My Unique Blessing

momandbabygirlEvery mother spends their pregnancy hoping and praying to have a ‘normal’ healthy baby boy or girl. And I was no different. I was so happy when my daughter Keira was born, and every thing checked out. I was so happy to know that even though I made my mistakes, that I had a normal and healthy baby girl. I was blessed.
Over her first year of life, Keira seemed to develop perfectly well. She started eating baby food, feeding herself finger food, and learned to roll over as well as crawl. We started to teach her simple baby sign language; words like ‘please’, ‘thank you’, ‘more’. She started walking around her first birthday, as well as finally growing hair and cutting almost all of the rest of her teeth. I admit, I was still feeling blessed and proud.
Around 16 months, I started to notice a change within my daughter. She only said a few words verbally before; but all of a sudden she stopped. She stopped using her sign language … but I pushed through. She stopped responding to learning new things. By the time she was 18 months old, she was the only toddler at her age, that couldn’t eat with a spoon or fork.
I started to worry. I talked to her pediatrician at her 18 month check up, told her all of my concerns. How I really REALLY wanted to potty train Keira by the time she was two like all my mommy friends had done with their little ones; but that I was concerned with her lack of communication and disinterest in learning any new skills. The pediatrician told me I was just being paranoid, but as mommies, it’s like we have this 6th (or 8th) sense when something just isn’t right with our baby.
I left the doctor’s office feeling only slightly better. I tried to reassure myself that Keira was normal, nothing was wrong. But in the back of my mind, I couldn’t get over the fact that it just didn’t feel right. Over the next 6 months, I watched as my daughter started to interact within her environment less and less. I haven’t heard my sweet angel say “mommy” in over a year. Keira slowly let go of so many skills she had gained.
At her two year check up, there was a new pediatrician in her office and again I voiced my concerns about my daughter. This time, the office sent a referral for a therapy evaluation. The next three weeks dragged on an on and on while I waited for them to schedule Keira’s evaluation. The night before I couldn’t sleep. I stayed up most the night pacing, wondering what they would tell me, what would happen. So concerned with what was wrong with my baby?
 
The doorbell rang at 9 am the next morning, and a bubbly woman is standing at my door, ready to meet my Keibear to evaluate her mental development. Two long hours later, a diagnose had been made.
“Your daughter has moderate functioning Autism, as well as Sensory Processing Disorder.”
 
I sat there, staring into space. For hours I cried. Why me? Why couldn’t someone else have a kid like this. I called my husband at work, and he remained optimistic, and tried to calm me down. When he got home we researched Autism.
So much about my daughter’s behavior started making sense. Why she didn’t like crowds, or loud noises. Why she did this weird pinching thing with her fingers when she was over-stimulated. My hope was fading. Autism has such a WIDE spectrum, that every case, is almost completely independent. But the more we researched and read about this disability, the more we realized that we have a unique child.
I started noticing her gifts and thinking of the situation differently. She is one of the most intelligent child that I know, she just learns and reacts differently then other kids. And the more I watch my sweet girl, the more I realize this is why I, above everyone else, was chosen to be her mommy. I can handle this, and I will support and care for her no matter what.
My Keibear, is unique, beautiful, smart, and Autistic. But just like no two butterflies have the same spots, there’s no other child like mine. I am proud to say, I am Keira’s mommy. She may not fit into anyone’s definition of ‘normal and healthy’, but she’s normal and healthy to me. ❤
Written by Brittany White, Embrace Grace Alumni

Deer Daddy

deerGive thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever. {Psalm 136:1}

Psalms 136 is an entire chapter calling us to give thanks and each verse ends with His faithful love endures forever. This stirs something inside of me that compels me to do the same, and my hopes are that it will do the same for you.

Our Heavenly Daddy is so good! Have you told Him today how thankful you are for Him? Take a moment to give Him thanks right now.

There are so many ways to express love to our Daddy. To give Him thanks for all that He has done in our lives as well as in Embrace Grace. I was just thinking of an email that Amy sent out this week. It was a list of all Southlake EG mama’s and salvations. Guess what the number of girls we have had so far in our 10 semesters… 136! Whoa, when I saw that number and reflected back on the Psalm 136, it totally amazes me! We began with 3 girls and that has grown immeasurably now. Sooo many more to come too! With each addition of new campuses, churches, as well as pregnancy resource centers opening up their doors and embracing these sweet mommies and babies! EG is mushrooming and multiplying rapidly! We have Embrace Grace classes meeting across the metroplex, in Oklahoma and Arkansas is starting their class in the Fall. There are so many more EG’s to come! Hopefully one will be in your area soon! The vision that God gave of the little pink hearts popping up on the map all across the area and then the nation showing where an Embrace Grace is held is coming true! There are even churches internationally that are seeking us out and asking what we are doing and how they can add this type of program to their area. This is so exciting!! This is a beautiful mission and such an honor to be a part of God’s heartbeat to draw in the single and pregnant girls so that He can love on them and show Himself to them in a real and tangible way. He shows off big-time to these girls and their lives are never the same after getting a glimpse of who He is! It is all for His glory! Thank you Daddy!

