The Little Things

shutterstock_108048959In a few days, I am going to take part in a baby shower for 52 precious mommas that chose life. Over the past couple of weeks, individuals, life groups, companies, and friends have adopted these young ladies and purchased new baby items to help meet a need. It is truly one of the most beautiful things to be a part of. There are so many people out there with huge hearts that have the means to bless these mommas.

However, there are people out there that would love to be able to financially contribute to something like this. It is such a great feeling to be able to bless another individual, but sometimes our bank accounts don’t measure up to what our hearts want to do. This thought was really heavy on my heart today as I drove home from Wal-Mart. God did something so cool in that moment, He brought me back to a couple of years ago when I was grocery shopping.

I pulled into the store to grab a few items before a major thunderstorm was about to hit. I was overwhelmed, overtired, and in a hurry. I grabbed the items I needed, checked out, and got ready to leave the store when I heard the sound I was trying to beat. There was a loud boom followed by the down pour of rain. I was defeated (to say the least). I walked to the exit and sat there looking at my car 30 feet away. Any normal day I would just run to the car, but today I had my seven year old and my brand new baby in the basket. I was not about to risk the baby getting sick to just run to the car. I wanted to CRY!

Enter the stranger dressed like she just came from a tennis match. I’m sure she could see the desperate, near emotional breakdown look on my face and she stopped and asked if she could stand right by the door with my children so that I could pull the car up under the covering. Normally I am totally against leaving my children with strangers, but she just had a peaceful and genuine look to her. I sprinted to my car, never taking my eyes off the girls and drove up under the awning. I was able to load them in the car without them getting soaked and drove home.  You can’t imagine the sense of relief that I felt in that moment.

Sometimes we can think that because we can’t do something big, we can’t do anything at all. Or that the small things don’t matter. Nothing this lady did was over the top. She didn’t spend any money on me, she didn’t provide any tangible item, all she did was stop for 1 minute and stand next to my children. She could have just walked by us to get her groceries, but she didn’t. She saw a need and she offered to help. It has been well over a year and a half since that woman crossed my path, and I still remember what she did for me. Take it from me, even the small blessings matter. Sometimes they are even the ones that will forever stick with us!

Written by Autumn Mills

Dream Feathers

shutterstock_70084831While out for a nature walk at Bear Creek Park the most unusual and rare encounter took place. We were filled with amazement and awe as we walked up and over the tiny dirt hill and approached the broken tree trunk where I love to sit and write. It is here that lots of creation and inspiration is given. As we walked closer and closer we saw what appeared to be a big white pile of some fluffy stuff. Too early for snow we knew. We were unsure of exactly what until we were reached the exact spot and to our surprise there were thousands of white feathers gathered in one location. We looked at each other and thoughts arose of how in the world did this many feathers just appear in this specific spot? The feathers were nowhere else to be seen in all of the woods, but this particular spot where I love to come and be inspired. Thousands upon thousands of white feathers. We scooped down to pick up the feathers in our hand and threw them up in the air and they fluttered down upon our heads. We were all like little kids. Young and young at heart alike. My Mom and I along with my son and his two little friends that were girls shared the most fascinating experience together. Feathers being tossed up again and again. We giggled and screamed out in sheer adoration and delight.

Our imaginations were soaring. Had angels come prior to our arrival with bags full of feathers and spread them all out for us to see and enjoy? Had some kids had a really big pillow fight and surprisingly somehow the feathers were contained in this small section only without being spread around the rest of the woods? Did the heavens open up and just dump the feathers straight from the sky to this exact location? It was like a giant feather cloud. There were way to many feathers for it to have been one bird shedding its feathers. Not even an eagle has this many feathers!  How could this be? I could feel the joy and excitement bubbling up within me.

It is at this exact spot that I will write out dreams and visions that are on my heart. This spot is where God loves to download new things to me. Heavenly things that He is revealing to me that He desires to be shared with others. I knew that God was smiling and filled with so much joy to see our hearts filled with joy and amazement as we found the feathers He had deposited around my special spot for us to capture.

We each dreamed aloud with our imaginations as we tossed the feathers up in the air. The two little girls dreamed for a pony, a zebra, a castle where she was treated like royalty, and so much more! They were allowing their dreams to be explored and shared vividly as we stood upon the feather cloud.

