Adoption, Hope, Infertility, Shelli Littleton

Life Lessons: An Embarrassing Display—Guest Post by Shelli Littleton

8. Bear (1)

 

I’m so excited to have Shelli Littleton guest posting today, as the second of a five part series on Life Lessons. I first “met” Shelli on a blog we both follow. Her thoughtful, encouraging comments—both in response to that blog, as well as to other commenters—revealed what a uplifting person she is. I’ve enjoyed getting to know her over the last couple years. Her love for Jesus and living her life for Him comes through her words.  

Please welcome Shelli!

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By Shelli Littleton

“Shelli, you have about a 50% chance of conception,” my doctor said, leaning over my hospital bed. I can’t begin to relay the pain I felt or the tears I cried. For you see, having a family had been my childhood dream.

Embarrassment … shame, and everything in between, covered me. All my friends were having babies … baby showers. I felt less than ….

3. Bluebonnets-2

My pastor, Dr. Robert Jeffress, asked me to lead an infertility support group.

“I’ll do it,” I said. But God, please don’t expect much from me.

“Shelli, you need to display this,” God seemed to whisper into my heart.

No, I don’t think I need to display it. Do you know how humbling that is? How embarrassing? What are you thinking? You know me. Introvert me. Can I hide it a while longer? Oh, God, please.

7. Pink roses

Not long after, my Sunday school department director—whose name happens to be “Joy”—excitedly said, “Shelli, I want you stand in front of the class this morning and share about the infertility support group.” In front of all these men and women? God, what are you doing to me?

An announcement covered the pages in the church bulletin that morning about the infertility support group, with my name displayed all over it. And in case anyone missed the announcement that “Shelli is infertile,” a letter was mailed to every household of 8400 members.

9. baby shoe

Being new to the church and the city, I was surprised the support group went so well. Women who were searching for answers surrounded me. We received comfort in praying for and encouraging each other.

One of my new friends said, “Did you know that our media minister’s wife, Vicky, owns an adoption agency here in town? She does.” She nodded and peacefully smiled. No, I didn’t know. She looked toward her four year old daughter, Mary. “Mary was the first baby placed through her agency.” Goose bumps spread down my arms.

2. Karalee 1998

At the next support group meeting, a new friend said, “We’re going through Vicky’s adoption agency!” Her eyes glowed, and in a few short weeks she held a precious blue bundle of baby—perfect baby. He wasn’t mine, but I loved him instantly. I was so thankful my friend had displayed her circumstance because she gave me hope. And excitement flooded my heart to think, if God will do this for them, what will He do for me?

I grappled with the soul-searching questions set before me. What was my goal? To give birth? Or to have a family? Having a family had been my heart’s desire since childhood. Plain and simple. And I couldn’t believe the doors that were opening before me. For me.

“Shelli, will you walk with me?” God seemed to ask. “Will you trust me?”

Because you see, by stepping over the threshold of each open door through tears and fears, God enabled me to minister to others who, like me, were hurting. He had exposed to view my difficult situation, embarrassing as it was, and helped me exhibit a good showing of what I initially had thought was a horrid diagnosis of infertility. And unbeknownst to me, while all my attention was on displaying this gift of infertility, God was about to give me a pretty good showing Himself.

1. Shelli and Karalee

4. Girls in bluebonnets

In less than six months, through the blessing of adoption, I held a tiny pink bundle of baby in my arms. Perfect baby. Perfect gift.

Love this gift of infertility? No way.

Until that very special day in May

When I saw your tiny feet and tiny toes

And your itty bitty baby button nose.

Your little eyes sparkling with glee,

Oh, you are my precious Karalee.

Feelings of purpose I’ll never lack.

This gift of infertility I’d never give back.

5. Girls in Bluebonnets

“In your majesty ride forth victoriously in behalf of truth, humility and righteousness; let your right hand display awesome deeds.”—Psalm 45:4

What about you? Have you ever had difficulty sharing an embarrassing circumstance? Did you feel led to share with someone? If so, how were you blessed for it?

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6. Shelli Littleton Photo to Jeanne TakenakaShelli Littleton has two beautiful girls through adoption. She lives in Royse City, Texas, and writes for Woman’s Missionary Union’s magazine, Missions Mosaic. She enjoys interviewing missionaries and sharing their stories. She’s been blessed to have interviewed renowned Christ followers such as Ron Hall, the late Denver Moore, and Melissa Moore (Beth Moore’s daughter). She speaks on surviving hardships and blogs at www.shellilittleton.blogspot.com.

Connect with Shelli on Facebook or Twitter.

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27 thoughts on “Life Lessons: An Embarrassing Display—Guest Post by Shelli Littleton”

  1. I salute your courage and your faith…and I am honoured to have the privilege of calling you Friend.

    I was never really in this position…but an embarrassing circumstance did turn favourable. When I was in grad school, my advisor volunteered me to give a talk to the structural engineering division of the California Department of Transportation, on my ongoing research.

    I had never used Powerpoint, and the only large groups I had ever addressed were generally carrying rifles…and now I had about 300 engineers, with a fair proportion of PhDs, about to hang on my words.

