is, why it is your dream, and what step you have taken towards your dream, I will have some of my closest friends help me read through them and make a decision based on the biggest step and the best story. The winner will receive a $50 gift card to wherever you choose.
PS If you are unsure what your dream is, I would like you to encourage you to put your phone, computer, TV and all other distractions away. Get your Bible out and journal, and go spend some alone time with God – He will speak to you I promise. And also, another tool to get the ball rolling on finding what you are good at, I encourage you to get the Strengthfinder 2.0 book – it reveals awesome gifts inside of you. http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/strengthsfinder-20-tom-rath/1101999965?ean=9781595620156
NOTE: This challenge is for anyone and everyone – even if you are not single and pregnant – even if you are a senior citizen or a guy or ANYONE. I can’t wait to hear your stories!!
Written by Amy Ford
Just wanted to share with you what I’m reading too! Please go read my bff Alyse Krause’s blog today: FREE FALLING.
It’s amazing. http://storyofgrace8.blogspot.com/
Her blog made me remember this amazing quote that Bishop TD Jakes once said that I love and really makes you think …. are you ready for it? 😉
WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF YOU HAD NO FEAR? …
Whatever the answer is, that is what fear is robbing you from.
So my question for you today is, what would you do if you had no fear? I would love to hear from you! Let’s be transparent and share ❤
Father’s Day was getting close and I wanted to pick out my Dad a card and mail to him. I began searching for just the right card. Each and every one I picked up at the store and began to read, I would quickly shut the card and place back where I had found it. My thoughts were, no that’s not how I felt as a child. Nope, that was not our life together. So I kept searching and reading each card, still hoping to find the one that best suited me and my Dad.
Then I found one that was very fitting. It was sweet and simple. On the front it read…
“There is a time for Everything.” Ecclesiastes 3
It had a picture of a daddy and his little girls feet hanging over the edge of a dock overlooking the lake. This was a picture that I remembered us sharing when I was little. We would walk up and down the dock at my grandparents lake house in East Texas and share stories together. He would always say “you know I love you don’t you.” I always shook my head yes.
Then I opened up the card and read the inside. “a time to tell you thank you for being my Dad.” It was very short, sweet and simple and exactly what I wanted to say. I added my own words inside and shared how much I loved our days at the lake together.
Let me share just a little bit of my story as a child. My Mom and Dad fell in love at a very early age. She was only 15 years old and she just knew he was the one. He was 5 years older than her. He asked her to marry him and she said yes! The laws in Texas back in the 70’s required that you had to be at least 16 years of age to marry. So, they went to Hugo, Oklahoma where it was legal to marry at the age of 15. My parents had a lot of ups and downs during their first few years together.
She was so excited when she found out she was pregnant with me at 16. She always tells me that all she ever wanted was a baby to love. She delivered me on her 17th birthday. She says I was the best present she could have ever asked for.
My parents had a lot of rocky things going on in their marriage and they tried to make it work. But, before I was 2, they divorced. A little later my Dad came to pick me up from my Grandparents house and said he was taking me out for some ice cream. I went missing for about a week and my Mom had no idea where I was and she was worried sick. She prayed and hoped that I would be found. Thankfully her prayers were answered and I was found and placed safely back in her arms.
Things happened between them that I could not have helped. I was just a child. (the enemy meant this for harm and a feeling of abandonment set in on my heart at such a young age)
I remember as a child always wanting to be a daddy’s girl. So many of my friends were and they even had little silver bracelet’s saying Daddy’s girl and wore them proudly to school. I would look at their arms and long to be able to wear a bracelet too. Oh how I longed for that relationship.
I saw my dad here and there as a child but we were never really close. A few years ago I wrote my Dad a letter forgiving him for not being there for me as a child when I needed him most. Since then we have had such healing and restoration in our relationship and I feel closer to him now more than ever. He calls me his little girl and I call him Daddy.
My mom just sent me a text on June 14th and it read “38 years ago today I was on my way to Oklahoma to marry your Dad. Time flies! So glad I did. You were so worth it!”
I did not even know the date of their wedding. It had been so long ago and I was so little. This began to stir up feelings in my heart that I did not even know were still there. Then my heart began thinking of how things could have been so different if we lived in a perfect world and they could have stayed together. How things might have been, you know… different. But we live in a fallen world and daddy’s sometimes leave and things do not always work out.
Sometimes we may not understand everything. That night as I sat and thought more about it, my heart began to heal and sweet cleansing tears poured down my cheeks. I did not even know that I had this all bottled up inside. I have experienced kairos, freedom classes and healing of my heart in many ways, and I did not even realize that was tucked in there. It felt so good to let it all out. I expressed my heart to God and He whispered softly to me as I cried and I felt Him hold me close.
You may have longed for a Daddy’s girl bracelet and to have that closeness just as I did as a child. This past Father’s Day may have been a little bittersweet for you too. Maybe like me you have always dreamed of that Daddy’s girl closeness with your earthly Father. Or maybe you felt sadness because your child’s baby daddy is not in the picture.
Let me encourage you and share with you what God whispered softly to my heart. It was something that I already knew; but to hear Him say it melted my heart and I hope that you can feel it too.
I am a Daddy’s girl and always have been. My Daddy in Heaven has always been here for me. He never left me alone. He always has and always will love me and YOU!
You are a Daddy’s girl too and always will be.
Daddy’s little girl paints the world with her little fingers. Daddy’s little child breathes new life for the morning time for me. Though we’re apart, her thoughts follow me. She smiles with the dawn and she radiates a glow around her halo. When she plays, Daddy smiles, on a summer day Daddy smiles. Daddy’s little girl ties her ribbon around my heart. (from the movie uptown girls)
Every story has an end. But in life every ending is just a new beginning. – Dakota Fanning
Written by Salina Duffy