Feathers have been a fascination with me for quite a while now. I will see feathers in parking lots and fields and bend down and collect the single ones that are found here and there. My best friend had shared with me one time that she read this book titled Dream Giver by Bruce Wilkinson. It has a single white feather on the front and describes how to fulfill your God-given dream and destiny.  She shares this same fascination and collection of feathers with me and it’s always so fun to share our experiences with one another.

The night before the feather exploration I was sharing a very special dream with my Mom. She came to visit and she closed her eyes and could literally see herself in this dream. I would like to share a portion of this dream with you. Maybe you can relate in some way or allow yourself to open up and dream in a new way.

My Mom and I were together on a very long journey. Sometimes we were driving and riding together, other times we were apart. We were also on foot walking for long periods of time, climbing up and down steep rocks and down this deep ravine. We climbed up and down and kept traveling. Somehow we made it to this very tall building with many floors and levels. Some floors had a mall area with shops and a food court. Other floors had a school area with classrooms setup and lessons being taught. There were lots of  Embrace Grace girls in many classrooms and they were eating at the food court and shopping at the stores.  Mom and I shared a special connection and joined back together for another journey. We walked down a long dirt road, past homes and subdivisions and into a secret hideaway place. Behind a curtain. There was a meditation and relaxation secluded spot to get-a-way from the world. A place where you can just be- just be you and me. No pressures. No craziness. No stress. We walk in these wooden doors and a man holding a tray of vessels of water (my mom loves her water) He said it was all for my Mom! Tray full of at least 12 vessels. I have never seen before (not just in the plastic water bottles that we normally drink from.) Then we walked down a hallway, curtains leading to different rooms. We are led back to this area with food. There was a bowl of white heavenly soup prepared especially for my Mom. She tipped it over just a little on the side and some spilled out onto the floor. There were small rocks on the table. Very symbolic. We felt such peace. The white soup was like manna from heaven & so life giving. Spiritual food and water- life filled! After my Mom ate the manna and drank the living water, she felt so full and nourished and satisfied. She was led into another room and I followed her. She stood in this room and was in awe. Her eyes were locked in on a beautiful high back white love seat. It was so pure, lovely, holy, righteous, silky, inviting, so elegant, so heavenly. My mom said oh, can you take a picture of me sitting in the love seat? I said certainly! She walked towards the love seat and began to sit down. She felt such love surround her, all around her. She was so relaxed and felt such peace. A little girl sat beside her and touched her hand. She had brown curly hair. She looked up into my mom’s eyes. They looked into each other’s eyes. Not a word was even spoken. The little girl gently rubbed my mom’s arm. There was so much love shared between the two of them. They were the same. It was her. It was my mom as a little girl. Her sweet innocence and gentleness, she was happy. She did not feel any pain at that time in her life. My mom reclined back in the love seat and felt a sharp pain, the little girl felt sad and could sense her pain. All the struggles and hurt and health issues she had to battle. She hoped that she could let go of the pain and fully release it all. It had been a long journey. A very long journey for my mom. She was tired. She was ready for relief. She was ready for her healing. She was ready to be rescued. She closed her eyes and fell asleep. Then I awoke from my dream. I felt such sweet peace.

After sharing this dream so vividly with my mom and then the very next day capturing all the fluffy white feathers that somehow appeared and were meant for us to see. It gave my mom hope. Lots of hope. She has been on a very long journey. A long road towards her healing. She knows she is getting closer. She can sense a change is coming. We gathered so many of the white feathers, dream feathers, and placed them in a keepsake bag. We then took a long walk into the woods along the winding trails. Admired the trees and the creek below. We came upon  wooden stairs leading to a steep path down towards the creek. It was very rocky. The ravine and path resembled the path I had seen in my dream that we took on foot. Even though my mom was in pain and it hurt her so bad to go down the steps and rocky path, she ventured down and held my hand each step of the way. She was full of determination to get to the end. She would not give up. She would stand firm. She would stand strong. She would walk along the path she has been given. She will journey towards the dreams God has for her.