This is so God! All in His timing. He is so faithful! I asked Him last week for a spark. It was the only word that came to my mind at the time and I wasn’t sure of the significance. I jotted the word down in my journal and added to my prayer God box.

On Father’s Day I began thanking my Daddy for all of His creation and nature that we are so blessed to enjoy all around us. I see God in everything. Big and small. He is at the center of it all! He created all things for us to richly enjoy. He delights when we take a few moments to soak up His creation and natural wonder. To see Him, His heart, His creation in the midst of it all.

Our family went to East Texas to celebrate Father’s Day with 4 Generations of Duffy’s. Big Papa (great papa), Lil Papa (papa), my hubby and his boys- the little Duffy’s. To see the interaction and joy upon their faces as they shared stories and loads of laughter together, it brought sweet tears to my eyes. Thank you Daddy for this sweet moment! As I began to thank Him for all the sweet moments encountered throughout this special day, He impressed upon my heart to write Him a letter expressing my love and thankfulness.

My little one has been writing thank you notes and love notes to his family. Each letter he begins by writing Deer Mom, Deer Dad, Deer Papa… it’s so cute and tells of his love for us. It makes me smile and that is what impressed me to even write this post and title, Deer Daddy.

As soon as we arrived to Lil Papa’s house he excitedly told us… Ya’ll come here, we have something to show you! We walked to the back porch overlooking their heavily wooded backyard and saw the most amazing display. There were 2 mama deer and their sweet babies that were so tiny and so freshly newborn. They had white little spots on their backs and fluffy whitetails. They frolicked and played and looked so adorable when they jumped. They would nurse and cuddle up close to their mama. Oh it tickled me to see the deer so comfy and content in their new habitat. They had made Big Papa’s back yard in the woods their home. They felt comfortable and secure. Such a delight for us to watch them in action.

I began to wander about the daddy deer. Is he close by too? Then my hubby explained that he more than likely will not be seen around them anymore. Immediately my heart thought about this instance, and was turned to the Embrace Grace mama’s and babies. Some instances, the baby daddy is not in the picture. Then had this impression upon my heart that was so heartfelt and so true. It was an impression straight from your Heavenly Daddy. He says although you may not always see me, I am always here for you and your baby. I am everywhere and all around you. I will always care, provide and surround you with my everlasting love. There is nothing to fear. I am always near. Admiring the mama deer and her sweet babies always brings me back to EG. Seeing the mommies and babies together. So full of love. So full of expectation of what is to come. Thank you Daddy!

A ladybug was crawling on the walkway and I bent down to scoop her up in my hands and whispered Thank you Daddy! Hundreds of birds and hummingbirds flew up to the bird feeder throughout the day and we looked closely with our binoculars at all the detail and brightly colored feathers. God you are so creative and intricate with your designs! Thank you for the birds that bring sweet melodies when they sing.

Fireflies came out at dusk and we had our nets and bug catchers ready. Tip toeing through the tall grass and watching my hubby and little one as they gently caught the lightning bugs together and had such joy with the capture of each one. Another big thank you!

Then the gentle whisper came… A spark… you asked me for a spark last week and I am giving it to you. Right here, right now, in this moment. Your spark is here. As you are catching fireflies with the ones you love most. The little spark, the little light that glows on the tail of each lightning bug that I created….this is your SPARK. Enjoy my precious daughter. 

Ahhh, something melted inside of me at that moment. Like I could feel a liquid love being poured over me like wax. Sweet tears began to fall. It was indescribable the emotions and love swirling around inside of me. Loved it! Thank you Daddy!

Right after those words I heard, write me a letter. So that is what I did. I began with Deer Daddy… and thanked Him for all the beautiful ways He showed me glimpses of Himself through the beauty of His creation and nature. We were on the dock overlooking the lake. All 4 generations of Duffy’s gathered together and looking out at the glassy smooth waters. They couldn’t wait to get their fishing line in the water to catch some fish. Lots of joy and amazement with the cast of each line, hoping and waiting for their next fish to come. They found a honey hole that was sure to bring a fish with each cast. A fisherman’s dream. Relaxing on the dock and enjoying the stillness around them.

A beautiful swan appeared from the reeds. We have been out at this dock so many times over the past 13 years and never once seen a swan. I smiled and looked up to the heavens and said Thank you Daddy! She is beautiful!

