Break Time!


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just dropping in to say we’re taking the rest of the week off from blogging!! I’ll be in Barbados watching my baby brother and my future sis-in-law get married on the beach!  Salina is moving into a new home so she’ll be taking a few weeks off but I’ll be back up and running Monday. Have a great week!

Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. {Romans 12:11 MSG}

Written by Amy Ford

Hand-Picked

We are getting close to starting a new Embrace Grace!!

This semester will be Gateway Southlake’s 9th semester doing EG and every semester it just gets better and better. A cool added bonus is that 6 other churches are doing Embrace Grace in the metroplex as well as Oklahoma.

I always hear a lot of the same question, “How do you find the single and pregnant girls to invite them to come to EG?”  My answer is always, “It was not an accident. It was not a coincidence that they heard about it. They were hand-picked by God.”

We do not advertise. We do not leave our business cards at too many places. It’s not that we don’t want to do that, we just want to make sure we’re ready. We are laying the foundation and preparing for God to blow open the floodgates and all the girls will have a church to run to when they find out they have a crisis pregnancy instead of the last because of shame and guilt.

We are writing the curriculum for churches to implement and we’re praying and planning on it being ready next summer as well as my book I’m working on will be released next year (details coming soon!).

So how DO all the girls find out about EG? Well, mostly word of mouth. The alumni girls will have a friend in their high school or on facebook that pops up as pregnant, so they start inviting them. It’s cool how God works it out. I’ve heard some cool stories of how girls heard about it.

Once an EG girl (we’ll call her Jane) was telling me that she always works out at the gym with another EG girl and she said they talk a lot about God and every time they do, that she always gets goosebumps (or what I like to call, Godbumps.) So one Jane called me and was so excited and said she met a girl in one of her classes at her college, and she had mentioned that to this girl that she has a baby boy. The other girls’ eyes widened and said, “Well actually, I just found out this week that I’m pregnant and I’m scared and trying to process it all.” As the girl tells her this, Jane immediately got Godbumps. She knew it was a God connection and she needed to tell her about Embrace Grace. She did and this girl did the class and totally changed her life.

One EG girl was mutual friends on facebook with someone that was in Embrace Grace but didn’t know her well. She asked for information on the EG page and I sent her an invitations. The week after that she was at a local water park and one of our leaders noticed her baby bump and went up to her telling her about EG. She said she actually had already requested information and was planning on coming. The week after that, she was at work and another EG leader went up to her counter and noticed her baby bump and told her about EG. She laughed and said, “I’m coming!” God wanted to make SURE she was going to be there. She did EG and loved it and now her and her mom are starting their own EG at the church they are members of!

Another girl found out she was pregnant and left everything behind in Vegas, packed up what she had and drove to Texas to stay with family. She got in on a late Saturday night and her family suggested going to church the next morning. Even though she was exhausted, she said yes. The service was amazing and at the end, she decided to go down front for prayer. She had a lot of worries and in a new environment, she knew she needed God. Out of all the pastors at the altar for prayer, she walked to a woman that happened to be the single families pastor who is the oversight over EG. This girl told the pastor everything that was going on and the pastor told her that the very next day, Monday, EG was going to start a new semester – it was perfect timing. She came and never missed one class.

Just about a month ago, I met a girl named Zoe that works at Sonic.

Me: OMG I’m so sorry I thought I had a few extra $ at bottom of purse for tip and I don’t! What time do you get off and I’ll come back and bring it to you.

Zoe: Oh it’s ok. You don’t have to come back but if you want to, you can 😉 My name is Zoe when you come back.

Me: Oh I love that name! It means LIFE.

Zoe: Yeah I’ve always heard that but my professor said the other day that it meant heaven?

Me: It’s Greek for Life but the translation is a Heavenly kind of life – not just any life. The word “life” is all through the Bible but only translates twice to Zoe – and it does in John 10:10: that God came so we could have abundant life … It’s basically an awesome name! I just had a baby boy but if I had had a girl, I wanted Zoe.

