Joy in Motherhood

I totally understand wanting to be loved and just having someone there to lay your head on when you’re having a bad day. I get that.

But sometimes I think single moms have it easy …

Now I know what you’re probably thinking I’m crazy, I get it. But just think about it for a minute. I know you usually don’t have anyone to help you with midnight feedings and diaper changes. But most married couples don’t get up together because lets just face it, men like their sleep. Plus, when I was breast feeding, Brad obviously couldn’t offer help in that area although sometimes I wished he could have! There were very few times there were nights he would get up with Blakelee and let me sleep, something I know single mothers never get. I’m not trying to paint a picture saying that married life is harder. God designed 2 parents for a reason and for it’s tough for single moms to have to play both roles.

But this is where I think it gets easier for single mommas. First, when you decide to get married, everything of “yours” becomes “ours.” Money is a big adjustment. I’ve definitely struggled with it. I would think well its in MY bank account, its MINE to get Blakelee clothes, coffee, nails, food, etc. WRONG. As much as it’s mine, it’s Brad’s too. You have to talk together about EVERYTHING you want to purchase to make sure it’s in the budget. And most of the time, the answer is “no.”

Now for single mothers, you can spend it on whatever you want. It’s YOUR money. You don’t have to share.

Secondly, you have to share and work together on disciplining your kids. You have to decide how to do things when your child misbehaves or throws a fit or making plans for her future. This easily can turn into arguments if you don’t have the right attitude about it. Sometimes I think Brad’s being too hard on Blakelee, other times he thinks I’m being too hard on her. You just have to step back and find a happy medium.

Being a single mom, you make the rules and you don’t have to answer to anyone else. It also goes for general stuff, like that I held Blakelee during feeding, and then the way Brad would hold her. I didn’t like the way he did it, and he didn’t like the way I did it. It’s all little things I know but it’s just a bunch of little things that can cause big problems if your heart is not in the right place and mentality.

But being single, you can do everything the way you want to do it. I love my husband more than anything in the world! It’s a daily challenge to find your happy medium. I think a lot of people have this fairytale image of how married life is so easy from movies, and childhood stories. But if it was that simple, don’t you think everyone would have found it by now? And there would be a lot less divorce? It’s hard, its a whole different kind of hard. Times get really tough but I wouldn’t change it for the world, because God has chosen this amazing man for me. I just wanted to help you open your eyes to the bigger picture from a young married mom. It’s not always lovey dovey. There are tears and fights.

We get so desperate for our next phase or season in life and we want to hurry and just skip seasons … when there are blessings in every season. I was only a single mom for a very short time but looking back, there were blessings in that time. I had a hard time seeing it at the time. I just wanted to get married and settle down and hurry into the next phase of my life … but there were special moments in that season too. Just me and Blakelee.

Whatever season you are in, there are parts that aren’t great about it, so you have to just make a decision to be thankful for where you are and for all the things God has blessed you with. If you can’t find happiness in your season, then you can’t ever find happiness. Having joy is a choice and the closer you draw to God, the more smiles you have every day.

God has a perfect man for you that He is preparing and waiting for the perfect moment for you to meet. He is out there. Just enjoy your time as a single mom with just you and your baby because soon, everything changes and when God picks the perfect time for you and your soulmate to collide lives together.

Written by Brooke Wells

He Gives and Takes Away

Have you ever had to close the door on something in your life that you were so reluctant to let go of? Or maybe there is something you’ve been feeling like you NEED to close the door on … but you just can’t quite do it. You fear losing that thing and being empty afterwards or just feeling a loss.

We have seasons where God gives and takes away. It could be relationships, material things, dreams, jobs, the list goes on and on … We’re always either gaining something or losing something.

I love that old worship song, “You give and take away, You give and take away … My heart will choose to say, Lord blessed be Your name.” 

Last week I was struggling with a decision regarding a relationship and truly closing the door. My head was telling me that it was necessary to close the door FULLY but my heart just didn’t want to. I didn’t want to let it go. What if the person might change in the future? What if things would get better eventually? I struggled internally and the more I prayed about it, the more I felt like God was leading me to close the door.

