Bless Your Heart

lovenukeHe launches His promises earthward- how swift and sure they come! Psalm 147:15 MSG

Every heart makes a lasting mark. A pathway that has been destined before the beginning of time. During an anointed worship service at Gateway a song Love Came Down began to play. I had a vision of these tiny pink heart fluttering like butterflies from the highest of heaven down to earth. They represented the hearts of the mommies and babies lives that would be impacted through Embrace Grace.

Those fluttering hearts also represented the Embrace Grace chapters that would be starting across the nation and going global. I knew the importance and significance of these hearts when they appeared before my eyes during worship. I was thankful for the heavenly encounter and knew that I would reflect upon this moment often.

Embrace Grace is saving two hearts at a time… The mommies and babies.

There is not a day that goes by that I am not in awe of the immense honor and thankfulness of this mission. I am brought to my knees time and time again and stirred to tears in love and adoration for the gift of these precious mommies and babies! Their lives leaving a lasting impression upon the hearts of those they meet, touch and interact with. It is only for a season they are with us, but the memories last a lifetime. The look in their eyes, the sweet embraces, the journey they are making into motherhood. They are BRAVE! They are STRONG! They are COURAGEOUS! It is priceless and beyond words. No price tag could ever compare to the gift that these mommies and babies bring to us at Embrace Grace.

Every one unique. One of a kind. Chosen Mom meets chosen child. The beauty that unfolds during the process as they begin to bond and fall in love with the babies in their womb and the Savior that blessed them with this precious miracle gift. Beauty and breath of life becoming one as baby takes their first breath into this world.

The miracle of life will always captivate my heart and leaves me speechless and moved beyond words. Compassion and comfort is always given with an abundance of love and grace. They can feel it. Both mommy and baby alike. Their hearts can feel the love flowing straight from your heart to theirs. Blessing their heart in ways they can not even begin to describe or even comprehend at times. They are enamored with the outpouring of grace that pours out freely upon them. A fountain that never runs dry. A river that never stops flowing. Forever. An endless supply. That is what they feel when they catch wind of Embrace Grace and what we are about. They are eager to know more, hungry for more, thirsty for the Living Water that flows from the Well of Jesus. We graciously pour it out by the vessels of hearts that are serving and ministering along with us. We can’t do this alone. It takes you and me. It takes us partnering together to touch the hearts and lives of those that need love and grace the most.

We have a chalk print map of the USA in our office displayed on our wall. We have been eager to portray the hearts of each and every EG across the nation. Today was the day! With the placement of each heart upon the city and states, prayers were being offered, thanksgiving was been given, expectancy for more hearts to flood the map and embrace these mommies and babies with your love. It’s YOUR LOVE that reaches them. It’s your embrace that draws them near. It’s His GRACE that touches their hearts and they will never be the same. Once they catch a glimpse of WHO HE is and WHAT HE did for them… the rest falls into place beautifully. Flawlessly. Effortlessly. We pray. He does the rest. We are the hands and feet. We reach out to them and point them to the ONE that matters most. He is our EVERYTHING. We will do anything to reach them. Will you join us in prayer? Praying for more EG chapters to begin popping up across the nation. It is all in God’s perfect timing. They have already been destined and divinely appointed. Hearts are being stirred with passion, compassion and the love of Jesus to begin a group in their area. We are believing for more and more hearts to be added to our map. These are the hearts that we added today: Your city, your heart could be next.

TEXAS: Southlake, Mansfield, Aurora, Fort Worth (2), Sherman, Denison, Denton (2), Plano, Waxahachie, Anna, Cisco, Forney, Arlington, Lubbock, Carrollton, Frisco

LOUISIANA: Keithville, Addis

ALABAMA: Birminghamphoto

ARKANSAS: Hardy, Conway

OKLAHOMA: Norman, Oklahoma City

NEW JERSEY: Hawthorne

ILLINOIS: Carbon

MICHIGAN: Saginaw, Plainwell

MINNESOTA: North Mankato

FLORIDA: Sanford, Gainesville

MONTANA: Bozeman

OHIO: Canton

VIRGINIA: Winchester

CANADA: Sarnia, Ontario, Toronto, Ontario

38 city hearts and counting… Our hearts are united. To reach out and embrace the mommies and babies everywhere. To shower with love upon their hearts. It is an honor to join with you in this mission. Saving the hearts of the mommies and babies.