Zoe: Wow! You have a baby? I just found out I’m 8 weeks pregnant!

Me: Congratulations! I lead a support group for single and pregnant girls – are you single?

Zoe: I have a boyfriend – that sounds awesome. I’ve been trying to talk to women on pregnancy boards but this sounds way better. What’s your number and I’ll call you.

Me: I’ll bring it by when I bring your tip,

Zoe the cutest girl ever: OK awesome!

I’m praying and hoping Zoe can come to EG when it starts in a few weeks. There are girls all around us, needing a sign, someone that will tell them it’s going to be ok!

In the words of an Embrace Grace alumni: “Jordan and Megan told me about EG, they had been in it before. When everyone else was telling me to get rid of my baby girl, they pointed me in the direction I needed. (:”

As the new semesters start, I can’t wait to hear all the stories from the new girls and how God hand-picked them to be in Embrace Grace!

Written by Amy Ford

My Whole Heart

When you are the pretty girl at school, no one sees you as a person, instead you’re seen as a object. 
Girls were only there for you while you were cool, and guys only wanted to be with you as a status symbol. As the fourth kid of five in a blended family, I craved that attention. I thought, well if I just do this I would get noticed more.

In the eighth grade my supposed best friend at the time, suggested we have a sleepover at my place. My parents went out of town and we had the house to ourselves. She invited her boyfriend over and he brought his friend. I was fourteen and he was twenty-four. I couldn’t take back what happened and I was miserable and felt dirty. That night I was broken and lost and truly hurt.

That night began my search for something … anything … that would allow me to feel good about myself.

As I started high school I started trying new things and experimenting to try and fill this emptiness I had been feeling inside. I tried everything I could think of … from drugs to drinking and hooking up with guys.

I started to date a junior when I was a freshman. He was so good looking and made me smile. He was good to me for the first few months and treated me like a princess. He told me he loved me and I was mesmerized.

Finally. Someone loved ME.

I thought my hole in my heart and life was filled. 

Throughout the course of our relationship he hurt me mentally, physically, and emotionally. From trying to get me pregnant at 15 to convincing me I was unable to have a baby. He finally got me pregnant when I was 16. Thinking my life was forever ruined, I still vowed that I was going to love my baby no matter what.

At two months pregnant and two positive pregnancy tests, I thought this was going to make him finally love me. At three months pregnant I had a miscarriage. My world shattered even more. I hated life and the enemy just kept speaking negative words into my life. God was the last thing on my mind.

I started flirting with death. Testing the limits of how many pills I could take or how deep I could cut myself before I would pass out. I was looking for something to occupy my mind.

There I was. Lost. Broken. Hopeless. I kept thinking God must hate me to give me a baby and take it away.

I found myself addicted to ice and sleeping with a twenty-seven year old at the age of sixteen.  It took my grandmother passing away for me to realize that I was wasting my life away. I swore she wasn’t dead and she kept moving. My family thought I was crazy.  As I was lying on the bathroom floor crying about my grandma, God spoke to me and told me that at the rate I was going, I would be next.

Going through the miscarriage, my hole just got bigger.

As a scared little girl I decided on my birthday I would drink one last time and stop until I was 21 if God would just keep me alive. (Like you can bargain with God, that should show how lost I was).  I got pregnant that same week. I moved away from everyone I knew just knowing the awful things they would have to say about me.

Getting pregnant and moving ended up being the greatest thing that ever happened to me. God knew it was going to take something drastic for me to be able to straighten up my life. My mom found this group called Embrace Grace that I could go to that had support for single and pregnant girls. I found out that not only did God love me, but I was HIS daughter and He was always there for me and always will be. All of the chains that had been on my shoulders had been lifted away when I forgave all those people who hurt me in my past.

I gave it all to God and when I did … I no longer felt the judgment. I no longer felt the neediness. I no longer hated myself.

EG blessed me with friends, help, and knowledge about the Word of God. I had a revelation that God chose me out of all of the girls in the world, to be my son’s mom. He made me beautiful and He would always love me. He filled that hole I had been searching for. He blessed me with an amazing child when I finally let Him in my heart.