I said, “OK God, if You are really wanting me to close this door, I need you to give me a sign and make it really obvious because I am just having a hard time with what I feel like you want me to do.” And as soon as I prayed that, I heard God say, “Amy, don’t you know that I will redeem what was lost?” WHOA. I already knew what “redeem” meant but I went ahead and looked it up because I just really wanted to take in everything that God was saying.

REDEEM: TO REPLACE OR RECOVER

“Don’t you know that I will {replace or recover} what was lost?”

Later that morning, I got my “sign” that I had been asking for that made it SO obvious that I had to close the door. The person just didn’t have their heart in the right place. I thanked God for showing me what to do and I closed it in my heart. Done.

I’ve had to do this kind of stuff in the past with things and He has always replaced with so much more. Once I had to release one of my very good friends and I was so sad about it, and the very next week I met a girl on my Heartquest trip and we have been very best friends ever since. He replaced a friendship that wasn’t that great anyways with a lifelong treasure of a friend.

Maybe you got let go of a job recently … God has another one lined up for you.

Maybe you had to let go of a guy you were dating that wasn’t lining up with your values … God is preparing your future husband right now.

Maybe you had to let go of a good account at work because they were asking you to do illegal or immoral things … God will bless you for doing the right thing and replace with even greater account.

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 8:28-31}

God loves you and He is FOR YOU. Even when things don’t make sense and you can’t understand why something didn’t work out, God does. Just trust Him in this process and we can learn and grow as we line up our will with His.

Maybe there is something you are holding on to that God has been asking you to let go of and He can’t bring your amazing replacement until you do. Ask Him for a sign, He will show you! 

Written by Amy Ford

Don’t Ever Give Up!

So growing up my mom was very controlling type of mother. Music, friends, the clothes I wore … and especially boyfriends. She controlled it all. My parents were separated by the time I was one year old and of course she was the primary parent. When I was 13, she had told me that I was a mistake to her and because of who my father was, she had wished I was never born. This absolutely tore my heart in half. My friends were my family and they were the ones that got me through the tough times. My friends and my dad, who lived 85 miles away from me but yet still made an effort to be a part of my life as much as possible.

Less than a year later I had lost my best friend and brother to cardiac arrest. He had mental retardation but he was a very special person who touched my life and made an impact on me. It was so hard on me.

When I was fifteen I came near to death. I had gotten the virus TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome) one of the side effects for tampon use. The doctors said I basically had 48 hours to live once your body has received it. It came up to about the 45th or 46th hour and I was sent to ICU at Cook’s Hospital fighting for my life. At that time I was very depressed dealing with my brother’s death and the stress of going through the process of trying to move in with my dad. Literally laying on my death bed fighting for my life I was just basically thinking “You know this is it. My time has come, it’s time to see my brother once again and to finally meet my grandfather.” I basically just prepared myself for death. I didn’t think that I was going to make it, but apparently God had other plans for me I just didn’t know what it was just yet. Most females that obtain this virus do NOT make it through alive, but I did (Thank the Lord). After the recovery from that disease and when I got my strength back, I finally got to move in with my dad.

When I was 17 I met a guy that I fell hard for. He was cute and made it apparent that he really wanted me as a girlfriend. I made him chase me for a year before even considering going on a date. When we had started dating I fell head over heels for him. I thought he was the one that God has picked for me and blah blah blah. He even proposed after only being together for two months. Well a few months went by and I noticed he was lusting for other girls. By the time our 1 year anniversary came I was considering breaking up, I found out I was pregnant. I told myself that I had to stay with him and try to make it work for the sake of our child. Me thinking, “Oh a baby will change him!” We moved in together when I was 3 months pregnant and got married when I was 6 months. I was attending Embrace Grace classes and honestly it was THE best decision I had made. I felt that my leaders had really prepared me for motherhood. Throughout my pregnancy, my relationship with my now husband was on the rocks. He was still cheating and I was the one trying to make us work out. A couple of weeks before my daughter was born I was nervous about becoming a new mother and my husband had just quit his job so I was completely overwhelmed with stress.

