Do Not Grow Weary

wearywomanDo not grow weary in doing good, for at the right time you will receive a harvest if you do not give up. {Galatians 6:9}

This verse is one of my favorite verses.  Have you ever had a verse that popped up all the time and the people around you, or even people you that don’t know you at all, share a verse with you and it’s always the same one and you hear it over and over and over.  You are like, “Ok wow, I must really need to hear this verse.”  Well that’s me and Galatians 6:9.  I come across it and hear it all the time.  I have had so many people write it in cards and notes for me.  To the point I am wondering, “Do I seem really weary to everyone around me or what?” But I know it has just been God reminding me of this verse over and over.

wea·ry ::  adjective, wea·ri·er, wea·ri·est, verb, wea·ried, wea·ry·ing.

1. physically or mentally exhausted by hard work, exertion, strain, etc.; fatigued; tired: weary eyes; a weary brain.

2. characterized by or causing fatigue: a weary journey.

3. impatient or dissatisfied with something (often followed by of weary of excuses.

4. characterized by or causing impatience or dissatisfaction; tedious; irksome: a weary wait. 

Does any of that sound like how you feel sometimes? Are you growing weary in any area of your life today? Maybe in your finances, your job, with your kids, your marriage, your health, or a relationship?

I am sure we all feel weary in an area of  life or maybe even in all areas of your life. A weary journey, a weary brain, weary of excuses, a weary wait … that pretty much sums it up.  Just the other day I was cleaning an office which is my 2nd job and a huge blessing to me to have, but this particular day, much like every day, I was feeling so tired physically and growing so weary and just thinking in my head about how overwhelmed I felt, how much stuff I needed to get done and then I heard a quiet whisper, “Don’t grow weary.”

Over the last few months I have heard that whisper a lot.  Most recently when dealing with a difficult client at work, and after working a 16 hour day, when I work with my 6 year old who struggles with dyslexia, when my house is a total bomb and I am overwhelmed, when my car has an unexpected mechanical issue that has to be fixed and the list goes on.  God reminds me all the time with a sweet quiet whisper, He whispers those three words and I know I can keep going.  “Don’t grow weary, Jennifer, Don’t grow weary.” Then I know,  I can keep going.  That’s all it takes.

See I think God is simple, His promises are simple and his Word is simple.  He promises us if we do not grow weary, we WILL reap a harvest.  It’s a fact. This is just one of His many promises and one that I need to remind myself of daily.  Sometimes I complicate things, and ask God a million questions about things going on my life and most of the time as I ramble on, He’s quiet and his answer is always simple and most of the time,  don’t grow weary is His answer.  Which means, you don’t need to know right now, just keep going, don’t grow weary.

Written by Jennifer Bellamy

The World Needs Dads

dadsWe need dads. Dads fix the problems. Dads fix crime. Dads fix abortion. Dads fix poverty. Dads fix everything.

They don’t have to be great, they just have to be present. Their presence alone is a force multiplier. Their presence alone, even in the fullness of all their flaws, says to sons and daughters that they are valued and valuable. Their presence alone leaves the bride to the Father intact.

They won’t be present if nobody is showing them how. Unfortunately, for what is becoming the majority, there is a generation of absent dads. That ship has sailed, so now what?

Advocate dads can stand in the gap. It’s an uphill climb, but let’s put our climbing shoes on and get after it, one son at a time. It’s about the only social engagement that provides the kind of generational return on investment that is necessary for cultural healing. The future of our churches, schools, prisons, society and maybe even our own families depends on us reaching outside of biology to stand in the gap for the sons and daughters of missing fathers. Your kids are going to be marrying these orphans – get your hands dirty now or later.

Don’t wait until you are ready or have more time, that time will never come. If you want to know a deeper level of being a son, get in the game . . . it’s time for sons to be fathers. Our operation as fathers affirms and strengthens our place as sons. The flow is dynamic, not formulaic . . . the time is now.

Call a crisis pregnancy clinic, boys/girls club, local ministry, youth prison or some other type of venue to figure out how you can invest in them with your time. An hour or two a week. That’s plenty.

The kids might not know how to appreciate you at first; get over it. Don’t be offended by their defensiveness. If you had been where they have been, you would be guarded, too. If you have, then you know all too well and also know that it doesn’t take much. Just presence with a little effort.

I dare you to pray this simple prayer, “Father, I’m scared of getting out of my comfort zone. Will You show me how? I’m going to take some steps, but need You to make this work. Show me where to go. Love others through me. Come Your Kingdom, on earth as it is in Heaven . . . start with me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Written by Scott Prickett – Scott is the Pastor of The King is Calling Church in Sherman, TX 

Click here to follow Scott’s blog! 

