By Vivian Germain

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11

What does this mean in my own life? I was 3 months old when both of my parents decided to give me away to my Grandma. My mother did not want to raise a girl and my father, well my father didn’t care for children at all.

From the beginning of my life, it was like someone had put a “rejected” stamp on my forehead. I grew up believing that no one loved me or wanted me. My father’s sister took it upon herself to provide and care for me. She sent me to private school, bought me good clothes and tried to make me feel like I belonged to her.

Vivian GermainDespite all of her efforts, I grew up with low self-esteem, a poor self-image and a whole lot of insecurities. My behavior proved how broken I was and how desperate I was to find someone to love me and would never leave me.

I always believed in God and there wasn’t any doubt in my mind that He was the creator, the Alpha and the Omega, but in my situation He was just too far to be reached. He wasn’t guilty for my hurt nor would I let Him be the solution for my pain. The truth was I didn’t know Him.

I was 23 years old, broken and pregnant, when I ran to God and decided to accept His love, forgiveness and guidance. He became the father and mother I never had. Psalm 27:10 says, “Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close.” This has been the reality of my life since I received Christ. He has surely shown me the blessings in my situation.

Today, I can certainly say that I’m grateful God spared me from being raised by two drunkards. He gave me a sense of family through my aunt and I am blessed beyond compare. I have an incredible husband that is compassionate and loving, and three beautiful children that fill my heart with joy. I know that God wasn’t just sitting there looking at the injustice that was being done in my life. He knew and He cared. He has made everything beautiful in its time.

When bad things happen to you, whether they are caused by your poor choices or life has dealt you a bad hand, God can turn it around, restore your life and give you more than you can ever imagine. You just have to come to Him. He is waiting with open arms for you!

by Maria Ausburn

OH MY DEAR!! I just want to get out my pom poms, jump up and down, and scream, “YEA!!”

Let me explain why.

It’s September 12th at 9:28 p.m. and I recently arrived home from our first Beautiful Monday night bible study. It was amazing!

I led a table and every woman at my table was there by a divine appointment. Although women weren’t sure they had chosen this table at the Beautiful launch, we quickly realized it didn’t matter.

As I sat there listening to these women speak into one another’s lives and into my life, I saw how they connected to each other in a way that only God could have orchestrated. They allowed themselves to be vulnerable in the group on the first night! Did I mention that we all just met tonight? Amazing!

At the end of the night, when we gave each other hugs goodbye, everyone felt as I did – connected to another women who once may have been a stranger, but now is a familiar face that may lead to a lifelong friend.

The Beautiful Ministry is for every woman in any stage of life. Beautiful Monday nights are a wonderful way to connect, whether you have been at Grace Family Church in Tampa since its beginning, or you just started attending.

I’m so excited about this new opportunity and can’t wait to get back there next week!

Beautiful Monday nights meet each week in the GFC sanctuary at 7 p.m. This large-group, women’s Bible study offers worship, dynamic speakers and small group discussion at each table. For more information, email beautiful@gfconline.com.

By Paige Eavenson

Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God’s handwriting. — Ralph Waldo Emerson

If beauty is God’s handwriting, then he was leaving His signature all over Grace Family Church and the women who attended the launch of our new women’s ministry, Beautiful, on August 29th.beautiful launch night

The Beautiful women’s ministry was birthed out of a desire for every woman within our church, young and old, to feel loved, chosen and empowered to do all that God has called each woman to do. After months of praying and planning we were finally able to unveil our new identity.

The night was bubbling with anticipation. As each woman walked through the door you could sense something exciting was about to happen. Many women were sporting their new, “Beautiful” t–shirts, and each lady that entered the building had and an exceptionally beautiful glow about them.beautiful ladies at launch

When the doors opened to the sanctuary, the music was loud, the stage was all set and the women poured in from all directions, all 600 of them! The night kicked off with Kristin Bonham, our women’s ministry director, casting the vision of Beautiful and introducing her team. After an awesome worship time, Grace Family Church members, Rachel Ward, Terri Blanchard and Paula Friesen shared their testimonies on how small groups have impacted their lives. Our pastor’s wife, Debbie Altman, then took the stage to remind us that small groups are the heartbeat of our church and without them the ministry that happens each week at Grace Family would not be the same. The service included time for each woman to visit different small group stations, where they heard from our small group leaders in hopes of finding a group to join.

As someone who has been a part of Grace Family for many years, it was incredible to see God work out all the details and stir the hearts of so many women to come out and get connected. The Lord allowed fun and amazing things to happen at our launch party and I can only imagine what He has in store for the future.beautiful launch connecting

I once heard that if you’re looking to find your place in a community, or this world for that matter, just look around at what God is already doing and join in, offering your own gifts and talents. Ladies, something beautiful is happening at Grace Family Church and I challenge you to invite a friend, get connected and let God work something beautiful in your own life.

Click here for more information on small groups, or you can email women@gfconline.com.

P.S. Here is a link to a few pictures of our launch party in case you missed it. You are Beautiful!