One day I was hanging out with my nephew and he excitedly brought me a ladybug to show me. In Embrace Grace that was kind of our theme, ladybugs. It meant, “Everything is going to be ok and to trust Him to take care of us.” Through my whole season of having an unplanned pregnancy and a rocky marriage, this is what I’ve learned more than anything else. God has taken care of me so much. I am overwhelmed by how God He is. Even through all of my crazy worries and stress (that was totally unnecessary), He gave me the sweetest gift of a baby girl.  The first time I looked into my daughter’s eyes it was like the whole world stopped and my life changed! My motive to do well and my focus was on her and nothing else mattered. I was made to be a mom and that’s why God had saved me from TSS.

My marriage didn’t work out. He couldn’t stay faithful. I even found out he gave me an STD which was so hard to accept. I’m still trying to understand why this happened but it’s a prayer in progress.

I’ve opened my heart to someone else now and our relationship is going great and excited about our little family.

I just want to encourage each of you reading that God put you on this life for a purpose and even with our bumps and bruises we get, He is always there for us to lean on when it gets hard. Life gets hard sometimes but with God, He takes the hard stuff and makes them blessings. We are stronger because of it. Don’t ever give up!

Written by Camri Tidwell

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

Last night, October 11th, I was staring up in the starry night sky.  It was just me and God, the rest of my family was inside our home sleeping peacefully. I was mesmerized by the beauty of the stars sparkling like diamonds.  We all remember the song we sang as little girls…

Twinkle, twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are, up above the world so high, like a diamond in the sky…

I remember as a little girl I would be sitting in the backseat of the car and my parents would be driving somewhere and my mind would start wandering and I would be thinking of well, you know, what little girls think of. You know like sugar and spice and everything nice!  I would look up in the sky and take my 2 fingers (thumb and pointer) and start out with the space between them large in the beginning, but then squeeze smaller and smaller until I imagined that the star would shrink down in size to fit in my tiny fingers.  I would say I am taking my vitamin today, that was my little boost that I dreamed would fill me with something extra special to help me shine.

Last night as I lifted my head up high to the sky, my mind began to reflect back to those times as a little girl and getting a dose of my imaginary vitamins, as an extra little booster that I dreamed would help me shine brightly.  I began to smile and started talking to God and asking Him what He wanted to talk about.  I said I am here to listen.  I have all the time you want.   I lay my agenda down and just want to sit and be with you.  I was sitting in the hot tub and feeling so relaxed.  A new game that Jesus and I love to play is connect the dots.  I began drawing imaginary lines up in the sky to connect the stars, sorta like my own constellations.

When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers, the moon and stars you set in place.  {Psalm 8:3}

Praise Him all you twinkling stars! {Psalm 48:3}

Then I began asking God, can you please show me a sign that you are near? Like a confirmation.  I would love to see a sign from you in the sky. Ooohh, a shooting star would be so cool!  I even sighed, God I will wait here on you, and just stare up at your beauty and be in awe with YOU! I watched and waited for at least 30 minutes, but no shooting star.  I was very content and loving the peacefulness all around me.  Then another 30 minutes passed, still no shooting star.  I said nothing is impossible for you God, you can do it, you birthed the sky and the stars, and the earth that we live on, as well as all the galaxies and planets around us, you hold them in your hands, you can do this little request. Yet, still nothing. I was so content in the waiting.  I felt you so near.  I watched in wonder as the clouds were rolling by so quickly. The stars would fade in and out.

I began praying for the mommies and babies of Embrace Grace and Love.  Praying for their safety, protection, healthy deliveries of the babies. For God’s special kisses that He loves to send from above by His prophecies (word), His Provision, and His Presence.  For His love to wrap all around them and feel Him so near.

