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Accepting God’s Limitless Love

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Dating John was an adventure. He sang Elvis’ Love Me Tender to me in restaurants. He pulled me to the nightclub dance floor when no one else was dancing. Once we met at a steak house and pretended we were on a blind date. We role-played the entire meal and the waiter believed us. Not knowing what came next with John captivated me.

Until the day my period was late.

I drove to the pregnancy center — alone. After peeing in a plastic cup, I waited in a chilly exam room. When the nurse returned, she said, "The test is positive." She paused. "Do you know what you want to do?"

"I’m keeping the baby." She checked the box "continue pregnancy," recommended an OB-GYN, and suggested prenatal vitamins.

I’m going to be a mom. Me — a mother. I’m not ready.

I left in shock. Missing a couple birth control pills had consequences. I imagined a wedding, buying a house, and what our sweet baby would look like.

John and I will live happily ever after — after I tell him our news.

"I love you, Tiffany. Now is not the right time. I’m sorry," John said as he hugged me. "I’ll pay for the abortion. Some day we’ll do things right. Get married and have babies. I’m not ready."

"Do you think I’m ready? I didn’t plan this. But I’m not having an abortion. I’m keeping our baby. I’ll raise him alone. I don’t care."

I left John’s apartment crying. John will change his mind with time. What if he doesn’t? What will happen to us?

Over the next week, John and I talked on the phone. We ate dinner together once and acted like nothing happened. We didn’t discuss our baby. We kissed and said our goodnights.

When I got home, I couldn’t take the silence anymore, so I called him.

"What are you thinking about my pregnancy?"

"Same thing, I’m not ready."

Heartbroken, my mind buzzed: If I keep the baby, John will leave me. I don’t want to be a single mom. Who will love me with someone else’s child? Will our baby grow up fatherless? I don’t want to be alone. I love John too much to lose him.

Against everything I believed — I made an appointment.

Numb, I arrived for my scheduled abortion, filled out paperwork, met with a consultant, and took another pregnancy test. John waited in the lobby.

As I lay on my back with my knees up, I tried to block out the suction sounds of the machine. This "outpatient procedure" was more than I could emotionally handle. I closed my eyes. It didn’t help. I’ll be OK. I’m doing this to protect the baby from the heartache of a broken family. The fetus isn’t alive. It’s not an "official" baby yet.

I knew better.

Afterwards, John greeted me with a smile and affection. Every ounce of love I had vanished. I was furious. How could the man I love choose death? I made the biggest mistake of my life. If this is what love is — I don’t want it.

"How are you feeling?"

"Fine. Just a little crampy."

What kind of person chooses to kill an unborn innocent child?

My kind.

Me.

I was the worst of murderers. John, my accomplice. I hated myself. I hated John.

That day, I promised myself: Never again will anyone tell me what to do with my life, my body. I will choose my own path.

I distanced myself from John. Within a couple months, he showed up at my work and asked, "Will you marry me?" No engagement ring in hand — just a dozen red roses.

"Sorry. I can’t." It was too late. Too much pain. Too much past.

Moving beyond my abortion wasn’t easy like I hoped. But I pretended it was. The following year, I married Derek. Within six years, we had two children. A boy and a girl. Perfect. I worked in property management, enjoyed promotions, and an out-of-state transfer to Colorado. A fresh start. New friends with no memories of my past.

After two years, I left my career to become a stay-at-home mom. I attended church and women’s Bible studies. My kids participated in school, playgroups, and sports. I kept busy planting flowers and decorating our first home. I tried my best to forget what is behind (Philippians 3:13). But predators named "Shame" and "Guilt" lurked in the corners of my mind.

One night my facade ripped to shreds. In my small group, my two friends and I shared our answers from our Bible study lesson. The question was to share about a time when God spoke personally to us. My friends told a couple stories each. Devastated, I said nothing. God didn’t speak to me. I knew why. When asked to explain, my abortion experience spilled out. I sobbed. My friends comforted me with a prayer and hugs.

Now my Christian friends know who I really am: a baby killer.

Even after 12 years, I still couldn’t forgive myself. I felt like I committed the unforgivable sin. I was sure God was appalled with me too.

I withdrew from people. I stopped attending my small group. I made excuses to miss my 4 year-old daughter’s weekly playgroup. I no longer strolled down my dirt road to talk to my girlfriends.