I love the way my Daddy speaks to me through His nature and wildlife. He has given me many nature names for our Embrace Team and just wanted to recognize two of them today that are on my heart and obviously on God’s heart too!

The deer nature name was given to Michele Smith a leader of Embrace Grace~

You really and truly know God’s word.  You pant or long for more and more.  As you thirst for more of His word, you are leading the embrace grace girls around you to search and know more of His truth. 

As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God. {Psalm 42:1} the song “as the deer panteth for the waters oh my soul longeth after you…You alone are my hearts desire and I long to worship you.” Your life, your heart really portrays this song!

The swan nature name was given to Megan Perry an alumni and leader of Embrace Grace~

I closed my eyes just now and pictured you as a swan, gliding gracefully across the water.  As you glide, others gaze to see your beauty.  It is the inner beauty that radiates from the innermost part of you that is portrayed and captured. You will help others to see the beauty that is within them.  They think of themselves as not pretty or worthy, but you see them as lovely and graceful and you will help others to glide along beside you in the streams of life.  

This is the first time either of these two wildlife, the deer and swan have appeared on this land here in East Texas and I think it’s pretty special that God chose Fathers Day for them to appear. He sees His daughters. Each and every one of you! He delights in YOU! He loves you and His faithful love endures FOREVER!

Below is a letter written to my heavenly Daddy. Maybe you will be inspired to write a letter of your own soon. We would love for you to leave a comment by giving your thanks to Daddy!

Deer Daddy~

Happy Daddy’s Day from your little girl, your ladybug girl. I Love to love YOU! I enjoyed so many sentimental moments today. My heart is drawn to you. I am moved to tears. I felt you whisper, write me a letter, express to me how much you love me and how you are so thankful for the many beautiful ways that I show my love to you.  Daddy, how can I put into words the way you make me feel? Words can not give this any justice. I will try my best. The peace, serenity and sheer delight that I feel when I’m with you is indescribable. I see you everywhere! I feel you everywhere! I trust that you are here with me everywhere, even now. I kept blowing you kisses and saying thank you Daddy for the amazing acts of kindness displayed in our children’s hearts. The love they have for you, their Heavenly Father, and their earthly father. And the love that my husband has for his father as well as his Dad for Papa. 4 Generations of love on display today. A legacy of love shared between Fathers and Sons. Thank you so much Daddy! I am honored to be your daughter! 

Written by Salina Duffy

The Greatest Thing I Have Ever Done

cardboardtestimoniesThe greatest thing I have ever done is follow Jesus!

I am serious!  I was not raised in church.  We prayed at Christmas and Thanksgiving and I thought “church” people were boring.  Good intentions, but boring.  I thought, when I am older (35ish, lol-I know realize this is not old) and have a family of my own, I would do the church thing.  I thought going to church meant you had to give up fun.  I didn’t really know what fun was, but I knew church couldn’t be fun.  WRONG! I decided at 16 to try out the church thing.  I didn’t fully turn over my life to Jesus until I was 25.  I knew church wasn’t boring or lifeless at this point.  It was the definition of FUN!

“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” {John 15:15}

Did you just get that?

Jesus refers to me and you as FRIENDS!  I don’t know about you, but I want to be friends with Jesus!  He died for my sins so I can have eternal life.  I can’t think of someone better to be friends with.  But He doesn’t stop there, He goes on to say “that everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”  Not only is Jesus going to call us His friend, but He is going to let us in on all the family secrets.  SWEET!!!  Yes Jesus, please share with me all that you have learned from the Father.

“Aware of this, Jesus withdrew from that place. A large crowd followed him, and he healed all who were ill.” {Matthew 12:1}

Jesus healed people who were ill.  When you follow Jesus you get to see people healed.  Jesus can heal illness, disease and sickness.  I am a walking breathing testimony to that.  But He doesn’t stop there.  He can heal your hurts, your hearts, your (fill in the blank).  He will heal you of things you didn’t even know needed healing!

“They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.” {Revelation 12:11}

The word of their testimony.  The song Overcome- Desperation Band just gives me goosebumps every time I hear it.  I love to talk about Jesus and what He has done for me.  The lyrics in this song are incredible.

Lyrics of Overcome:

Seated above, enthroned in the Father’s love.

Destined to die, poured out for all mankind.

God’s only son, perfect and spotless one.

He never sinned, but suffered as if He did.

Pre Chorus:

All authority, every victory is Yours

Chorus:


Saviour, worthy of honour and glory


Worthy of all our praise,
 For You overcame.


Jesus, awesome in power forever,


Awesome and great is Your name, 
For You overcame.

