Monday, April 25, 2016

National Infertility Awareness Week: Take a STAND

Never in a million years would I think I would ever face Infertility issues. I did everything in order of what society deems acceptable. I finished college, got a job, dated, married my husband and was ready to have children. For many women it does not happen in that order. 

Ever since I became transparent about our difficulty expanding our family and our journey from faith to fertility, I have met hundreds of women who are silently suffering and pained at the thought of all it would take to conceive or knowing they may never be able to conceive.  

Gospel Recording Artist, Donnie McClurkin, wrote a song entitled, Stand. The lyrics simply say:

What do you do when you've done all you can
And it seems like it's never enough?
And what do you say
When your friends turn away
And you all alone, alone?

Tell me, what do you give when you've given your all
And it seems like you can't make it through?
Well, you just stand when there's nothing left to do
You just stand, watch the Lord see you through
Yes, after you've done all you can,

You just stand

For many women facing infertility issues Standing is one of the most difficult things to do. Standing when Doctors give you 5%  or less chances of ever conceiving  a child. Standing when you have had failed fertility treatments and you are still asked "What are you waiting on?" Standing when your health insurance plans do not cover treatments nor meds is not an easy feat. 

So I decided that when God blessed my womb to bear a child I would take a STAND for the many women who are silently struggling. I never knew that starting this blog would impact the lives of so many women. I'm blessed to be a vessel that God chose for this time.  This weekend I had the opportunity to sit in a room filled with women who shared in blessing my future daughter with love and wisdom. One of her "aunties" hugged me and said, "Thank you for your story and thank you on behalf of someone who didn't get to complete the full journey to motherhood." Today I am honored that I have a voice for the "eternal aunties" who love like moms, nurturing their village with love, support and wisdom.

For many years I was on a "STOPASKING" campaign so that people would stop asking women hard questions as it relates to fertility. You know "What are you waiting for to have children?" "Something must be wrong, have you tried meds?" However after going through three rounds of failed fertility treatments and finally conceiving naturally,  I am now on a campaign to STAND for others and #STARTASKING.

  • Employers for insurance coverage. 
  • My lawmakers and legislators to support issues important to the infertility community. 
  • My Friends and family to support you.
  • The media to cover infertility and the real challenges we all face. 
  • My network to make a donation to the cause. 
  • My  partner to get involved.
  • Those who have resolved their infertility to stay involved. 
  • OB/GYN or healthcare provider to talk about MY reproductive health. 
  • For affordable care for treatment of a disease. (PCOS, endometriosis, Ovarian Failure, etc)
  • Legal access to all family building options nationwide.
  • About men’s reproductive health

As we acknowledge National Infertility Awareness Week, I encourage you to ask the right questions and become more sensitive to the needs of those who may have difficulty expanding their families. 

25 Things To (And Not to) Say to Someone living with Infertility:

Thursday, April 14, 2016


I am honored to have my husband contribute to today's blog. The feelings from infertility, fertility issues, or difficulty expanding your family is not isolated to just the female. I remember after our initial appointment, I prayed to God, "If there is an issue, please let it be with me because I can handle this and I can go through all of the procedures to "fix" what is wrong."  I was relieved when all of his tests came back and he was not the source of our fertility issues. Now I needed him to be strong for me and help me work pass the "diagnosis" from doctors as well as to pray like never before. I didn't realize that my husband was also secretly going through and having just as many low moments as I was. 

How do you console a crying wife when you both are dealing with the same issue? We are both ever grateful for those who were intercessors and praying for us during this time. 

Aaron and Hur held his hands up-one on one side, one on the other.
Exodus 17:12
Thank you.  Those two words have such a greater meaning in my life these days.  Honestly, if I had fainted, I would never believe that God could be so extraordinarily good to my wife and me.  Yes we pray; yes we believe; yet and still, we always felt so unworthy.  For some time my wife, Deronda, has been blogging about our experiences with conceiving a child of our own on her site, TheOtherSideoftheBlessing.  Each week, she shares a little bit more about our journey and how God blessed us despite our fertility doctors giving us a 5% chance at conception.  Even after three failed fertility treatments, we still trusted God.  Today, we are a little over 26 weeks (Praise the Lord) and we are excited to meet our daughter, Braylen Jael.  But it's been a journey.
            In my season of thanks, I am so very thankful for the relationships we have that have been strengthened by this journey God has designed for our lives.  So many have sown seeds of thankfulness, prayer, and strength as we went through that which we have endured.  I recall, two friends in particular, who acted as living testimonies of God's promises.  I so vividly remember one evening Deronda and I, along with our friends, had a date night where we went to the movies to see "War Room" and have dinner.  While in the center of the restaurant the topic of child birth came up.  Our friends reminded us to continue to speak the name of our child in the atmosphere.  They agreed with us in prayer that God will perform in this situation.  As we spoke, the tears welled in my eyes because I knew that this last procedure had failed.  As we talked, my heart ached and I felt so overwhelmed by the circumstances surrounding our conception, or lack thereof.  I felt lifeless, as if I was a failure, my soul had literally collapsed to the ground.  The irony of it all is in my collapsing, I had this strong sense that these two friends of ours were holding me up.  They were literally not allowing me to hit the floor.
            As I fell into their arms (in a spiritual sense) I was quickly reminded that those who intercede for others, better make sure there is someone interceding for them.  Intercession is spiritual warfare.  It is not for the faint or the feeble.  In Exodus 17, the reader is exposed to a detailed description of the battle between the Israelites and the Amalekites.  According to the text, as long as Moses was lifting up his arms, the Israelites were winning the battle.  But every time Moses' arms grew tired and were lowered, the Israelites would begin to fail.  Aaron and Hur saw what was occurring and immediately when alongside Moses and lifted his arms until the battle was won.
            Today, I simply want to thank God that our friends were there to lift up our arms.  If they had allowed us to fail, we would not be celebrating the very gift of God growing in the womb of my wife.  It's an absolute wonder what the Lord can do!  I challenge you today, to discover the intercessors in your life.  Who are the people that will hold you up and hold you together until the battle is won.  I promise you, no matter how strong you are, there are things in this life that you are not designed to go through alone.  Be encouraged, someone is praying for you even right now.