Not only did I get to meet the wonderful women in EG, but God also put a very special man in my life from the first day I moved. He introduced himself to me and I thought, oh great as soon as he finds out I’m pregnant he’s going to be done. But boy was I ever wrong. He showed me off around school and even introduced me to his mom (which I recommend telling your parents in advance that you will be introducing them to a girl who’s six months pregnant!.) After the school year ended he joined the army and I thought I would never hear from him again. But he wrote me the sweetest words of encouragement and reminded me of just how beautiful I was and that I was an amazing mother.

I went to his graduation and we decided to get married. We never wanted to be apart. We were married five months later.

It’s hard to imagine where I have been and what I have done but God still blessed me even more with an amazing husband that loves me and my baby as his own.

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. { James 1:2-4
2 }

Written anonymously. 

{Flicka} :: Beautiful Girl

 I know that you are beautiful to behold. {Genesis 12:11 amp}

One of my favorite movies of all times is Flicka.  A captivating story about a pretty girl named Katy returning home from boarding school during a holiday break. She is a Daddy’s girl.  Her Dad is driving her home from school in his truck and they have a peaceful conversation as she falls asleep from the long ride home.   Her Mom then looks out the window and sees that her daughter has come home and rushes out to the truck to wake her with a kiss.  The family lives on a horse ranch. Their daughter Katy would much rather be riding a horse than anything else under the sun.  She wakes up early the next morning before sunrise to take a ride on her horse.  She sets out on a journey and embraces the nature all around her.  She loves riding and being free.  During her adventure she glances over and notices a mountain lion and realizes she is in danger, her horse is spooked and runs away.  She is then saved by a gorgeous wild mustang that she later names Flicka.

Katy began to train Flicka and was eventually able to ride her bareback.  This wild mustang that was accustomed to running wild and free without a rider had learned to be broken and allow her to ride freely without limitations.

I have many favorite scenes in this movie and I do not want to give the whole movie away if you have not seen it yet.  So I will stop at just the beginning and allow you a chance to view the movie for yourself.

What has been stirring in my heart is the meaning of the word Flicka.  One of the ranch workers on the movie mentions the name and says it means a beautiful girl.  I looked it up today and this is some of the meanings of this Swedish name Flicka: a real pretty and genuine girl, someone’s daughter, beyond a beautiful girl, a horse.  Dictionary gives the definition of a peaceful ruler.

Urban Dictionary gives this response: Flicka is someone that is good to others because she wants to be, not because she was told to.  Someone that always prefers peace to war.  Someone that would never lie to you, even if it hurts her.  Someone who is fair and just with everyone, not just people who love her.  A girl who embraces her destiny and fights for what is right. This is a girl who owns a sword, but only uses it when she has to, protecting others.

I love that!  A girl who embraces her destiny and fights for what is right!  We have been given a sword, the word of God, that pierces through the lies and brings truth and revelation to everything.

God has laid this on my heart to share with you today.  First of all, He wants you to know how beautiful you are.  Each and every one of you are beautiful to behold.  You have your own special features and uniqueness that simply shines beautifully for God.  He created and designed you intricately and formed and fashioned you inside the womb.  He enjoyed the designing process of making you.

Imagine His artistry hands as He was adding feature after feature. Our senses are a beautiful thing.  Just to think what He was thinking when He created you. Oooh, I want her lips to be just this way and as He touched your lips He thought, she can smile in such a way that brings me such delight.  He hand carved your nose and shaped it just so perfectly so that you can smell the delightful flowers and fragrances that He has blooming daily for you.  He hand painted your delicate eyes with such beauty and creative hues of color. Those eyes can see the beauty of His creation and ultimately see Him. He loved fashioning your ears and ear lobes and was so joyous that one day soon you would be able to tune in and hear His voice speaking lovingly to you in so many ways.  As well as hearing all the magnificent sounds displayed daily for your enjoyment.  Your vocal cords and mouth, oh He so joyously hand picked and chose a voice just especially for you that suits you and brings sweet melodies to His ears when you sing out, speak and even whisper.