Mommy Grace

squishynewbornThis is mommy confession time. I’ll be the first to admit my mistakes and take one for the team. I can reveal my “oopsie” mom moments that make me want to crawl under a table and wish that memory away. But no, it’s still there and life moves forward. The sting of reflecting is much worse on me than my kid. They barely remember the crazy. But it goes down in the history of Worst Mom Moves Hall of Fame.

I noticed the young EG moms sometimes post, worried and traumatized by a similar situation that happened and all I can say is, “Girl, it’s all good. You love your baby. You take good care of your tiny miracle. But sometimes in our sleep deprived states, we mess up and it stinks. You think you have scarred your kid for life … but no. They are resilient.” 

So to all my young momma friends, I suck up my pride and start confession time. I have numbered my kids 1 through 4 to keep it straight (because I can’t ever seem to.)

• Once when kid #1 was 1 week old, I was nursing him in my bed. I was sitting up, propped up in bed against the wall (we had no headboard back then) and his head was in the crook of my arm, facing the edge of the bed. It was the middle of the night and I was beyond exhausted. Unbeknownst to me, I started falling asleep and my arm started slowly slipping down further and further and next thing I know, I hear a thud … and a wail. ONE WEEK. O.N.E. I hopped off the bed, even with my c-section stitches, and scooped him up and he almost immediately stopped crying but I balled for about an hour. It was AWFUL. He was so tiny and fragile and I couldn’t believe I let that happen. But then God reminded me that His grace is big and momma’s get grace too.

• Once #4 was only a few weeks old. My hubby had dropped off #1 and #2 at school while I slept in a little with #4. We woke up and got ready for the day. I had to run to the office for a bit to get some work done. I packed up #4 and got about 15 minutes down the road and had that sinking feeling … you know the one. The one where your heart drops down into your stomach and you suddenly can’t breathe. #1, 2 and 4 were accounted for … but what about #3? Revelations started flooding my thoughts as I quickly remembered that #3 didn’t have school that day. And she had overslept and was at back at the house in bed (or so I hoped). I turned the car as fast as I could, but had another 15 minutes of pure terror. Every thought ran through my mind, “What if she woke up and no one was home? Would she think the rapture happened? Would she think that we all forgot her? Would she try to go out the front door and down the street to look for us and a stranger pick her up? Freak out! I got home and she WAS awake. She was in her little cute 6-year old PJ’s sitting in my bed watching tv. I do what any mom would do and tried to play it cool and act like I had just come back inside from checking the mail or something … but she was smarter than that. “Mommy you left me. You forgot me. I looked everywhere for you and you were gone. I went into the backyard and a big monster was out there so I came back in and waited. I was so scared.” She had tears. UGGH! I gave her a giant hug and told her how sorry I was. She took me outside to show me the “monster” – it was our new grill with the black cover on it. Sad!

She actually still kind of remembers that one but she doesn’t seem too affected by it.

There are tons more stories but our blog couldn’t quite contain the words and emotion.

I drive around all the time and occasionally my mind will wander about something non-kid related. And then my thoughts are suddenly interrupted by, “OMG I think I forgot a kid somewhere!!” … but most of the time I do a quick head count and realize all is right with the world and I am doing alright with this mom thing.

God has grace for our mess-ups and even if we sit our kids in front of the TV too long for the day because you just need some momma time. There is grace for that too.

What’s most important is that our kids feel our love and know their heavenly Father as #1 in the family. If you even feel mommy guilt, then that is because you do love them. But it’s ok to lay it aside and put our unrealistic standards of perfectionism aside. There is no way we can be perfect all the time. And knowing that, makes all the difference in the world.

Accept that free gift of grace. Keep loving on your babies and doing the best you can, knowing His strength is made perfect in our weakness. He will pick up where we can’t. He has our backs and lifts us back up when we fall. He is our Comfort and Support.

Embrace your Mommy Grace! Happy Mommies have Happy Babies. 

So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus. {Ephesians 2:7}

Written by Amy Ford

Have you Embraced Grace?

friendsandbelliesMost of you have seen someone post something about Embrace Grace and most of you have asked about it. Here’s a snapshot of what all the greatness is about:

Embrace Grace is a support ministry sponsored by a local church for single and pregnant mommas with unplanned pregnancies. The heart of the ministry is to change the culture of church and be a place where girls run to when they find out their pregnant, not run away from. It’s a way to support girls spiritually, emotionally as well as practically.