Monday, April 11, 2016

For Your Glory

The suffering of this present time isn't worthy to be compared to the glory that will be revealed in us. 
Romans 8:18

Singer/Songwriter, Christal Brown Heyward wrote a song years ago entitled, "For Your Glory." Almost 5 years ago on 11/11/11 at her Tonight We Worship album release, I was able to hear her sing live, "For Your Glory."  I didn't realize how the song would minister to me and so many others back then as it does even more today.  The lyrics simply states:

"I've been through so much, but Lord it was for your glory. I've taken so much, but Lord, it was for your glory. In spite of all I'm Going through, and in spite of what the devil tried to do. Lord it's for your glory! It was for your Glory!! Everything I've gone through it was for the Lord's Glory!"

With every text message, Facebook Message, phone call, or email received about our journey of faith to fertility, I understand better now that it was all for God's glory. The tears we cried were for His glory. The failed fertility treatments were about us understanding how we can minister to and help those who are on their journey to fertility because we too have been on the road they are on. Though many people have surmised that we were blessed when we simply decided to wait on God and stop all fertility treatments, I tend to believe that it was because He was building our testimony that took 3 years to truly unfold. Many have also said "what the devil meant for evil God turned it around." I personally believe that it had nothing to do with the devil because God, all by his magnificent self, qualified us to be His mouthpiece to encourage others. It was all for His glory.

I'm honored each day that I have the strength and ability to share our testimony with others. I'm more honored that He used me as His vessel to spread the word of  our difficulty expanding our family. The irony of this all is I didn't always feel this way. In fact, I remember when I was going through the journey, all I wanted was an immediate result and my prayers answered by God. I could care less about being someone's witness through their difficulty. How can I effectively witness to anyone when in fact my close family and friends had no real idea of what we were really going through?  How could God use me when I've cried more than I smiled?  When I am told things like, "I'm so glad you are telling your story because I never would've had enough courage to do so" or "You are truly brave for for being so transparent" I beam with pride because again......... God chose me knowing I would not only tell our testimony but proclaim He was the one that gets the glory.

I didn't understand then that God was really building my testimony and my strength to deal with what I would face in order that I may tell our story. Everything that happened was for His glory and I am so excited that He chose me.

Scripture Reference: The suffering of this present time isn't worthy to be compared to the glory that will be revealed in us. Romans 8:18

Song Reference:  "For Your Glory" by Christal Brown Heyward
Click Picture below to listen.

Christal Brown Heyward

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Flowing from my Heart is Gratefulness

I must admit since we found out we were pregnant, found out it was a GIRL, spoke her name in the atmosphere for the first time, witnessed the amazing moment of recognizing it was my little baby moving and not an upset tummy nor gas (lol) I have not be able to control my tears. It's not hormones it's GRATEFULNESS!

I have been amazingly blessed with an amazing pregnancy thus far. NO morning sickness. NO major aches and pains. I've had no food nor smell aversions. Often times I forget I'm even pregnant besides the perfectly cantaloupe shaped belly that makes my heart smile. I'm simply Grateful! 

Sometimes I sit and think about how amazing He really is. I'm grateful that I never allowed my fear to hinder my transparency. I'm grateful He chose me for not only our testimony but for others to see if you remain faithful God has the ability to not only use for His Glory but give you a testimony that will help, heal, and bless those who have the same story or situation. I'm simply Grateful!

There has been an amazing outpouring of love and blessings towards me, Jarrett and Baby Braylen since we found out we were pregnant. I've never seen more packages delivered to our home weekly for a little girl who has not even arrived in the world yet. Baby shoes, cute outfits, Baby Bible, and love wrapped up in the form of friends who simply hug  us, celebrate with us and tell us they are there if we need them.  I'm simply Grateful!

With every doctor's visit comes a new reason to smile. I smile and get filled with wonderful joy when I see the staff who know our story, who prayed for our breakthrough and who are elated that this has been an amazing pregnancy. I'm forever grateful to the best OBGyn, Dr. Kenosha Gleaton, for her being SUPER, SPIRITUAL, STUDIOUS AND SPECIAL (Blog about "Specialing" coming soon!) I'm simply Grateful!

I didn't know how much the books "Supernatural Childbirth" and "Supernatural Childbirth Prayers" would mean to during this pregnancy. These books are filled with prayers and amazing stories of other women and families experiencing what others call "supernatural" or "impossible" during a pregnancy. I'm believing God for an amazing delivery because of this amazing pregnancy so far. If I'm in a covenant relationship with Him, standing on His word, believing His word, I too know that He will give me the desires of my heart for not only a supernatural pregnancy but a supernatural delivery and healthy baby. God said it! I believe it! That settles it!  I'm simply Grateful!

As I look back over the course of the last 3 years I realize that it has truly been a journey. We've experienced lots of highs and tremendous lows. During this time we still remained faithful and prayerful. I was grateful for the family and friends and now even more of the process we have gone through to be to a place called Here. I'm grateful for this journey though I didn't appreciate it when I was walking and sometimes crawling on this path. I'm simply Grateful!

Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 5:18 - In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Song: Be Grateful by Walter Hawkins (Click here to listen)