Full Bloom

In the days to come, the people of Jacob will be like a plant with good roots; Israel will grow like a plant beginning to bloom. Then the world will be filled with their children. {Isaiah 27:6}

Hearts unfold like flowers before you – Casting Crowns

I love to scrapbook! It’s one of my passions to take photos and display them on a page and embellish them and create lasting memories.  Love capturing the moments.  A sweet page that I had created for my son’s baby album was titled ‘In Bloom’. Displayed on the page was a picture of me holding my ever growing tummy.  That very morning I was going to the hospital to be induced for labor.  My baby was due on the 7th, but that day came and went and another 2 days passed by… I thought when is my baby going to come?  I had been dilated at a 2 for over 2 weeks now!  I was overdue!

My Doctor came in to break my water that morning to get the labor in full motion.  I had 2 of the most amazing coaches by my side.  My husband and my 7 year old son.  They told me when to push.  When to relax.  When to breathe… I was in good hands.  Had an amazing delivery of my baby and the photos displayed on the scrapbook pages reveal the sheer love, joy and amazement expressed that day our 2nd son was born.  Such love was felt all over the delivery room.

I had a dream a few weeks ago.  It began with a green rose bush that did not have any flowers in the beginning.  But suddenly, a tiny rose bud appears, and then begins to blossom and is in full bloom.  More buds began appearing.  In my dream, it was like a movie display or time lapse, where a photographer captures hours, days, weeks, even months of a nature scene. These scenes, such as flowers, captures such beauty and the time elapse shows the budding, blooming and full bloom displayed in a matter of seconds.  What took them lots of time to capture and create, is displayed before our eyes in moments.

The purple roses in my dream began to bloom so quickly and beautifully and the blooms seemed to keep blossoming and growing into a full life size display of beauty.  When I say life size it is comparable to you and me… (this kind of life size).  It was so remarkable and made such an impression on my heart!

It will have many blooms. It will show its happiness, as if it were shouting with joy. {Isaiah 35:2 NCV}

So I have been asking God what does this dream symbolize?  Why do I keep hearing the words ‘In Bloom’ in my heart so much?  He has since then began to reveal this dream to me.  Making it relatable to a pregnancy.  At first there is just the green vines. Then a miracle happens and a tiny bud appears.  (a word search on dictionary and thesaurus gave an embryo reference for a bud) I love this visual.  So your tiny baby embryo is like a tiny rose bud.  Then water, nutrients, love and life is given to this bud, and your baby bud begins to blossom in your womb.

Your little baby bud receives all the nourishment straight from you, since the umbilical cord is attached to their naval. Everything that you take in, they also absorb. And your baby rose bud begins to blossom more and more each day.   Eventually, after months have passed, your baby is in bloom- Full Bloom! Your womb has carried, nurtured and loved this baby bud the entire time and delivery is about to take place.

The life size rose that I saw in my dream is a picture of YOU!  You are a rose.  A beautiful rose!  You have experienced a bud, blossom and bloom in your womb and it is such a miracle to behold!

Pregnancies come in many different forms.  Of course, the obvious is carrying a baby naturally.  But, there are many other pregnancies that are also carried to bloom.  Dreams, destinies, books, fresh and new ideas, creations… so many endless possibilities.  Not just for women, this includes men too!  We can all experience a pregnancy in some form or fashion.

Whether you are in the bud stage, the blooming or in Full Bloom… Embrace the Beauty of this gift that you have been given inside of you.

Let’s go early to the vineyards and see if the buds are on the vines. Let’s see if the blossoms have already opened.  And if the pomegranates have bloomed.  There I will give you my love.  {Song of Songs 7:12}

And before you know it, you will be delivering your own little blossom.  You will look back over those months, and it will be just as the photography snapshots.  The time lapse that has been captured displays the moments in time so quickly.  Soon your little blossom begins to grow and bloom into their own little rose.  Enjoy each and every moment that comes.  The beauty of LIFE IN BLOOM!

God is the Master Gardener and He tends to His fields and flowers and is full of love for you!

From now on, I am the one who answers and satisfies.  I am like a luxuriant fruit tree.  Everything you need is to be found in me.  {Hosea 14:8}

Send out your Spirit and they spring to life, the whole countryside in bloom and blossom. {Psalm 104:30 MSG}

Open up heavens and rain. Clouds pour out buckets of my goodness!  Loosen up, earth and bloom salvation, sprout right living.  I, God, generate this.  {Isaiah 45:8}

Written by Salina Duffy

Thank you!

We were so blessed by the baby shower. We counted around 429 gifts that were picked out and purchased with love for each one of these sweet mommas. We were so overwhelmed by so much love in one place and it definitely was a day we will always remember. We just want to say we are thankful from the bottom of our hearts that so many people came and/or blessed a momma. You made an impact on all of us and we love how God comes through every single time for his mommas. Here are the thank you’s from the baby shower. We are still waiting on a few more to come in and we will post those as soon as we receive them. Thank you again! 

The Embrace Grace shower was…AWESOME! I loved the feeling of “love” in the room from all the families that donated.  I really, really with all my heart appreciate everyone and every gift I received for my baby boy! He’s truly loved and not even born yet! The amount of care I received from everyone is just so overwhelming.  You don’t know whether to cry with tears of joy or laugh and say, “I see you God.” I got a lot more than I expected and I will never forget that day.  I recommend EG to all girls in our situation.  Open your hearts and let God lead you on the right path.  I’m not lucky, I’m blessed and thankful for my EG leaders and the families that donated. You will FOREVER live in my heart!

