Butterfly Kisses

IMG_1787I know what it feels like to have an unplanned pregnancy. I remember all the emotions and feelings, the worry and fear – and I love how God came through for me when I needed him. He knew just what I needed – a baby, to draw my heart to Him and Embrace Grace helped point me there. My baby girl was the best unexpected blessing I could have ever received. I married the father of my baby, the love of my life and we have 2 beautiful children together.

My husband Brad is leaving for boot camp in July of this year. So we have had many family talks about our future, what I need to look forward to, and what we can do to make this the easiest on our two girls Blakelee (3) and Blair (1).

We have been wanting to get pregnant again, so we started trying. I know you are probably thinking we are crazy and we have no idea what we are doing since my husband is leaving for boot camp and then going straight to Officer Candidate School right after, but we have had many family talks about this, and we came to agreement that yes it might be hard, but we don’t know where we will be a year from now, away from family and Brad could possibly be deployed. So we decided we should start trying before he left. I have help from our family and they will be here for the birth of our new baby.

Months went by and I wasn’t conceiving. I was talking to my friend Morgan (Moe) a lot, and she just kept pressing into me that if it’s in God’s plans for us to have a baby then it would happen but I needed to be patient and not get discouraged. It would all workout the way it was suppose to. I thought to myself, wow how selfish am I being? I am getting upset because I’m not getting pregnant as fast as I hoped, but not one time have I prayed and given this to God.

So I prayed. I prayed hard.

But I never asked to get pregnant. I just prayed “Lord, if this is in your plans for our family, please let this be, but if its not in your plans for our family, please give me the strength to not be discouraged.”

About a week later, I’m outside at work, and a little friend wouldn’t leave me alone. He just kept coming to say hello! He landed on me and wouldn’t leave. I didn’t want him too. So I got my phone out and started snapping pictures. It was a beautiful butterfly. As the butterfly was fluttering by and landed on my stomach, I just got this overwhelming feeling, NEW BEGINNINGS! Oh, I was so excited. I ran inside to tell Brad (we work together), and he laughed and said that’s really awesome, but I didn’t want to get my hopes up. But I kept thinking how does that just happen?!

I called Moe on my lunch break, to ask if it was too early to take a pregnancy test, she said she thought I should wait. So I waited a few days and then 5 days before my missed period I bought a digital pregnancy test, I came back to work and took it. I waited for like 20 minutes (it felt like) to have a “not pregnant” staring back at me. I was bummed but I was okay with it. I felt like I had my peace that I had prayed about so I thought this is not my time. Brad and I also agreed that if I wasn’t pregnant we would stop trying because we didn’t think that it was in the plans for us.

Mothers Day came and I got up and was fixing breakfast for everyone. I had just picked my brother up on Friday from being in Afghanistan since September and I thought to myself, what more could I be thankful for on Mother’s Day? What an amazing day.

After fixing breakfast I went to the restaurant and thought maybe I’ll just take one last pregnancy test even though I knew deep down, it would be another negative. I could hear Blakelee and Brad playing outside the bathroom door, and when I went to get up I looked over and saw “PREGNANT”!!!!!!! I screamed, “BRAD!!!!!!” I ran out of the bathroom and told Brad I’m pregnant! I’m really pregnant! We were so overjoyed and happy! We got to tell everyone on Mothers day that they were going to be grandmas again! It was honestly the most happy mothers day I have experienced!

God hears you, don’t think he doesn’t. And that butterfly was my answer that he was blessing me. I’m so thankful for a mighty and true Father! We are truly blessed. I have also learned to be patient and listen. Listen for His voice because you will hear Him. He knows what we need and hears our deepest cries. He just wants us to cast our cares and burdens to Him.

Psalm 127:3
Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him.

Thank you Jesus for blessing our family. I love you so much!

Written by Brooke Davidson, EG alumni

 

 

Speaking Straight from Your Heart

shutterstock_158072753…I thank you for speaking straight from your heart. Psalm 119:7 MSG

I was comfy cozy this morning, bible in hand and flipped to Psalm 119 in the Message. This is one of the longest chapters in the bible and is filled with so much wealth and goodness! I began to see so many nuggets of simple truth in a compilation that spoke straight to my heart. Would love to share the highlights with you today. May they lift you up. May they be exactly what you need to hear. Speaking life into your situation. This is David’s prayer. May it also be a prayer you can lift up to heaven too.