Verse 2:


Power in hand, speaking the Father’s plan.
 Sending us out, light in this broken land.

Bridge:


We will overcome,
 By the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony, 
everyone, overcome.

One of my many cardboard testimonies:

Front:  I had cancer and illness in my body at the age of 21

Back:  God healed all of my disease and sickness
 verse: “Lord my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me. {Psalm 30:2}

What is your testimony?  Do you think following Jesus is the greatest thing you have ever done?  

Written by April Franks

God-High

drugsI know this is a random post but it’s just been on my mind so much lately! Is it the zombie apocalypse or what? Why do I hear stories, meet people and know a lot of people addicted to drugs? Illegal and Legal – doesn’t matter. I get so lost on how to help or if I even can … 

Last week I was kicking myself, wishing I had reached out in SOME way to these girls I ran into… but I didn’t. So now I get to sit around and think about what I SHOULD have said if I would have been bold enough … but I still can’t really figure out what that would be either. 

One of my sweet friends is getting married and I was shopping for her a lingerie gift for a bridal shower. I had Judah, my 18-month old, which was in his stroller screaming and throwing fits because he DESPISES shopping. Seriously. I’m not exaggerating. He hates it. So I’m trying to rush around and find something that is cute and her style. I’m the only one in the store besides the 2 young teen girls behind the counter. 

In between Judah’s screams, I heard one girl say to the other co-worker. “I can’t wait til tonight. We’re going to the club and Jase is bringing ice with him.” My head zipped around to look at her (it was reflex, I wish I had been more cool about it ha!) and she looked embarrassed and said, “Oh I guess I said that too loud.” And then she started whispering with her coworker. 

That’s when I started getting the tugging. Say something. Tell them not to do it. Tell them drugs are bad. But I’m just an old lady that they aren’t going to listen to. Invite them to church – something! … but I paid for my stuff and left and said nothing. 

Ever since that day last week, I keep thinking about what I would have even said to them to reach out? I seriously have no clue. I have never touched drugs in my life and really have no business trying to give tips or opinions.  I know I’ve seen the effects of drugs … I’ve seen Embrace Grace baby daddies die from overdoses or drug-related deaths. I’ve seen girls lose jobs, boyfriends, and even worse, their babies because of it. And knowing what these girls have been through themselves, it’s a lot for anyone and I get the reason why they feel like they NEED to self-medicate their hurting heart. I have seen young, single moms that have investigations with CPS, come to church with their pupils dilated and that empty stare … or even baby daddies that smell of alcohol. But how amazing that they CAME to church – even high! I know deep down they want to kick the addiction, and I know that deep down the crave Jesus.  They just need Divine intervention and that final decision that they are done with it once and for all. But I still am always at a loss for words with trying to help … 

So I asked some EG baby momma’s that used to do drugs, what was it that made them stop.  I was surprised by some of the responses …. 

“I stopped because I finally realized one day how useless I was to be high 24/7 and not going anywhere in life. I got tired of the party scene and knew the lifestyle I was living wasn’t getting me anywhere and the people I was hanging out with were not my true friends.” 

“My unplanned pregnancy inspired me to finally stop.” 

“I got arrested of possession of a controlled substance and it freaked me out and I didn’t want to be locked up or on probation again. That same week I found out I was pregnant. After 7 years of using, I couldn’t even think of the risk of hurting the baby all for my ‘pleasure/fun.’ My drug charge got dropped and it was my fresh start. I never want to go back to that life. I was on the verge of self-destruction and should have died a few times and even had a seizure in 2011 from withdrawals. You would have thought that I would have stopped because of that but I didn’t. Luckily my sweet baby should make her arrival in the next few days and her life is what opened my eyes and saved mine.” 

“I went to prison for a few years. I personally think you can’t save someone who doesn’t want to be saved. You have to have it in your own mind to quit. Even if you quit to make someone else happy, you’ll always go back to the drugs. The only way it works is if you quit for yourself and decide to be finished with it.” 

“My mom introduced me to meth and for a long time, I blew off anything and anyone to be with her and we never had a good relationship. I was 11 and wanted to spend time with her. I thought that doing it with her would keep us close and give us a bond that we never had. I lost almost 50 pounds and almost all my friends until all I had left was my mom and the drugs. When I was 16, I started going to church and pulling myself away from her. God started filling in that void and I never looked back. I made a decision to be done with the drugs.” 

“When my grandmother passed away, I was so high I was seeing things and hadn’t slept for days. No one in my family knew, they just thought I was crazy. I finally realized that all the drugs I was doing was leading me down a horrible path.”

