God knows…

shutterstock_92746549Growing up a Christian, I tried in my own strength to figure it all out and to live my life in purity, but our own strength is never enough AND we just won’t EVER be able to figure it all out, but God knows!

I was not what you’d call a young single mom.  I was due to have my baby for my 30th birthday.  My son’s father would first suggest I “just have an abortion.”  After all, we barely knew each other.  But this was never an option in my mind.   There was something inside me that had the faith to believe that even though I had been living less than holy, my God would NOT leave me or forsake me.

I knew I couldn’t stay with my baby’s father as his lifestyle was leaning away from Jesus.  From the instant I found out of I was pregnant, I was drawn to lean in to Jesus.  I was scared, but again, that faith rose up in me to step out with God by my side and raise this precious boy on my own.

Our season of being a family of two was so sweet and full of precious memories.  I had finally surrendered my heart and life to Jesus and learned to lean on His word and strength in living a life of purity as I raised this little man God gave me.

For years though, in the back of my mind, I would wrestle with the worry that I might not be enough to raise up my son into a Godly man.  What do I know about man stuff?  But God knows.  He provided in so many ways with family and friends who took us under their wing and helped to blossom my son’s love of all things mechanical and all things dirt!  But I still would long and desire for a man in the flesh who would love us as his own and make our little family of two a fuller number.

I dreamed of having another baby, but as the years would go by and I began to approach 40, my faith began to fizzle.  In my plans, by age 40, I figured I was done.  I was happy God had given me my son.  I knew I was blessed and would continue to worship my God in all He had done in our lives.  There were still times I would try to figure it all out.  Sometimes, I just didn’t understand.  But in looking back, I can see that God knew.  He had a perfect plan all along.  It was NOT what I had planned at all.  I NEVER thought I’d be a single mom.  And I NEVER thought I’d be a single mom for 10 years!

I have learned to lean on God and trust in His timing and His plans.  It’s not always easy and it won’t always make sense, but I am finally learning, it IS always BEST!  As His word says, “For I know the plans I have for you,  declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”  Jeremiah 29:11.  He REALLY does know what you need, what you desire and what is best for you.  And when we release our strength and power to drive our own lives and understand it all and turn it over to him, he can and will provide in blessings and in peace beyond our understanding.

At 40 years old, God would bring me the gift of a man that He had picked out for my son and I.   And like the cherry on top, at almost 42 years old, God would surprise me and I would have another baby, this time a little girl.

God knows.  Trust Him.  He WILL take care of you.  He WILL give you the desires of your heart.  It may not be the way you planned and it may not be in your timing, but He will see you through.  He will NOT leave you or forsake you.  He knows!

Written by Lisa Ort-Terry

Broken, Vulnerable, Restored

shutterstock_143606668I remember lying in that hospital bed, all by myself. My eyes were full of tears and my mind full of Satan. The father of my daughter grabbed my arms and pushed me, belly first, into his truck. Told me he didn’t want me anymore. Told me he didn’t want his daughter anymore. How was I supposed to raise a baby on my own? I knew that abortion wasn’t an option, but suicide was. If I just ended my life, all the pain and struggle would be gone. That night, while I was still at the hospital, Amy posted a status asking for people to pray for me. For me! People I didn’t even know were praying for me. A friend from high school sent me a screen shot of Amy’s status and asked if Amy could text me. I got a message from one of the most inspirational women I know. She told me that there were more options for girls like me! I could have my baby and raise her. She invited me to EG for the summer. I walked into Gateway, not knowing a single person. I was pregnant and scared. Amy welcomed me with open arms! That night Jackie spoke and told her story. I cried the whole way home. Shortly after the semester started my Joy was born! Her dad has yet to meet her, and I’m okay with that.

We had a night called “Chains night.” That night was one of the more emotional ones for me. I let go of Joy’s dad and all the hurt he has caused me. I forgave him for not only abandoning me, but his daughter as well. I know I couldn’t do that without EG or the grace of God. Embrace grace taught me that you can NEVER mess up so bad that God gives up on you! He never gives up on you. He never gave up on me!
The baby shower was another night where Joy and I were amazingly blessed! Michelle gave us many material gifts, but she also has been praying and gave me hope to be a good mom.

I finally have real friends! Friends that not only care about me, but understand! God knew what he was doing when he placed my particular group together. Most of the girls in my group went through their pregnancies without the fathers and we really connected on that level. I also met my best friend through EG! Being a mom without the dad is hard, but it would be near impossible without my friends, Embrace Grace, or wonderful leaders!