Praying with you and for you. May God Bless Your Heart immensely! Mommy and baby heart that is looking & searching for a group near you… we are praying for you. Church group looking for something new that God is stirring in your heart to embrace and begin… we are praying for you. Pregnancy Center that is looking for a bridge in the gap to connect these precious girls coming to your center and looking for a place to connect them to local churches… we are praying for you. All hearts united as one. This mission is beautiful.

Written by Salina Duffy

Stay Afloat

shutterstock_179168111Day in and day out we encounter times when we are left pondering and wondering what is the outcome of this situation we are facing? The good, the bad and the ugly may come our way and in those moments how do we react? We love when the good times roll and things are going our way. Everything around us is butterflies and rainbows. All seems to be so easy and carefree. Smooth sailing. The stress is bare minimal in those particular days. Days like these are fully embraced and so peaceful. We would love for moments like these to repeat over and over.

But what about the other moments? In those times when the bad or the ugly comes; is our first reaction to panic and allow the pressure and tension to rise and engulf us with fear? Or do we counteract with peace, calmness and assuredness? I venture to say that for many of us, myself included at times, the pressure and tension rises when the resistance is the strongest. My hopes and intentions are to stay calm, cool and collected; but unfortunately that isn’t always the case. As much as I may try, my arms seem to be flailing and fighting to stay afloat.

A perfect visual of this instance was brought to the surface the other day as I was talking to a sweet bloom on the phone. I was sharing encouraging words, hope and speaking life into her situation. As we spoke, in my mind I saw her in this body of water as she was trying to float on her back. Amidst all the things she was facing and enduring at the time, try as she may, she was not able to stay afloat. Her arms and legs were kicking and striving, trying to stay above water. She kept sinking and barely able to hold her head up. She was trying with all her might to figure out the outcome and answers to the things that weighed so heavily upon her heart. She was trusting God so much, and then at times it just felt so hard. Almost too hard. Her arms were just moving about trying desperately to be still. But how she thought?

Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10

As we began to talk more and more, I encouraged her to close her eyes and visualize herself in the water. Then shared as a lifeguard is instructing someone how to float and gently holds their back briefly as the child or grown up learns to spread arms and legs out and fully relax. If they begin to panic or strive to stay above water, they will begin to sink. But if they can fully relax and be still, the lifeguard can gently pull his hand away and the person can feel they are floating freely and staying above the water. They have mastered the concept of floating.

Now just imagine Jesus as that lifeguard. He is there alongside of you. Holding you up securely.

I came home and my mind began to race about some things that were weighing heavily upon my heart. I began seeing myself in the water with my arms moving about trying to stay afloat. Then the words I had just shared to help and encourage someone else were coming back to encourage me. I went outside and felt a full immersion in the pool would be so refreshing and relaxing. I literally laid back in the water and practiced the exercise of trying to float while too many things were racing in my mind. Things began to jumble up and my arms began to move about. I began to sink. But then, I inhaled and took a deep breath. As I exhaled and gave everything that concerned me to Jesus, I felt Him so near. He was my lifeguard and was holding my back in the water and instructing me. He said give it all to me. Everything. Hold nothing back. I want it all. The more I felt myself giving it over to Him, the lighter and weightless I became. I was floating so freely in the water and gazing up at the sky above me.

No matter what situation you are facing today. He has His hands gently on your back. He is talking you through step by step instructions. Relax, put your arms out to the side. Breathe. Don’t fight it. Just be still. The more still you can be, the better. He will help you stay afloat.

There seems to be a pattern in the thoughts and minds of girls that are sending me messages lately. They are phrased differently and revolve around their own specific circumstances and situations. The heart of the matter reflects upon how to react and respond when these instances arise. Do we begin to sink or float?

