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

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 

Once Lost, Now Found

1117091655In the beginning there was a girl who ran off impulse and insecurities
Surrounding herself by impurities
Lost, insufficiencies
Not renewing, not pursuing to have Christ in her mind
She didn’t do it at first after righteousness, but only to impress the arms of her flesh
You know the rest
Her spirit was so weak as it could not compete
As she consciously continued to cheat
On Christ with the lying and defying
She did not realize but her spirit was dying
She routinely filled her life with sin
Her body not a temple for Christ
She didn’t praise Him and her heart was cold
No desire for her spiritual growth
And before you know it she was held bound – a stronghold
Who would ever have foretold that time would be wasted completely
Now looking back realizing she was deceived – truly
Enticed by the devil at hand she had no idea about the baby boy in God’s plan
It was then she realized without Christ there’s no rock to stand
From there spiritually she went uphill
Believe me without Christ you’re lost for real
Without Him your soul is destined for hell
But that’s the penalty of sin though it’s not a fairytale
So she now looks to the hills for her help
Because she knows she’ll miss Christ if she looks to self or material wealth
Her spiritual guide, she doesn’t want to backslide1920403_10152075789778409_1922636066_n
Just wants to allow Him to remain inside
Now in His word she abides and hides from all pride
Now she knows the true meaning of eternal life
Bold, courageous, saved by grace, crowned
Was once lost, but now she’s found

Written by EG Bloom Chelsea

Good Stuff in the Hard Stuff

I will never forget that day my life changed forever.

It was May 3rd, 2010. I was a senior in high school and was just a few weeks away from turning 18. I had prom, graduation, and my birthday to look forward to all in the same month … but little did I know my whole world was about to change.

My stomach dropped as I had the realization I was a few days late.

One day after school I went to Tom Thumb and got a pregnancy test … stole it actually. I didn’t have any money. I stuck it in my purse walked out and went home to take it. On the way to the bathroom I couldn’t stop telling myself there was no way I was pregnant, it just couldn’t happen.

I took the pregnancy test and closed my eyes.

When I opened them I had two pink stripes burning into my eyes. You have GOT to be kidding me. My emotions went numb. I felt like I should be crying or something, but I felt nothing. I was in complete shock. I had a baby growing inside of me and I couldn’t really see past my prom, graduation, and my birthday coming up much less 9 months down the road.

I had to tell Brad. Brad and I had been together for 2 1/2 years. He was 3 years older then me and a junior in college and although our relationship was rocky at times, he was my rock and my love. I pulled out my phone and texted him (he was working out so I knew he wouldn’t answer). I just took a pregnancy test and it came back positive The response was not a good one. It was one word and it wasn’t a good one. I called my best friend Krista. I needed someone to tell me everything was going to be ok.  She did exactly that for me but she also encouraged me to be brave and tell my parents.

It was an even more complicated situation because I had hid my relationship with Brad from my dad for 2 years. My dad never approved because of me and Brad’s age difference. My dad had an abusive history so I knew the reaction was not going to be good.

Every thought went through my head about what I could do to get out of this situation I found myself in. Brad just wasn’t wanting a baby. He was still finishing college and had just turned 21. He was partying a lot and this just wasn’t in the plans. He decided to call a few abortion clinics to see if we could get an abortion. Because I was 17 and not 18 yet, I couldn’t get one without a parent’s consent.

We were stuck.

I was extremely close with my mom. She was my best friend. I knew I could be brave enough to tell her and she wouldn’t freak out that bad. The next day, I texted my mom when I got to school and told her that I was late on my period. She texted back and said that it was okay she had been late too and she was sure I would start soon. I told her that I had never missed a period before though and I was nervous, she then sent me the worst text I would’ve ever expected to get from her. For your sake, you better hope you’re not pregnant. My mouth dropped. What was I going to do? How could I tell her now?

My mom was struggling with alcoholism at the time so I knew if she had a few drinks in her, she would be easier to talk to. That night, I took a deep breath and just blurted it out, “Mom, I still haven’t started and I’m getting really scared.” She reassured me again, “You are okay. I have $11 in my wallet. Go get a pregnancy test.” I got in the car and went up to Tom Thumb again and this time I actually bought one. I went straight for the bathroom and my mom followed me in. I took the pregnancy test already knowing what the result would be. My mom immediately took it from me, she stared at it and I was just waiting for her to yell at me. But she just looked at me with teary eyes and said, “Well, you’re pregnant baby cakes.” I will never forget those words.

Finally all of the emotion that I had been holding in ever since I found out, just came rushing out and I couldn’t stop crying. We hugged each other for a long time, and she told me whatever decision I made she would support me no matter what.

My best friend Krista called later that night and she convinced me to keep my baby.

That ended up being the best conversation I could’ve had with someone. I called Brad immediately after and told him I had decided to keep the baby. He was still not happy at all. My heart broke with his reaction. He said something that one day he would regret, “Look, I love you, but I DONT love what’s inside of you.”

