Today Jennifer Connell is sharing her 13th Disciple story. It started a long time ago when she discovered that she was part of a statistic, one that often left her feeling insecure and hurting.
Thank you, Jennifer, for joining us today and your raw, honest words. ~ Suzie
I’m one in nine.
Did you know that one in nine women are infertile? I am one of those. While that figure is astounding it is even more staggering to find out that most of us believe we are unloved at some point. Insecurity and depression aren’t uncommon.
I think feeling unloved might just be one of the greatest schemes of the devil.
While you may never deal with infertility, you may question if you are loved. My church, Coastal Church, has a slogan. It says that it is, “A Church For The Rest of Us.” I love that this captures Christ’s heart of grace for each of us. My pastor, Chad Stafford, says, “Jesus wants everyone.”
And. You. Are. Next.
In Suzie’s book, Come With Me, it shows that Jesus calls all of us. As I read, I was overwhelmed that Jesus gently placed importance on every member of the team.
Everyone counts in God’s kingdom.
Every. single. one.
In chapter five I was hit hard because I always felt like the girl she described in the church pew.
I was once hopeless. It took me 30 years to figure out that God wants me. I hid the hole in my heart by striving to succeed. One of the ways I tried to perform was to have the perfect house, husband, and family. Twelve years of trying to conceive and three in vitro later, I finally realized the perfect family did not exist for me. Michael and I mourned for the children we lost in the womb. We grieved over the state of our hearts.
I humbled myself before the Lord and said, “I want you more than a baby, Jesus. I want your will more than my right to be a mom. I give you, Jesus, my agenda, because it’s not working anymore.”
The least of these
There was an argument that broke out among Jesus’ disciples about who would be the greatest in Luke Chapter 9. Jesus already knew their thoughts so he brought a little child to his side.
Then he said to them, “Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me, welcomes my Father who sent me. Whoever is the least among you is the greatest.” Luke 9:48
Jesus wrapped His arm around the little one and held him tight.
I decided that while Jesus was holding my little ones tight in Heaven I could hold others close with His words.
I was willing to do things for Jesus I wasn’t willing to do before.
I started writing love letters from Jesus to people I had never met on Twitter. I took photos and added verses that encouraged me during my season of infertility. Later I started a blog.
I spun words for the weary women who felt trapped by infertility, depression, addiction, divorce, insecurity, and abuse.
I wrote as God pulled me out of my pit of despair.
When I was finally eight months pregnant with my first child, my friend Amanda asked me to join an infertility group.
Why in the world would a group of infertile women want me there? Wouldn’t my protruding belly be a problem?
Just be present, she said.
“By occupying a seat you will be a blessing. You don’t have to say anything until the end after everyone has shared. Just listen and when you share be vulnerable.”
So, I did what she said. I sat silent, listened and prayed. At the end I cried and told them that I couldn’t promise them a baby, but I could show them a mighty God.
The least of us were found — all of us hurting women. While I was trying to bless them, they were really blessing me. My best friend is now a mom to five. Everyone one of the women our infertility group now have children to call their own.
But we were found far before we became moms. He loved us when we hurt, and he continued to love us.
God loves the least of these.
I believe because I am one.
And. You. Are. Next.
Connect with Jennifer Connell
Thank you, Jennifer, for sharing your story. I love your heart of faith and your encouragement for other moms.
If you’d like to connect with Jennifer, you can do that at:
Her blog, Heart Conditioning.
What would you say if Jesus asked you to follow where He leads, wherever that may be, whatever that may look like? Would you be willing to whisper Yes where No wants to take root?
I’m hosting a six-week study over Come With Me: Discovering the Beauty of Following Where He Leads. It’s for personal use. It’s for small groups. It’s for churches and women’s ministries. Everything but the book itself is free for you — videos, resources, and more.
It’s been a dream of mine to invest in a study like this and to offer it for free to anyone, anywhere that wants to join (or use it in the future). Join the Come With Me On-Line Bible Study! Start by signing up here: https://tsuzanneeller.com/come-with-me-study/
I felt unloveable because I was adopted. I didn’t know what it meant and didn’t understand where my “real” family was or why they didn’t want me? Was I defective in some way? My thoughts imprisoned me in undiagnosed depression until I was 44 years old.