Will you do the same? The dreams. The desires. The destinies God has placed inside of you. The feathers are placed before you. Embrace your dream feathers. God is your Dream Maker. God is your Dream Giver. He has placed many dreams inside of you. Allow yourself to dream. Allow yourself to relive the hopes and dreams deep inside of you. Keep a dream journal and record the dreams you have while you sleep and the daydreams too. Don’t ever give up on your dreams! Dream Big! Dream Bold!

Written by Salina Duffy

 

 

To Know and Be Known

shutterstock_125890565It was a very random evening.  My daughter was at a friend’s house and I was driving to Kroger, chatting with a friend on the phone when an unexpected call came through.  The call from the person you thought you wouldn’t hear from again (and maybe shouldn’t hear from again).  I answered not knowing who it was, maintained a brief conversation and then hung up the phone thinking that was it.  I was shocked and questions formed in my mind as I had not had time to prepare what I would say, or get off my chest all that I really wanted to say.

I carried on with my usual weekend activities, putting the call behind me.  I attended service that Sunday morning and during worship I had a very vivid moment with the Lord.  In this moment, this picture, I was standing in a crowd adorned in the most beautiful gown.  Flowing from my head was an extraordinary green veil with small gold pieces dangling from it.  Jesus was standing at the front of the crowd with His hand held out towards me.  I took His hand and He led me through the onlookers to the front of the crowd, until I stood right next to Him.  Our hands entwined, He turned to me and said, “You are Mine.” I felt so special, He had declared in front of all that I was His.  What started as a moment of elation though quickly turned to fear.  My chest started to squeeze tight and I could feel in my heart that I would turn from Him.  I squeezed onto His hand even tighter and begged Him not to let me go.  I was so afraid that I was going to be unfaithful to Him, turn my back on Him.  All the while He stood firm, never wavering, never letting go of my hand.

Fast forward a day or two after that moment during worship and I am back to driving in my car and I hear a familiar voice, “If you leave, I will not stop you.  But when you return, I will be here.”  I thought this strange but immediately my mind flew back to the picture I received in worship service just a few short days before.  You see, my relationship with my Abba had grown in depth recently.  I started to think on Him at all times, daydream about Him and see Him in the midst of my daily activities.  My heart for Him was growing and I was feeling very strong, very changed, very sure.

And then the second call came.  This one again caught me off guard.  It happened right after I had an argument with my son, and I was left baffled by one phone call and walked right into another one that I was not prepared for.  Pulling myself together I continued on with my day, and then another call came.  My strength beginning to wane, I started entertaining the calls, entertaining ideas, and before I knew it, I wasn’t so baffled, wasn’t so upset.  Now I was intrigued, and even hopeful.  But not quite peaceful.

Something was wrong in my spirit.  I knew that I should be upset, I reminded myself of all of the reasons why it had been a long time since I had talked to this individual, but even then I found myself conveniently compartmentalizing in my head.  A few days passed and another phone call came.  This one upsetting.  My hope shattered, and reality shone brightly on display.  In just a few short days my emotions had run the gambit.  I had started out sure, then startled, then skeptical, followed by intrigued, hopeful, even excited.  It wasn’t until the realization of my unmet expectations that I truly understood how much I had gone left so to speak.  Completely way out in left field from my original path, my original plan.  And then I knew.

In my heart, I, for however brief a moment, had left my first Love.  My heart had wandered from Him, and true to His word, He was there for me when I realized what I had done and came running back to Him.  I was devastated.  How quickly I had traded in my Truth for a façade.

Oh but He knows me, and I know Him.  The intimacy that we have built enabled me to not only see the error of my ways, but to receive Him and His love for me in the midst of my brokenness because I love Him and I know that He loves me.   This is not merely head knowledge, but heart knowledge.  I know, that I know, that I know that He loves me.  He is there for me, He won’t give up on me, He won’t let me go.  He will fight for me because I am His.

He knows you, the question is do you know Him? He loves you, He fights for you, He won’t let you go.  No matter what, He will be here for you when you are ready to return.

 

Waiting for You

heartinhandsIt starts small … maybe a sin creeps in. You think it’s a harmless little nothing that no one even notices … You find every excuse of why it’s different and your heart is in the right place so it’s ok to just keep sinning as long as no one gets hurt … after all, you’ve had a hard day, a hard week, a hard life. God would understand.