I told him that he didn’t have to be apart of our life if he didn’t want to. I wouldn’t make him pay child support, he would never have to see me or the baby ever. All these tough words were flying out of my mouth but deep down my heart was broken. He snapped back and said, ” I WILL be a part of my child’s life.” My heart was still broken because I knew he wasn’t happy at all.

I went over to my mom and whispered in her ear that I was going to keep the baby, as my dad was on the phone across the table from her and I didn’t want him to hear. She said, “Okay but we have to tell your dad.” I said, “Okay but just not tonight.” I went inside and lay on my bed. I was realizing that I was actually feeling HAPPY. Yeah, I never planned for this to happen but once I had made the decision to carry this baby inside of me and be his or her mommy, I actually felt feelings of love and excitement!

I decided to go back outside to hang out with my mom and dad. I sit down and my mom immediately says, ” I told your dad.” I said, ” WHAT??” I immediately start to cry and looked into my dad’s eyes. He was hurt. He wasn’t saying a word. I finally broke the silence, “I’m sorry dad.” He yelled at me, “You lied to me!” and then slammed the door in my face.  He was beyond livid … and I was beyond scared.

After he finally calmed down, he said, “Whatever decision you and Brad make, he would support us but we needed to think about it because it was a life changing decision.”  … But I had already made my decision and I wasn’t going to change my mind.

We then told Brad’s parents and they took it a lot better. I could tell his mom was nervous and scared but she kept reassuring us that we would make it and be ok.

I was living with my parents and Brad had an apartment in Denton (he went to UNT) and his lease was about to be up. My parents decided that Brad could move in with us. My brother’s old room would be the baby’s room. I was so excited.

During the course of the pregnancy, our hearts started changing for the better. We knew we had to grow up fast. Brad started becoming more excited about being a dad and supporting me more. I started going to Embrace Grace and started to work on my relationship with God. I loved being surrounded by the girls that were all going through the same thing as me. The group was so amazing and I felt so lucky to be apart of it.

One night during class, was a night I’ll never forget because of what I learned.  Salina was talking and it was something along the lines of, “Your future spouse should be a Christian as well, so you enter the covenant of marriage as God first and in unity together.” I knew what she said made sense, but Brad was not a Christian. I’d talk about it with Brad from time to time, but I never forced it on him. I just thought that if it was going to happen, it would. Amy suggested I just bring him to church with me on a Sunday and see what happens. It seemed like a good idea but I just kept thinking that Brad would never go for it. I never brought it up even though I was worried about my future of being a Christian family. I loved Brad so much, I just prayed that it would happen.

Before I knew it, it was January 5th and I was on the way to the hospital to meet my beautiful baby girl. Everyone was so excited. I couldn’t wait to hold her! 10 hours went by and they wheeled me back for my c-section. Blakelee Nicole Davidson was born at 6:55 pm weighing 8lbs 10 1/2 oz.  My life was forever changed. So many precious memories of that moment but shortly after, bittersweet reality confronted me right there in the hospital room.

After everyone went home that night it was just me, Brad, and Blakelee. I was so excited to start this new life with my baby and my boyfriend. My dad started calling around 8 and the conversation was off and on until 1 am. He was drunk and NOT happy. He was upset that I had contacted my Grammie through facebook that I was not allowed to talk to due to some family drama. I had reached out to her when I found out I was pregnant because I had not spoken to her in years and wanted to tell her the news. He had gone home and gotten on my Facebook and saw the messages I had been sending to her.

I was confused, and upset. Why was he doing this to me the night I gave birth? I told him not to come to the hospital the next day. Everyone came to visit and I put on my happy face but inside I was hurting that I couldn’t enjoy this moment with my dad. Before we left the hospital, we got a call from my mom saying we should probably go stay with Brad’s parents for a little while because my dad was so furious with me. I didn’t understand why? He told my mom that Brad and I weren’t allowed back under his roof and that I was just an 18 year old girl who wore out her welcome. I was devastated. I was crying so hard I was breaking out into a sweat and could barely hold my baby girl. I didn’t know what I was going to do. I was so emotionally drained. That was the last day I saw my dad for a long time.

My dad finally let us come back home to stay at the house but he was still so angry, he went to stay with his father. It was so hard. On one hand, I was so in love with my beautiful baby but on the other, I didn’t have my family fully to enjoy her with. I struggled with depression and confusion. It was a hard time.

Brad and I grew closer than ever and a few days before Valentine’s Day, he proposed to me. Things were starting to look up. He was my constant and my rock. I loved him so much and I had always loved him. He was there for me through this emotional time. I couldn’t imagine my life without him.

One night, Brad and I were sitting outside talking and enjoying each other’s company. Blakelee was asleep and we were just relaxing and loving the fresh air. In the middle of the conversation, he stopped and said out of nowhere, “Is it weird that I want to go to church?” I was blown away. I needed this and for him to want it completely on his own was amazing. I needed God so much in my life but I also felt like I needed Brad too – so to be able to do this together was a dream come true.

We went that Sunday and Brad fell in love with Pastor Robert at Gateway. His life changed forever that day as he gave his life to Jesus and accepted Him as his Lord and Savior.  Our whole lives changed. Even since then, we have had our ups and downs. With my brother leaving to go into the marines, and having to take my mom to rehab, and still not speaking to my father, life was hard and slowly stopped going to church again. I was struggling with depression and taking it out on people I cared about. But through it all, I knew God loved me and that He would take care of us and our family. I had hope for our future.

