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

Ears to Hear

shutterstock_175071470I am a listener. I absolutely love to listen! I was once given wonderful advice that has really stuck with me as I have grown. That istake the time to love and listen to whomever is in front of you at that moment. Really focus in and give them your full attention and allow them time to talk. Communication and connections being made.

Throughout my days it may be my husband, or my 2 sons, Embrace Grace mommies and babies, family, friends, team members and so many others that I come in contact with. I love to listen as they share stories, events about their day, and other fascinating factors that they encounter. The highs and lows of life. Ups and downs and everything in between. I engage and listen intently on what they have to share. One of my most favorite to listen to is God. He always knows exactly what I need to hear at the perfect moment.

A few days ago I was intrigued with this movie I had rented and my little seven year old walks in trying to talk to me. Shhhhh… Mommy is watching a movie. I’m trying to hear what they are saying… please be quiet. I can’t hear when you are talking… A few minutes later he is chatty again. I again ask him to be quiet. A third time he begins to talk and says something that captured my attention and I immediately grabbed the remote and paused the movie and was all ears. Ready to listen.

Mommy, his voice sounds like God’s. I look over at him in total amazement. I ask him to repeat again. His voice sounds like God’s mommy… The characters voice was a really deep voice. This man has been in so many movies. One being Simba’s dad on the Lion King. His voice is very distinctive and captures the audience when he speaks.

My son and I have many talks about him hearing God and how He speaks to him. He will ask God questions and relay the answers. In their sweet innocence and childlike faith it just comes naturally for children to hear God speak.

As we are sitting on the couch I look intently into my son’s eyes and desire to know more about this voice that sounds so familiar to him. I ask him so when you hear this voice, what does He say? He replies. Umm… What’s the word? He thinks for a second. Oh yeah, he cheers me on. He says you know like when I am playing baseball. I will be on first base. He (God) tells me to run to second. Run to second. Then when I am on second He says run to third you can do it, run to third. He encourages me to run. His voice sounds like that man on the movie mommy.

As I am sitting there in total adoration and love of hearing these sweet words from my son, a wave of astonishment and awestruck wonder came over me. It really is that simple. We sometimes think that hearing God is something only some people can do. But He speaks to all of us. All the time. We simply have to tune our ears to hear His voice. To listen intently to the things being spoken all around us. The delivery comes in so many different ways. He speaks through His creation, His Word, gentle whispers, our children and so many remarkable ways. As we begin to listen with our ears and really engage in what He wants to speak into our lives it will leave lasting impressions upon our hearts.

I’m reminded of a story in the bible found in 1 Samuel 3 about a little boy that heard the voice of God. Now the boy Samuel ministered to the Lord before Eli. The word of the Lord was rare and precious in those days; there was no frequent or widely spread vision. At that time Eli, whose eyesight had dimmed so that he could not see, was lying down in his own place. When the Lord called, Samuel! And he answered, Here I am. He ran to Eli and said, Here I am, for you called me. Eli said, I did not call you; lie down again. So he went and lay down.And the Lord called again, Samuel! And Samuel arose and went to Eli and said, Here am I; you did call me. Eli answered, I did not call, my son; lie down again. Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord was not yet revealed to him. And the Lord called Samuel the third time. And he went to Eli and said, Here I am, for you did call me. Then Eli perceived that the Lord was calling the boy. So Eli said to Samuel, Go, lie down. And if He calls you, you shall say, Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening. So Samuel went and lay down in his place. And the Lord came and stood and called as at other times, Samuel! Samuel! Then Samuel answered, Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening. 1 Samuel 3:1-10 AMP

May our ears, just as Samuel’s, be listening intently to hear what God is speaking to us. May our ears be in tune to hear His voice. May we have childlike listening skills to hear so clearly what is being revealed and spoken to our hearts. To encourage us. To enlighten us. To engage and entertain us. To fill our days and nights with life giving affirmations and love that will continue to lift us up and help us through whatever we may be going through. May we be able to drown out the noise, distraction and accusations from the wrong voices and be drawn to the heart and voice of God.