    Well, the Powerpoint layout I chose didn’t quite work out, and I was reduced to saying things like “if you could see it, what this slide WOULD show is…”

    After the ordeal ended, I took a shuttle to the Sacramento airport about three hours before my flight, and I planned to spend that time doing something useful. Like, drinking.

    About an hour into the beer, my advisor joined me (and picked up the tab!). He said that of all the presentations that day, I’d done the most with the least…and it would be the one everyone remembered.

    I was flummoxed. That was totally unexpected, but it was true.

    They say God looks after little children and dumb animals…not being the former, I was sure glad that my nickname, “Mongo”, placed me firmly in the latter group…because God surely looked after me that day.

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    1. Andrew, I am blessed to call you Friend, as well. And Brother. I took a glimpse into your moment of embarrassment … my last speaking engagement was at a small church in a rather tiny Texas city. I thought we’d never get the computer connected for my Power Point. Oh, I was nervous … sweatin’ it … it’s so much a part of your presentation. 🙂 The pastor came to my rescue!

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    2. PowerPoint is a tricky beast. I love how so many of the stories you share show evidence of God working, Andrew. I also love how your advisor spoke just the right words to you that day. 🙂

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    3. You use words so well, Andrew, that powerpoint would just get in the way.

      And thank you, Shelli, for sweet words in support of adoption. When we filed our application for adoption, we envisioned adding a toddler to our family. We got the call . . . “Would you consider brothers?”

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  2. Like you, I adopted and our family is a God story 🙂 But, what I wanted to encourage people with is this amazing fact: I love to pray for people struggling with infertility because I went through it. We weren’t conceiving because of me and there wasn’t anything I could do–it was out of my hands completely. There is only 1 couple I’ve prayed with who I haven’t heard whether they conceived and I’m hoping to find out through mutual friends what the update is. For reasons I don’t understand I have a super high result rate in partnering with God for other people’s breakthrough to get pregnant. And, it’s a joy. I rejoice every single time. I hold babies that are miracles that I got to pray for. God’s way. What a surprise and huge gift. Pray for others and watch how God fulfills the desires of our own hearts — His way.

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    1. Bethany, what a beautiful testimony you have! It’s a beautiful to thing to be known–a prayer warrior. I have a good friend in overseas missions who is really struggling now with fear. I know she’s feeling humiliation, afraid to walk out her front door … her kids seeing her that way. I’m on bended knee for her, and I’m trusting. Prayer is powerful.

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    2. Bethany thanks for stopping by and sharing your story. And how amazing it is when God gives us glimpses of how He’s using us. I love your last line, “Pray for others and watch how God fulfills the desires of our own hearts — His way.” Wise words here.

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  3. When I tell people I’m adopted, they tilt their heads.
    Long story short, my mom married again when I was 12, my brother was 14, and my sister was 11.
    A year or two later, Mom’s new husband adopted us.
    And we adopted him.
    We chose him as much as he chose us.
    I love messing with people’s head when I tell them my Dad is Arab.
    Look at my photo.
    Red hair?
    Her dad’s Arab?
    Riiiiiiiiiight.
    I REFUSE to hear that’s he’s not my “real” dad. And when people ask if I’ve ever met my “real” dad, I laugh and say, “Yeah, he lives with my mom.”
    ANYONE can donate the parts to make a child, but it takes someone amazing to be a REAL parent.

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    1. Jennifer, that’s beautiful. My grandfather wasn’t my biological grandfather. But he was there before I was born, and I always say, he was gold to me and all his grandkids. We’d forget … didn’t care … because he was so special to us. I never met my biological grandfather and never felt like I was missing out because I didn’t. He left and never returned. When I called my Pa-Paw to tell him I was going to try to adopt, he said, “Well, I kindly adopted you, didn’t I?” Meant the world to me. Oh, and he loved our girls. I miss him.

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  4. Jeanne and Shelli, what a wonderful testimony. I love how God blessed you through your obedience to the call to share and minister to others. It’s humbling to share a painful journey with others. Your family is beautiful.
    Blessings ~ Wendy

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    1. Thank you, Wendy. It’s such a blessing to see God’s plan unfold for our lives. My mom always says, “We could have searched the whole world ever and never found …” You know … God’s plan is best. My heart is so full and content with their love and lives.

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  5. You are an inspiration! And, you gave me thinking about insecurities and failures I have that can be an encouragement to others. Thank you for your brave words!

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  6. What a sweet story of God’s provision for the desire of your heart, Shelli! We never know what God is doing, and we want to tell Him He’s got it all wrong, and we know better, don’t we? I KNOW I do!! I’m so glad you let God use you to inspire and encourage others.
    Thankyou for your willingness to share this story with others. And thank you, Jeanne for introducing Shelli to us!

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    1. Ruthie, thank you so much for commenting. God’s plan is always the best …. The girls and I were just talking about that today … why we cry or pout when things don’t go the way we want … only to find out that God had a better plan. Why didn’t we just trust Him? 🙂 Save ourselves a few tears.

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  7. Such great encouragemebt here, Shelli. It’s amazing how God can rewrite our plans in those most unexpected ways but with the most amazing ending. What a beautiful family He has gifted you with and an incredible story He has written over your lives. Great series, Jeanne! Much to reflect on.

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