After an hour of star gazing, I decided it was time to go inside and get ready for bed.  I quietly whispered in my heart even if you do not show me a sign in the sky by the shooting star, I still trust you wholeheartedly and I know that I can feel you all around me, thickening the air around me.  This song came on that I had never heard before.  “To those who wait” by Bethany Dillon.  I quickly grabbed my journal and jotted the inspiring words down.  I felt a whisper “good things come to those who wait.  I am honoring your waiting that you have been giving me on so many things in your life at this moment.  You have been in a waiting season, and it is about to come to fulfillment.”

The very next evening, our family was in the front yard playing a game of football.  Landan was bent down in position to snap the ball, and I had my hands prepared to catch it.   All of a sudden at that exact moment, we both happened to glance up at the sky and captured with our own eyes a shooting star directly above our home. It lasted only a split second. It was not even dark outside yet! The moon was barely visible and it was only a little sliver.  It was  about 7:45 pm.  Landan screamed out Mom, did you see that?  I ran over to him and hugged him tightly and said oh yes son I did see it and guess what?  I just asked God last night to send me a sign in the sky… and He answered my request!! What a spectacular display!

Then just a few hours later there was a news report that caught my attention.  It showed a picture of a diamond planet that had recently been discovered only a year ago and all the research was just being released that very day.  This diamond planet is twice the size of Earth and is 40 light years away, and this sun like star can be seen with the naked eye.  It is covered with a layer of graphite surrounding a thick layer of diamond.  Talk about a sign in the sky!  Whoa!

You may be wondering what does all this have to do with anything?

Well, we are like stars that shine in the sky.  We shine brightly even through the darkest nights and the clouds that roll by.  YOU twinkle and shine brightly just like the stars and diamonds.  You are a light.

Those who teach others to live right will shine like stars forever and ever.  {Daniel 12:3}

“We are the light of the world, we are the city on a hill, we gotta let the light shine.” – I love this song by Kari Jobe.  Let the light of your life shine in such a way that others see your good deeds and bring glory to your Father in heaven. {Matthew 5:16}

When you ask God for a sign, He loves to show you in remarkable ways.  God loves to show up and show off!  He made the heavens, He created the earth and He created all of us!  He loves for us to enjoy and stand in awestruck wonder of His creation.  Let your light shine and twinkle brightly for Him for all the world to see.

I want to shine brightly. How about you?  Reach up in the sky tonight and ask God to help you shine brightly and twinkle and sparkle like a diamond.  He hears you and loves to answer your request!

Twinkle, twinkle little star, how I wonder what YOU are??……

Written by Salina Duffy

 

Embrace Grace NEWS!

We officially received our 501c3 status so we are a non profit organization now! We are SO excited about what God is doing with Embrace Grace, Inc we can hardly stand it. Just wanted to post what our heart and vision is for Embrace Grace from our “About Us” section. 

As Christians step out of their comfort zones and use their voice for those who have none, more and more girls are thinking twice about having an abortion. New laws are being enacted that make the mother view the sonogram and hear the heartbeat of their unborn baby at least 24 hours before undergoing an abortion procedure. This window gives them just a little more time to really process the choice they’re about to make. And because of these changes, more babies are being saved.

This is a good thing right?

Of course it is. It is a GREAT thing. Lives are being saved. But what happens after a girl finally makes the difficult decision to follow through with the pregnancy? A lot of times, she has nine lonely months of worry and fear. Friends distance themselves, and her family may even turn their backs on her. The father of the baby might just run because he can’t handle the pressure. What happens to this girl that made the brave and courageous decision to keep her baby when the world has turned away?

Embrace Grace is a 501c3 non-profit organization formed for the purpose of providing emotional, practical and spiritual support for single young girls that find themselves with an unplanned pregnancy. The primary goal of Embrace Grace is to empower churches across the nation to be a safe and non-judging place for the girls to run to when they find out they are pregnant, instead of the last because of shame and guilt. We provide curriculum for the churches as well as offer grants to organizations that may not be able to afford the expenses involved with helping young women with crisis pregnancies. If the church, the body of Christ, would join together to support these girls that choose life, young moms will be more open to not abort their baby. Whether they keep their baby or place for adoption, Embrace Grace is a support system for them as they begin their journey of being a young mother or blessing another family with their baby. Emotionally and spiritually healthy mommies parent emotionally and spiritually healthy babies. Through the Embrace Grace program, lives are saved and generations are being changed. God loves these babies and their mommies and we do too.

