For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a wife and mother.  Like most little girls, I played house and would name and care for all my dolls.  

Jamila as a baby with doll

Even before I met my husband, I built my life around having children.  I kept toys, books and clothes from my childhood in organized labeled boxes, hoping to pass them on to my children one day.  My career in product development and design, afforded me the opportunity to take home discarded samples of products we were developing.  So when I started working for a children’s clothing brand back in the late 90s, I started collecting children’s clothes to save them for “one day”.  

When I worked in the housewares industry, I collected kids themed dishes and accessories for that day when I would have children.  When most people used their VCR (yes…..I said VCR) to record their favorite soap operas, I used to record baby and birthing shows.  I had a huge collection of Disney® movies and VeggieTales® DVD’s that I was stockpiling for my children to enjoy. 

The day I married the man of my dreams.

 

When God blessed me to marry my husband, I immediately started thinking about when we would have children and daydreaming about what they would look like. When I went shopping I would think to myself, “this dress would be really cute to wear when I’m pregnant”.  When we bought my car, my thought was…..”this will be the perfect size for a child’s car seat!”  The point of me sharing all this is just to illustrate how my life and my thoughts all revolved around my desire to be a mother.  There isn't anything wrong with that desire, but... 

....I really don’t remember a time when I ever asked God if that was His desire for me.

Don’t get me wrong, I prayed to God about children, but I just assumed that was part of His plan for me. After 33 years of dreaming about having children, we started trying. Now just to further illustrate my point, during that first year of trying, I stopped buying shoes. Can you guess why? Yep, I had heard that your shoe size can change after you have a baby. I stopped almost all my hobbies and activities because I didn’t think I would have time for them once our baby was born. I started cross-stitching a baby blanket and buying baby clothes and little decorations for a nursery. I’m sure you can guess how the next chapter of my story went. After a year of hoping and trying, we found out that something was wrong.

Something was wrong with me.

My Misery

I was devastated.  I prayed, but I continued to pray for what I wanted.  I still didn’t ask what He wanted.  I just assumed that He wanted us to have children because that was the desire I felt He had put in my heart.  Like Hannah, I was sad, upset and bitter about my barrenness.  (1 Samuel 1:8, 10)  Like Hannah, I continued to beg and pray.  Now it would be a beautiful testimony if my story had a Hannah ending and the Lord allowed us to conceive at that point.  Then I could insert a picture of our child here and wrap up this post.  But that was only the first of a series of disappointments in my infertility story. 

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12

After much prayer and counsel from other believers, we decided to try in-vitro fertilization.  And by the grace of God, I was pregnant with our first child.  We were over the moon happy.  Other than my wedding day, I have to say that that was the happiest time in my life.  The doctor identified early on that there might be something wrong, but I had faith that God wouldn’t give us this child and take it away.  This was our miracle baby. 

But nine weeks later I had a miscarriage.  Without going into detail, that was one of the most terrifying, physically and emotionally painful things I’ve ever been through.  But in the midst of it, I found God’s Grace.  Instead of feeling anger, I found submission.  It was literally in the middle of pain that felt like what I can only describe as labor-like contractions, that I started saying “Your Will, Not Mine O Lord.  Your Will, Not Mine.”  I repeated that for hours, while our baby died. 

If you have given birth or have had a miscarriage, you might feel differently, but for me, once I was pregnant, our baby was alive.  For me, the hours of going through the physical pain of a miscarriage was like helplessly feeling our baby die and not being able to do anything about it.  It was in that loss that I started to realize that even though I was a Christian, I wasn’t fully submitted to God.  My dreams of motherhood were overshadowing my openness to God’s plans for me.  

In some ways motherhood had become an idol in my life. 

I wish that in that moment, I had been able to say, “It is Well," and move on, but after that I had more surgeries to try to fix some of the issues that were preventing us from getting pregnant. Nothing worked. I went through a period of being angry with God. I questioned my life’s purpose. I loved the company I was working for at the time, but I felt unfulfilled at my job and out of place as one-by-one, my friends left for maternity leave. I felt shame and like less than a woman. I was overwhelmed with guilt that I couldn’t give my husband a child.

I’ve battled depression since I was young, which is a whole ‘nother story, but it’s a truth that made infertility an even harder burden to bear.

But with each trial, I felt convicted to let go of my will and God drew me closer to Him and illuminated His Will for me. I finally accepted that His Will is more important than the desires of my heart. I still want to be a mother, but I want to fulfill His Will for me more.

