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!
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 ….
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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?
Shelli 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.