Donation Information:

Embrace Grace, Inc. • 6209 Airport Freeway • Haltom City, TX 76117

Written by Amy Ford

Emotional Decisions

It’s so easy to do.  We reach the ice cream because it sounds a lot better than the healthier snack. We agree to something out of pressure or sympathy and we regret it later and wonder what in the world made us say yes? We have that impulse buy and later wish we hadn’t. We give a little too much of our hearts to a person we might be dating because we got all the butterflies but a few days later, wondering what you ever saw in the guy.

It’s easy to let our emotions drive our decisions. It’s a little too easy actually.  But what if we stopped and waited before we spoke out of anger and said something we might regret, what if we stopped and waited a few days before we signed on the dotted line of a major decision, what if we waited a few months or years before giving too much of our heart to any boy that gives you attention. We would live with so many less regrets.

“The heart is hopelessly dark and deceitful, a puzzle that no one can figure out.” {Jeremiah  17:9}

Our emotions go from one extreme to another at the drop of a hat – especially if you are pregnant. It’s basically our emotions on steroids HA! Our lows seem even lower and our highs seem like we’re at the top of the world. We can switch off in 1 second or less. The more we stay grounded in the word and recognize the voice of our enemy, the better we get at not making an emotional decision. 

Think about what we could do if we took fear out of the equation? What would we accomplish? If we eliminated fear but just based our decisions on the facts of God’s word, nothing could hold us back! Think about if you chose a guy based on listening to God’s voice on who was the right one or not, it would be amazing and you wouldn’t have to go through the heartbreak of countless dates with the wrong man. What about if you eliminated speaking at all if anger was in your heart. You just forced yourself to recognize the trigger point and just knew to immediately shut your mouth until the extreme emotion lifted, think about how many relationships would stay together and how much love in our world would be?

Basing things on how we “feel” at that moment will get us nowhere. Sometimes God requires us to do hard things. Even with writing a book I’m working on right now, sometimes I don’t “feel” like doing it, but I know God has called me to write and I need to override my feelings and have discipline in carrying out the task that God has for me in this season in my life. Or even with working out and eating right, most of the time we don’t feel like it, but when we do good, we feel so much better in the end. Awesome results don’t just magically happen, they are achieved by our actions … and our actions ALWAYS start with a decision.

I encourage you to write down some of the extreme emotions that you encounter in a day and some regrets of decisions you have made while experiencing that emotion. Writing it down will help you recognize it when it starts to happen in the future and you can help control it more. Let us know if you have any tips on how to base decisions on God’s word and not our emotions for the moment. Have you made emotional decisions before and later regretted it? What did you learn from that? We’d love to hear from you! 

Written by Amy Ford

Baby Blessings

It was my senior year in high school and had never had a serious relationship or even lost my virginity. Just boys who wanted to hook up and at points I was even called a prude because I wouldn’t even kiss them. I’ve never been a skinny or petite girl so I was always self-conscious of myself, especially in high school.

One of my girlfriends introduced me to the man of my dreams, or I thought he was.  I fell “in lust” with him and eventually lost my virginity to him. Blinded by what I thought was love I ignored all the bad stuff people told me and within 5 months I had graduated and moved out of my house to be with him. My parents HATED him with a passion. He had a bad background but I’m a very trusting person and believe anyone can change. We lived together for about a month when he suddenly became controlling. He was always wondering where I was and tried using things against and constantly threatening me.

The day I tried to walk out he knew and had grabbed my purse, stole my keys, grabbed a knife and threatened his own life. Long story short I hauled it out of there the first chance I got leaving almost everything behind.  I was so scared I moved all the way to Midland, Texas to get away from him.