“I took ecstasy pretty much every day for 9 months straight along with smoking weed. I quit when my group of friends I hung out with started doing meth, I decided I didn’t want to get into that and just left that group of friends. Both of my step brothers died from overdose and I didn’t want to do it anymore.”

So none of these mommas ever stopped because someone said something that changed their life. Not an intervention or because someone reached out. It was a decision that they came to on their own. I’m not saying that doesn’t work … but for some of the girls I know, it was just that realization what they were doing to themselves going down the destructive path of drugs. 

So I’m just going to keep loving on the friend’s in my life that are struggling with drug addictions. Love inspires hope and change. I can’t fix everyone even if I feel an urge to do it. But I can love everyone and pray for them. Maybe if this younger generation sees a kind of life you can have without the drugs, they might be inspired to change as well. I just have to pray and wait that they get to the moment that they finally want to stop. In the meantime I got my list of rehabs ready to help as soon as they reach out. 

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. {John 8:36}

I’m a big dreamer and my dream is for all the young girls to see their value, worth and potential and see that a God-High is way better than any earthly high you could get that is temporary. God’s is eternal and so fulfilling.

I’m going back to the lingerie store soon and do something anonymous and fun and loving for those young girls! Let me know if you have any ideas! 

Drugs are bad, mkay? 

Written by Amy Ford

Stand Up for Your Baby

pregnancytestLast summer I was living in Columbus, Ga while my husband was finishing up his training for the United States Army. I got to see him almost every weekend, give or take what his Sergeants would let them do. We had talked about having another baby in the future but certainly not anytime soon. We already have a beautiful daughter and things were going pretty well in our lives.

As I began packing up the apartment we were living in at the time, I came across a pregnancy test. I laughed and decided to to take it just for fun even though I knew there was no way I was pregnant. I took the test, looked at it for a split second and was about to throw it away until I saw two lines appear. I had to rub my eyes and make sure I was seeing the correct results. My heart sunk to my stomach.

I dropped to the floor and just started crying.

Yes, I am married and my life is stable but I just did not want another baby. My daughter had just turned one and we were getting ready to move to a new duty station. The timing was just not good for another baby. My husband was at work so I couldn’t talk to him until 5 pm that night. When I finally had the chance to tell him the news, he was so excited. I remember getting mad at him for being happy because I wanted him to agree with me on just getting an abortion. Regardless, I had it set in my mind that I was going to do it … an abortion.

I got on the internet and googled all these women clinics in Atlanta. I found a place, made an appointment and had my mind set. I usually talked to my Embrace Grace alumni girls all the time, but I distanced myself from them because I didn’t want them to change my mind. I wanted so badly to reach out for help because in my heart, I knew what I was doing was so wrong. I would get my cell phone and go to Amy’s name wanting to call her but couldn’t get the courage to do it.

One night in an emotional moment, I finally decided to text her and told her everything.

She was incredibly supportive. No judgment, no mean words, she just listened and then spoke from her heart. We texted and talked on the phone on conference call with my husband. One statement that she said said to him that stood out to the both of us was:

“Stand up for your baby.”

My husband called me back after we had gotten off the phone with Amy and said, “Kaylee, I love you and I support you in whatever you do, but that is my baby and I am not going to allow you to go through with this. I am going to stick up for my baby.”  Amy had really impacted his heart. I laid in bed that night so confused on what to do. I kept hearing those words over and over,  “Stand up for your baby.”

The day of my appointment came. I woke up got ready and left for Atlanta. Amy had called me but I ignored her call. (sorry Amy) I arrived to the building and had to be escorted in by security guys. It was the most creepiest, cold, dark, place I had ever been to. I looked around at everyone in the clinic and it was like everyone looked so sad. I was balling my eyes out while filling out my paper work.

The nurse looked at me and said, “You’re doing the right thing baby girl.” I remember thinking to myself, Just leave Kaylee … Just leave. As I was waiting for the ultra sound tech to come get me, I kept asking God to give me a sign and He was definitely giving them to me …

First sign :: Amy called me again while I was there and left me a message saying, “Don’t do it.  I love you. Your baby loves you and needs you.”

Second sign :: I went back to the sonogram room and the tech had a hard time finding my baby. It was like he was trying to hide from the ultra sound. I laid there crying and just overwhelmed with so many thoughts. I finally said, “I can’t do this!” I got up and walked out.

Third sign :: On my way home I stopped for gas and for some reason the pump randomly stopped pumping on $11.11 Whoa. 11.11 My EG people know why that is a sign. {yes we do check out Salina’s blog here to read about it}.

As time went on, I began to feel at peace about my choice to keep my baby. As the months went by, I began to get more and more excited about my baby BOY. The devil had been after my son from the very beginning. I say this because one doctor told me he was not going to survive outside of my womb. Another doctor said he had major problems and sent me to all these different doctors for more testing.