 Love, Chanel S. {Frisco}

 

I feel so completely blessed to have met these women.  I was so scared at first.  I remember emailing Kathleen about my problems and saying “I understand if I have too much going on to join.” But she and everyone else accepted me and all of my imperfections.  I came to this group hanging by a thread, to hitting rock bottom, to finding God’s love and finding His path. No amount of “thank you’s” could ever be enough for what these ladies have done.  I love all of them, even the ones I haven’t met 🙂 I can not repay what they’ve done for me, but I will NEVER forget them.  I will always love them.

 Thank you! Megan M. {Frisco}

 

Saying thank you is not enough to share with you how grateful I am. The blessings God has given me through you all are amazing! God has used you in my life in ways you will never understand.  He has used you to pull me out of the dark hole I was once in and placed me in His light. The gifts you gave Hope and myself are amazing.  I can’t say thank you enough, but THANK YOU! The love I feel is overwhelming and such a blessing.  It has brought me so much peace.  Thank you and God bless! Love, Dani H. {Frisco}

 

Thank you so much for blessing me with all the gifts you got for my family. I can not express how much y’all helped me and took a lot of stress off of me. Love, Nikki K. {Frisco}

 

To Everyone that helped with the Baby Shower,

 I am so thankful and blessed with what everyone did to help all these mammas! 🙂 I am very blessed to have found Embrace Grace.  I really didn’t imagine it was going to be this helpful and wonderful.  I know there are good people out there in the world, that’s no doubt!!  I just couldn’t believe how many gifts I got for my baby Girl.  I will for sure tell her about this experience when she grows up. I will tell her how blessed she was receiving gifts from people who cared about her without even knowing her or knowing me.  I know that God is good, wait I mean AMAZING!! He really does help everyone and anybody.  He loves us for who we are and already has a future for us.  But thank you so much to everyone.  I love you all from the bottom of my heart.  By the way, my baby’s name will be Genesis! 🙂 I know she will love you all for this too! Love, Christy V. {Frisco}

 

Dear Kaitlin,

Thank you sooo incredibly much for everything you got for me and A’veiya.  Everything you got was absolutely amazing and it truly is such a blessing. I couldn’t be more thankful for you.  You are a blessing.  I hope one day we can hang out and become more than just facebook friends.  Our kids can play, when A’veiya gets a little older of course.  I couldn’t thank you enough.  I never imagined just one person or family, that I don’t know, would do all of that for me.  My family didn’t even do that much for my own baby shower!  Thank you so much again! Love you Kaitlin! Love Always, Tabi and A’veiya 

Thank you so much for all the beautiful gifts! I am so glad and thankful that God put it in your heart to do something so wonderful! I am so grateful and blessed more than words can say! Love Always, Ruby

Stephanie was such a sweet blessing to baby Judah and to my life! The way she gave to a complete stranger was such a selfless act of love and I feel so lucky to have met you. I can’t thank you enough for all that you have done for us! You are truly a light in the dark and we an only hope that there are more people like you. With Much Love, Sadie & Judah

Thank you so so so much for all that you all provided for us. (I did not expect so much!) You are such wonderful ladies! We LOVED the handmade blankets/burp cloths and the diapers helped so much. We were almost out. It brings tears to my eyes to see my son get new things when I can’t afford it. It made me so happy. P.S. Also loved the outfits and the binky with the frog on it! We named it Gilbert. And I especially loved my Devotional Bible.    Love you all so much and you have touched my heart for life. Love, Sterling & Chanzton

Dear Ladies, I just want to say thank you so much for blessing me and my little family. Everything meant more to us then you could imagine and being able to share that day and moment with so many of you. I wish we could have met everyone but I know that you guys are all awesome women of God. The fact that you had never met us and still blessed us the way you did was amazing and I pray you guys be blessed 10 x’s more. Not only did you help with gifts but you also gave us the chance to celebrate Kasey’s life with my momma. She was touched and you guys started a healing in her heart that brought her closer to our baby boy. She is that much closer to touching my belly for the first time and finally being okay with celebrating his life. I can’t thank you all enough for everything. I love you guys and so does my family. Love, Raven and Kasey

Thank you so much for all the beautiful gifts you ladies bought me. It means so much that you ladies went out of your way to make sure that I was taken care of. I honestly couldn’t imagine more beautiful women to adopt me. You ladies didn’t even know where I came from and you still opened your arms to take care of me and my baby! Aria and I love you so much and we will definitely keep in touch! God bless, love you guys! Love, Kristin B.