Before you know it, you’ve lost yourself. You don’t even know who you are anymore. The darkness sucked you in and consumed you. You feel like you are in too deep and you don’t know how to get back out … to the way you were. When things were more simpler. You can’t even remember how it all started or where everything went wrong. Everything is falling apart and the first one we want to blame it on is God.

It’s a cycle that we see a lot. Everything going wrong in our life, we blame God. We blame God when we get pregnant outside of marriage when most likely (not always), we had unprotected sex. We blame God for our speeding ticket when most likely, we were speeding. We blame God for our relationships falling apart, when most likely, He gave you all the warning signs you needed to not enter into but we didn’t listen.

Sin has a way of creeping in and wrecking everything along the way.

But it’s never too late to turn things around. You’re never in too deep that God’s not there reaching in to pull you out … waiting for you to grab His mercy and goodness. He doesn’t condemn or shame you.

“He doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve, nor pay us back in full for our wrongs.
As high as heaven is over the earth, so strong is his love to those who fear him.
And as far as sunrise is from sunset, he has separated us from our sins.” {Psalm 103}

Just like with the story of the Prodigal son that Jesus told … the son took all his dad’s money and ran away with it, spending it all on crazy stuff until he had literally nothing to his name. He was so ashamed of himself but decided to be brave and go back to his dad and maybe work for him as a servant. He was shocked when, even from a long way off, his father RAN to him, gave him a giant hug and smothered him with kisses. Then threw him a giant party celebrating that his son was finally home.

The father didn’t go through the list of what all he did wrong. He was just so happy His son was back home where he belonged. That’s all he cared about.

That’s what God is waiting for with us … for us to just come back home. That’s one reason why I LOVE Embrace Grace baby showers … we are celebrating His girls coming back home to Him.

Someone close to me and that I love dearly spent 15 years in darkness. It started as little sin … until this person was so wrapped in darkness, he lost himself and almost his family. He decided to spend a week away with God. He was sick of the downward spiral his life was forming and he just needed to break away and hear God again … like he used to.

He was out in the woods and wanted to spend an entire day with God with no distractions. He found a perfect spot at a tree that looked like a cross. He was so overwhelmed that there was such a place … He knew it was God that made this perfect place for them to spend their day together. As he pulled out his Bible and notes to study, he realized he forgot his reading glasses back at the house. He was upset and tried to read as much as he could without them but had a hard time. He decided to make his trek back to the house.

After recovering his glasses, he headed back out to his special spot that He felt like God made just for him but as he was walking, he realized he lost his way. He couldn’t find where he left his stuff and the special tree shaped like a cross. He searched across the acreage, trying to find his spot. He finally stopped for a moment and prayed, “God, please lead me back to where I was, at the cross, with you.” And he instantly heard God reply, “That’s what I’ve been trying to do for the last 15 years.” 

The man wept in realizing he had been running from the One that created and loved him more than anyone else in the world.

There may be someone reading this today that feels like the Prodigal son. You feel like what may have started innocent … but maybe this “thing” has turned into beyond your control and you don’t even know where to turn to. I just want you to know that God is there, wanting to pull you out, to help you up, to get you back on your feet. He will take care of the clean-up that needs to happen. He will help you. Just reach out and grab a hold of his mercy and grace. Your mistakes don’t cancel your destiny. Just give Him back your heart.

It’s time for the greatest comeback in the history of your life! 

Written by Amy Ford

Paradise

shutterstock_121881727Every little girl dreams of her wedding day. Who she will marry. What dress she will wear. The flowers. The beauty of her day. The kiss. The dreams can be as elaborate as she desires. As she closes her eyes and dreams she uses her creative imagination; the pictures in her mind begin to form and she will add to those many times in the years to come. It is in her dreaming that gives life to those ideas and visions as a small child and progresses as she is growing into a young woman.

This weekend my husband and I had the honor of attending a family wedding. It was not just any family member though. It was our niece. It was very special because she was the flower girl in our wedding 17 years ago. She was so young and precious and looked like a little princess in her white flower girl dress. She held the flowers in her hand and felt so grown up as she walked her pretty-little- self down the aisle and sprinkled rose petals. Many years have passed since my wedding day and she has all grown up now and becoming a woman herself. The plans, dreams, and images that she dreamed of as a child were able to come true. She began preparations over a year ago after she was engaged and it was all leading up to this special day.