Not only was the devil trying to kill my baby with an abortion, but he was also trying to mess with my mind and scare me into thinking my child was not going to be healthy or worse, not survive. I knew in my heart my son would be okay though.

On May 17th, 2013, I laid eyes on my sweet, HEALTHY baby boy. I was in love. I am so incredibly thankful I chose life for my baby! I fall more and more in love with him everyday. He is perfect and not a thing wrong with him.

I want to thank Amy for being such a supportive person during that scary time for me. If it were not for her, I honestly do not know what would have happened. My family is complete for now. I have two beautiful babies. Graclyn and Tanner and an amazing husband. Life is good and I am a happy mama =)

Written by Kaylie Moore

A King’s Wisdom & A Mother’s Love

babyhandO Lord, do good to those who are good, whose hearts are in tune with you. {Psalm 125:4}

Sitting down at my breakfast table to enjoy a tasty juice that I had just blended and had my daily Bible in hand and was ready to dive in to get a fresh word for the day. I began reading about King Solomon and was intrigued with his wealth of wisdom that he had been given.  Something shook me to the core that I had not paid much attention to before. As I continued to read, it brought me to tears and I have not been able to shake it since. I keep trying to shift gears and want to write about a much brighter topic, but the Holy Spirit keeps drawing me back to this particular story and I can not escape it. Even now as I sit down to type, I asked for confirmation in proceeding, and asked for a scripture to show me this is His heart and desire for this post. Immediately my eyes were drawn to a scripture right above my June 8th daily devotion Bible on the page before me that said… “Whose hearts are in tune with you… “ {Psalm 125:4}. I then heard a whisper your heart is in tune with mine, and lets begin writing this story together. I am with you and this is my heart.

I began reading in 1 Kings 3. My imagination began to wander and some of that is reflected here. It begins by showing how much Solomon loved the Lord. He was, after all, King David’s son.  King David is known as a man after God’s own heart. King David left an amazing legacy for his son and taught him many wonderful and beautiful attributes as well as characteristics of God. Solomon held these so close to his heart. We have an in-depth look inside King David’s personal journal and are able to embrace the words that he penned as he praises and cries out to God.  All of these special songs are recorded in the Psalms. I can just imagine them, father and son, sitting together beside a tree as the words begin to flow.  Solomon may have even held the instruments, the writing utensils and more as a young boy. He enjoyed hearing the many songs that his father was composing and writing.  I imagine him saying oooh, I like that one daddy. That song really makes my heart happy. Sing it again daddy. Sing it again. Years later Solomon grows up and becomes King just like his father before him.

Lets enter into the depth of this story together found in 1 Kings 3.

That night the Lord appeared to King Solomon in a dream and God said, “What do you want? Ask, and I will give it to you!” Solomon replied, “You showed faithful love to your servant my father, David, because he was honest and true and faithful to you. And you have continued your faithful love to him today by giving him a son to sit on his throne. Now, O Lord my God, you have made me King instead of my father, David, but I am like a little child who doesn’t know his way around. And here I am in the midst of your own chosen people, a nation so great and numerous they cannot be counted. Give me an understanding heart so that I can govern your people well and know the difference between right and wrong. For who by himself is able to govern this great people of yours?” The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for wisdom. So God replied, “Because you have asked for wisdom in governing my people with justice and have not asked for a long life or wealth… I will give you what you have asked for. I will give you a wise and understanding heart such as no one else has had or ever will have! And I will also give you what you did not ask for- riches and fame! No other king in all the world will be compared to you for the rest of your life! Then Solomon woke up and realized it had been a dream. Then he invited all his officials to a great banquet.

This is where the story gets intriguing and drew me in as never before. I have read this many times, but it was not until that morning that it made a lasting impression upon my heart. I find it interesting that after King Solomon was given wisdom from above and God uses the following story to be his introduction of his wealth of wisdom to be shown to the peoples. It could have been so many different scenarios, but God chose a woman and a baby to be portrayed. A mothers love. I have chills right now as those words were just typed. I am in awe of the love that God instills in mothers. How mothers will do anything to protect, cover, defend and love her baby beyond anything else. Alright, so lets get back to the compelling story in 1 Kings 3.

It is a little harsh as I said, which is particularly why I was so hesitant in sharing it this week. But my gut will not allow me to just let it go and not share. So here it goes.

Some time later two prostitutes came to the king to have an argument settled. “Please, my lord,” one of them began, “this woman and I live in the same house. I gave birth to a baby while she with me in the house. Three days later this woman also had a baby. We were alone; there were only two of us in the house. But her baby died during the night when she rolled over on it. Then she got up in the night and took my son from beside me while I was asleep. She laid her dead child in my arms and took mine to sleep with her. And in the morning when I tried to nurse my son, he was dead! But when I looked more closely in the morning light, I saw that it wasn’t my son after all.”