look with your eyes and hear with your ears and set your heart and mind on all that I will show you, for you are brought here that I may show them to you. Ezekiel 40:4 AMP

My eyes will be open and my ears attentive to every prayer made in this place. 2 Chronicles 7:15 NLT

Written by Salina Duffy

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

 

 

Let Go and Let God

shutterstock_50844067My daughter and I wake up each morning and go over her memory verses. Currently they are Philippians 4:7, Philippians 4:13, Hebrews 11:1, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, 1 Peter 5:7, Jeremiah 29:11, Psalm 20:4, John 3:16, Deuteronomy 28:11-13, and the Lords Prayer from Matthew 6. Her favorite is Philippians 4:7. Whenever she has a bad dream or is upset or anxious about anything I ask her to recite it and she boldly proclaims, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your heart, and your mind in Christ Jesus!” and she feels better. She writes those words on her heart and takes them as a true promise. She accepts the peace God offers and she claims the protection He gives over herself and her heart and her mind and her dreams. It’s the perfect most precious example of a childlike faith and it’s a blessing to see in action.

I pray for my faith to grow more like hers each day. The last 24 hours have been difficult. Instead of claiming God’s peace and resting in His strength I have fought a bit with my own. Today I had to face my abuser in court. I had to testify as to what I endured at his hands. Needless-to-say, I was full of anxiety. Leading up to today I’ve been sick with allergies and migraines to the point of going to the doctor. I received a steroid shot at the doctor yesterday and promptly passed out in front of my frightened four year old daughter. I suffer of vasovagal syncope syndrome but I haven’t passed out from a venipuncture in years! It’s been an out-of-control couple of days.

The dictionary defines anxiety as “worry, uneasiness, nervousness, tension or stress.” Fear is at the root of anxiety, and because of that, it’s something we need to resist by the power of the Holy Spirit that dwells in us. Anxiety will steal that peace and joy which The Lord guarantees us, and that’s evidence enough that it’s a tool of the enemy. In Proverbs 14:30 it says, “A calm and undisturbed mind and heart are the life and health of the body.” Since anxiety steals our peace, it can make us susceptible to sickness and disease, and I believe it can take years off of our lives. If you spend enough time being anxious you will find sooner or later that you’ll be plagued with headaches, stomachaches, backaches or other illnesses. God never intended for us to shoulder our own burdens, and trying to do so can have terrible consequences. Anxiety has the ability to zap our strength and lower our energy levels. As a result, we’ll be less productive and fruitful as employees, students, parents, ministers, or anything else we apply ourselves to. Anxiety can even harm our relationships. Those around us can suffer when our anxious thoughts make us short-tempered, depressed, or overly sensitive. If we really care about our friends, family, and others we come in contact with, we’ll do our best to walk in peace each day.

God simply desires that we acknowledge our need for Him by promptly bringing all of our concerns to Him in prayer. Our focus then shifts from our unsettling circumstances to our all-powerful God, Who loves us and wants the best for us. In other words- instead of focusing on how big your problems are, look up and focus on what a huge, wonderful, loving Creator you have! Then you’ll see little problems and a big God! As you make a conscious decision to put your trust in the Lord, God’s own indescribable peace will settle over you and quiet your fear. Isaiah puts it this way, “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You, all whose thoughts are fixed on You!” (Isaiah 26:3) Besides prayer, we can take a note from Raelee. Devoting ourselves to God’s Word can counteract anxiety. Psalm 119:165 says, “Those who love Your instructions have great peace and do not stumble.” As we meditate on God’s faith-building promises, peace and joy spring up inside of us and crowd out anxiety and fear. Sometimes a specific sin is at the root of our anxiety, and can keep us from enjoying the peace that God wants us to have. When this is the case, we haven’t failed until we’ve completely given up trying to cooperate with God’s Spirit to become all that He created us to be.