She was married to the love of her life at the most beautiful venue at Paradise Cove overlooking Lake Grapevine. Everything was perfect! She looked radiant and gorgeous as she walked down the aisle. Her brother escorting her on one side, her stepdad on the other. She had imagined that moment differently as a little girl. She always imagined her Dad walking her down the aisle and giving her away to her groom. She had a sweet picture of her Dad on her bouquet. This was to symbolize him walking her down the aisle even though he couldn’t physically be there. He had passed away the year before.

She said her I do’s with her beloved in a gazebo overlooking the lake as the sun was shining so brightly. Everyone looked on with sheer bliss and happiness as the two joined in holy matrimony. They walked so gracefully back down the aisle and the celebration began! They had sweet toasts, special dances, cutting their cake and many more special moments.

A sweet flood of emotions welled up inside of me during a time that my sister-in-law… aka the mother of the bride… moved to the dance floor with her stylish boots to embrace her daughter. They began to dance to a song Freefalling. They danced so carefree. They sang out loud the words to the song. So much of a mother’s love was wrapped up in that sweet moment that it just stirred something from deep within me. Even now as I am reflecting back upon that precious moment the tears are falling down my cheeks. Her brother looked at me and said oh, it’s ok, don’t cry. But the tears would not stop. I kept thinking how sweet it was for a mother and daughter.

The love that she has for her sweet little girl and how she wants the best for her. How she would give anything, do anything, surrender anything of herself for her child. The emotions rising up within me began to be drawn from such a deep well that stirred up a sense of compassion for the sweet girls in my life. Although I only have 2 natural born sons, I have so many spiritual daughters in Embrace Grace. I always call them my sweet daughters, and that I have way too many to count. I always feel they are a part of me along with their sweet babies. My heart expands more and more with each new addition.

Just that morning I had asked for a topic for the weekly blog and heard Paradise. Later that afternoon I was reflecting upon the recent events of the wedding and more in my journal and flipped to a page from July 2012. It was lyrics from a song by Coldplay titled Paradise. When she was just a girl, she expected the world, but it flew away from her reach, so she ran away in her sleep. Dreamed of Paradise, every time she closed her eyes. Life goes on it gets so heavy, every tear a waterfall. In the night the stormy night she closed her eyes. In the night the stormy night away she’d fly… and dreams of Paradise. So lying underneath those stormy skies she said oh-oh-oh I know the sun must set to rise.

In this song it speaks of a little girl that would fall asleep at night and chase her stormy days and nights away in her dreams. No matter what your days are filled with. If you have some loneliness, sadness, or anything that brings the stormy clouds… There is nothing that can keep you down. If you are feeling low, just know that those stormy days will pass and fade away. Your days of Paradise are in your future. The sun will shine, a bright new day will appear and wipe away those stormy days. If you have been thinking lately that since you are now pregnant and the hopes of your dreams that you had as a little girl look so much different now… There is so much happiness to look forward to! Days upon days of joyful moments and memories to cherish with your little one!

One day that man of your dreams that you had as a little girl will sweep you off your feet and will lovingly accept you and your precious little one into his life. In the meantime, just relax and enjoy this journey of being single. Your time will come. In the waiting season, just allow yourself to be refined. Just as a priceless gem is refined, so are you too priceless. You are unique. There is no other person on earth that is exactly like you. When your match finds you, he will be smitten with your beauty and so thankful that he found you. He will be enthralled with your beauty. He will be enamored by YOU. He will love you and cherish you. Dream and have fun with it.

I’m sure that as a little girl you dreamed vividly of your wedding day and how special it would be. You have pictures in your head that you have held onto for so long. Have fun and reflect upon the dreams that you had as a little girl and your wonderful wedding day. Write them out in your journal, share with some close girlfriends.

What does your Paradise on earth resemble? Of course when we go to heaven we will live in Paradise forever with Jesus along with all the heavenly hosts. My son said Paradise looks like a beach with him fishing and catching tons of fish. Maybe your paradise is living happily ever after with the love of your life. Maybe it is surrounded by peaceful days and full of serenity. Whatever your paradise looks like…embrace it.