Then the other woman interrupted, “It certainly was your son, and the living child is mine.” “No,” the first woman said, “the living child is mine, and the dead one is yours.” And so they argued back and forth before the king. Then the king said, “Let’s get the facts straight. Both of you claim the living child is yours, and each says that the dead one belongs to the other. All right, bring me a sword.” So a sword was brought to the king. Then he said, “Cut the living child in two, and give half to one woman and half to the other!” 

Let’s just pause right there for a moment. I can not even imagine hearing those words! Let’s just cut the child in two. I could not even bear the thought!

Then the woman who was the real mother of the living child, and who LOVED him very much, cried out, “Oh no, my lord! Give her the child- please do not kill him!” But the other woman said, “All right, he will be neither yours nor mine; divide him between us!” Then the king said “Do not kill the child, but give him to the woman who wants him to live, for she is his mother!”

When all Israel heard the kings decision, the people were in awe of the king, for they saw the wisdom God had given him for rendering JUSTICE. {1 Kings 3:3-28}

Can you imagine the crowd of people around listening as the king gave his decision. They must have looked around at each other in astonishment. I can only imagine the joy that the real mother had when her baby was placed back into her loving arms. She knew her baby and her love for him was strong.

The real mother of the baby was fully willing to give up her baby so that he could live. She did not want to see him hurt in any way. She loved him deeply. She would do anything to save her baby.

As mothers we are given this monumental role to love, protect and defend our babies. We will do whatever is necessary for the care and safety of our children.

The bond between a mother and her baby begins at conception and continues to grow deeper and stronger each and every day. From the moment that you are aware of your pregnancy and life within your womb, you begin to make decisions and choices that are in the best interest of your child. You are no longer looking out for just yourself. There is a precious life inside of you that you have chosen to carry and bring into this world. You were chosen, of all the other mothers in the world, to be the mother of this child. That is pretty special! You have been given such an honor. A remarkable role that you are able to play. You are able to give guidance, wisdom, and most of all LOVE to your baby. A mothers love.

God sends His wisdom in the maternal instincts that are naturally given. At times you will wonder what to do in this circumstance or what about when this arises? Just look to God to show you exactly what to do. He will never steer you wrong. He will lead you one step at a time. All you have to do is ask Him for wisdom in each day.

I feel this so strongly on my heart…

For those precious mothers that are pondering the thought right now… What choice do I make right now? I just found out I am pregnant. I am confused. I am so unsure of what to do. So many questions arising.

Please know that we are here for you. We can pray for you and give you the encouragement you need. YOU can do this! YOU can choose LIFE! Just reach out to us and we can get you the help that you need. We pray that you choose life. 

You can post a comment or send us an email. We would love to pray with you and rejoice in the life that you are choosing to carry.

God I pray for your wisdom and your words to pour out upon every reader that is reading this now. May you touch their life and bring comfort and peace to them. May you lead them one step at a time. Thank you for a mothers love and thank you for the gift that they are to you. You are so blessed by them being life-givers. May you send your blessings and favor upon them and may they always look to you. You are their King and you defend the mother and baby and see that justice, grace and mercy is given. I love you God. Thank you so much for your wisdom!

Written by Salina Duffy 

Forever Yours

shutterstock_52902718There is this rush I remember from childhood, when someone would take me by the hands and spin me around and around and around so many times, with my feet flying and adrenaline rushing. All of the colors and objects of the world bled together as I spun, and when I was placed back on solid ground, although I was still again, the world around me looked as if it continued spinning. This feeling like I truly had no control over my relation to surrounding objects and events set in; sometimes terrifying and sometimes exhilarating.

While most people I know feel excited for the onset of summer break, expectant for relaxation and down time, my entrance into the season was met with busyness. The past few days have been wholly mind consuming. Even when seated my brain has bolted from event to event, making sure I have all materials, clothing, groceries, etc. ready for the next in line on the calendar.  With both girls home all week the past couple of weeks, I have worked extra hard trying to carve out a time to clean, because most of my usual cleaning time has been spent just uncovering the floor from toys and laundry enough to even see it. On top of the mental work of restructuring my schedule for summer, I have spent a great deal of fun time with my family. I attended the Texas IndyCar race this past Saturday night, got up and spent hours finally painting my youngest daughter’s room on Sunday. Monday was my oldest daughter’s first dance recital. Yesterday we had the privilege of taking both girls to Hawaiian Falls Water Park for my husband’s staff development day; and today we will spend with my mother-in-law, celebrating her birthday.