Michelle & Jessi, I want to express my gratitude for your generosity but no amount of words could convey the amount of love I felt from you. Every gift is useful and special to me. I will surely think of you ladies each time I use your gifts. I know you have a heart for girls in my situation because you were once in my shoes, I want you to know that I plan to continue this legacy and when I’m older and can bless other young girls the way you have blessed me. Thank you so much for thinking of me and my son.  Sincerely, Amber & Bennett

Ladies, I cannot express my gratitude and how much of a blessing you all are to me! All the love and support I felt has made this journey just more bearable and I truly feel God has taught me so much from this selfless act of kindness. I feel like I have known you for ever and have not had the opportunity to meet you all. You all feel like my family of God. I love you all so much and thank you from the bottom of my heart! Love, Nycole

Thank you so much for the beautiful gifts! Seeing so many bright faces is so encouraging. I cannot express my gratitude for you ladies enough. It’s a relief to know that baby Andre will come into this world with him prepared parents due to the generosity of others! I know God blessed me and my family with the opportunity to meet you wonderful ladies and I am so thankful for what you have done. Much love, Kayla

Thank you so much for blessing Zane. You are such wonderful women and I’m so thankful for getting to meet you all of you. I hope that wonderful things happen for your family. Thanks again.  Love, Jenn & Zane

Dear amazing people, you have blessed me with such great gifts. 
My son and I are forever grateful and it meant so much. I now have everything I need to take care of my son. I’m so happy! You have helped me so so so much! I just wish I could help you in some way. Thank you so very much. Love, Jennifer D. & Liam

Thank you so much for all the gifts and incredible shower for all of us mommas! It’s amazing to have so many lives celebrated by so many people. Embrace Grace has been so good to me and my baby. I’ve had so much support from women and girls who were complete strangers where those I used to call friends and even some family … abandoned me, or stopped talking to me completely. I’m so blessed to have these women and mommas in my life. Thank you for supporting me and such an amazing organization! It really is changing and saving lives.  Love, Sarah & Grayson

To the wonderful group who participated in the Embrace Grace shower, 
thank you so much for all the wonderful gifts that I received for Paisley. It meant the world to me to have the unconditional support, love and prayers as I embark on the wonders of motherhood. I loved each and every gift that was received and I know Paisley will get great use of them all. Embrace Grace has been such an incredible group to be a part of. When I found out I was pregnant I was afraid how I would fit in and be able to have friends that know what I’m going through as a single mother. With the help of joining Embrace Grace, I feel the strength to carry out God’s plan for me. I feel so blessed to know that I have so much love and a great support system behind me. Thank you again for everything you all have done.
 God bless each and every single one of you.
 Love, Whitney

Just wanted to thank you all from the bottom of my heart, for all the wonderful gifts my son, Noah, was blessed with. It truly means a lot to know that people still have care in this world for single mothers. Never would I have imagined that I would ever be a part of a church, let alone a mommy group such as Embrace Grace. Many thanks and blessings to you all and I again thank you so much/ Love always, Kristen H.

I just want to thank each and every one of you guys for getting me all those amazing gifts for my son. All of you are amazing and I am so thankful and so very blessed for each gift from everybody. I love embrace grace it has provided me and my son so many opportunities and giving me a place to go to every Monday night and meeting all these wonderful, amazing, beautiful, caring ladies; and knowing other people’s story and know I’m not the only one going through all of this alone it’s AWESOME ! Anyways I appreciate everything from embrace grace they have done so much I couldn’t thank everybody ENOUGH ! – Love Zina Alaniva

Thank you so much for all the gifts. They were all very thoughtful and meant the world to me and my fiance. I have never felt so much love and joy from individuals who knew nothing but my name and a few details and it reminds me that God is so good! You ladies truly blessed me with your gifts and I couldn’t be more thankful. I will always remember that there were individuals who did so much for me, a stranger. And I will hopefully one day have the chance to do the same for another girl from embrace grace! Thank you so much! Love, Zoe

Dear Kristin and her group, Words cannot express how blessed Aiden and I are that God has placed you in our lives. You are truly a blessing to us. Honestly, I was amazed at how someone that does not know me or my story could be so generous. Walking into the baby shower I was floored by all the gifts, food, love and support that was showered upon all of the young mothers. When my hostess escorted me to Aiden’s table I just knew that everything that was there was not for Aiden and Aiden only and I couldn’t believe it was. You are blessing that has made our lives so much easier. Only a sponsor sent by God could manage to spend more time and effort and providing and praying for Aiden more than his own biological father. I have worried daily about how I was going to provide just the basic necessities for Aiden on my own and with the help you and Embrace Grace I do not have to worry about most of those things because you have blessed us with them. Additionally, I greatly appreciate you sharing your story with me. I am so very thankful that God led you to Aiden and I. Being a single mother is no walk in the park but you and the Embrace Grace organization have made this experience much easier. I honestly was at a point to where I wanted to break down before I joined Embrace Grace. I am so very thankful that God led me to Embrace Grace because if it was not for Embrace Grace I would not have met you. Frankly, if I would not have been so far along once I found out that Aiden’s father had a baby by my friend, I would have honestly chosen to get an abortion but God had another plan for me. I thank God every day for my blessing; I never knew that I could love someone as much as I love my son. It is truly a blessing to know that he is loved just as much by others as well I love how God brought us together through our names and my due date. I also love the fact that you want to stay involved in our lives. I cannot wait for Aiden to be able to understand the extent of how you blessed us. I will forever tell my children and my grandchildren about how we were blessed by you and Embrace Grace. I look forward to continuing a great relationship with you. I have already taken your advice and put it into place with my life and I am just living my life for God and Aiden right now. I will definitely be sending pictures and updates of Aiden and I. I cannot wait until we meet again! I pray that God continues to bless and keep you and your family. Love, Kristin J. and Aiden