I hid, cried, journaled, read my Bible, and prayed. God, why haven’t I ever heard your voice like my friends have? Am I being punished?

After a couple weeks of seclusion from friends, God spoke to me personally from his Word.

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9

As much as I wanted to sentence myself to a life of imprisonment, I wanted freedom more. I hated being stalked by Shame and Guilt. If the Creator of the universe forgives me when I confess, then I can forgive myself too.

Lord, please forgive me for killing my unborn child. I’m so sorry. Take Guilt and Shame away from me. Grant me peace.

As weeks went by, I continued to seek truth and healing. I read Romans 8 and when I read verse 39 one word stuck out to me.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (emphasis mine).

Not even the death of an unborn child separates me from God’s love.

My view of God changed that day. I fell in love with Him again. I realized God isn’t out to punish me. He’s out to love me.

Period.

My healing is an ongoing process. Some days I feel such freedom. Other days, I fight my predators, fending them off with the truth of God’s Word. Whether high or low, I’m discovering the greatest adventure I’ve ever known. The adventure of God’s limitless love.

Tiffany Stuart is a freelance writer, speaker, and stay-at-home mom of a tween daughter and a teenage son. Her passion to see women free from shame and embrace God's love. She and her family live in Colorado. She enjoys blogging at Tea With Tiffany and her newest blog, The Shame Factor.

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Amazed by the beauty of Pikes Peak, Tiffany Stuart and her family live in Colorado Springs, Colorado. She and her husband Derek eloped to Las Vegas in 1991. Yes, an adventurous start to marriage. Today, she's an active mom of a funny teenage son and a joy-filled preteen daughter. Want someone to cry with you? Tiffany will be right over. Some of her greatest memories include talking and praying with cancer patients and incarcerated teen girls. Her favorite hang outs are the Goodwill for more books (which she doesn't need), Starbucks for fellowship or freelance work, and her recliner or back patio where she watches and listens to songbirds, journals, and blogs from her laptop. She writes and speaks from her heart to encourage women. Visit her website for the latest updates on her ministry.

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Articles

When Doing Justly, Loving Mercy, and Walking Humbly Stand at Odds

If your compassion far exceeds your capacity, here’s one way you can be sure to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly.

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One of my life verses is Micah 6:8, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

It is one of my favorite verses because my heart has been so moved by the love Jesus has for me and the sacrifice He made for me that I am grateful to have a way to express my gratitude through acts of justice and mercy while walking humbly with God.

I have found at times, however, the call to do justice and love mercy come in conflict with the call to walk humbly with God. For me, one of the ways to walk humbly with God is to recognize my limitations. I have to put skin to the fact that I am not God which means saying, “no” to ministry requests. It means going to sleep when I could be spending time advocating for the harrowed and helpless in the world. It means limited seats at my table, limited funds in my bank account, and limited energy in my body cannot be ignored but respected and adhered to.

This is hard for me at times, especially when I scroll my Facebook feed and see friends who are caring for their really sick children, spouse, or other family member all while millions of refugees flee war torn countries and babies are slaughtered by the hundreds each day in our country through the abortion industry.

As I scroll, I receive texts about one family member’s surgery gone wrong and another family member announcing a new baby is on the way. I have in mind my neighbor who has inpatient surgery scheduled this week and another neighbor who is trying to hold down a full-time job, care for twins all while battling profound “morning” sickness.

Folks at church are fighting for their lives in physical and spiritual ways, and strangers who pass me on the road are clearly battling something as demonstrated by their impatient honking because I won’t take a right turn on red. I want to meet the needs of all; I want to do justice and love mercy, but I’m daily confronted by the fact that I am so limited.

What am I to do when doing justly and/or loving mercy seem to come in conflict with walking humbly with my God?

God keeps bringing me to this answer: prayer.

God invites us to cast our cares before Him because He cares for us.
God tells us to be anxious for nothing BUT WITH PRAYER present our requests before Him.
God commands us to pray without ceasing.

And, when I walk humbly with God, I see the immense kindness in His command.
He gives us a way to do justly, love mercy WHILE walking humbly with Him.
It is by praying without ceasing.