These are just a few of the messages that have been coming in lately. They are true expressions and emotions of what some of our blooms are experiencing:

I feel like my biggest fear is coming true… My faith is definitely being pushed to the limits. I don’t know what to do… I’m crying right now. I’m trying so hard to have faith and trust in God. I’m just so scared. – EG alumni bloom

I’m having a hard time right now. I really need someone… My Mom is wanting to kick me out, I had to quit one of my jobs and they screamed at me the whole time. I feel like I never see my baby and my baby daddy has been trying to get custody. -EG alumni bloom

I feel like everything is falling apart. My car is in the shop and it is too expensive to fix, and I really just get too emotional and need prayers. – EG alumni bloom

I just had another sonogram and it showed an abnormal cyst in my baby’s abdomen. Please pray. -EG alumni bloom {Praise report: the following day she had another sonogram and everything was normal and baby is so healthy and strong and the previous reading was an error. Yay God!}

Seeing that baby girl made me a little nervous! She was soooo precious, but I don’t feel ready for a baby at all… – EG bloom

You may find yourself relating in one way or another to some of these, or you can fill in your own responses of what you are facing at this particular moment. Whether it is the good, the bad or the ugly, know that there is a God out there who hears your every prayer and longing. He knows your fears and sees your tears. He is here for you and will never let you go. No matter what comes your way. He promises to stay right beside you and keep you from sinking.

What are you facing today? Questions, unknowns, and everything in between… No matter what you can stay afloat.

Praying for peace and calmness to come over you and bring you the sweetest rest and assuredness that God has everything safely in His hands for you! Praying for all things close to your heart to be safe and secure. Life situations and God’s plans to be revealed. Health, healing and wholeness in a mighty way. A Jesus touch to be felt. Powerful provision beyond what you can see in the here and now. To fully surrender everything into His loving care. May Jesus cover you with His mighty hands and bring you the sweetest comfort. I love you so much! Rest easy and be at peace. Relax. Breathe. God is in control. You will stay afloat.

Written by Salina Duffy

Dynamic Duo

shutterstock_153693311A gentle whisper was heard in my heart when I asked for a blog post title. Dynamic Duo. Whoa! That was power packed. Ready to unpackage the meaning of these two words that were joined together for a purpose.

I sat down in my comfy cozy love seat, opened the blinds so the sunshine could kiss my cheeks. I gazed up at the clouds as they were forming into unique shapes and imagined what they could be. Like paint colors upon a canvas I saw hearts of all sizes in the puffy white clouds. I was relaxed. Heart content. Ready to listen. Time to press in. I began with my journal, pen, bible, and phone with dictionary app close at hand. I could sense that this was going to be a beautiful word that was going to be etched upon my heart to be shared with you. I feel God winks coming.

So here goes. Dynamic is referenced as an energy, effective action, vital, energetic, energizing, magnetic, peppy, powerful, vigorous, vitalizing, zippy. Synonyms of dynamic are alive, awake, full of life, cheerful, overflowing, happy, spirited, passionate, bubbly, perky, sparkling, and sweeping.

As I scrolled down to see the abundance of words given to describe dynamics; I saw familiar eyes and the words MAJESTIC. I knew instantly before scrolling down any further that these were the beautiful brown eyes of Kari Jobe. It was an advertisement of her new album on the dictionary.com site. I smiled inside and began singing How Majestic is your name!

Now to the next word search duo: Two persons commonly associated with each other, a couple. Synonyms of duo were pair, team, two of a kind, deuce, troop, organization, partners and more references were given. As I scrolled down my iphone to my amazement the beautiful eyes were there again. It was the same advertisement for Kari’s album. I searched another word for fun and grins just to see, and the ad changed to something totally random. Ok God, you have my attention. So just what would you like to say about the combination of these two words that you have joined together.

There are many facets and factors of ways to describe dynamic duo’s. Friends joined together for a special mission. Relationships of all sorts. Parents and children. Teachers and students. Leaders and blooms. Ministries and missions. Families. Churches. Pregnancy Resource Centers. A joining together in some creative way set apart by God to fulfill His plans and purposes on Earth.

A common thread is usually seen as we embark upon the journey each semester in Embrace Grace. The dynamics of our EG groups typically have a theme as they are so wonderfully chosen and handpicked by God. Each bloom having their own uniqueness and special stories. There is an energetic and magnetic presence in the room. Girls and leaders alike are cheerful, happy, spirited and passionate. They are eager to learn and grow more. This mission spurs us on for an abundance of grace to be poured out and overflowing on everyone connected at the heart of EG.