My adoptive parents were infertile though and had been told that they would never be able to conceive their own children, naturally. They chose to adopt me when I was six months old. I had been given up for adoption when I was 13 days old and made a ward of the court. The world is good at telling us what is wrong or won’t happen. God blessed my adoptive parents with two children after adopting me, despite what the doctors said would never happen.
But in that pain I accepted Jesus at the age of 19 and my life changed when I read Psalm 27: 10: “When your mother and father forsake you, I the Lord will lift you up and take care of you!” I exchanged my distorted beliefs for the truth found in God’s Word and gradually my life began to change and I came to learn about my heavenly Father and his character and deep love for me. My life has never been the same and just last year, God found my half-brothers and their families in England and we have been communicating and getting to know each other since then. I never gave up hope that it might be part of my Father’s plan for me to know the full story of my adoption. I’ve come to understand and accept that having Jesus is more important than anything else.
Heather, I have two beautiful adopted grandchildren and I can’t imagine my life without Luke and Josiah. They are my heart. They are my family. They are gifts to me and to their mom and dad. It hurts my heart to think that one day they’d feel unwanted, when they are so treasured.
I’m not glad that my daughter suffered infertility, simply because of the battle on her body, but I’m so grateful that it brought us our two little guys. It’s the treasure that we received from her battle.
You are also a treasure, immensely loved.
Oh Jennifer, this is POWERFUL!!!!! Thank you for sharing from such a vulnerable place. Your story is beautiful, but your heart is even more so. What an honor it is to walk with you!
Jennifer, I’m a women’s Bible teacher and I so appreciate your tender insight into the road that so many women walk, many times I’m sure isolated from all their friends whose lives are *moving on* with showers and babies and playdates and preschool. I especially loved this: ” I couldn’t promise them a baby, but I could show them a mighty God.” Keep writing! Keep proclaiming our faithful God.
Jenny I love you my best friend. Yes we needed you in our infertility group. Just like I didn’t know how God could use me since I did already conceive a child. The bond God allowed us to form helped all of us. As you know I cannot share my story yet but soon my friend. God blessed me with one biological daughter and a stepson. And even though my infertility has left me with 4 babies waiting on me in Heaven my home has been filled with the laughter of 17 Foster kids since July of last year and God has blessed me right now with a house full of 5 kids. He is our Mighty Mighty God. Just open your hearts to him. Even when you feel you can’t just give it a try.
While I appreciate your story, reading it you get the impression that if you just humble yourself before God, you’ll have a child. What about the woman who so badly wants a child, but never does? And who can’t afford adoption?
I believe Cathy’s comment is directed to Jennifer, but I think it’s a great question to ask and I’m thankful that you shared your heart with her as well, Heather.
To Cathy, my takeaway was that Jennifer used her grief to begin to write words of love and encouragement to others. It was in that deepest, hardest place that you describe that she began to walk in outward faith, though inward she was hurting.
There are no words that can describe individual pain, and I hear that pain in your comment. I’m so sorry. I’m reaching with an embrace and with prayer. I know that infertility is a private struggle that marks the heart of a woman. I watched my own daughter struggle with this for years. So we don’t want to be insensitive, but encouraging as we wrap around each other and love each other. Loving Cathy right where she is. Loving Jennifer right where she was and is. Loving you right where you are. Thank you for your honesty and input into this conversation. It’s so appreciated.
What beautiful words Jennifer, “While Jesus was holding my little ones tight in Heaven, I could hold others tight with my words”. I have six in Heaven and know some of your pain, but not the infertility part for myself – miscarriages but one day as I stayed close to Him and eventually had two precious children who are now in their thirties. We did keep foster children until we had children hoping to adopt one.
I do know the pain of infertility with very close family members, and know personally the pain and how it ravages the body in so many ways.
Thank you for this beautiful story – HIS story.