You, beautiful one, He delights in you.  You are one of a kind.  You are His masterpiece that He hand crafted and designed detail upon detail.  You captured His heart.  Your beauty captivates Him.  He has been pursuing you from the moment you were created, even before you were born. 

He especially enjoyed the making and creating of your heart.  He placed the rhythm of your heartbeat, and all the passion, compassion and attributes that He lovingly placed inside of you.  For you to embrace.  Embrace His creation of YOU!  Beautiful Girl!

He longs for you to see your beauty.  The way that He sees you.  As you look into the mirror, He hopes that you no longer see flaws, distortion or mistakes.  He hopes that you will see captivating radiant beauty.  From the inside out.

 Do not let your beauty come from the outside.  It should not be the way you comb your hair or the wearing of gold or the wearing of fine clothes.  Your beauty should come from the inside.  It should come from the heart.  This is the kind that lasts.  Your beauty should be a gentle and quiet spirit. In God’s sight this is of great worth and no amount of money can buy it. {1 Peter 3:3-4 NLV}

May He speak lovingly to you each and everyday.  May your ears that He designed be fine tuned to hear His voice and His love over you and that the other voices will be drowned out and sink to the bottom of the sea.  No more to be thought of or believed again.  May your eyes be opened so that He can reveal Himself to you in a whole new way.

His desire is for you.  The essence of your being- simply you- the way that He designed you. To shine bright and beautifully for Him so that when others see you, they say hey, something is different about you.  You have a new sparkle in your eyes. A special glow about you that I admire and I want to know how to glow like that.

This opens up the doors for you to tell them how beautiful they are and how God created and designed them to shine and glow just like you. You can be a starlight for Him.  Shining brightly in the darkness.  They can reach up, reach out and receive His brightness and salvation too.

Then the King will desire your beauty.  Because He is your Lord, bow down to Him. {Psalm 45:11}

I too, like the girl on the movie Flicka love riding horses.  My dream is to one day own a horse and be able to ride freely on an open range.  I got a little taste of that last week when I went on a trail ride at Austin Ranch in Grapevine.  This trail ride was different from the rides I have had in the past because it  was just 2 of us. The horse wrangler Katy riding her horse Red, and myself riding a beautiful brown horse named Sugar.  We rode up through the ravines and in through the wilderness and I felt myself imagining being out on open range and riding wild and free. My imagination and inspiration was running freely.  I let Sugar be in control and I was just along for the ride.  I let her reins rest freely on the saddle horn and I just let her do what she loves best.  She would graze on the grass, sometimes get right up on the tail of Red she followed so closely behind I even asked, is she supposed to get this close? She chose to start galloping at times and I just let her be.  I so loved the ride on Sugar!

What is it that brings out the dreams, inspiration and imagination in you? Take an adventure today, even if its just in your thoughts and imagination.  Go there with God.  Can you see yourself as beautiful?  Or have the lies that have been spewed at you from your past about your looks or how others see you given you a distorted view when you look in the mirror? Are you willing to give all those over to God and see yourself the way He created you?

Beautiful One, if you are ready to embrace the truth of how He sees you; can you join me in doing something with me this week… write on your bathroom mirror with lipstick the words… BEAUTIFUL GIRL… so that every time you see yourself in the mirror you will hear God’s words speaking over you.  Truly believe that you are BEAUTIFUL. You are His Flicka, His daughter, His Beautiful little girl.

My Little Girl by Tim McGraw

Gotta hold on easy as I let you go.
 Gonna tell you how much I love you, though you think you already know.
 I remember I thought you looked like an angel wrapped in pink so soft and warm. 
You’ve had me wrapped around your finger since the day you were born.

You’re beautiful baby from the outside in.
 Chase your dreams but always know the road that’ll lead you home again.
Go on, take on this whole world.
 But to me you know you’ll always be, my little girl.