This sweet duo is being highlighted at the moment in my heart…

The dynamic duo of a mommy and baby is precious and profound. The closeness that the two share together as baby is within being knit, formed and fashioned in the womb. Psalm 139 vividly paints the picture of this creation. Nothing else compares to this closeness. Mommy, You are full of life. Life giving. Beautiful beyond compare. The baby within you is being nurtured with the utmost of tenderness and love. Belly Beautiful is the word that comes to my heart when I see girls in their pregnancy. I share how special and chosen they are to be carrying this precious life inside of them. They smile and seem to grasp the love and tenderness that is expressed. You are radiant and glowing. Others are drawn to you and love to ask when are you due? Do you know if you are having a boy or girl? Their eyes light up with the simplest of questions because someone has taken the time to ask. To encourage and lift you up with happy thoughts.

You may be wondering in this moment how everything is going to play out. You may wish you had a way to see into the months ahead of you. As a sonogram of your baby is given to get a little sneak peek of your expected arrival. You are able to see a pretty clear visual of your baby growing inside of you. You have been given a due date. A time for everything under the sun. See Ecclesiastes 3. In your weeks and months, as each day passes, you are getting closer and closer to the delivery.

You may not be able to see the end from the beginning, but there is someone who can. God knows every moment that you will ever encounter and face. He knows every detail. He will be along beside you cheering you on. When you are nearing the end of your pregnancy and delivery is almost time, just get ready for the sweetest moments. The best is yet to come. You will meet your little one face to face. What has been growing and developing inside of you will be born and you will experience a miracle. Embrace this season that you are in. It will pass by quickly and before you know it that sweet baby will be growing faster than you can blink. You will savor the moments as they swiftly grow with each passing day.

Beautiful One we celebrate You! Remarkable. Chosen. Powerful. Delightful. One of a kind. You have a dynamic that only you can bring to this world. Let it shine. Let it radiate this world. As we are joined together in special and unique ways we create dynamic duo’s all over the world that makes an impact beyond anything imaginable.
God is in the details. Grand and Small. He orchestrates them ALL!

Written by Salina Duffy

You Make Me Brave

shutterstock_17831977My heart was elated as I stood in the middle of two blooms. One an EG alumni. Another bloom at 22 weeks pregnant. Our arms were wrapped around each other as we swayed back and forth during the worship at Pink Impact. We sang the words together along with at least four thousand other ladies in the sanctuary and thousands more watching simulcast. Hearts fully engaged. As the words were repeated over and over the picture began to play in my mind. I began to think of how brave and courageous these two precious blooms on each side of me are. Along with every girl that has come and those that are to come to Embrace Grace.

On one side was a mom that has a 3 year old little boy and has walked the path of single parenting, seeking strength, wisdom and guidance from her True Source Jesus. She trusted that He would bring her the man of her dreams when the time was right. She had other relationships before but knew that there was someone out there that was handpicked just for her. She waited. Trusting. Hoping he would find her. She was on a quest. As she was receiving freedom and healing in the purest of ways, God was setting things into motion. He spoke to the man that He had handpicked just for her. A little time passed and she is now engaged and happily planning and preparing for her special wedding day. She has walked the path of bravery and has shown tremendous courage as she went through her pregnancy, newborn stages, and into toddlerhood of her little boy that brings her so much joy. She has learned what it means to truly trust Jesus for everything and seek His will in every decision that she makes. She is a warrior in the mightiest of ways! Her son and my oldest son share the same birthdays, now that’s pretty special in itself! I love them both, mommy and son, with the sweetest love pouring out over them. She says she can feel it.

On the other side of me was a belly beautiful bloom with her tiny bump as she was worshipping God with total abandonment and surrender. She had the sweetest tears as she pressed closer into God’s heart to hear all that He longed to speak to her. She doesn’t know the answers to all the questions that are laying before her, but she trusts the One who has all the answers, as He reveals them to her in the precise moments she needs to hear them. She is learning to replace her fear with faith as she steps into the unknown and believes that Jesus is always right beside her and never leaves her side. She is learning what love looks like from a heavenly Daddy that is crazy about her. She has experienced transformation from caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly. She is spreading her wings and flying free in the wind. She is brave in the most remarkable of ways. Her story, her path has not been an easy one, but she is walking victoriously through the fight and is truly a hero in my eyes forever! She has etched her place upon my heart and I will forever love and treasure her!