Restructuring my home-schedule with the girls the past weeks has been challenging. My youngest has entered the world of toddlerhood and my oldest is weaning off of naps. I had heard stories of three year olds being more difficult than two year olds, but I did not believe such stories until I began experiencing them myself. And even the days full of fun with my husband and children have been physically and mentally draining. As I sit still, writing these words, the room around me feels like it is spinning, much like that spinning thing as a child; long after my body stopped moving all is not quite calm. Life can become so busy, even when contently full of a balance of work and fun, we can end up vacillating between defining ourselves based on the amount of work we did or did not accomplish and the success or failure of the “fun day” we planned for our children. Whether good or bad, we must not lose site of Whose child we are and our proximity to Him solely because we are His.

A little over three months ago, I had just left an impromptu doctor’s appointment to have an incision checked, because I thought it might be infected. I had just had emergency surgery three days prior, due to a tubal pregnancy. I remember walking out of the doctor’s office feeling so brokenhearted, so tired of busying myself with social media and television to keep my mind off of the tragedy. As I walked out of the waiting room filled with large canvas prints of newborn babies and waited at the office entrance for my husband to pull the car around, I had that spinning feeling, while I sat still. The previous weeks of nursery planning and joy, turned into sudden chaos, pain, and panic, which had just turned into relief that an incision was not infected and wondering what my kids were doing at my in-law’s house that day. All of the busyness from the previous weeks bled together and spun wildly around my seated self, when I remembered the image of a painting I had seen someone post on Facebook that morning.

The canvas was filled with many shades of green and yellow, all bleeding together, with no distinction between shades or lines. In the middle of the colorful sea was the distinguishable, white silhouette of a person, whose arms extended upward, toward the heavens, and little multicolored hearts appeared to be floating down from the sky, like they would fill and overflow the emptiness of the white silhouette. The caption below the picture read, “Love came down.”

Our car pulled up in front of the doctor’s office exit. Kyle hopped out to get my door and I crawled into the car. Recalling this memory of the painting I had seen, I was overcome with an intense emotional need to go to Hobby Lobby. I realize this sounds as if I am an ordinary woman, who craves hours alone in the fabulous store of treasures, but this truly was an emotional and spiritual urge physically manifesting in this pit of my stomach–like if I did not go to Hobby Lobby and get certain items I would miss out on some incredible word from God. I asked Kyle if he would stop by Hobby Lobby on our way home, and after expressing some concern for my physical state, since I could barely stand up straight and walk, he did agree to drive me there.

I refused to sit in one of those electric scooters, because that is just how I am, and I put my whole body weight on a shopping cart and slowly hobbled around the aisles collecting my supplies. When we returned home, Kyle had some errands he needed to run and I assured him I would be fine alone for a little while. And I knew there was something deep God wanted to do in my heart, involving this memory of a painting, some crafts from Hobby Lobby, and my pain filled body, while the world spun madly around me; because no matter elation or sadness, the world does not stop turning in the midst of hardship or great joy.

Kyle left and I emptied my materials onto our table. I sat down in a chair and asked God to speak. I heard Him tell me to turn on a specific song. I found Kari Jobe’s version of, “Love Came Down to Rescue Me” on my phone and blasted the volume. I selected the song to repeat and must have listened to it over 50 times, as I made my artwork. Tears of the deepest sadness, anger, love, and inspiration splattered onto the canvas as I painted the lyrics, “I am Yours. I am forever Yours” across the space. I even rearranged my mantel a few weeks later to incorporate the piece into my décor, so I could see this deeply moving reminder that there is absolutely no thing wonderful, tragic, or in between, capable of separating me from my Savior.

As I sit here on my couch, before spending a day of celebration for my mother in law’s birthday, I glance across the room at my mantel, staring upward at the canvas I created in a moment of tragedy.  With this familiar feeling of life spinning on around me, I am reminded, no matter the busyness, whether good or bad, work or fun, I focus my eyes on the mighty hands of the One in control of my spinning about. His grasp is gentle, yet firm. He is intentional with His direction for me. And He is not letting go of me, no matter what madness or thrill spirals beyond me. His love rescues me from any moment, with any amount of crazy good or crazy bad. It transcends time and space and frees me from becoming overwhelmed. I am but a mere whisper of the name of Jesus away from the most loving and merciful Creator. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. I am His. I am forever His.

Wherever you sit today, preparing for the mundane, mustering courage to recover from tragedy, or anticipating a day of laughter and summer fun, remember to take a moment, close your eyes, and remind yourself there is nothing anyone can throw at you today capable of separating you from the love of your Creator. He delights in you. You are His. You are forever His.

For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-40 (NKJV)

by Jacqueline Fox