To all the women that helped with the baby shower and Embrace Grace, Ever since the first class at Embrace Grace, I have just believed this whole organization was an amazing, amazing thing and very helpful to me at a time where I felt all alone in my pregnancy. Not having that much money or coming from a family with money, finding out I was pregnant (though I was excited), I was very scared on how I was going to make it through this and give my daughter everything she needed. Embrace Grace has been my rock, and helped me so much. When I found out about the shower, I was thrilled and thankful that so many people who didn’t know me were just eager to help me out in my time of need. Walking into the shower, and seeing all the presents on and around one table all for me just made my heart melt. Everything I got from the shower was just amazing and much needed. I appreciate this so much and will always have a place in my heart for everything women like you do. In my eyes, ya’ll are my heaven sent present straight from God. Thank you all so much, Ciera

I have enjoyed the Embrace grace semester because it has given me an opportunity to bond with people in similar situations and get to know other first time mommies. I absolutely enjoyed the EG Shower! It was most definitely a blessing! Had it not been for the generosity of these women, I don’t know how we would have been able to afford all the thing’s baby Sophia would have needed. I am so genuinely thankful for the generosity! Thank you again, Jessica

Words can’t express how grateful I am for the gracious gifts that Janet gave to me. She arrived at my home with so many gifts, that it overwhelmed me with joy. This semester has been so amazing for me and has helped renew my faith in Christ. Never in all my life, have I experienced such compassion from such a supportive group of women. I will never forget this class or this experience for the rest of my life.With Love, Christine

I just want to thank each and every one of you for all the amazing gifts you got for my daughter. You are all so amazing and I am so thankful and so blessed for all of you and all of the gifts. I love Embrace Grace it has provided so many things and opportunities for me and my daughter and meeting all these wonderful amazing women. I loved hearing their stories and knowing I’m not alone. It is amazing and life changing. I feel so blessed to have found this church. Thank you again and God bless you all! Love, Kyndall

I cannot thank you enough for the wonderful gifts you provided for Maddox. Thank you and God bless your family. I appreciate everything so much and so very grateful. I loved the card that I received as well with the sweet words that were written for me and Maddox. I am so thankful for all of you! Love, Kimberly

Thank you so much for all the gifts you gave me and my son. I am so grateful and so blessed. It meant so much to me to have women that didn’t even know me came just to bless me. I was so amazed and will never forget it. I have loved being a part of Embrace Grace so much. Thank you all so much! Love, Jordan

I have been so blessed by all the wonderful women I have met through Embrace Grace! I don’t know how I would have gotten through everything without ya’ll. I want to thank everyone who was kind enough to get baby Cheyanne and I all the gifts we got. I have never been more grateful! I love you all! Love, Christy

** Grand Prairie’s Embrace Grace will be having their baby shower next Saturday on 12/1 and they still need around $2,000 to complete their gift list to help girls with crisis pregnancy. Email amy.ford@iembracegrace.com if you can help!

Thank{FULL} Heart

I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with Thanksgiving. {Psalm 69:30}

My heart is so full of thanks! Overflowing actually!  It is spilling over with an abundance of blessings! Thanksgiving… what a perfect time of thanks and giving displayed in so many ways.  Families gathering together to share special memories and delicious meals prepared and served with lots of love.  There are so many wonderful things to be thankful for.

Throughout this day I have been compiling a list in my heart of the many things I am thankful for.  You can do the same!  Take some time today to list out the many things that you are thankful for.  Lift up your heart and rejoice.

One of the many things that I am thankful for is YOU!  Yes, you reading this blog right now.  I am praying an abundance of thanks and giving to pour out upon you and your family.  As you are reading my list, may your heart be enlightened and excited to make your own compilation of thanks. Throughout this day I have been compiling a list in my heart of the many things I am thankful for.  You can do the same!  Take some time today to list out the many things that you are thankful for.  Lift up your heart and rejoice.

Mine is in no particular order, just listed out as the impression on my heart began to flow.

My heart is so thank-full!

Loving God~ Redeeming Jesus~ Comforting Holy Spirit~ Caring and Loving Husband~ Tenderhearted Son~ Very Energetic Son~ Haven of Peace and Love at our Home~ Compassionate Mom~ Family and Friends~ Gateway Church~ Embrace Grace~ all the sweet baby bellies, mommies & babies, baby daddies~ delicate & soft baby skin~ smell of baby lotion on little ones (i luv it)~ nurture by nature~ landscape displayed for our eyes to see~ creation~ flowers in bloom~ falling leaves~ heavenly encounters~ kisses sent by God up above~ birds singing~ sweet melodies~ tiny treasures~ simple pleasures~ happy hearts~ loads of laughter~  peace~ joy~ love~ happiness~ my bible full of truth~ operation blessings~ acts of random kindness~ spoonfull of kisses~ showers of love~ rest easy~ safe in my arms~ draw near~ hide and seek~ mysteries revealed~ windows of heaven~ 11:11 burden & passion for the babies to be saved~ life, love and liberty~ salvation~ transformation~ redemption~ firm foundation~  powerful provision~ peace like a river~ fill my cup~ yummy to my tummy meals~ family time~ vacation destinations~ adventure and journey~ the best is yet to come~ snuggle times~ cuddle times~ story time~ relaxation~ refreshing times of rain~ a washing machine~ soaking in my bubble bath~ enjoying a good book~ spending eternity in heaven

Thank God throughout this beautiful day. A thankful attitude opens windows of heaven.  Thankfulness is the language of love and opens your heart to God’s Presence. By having a thankful and grateful heart you are able to receive treasures from heaven. My heart is singing a happy song and I just want to sing it out loud for all to hear.  I love you and am so thankful for you! Happy Thanksgiving!

“Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young has a remarkable quote that I read today and absolutely love! “As you go through this day, look for tiny treasures strategically placed along the way.  I lovingly go before you and plant little pleasures to brighten your day.  Look carefully for them, and pluck them one by one.  When you reach the end of the day, you will have gathered a lovely bouquet.  Offer it up to me with a grateful heart.  Receive My Peace as you lied down to sleep, with thankful thoughts playing a lullaby in your mind.” – Jesus Calling

 Written by Salina Duffy

My Miracle Baby

It all started when I turned 19 and thought I had met the love of my life.  He was the one I imagined spending the rest of my life with.

Boy, was I wrong. 

I rushed into marrying him after 2 weeks of dating just because I wanted to get out from my mothers’ control. We got married and moved to Lawton, OK where he was stationed in the military. Everything was going great until we started arguing all the time and acting more like roommates than husband and wife.

I didn’t realize until after I married him that he was so far into debt and all of our stuff was getting turned off and even the vehicle he had got repossessed. We now had only one vehicle between the two of us that seemed to constantly be breaking down. I sank into a deep depression that I could never quite break away from.

While I was in Oklahoma, I had met some friends that were into drugs. I was having a hard time coping and wasn’t excited about anything anymore so I decided to try them to so I would fit in. I hung out with this crowd more and more and it caused me and my husband to argue all the time where eventually, we ended up separating.

I moved all the way back home to Texas and somehow ended finding another bad crowd to hang out with. I was doing drugs and alcohol so badly to the point that I had no memory of where I was or who I was, most the time. Honestly I think it was by the grace of God that I was never caught (just never realized it at the time).

I started partying all the time and wasn’t paying my bills. I kept  having relationship after relationship with men who I only stayed with so they could just give me more drugs. I’m not going to lie, there are times that I remember crying and wanting to stop but I just could not put the drugs down.  I wanted to but just couldn’t.

It wasn’t until I met Bryan when everything changed.  He was supposed to end up being a one night stand but the plans changed.

I happened to get pregnant with a miracle baby.

I didn’t ever believe it at first because I had been told since I was 4 years old that it would be a miracle to get pregnant due to an accident I had. I went out and bought 7 pregnancy tests because it was just too crazy to believe. I contacted Bryan to let him know which ended up being the worst mistake ever. He immediately told me to get an abortion that he wasn’t ready to have another child and that he couldn’t afford a baby.

In the back of my mind, I kept thinking, what if God is giving me a miracle baby to help me? What if this time, a baby would change everything? All of these thoughts went through my head as I sat there and listened to Bryan talk down to me about the pregnancy and how big of a mistake it was. I just sat there let him go off on me but when he was done, it was like God lifted me up and spoke for me. I said, “I am keeping this baby and there is absolutely nothing you can do nor say that will change my mind.” I feel like he is my Guardian Angel who is here to help me get better. I kept repeating this to myself over and over. I really thought this was the reason God gave me a baby. Nothing else had worked before and for once in my life, I felt like I wanted to get better.

Me and Bryan ended up trying to make our relationship work for the sake of this baby that I was set on keeping. My family was very supportive because they were actually so about the fact that I was pregnant, that they took Bryan in under there wing and tried to get us on our feet. But living with Bryan ended up again being not a good idea. He would constantly talk down to me and call me every horrible name you could possibly imagine. He called me fat and always made me feel like I was worthless but because I thought I was in love with him, I just let it happen. I didn’t know how to fight back without just crying all the time. But in Feb 2012, we found ourselves evicted and homeless so we traveled to Texas so my mom could help us out.

We got settled in and I found a job within 2 days of being here but Bryan just would not get up and get a job. We fought a lot and so he ended up going back to Wichita Falls and that is when even more problems started happening.

He would call me and tell me that the baby wasn’t his and that I cheated on him. I just sat there and thought, when did I ever have time to cheat on the guy? We were always together. I was never allowed to go anywhere except for work. If were somewhere else, he was there with me at all times. I couldn’t take his lies and accusations so I quit talking to him all together.

Then on June 20, 2012, my miracle came. It wasn’t easy and it was a little scary, but I finally got to meet my sweet boy.

I was in labor but nothing was progressing. The doctor discovered after pushing for so long and nothing was happening, that I had a tilted uterus which makes it really hard for the baby to come down the birth canal. We also realized that with every contraction, his heart would stop and it was causing me to freak out. I was exhausted and on oxygen.  The epidural had completely paralyzed me from the neck down (they messed up) he decided I needed to push harder to get this baby out because my son had slowly stopped breathing. I paniced and had never pushed or worked so hard in all my life. I was desperate to get him out and get him help.  A few minutes later, Zane was born stillborn… All kinds of beeps and codes were being issued out and the nurses from all over the labor and delivery floor rushed into the room to help. I can’t stop crying and my mother and sister are praying out loud.

I hear the nurses counting “1, 2, 3 1, 2, 3 and breathe (blow sound)” I’m just freaking out because I was still numb and paralyzed and could not see what was going on. Finally, I heard the most beautiful sound I have ever heard in my life. I heard my son let out a big cry. Tears would not stop pouring down my face. I was so thankful that he was alive. The nurses then took him away to care for him more.

