Walls Are Coming Down

shutterstock_173425400I was speaking last week at Christ for the Nations about Embrace Grace. I spoke about how brave girls are that choose life and how we should love without limits and build support systems to help young women that might be scared with an unplanned pregnancy. After I shared my heart for an hour, several students came up to me afterwards to share their heart and stories. One was hanging towards the back and when the group cleared he made his way towards me. He started to share about his sister having an unplanned pregnancy 3 years ago but before he could continue he would need to stop before his emotions got the best of him. He was choked up and had a hard time confessing what was on his heart.

He admitted that when his sister had announced her pregnancy to their family, they really treated her bad. They talked down to her and were so disappointed in her actions. She eventually couldn’t take it anymore and ran away and had (in his words) “the cutest little girl in the whole world.” With tears in his eyes he talked about his regrets in the way he handled it all and wished that he could go back and change things. He is married now and him and his wife have tried to reach out to her and invite her over for dinner but it has yet to happen.

I hear stories like this sometimes. I am so proud of this guy for even sharing his heart and regret with me. You could tell that he loves his sister so much and wants to make things right again. He asked if I had any suggestions on what might could help with the pursuit to put his family back together again.

Last week I went to a banquet of one of my favorite local non-profits called Mercy House
. They provide housing for young women that have unplanned pregnancies but have nowhere to live. They had such AMAZING video testimonials that really captured the heart behind their home providing stability and a family environment that these young moms want and need so badly. The house-dad said something that I LOVED. He said that almost all the girls that come to live there have built up walls around their hearts from years of hurt and pain. They may seem cold and guarded at first. It’s always a process for the walls to come down. He said some walls come crashing down in a day … and others it’s a much slower process of the wall breaking apart brick by brick. But the key for the wall coming down whether slow or fast is CONSISTENT, UNCONDITIONAL, NEVER-ENDING LOVE. No matter if they fight it and don’t reciprocate it, no matter if they respond with anger or if you don’t even think it’s sinking in … just never stop loving people. The walls have nowhere to go but DOWN.

So for the guy wanting to win his sisters heart back and for anyone else out there that may have hurt someone in your past or even just someone that wants to invest time in helping someone break down their walls … just keep loving them. Never stop. Speak life over them. Never turn your backs on them. Even when they push you away, be waiting when they come back. Be a soft place to land when they fall.

Love never fails. 

Written by Amy Ford

This is what it’s all about

927876_493983770712219_1096320445_nThis, ladies and gentlemen, is me writing to you from a very sincere heart. If you know me you probably know my story. If not the short story is: single mom of two, confident in myself and small family, redeemed and made new by a God who loves me. I can’t say being a single mom at a young age is easy…it’s actually really hard. As I sit with my little ones I can’t help but think of everyone that has supported me to get me to the happy healthy place I’m at now.

I’m blessed to have a supportive group of family and friends but the sad thing is not every single young mom is as fortunate as I. I’ve heard so many stories of girls in situations just like mine. I’ve heard of parents abandoning them when they needed help the most. I’ve heard girls asking for any help at all from a mattress to sleep on or food to feed their baby. I know it’s easy not to think of these things if it’s not right in front of you but please know it happens. Now ,of course, you can be that person that says they deserve it or they made these decisions so they can deal with the consequences. If that’s you…stop being so mean. Just because you can hide your mistakes doesn’t give you a right to judge so harshly. 

Instead of judging or glossing over the subject why not help? See aside from my family the thing that got me through one of the hardest times in my life was Embrace Grace. This group of loving peers and women brought me back to life. Think of the absolute lowest point in your life. Lost, alone, broken…have you ever experienced this feeling? So have I and thanks to Embrace Grace that feeling was fleeting. Embrace Grace ,in short, is a group of women that love people. It’s a group of people that show young girls that their mistakes don’t define them and that no matter what the world shouts at them they are truly beautiful. It’s a group that stands by girls through their journeys as parents. It’s a group that dotes on the brave girls that choose life. 