This year has had a lot of ups. Blakelee just turned 1! Brad and I got married on March 18th. We have our own home. I saw my dad on my birthday this year after 18 months of not speaking. We can never get back the time we lost but we have started over and fresh. My mom has been sober for almost a year. Brad and I have started going back to church. Everything is finally coming together for us. And the best news of all is that I found out on Fathers Day last month that we are expecting our 2nd child that will arrive in February!

God has great ways of working in your life if you will just let Him. My world was crumbling at my feet, but he picked up all the pieces and is making me a beautiful life. And for that I am forever grateful. He’s really starting to work through me, and it’s amazing. I can see with everything I have been through that I am a better person because of it. I had 2 choices, I could let my past form me into a person with grudges and “baggage” or I could learn from it and help other people in similar situations.

Oh and remember the part about Brad’s reaction about not loving what was inside of me? Well, he quickly realized how completely false that statement was. I have never seen a sweeter daddy/daughter relationship. Blakelee has Brad wrapped around her little finger. The first thing he does when he comes home is run and scoop her up and give her tons of kisses on her squishy cheeks. He is such a good dad. He is even hoping our new baby is a little girl because he wants one just like her. 

Sometimes in the hard stuff, there is good stuff too. You just gotta open your eyes to it. Without the hard stuff, I wouldn’t be me. Without the hard stuff, I wouldn’t have so much. Without the hard stuff, my life wouldn’t be so easy.

My hope in Jesus is bigger than any circumstances.

Written by Brooke Davidson, 20 years old.  

 

 

Letting Go

Sometimes letting go of what is “comfortable” and “safe” seems SO hard. Maybe it’s a lifestyle that you’ve always had and never known another way. Maybe it just “feels” like it’s right, even though all the facts say otherwise. Maybe it’s a job you keep hanging on to even though you’re boss and coworkers are verbally abusive and rude … maybe it’s that friend you keep hanging out with even though she consistently does things that you have been trying so hard to not fall back into … maybe it’s the family member that watches your baby for free even though you don’t agree with the way she cares for you child … maybe it’s the guy that you keep doing everything you can to make the relationship work just because he’s the baby daddy even though he never puts you first or even second in his life …

 So my question is, by not letting go of these things, what amazing job/friend/babysitter/boyfriend are you missing out on that God has for you?

 I remember one time I got into this really weird fight with a super close friend. I had been there for her through a horrible break up, a birth of her daughter when was all alone, and even through the death of her father. I was the first person she would call and I was her rock through a lot. I am not just saying this, I seriously was a GREAT friend to her. Well one day out of the blue, there was a misunderstanding between her and my husband while discussing business decisions her father had made. It is a very long and boring story but in a nutshell, his heart was pure and he tried to convey that to her but she decided she wanted to believe the worst in him (looking back, I can see how she was still very hurt by her father’s passing and anything said during that season could have been taken the wrong way). With this misunderstanding, she called it quits on our friendship and basically said she never wanted to talk to me again. I was crushed. I couldn’t believe after all I had invested in our friendship, she would throw it away.

 I left for my heartquest the very next week with this fresh wound on my heart. I decided to give this worry to God and I had tried to save that relationship but the door was closed. So I was moving on … and when I was there on my heartquest, I met my very best friend in the whole world, Alyse. God brought me the BEST friend. And even when I got home, I met another girl named Angela that we just immediately connected and have been super close ever since. I really felt like because I didn’t try to chase something that God didn’t want me to have, He blessed me with not only 1 great friend, but 2!

 I remember another time a few years ago, an Embrace Grace girl called me and she was very upset. She had a horrible weekend and she was so worried about what she should do.  She said she had been walking through her apartment complex the previous day, when out of the blue, these 2 girls she didn’t even know walked up to her and told her that their really good friend had been messing around with her boyfriend behind her back for months and they felt like she needed to know. This girl was crushed. She was pregnant with his baby and wanted it to work with him so bad but he had seemed so distant lately. I tried to console her and told her maybe she should just take a break from him and  spend some time in prayer without distractions and really seek God on what she should do about this situation. She then said to me, “Well actually I have been praying every day for the past week for God to show me if I should be with him anymore but I just can’t hear him speaking to me.”  It seems God is speaking loud and clear right now! He is answering your prayer and showing you what to do.

 Well, she still ended up staying with him and went on with a rocky relationship.

 I know it’s hard to let go sometimes … but at what cost? God has BIG and AMAZING plans – He loves each one of you SO much. 

 Holding onto what you are powerless to change is exhausting and impossible. The real fulfillment and joy comes in life when we release control and let God take over.

 God wants to be first in your life. Seek first the kingdom of God, and all these other things will fall into place (Matthew 6:33) Give him control of your life, not part of it, ALL of it. Let Him carry the burden for you. His blessings and plans for you is to prosper you and give you hope and a future. He is FOR YOU.