It was hard to see him in the NICU. I couldn’t touch him with all the wires and being hooked up to so many machines.  It was the hardest thing to see your sweet baby so helpless and I couldn’t even pick up him and hold him.

The next 2 days were a challenge for all of our family. The day after he was born, Zane started having liver and kidney problems and they weren’t able to feed him because his stomach was not strong enough to digest his food. That following night they had to insert a feeding tube into him in order to be able to get him to eat. I remember after seeing and hearing the report of how he was doing, I just went to my hospital room and prayed harder than I ever have before and just prayed for hours throughout the night. My baby had to be ok. I needed him to be healthy!

The following day I wake up to the doctor coming in my room with a smile on his face. He said, “I have some really great news for you. Zane is completely healed and all of his tests came back beyond normal and this is truly a miracle. I have never seen anything like this and it all seems amazing. He had a quick and miraculous recovery.” I was so excited and started crying for joy and hugging the doctor and my mother. I realized that God has always been watching over me. He never left me. He was protecting me from the time I was 19 to even now.

My son is now 4 months old and such a happy baby and just as healthy as can be. I am truly honored to be his mother and follow in God’s footsteps and show my son that he does not need anything to be happy as long as he has God by his side.

Written anonymously 

Stretching and Growing

I love pregnant bellies more than anything!  I am a baby lover!  I am fascinated at how belly beautiful the ladies become as they begin to stretch and grow into their baby bump. From the moment that you find out you are pregnant, that tiny baby begins to grow inside of you and a piece of your heart begins to grow along with your baby.  This love and bond grows stronger and deeper each and every moment.

There are days further along in your pregnancy when you think there is no way my belly can stretch any more, it has reached its capacity to the limit and how can it possibly grow any more?  But amazingly it does.  I have used a visual in our mommy grace class with a tiny shirt made from this stretchy fabric that I received as a gift from Victoria’s Secret. It is blue and the size of a babies onesie.  Surprisingly, this shirt can stretch to fit anyone.  All the pregnant mommies tried it on and were laughing and giggling the whole time!  It amazed them to see how much that tiny little shirt could stretch to fit their bellies.  They also placed the tiny shirt on their babies too, and you know what, it fit them just perfectly too.  No matter what size or age, this special stretchy fabric shirt was like a one size fits all. It would stretch to your size just as your tummy begins to stretch with each passing day of your pregnancy. The elasticity of your skin was created to stretch and grow to allow room for your baby to develop and stay comfy cozy tucked inside of you.

I saw a pregnant lady yesterday, she had her 2 year old boy on her hip resting comfortably on his mommies ever growing belly. It was a perfect little seat for him. I just can’t resist the bellies! I always say, “What a sweet tummy! When are you due?” It just comes out naturally from me before I even have a chance to think. She smiled and said thank you, I am having another boy this Saturday.  I said my congratulations and wished her the best during her labor and delivery and new arrival.

Just as surprisingly it is to see your tummy begin to stretch and grow with each passing day, you are also being stretched on the inside of your heart.  A love for your baby begins to expand your heart.  Just as the belly bands provide more room for your middle as your pants begin to get a little tighter, that belly band can be a picture of what we as mommies experience.  Yes during pregnancy you stretch and grow and you see the results on your bellies.  After your labor and delivery, your tummy does go down, eventually.  Ok ladies, I know that lots of you shrink back to your natural size in no time.  For the rest of us, it takes a little more time.  Every body is special and unique. Perfectly handcrafted by God.  Just relax and enjoy the process.  But there is so much more to it than that! As mommies we can be stretched more than we think we can possibly ever be stretched in so many ways.

Our arms are reaching out to care for this one, change this one, dress this one, feed this one, and the washing & cleaning, oh my…!  God will give you the elasticity to stretch and grow during each season and stage that you are in.  If you are pregnant, then embrace your pregnancy and enjoy your belly beautiful bump!  You will stretch as much as needed, then back again. If you are a mommy of a newborn, then embrace the sweetness of your little one and enjoy their delicate skin they are in as they begin to stretch and grow themselves.  In no time, your newborn will be 1 and then 2 and then more. If you are a mommy of a toddler, then embrace these sweet and sassy and even trying times that you endure.  Your body is being stretched as is theirs.  They are learning and growing and absorbing new things each and every day.  Help them in their early stages to grow and know how much their mommy loves them and also how much Jesus loves them!  If you are a mommy of kids going to school and beyond…. All of us are stretching and growing daily in different seasons of our lives.  Embrace this time.  This moment. This is a gift that we have been given. God will not ask us to be stretched more than we can handle.  He will give us the elasticity, flexibility and adaptability that we need.  With each new day, we can rise up and say “God give me the strength today that I will need to be the mommy that you have created me to be. In all situations may I look to you as my Source for all things.  As I am being stretched, may I embrace the flexibility that you alone can bring me.  Grant me the grace, patience and love to nurture and tend to my little ones.  I love you and thank you for the gift that you have placed within me.  You are incredible!… and God, just as in the movie Incredibles the mommy “Elastigirl” could stretch out and bend in so many ways, can you also do that for me? Please!  Whatever comes my way. Thank you God. You are the Best!”