When I think of Embrace Grace the words broken and vulnerable come to mind. Both are good things! God had to bring me to a completely broken place to be built back up and brought back to Him. I had to be vulnerable to allow it! I am a mom of a beautiful 8 week old baby girl, she is my Joy. I fell in love not only with her through my pregnancy, but I fell in love with my Savior all over again! EG gave me the stepping-stones to get there. I am His, Joy is His. We are loved by so many women who have Christ shining through each of them!

Written by Bekah Saunders, EG Semester #11 

Bless You

shutterstock_114296290The Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace. {Numbers 6:24-26}

Blooms gathered in our classroom for our last class of the semester. Looking at all their beautiful faces, big grins, happy babies cuddled in their arms or in their wombs… this is what we are all about. This is our mission. To love and care for the mommies and babies. Hearts gathering together to share and embrace each other in this season of their life.

Transformations have taken place in beautiful ways. It is evident and clearly shown on their countenance and the way the blooms even walk in the door. They have received grace in so many ways, and they are ready to give grace in return. Beauty displayed in the most precious ways. Our last class is always bittersweet for me. Even now, I am holding back tears, ok… here they come now. I think of the girls as they first walk in the door of the new semester. They are unsure what to think, what to expect, how they will fit in. From the countless of girls that have attended each semester of Embrace Grace at different locations, they all have a similar response. They look forward to their class each week. Embrace Grace is the highlight of their week. They can’t wait for more!! They LOVE it! Expectant hearts! This motivates us and inspires us to journey on in this mission!

The support, learning and growing together during their pregnancy and into motherhood; and in their relationship with God and each other fills them with satisfaction each week. They come with hungry hearts ready to receive, ready to listen, ready to respond. Their hearts are engaged. Eager to know more. It blesses us as leaders more than we can possibly relay. Our hearts overflow with compassion and humility. We are so honored to be able to walk in this season of life with you precious blooms!

We are so THANKFUL and GRATEFUL for the amazing gift you are to us! You and your baby bless us beyond measure! The gift of being you, and all that your life brings, is a package that we are able to unwrap and see the gifts God has placed within you. When you begin to grasp and see for yourself the destinies and dreams He has placed inside of you, and begin to walk in those giftings, it brings joy to our hearts. We want to sing out loud for all to hear! She found it! She knows with all her heart how her Creator designed her, or at least is getting glimpses of this design along the way.

My heart is overflowing with so much love at this very moment. Knowing that there are so many girls out there all over the world that would love to have a place to run to. An Embrace Grace in their area that they can turn to and receive so much love, grace and support.

Calls and inquiries are coming in, how can we start a group in our area? What are you doing and how can we implement something like this at our church? How do we begin? We have all of the questions and more answered in our promo packet that you can receive by emailing groups@iembracegrace.com. You may also sign up to be a group leader on our website.  Inside this promo packet is all the information you will need to take to your pastor or spiritual covering to get an approval to begin an Embrace Grace in your area.

The picture that I have been given is tiny pink hearts fluttering from the sky and landing on spots where an embrace grace will be held. We plan to get a big map soon and begin marking the areas with pink heart pins to signify an Embrace Grace in that area.

I am so thankful for the Embrace Grace’s that are starting up all over the map. There are so many more to come! Join us in prayer as we embark upon new territory and new adventures as these precious mommies and babies are looking for a place to embrace grace. This journey is off to an incredible start and we know the best is yet to come! In so many ways! Hearts are responding. Leaders are calling in with their hearts stirred saying they encountered a similar experience of being single and pregnant, and this is their passion, they had no idea there was something like this out there until now…. they can not wait to begin reaching out to the single and pregnant girls in their communities. Girls are contacting us looking for an Embrace Grace in their area. We are responding to their calls, and know that God is paving the way for so many new additions to come in this new season.

We will continue to seek God’s way in all that we pursue, knowing that His ways are best and that His timing is impeccable and perfect! Thank you for your prayers and support as we fully embrace these precious mommies and babies! God’s heart is extended through our hearts beating with the same passion and mission to reach out to these precious ones! We are so thankful for YOU!

You did not choose Me, but I chose you. I appointed you that you should go out and produce fruit and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, he will give you. This is what I command you: love one another. {John 15:16}

As you sent Me into the world, I have also sent them into the world. {John 17:18}

May you enjoy this time of Thanksgiving with your family and friends. May your home be filled with love, mercy and grace. May God’s love surround you and bring you so much joy! May you be embraced by grace in beautiful ways! Love pouring out from heaven above. Powerful Provision to fill your every need. May God bless you in every area of your life.

Written by Salina Duffy