For the next few weeks my family and I got threats and he tried to get me to come back but I just couldn’t do it. After that relationship I didn’t ever want to love or let someone in my heart again. After settling into Midland a few months, a friend asked if I wanted to move to Florida with him while he went to school.  Since I was an 18 year old without a care in the world, I said yes. My dad hung up me when I called and told him my plan but he eventually let me.  Florida was paradise! We lived 2 minutes from the beach. I got settled in with a great job. Things were starting to go really well. I started meeting people and going out. The only negative to living in a tourist town was that going out drinking was the only thing to do.

One night I went out with a group of people and we ended up going down a long dirt road which led to a swamp. I had finally found part of Texas. A whole bunch of crazy country folk drinking beer, telling jokes, blaring music all around a fire. I had been drinking already by this point and just started talking to everyone being loud and crazy. I was having a blast. A guy pulls up and I saw Texas license plates and it was love at first sight. We kissed, we danced and we stayed up till the sun rose. I had eventually convinced my friends to let this guy I just met drive me home even though they were not 100% ok with it. We started dating and but 4 months into our relationship, I found out he was still having a relationship with his ex-girlfriend. So I went out with my friends had some drinks and eventually called her up to talk. I confronted him about it but somehow he suckered me back in.

A few weeks later I started realizing I hadn’t started my cycle yet and I thought it was just stress but days went by and still nothing. My friend Patrice drug me out of work for my lunch break and took me to Walmart to get a test. I think she freaked out more than I did when I saw the word “pregnant” big as day. My heart dropped but in a way I was happy.

On our way home that day I told the news to Peter. He was excited at first but then started second guessing how we were going to do it so I eventually moved back home to be with my family for help. Two weeks after getting home I started spotting. I freaked out and went to the emergency room. They had confirmed I was having a miscarriage. The pain was unbearable and I felt like I was going to die. It was the worst feeling ever but I eventually felt better about everything. I went back to Florida and for several months we would get back together and then break up. I constantly caught him cheating. I even got pregnant again and miscarried AGAIN.

On my 21st birthday, was my last night with Peter. It was like a final goodbye night. We knew we weren’t going to work out and I was about to move back home again. After settling in at home, once again I had that sinking feeling I was late. I was horrified and scared to tell anyone. I finally told my friend Jasmine and we took a test and once again it was positive. How was I supposed to tell my family AGAIN that I’m pregnant? I told my sister and eventually broke down to my dad. He was extremely disappointed. I was too. I waited and waited expecting the worse but nothing happened. I was actually going to have a baby. I finally got the courage to call Peter up and tell him that he was going to be a dad. He said all the right things like he was going to be there for me in Texas, or move me back to Florida … then just switched gears and decided it wasn’t his baby. He was so back and forth.

Months went by and I started gaining weight and reality stated sinking in. What was I going to do? I was living at home hardly making any money and I was going to bring a baby into this world … I got a text one day from a friend telling me I should check out this class she had heard about for single and pregnant women called Embrace Grace. I almost didn’t go. I thank God everyday that I chose to go that night. It was the best thing that ever happened to me. The girls were so sweet and the leaders, Salina and Amy were amazing. I had something to look forward to every week and get my mind off my worries.

A few weeks later I had Amy come with me to my appointment to find out what I was going to have and I for sure knew it was going to be a boy. To my surprise the doctor announced, “It’s a girl!” I was shocked but so happy. As we were leaving Amy said what about the name Chloe? Well it stuck and I now have a beautiful 2 year old and her name is Chloe.

Classes continued and then it was time for the shower. I was thinking it would be small and I would be needing to do a lot of shopping still but to my surprise, we were overwhelmed with SO many gifts. This event was truly a blessing. I needed almost nothing when I left. I broke down in tears thinking about the selfless acts of the people who participated in the shower and the amazing leaders. I honestly don’t know where I would be without knowing about Embrace Grace. It’s absolutely the best thing that’s ever happened to me (besides my girls). I love each and every one of you, even the new girls I don’t know. I’m happy how things turned out even if it wasn’t perfect or how I planned I have God’s greatest blessings and they are my children!

Written by Chrissy Davis