I held a pen and paper in hand and began to write out what is on my heart. Blooms that had special prayer requests, healing, a miracle to be made, an open door, revelation, and so much more. As I wrote out these requests as a simple release from my heart, it is now in God’s hands to fulfill the requests in His timing.

Maybe you are seeking direction in your life. Insight. Wisdom. Counsel. Clarity. Understanding. Comfort. Hope. Light.

God loves to speak straight from His heart to yours. Listen as He speaks these words over you.

I’ve banked your promises in the vault of my heart. I’ll transfer to my lips all the counsel that comes from your mouth. I ponder every morsel of wisdom from you, I attentively watch how you’ve done it. I relish everything you’ve told me of life. I won’t forget a word of it. Be generous with me and I’ll live a full life; not for a minute will I take my eyes off your road. Open my eyes so I can see what you show me of your miracle-wonders. Help me understand these things inside and out so I can ponder your miracle-wonders. Build me up again by your Word. Barricade the road that goes nowhere; grace me with your revelation. I choose the road to Somewhere, I post your road signs at every curve and corner. I grasp and cling to whatever you tell me; God don’t let me down! I’ll run the course you lay out for me if you’ll just show me how. Give me insight so I can do what you tell me- my whole life one long, obedient response. Guide me down the road of your commandments; I love traveling this freeway! Give me a bent for your words of wisdom. Let your love, God, shape my life with salvation, exactly as you promised. Because you have satisfied me, God, I promise to do everything you say. I beg you from the bottom of my heart: smile, be gracious to me just as you promised. When I took a long, careful look at your ways, I got my feet back on the trail you blazed. Before I learned to answer you, I wandered all over the place, but now I’m in step with your Word. You are good, and the source of good; train me in your goodness. With your very own hands you formed me; now breathe your wisdom over me so I can understand you. When they see me waiting, expecting your Word, those who fear you will take heart and be glad. I can see now, God, that your decisions are right; your testing has taught me what’s true and right. Oh, love me- and right now! – hold me tight! Just the way you promised. Now comfort me so I can live, really live; your revelation is the tune I dance to. I’m waiting for your word of hope. By your words I can see where I’m going; they throw a beam of light on my dark path. I inherited your book on living; its mine forever- what a gift! And how happy it makes me! You’re my place of quiet retreat; I wait for your Word to renew me. Every word you give me is a miracle word- how could I help but obey? Break open your words, let the light shine out, let ordinary people see the meaning. Steady my steps with your Word of promise. Take note of how I love what you tell me; out of your life of love, prolong my life. Your words all add up to the sum total: TRUTH. I’m ecstatic over what you say, like one who strikes it rich. My life’s an open book before you. Let my cry come right into your presence, God; provide me with the insight that comes only from your Word. Give my request your personal attention, rescue me on the terms of your promise. Let praise cascade off my lips; after all, you’ve taught me the truth about life! And let your promises ring from my tongue; every order you’ve given is right. Put your hand out and steady me since I’ve chosen to live by your counsel. I’m homesick, God, for your salvation; I love it when you show yourself! Invigorate my soul so I can praise you well. And should I wander off like a lost sheep- seek me! I’ll recognize the sound of your voice. {Excerpts from Psalm 119 MSG}

Written by Salina Duffy

Hope in a Fallen World

shutterstock_151668866I practically failed history in high school. I was that kid who had to go for tutoring with the history teacher. He would always say, “History is important! You can learn so much from it and become mentally prepared for many things in life. You just have to dig deep and learn about it!” He was always soooo enthusiastic and I would just shrug. Romans 15:4-6 says, “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” That impacts me. History is important to God. He wants to give us hope through the most amazing book ever written (that happens to contain A LOT of HIStory), the bible.

This scripture is very interesting in the fact that it basically explains how God wants to give us hope: through endurance and encouragement. I cannot tell you how many times a day I pray for endurance. “Lord help me! Help me walk through this! I can’t do it without you!” But encouragement? Have you ever taken the “love languages” test? I have. And my NUMBER ONE love language was scored as words of encouragement. They impact me in ways I can’t explain. One encouraging word can change my whole day! Sometimes it can change my whole week! The Lord is an encourager. He wants to encourage you and help you to endure.