We just finished hosting our first Embrace Grace semester in Sherman, Texas. We had three leaders and eight mommas. It was amazing and lives were changed. Not just the lives of the mommies were changed but us as leaders were as well. It’s really amazing to think that so much change could come from mostly just showing up. Think about the last time you were hard pressed or in one of the toughest or scariest times in your life. Aren’t some of the best memories of people just showing up, choosing to be there to walk along side of you?

At first, I was nervous that we wouldn’t be able to provide for all of their needs or help them with all of their problems. How would we be able to do it all? I quickly realized that I was right and we couldn’t do it all. We started being purposeful about teaching them how God wanted to be their provider and counselor. He wanted to provide for them and give them wisdom in their circumstances. It’s okay that we can’t provide everything for them and that we don’t have all the answers. What is important is that we remind them that their Heavenly Daddy wants to do all those things and more!

Here are some more details that were apart of our semester and over 11 other semesters that other groups have participated in:

Each semester is 10-12 weeks long of one-two hour meetings depending on size. There is curriculum to guide you week by week. All you need to start is two leaders and one momma!

Each group of girls will be invited to a combined baby shower but receive their own new presents. It’s like an individual shower but everyone is celebrated at the same time. Gifts are donated by your church or others in the community.

Each group is invited to a special night where they are celebrated for who they are personally not just as a momma. Lots of fun surprises await them this night. It’s an amazing way to end the semester.

Are you interested in learning more or have additional questions?

For more information, contact us at iEmbraceGrace.com

Written by Julie Prickett

Little {Lady} Bugs

ladybugMy sweet mother in law surprised me with a clear plastic bowl full of ladybugs that she bought from a landscape nursery this past weekend. There were hundreds and hundreds of ladybugs crawling around inside. We’ve always heard they are wonderful to scatter in your garden. I was amazed to see them all sitting in the palms of my hands. I was in awestruck wonder. I have received a gift like this three times before. Once given by my husband, hundreds of ladybugs in a mesh bag, another time by my mother in law a few years ago, and once by God. I will elaborate on this gift given by God in just a moment.

My hubby thought it would be cute to sprinkle a few ladybugs from the bowl full given by his mom this week on my bathroom vanity. I was in my closet getting ready and happened to look up to see him sprinkling the cute little ladies on my mirror, by my sink, and more. It was such a sweet gesture of love. It warmed my heart on the inside. He held them one by one and placed them ever so softly in sweet places. He held the bowl full of ladybugs with the lid removed in the palm of his hands.  Somehow the bowl tipped over, and hundreds and hundreds of ladybugs fell to the floor and began to scatter so quickly. Suddenly I heard him say, “Help, help me!” They flew and crawled up the walls, on the cabinets, on the shower and everywhere. I mean everywhere!!

We began to laugh out loud literally. We called to our boys to come quickly and help with the ladybug roundup. They were crawling on our arms, legs, and they really tickled! We placed them in little bowls hoping to contain them, but the faster we put them in, the faster they crawled out. Again, more giggles and loads of laughter was heard in our bathroom. You just can’t make this stuff up!! It really happened and I tucked this special memory into the pocket of my heart.

We finally had a majority of the ladybugs in the bowls and tried to keep them from flying out.  We rushed outside to place them in our aquaponics garden. The ladybugs seemed to like their new place. They began to fly and crawl on the leaves and vines of cucumbers, tomatoes and more and made themselves comfy and cozy.

A memory from 5 years ago began to flood my mind. I heard a soft whisper, “Your husband sprinkled these in your bathroom today as a token of love, do you remember when I did the same for you?”

Yes, I vividly remember that day! I even looked back on my nurture by nature blog and recalled the encounter with my first ladybug gift from God. He began showing me sweet signs and tokens of love through the ladybugs and has since then led me on so many ladybug trails. My nature name is “ladybug girl” and in reading this post, you may get a glimpse as to why.

This is an excerpt from my blog post on November 11, 2008.

I really love God’s creation and want to soak it all in and never take anything for granted. Today was a special and sad day combined. I have been praying at 11:11 each day for the mommies to choose life and for the babies lives to be saved.  God has laid this on my heart and he has asked me not to stop praying or back down or give up. I am determined to help save these babies that do not have a voice to speak up for themselves. We can help save the world one little heartbeat at a time.

As I was giving Logan a bath and getting him ready to go, I felt that we needed to go and pray at the Planned Parenthood in Burleson.  On the way there, I was listening to my new CD from New Life Church and my favorite song- actually my anthem is Overcome. As I pulled into the parking lot this feeling overcame me and I began to cry. I opened my sunroof and looked up to the clouds to see pink and blue hues in the sky and my heart was stirred for the babies. Passion for the mommies and babies were rising!  I remembered that Tuesday and Saturday was abortion days at that clinic. So babies were being aborted this morning. I began praying and reading from Psalms. I was singing along… All authority, Every victory is yours. You overcame. More tears fell, and then I felt a release to leave.