I cannot take a meal or give money to every sick person or family I know. I cannot extend kindness to all my neighbors all at the same time they’re in need nor conjure up sustainable solutions for the refugee crisis and contact all the necessary world powers to make it happen.

I cannot heal all, but I know the Healer.

I cannot provide for all the needs, but I know the Provider.

I cannot rescue everyone in need, but I know the Rescuer.

I cannot comfort all the broken, but I know the Comforter.

I cannot speak peace over every situation, but I know the Prince of Peace.

I cannot be all to all, but I can go to the Great I Am through prayer, lay all the people, problems and pleas for help before the Omniscient and Omnipresent God of all Creation.

I can do this through prayer.

Recently, via an Instagram contest of all things, I came upon A–Z prayer cards designed by blogger/author/speaker, Amelia Rhodes. It is a simple concept packed with a powerful prayer punch. It has served me personally in this tension of wanting to do far more than I practically can do. It provides prayer prompts starting with each letter of the alphabet along with a scripture that coincides with the prayer focus. It ranges from Adoption to a creative “Zero Prejudice” for the letter “Z.”

The cards are well thought out, color printed on sturdy cardstock with blank lines for the user to write in the names of people and/or organizations that are personal to them.

If, like me, your compassion far exceeds your capacity, pick up a set of these prayer cards and unload your burdens onto a God whose competence matches His kindness, both boundless.

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Articles

Facing Our Fears in Motherhood

Do you have fears tied to motherhood? If so, here’s encouragement for you.

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“Are you scared?”

I was taken aback by his question. Scared? Of what?

“Of anything,” he answered.

I had just shared my due date with a new class of trainees.

“He has three boys,” another new hire volunteered. So fear is to be expected, I reasoned. I’m just about to face the most frightening experience in my life.

Of course I was scared.

I was scared…

  • I’ll lose my temper.
  • I’ll whine about sleepless nights.
  • I’ll breastfeed too often or not often enough.
  • I’ll leave piles of unfolded onesies in the middle of the nursery floor because I’m too tired (or lazy?) to fold teeny-tiny baby clothes for the upteenth time.
  • I’ll go with disposable diapers when the better choice would be cloth.
  • I’ll work too many long hours at the office and miss precious moments with her.
  • I’ll sign her up for too many activities and push her to become Miss Achieve-It-All.
  • I’ll pass on to her my ugly pride, self-righteousness, and perfectionism like a dreadful contagious disease.
  • I’ll miss countless little joys in life while pursuing worthless dreams.

Facing Our Fears in MotherhoodIn short… I was afraid I was going to fail miserably as a parent.

And now, holding my second-born daughter in my arms, thinking back on that brief exchange just a few years ago, I realize those fears were well-founded. I’ve failed many times. I’ve lost my temper. I’ve raised my voice. I’ve worked too much and played too little. I’ve seen my own sinfulness reflected in my daughter.

Yes, I’ve failed, but over and above it all, God’s grace has covered my parenting imperfections and made me run to the cross day after day. The writer of Proverbs puts it this way:

Whoever fears the LORD has a secure fortress, and for their children it will be a refuge.
Proverbs 14:26

When it comes to fears, we have two choices: Will we fear the unknown or will we fear the Lord? Will we allow the uncertain to grip us in its clutch or will we turn to God’s Truth to set us free?

Scared? Oh yeah. There was so much to be scared of that day. And even now, if I’m completely honest, there are still fears nibbling at the edges of my consciousness. Fear that we won’t outgrow the temper tantrums. Fear that the two girls won’t get along. Fear that I’ll mess them up and cause them interminable hours on a psychologist’s couch.

I’m sure you have fears, too.

But rather than allow those fears to consume and paralyze us, we can take them to the Lord, acknowledging His sovereignty over our parenting, pleading His grace over our mistakes, and entrusting His provision over their futures. He is not only able to handle it all — He is far more capable to be trusted with it all.

If I say one thing to that frightened 9-month-pregnant me standing in that room years ago, I would say this: Don’t let fear rob today’s joy with tomorrow’s unknowns. Each day has enough worries of its own (Matthew 6:34).

Instead, let us keep seeking God, running to Him as our secure fortress and resting in the knowledge that He will care for us and our children one day at a time.

What are you scared of today? Name your fears and bring them to the Lord, allowing Him to replace them with His peace that passes all understanding.