Oh that will be a day!.. A day for stretching your arms, spreading your wings! {Micah 7:11}

We’re able to stretch our hands out and receive what we asked for because we’re doing what He said, doing what pleases Him. {1 John 3:21 MSG}

Our Embrace Grace Family is stretching and growing in so many ways too!  All the glory and praise to God! The word of God is living and active: Enlarge your house, build an addition. Spread out your home, and spare no expense! {Isaiah 54:2} another translation says this: Make your tent bigger. Open your doors wide. Don’t think small! Make your tent large and strong. {Isaiah 54:2 ESV} and one more Sing barren woman who has never had a baby.  Fill the air with song, you who’ve never experienced childbirth! You’re ending up with far more children…. Clear lots of ground for your tents! Make your tents large. Spread out. Think BIG! Use plenty of rope, drive the tent pegs deep. You’re going to need lots of elbow room for your growing family. You’re going to take over whole nations… Don’t be afraid- you’re not going to be embarrassed. Don’t hold back- you’re not going to come up short. (Isaiah 54:1-4 MSG}

How is God stretching you right now? What season are you in that God is having you be flexible and adaptable?

Written by Salina Duffy 

 

Embrace Grace – Gateway Southlake & Frisco Baby Shower

The shower was this past Sunday and I believe it was our best yet!

Hundreds of women came and about 500 gifts were wrapped with care all to bless 34 girls with a crisis pregnancy. Most of the girls brought a close family member or two – it was so sweet to see them proudly showing off their gifts that they received. I saw many tears and many smiles as I glanced around the room. It was such a beautiful picture of grace.

I mentioned at the shower about the story of the Prodigal Son in Luke 11:15-32. It is a story about a dad that split his estate in half and gave half to each of his 2 sons. The younger son went immediately to travel abroad and squandered all of his money away. After he spent it all, there was a huge famine in the country and he was starving but no one would give him any food. He finally came back to his senses and decided to go back to his dad’s and he could just be a hired servant even though he was ashamed. He had planned to say, “Father, I’ve sinned against God, I’ve sinned before you; I don’t deserve to be called your son. Take me on as a hired hand.”

He headed back home and here comes my favorite part …

When he was still a long way off, his father saw him. His heart pounding, he ran out, embraced him, and kissed him. The son started his speech: ‘Father, I’ve sinned against God, I’ve sinned before you; I don’t deserve to be called your son ever again.’ “But the father wasn’t listening. He was calling to the servants, ‘Quick. Bring a clean set of clothes and dress him. Put the family ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Then get a grain-fed heifer and roast it. We’re going to feast! We’re going to have a wonderful time! My son is here—given up for dead and now alive! Given up for lost and now found!’ And they began to have a wonderful time.

I love this quote by Max Lucado: “The difference between mercy and grace? Mercy gave the Prodigal Son a second chance. Grace gave him a feast.”

This is what we did on Sunday. We gave these girls a feast. It was a beautiful display of grace. Women that came just to honor a girl that chose life, someone that they had never met before. It was touching for everyone involved.

Some sweet facebook posts popped up the night of the shower from the girls:

“Today was an awesome display of the unconditional love that God has for each one of us!!!! I am so thankful to God that I was at work and Amy’s husband felt led by the Spirit of God to introduce me to Embrace Grace! The support and prayers that the leaders have provide is unprecedented! Aiden and I are truly blessed to have found you! The EG Shower was AWESOME and it was wonderful to spend time with my sponsors and leaders! I am looking forward to paying my blessings forward as an active EG member in the semesters to come! Praying that God continues to lead, guide and direct each EG church, home, and family! God Bless ….. SO THANKFUL” {Kristen J.}

“I’m so glad and thankful that God put Embrace Grace in my life!! I’m so glad to be part of a group of ladies that have such big hearts!!! The baby shower was amazing today!! More than I imagined, and I am so thankful that God put it in the hearts of so many to bless us all the way we were blessed today!! May the blessings keep coming and may we also be able to bless someone this way one day!! I love you all ♥ {Ruby G.}

“I know i say the same thing like everyday, but i seriously could not be more thankful for embrace grace. all the girls & leaders.. everybody who was ever involved…
when im feeling sad/down whatever, y’all are right there to put a smile back on my face & make me feel like i DO have family & CAN be happy no matter the situation. i love that y’all can make me laugh AS im crying is just unbelievable. i love y’all so much & y’all all have such great, kind, powerful, meaning words that touches every bit of my heart. couldn’t be anymore happier than being with y’all with A’veiya. y’all are all angels♥” {Tabi H.}

Loved this post from an Embrace Grace girls’ mom:

“I want to thank you all for the baby shower today I am a mother of one of the Southlake girls, Raven, I am still having a hard time accepting the reality that things just didn’t turn out the way “I” planned for my daughter. BUT I know that our God has greater plans for my Rae. I know that everything goes through His hands first and that Raven and Kacey will be a walking testimony one day. All glory to God! My coming to the shower was a last minute decision and I am ever so grateful for the tugging of the Lord and His prompting me to go and support my Bird, as I walked in I was so overwhelmed by 1) the presence of the Holy Spirit and 2) the generosity of His children. I have not fully supported Raven through most of this pregnancy because I was still dealing and healing (and still am doing so), but today I couldn’t be more thankful for the ministry of Embrace Grace you have truly helped and supported Rae when I didn’t or couldn’t. So again thank you. I am truly able to begin the healing process and be there more for my Rae more.
Today the Lord also reminded me of my dreams and the vision He has given me and He has begun to chisel at this hardened heart so His will can be done and completed in my life as well as Raven’s.”