Then it was time for us to have a happy time; we were heading to the hospital to see a precious new life.  Our very first Embrace Grace baby girl Kelcee was born and we were going to the hospital to visit her today. She is so beautiful!!! As her mommy Jessica placed her in my arms, I just looked at her and felt such peace.  Her mommy is so special and we are so happy that she came to Embrace Grace and for her special life. Then I got a text from another happy mommy Sarah that was having her sonogram today and she is also having a girl!! Lots of sweet moments!

We came home and I was so happy and thanking God for these special miracles. Kari Jobe’s song “You are Good” was playing in my car on the way home. I remember sitting in my seat, feeling the warmth and rays of sunshine beaming in the window and reflecting on God’s goodness that He had so graciously shown today. Right after that, my baby started getting sick and he began throwing up everywhere. I was grabbing towels and trying to clean up the little messes. I was in my utility room and looked up at the door and saw over 30 ladybugs flying all over the window. I had Logan in my arms and was showing him and he smiled. I have seen a few ladybugs at a time, but never that many at once, and how did they get inside our door? I started looking more closely and saw there is a little opening half way up the door, so I guess they sneaked in that way. I just kept looking at them flying around and thinking about it, then noticed so many more outside flying around the house. I went out to look and there were over 100 all together. Wow – love nature!!!  I am asking Daddy for insight on what the “Ladybugs” meant for me today.

The next morning as I was starting laundry and looking at my window where I had seen so many beautiful lady bugs and saying a little prayer to say thank you Daddy; He revealed to me the gift He had given me yesterday. He had sent the ladybugs as a sign to me for all the “little ladies”, little babies, little mommies that I have been praying for everyday. It brought tears to my eyes… He is so sweet!  He loves to shower us with His love! I pray daily for all of his daughters all across the world, whether they are unborn babies, little newborn babies, toddlers, preschoolers, grade schoolers, high schoolers, newlyweds, new mommies, grandmommies, just all of His precious “ladies”! I also of course pray for his “little boys” too!! I have 2 of them you know and God shows me daily how precious they are in His sight and what joy and delight they bring to our life! I know that God has so many plans and destinies for these little babies lives and I pray they are able to be fulfilled. I pray that their mommies heart is softened and they will choose life and give their precious babies a chance to live and fulfill their God given destiny.

Embrace Life, Love, Ladybugs and Lullabies…

God wants you to know that you and your baby are His little “lady” bug.  He hides you under His wings.  You and your baby are protected, loved, and sang over each day.

… He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.

 {Psalm 91:4}

Since that day we have had so many special ladybug appearances.  Each time it reminds us that He is always near and watching over us.

I’ve heard time after time of our Embrace Grace girls seeing a ladybug and they immediately think of these stories.  They now have their own ladybug stories to share. How God’s love and protection covers them and their babies and they are comforted. The next time you see a ladybug, may you be reminded how much you are loved, covered and always safe. 

Written by Salina Duffy

Attitude is Everything

girldancingA couple of weeks ago I was able to take my oldest daughter to her first concert. We went to see Victoria Justice and Big Time Rush, it was so exciting. Being a single mom and on a tight budget, I was only able to afford lawn seats for this event. I don’t know if any of you have ever had to sit in the lawn at a concert, but it’s not as exciting. You don’t have a great view, you are sitting on the ground, and when the concert starts while it is still light outside the screens are not visible. You can imagine how my 8 year old felt sitting out there while the people in the “expensive” seats were really enjoying their night. After a few huffs and puffs from her about how horrible our seats were, I informed her that the only person making her circumstance miserable was her. If she changed her attitude and found the positives about sitting where we were, she might actually enjoy the concert. Mind you, all this happened before Victoria Justice even came on, we were only in the second opening act. We continued to have the conversation for a while. I finally asked her to make an effort to change her attitude, to look at the area we were in as her own dance arena, she reluctantly agreed. After a few minutes of her attitude and heart change, a nice young man walked up to us with a stack of tickets and said, would you like to go sit in section 100 if so, how many tickets do you need. We were now sitting 20 rows back from the stage! WHAT!

My daughter was a whole new child. She had a destination in mind, and she reached it. She didn’t have to rely on screens to project what she so desired to see, she was there! Watching and experience that whole thing play out really spoke to me. You see, I know God doesn’t want to deny us from our destination. He just needs our hearts to turn towards Him and find the good in where we are. Once we are happy with the “seats” we are in, He is going to continue to move us towards our destination.