My Ministry

After 5 years of trying to conceive, I began a season of prayer and fasting, where I decided to start getting up early in the morning and read the Bible.  It was in one of those quiet times with the Lord that He whispered encouragement to me and gave me the idea to send boxes of encouragement to others.  In that moment, God restored my joy and gave me a new purpose.  Ideas began to flow and I was less focused on the loss of my dream of motherhood. I became increasingly focused on helping other women by encouraging them through the trials they faced. He gave me a new dream. 

lovedandblessed_JanBox.jpeg

It’s been over 8 years since this infertility journey began and over 3 years since He gave me the vision for loved+blessed.  I still have hope that if God’s Will is to bless us with a child, He’ll do it.  He is able!  And if not, I’ve accepted that He has given me a special assignment; to use the talents He’s given me to encourage as many women as I can.  If my husband and I are never blessed with children, I still want to leave a legacy.  So I pray that with each box we mail, that my legacy will be one of encouragement and my testimony will remind someone that there is nothing you’re going through that God can’t see you through. 

Your struggle may not be infertility, but no matter what it is, He will make ALL things work together for the good of those who love Him and who submit to His purpose.  (Romans 8:28)  Life is beautiful, even though we all have seasons of disappointment along our journey.  Things happen that we don’t expect, but nothing surprises God.  He has a plan for you and it’s better than the plan you can dream up for yourself.

Stay encouraged,

♥ Jamila

August 8th, 2017


Jamila is the founder of loved+blessed. On her personal mission to leave a legacy of encouragement, she blogs about her own life lessons with the hope that it will bring joy into others lives and help them find the courage to keep walking in faith knowing that all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord. 


Comments

Jamila said:

Praise the Lord brother! Thank you so much.

Bishop Elvin Dee Clark said:

Jamila, love your testimony it gave me greater faith in God’s thank you again just keep on keeping on God’s has many children in your future love you. The grace of our Lord comfort your heart, and establish you in every good word and work.
Your brother in The Lord
Bishop Elvin Dee Clark

Jamila said:

Thank you Tracey. It’s messages like this that inspire me and encourage me to keep going when things are tough. I’m so glad you’ve become part of our community and I look forward to getting to know you and encourage you even more. God bless you too! Hugs!

Tracey Stern said:

I have paid for other subscription boxes and felt meh about them. I love little surprises in the mail but those weren’t worth my money. I wanted more. I heard about loved+blessed in a search and this time felt drawn. I love the meaning behind why you started this company but more than the boxes we receive (my first comes this month) is how you’ve made yourself real and available for us. I’m encouraged by your emails and your blogs. I can relate to this because all I wanted was to be a wife and mother too. I’m almost 47 and way too single so no babies (just my cat). It’s been rough at times especially when i add to it where I work had been trying so hard to have me fired for not conforming. Thank you for sharing and being real for us. Thank you for sharing what God is doing on your life and yes being that encouragement. God bless you Jamila

Jamila said:

Thank you so much John. Yes, I believe that everything God has planned for me has not yet come to pass. Thank you for this encouragement. :)

John Kadzitu said:

Hi, your testimony is touching,all your heart desires have not yet come to pass after all these struggles.see how wonderful and gracious our Lord is! He has intiated a dream and a ministry that builds up many who are depressed and hearts break.congrates sister!

Jamila said:

Amen Michelle. I’m so glad that you’ve joined us. I look forward to getting to know you better. God bless you and your family. :)

Michelle Brown said:

What a beautiful testimony! This serves to remind us all that God has a purpose, and a plan for us, and usually it is not what we plan and ask for. I lost my daughter thru miscarriage in the 5th month. I was blessed enough to have 3 boys after, but not a day goes by that I don’t think of my daughter. God’s plan for me did not include a sweet little girl, instead he sent me 3 wonderful boys that have different challenges and needs. Thank you for sharing your story. I so look forward to being a part of this community.

Jamila said:

Awh Penny! I am so so grateful my testimony could give you some hope. That is my prayer, that God would always help me to use my own struggles to encourage others. Praise the Lord! Thank you Jesus!