Sounds pretty awesome right? I think any human could get excited about people realizing their worth. The great thing is anyone can become a part of this. Starting a group is a lot easier than you think. If you can’t start a group there are still tons of way for you to be involved. It’s time to give back and make the world a brighter place to be. It all starts with you. You can learn more here.

Much love,

Olivia, Layla, and Isaac

Jump Start

imagesThe alarm was sounding. They were so sound asleep; both sleeping straight through each time the alarm loudly blared. They were tired and not quite ready to wake up yet. New schedules, getting back to the routine. Time to kick into gear. I walked in my son’s room, hit the snooze button once again and said time to rise and shine boys. They both looked at me with those sleepy eyes and rolled back over. Just 5 more minutes Mom. Please!

Barely awake and rushing out the door we load up in my car ready for school. Keys in the ignition and turn, but nothing happens. What? My car is completely out of juice. Oh great, no time for this now! In need of a jump start quick! Jumper cables attached to my battery and a little boost from my hubby’s truck battery, now we are set. Good to go! Engine starts, ready to begin our day.

I’m sure you can relate to mornings like this. This scenario can be experienced in many different ways. Relatable to days you have walked through sometime in your life. Alarm sounding, not ready to rise up out of bed yet. Just hoping for those 5 extra minutes before beginning your busy day. Getting in your car expecting the engine to start right up, but for some reason it’s out of juice and will not start. You look around and think “ain’t nobody got time for this!!”

You may be tired physically, spiritually, emotionally or a combo of all three. Really drained from all of life’s demands and expectations. Do you know there is a way to Jump Start your day just like the battery charge I received this morning? It’s so simple and easy to do. It only takes a little bit to charge your entire day and even have extras for days ahead. When you plug your cables into the energy source- JESUS- He can energize and give you the boost you really need to satisfy and fulfill even your busiest days.

When my feet touched the floor this morning, the first thing I did was search my Bible app for the word of the day. You can do the same. It gives life, inspiration, truth, a real energy source to boost you up no matter what you are facing.

Today’s word of the day was from Psalm 46:10 that tells us to Let be and be still, and know (recognize and understand) that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations! I will be exalted in the earth! Just that one verse got me jazzed and ready to embrace this day. Be still. Sometimes we tend to hurry, run around like a crazy chicken going here, there and everywhere and we get exhausted. Jesus tells us to be still. And know. That He is God.  No matter what situations you are facing right now, God is in the midst with you and will sustain you, keep you and energize you so that you can endure and exalt His name. His grace covers you. His love is abounding. He promises to watch over you. In tough times and tired times, He promises to be there. In happy times and sad times. He promises to see you through. Look to Him as your One Source of life-giving, charging, fulfilling, energizing and an abundance more He has to give you.

Energy sources can be delivered in many creative ways. The Bible is the ultimate life giver and battery charger. Read ‘til your heart is charged and revived. Tune in to uplifting music and in no time you will be singing a happy tune, dancing and worshipping with others around you. A friend can lift you up and give you the extra boost that you are searching for. A kind word, a day of rejuvenation and recreation – taking time to enjoy yourself and just be you without expectations and demands. Do something you really love to do. Recreate happy moments and this will boost you up faster than you can believe.

You can receive a Jump Start daily. Stay connected, plugged in to Jesus and He will be your life giver, energizer, booster in every way you need. You will be astounded and amazed at how He will come through for you!

Share the love

1a93335892add7608454f7117e01c53eToday is a challenge day. This will be very short, sweet, and to the point. My challenge to you is to spread the love today. Of course, I’d love to encourage you to dote upon single mommas this week but I think we should go beyond that. How about just love people this week? A little bit of love can go a long way. After all, “Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” So try to do something special for someone this week. I know we all have busy schedules so this can be tough but I promise it will be totally worth it.

Need some ideas? How about paying for the car behind you in a drive thru line? Or if you want to make it personal send flowers to a single momma. That would be so sweet and completely make her day! Maybe drop off treats and a sweet card on someone’s doorstep. Or simply compliment someone every day…fun side note: if you try to find the positive in people you’ll learn to find the positive in the world.

So get out there and love people. You won’t regret it!

Much love,

Olivia