Then my heart began to search for the two precious new blooms we had just met at our Pink Impact booth. They were somewhere in the sanctuary amidst all the other ladies in their seats. One bloom is 4 weeks and 3 days, the other 11 weeks. They both had their share of tears and moments of how is all this going to work out? They came at separate times during the conference and we were able to share all about Embrace Grace. How they have found the love and grace that will flood their hearts and bring so much life and encouragement as they walk this path of their pregnancy. They are not ever alone. We are locking arms with them. They are BRAVE! The very next night a God wink happened. He set up a moment where they both were able to meet in the hall and give each other hugs and even get a quick pic together. They know they will be embraced by an enormous amount of support as they embark upon this new journey set before them.

You are Brave. You are brave. I kept hearing this over and over for them.

Brave is known as exhibiting courage and showing courageous endurance.

Kari Jobe and the worship team began to sing the chorus to this song as the first 2 blooms (mentioned above) and I were fully engaged in the heart of worship. Let the words sink in as you read them.

You Make Me Brave by Bethel

As Your love, in wave after wave
Crashes over me, crashes over me
For You are for us You are not against us
Champion of Heaven
You made a way for all to enter in

I have heard You calling my name
I have heard the song of love that You sing
So I will let You draw me out beyond the shore
Into Your grace Into Your grace

You make me brave You make me brave

You call me out beyond the shore into the waves
You make me brave You make me brave
No fear can hinder now the love that made a way
You make me brave You make me brave
No fear can hinder now the promises you made

A vision I have seen before is our Embrace Grace Team standing on the shore with arms linked one by one as EG alumni’s and new blooms with baby bumps began to join. An Enlarging Embrace. Going Beyond. The line stretched for miles and miles across the shore overlooking the waves. Our feet in the sand, the wind in our face, together we were making an impact for the world to see.

& then the vision grew beyond…

As the words to the song were echoed in beautiful melodies and voices… First we sang the song Ocean- and then You make me Brave…the new vision that I had at this Pink Impact 2014 as the 2 blooms were on each side of me and we swayed back and forth was this: He is calling us out beyond the shore and our Embrace Grace Team along with alumni, blooms and babies began to take steps further into the water. Waves were crashing over us, but we were not fearful. We were brave. No matter the storms. The wind causes the waves to rise. The Holy Spirit is rising us up and creating a stirring within the hearts across the nation. Waves of love. Waves of grace. You make us brave. I saw us taking steps further into the water. Beyond the shore into the waves. No fear. Only faith. Faith rising up as we step out into the unknown. Many, many, many more churches across the nation are going to join in and link arms together with us. Connections are being made. Together we will Embrace the mommies and babies. They will no longer feel alone, lost or scared. They will feel the arms of Jesus along with us as we link arms across the nations. Stretching miles upon miles beyond the shore. We are BRAVE!

Written by Salina Duffy

Hope When There Was None

shutterstock_115457149A year ago today was the day Ryan and I found out we had a precious blessing on its way! Evelynn has been such a joy in our lives and in the lives of everyone around us. I am one proud mommy of a gorgeous little girl and I would NOT have it any other way. If I was given the choice I’d redo everything over and over again and not change a thing. Evelynn was my angel, she saved my life and not many people know that. Before finding out I was pregnant, I was at the roughest and lowest point in my life. I was depressed and sad basically 24/7, I didn’t know how to deal with what I was going through. I had gotten so bad that I gave up hope on not only on myself but life, I was ready to leave this world. I actually had planned out how, where and when I was going to do it. A Friday night when no one would be home due to plans for the weekend or work, I was going to overdose on pills that would quietly and painlessly make me fall into an eternal sleep. I honestly didn’t care or think about anyone else, I just knew I was done. I was tired and my soul felt heavy. No one knew though, not even my mother or my boyfriend. I was so good at “playing it off” that no one could catch how bad I had fallen into this vast ocean of depression. I didn’t believe very much in God at the time, I didn’t believe he was there for me. Until Thursday April 18, 2013, I was working at AMC theaters with my boyfriend when he had asked me if I had gotten my period that month ( let me just say I never kept track of dates – I absolutely hated periods!). Ironically the last month I had actually put it down on my phone and sure enough I was a week late (which I never had been before). After work that night we went to Wal-Mart to go get a pregnancy test, and as we parted ways to go to our own homes I took a test. At first I didn’t believe I was actually pregnant, I thought the test was defective or something because there was a second line but it was so faint! Until all three tests became the same, I knew at that point I was pregnant. I cried and mourned about how my life was over,etc. but then I realized, why did I even care about that? I was trying to end my life and ironically I find out I’m pregnant the day before? Couldn’t have been a coincidence. At first I was embarrassed of my pregnancy, I was a teen mom and a Mexican teen mom at that so didn’t really help with the statistics and stereotypes out there. Luckily my mom found out about Embrace Grace in our church, Gateway Church. I wasn’t having anything about God at the time and it actually took me a few months to reply to the group email my mom sent Kathleen but I finally did and agreed to attend this group. If only I had known how blessed and majorly changed my life would be!! They helped me follow the path to God, they showed me how to break free of my chains of anger, sorrow, depression and hatred! EG showed me that the little baby inside me was not an abomination or a sin, but a major blessing! I don’t think people realize how much negativity young moms hear daily, EG lifts us up! They are there for us and support us every step of the way while the rest of the world looks down upon us and judges us. EG prepared me for motherhood and help me get started. I was blessed to have met all my leaders and fellow EG sisters! I realized by the end of the semester God saved me, he planted the biggest blessing he could ever give me in my womb.SusyEg

