Friday, March 2, 2012

Freedom Friday...Real Stories-Lindsay

Good Morning!
We are so excited to be sharing the first in our new series "Freedom Friday...Real Stories."

This is an opportunity for women like you to share the freedom Christ has given you. It is our prayer that women will step a little out of their comfort zone and take the time to write how God has worked in them and through them. How He has brought about FREEDOM. And then hitting that little send button and letting the world know the peace and joy you have found in Him.

Today we are kicking it off with Lindsay. Mama of 2 sweet boys. Wife to her high school sweetheart. She has so eloquently put into words what we want Freedom Letters to be about. Take a moment and read her story. It's real and it's honest and it glorifies our God. When you are done, we would love for you to click on that comment button and leave her some "love." Maybe how her story touched you, how you can relate to what she went through, or just a good southern "Thank you!" We want women to connect, rally around each other, be the head cheerleader for our sisters in Christ.


Do you ever think back to the “good ole days?”  You know the days where life was seemingly perfect; full of love, sunshine, tree climbing, Barbies, lemonade stands, ladybugs and the ice cream truck.  I remember those days like they were yesterday.  Back then, I had no clue that life wasn’t going to sustain the lofty bubble that I had grown to feel so free in.  The sad truth is ignorance is bliss.

For me, elementary, middle, and high school were filled with positive experiences and only a handful of bumps in the road.  I had incredible friends, supportive parents who taught me self control and responsibility, and I felt good about being me.

Unfortunately, when I was in college, my sunshiny world came to a screeching halt. 

My parents went through a difficult divorce that left me with several unintentional wounds.  I mean, I was in college for crying out loud.  Life was supposed to be nothing but staying up late with new found friends, intramural sports, Greek life, deep conversations about trivial stuff and lifelong memories- oh, and some classes thrown in here and there.  While I had all of those things, and an abundance of people to share them with, I felt very alone.  In fact, I usually have a hard time remembering things that my friends will recall about our college days.  It’s not that I wasn’t there; it’s that I blocked a lot of it out.  It’s easier to count it as a blur than to remember the sadness I was feeling, even though I am certain I had a smile on my face at the time.  I became great at pretending.

I band aided a lot of my hurt by filling my plate up with more and more responsibility.  From the outside looking in, it would appear that I had it all together and I was rocking it!  In reality, I was staying super busy so that I wouldn’t have time to be sad or vulnerable.  Neither of those emotions are terrible things or unusual, but I wanted to be in control.  Lindsay needed to keep it together and I needed to show others that I could, in fact, keep it together.

My junior year of college I got engaged to my high school sweetheart, Craig.  While a wedding was something else to add to my plate, I knew I loved him with every fiber of my being, and I thought marriage was something I could do well because I had seen the good, the bad, and the ugly.  “How hard could it be?” I thought.  “I would never make the mistakes that would end in something crazy like divorce.  That would never happen to me.” 

You know how they say, “Never say never?”  I’m not sure who “they” is, but I know there’s a good reason “they” say that.

One sweet little boy and five years later, things got hard.  Real hard.

I made some terrible mistakes in my marriage.  I hurt a lot of people, my family and friends being a portion of those people.  As a result of selfish judgment on my part, Craig and I came terrifyingly close to losing our marriage.  I almost lost the part of my life that was bringing me back to the free feelings of love, sunshine and the tree climbing. 

Let me just be real here: when you see a legal document that tells you what weekends and hours you are allowed to see your son, your own flesh and blood; your perspective changes. 

Many hours of prayer, fasting, and cries out to God went by.  After hearts were changed, God restored our marriage.  THANK GOD, He restored our marriage.  I didn’t deserve it.  But He did it. 

After only two months of getting our life back on track, God surprised us with a little miracle.  I was pregnant and beyond thrilled.  To us, the news of this baby was just proof that we were going to make it.  Hard times were in the past, but new life was before us.  We celebrated Christmas and New Years with starry eyed joy, expectations, and excitement.  We felt so blessed that God would trust us with another little baby despite our rough patches.  Our oldest son, who was three at the time, was ecstatic about being a big brother.  After so much pain, things felt perfect again.

Then came the curve ball.

If you have ever been pregnant, you know that when they do early ultrasounds your eyes go straight to the pattern of that beating heart and until you find it, you can barely breathe and your palms get sweaty.  At 13 weeks pregnant, after some strange feelings and no weight gain, I was frantically searching for that rhythm.  After what seemed like an eternity, the radiologist got very still and with my eyes transfixed on the screen, I quietly mumbled, “There’s no heartbeat, is there?”  She came over, grabbed my hands tight, and I just sat there motionless like a rag doll.  I felt so…lost.  I had gone to my doctor that day to just ease my fears and I was certain they would send me home feeling silly I had even come in; after all, we were passed the “hump” of 12 weeks.  So I came alone.  All alone in a dimmed room with photographs of cute babies everywhere and with this horrific news to share with my husband.

I went through the next couple of days in a similar daze that I felt through college.  Only this was worse.  I felt like I deserved this tragedy.  I felt that I was crazy to ever think it would work out in my favor.  Why would God bless someone like me? 

One evening I was sitting numb on the couch wrapped up in a blanket and I could hear my three year old singing upstairs, “He’s got the whoooole world, in His hands.  He’s got the whooole wide world in His hands.”  Next think I knew, he came bounding down the stairs smiling ear to ear with blue icing all over his snow white face from a cake that my mom had brought us because she asked me what I wanted to eat and all I could come up with was “cheap birthday cake.”  He was filthy and, if you know me, you know I can be a little uptight when it comes to cleanliness.  It was the most beautiful shade of blue I had ever seen.  All I could do was kiss his stained face, hold him tight, and love on him because I knew right then and there that, even though I was disabled with sadness, I was beyond blessed.