He forgives your sins—every one. He heals your diseases—every one. He redeems you from hell—saves your life! He crowns you with love and mercy—a paradise crown. He wraps you in goodness—beauty eternal. He renews your youth—you’re always young in his presence. Psalm 103:3-5 MSG

Embrace this time of Paradise on earth that you have been given or will receive in the future. Enjoy the moments. Live life to the fullest! You only live once, so make it count!

Another one of my nieces was married several years ago and she rode off into the sunset on a beautiful brownish bronze horse with her husband leading with the reins. Oh, it was so breathtaking and beautiful! Every girl dreams of something heavenly for her wedding day. Your day will be like nothing else you have experienced. It will be special. It will be monumental. I pray it will be heavenly!

Written by Salina Duffy

Bad Days

shutterstock_62299999I’m thinking back to some of the most lonely, hopeless, heart wrenching times of my life and I’m shaking my head in awe, because… God did it. He brought me through.

You know whenever you are going through hell and you get comments like, “It will be worth it” “There’s always a light at the end of the tunnel” and “This will only make you stronger” ? Sometimes, all you want to say is, “SHUT UP.” Thankfully, I am a positive person and during hard times, I tell myself those things anyways. In my heart, I know Jesus wins every battle. HOWEVER, there are STILL times whenever we are just struggling and encouragement is the last thing that will encourage us. Sometimes, all we really need is time, renewal of strength, a shift in seasons, etcetera. (Please note: The encouragement I have received and will receive from the people around me is incredibly irreplaceable and undefinably essential.)

Over a course of one year, it seems as though I have felt every hard emotion there is to feel. I am sure you will relate to at least one.

Unforgiveness, bitterness, confusion, disdain, regret, ungratefulness, hopelessness, fear, anger, purposelessness, sadness, awkwardness, lifelessness are all emotions I have felt in the past year. These things are POISONOUS to our life. In those moments of despair, we wonder, “why now,” “why me,” “how,” “what if” and we are left answerless. This is the most dangerous place in excruciating times, because we either start answering all of the questions on our own or we choose to be okay with unanswered questions, and so we keep trucking, and trust that God is moving us to deeper places because “some way, somehow, it will all be for the better.”

Here I am, up too late on a Saturday night, touching the morning hours of Sunday… and my spirit feels at rest. Hallelujah and amen. There is no ache in my stomach. There is no distaste towards tomorrow. I am not saying that during “hard times” every day is a bad day, but I am talking about the really really really bad days, where hope is just a word and drowning is reality. These days are not coincidence. Friend, these days are not in vain. Satan wants our bad days to be the days that determine us. It is the “bad” days that will mold us, but it is what we learn from the bad days that makes our life so much richer.

I feel like I have crossed oceans, canyons and valleys to reach this place. In fact, the enemy is still trying to shoot flaming arrows at me, but the rest in my soul is unimaginable.

God did it. He brought me through. And He will do the same for you.

Written by Ashtyn Carrigan

 

Graced Not Shamed

shutterstock_108320876As I have walked with my younger daughter through her journey of an unplanned pregnancy and the birth of my precious grandson, I am amazed at what God is doing in my own life. My journey started over two and a half decades ago with my own unplanned pregnancy and the birth of my first daughter. But I’m going to begin my story with last Monday October 7, 2013. I walked into the Embrace Grace event at Gateway Church. I was there with my daughter and a group of her friends that she met through EG. I went to the event to be supportive of my daughter but I was also there for myself. I hoped that just maybe, God might have something there for me, too. And He did provide for me but not in the way I expected.

As I lifted my voice in worship to my Savior, my eyes wandered through the crowd of girls and women around me. I was overwhelmed with gratitude at having the chance to come to this event with my daughter, to see her get loved on by these EG women, but I was also overwhelmed by my feelings from so long ago. While my heart sang out to God in gratitude at bringing us all this far, I heard these words spoken to my heart by my Creator, “You are no different from these girls around you.”