I changed my view on life because of Evelynn, she gave me strength and a reason to keep moving forward! She was and is my angel – because of her I became closer to God, I had rekindled my relationship with God! She changed my life for the better and I can never thank her or God enough. If it wasn’t for either one I would not be here now telling you this. I absolutely adore and love and cherish my little Evelynn! I couldn’t image life without her! So today is a celebration for me, that’s it’s been a year since I found out about my pregnancy.

Written by Susy – EG Alumni 

Dancing in Fields of Gold

shutterstock_106996061In my youth, as the hardships of my life piled on top of each other I lost my faith in God and relied on myself to prevent the pain and rejection I had come to know so well. I just couldn’t understand how God could help me. I thought it was solely up to me to keep my heart safe and control what happened in my life. So to prevent myself from getting hurt, I decided that I needed to be accepted by my friends, by boys, and the “cool crowd”. I told myself if I wasn’t accepted, I was worthless. As the days went on and my focus remained on my peers opinions, I lost connection with my family which added more deeply to my lost connection with God. With time, I increased the weight of my chains with every action I made to be accepted by men in particular, adding guilt and deepening my self-criticism. I felt as if I couldn’t get out of the pit I dug for myself.  I didn’t realize how completely weighed down I was by the chains I had created for myself. I felt I was stuck – with no way out. No family to help me, only people around me who didn’t know who I truly was and didn’t care if I failed. The people I strived for acceptance from didn’t care about me. All they wanted was their selfish needs to be met, they wanted to suffer with someone.. And they had no problem using me for that. In a moment of complete despair, I talked to God for the first time since my childhood. I begged him to help me get out of my abusive relationship. I begged him to put someone in my life to help me. I begged him to remember me. The next day I left the guy who was drowning me with him. I felt I had the strength to get away from the lifestyle I had been living. I contacted my family, and apologized for my actions, and began to make amends with them. My friend Nick, who had stuck by my side even through the time that I couldn’t communicate with him, asked me to be his. And life seemed like it was falling back into place. God remembered me. A few weeks passed by and I started having some pains in my stomach. I went to the hospital to get a doctor’s note for work. Nick came with me and in mid conversation, four nurses walked in and they all put a hand on me.  One nurse looked me in the eyes and told me I was pregnant. I immediately broke down in tears. Nick grabbed my hand and told me we could do this together. That he wanted a family with me, no matter who the biological father was. No matter how much he tried to comfort me, I was devastated. Who would accept me now? My parents surely wouldn’t, all of my “friends” would abandon me. So I prayed. And the one thing I realized was that my life would completely change. My life would completely change…. I liked the sound of that. And through that little voice.. telling me things will get better. I grew the strength to move forward. Despite my sister’s attempts to convince me abortion was the right choice for me, and my father’s attempts to convince me I should choose adoption. I decided I could do this. I prayed that God would put someone in my life to help me, to save me. And He did. God gave me my son. I started praying every day. Reading my bible. Building relationships with my family, and building a relationship with God. Before, I never understood why Jesus died on the cross. I thought of it as morbid.  I never understood the true meaning behind his sacrifice. One day in the shower I was thinking about God and Jesus, and the reason people wore crosses. In that moment I realized; Jesus sacrificed his life.. being taken by the very people he loves.. to show us what his love truly is.. to show us what he can do for us.. to remind us what it means to be God’s children. And we wear crosses to remind ourselves of this every day. I had an epiphany. As soon as I could, I grabbed my bible and prayed the salvation prayer. I understood now. And I could completely accept Jesus Christ into my heart. It wasn’t until Embrace Grace that I realized those chains I had felt so heavily before were still lingering. We were told to write down our chains on a piece of paper, and wait to go into another room. When my turn came, I was filled with an excitement stemming from somewhere unknown. I had no clue what was in store for me. We talked about my chains and came to the conclusion that every one of them stemmed from my need for acceptance. In that very second, it all made sense. So we prayed. Prayed God would lift the chains from my shoulders, and show me that his acceptance is all I need. God showed me that I am a girl in a white dress, dancing with Him in a field of sunflowers, soaking up the sunlight of his love. Knowing I have always been accepted by God for who I am. God has never taken His gaze off of me. I am his daughter! I AM FREE!