 When you were in trouble that crooked little smile could melt my heart of stone.
 Now look at you, I’ve turned around and you’ve almost grown.
 Sometimes you’re asleep I whisper “I Love You!” in the moonlight at your door. 
As I walk away, I hear you say, “Daddy Love You More!” Someday, some boy will come and ask me for your hand. 
But I won’t say “yes” to him unless I know, he’s the half
That makes you whole, he has a poet’s soul, and the heart of a man’s man. 
I know he’ll say that he’s in love.

 You’re beautiful baby from the outside in.
 Chase your dreams but always know the road that’ll lead you home again.
 Go on, take on this whole world.
 But to me you know you’ll always be, my little girl. 

Written by Salina Duffy

Shield-Like Love

Recently, I have been pondering my calling and the path that God has set out before me. I spend a lot of time thinking about where I’ve been, where I am now and where I am going. This season has been a season of extreme growth, faith and victory for me and I truthfully and honestly give all the glory to God.


There have been situations in my life where I have let the enemy completely take me down. I let him use things against me, whether it was my past, my fears or my subconscious doubts. I would let a small situation, such as someone gossiping about me, leave me in disarray for days. I would talk to every single person I could think of about it, again, spreading more negativity and letting the enemy do EXACTLY what he was trying to do. Not only did I let these actions break my spirit and hurt my heart, I also spread the negativity and the residual affects all around to my friends. I have found that the actual hurt of someone gossiping about you or betraying you is not nearly as bad as the negative energy and drama that circulates around it. The cool thing is that we are in control of how much power we allow the enemy to have over our lives.

It took me years and many ups and downs to realize that as believers we have options. When the enemy shoots his poison arrows in our direction we have a choice! We can use God’s love as a shield, much-like a superhero! We can rise up and into the light and protect ourselves with a force field otherwise known as God’s love. There is not a single evil or negative thing that can prosper in the sight of God’s power, presence or His Name. The enemy will use any avenue he can to envelop a spirit inside of us that drives us away from God’s love. The enemy doesn’t want to see us walk in the light, he doesn’t want to see us walking out our calling or being victorious through Jesus.

So, we have a choice.

We can believe the lies the enemy wants us to believe OR we can choose to believe the TRUTH God speaks over us. 
God is the boss of all bosses, the King of all Kings, the Ruler of the Universe! So, when God speaks, I listen. When He calls me, I, not only move forward, I RUN forward. God predetermines the destiny of every single one of his children before they are even born. He knows what gifts you have, where you are meant to be and who you are meant to be with. He wants to lead you by hand down a beautiful, well-lit road of happiness and triumph. But, the question is, will you let Him? Will you stay near and hold His hand? In order to follow the Lord’s path for you, you have to stay near.

Every time the enemy tells you “You are not good enough” or “You are too damaged to do that” You have to protect yourself with your “super-hero shield” of God’s love. When the enemy whispers these lies to you, even after much practice, you sometimes will still have to cry out to your Father and ask Him to confirm to you how much He loves you, how precious you are and that no matter what you’ve done or where you’ve been you are made new. He will reassure you. He wants nothing more than to tell you every single day all about your worth and who He made you to be and how much He loves you.

“You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.” {John 15:16}

Those the Lord predestined, He called. The word called means “to invite to bear a name or title.” When God calls us, He invites us to bear His name or title of the “Christ-ones”(Christians). Those whom God calls, He justifies. Unless we are justified in the sight of God we cannot be chosen. Those God justifies, He glorifies. Unless we ascend to the highest place in God, we cannot become His elect, His glorified ones. Did you feel it when He called you? I did. When He came into my heart, I felt it and if He is in your heart, you are called too! I knew He was longing for me and I felt so drawn to Him. Sometimes He calls us forward in our own hearts or in the hearts of others. I personally love whenever God puts a word on my heart or a message for me to speak over someone. I love to see the look on their faces whenever they hear what God has told me to speak over them.

He will call you and He has been passionately pursuing you since the day you were born. He wrote your story before it even began.

