Treasured Gift

shutterstock_13469918638 years ago today I was born on my Mom’s 17th birthday. This morning as I woke up, the movie Alice in Wonderland stirred in my heart. The inspiration and ideas began arising to surprise my Mom for her birthday with a picnic in the park. It wasn’t just any park though; it was a special park that we played at when I was a little girl. I picked up my Mom from work at 11 and had a special book for her to read while I drove her to this special spot. Let’s go on a Mommy Date… She smiled and was so excited with a happy heart!.

I began to tell her of the surprises in store and that we were going on a wonderland adventure and having a picnic and we could just be little girls. In the movie the bunny runs around with his timeclock saying I’m late, I’m late for a very important date. No time to say hello, good-bye I’m late, I’m late, I’m late. – Alice in Wonderland. I expressed to her that I wish time could just freeze for a moment. A moment in time where demands, timeclocks, and cares of this world could just stop. If only for a moment. She has been punching a timeclock since she was 15 years old when she began her very first job at Dairy Queen. She has given so much of herself in so many ways; this was a time to celebrate the beautiful treasure that she is! She is a gift!

We are celebrating this day together and there is no one else I would rather be with at this moment! She was so happy! She had a treasure box to open with heartfelt sentiments and expressions inside. Pearls, feathers, flowers, words of encouragement and lots of sweet pink things 🙂 She was in awe. She said how did you know I wanted to have a picnic today?

I began to tell her that God had whispered to me of an ultimate gift, a treasured gift for her. He had been sharing to my heart that He is bringing healing to her heart, soul, body, mind, will and emotions. Restoration and redemption of her heart. She has walked a long windy journey and He has seen every step she has taken. There is a new beginning. A fresh start on the horizon ahead for her. A new season. An abundant life full of goodness. Words began to spill from my heart for her. Tears began to fall down her cheeks.

I thanked her for the countless hours and sacrifice she has given as a Mom. When my sisters and I were younger she was a single mom and worked long hard hours to support us. She gave and gave of herself and poured everything she could out for us and those around her. The birthday card I gave her read I grew up LOVED… and that is exactly what these moments were about.

We were able to reclaim moments today that she had missed sharing with me as a little girl. She had missed my t-ball games since she was busy working and has expressed to me lately that she felt guilty for having to work and missing those special games. I always told her it was alright & that I understood she had to work. This morning as I was gathering all the trinkets and treasures, I heard a whisper to grab my baseball glove and ball and lets play catch together for the first time 🙂 She enjoyed every second of playing catch and sweet talks of when I was little. Cupcakes, daisies, dreams and wishes were shared together today. I love you MOMMY!

Another special treasured gift I am celebrating today is Love Day. A memorable day when I met the love of my life. 20 years ago today! He swept me off my feet and captured my heart. We have grown more in love since the day we met. An infusion of blissful love is shared between us. I whispered Happy Love Day to him this morning as he whispered Happy Birthday to me 🙂

I have also been love bombed by so many special friends and blooms today with beautiful words. Flowers and cupcakes delivered and gifts on my doorstep. Thank you everyone that has sent precious birthday wishes and blessings! Your kindness touches my heart. I love you all so much and bless you!!

May peace and abundance overflow in your heart and life. My heart goes out to you precious moms as you are balancing your family, home, career, and everything in between! You are courageous! You are a beacon of light for the world to see. Keep on looking up! The best is yet to come! You are a treasure! You are a giver of life. I celebrate you too!! xoxo

Written by Salina Duffy

 

 

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