The next day or so I was putting some things away in what would have been the nursery.  As I was leaving, I, out of habit, shut the door because we never used that room. I got a few steps to mine and Craig's bedroom and I heard Him. I audibly heard the voice of my God.  He said "I have not shut the door on you. Go open that door and leave it opened. You know my timing is perfect." Through crocodile tears of joy, peace, and a million other emotions rolled into one, I finally began to feel free.  I could breathe again.  Although I had asked for forgiveness a multitude of times, I knew, at that moment, I had been forgiven and that God needed me to let go so that He could take over.  So, I did.  I let go and I let Him lead.  We left the door wide open.

Three months later, in late April, we found out that we were expecting.  Several anxious moments were had and there were some preterm complications, but on December 3rd, our beautiful son was born.  Two gorgeous boys with the sweetest spirits, loving hearts, and dimples you could eat ice cream from.  God is good.

A part of us feels undeserving of our boys, but it has taken us to a whole new level of knowing that it is our job to show them a Godly marriage with unconditional love and encouragement.  As for our angel, we know she is waiting for us in Heaven and that she is thrilled to have brown eyed, ticklish, sweet, giggly brothers here on earth that she will meet someday.  Until then, we know she is in good hands and that she is cheering us on all the way.

I’ve learned a lot over the last 10 years and I know there is an abundance that God is still teaching me.  The biggest thing that’s surfaced is this:  Don’t judge.  You have no idea where someone has been, what battle they are fighting, or where they are headed.  You might think you have them all figured out, and whether what you think you know is good or bad; don’t make up someone’s story for them.  Everyone needs to be loved.  Everyone makes mistakes, and everyone can be restored.  Everyone can take back that freedom they felt during the “good ole days.”  God has it waiting for us.  We just have to accept it.  Put down our pride and get out of the way.  Once we do that, we’ll come to terms that WE were made for so much more.

It is humbling that life is again full of love, sunshine, tree climbing, lemonade stands, ladybugs and the ice cream truck. (Note: two boys means no Barbies, but that’s fine by me!  They are a distorted version of reality anyway, right?)  The biggest difference now is that I know freedom includes all of those things, but most importantly it includes the big love from a big God.  The faithful, gracious, perfect timing, forgiving love of Him.  He knows that I’m far from perfect, and He’s cool with that.  That, my friends, is freedom. 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

We want to hear from YOU

source HERE

We will be doing a guest blogger series beginning next Friday and every Friday thereafter. We would love for you to be a part of it! It is our desire to not only share the freedom Christ has given us through the actual Freedom Letters event and the speakers, but to also use this blog as a ministry for women to share their hearts, connect, and encourage one another.

We will be looking for women who would be willing to share not only their story, but also an image that represents them and their journey. It could be a picture of you and your family or a picture that you took on your instagram app that inspires you.

You get the time to think and pray over what you write, send it to us, and we will post it here. 

Would you pray and ask God if this is an opportunity that He has set before you?
We would LOVE to hear from you!

Email us at

Have a blessed day!

Sunday, February 12, 2012


We are so excited you have stopped by to visit our site and learn a little more about Freedom Letters.

The past 2 months have been filled with prayer, anticipation, and hope of what will come of this idea for real women to come together and share their stories of the freedom Christ has given them.

It is our vision to create 4 events per year...spring, summer, fall, and winter.
The very first Freedom Letters will be held on March 20, 2012. We did not realize it when planning that it would fall on the first day of spring! We took it as a little "God wink" that the 20th was the day that was set, especially after several other possible dates had fallen through.

Each event will begin with an incredible worship service led by Arlyne and feature 2 speakers who will come and share their stories. These women are just like you, just like me. Local ladies that want to tell of how God has given them freedom. It looks a little different for each one, with no 2 stories are alike. Which to us, is the beauty of it all.

Throughout the planning process, we have been moved to tears (the good kind!) over how God has worked in us and through us for Freedom Letters to take place. From the first meeting at a local coffee shop to the day of our video shoot, the Lord has provided and shown us favor in so many ways.

It is our absolute priority that women come and experience something that is real.

No famous speakers, fancy food, elaborate backdrops, or "fluff."

We want you to come as you are...broken, battered, neglected, hurt.

In bondage or set free.

Whether you have a relationship with God, the Father, or if you just come to see what this thing is all about.

Come as you are.

Any woman of any age is welcome, regardless of their past mistakes, lifestyles, or choices.

Tell your group of girlfriends, your bible study, your moms group.

Bring a friend.

Doors will open at 6:30 if you want to grab a coffee in the Go Cafe and relax and chat before worship starts at 7:00.

Go "like" our Facebook page to keep up to date and if you plan on attending, let us know! We will be setting up an event through our Facebook page as well.

And, as always, feel free to email us at with any comments, questions, or suggestions.

Thank you for starting this journey with us.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Share Your Story

Share your story with us! Email it to:

Our Video

Coming Soon!

Contact Us

For questions, feedback, or how to start a Freedom Letters event in your own town, 
please email us at:

We also want to hear YOUR freedom story!  


First Baptist Church Cleveland
1275 Stuart Road
Cleveland, TN 37312

Directions: From I-75, take exit 27 (Paul Huff Parkway).
Continue on Paul Huff until it turns into Stuart Road.
Once on Stuart Road, the church will approximately 1 mile on your left.
The event will be held upstairs in the youth room, room # 207-208.