John recorded Jesus’ words: 
”No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” {John 6:44}

 He knew you were going to make mistakes, sin, and sometimes turn away from Him. He doesn’t hold it against you. He doesn’t need you to justify your actions. All He wants is for you to come to Him and submit your life to Him. Every step you take, everywhere you go, He is patiently waiting behind you. Even when you turn the wrong way, or walk into a dark alley or turn away from His love, He waits, patiently for YOU.

The Love of our Lord is the most powerful thing in the universe. It rights all wrongs, makes all paths straight and brings you to where you really belong. There is nothing you can say, do or feel that disqualifies you from God’s love. No sin, no man, no action and nothing in your past can ever take this away from you. You are His and He is yours, forever. So, stop disqualifying yourself! 
God placed on my heart to share that nothing formed against us can prosper while we walk in His light. NOTHING. As believers, as Christians and as children of the Lord, we are fearless, untouchable, pure, loved, wanted, accepted, forgiven, cherished and most of all, made NEW.

We will always be victorious and resilient through Christ. There is nobody who is an exception to this rule, not a single person. It doesn’t matter how long you have been saved, how deep into your relationship with Him you are; when He calls you, He will equip you. He will make you ready. God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called! The person you used to be maybe wasn’t prepared or qualified to do whatever He is calling you to be but remember, when you found Jesus, who you were was washed away. You are made new, you are qualified and God is going to make sure of it. This is who He created you to be so take His hand, walk with Him side by side and let Him reassure you that YOU are protected and completely covered by His Love.

So get your shields up my sweet friends because we are here, taking what’s rightfully ours. We are bringing His kingdom to Earth and you can bet your sweet little souls on it that the enemy is going to come, full force and try to ruin this movement that we are making. And, guess what, I’m ready. I have my eyes perfectly fixed on God and the enemy can whisper all He wants. Let him try, let him plot against us because we have the most powerful protector and defender. So here we go, forward we march, hand in hand, heart by heart, fully clothed in God’s love and most of all GRACE.

Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began” {2 Timothy 1:9}


Written by Dylan Deutsch

God’s Promise

We all go through hard times. Sometimes it seems like it hits us all at once with one thing after another. Life can be tough. But there is good news.

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. {Romans 8:28}

When my daughter is sick, I give her medicine. She can throw the biggest fits about it – she HATES medicine. She kicks, screams, runs away, cries, asks me “why” over and over, tells me I’m mean, and on and on. But I just hug her and tell her she has to take it. If she didn’t, she would never feel better. Her sickness could spread to different parts of her body and in some cases, there could even be death. I give her the medicine because I love her and want the best for her … but of course I can’t make her understand that. She is only 6 years old and all she knows is that I make her take this “yucky” stuff.

I think sometimes that reaction my 6 year old has to medicine, is our reaction to the bad stuff in life. Maybe it’s because our finances seem like there is not a relief in sight, maybe it’s because of a strained relationship, maybe it’s because we have been wrongfully accused, maybe it’s because we feel like we are forever waiting for our future husband, maybe it’s because we can’t find a job. There are millions of hard times we could be going through. But have you ever thought that maybe it’s because God loves us so much, and He sees so much more than we do, and He wants the best for us?

If I gave my 6 year old everything she wanted and just said, “Ok honey, you don’t want to take your medicine? You want to eat 10 bags of candy? You want to cross the street without looking? You want to stay up all night long? You want to watch scary stuff on tv? You don’t want to wear your seatbelt today? Okay.” I know that sounds silly … but maybe that is the way we sound like to God when we ask for things that isn’t what God wants.

I say no to all those silly things because I LOVE Landry. She means the world to me and I want to love her and protect her and I’m her mom and I know what is best for her … God’s love for us is WAY bigger.

What God says YES to is BIG. He wants the best and most amazing life for us. A life that is exceedingly and abundantly bigger than we could ever ask or think. Our minds cannot even comprehend!