 

There were tons of sweet connections made and relationships started just by these groups connecting with their Embrace Grace girl. We heard sweet stories of how they were chosen. One girls’ name is Sadie and the woman that chose her said she had always loved that name and if she were to ever have a girl, that was the name she had chosen. Another woman chose a girl named Zoe and she messaged me about what she was going to name her baby and I said, “Landan Thomas” and the woman said “whoa … that was confirmation. We just had our first baby ourselves just a few weeks ago and we named him Landry Thomas. Zoe’s our girl.” A couple of girls were amazed that they received some of the exact items that they had registered for even though the gifts are not purchased off of a registry. 

 

One girl tearfully said how her mom reached out and touched her baby bump for the first time at the shower. It had been something that she was having a hard time being excited about but the shower helped her mom realize that this is a life that can be celebrated too. It was a moment where healing is beginning in both of their hearts.

We will share full thank you’s and more photos from the shower soon!

Written by Amy Ford 

A Reason to Live

I hated being the oldest child.

My parents always wanted me to set the example for my little brothers and sisters. And growing up in a military family, it was definitely not a “walk in the park”. When I got in trouble at school, the punishment was always big. I always had more responsibilities because my siblings were watching me and looking up to me. My home life was rough and it’s really too many details, I’ll have to save for another blog post later.

I found out at the age of eight that the man I knew as my daddy, wasn’t actually my biological father at all.  One day after school, when my younger sister and I were walking home, one of our friends started teasing me because we barely looked related.

This didn’t sit well in the back of my mind and I couldn’t stop thinking about it.  When we got home from school, I questioned my parents and they dropped the bombshell on me … my dad had adopted me. And my world shattered. So many secrets and the biggest one was who my real father was. What was his name? Who was this person that I’m a part of? My parents wouldn’t tell me anything until I was much older … but by that time, he was already gone. He had just passed away. I never knew him. I think this was the moment I decided if I ever had a child, I would make sure I stayed with the father no matter what.

By the time I hit 20 years old, I had been on a down hill roller coaster that at any moment, was going to spiral off the tracks. I had been in the drug party scene, stripping to pay for the drugs on top of being in several toxic relationships. I was smoking, drinking, partying, and having sex. Everything your parents tell you not to do I was doing. I was doing everything I could to fill this emptiness I had that only God and my read dad could fill … I just couldn’t see it at the time. I was just hurting and looking for something to make me happy.

I was dating a guy that I would break up and get back together over and over.  The very last time was because he had gotten the girl he had cheated on me with, pregnant. This broke my already wounded heart into a million pieces. How could he do this to me? We didn’t talk much over the next few month … until I got sucked back in again. Him and his new girlfriend had gotten into a huge fight, and he called me over. He was telling me all the right things and I needed to feel like I was loved. Things happened … the cycle continued.

I managed to sink into a horrible depression. I found myself regretting almost everything I had ever done over the past few years. I was ashamed and felt like I had hit rock bottom. I cried myself to sleep and would wake up with a wet pillow from crying throughout the might. I felt like there were no more options for me. I felt like I had no reason to live anymore.  I was fed up with my “cursed” life I had been living. I had no hope. I only saw one way out. One night I fell to my knees and looked up and said, “God, if you are real … and if there is any room for love for me, give me one good reason to keep on living because I can’t do this anymore.”

I tried to listen but I just heard silence. He doesn’t even hear me. He doesn’t see me. There was my answer. I decided I would give this God, 24 hours to do something and prove He’s real. I need Him to give me something worth living for.  Because I had already made my plan of how I would be ending my life the very next night.

When I woke up the next morning, I went through the motions of getting ready for another miserable day. My sister came into the bathroom and handed me something.  “Brit, you’ve been really moody, and your boobs are like three sizes bigger, take this and let me know.” I looked down to see what she gave me … a pregnancy test.  I rolled my eyes. I can’t be pregnant. There’s no way. But I took the test sine she had already bought it and to prove her wrong.  After the longest 5 minutes passed, in very small digital print, one word changed my life forever …PREGNANT.

It was a lot to process. I had my fair share of tears. I had always dreamed of being a mom someday, although my dream had very different circumstances. Over the course of the pregnancy, I got more and more excited about this life I had inside of me. I wanted to love and nurture this child. I wanted to make up for the mistakes I made in my life. I realized that God gave me my reason to live. I asked him to give me a reason and He answered my prayer.

My pregnancy seemed like it lasted forever. I finally gave birth to a beautiful 7 lb 11oz baby girl whom I named Keira Sage which means little/dark peace/wisdom.

My daughter saved my life.

This unexpected miracle that God blessed me with, gave me a reason to live. She gave me something to work for and to love. Shortly after having her I went through some tough times and I was saved.

Even though I raised Keira alone until she was 9 months old, God gave me the strength to keep going forward every day. I even got saved through this. I couldn’t deny anymore that there was a God and He sees me. He knows me and He loves me.  I have since met an amazing man that asked me to be his bride, and I said yes! And he loves Keira like his own child.

No one ever expected me to get married, let alone be a good mother. God has a reason for everything, I learned that the hard way, but everything I’ve gone through has helped me become the woman, mother and wife God intended me to me.

Written by Brittany McGettrick-White