A lot of terrible things happen in this world on a day to day basis. There’s crime, heartbreak, depression, murder, suicide, natural disasters, and all kinds of struggles everywhere you look. God doesn’t want that for us. He doesn’t want us to feel hope-less. He wants us to be hope-full! But how? Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” I LOVE this verse. It’s probably my all time favorite. It’s so encouraging and at the same time it gives me direction. It brings me hope. It gets me through. This verse doesn’t say “but seek first to focus on your fear…” It doesn’t say “but seek first to help your financial burdens” and it also doesn’t say “but seek first to somehow make it through another work day.” The verse says to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. If we seek first to fix our problems then our problems have just been given authority over our life. They’ve been given the priority. They are the focus. THAT’S NOT THE WAY! God says to seek HIM FIRST and He will take care of the rest. Give Him the control and He’s got your back! If that’s not encouraging and reassuring I am not sure what is.

When you focus on the giants in your life instead of God you are basically giving in. Why not shift your focus? Instead of concentrating on the bad, concentrate on God. It changes everything. When trouble strikes grab your bible! Hit your knees! Gods there. He’s got you! Soon you’ll see that you have a little devil and a BIG GOD. He cares for you. He loves you. He wants to encourage you and motivate you and bring you hope and in history we’ve seen this through Him time and time again.

God- what He has done, is doing, and will do- that is a history lesson worth the read. That’s the kind of history that excites me! It’s a book I can’t put down! I’m full of hope after I read it and I know…I officially love history…because God is where it began. I can’t wait for what is to come!

Make history today, friends! Speak life! Walk in joy and peace! Spread His love and His light! We can change the world…but it all starts with you. It starts with a change of mind. A change of focus! God sent His son to due on the cross so that we don’t have to walk in pain and suffering! Focus on Him! He is good!

Written by Whitney Wells

Dancing with Daddy

That super cheesy country song was stuck in my head yesterday and I had it on “repeat” in my head (not intentionally) and mainly it was the chorus over and over again.

Life’s a dance you learn as you go. Sometimes you lead, sometimes you follow. Don’t worry about what you don’t know, life’s a dance you learn as you go.

 I started thinking about the lyrics and the part about “sometimes you lead, sometimes you follow” and was thinking that wasn’t very accurate if you have God in your life. He always should be leading. I thought of it quick because this issue is all too personal for me right now and I have had to learn the hard way plenty of times.

If you don’t know me, basically I’m what people call a “go-getter.”  I’ve recently been studying Strengthsfinder book and realizing how God made me – and it’s apparently how I was created. I can’t help it. I get an idea, or God speaks to me, and I go with it. I always thought this quality was great until I realized that apparently, I need to wait on God to lead J Just because I get the idea, doesn’t mean it’s time to GO right then.

It got me thinking about how life IS a dance – and we’re dancing with our heavenly Daddy.

Here are 5 points on dancing with Jesus …

1.  He has asked you to dance, will you say yes? He is a gentleman and will not force you to accept the invitation. He just waits for you to accept. You have to say yes and make Him Lord and Savior of your life. It’s the best and most beautiful dance you could ever have

2.  Let Him lead. Just relax and don’t be tense. Be flexible to the exciting plans God has for you. A turn here, a twirl there. He wants to take you on a fun ride – He wants you to be carefree and happy.

3. Safe in His Embrace. He has His arms wrapped around you. You are safe and protected. You don’t have to worry about falling because He will catch you.

4. Feel His Heartbeat. You have to lean in close to hear His whisper. He is speaking all the time, just listen. Read His word and spend intimate time with Him. He will not let the wrong guy cut in if you are close enough to hear His cues.

5. If you trip up, you can just try again til you get it right. He doesn’t make a fool out of you or get mad if you trip up. If you take a wrong step, He just starts right where you left off before you took that wrong step. And you just keep trying it again and again until you get it right. He is full of grace and love.

6. When you get too weak or the dance gets too hard, He will carry you. Just like when you were a little girl and you would put your feet on top of your daddy’s big shoes and he would dance around while you just held on tight. God will carry you through your dance until you are strong enough to dance again.

I heard this saying and thought it was cute:

G (God) + U + I + DANCE = Guidance.

Will  YOU accept this dance?

Written by Amy Ford