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. {Ephesians 3:20}

But then there are times when we don’t listen to God and we do things our own way. Sure we have consequences for our actions. When we try to take control and not let God lead, we end up in situations we wish we weren’t. We start to realize that we should have listened to that still, small voice that told us differently. But there is the good news again … that promise. He promises to turn ALL things for good for those that LOVE Him. He can turn our yucky situations into beautiful ones. I’ve heard my pastor say it’s like a GPS system. We are going along and following God’s path … then we decide we might try to take a “shortcut” and go a different route. We quickly realize that it was a wrong turn and all we do is just check back into the GPS system and they “recalculate” our course to head towards the destination God has for  us.

The next time you think that you are going through a hard time, think about what good might could come from it? What cool way is God gonna turn this around? What can I learn from this bump in life? How can I grow from it? 

Is there a situation in your life where God turned a bad situation into a great one? We would love to hear!! 

Written by Amy Ford

A Story From an Overcomer

I guess to start off I would have to tell you a little about my background.

I was born and raised in Alabama. I come from a dirt poor, but determined family. My mother was the oldest of 4, and due to my grandma being a maid to a family; she had to practically raise all of her siblings. My grandmother is only 13 years older than my mom, because her middle school friends’ father raped her.

Back in those days in Alabama, when a child was to get pregnant, she could no longer attend school. My great-grandma also kicked her out of her house, so my grandmother had to go live with HER grandmother. Now I am only telling you this story in order for you to get a better feel of my mothers’ relationship and me.

My mother had no childhood. She was the one raising her siblings, that way my grandmother could work for the lousy pay she brought home each week.

Now fast forward some years, my mother is now 16 and met my Arabian father at the mall. He asked her to marry him, and she gladly accepted in order for her to just break away from her life, as she knew it. Soon after, she had my oldest sister, and then my twin brother and I.

My mother was possibly the strictest parent I have ever met. She had rules for literally everything. The volume on the TV, the volume on the radio, I couldn’t use the dishwasher but once a week, I could only go out with my friends every other week, I could only use the telephone on the weekend and only at 15-minute intervals, and well … you get the point.

My mother was not the type to tell me how proud she was of me, instead she would say you could do better to just about anything. If I got a 94% in a class, she would respond with you could have gotten a 100%. I absolutely could not tolerate all the rules and as any “normal” teenager would, I lashed out. That’s right, I simply became the rebellious teenager. I even developed an eating disorder due to the extreme rules and lack of encouragement. I felt like I was never good enough. This is something I still struggle with today. This was my deep dark secret that I only knew about … it was something that I could only control. I couldn’t control my life around me, but I could control what went in my mouth and I could control throwing it up. I have been struggling with this battle for over ten years, and I can proudly say for the last two I have been winning.

As soon as I graduated high school I moved closer to Dallas and I had a blast. I first started working at Hooters, and a girl told me about the amazing money you could make working at a strip club. Hooters was not paying me enough to pay the bills, so I decided to see what the hype was all about. I went in and applied, and became a waitress at a gentlemen’s club. I made SO much money and lived a life of non-stop partying, getting anything I wanted, and just having a blast … or so I thought at the time.

Just like most things, this excitement and life of riches comes with a price. I soon started neglecting my studies and became greedier and greedier for money. It was never enough and I could never satisfy this aching hole in my heart. It was like I lived to just eat at the finest places, take all the money I could from men, and party like a rock star all night.

Soon the liquor and nightlife introduced me the world of ecstasy. I learned if I just took a pill or half of one a night, I could be even flirtier and make (yep you guessed it) even more money. This was my miracle pill in my eyes, but in reality I had become an addict not only to ecstasy, but to liquor and money as well.

I say that I loved money, but I can proudly say I never stripped or sold my body, but when I sit down and face the truth, I was no better than those who did. I was conniving and took money from men just because they liked my appearance and I would lie to them all the time. I would also have multiple guys thinking that I was in love with them, because at the end of the day, they were paying my bills and taking me on trips and shopping sprees.

