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

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

Close To You

shutterstock_140065837I caught a glimpse of her as she passed the aisle in Sam’s club. Instinctively I knew she was pregnant, without even seeing her up close. She began walking towards me. Her mom was pushing a buggy, and I began looking towards her young daughter’s tummy. She wore a cute Jesus>Religion t-shirt and when she began to get a little closer, I could see her tiny bump. So cute!

She looked about 16 years old and I just had to reach out to her. I began by casually saying you are so precious. When are you due? She said May 7th. I said you are so beautiful and glowing! Is it a boy or girl? I glanced down at her hand and saw a ring on her finger. Her Mom began to thank me so much for approaching them and she said it was the first time anyone had come up to her in public to ask about her pregnancy. She looked so surprised and thankful that I had taken time to talk with them. I expressed that I have such a heart for mommies and babies, and I just can’t help but share it.

As I walked away, something stirred within my heart. I began to wonder about so many other girls that are pregnant and just waiting, hoping, praying someone will approach them and ask them about their pregnancy. Someone to be excited with them. Someone to celebrate with them. Someone they can talk to, relate to, express life with.

I also began thinking of my own mom in her teen pregnancy and how she may have felt. I asked if she would share her heart about her pregnancy with me. Some of the emotions and feelings that she could express and recall.

Psalm 139 portrays such love. Look at the excerpts from this chapter of life within the womb.

God investigate my life, get all the facts firsthand. I’m an open book to you. Even from a distance you know what I’m thinking. You know everything I’m going to say before I start the first sentence. I thank you High God- you’re breathtaking! I worship in adoration- what a creation! Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth, all the stages of my life were spread out before you. The days of my life, all prepared before I’d even lived one day. Your thoughts- how rare. How beautiful!

My Mother’s Story ~her pregnancy with me

I was married at an early age of 15. All I ever wanted was a baby to love. I wanted to be pregnant so badly. I kept trying & trying and each and would be saddened when I realized another month had gone by, and still no baby.

Months later, I expressed to my cousins that I thought I was pregnant. They said there was no way I could be, they said I was way too young. I was 16 years old. I took a home pregnancy test and it showed positive!! I was so happy! I wanted to be so healthy carrying you. Before my 1st Dr visit, I remember drinking a whole quart of orange juice hoping to get great results. The nurses said I had flushed out my system and the test came back negative at first and I did not appear to be pregnant. I kept telling them I felt sick, and I just knew that I was pregnant with you. I just had to wait, and hold on to the feelings I had inside.

The next visit showed a positive pregnancy! My heart was so happy!  When the Dr. came in and told me I was pregnant, I loved you from the start. When you were growing inside me, I loved you deeply and held onto the sweet tiny flutters and feeling you moving all around.

God told me I was supposed to be a mommy. A sweet connection that will always be close to my heart. Even though I was so young, I would protect you from anything and everything. I delivered you on my 17th birthday. You were the sweetest gift a mommy could receive. I would hold you close to my heart. Memories I will cherish forever.

I sang a song over you when you were in my womb…Close to you by Karen Carpenter. It was a sweet song that your Dad and I shared together as newlyweds. I would rub my tummy and sing the words to this song over and over again to you:

Why do birds suddenly appear, ev’ry time you are near?
Just like me, they long to be close to you.
Why do stars fall down from the sky, ev’ry time you walk by?
Just like me, they long to be close to you.

On the day that you were born the angels got together.
And decided to create a dream come true.
So, they sprinkled moon dust in your hair of gold,
And star-light in your eyes of blue.
Just like me, they long to be close to you…

The love between a mother and her child. So precious. So pure. Especially to see that love unfold and blossom even greater when her daughter grows up and is pregnant and becomes a mother.  A new life within her daughters womb is carrying a grandbaby for her to love. A baby to hold so close in a sweet embrace.

Close to you, I believe inspired the love of nature in my heart while I was in the womb. I am a nature lover at heart. Today I was outside, and two redbirds appeared in my trees in front of my home. I smiled and whispered thank you.

I was listening to my new cd by Gateway Worship. As the words began to play, my heart melted. There were 2 songs… Close to you and Bring my heart close to you.. they were back to back and sweet tears fell down my cheeks as I listened and worshipped along as I was driving in my car. May your heart be drawn close to God our Father’s heart as you embrace this season you are walking in. Maybe a new pregnancy, a new grandbaby on the way, or a dream just waiting to come to fruition. May you be able hold your baby or dream close to your heart  and hear sweet whispers over you.

You are loved. You are treasured. You are blessed beyond measure. Your life, your babies life, the closeness you can share together. So precious. So sweet. So full of LOVE!