You might think it an odd thing to hear but it is exactly what I needed. You see, 26 years ago, I found myself single, alone, and pregnant. The embarrassment and shame that I felt was only magnified by my mother telling me if I were any younger, she would force me to have an abortion. I was 19 at the time. I was soon sent to live at a home for unwed mothers about 45 minutes away. I felt lost, isolated, and like I’d been thrown out with the garbage. While I lived at the home for girls like me, I seriously considered allowing someone to adopt my baby. I looked through the adoption book over a period of several weeks and finally decided on a couple who was unable to have children of their own. All the while, trying to ignore the ache I felt inside at being forever parted with my child. I moved back to my parents’ house around my 6th month of pregnancy. One day soon after I receive a phone call that changed my destiny. Upon picking up the receiver, I heard the voice of the potential adoptive father I’d chosen. He said they’d decided to adopt the baby of another girl. My heart was broken. I slide down the wall and dissolved into a puddle of tears. But I also had a very real, very deep sense of relief… I was going to keep my baby. And this was God’s way of telling me to do so. My parents, being active members of the community didn’t take my decision well. They asked the pastor of the church we attended for advice. His suggestion was to have me write a letter of confession to every family member and family friend. To this day, I can still feel the keys of the typewriter under my fingers. I couldn’t see a thing for the tears streaming down my face as I begged to not have to do it. My mother, speaking very coldly said, “You brought this on yourself. Now you have to suffer the consequences.” I can still hear the thud of the 40 envelopes as they hit the bottom of the mail box. My shame magnified beyond measure as “my sin” was out there for everyone to see.

A few days later, I was told that I had to write another letter, this one to be read in front of the church board. There aren’t enough words in the English language to even begin to explain how I felt as I stood before that group of people. My body burned like I was being skinned alive. If it weren’t for the life growing inside of me, I would have killed myself. The pain was more than I could bear. In order to survive, I buried it all. I became a zombie. Depression and anxiety became my shadow.

My little girl was born and she became my life. She was the reason I lived. But the pain, shame, and anger lay in my heart and refused to be ignored. It ate at me night and day. I thought that everywhere I went people “could tell” what kind of person I was. While I was NEVER ashamed of my daughter, I was very ashamed of myself, of who I was, of what I represented. I was “one of those people”. I’d brought shame and disgrace upon my family. I didn’t know how to fix it; how to make the pain stop. So I did what I thought would make me look like everyone else… I got married, to the first guy that came along. Just a couple of months into the marriage, I became pregnant again.

Having never dealt with the emotions associated with the treatment I endured during my first pregnancy, my second became emotionally overwhelming. I wept almost all the time and inwardly raged the rest of the time. My hormones already being out of whack just made it all the worse. My anxiety levels were off the charts. I thought I was going to die. But I didn’t; God sustained me. And I gave birth to another beautiful healthy baby girl.

Fast forward 21 years. My older daughter moved to another state, got married, and started college. It was so hard to let her go. I felt the pain all over again at having almost lost her through adoption. A couple of years later she asked for my blessing to find her birth father. With my heart in my throat, I give it; wanting only what’s best for her; knowing God will help me through whatever happens. She did an internet search for his name and in less than 10 minutes, she had an address for him. Being very brave, she wrote him a letter. Soon after, they met in person and began the process of getting to know one another. I’ve done everything I can to not stand in the way of my daughter’s right to know her father and his right to know her although it’s been very painful for me. As I’ve walked this out with my older daughter I’ve been able to forgive her father. And I’m now able to see him for what he is: another broken person in need of a Savior.

Several months later, my daughter and her husband conceived their first baby, a little girl. Gratitude at the blessing of being a grandma filled my heart! But every bit of what I’d stuffed away all those years ago came blowing up to the surface like a volcano. I could no longer ignore it.

I’d already been attending Celebrate Recovery for about a year but it became my life line. I looked forward to the weekly meetings that allowed me to give voice to the old emotions that felt as fresh as a wound incurred yesterday. I cried many tears but I trusted God to hold them all because He says in His Word that He does. It’s been a long and painful process to deal with these old emotions that have only festered and grown with time. But God is ever faithful.

A little over a year ago, my younger daughter found herself pregnant and unmarried. Because of my deep pain, I have been able to give her what I never received; grace and mercy. I’ve cried right along with her; for her pain and for my own. I’m still walking the road to forgiveness for the damage done to me by my parents and the church. But God is so gentle and kind. And just as He walks every road with me, He’ll walk this one.

Yes, the voice of God, breaking through the barriers of my heart, reminding me that I am not alone in this experience was EXACTLY what I needed to hear. There are lots of other girls “like me” and God loves every single one of us. And He loves our babies. 

– Anonymous