About a year and half ago, had stopped taking ecstasy (which I was only hooked on for about 5 months) but I had become a full-blown alcoholic. I literally would wake up, not eat anything, and drink from 9 am till I finally passed out from drinking way too much. There were plenty of nights I did not know how I would make it home. To better illustrate, an average day consisted of me waking up and immediately reach to my left and there would always be a bottle of wine. I would drink one full huge bottle of wine a day. When I was done with that, I would go out with friends, (whom we would all have men who paid for everything we wanted and did do), and drink around 10 to 15 shots a night.

My life had become a complete disaster.

Now fast forward half a year, and my world is just continuing to crumble around me. I had gotten fired from the strip club, which I was a bartender at this time, due to not sleeping with the owner for my shifts. I refused to sell my soul for my job so I just left. I had no job.

One night, I was just getting in from hanging out with my friend and I was completely drunk. My boyfriend told me to take a pregnancy test. I asked him why would he want me to do that. He responded you have not had your cycle this month. (That is just how bad my life had become. My only focus at this point was liquor and money. I had totally stopped caring about my own well being and health.)  I went into the bathroom and took the pregnancy test.

I looked at the little stick and just began to cry. I could not believe I was pregnant. So many emotions swept over me. The previous few years I had been able to just do anything I wanted. I was living the life, in my eyes. Instead of thinking warm and fuzzy feelings about this miracle inside of me, I was devastated. I did not want to give up the lifestyle I was living … the lifestyle that was slowly killing me inside and out but in my eyes at the time, I thought was the best life I could have.

All I could think of now I won’t be able to drink, now no man will want to do anything for me, and so on. Little to my surprise, my unplanned pregnancy actually saved my life.

I was sooo scared because now I had no job, and my boyfriend did not have one either. How were we going to pay for this child? I was an emotional wreck, but I knew I needed to get my life in order to get ready for this baby. I started back focusing on school. I never stopped attending (I had only missed 1 semester at this point).

During my pregnancy I took as many classes as I possibly could. I made straight A’s, and worked my butt off. By the time I had my baby girl, I only needed three more classes to graduate. I told myself I would be induced, because my due date was three days before school started in the spring. I was induced a week early, and I just knew I had to take the semester off. I breastfed and loved on my daughter for a whole semester. I went back this past May and gave up my whole summer, but I did it! It was the hardest thing I have ever done. I did nothing but go to school and take care of the baby. Studying and taking care of an infant is possibly one of the hardest things to do but I’m so proud of myself for doing it.

If people tell you, well now you have a child so you won’t be able to finish college, please do not believe them. It’s totally possible and with God, you can do it!  I did it, and I promise you I am not the first one to accomplish this achievement.

Also during my pregnancy I met an amazing group of women who helped girls like me. They did not judge us and only were there to help and encourage us. I had never seen such a miracle in my life.  The women were known as Embrace Grace. They truly opened my eyes, and allowed me to see the potential I had through God. They brought me closer to Him, and showed me that everything would be ok through the almighty Jesus Christ. If it were not for them, I would not have been spiritually back on track for my baby and myself.

Looking back at my life prior to my baby, I am amazed to see how dangerous and out of control my life had become and I had no idea at the time. I did what I want, when I wanted and more often than not, didn’t care who I was hurting along the way. My drinking had become so bad that I would hurt those closest to me. I would get into verbal, physical, and emotional battles with myself and the ones I love. The saddest part about my addiction, however, is that no one seemed to know or really even care to see that I had a problem. If my baby had not have come along, I literally would be doing the same thing now that I was doing then, but probably even worse.

If it were not for my child I can honestly say that the outcome of my life would have been way different. First I wouldn’t have graduated from college as soon as I did, I would have continued to slowly kill myself inside, my drinking would have killed me or someone else, and who knows what else.

My little girl is my true miracle baby and if it wasn’t for her, I would have a totally different life. I do not regret any part of keeping my daughter. She has not only literally saved my life and made me a better person, but this tiny person has united me and my family even closer than we ever have before. God gave me a life to save my own and I am forever grateful to my Heavenly Father.

 Written Anonymously.