Written by Madeline Fairley

Sometimes He Sends a Bubble

shutterstock_104648267Heavy things were happening this week in Embrace Grace.
Things that are too much for one heart to bare.

We came together for prayer this week.  And, because of the heaviness,
we invited all praying people.  We gathered outside of our church
and while we prayed the Holy Spirit spoke and
filled out hearts.  He deposited supernatural courage,
peace, and authority. Then, His words poured out of our mouths.

We listened.
He spoke.
We spoke.
He listened.

During class, a little while later, I sat on the floor.  I was surrounded by Blooms but from where I sat, there was only one face I could see. Salina, spoke to the girls about identity and while she spoke the face I could see was troubled. She is a young, beautiful Bloom.  And though she’s young, because of her tiny frame, she looks even younger than she is. Her hair was pulled back in a “new mom” pony tail.  Her beautiful eyes were red and teary.  He lips were tight as she was trying to keep them from quivering.  She kept her chin down.  Her eyes were pointed at the table but she was looking at something miles, or maybe even years away. Her expression was one of secret torment and I knew in that moment she was hearing whispers from the devil and believing his lies. My friend sitting next to me saw it too. So, we prayed for her silently until the end of the lesson.

Every week, Blooms,{also know as Embrace Grace mommas}, come to church with babies in there bellies and worries on their hearts. Every week, they leave a little more encouraged and a little more hopeful.  By the end of the semester they look, talk, and behave differently.  They’re lighter.

At the end of class, Salina always has a sweet assignment for the girls to do during our small group time. This week’s assignment was filled with chatter and giggling.  I remained sitting on the floor during small group time. I caught view of Salina out of the corner of my eye and in the second before I looked at her, I thought she was blowing bubbles. Bubbles in class would be a little out of the ordinary, but you never know with Salina.  But when I looked at her, I saw that she wasn’t blowing bubbles, she was just talking to someone.

The Lord used that to give me a vision.  Sometimes I take my 2 year old to story time. At the end of story time they take out the bubble machine and spray a cloud of bubbles over the excited toddlers.  The toddlers stand up and giggle and dance and eagerly grab at the bubbles. The Lord said, “Y’all {Yes, the Lord says “y’all” all the time.} pour love, encouragement, and prayers out over these Blooms and they receive them with the same eagerness and excitement as the little ones do the bubbles.”

I thought that was sweet and it gave me the courage I needed to
pull that Bloom with the sad eyes aside and pray with her.
Yesterday was a cold and very windy day.  I was driving down a very busy street.  While I was drinking my coffee and listening to the radio, my mind was going over about 150 different things as usual.  If I would have blinked, I would have missed it….. One single bubble floating over the road!  I looked around to see where it might have come from.  There were not any bubbles anywhere except the one bubble floating passed my car on a four lane street. I became emotional and my heart was racing. “Oh Jesus” is all I could say.

Because of the bubble I felt significant and noticed. But, that bubble wasn’t just for me. It was for me to share.  If you’re going through heart ache, or feeling insignificant, I feel like the Lord is saying, “I see you. I’m here. Reach for me.”

Written by Crissy Terrell