Needless to say, Skylan had one of the best nights ever (Her words, not mine), which in turn gave me one of the best nights. The transformation that happened just by moving up about 50 yards what phenomenal. She laughed, she danced, she sang, and she got super close to 2 of the Big Time Rush boys. I however, got a wonderful teaching moment. I was able to show her firsthand how important our attitude in life is, and she will forever be able to look back on that and remember what is possible when you change your perspective.

Written by Autumn Mills 

Focus on the Solution

crossIt’s hard to not get so caught up and focused on all of our problems. How am I going to pay my bills this month? How can I kick this drug problem? When will I quit craving alcohol so much? Why do I keep going back to the same boyfriend that treats me so bad? When will I find a job that uses my gifts and talents? Will I ever get married? Will things ever change? Why do I keep having sex with this guy when all I really want to do is stay pure before marriage?

Those are some common questions I hear a lot from my sweet momma friends. And I’ve noticed one thing that seems to pull these girls out of their problematic situations faster than any other way is: Don’t focus so much on the problem. Focus on the solution.

What’s the solution? Well there’s just one thing – JESUS.

We can get so consumed with the problem and try, try, trying to stop doing that problem or spinning our wheels trying to get out of our messes when Jesus can take care of all of it. The more time we spend with God and we surrender our need to fix it all, God takes our hearts and aligns it with His will. Those addictions start softening. Those desires you used to have start changing to God desires. He changes our hearts FOR US.

I’ve seen God come through in some major ways for people this week. As an outsider watching, I can’t tell you how MOVED I am seeing #1 God’s people having a burden to help others in need and all come together for one cause to make a HUGE difference and #2 those things we worry about just take care of themselves when we trust God.

There was a family of 5 this week that will be forced to move out mid-next week from their apartment and needed a place to stay for 3 weeks while they save their money for another rent deposit to another place. They had fallen behind on payments because of job changes and other things that they got so far behind they couldn’t quite catch up. They just needed a few weeks to recharge and reset. They had no idea where they were going. They gave all their problems and worries to Jesus and God just took care of it. Another family (that is completely BEYOND amazing) said they would move out of their OWN home and go stay with family members, just so this family in need could have a place to stay and stretch out. Only God can change people’s hearts and create stories so beautiful.

An Embrace Grace momma just had a baby just a week ago and at the same exact time, had to find another place to live. She moved in with a family member but no one had a truck to move her bigger stuff, which included a couch that she used to sleep on. So when she came home from the hospital, she had to sleep on the TILE floor! That is so sad!! God’s people sprang into action and a guy with a big truck went and picked up the couch so she could sleep on it. God changed and burdened the heart of this man to put love into action and make a difference. She gave it to Jesus and it was taken care of

I seriously have the best and most fun life ever!

And just a note for church leaders, church members, and all my friends that have been a Christian for a long time … if you see people in your life, whether at church or just outside circle that struggle with addictions to sin or consistent problems – just LOVE them. Encourage them. Speak life into them. God’s love being poured out in a tangible way changes their hearts.

Once there was a young guy that came to church and he had a strong smell of alcohol on him and was talking a little loudly. We were all getting situated in our classroom and I mentioned it to the baby daddy’s leader, “Just FYI, that guy might be a tad drunk. He majorly smells like alcohol.”  Guess what my leader friend said …. “Awesome.”

I smiled SO big!

I know what he meant. He’s not saying, “awesome” to the fact he is drunk. He is saying “awesome” to the fact that this guy was drunk and obviously covering his hurts and pain with alcohol and it wasn’t enough so he finally decided to make his way up to the church to get loved on by God’s love. He needed to connect quick with God’s presence. And he came! Awesome.

I watched that baby dad’s leader walking down the hall with a scraggly looking bunch following behind him. Guys with tattoo’s, gauges, one had a severe limp, saggy pants, jailhouse tattoo’s and one that smelled of alcohol. Awesome. I bet that’s a little like what Jesus and all the people that followed him looked like. Tears filled my eyes as I watched them walk to their classroom. All God wants is their hearts.

We’re ALL just a scraggly looking bunch but Jesus loves us anyways. He sees our destiny and our purpose. He loves us no matter if our scraggly looking stuff is more evident of it’s more concealed under our churchy clothes and words.

Church leaders, quit getting hung up on the problem. Just pour out the solution! More of Him changes everything.

If we focus on the solution (jesus) and not the problem (or even the evidence of the problem), things start changing. Hearts start changing.

When we focus on the solution even with helping others in need, our heart starts changing as well.

Awesome.

Written by Amy Ford