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He Gives Shade To The Weary

If anxiety is a struggle for you right now, remember that He gives shade to the weary.

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Do you ever have those moments of fear because you don’t know what lies ahead? When do those thoughts tend to happen to you?

For me, most of those thoughts happen when I lay my head down to sleep at night. The vulnerability comes forth every time. That’s what happened the other night to me. I shut my eyes and immediately anxiety welled up inside me.

What if we don’t succeed in this new venture? What if we have to move? What if we can’t pay our bills?

I laid there with the covers drawn tight over my head (I still think that I am safer if the covers are over my head), praying scripture over my anxious heart. Assuring myself that God sees me and that He cares.

In the morning, I turned to Isaiah 41, specifically verses 10-20.

“Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10, NASB)

Yesterday, the “what if’s” piled up as I anxiously looked about me. My daughter needs tutoring, however at this point in life, tutoring feels like a luxury we can’t afford. So I listed some items online to sell hoping to make just enough to cover the tutoring. I’m buying groceries on a Visa reward card. I’m holding my breath until the next paycheck comes. But what did God speak over me: Do not fear. Do not look anxiously about you.

“For I am the Lord your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’ Do not fear, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel; I will help you,” declares the Lord, “and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah 41:13-14 NASB)

Why shouldn’t I be anxious? Because God will hold me up. God will help me. When I first read the word “worm” as a description, I took it as a slam against Israel. Like, gesh, God. What animal does He relate me to? But through further study, He calls them a worm because worms are helpless. They are viewed as insignificant, despised and weak. God will help me — seemingly insignificant, helpless me — because He is my Redeemer. He is my go’el — my next of kin. The Redeemer is the one who provides for all my needs. Rent. Car payment. Credit card bill. Gas. Food. Clothes. Debt. God will redeem.

He Gives Shade to the Weary

“Behold, I have made you a new, sharp threshing sledge with double edges; You will thresh the mountains and pulverize them, And will make the hills like chaff. You will winnow them, and the wind will carry them away, And the storm will scatter them; But you will rejoice in the Lord, You will glory in the Holy One of Israel.” (Isaiah 41:15-16 NASB).

God is transforming me from a helpless one to a powerful one. The description of that type of threshing sledge is like a modern day earth mover. Powerful. Strong. Immovable.

“The afflicted and needy are seeking water, but there is none, And their tongue is parched with thirst; I, the Lord, will answer them Myself, As the God of Israel I will not forsake them.” (Isaiah 41:17, NASB)

He will come to our rescue. God, Himself, will answer you and me. Can you hear how personal that sounds? Have you ever pleaded with someone important whether your boss, public figure, or even a parent, and they responded to the need themselves? You expected for them to send their assistant, but instead they — the most important one — responded to you.

“I will open rivers on the bare heights And springs in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water And the dry land fountains of water. I will put the cedar in the wilderness, The acacia and the myrtle and the olive tree; I will place the juniper in the desert Together with the box tree and the cypress.” (Isaiah 41:18-19, NASB)

This passage describes the wilderness-like times in life. You are barren. You are thirsty. You are hot. You are in need. God will provide what you need. God will quench your thirst. He will provide shade when you are weary. During those times, God can provide in creative, innovative ways. He can provide something out of nothing. Doesn’t that give you great hope? Even when you can’t answer how He will do it, He is creative enough to figure it out even when the odds are stacked against you.

“That they may see and recognize, And consider and gain insight as well, That the hand of the Lord has done this, And the Holy One of Israel has created it.” (Isaiah 41:20 NASB).

God will do all of this so that His glory will be put on display. People — including yourself — will see that He is powerful.

So you can see how after a night of wrestling with fear and anxiety, reading this was like shade and water for my soul. God is a god who sees. And God is a god who acts on your behalf.

What do you need His help with today? What are you fearful about today? What keeps you awake at night? Where do you need some shade?

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Hi, I'm Ashleigh Slater, founder and editor of Ungrind. Here at Ungrind, it’s our goal to churn out biblically-based encouragement for women. We strive to be honest and transparent about our struggles in a way that inspires hope, faith, and perseverance.

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Accepting God’s Limitless Love

by Tiffany Stuart time to read: 5 min
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