Written by Salina Duffy

 

 

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

Behind the Lens :: Adoption

parkergraceUntil the summer that I turned 19 I thought I knew what life had to offer.. In one year, my parents got a divorce, I dropped out of high school, I got pregnant and had an abortion, and my own brother was ripped out of my life only to be seen behind a glass window.

I expected to be hurt. I expected that no one wanted to be bothered. But, I knew I could smile through anything.

I was 18 the first time my eyes ever met a positive pregnancy test. Sitting there, on a toilet in a little house I was completely and totally caught off guard. I had notexpected this. I stared hard at the stick that was changing my life; like a tiny plastic magic wand with pee all over it. I double checked the instructions hoping I’d got it wrong. Oh how I wanted it to be wrong.

I spent the next 4 weeks pretending the test was wrong. Living as if there wasn’t another heart beating inside of me, I filled my body with unbelievable amounts of cocaine and vodka, all the while, saving and borrowing money for the $250.00 abortion. Smiling.

I went to a Pregnancy Crisis Center to get the proof of pregnancy I needed in order to get an abortion. It was free. I endured the kindness from the older women who volunteered there. I even sat through all of their pro life videos. I smiled the whole time. They told me my due date was Feb 19, 1999. I went home and scheduled my abortion appointment for July 14, 1998. The amount of drugs and alcohol I was using increased. On July 5 I was kicked out of my house. I slept in a park, couch hopped, and used people. Still smiling.

I was relieved, when I drove into the parking lot of the West Side Clinic to find the protesters had taken the day off.  It was a Tuesday. I was prepared for this day. I’d done everything they’d said to do. I’d taken a warm bath. I packed my bag with everything they had listed. I also brought $250.00 cash, my I.D., and proof of pregnancy. Smiling, I walked into the clinic.

I struck up conversations with everyone in the waiting room.  I sat next to a young couple who was aborting their baby that day because it just wasn’t good timing.  On the other side of me was a dancer who was worried because they said she had to be off of her feet for 6 weeks. Behind me was a mother and her 14 year old daughter. The mother said she just couldn’t wait to put all of this behind them.  I was there because I was afraid to tell my mom I was pregnant.

I remember getting a sonogram that day.  I giggled when I asked the woman, who wouldn’t smile at me, if it was a boy or a girl. She didn’t look at me but she said, “It’s a boy.” I knew she couldn’t know and I wondered why she said that.  She kept looking at the tv screen where she could see my baby’s heart beating. parkerbirthmoms

During “the procedure” (the moment I ended my child’s life) I was fully aware of what was happening.  My heart started beating really fast because I had justchanged my mind but I knew it was too late. My baby was in pieces somewhere close by. Heart not beating.

A few hours later I was resting at my friend’s house in their parent’s bed.  The pain I felt was extraordinary; both physical and emotional. I writhed. I sobbed.  I wanted to take it back. The next morning when I woke up, my heart was hard. Still smiling.

But Jesus…

I spent a lot of years convincing myself that I was an exception. That I hadn’t been effected by my abortion.  I started to believe in Jesus when I was 22. Although I hadn’t given my life to Him yet.  But in my belief, I believed that I needed to tuck this abortion thing into the dark parts of my heart. He could just let me handle that because I was under the impression that he only dealt with nice girl problems.  But Jesus didn’t just die for good girls.

Jesus didn’t leave me laying there on that table in the abortion clinic.  He’s walked a long hard road with me, loving me, repairing me, putting broken pieces back together, and giving me reasons to really smile.

But Grace….

I gave my life to the Lord, like, no take backs, gave my life to the Lord. on Aug 26, 2012.   I gave him cigarettes too.  I was a 2 pack a day smoker and he told me to give him my cigarettes and he would give me something even better than sitting on my porch smoking.  He gave me photography.  He gave me birth photography.

But Redemption….

parkeradoptiveparentsOn Friday, March 22, 2013…13 years, 8 months, and 8 days after my abortion, I met a girl who found Embrace Grace. A girl, who probably looked at her own pregnancy test and thought the timing was not right. She may have thought an abortion would be a quick and easy way to put it all behind her.  She may have even been afraid to tell people she was pregnant.  But she chose to do something amazing.

The Father, my Father who made my heart beat, plopped me right down in the middle of the birth of this amazing girl’s baby.  The baby that would not go to her arms the moment it took it’s first breath but would be passed to another woman.  This amazing girl chose to let her body be stretched, torn, and bruised so her baby could live, take a breath, and be loved.

My friend stood next to the amazing girl while she worked hard to bring their baby into this world. I was there when the baby was passed from the amazing girl’s body to my friend’s waiting arms.  10 years of waiting behind her and a lifetime ahead of her. In a moment of memories, breath, life, and happy tears my friend was holding the person who will call her “Mommy”.

I smiled.  I smile.

Written by Crissy Terrell and Photography by Crissy Terrell Photography