Penny Henderson said:

Dear Jamila,

Thank you so much for your testimony, it was such a Blessing to me in so many ways. I’m going through some issues with my health and some issues with my family and your testimony really spoke to me and rekindled a fire of hope that I felt I was losing! Thank you Jesus and thank you Jamila! What a Blessing!!!!Praise your Holy Blessed Name, Jesus!
Your sister in Jesus Christ,
Penny

Jamila said:

Thank you Bethany! Your faith to trust Him even though you don’t understand why He allowed this to happen to you is beautiful too. I pray He continues to give you strength through your chronic illness and covers you with His grace and love.

Bethany said:

You have a beautiful faith!
I miscarried my first child last year after years of wanting children. After the miscarriage I was traumatized. I soon after developed a chronic debilitating illness and now am too sick to have biological children or care for adopted children. I don’t know why God allows our circumstances, but I trust Him. Thank you for turning your pain into something beautiful.

Jamila said:

Yep, I know that roller coaster of emotions Elizabeth. And I know how the love of furry kiddos can help to ease that pain. Ultimately I pray that God will bless you – in due time – to conceive and give birth to a healthy happy baby or to experience motherhood through adoption or fostering or some other means. Like you said, we must accept His Will, but I am still praying that He will bless you with the desires of your heart. Hugs.

Elizabeth said:

I can so completely relate to you and your journey, except on my journey of two attempts of IUI, test after test for IVF to get so excited just to be told your insurance doesn’t cover IVF, to still wanting to fulfill becoming a mom, that I’m finally blessed with health insurance that will cover one IVF treatment, to the weekly testing of being told your body is just not going the way we need or want it to. It’s been a frustrating roller coaster ride of so many emotions, from anger at God, to deep depression on what’s wrong with me, how come my sisters were able to have kids and I can’t. To being so angry at the world and everyone around that could just so easily conceive. I have been Blessed with two furry kiddos who I just love so very much. So if it is Gods Will for children, it’s his will not my wants or desires. God bless.

Lauren Saprks said:

A beautiful testimony of God’s faithfulness. And I love the idea of this company. I will be praying about who needs a box of encouragement from me! laurensparks.net

Jamila said:

Amen Annabel. I’ve learned that when He is 1st the rest always works out okay because my eyes are on Him and He is my hope. Thank you for taking the time to read my testimony and if He does decide to bless me at Sarah’s age I will definitely have a good laugh just like she did! :)

Annabel B Carter said:

This is so much of what a lot of discouraged women needs to read. It is always good to put God first in our lives, anything else becomes an idols. God is a jealous and he wants first place in our lives. When we submit all we are to him he steps in and blesses us. Your testimony is breaking and should be shared. I know that if it is Gods will he will blessed that womb and gave you a child, even if you reach Sarah’s age.

Jamila said:

Kim, Thank you, thank you, thank you. I so appreciate your prayer. Your encouragement strengthens me as I continue to wait on Him.

Kim Griggs said:

What a true testimony of God’s love and grace, Jamila! More than anything, I speak complete healing and wholeness to every cell, tissue, and organ in your body. May God heal your soul as well in the name of Jesus. Thanks so much for love and blessed! Keep waiting in His presence and stay intimate with Him daily.

“The LORD bless thee and keep thee: the LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: the LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace” (Numbers 6:24-26) ✝️💜

Jamila said:

Susan, thank you for sharing this. Although it’s hard to understand at the beginning, it’s so comforting when you can look back on things and get a glimpse of some of the reasons why God orchestrates our lives to work out the way they do. I am SOOOOO grateful that you’ve become a part of the community. You continue to be an encouragement to me and the other ladies. May God continue to bless and keep you too!

Susan Corona said:

Wow,what a personal testimony. I wanted to be a mommy too,but it was not to be for us either. I realized God had other plans for me. I have been open and available for those other plans. They were to take care of my father as he was dieing from Cancer and then to be with my Mother to help her through the grieving and to live her life again. She recently passed away and again,I listened to God and took care of all that a death entails-funeral,court,cleaning and selling their house. I often feel alone,but know I am not. I also was a teacher for 30 years and thought of my students as “my children”. God bless you Jamilla. I love my pink box that comes every month. And the special ladies that belong to this beloved group.

Lisa McGuire said:

Thank you for the encouragement and that testimony. You truly are a blessing.

Julie said:

Wow! Incredible and what a blessing you are, God is good indeed

Jamila said:

Hi John, I am so happy that your wife received one of our boxes. I hope she was encouraged!

John Hall said:

Hi Jamila, my wife was blessed with one of your boxes last night. Thank you. And I was blessed this morning by your testimony. I thought I had memorized Romans 8:28, but this is the first time I noticed “and who submits to His purpose”. Thank you.