I recall awhile back I was sitting in my car and the Holy Spirit lovingly told me that I cannot both obey and disobey God at the same time. Partial obedience is STILL disobedience. I wasn’t giving God control. I wasn’t giving him my anxiety and fears and hurts but was still expecting His promises of peace and love and comfort and joy. It doesn’t work that way. You either have faith or you don’t. There’s no such thing as half-faith. So today I had a choice. Did I want to hold everything on my own shoulders like I did yesterday (and consequently passed out) or did I want to let go and let God? I walked into the silent court room and sat on the bench next to my attorney and in my mind I said, “I can do this. I can do this. I CAN DO THIS. Don’t cry. DONT CRY. YOU’RE STRONG. WARRIOR WOMAN. I can. I CAN do this. Stop….nope…not going to cry. Not gonna do it….” This process continued for the better part of a half hour. Finally the judge called our attorneys up to the stand and my adrenaline started pumping. I got hot all over. I was trying so hard to be brave but I felt the fear gripping my chest and the tears welling in my eyes. Suddenly a song that my friend wrote started playing in my head. It is a song written in Gods perspective to us. The lyrics are so comforting. It talks about how God will stick by our side. He will help us through the night. He will be with us. We will be forever His child. This song played over and over and over in my head until our first recess. During that recess I called my friend Marco who wrote the song and thanked him for it. Subconsciously, it had pointed me back to Christ instead of looking within for strength. He reminded me that God was with me in that court room and I wasn’t alone. He told me that God’s angels were fighting by my side and I can rest in Him. I walked back into the court room and for the first time since I had been in court, I prayed. I asked God to come in and take my fears and anxiety and be my strength. I let go and let God.

The rest is history. I was still an emotional wreck but I was strong. And the judge ruled overwhelmingly in my favor. God had already fought the battle for me. It was amazing.

Just before the Savior went to the cross, He gave His disciples a priceless gift. In John 14:27 Jesus says: “I am leaving you with a gift: peace of mind and heart! And the peace I give isn’t fragile like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” Our Savior has left us with an unshakable peace which will sustain us in the most difficult times. The apostle Paul confirms this when he says in 2 Thessalonians 3:16, “May the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance.” Let these words from the Savior encourage your heart today: “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” (Matthew 6:34) God bless y’all.

Written by Whitney Wells

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

Misplaced Treasure

shutterstock_189760376I sat back in my reading time with an “Aha!” moment.  One line over a year of pondering and searching, and finally “Aha!!”…it all makes sense.  I had been seeking for an answer as to why I was having a particularly hard time in healing from the end of a relationship.  Being a natural researcher, I had taken time to look up various articles on what I was feeling and I found out that grief does not only come from the loss of a loved one through death, it comes from any kind of loss in your life.  The loss of a relationship, the loss of a job, a house.  I had gone through all of the appropriate levels of grief, and still found myself with rogue feelings that just would not conform, pack up and move out.

So there I was, over a year later, and finally I read something that clicked deep within me. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21)

Wow.  So few words and yet so profound.  I was having such a difficult time because I had placed my treasure (my heart and my hope) in something that was just as flawed as I was.  I invested a little (ok, a lot) more of myself than I should have, so the effects of that sudden loss were a bit devastating and hard to understand.  I subconsciously put myself “on hold,” trying to figure out what had happened, and in the meantime secretly hoped that it would all just go back to how it was.  I was living on the outside, but I had put myself on the shelf on the inside.  Finding this one sentence gave me the clarity I needed to see the big picture.

In our day to day lives, we find that those things we have put our sweat, blood and tears in, those things we have worked so hard to obtain, become our “treasures” whether we realize it or not.  We invest so much of ourselves into that “thing” that when it is no longer there, we are left wondering what just happened?

“Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  Armed with this information, I was able to see everything in a whole new light.  Although my heart was genuine, I had just placed it in the wrong hands.

Is your treasure in the right hands?

Written by Jamie Stapleton

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