Jamila said:

Pam, yes, trust God and keep going! He has a plan for you. You might be in a valley season right now, but He will bring you out of it just like He has before. I just prayed for you and your husband. I know God can take a rough season in a marriage and make it the experience that ends up bonding you closer together, but that doesn’t make the rough season any easier when you’re in it. Just take one day at a time and keep moving forward. Hugs

Pam said:

Jamila,

Found you through FB Business Boutique group. Love your Business idea sending blessings and encouragement to ladies on there journey of ups and downs.

Writing this with tears in my eyes waiting for the post office to open so I can mail a customers order. I’m going through a difficult time in my marriage but reading your story reminds me to trust God and keep going.

Continued blessings to you and your husband.

Pam

Jamila said:

Sue, wish I could hug you through the computer. :) Thank you.

Sue said:

Thank you for sharing your powerful testimony with the world, Jamila! I have a grandbaby in Heaven and look forward to meeting him one day. Our family has suffered through some difficult trials, and I know what a tough decision it is to share a personal story. I commend you for sharing your heart-wrenching trials and following God’s calling on your life! God is working through you to bless so many people every single day! Roman’s 8:28 is my favorite Bible scripture, and it is so true! I pray God continues to bless you greatly on all you do for many years to come. You are a beautiful soul!

Leticia said:

“I was devastated. I prayed, but I continued to pray for what I wanted. I still didn’t ask what He wanted. "

such a beautiful testimony, thank you. I am going through some painful trials of my own and it is helpful to read these words. It reminded and pointed out to me to ask GOD what HE wants , seems so simple but that very small act is soooo often overlooked in midst of heartache and pain, rightfully so …let’s pray for the strength to carry our cross in faith….thank you again…

Jamila said:

Amen Sonia, it may take time (more time than we’d like) but He will reveal His plan for you and take care of you in the meantime. God bless you too!

Maria said:

Thank you so much for writing this. I can’t imagine how painful it must have been to put it down on paper. Sharing this information is so important and I gratefully appreciate it because regardless of our situations, we’ve all, at some point, felt hopeless and mad at God. Your post reminds us to ALWAYS remember that God has it together. Thank you!!!!!

PS – I LOVE the loved+blessed boxes!!!!

Sonia said:

Jamila, thank you for this post. I was let go from a job today after 2 weeks and 3 days. It was not a good fit. I trust God each day and try to live my life according to His will. I must admit though, I was a little discouraged this afternoon. I have had three jobs in the past 4 years, after being downsized from a job of 24 years. I know that God has a plan for me, I’m just not sure what it is yet. Hopefully He will reveal it to me soon as I continue to pray for guidance. Again thank you for the encouragement and for sharing your testimony.
God bless and keep you,

Jamila said:

Hi Charmaine! Anxiety is a problem for so many of us. From personal stress, life changes and work, it seems like it comes at us from all angles sometimes. I am praying for one of my friends who has been feeling anxiety over her career and if she’ll ever reach the place she wants to be. I’ll add you to my prayer list. A big life change like this can be exciting because it’s a fresh start, but scary too. I would say the Peace box, but unfortunately it’s out of stock. Actually I think the Sanctuary box would be a great one for you because of the devotional that’s included. There are a lot of encouraging words in it that you could read when you are feeling anxious.

Charmaine Jensen said:

This is an amazing story you have shared with us and to open up like this. I feel inspired by you. I have been a Christian most of my life. However; have been going through a lot of challenges in my life the past several years, and due to this experiencing allot of anxiety. My divorce is just taking affect in the next couple of weeks (and this divorce is my choice). I need to move forward with my life, and have few close friends; yet there is a part of me because of this anxiety that has felt alone. I have wanted to order one of your encouragement boxes for myself month end, just uncertain which one? Can you please recommend one?

G said:

Thank you for your vulnerability in sharing this with us all. We don’t know what He has planned for our lives, but we do know that if we stay in His purpose, He will make it work for good! I appreciate you trusting the vision He gave you, because you are impacting lives that you aren’t even aware of! Stay in His will and be blessed!

Wendy Skolfield said:

you have always inspired me, JJ!

Candace Jones said:

This is truly an amazing story of God’s restoration and companionship in this faith walk. I am encouraged that although my life may not be what I hope for, it will definite be what He planned of I keep walking with Him. Thank you for sharing!!

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