Saturday, October 15, 2011

Write Their Names

Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. I know this date is bittersweet for some of my friends in an unexpected way, a date they wish they could "celebrate" for it would mean they were Mommies, even if only to heaven-born babies. To other friends, October 15 holds mixed emotions, thankfulness that we can recognize the existence of our children, but horror that a day such as this should even need to exist.

Where ever you find yourself today, I invite you to join me in sharing your story in the comments in whatever way you feel compelled to do so. If you have children awaiting you in heaven and would like to share their names, please do so. If your children have only lived in your hopes and dreams and you would like to document your infertility journey here in some way, I welcome you to do that as well.

Today I remember:
- Noel Alexis, our Christmas Minister of Needs
- Joel Samuel, a child for whom we long desired a greatly prayed, a reminder of God's faithfulness
- Hannah Rose, named in reminder of God's grace that blooms through darkest grief
- I also remember 7 precious children who touched our hearts and carry our prayers, but who never officially joined our family through adoption as we had hoped they each would.

- And I humbly thank the Lord for bringing 3 living blessings into our home to share our lives through the storm of 13 years of praying and waiting.

What is your story? Where is your heart hurting today? Who are the children of your longing and dreams? Will you share them with me today by taking a moment to simply write their names?

Saturday, October 08, 2011

My Next Book

I'm often asked when I'm going to write my next book. In reality I've been in the process of writing a book on the life of Paul as encouragement for living with chronic pain and illness for probably close to 5 years now. Since Hannah's Hope: Seeking God's Heart in the Midst of Infertility, Miscarriage & Adoption Loss took me about 10 years to write, that may not be such exciting news because it tells you I still have a very long way to go!

What I hope is more exciting, what I would like to ask you to partner with me in prayer about as God continues to unfold His plan, is that two of my other blogs, one on beauty and (now that I've gained more focus for what I want to do with this project) specifically Harvesting Hope from Heartache™, have becoming a launching pads for what I feel God is turning into my "next" book.

Yes, I'm continuing to work on the Given Me a Thorn too, but over the past year God has me focusing more on an exploration of the Fruit of the Spirit (a passage written by none other than Paul himself) through a series of articles I've been writing for Glory and Strength and my InnerBeautyGirlz blog. I've been working on a Bible study related to what He's teaching me and I've written much more than could be presented only in my articles, so I think God's growing a book out of all of this! :)

How does the Fruit of the Spirit tie in with Harvesting Hope from Heartache? I'm glad you asked. ;) It all has to do with sowing seeds, gathering fruit, and ultimately what Source my hope springs from. What better time to look to the Lord for help than in the midst of trials? I'm very excited to see how God is tying so many themes together in my life as He's teaching me through Galatians 5 this year! I pray that this book will be as much of a blessing to you as the journey has been to me.

It is my current goal to have enough of this study written and ready to present to publishers that I can begin the query process around the end of the year or in the very early part of 2012. Will you join me in specific prayer that God will give me His words to write and that this project will unfold according to His will and in His perfect timing?

If you would like to stay updated about my progress, I've just opened a new Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/HarvestingHope and would love to have you "like" me over there. :) If you don't do Facebook or would rather get updates via feeds, please follow my long-standing Harvesting Hope from Heartache blog directly. Feel free to pass these link along to your friends as well.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Hannah's Story and Jewish New Year

Today is "Rosh Hashanah" or the Jewish spiritual New Year. It's a fascinating, God-ordained celebration, a time to confess sins, give and seek forgiveness, and to contemplate upon the sweetness of God's Word (represented by dipping an apple in honey in reference to such Scriptures as Psalm 119:103).

But in the midst of the festivities, there is also acknowledgment of grief woven through the story of Hannah. You can find out more here (please note, there is a baby pictured on the linked page as well as in the following fun celebratory video).

Monday, July 11, 2011

Finding Answers

The woman at the well sought happiness in the arms of men.
Jesus provides peace that could be found in none other than Himself.

I sought joy in the new life of a baby.
Jesus offers New Life in Himself.

I wanted to know the feeling of carrying another soul inside my body.
He provides the Holy Spirit to indwell me...

Won't you please join me today over at Held to read the rest?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Infertility and Illness

Some of you may know that I have lived with chronic illness my entire adult life. As we battled for 13 years to bring home our three living miracles, with multiple miscarriages and adoption losses along the way, the issues of chronic illness and infertility were often intertwined with each issue complicating the other on multiple levels: physically, medically, emotionally, spiritually, and just about any other "ally" you can imagine.

Because of this intensely personal heartache, I have a very special place in my heart for anyone grieving to grow your family while living with chronic illness. Lisa Copen, my dear friend and founder of Rest Ministries, offers some beautiful thoughts on living with chronic illness and facing infertility:
How Do I Know if God Has Motherhood In My Future?

I also provide resources for living with chronic pain or illness at Given Me or Thorn. You may prefer to start with my infertility and loss story there.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wonderful Counselor

I never knew what depression felt like before this. Sure, I'd been “down,” had bad days, knew PMS could be brutal. But this deep black hole that left me unable to climb out of bed, uncaring that I hadn't attended to personal hygiene in three days, this slimy pit of numbness and despair, this was all new.

I sobbed my puffy eyes dry and my voice horse. My heart was stone-cold, robotic. If there had been enough ability to engage emotion, it should have been terrifying, but this all-encompassing grief was beyond even fear.

Where was God? It felt like I had been praying to brass heavens for a lifetime now. It had only been a year and a half since He fell silent in my life, but that could easily have been a lifetime; the lifetime of the baby I expected to be carrying by now.

Everyone who knew me knew I was upset over “the baby thing.” While I'd made others miserable around me for months, even those closest to me could see only the surface. I had been able to hide the ugliest so far.

I tried to fill the emptiness with a precious kitten who had been separated from his mother much-too-soon. It didn't even cross my mind to think myself irrational when I privately tried to devise a way to nourish this helpless creature from my own breasts that ached to fill a hungry child.

If those had been my most unsettling compulsions, maybe I wouldn't have been in such bad shape. But over recent months I'd daydreamed about driving my car into oncoming traffic, unmindful of the lives I would unwittingly involve in my destruction, uncaring for the emotional wreckage my suicide would leave in its wake.

When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you.
- Psalm 73:21-22 (NIV)


They called that day “Mother's Day.” I called it “Humiliate-the-Infertile-Lady-by-Making-Her-Stay-in-Her-Seat-When-Nearly-Every-Other-Female-in-the-Congregation-Stands-for-Honor Day.” It was the day I became no longer able to hide.

My dear husband had tried to soften the blow after church, taking me out to a fancy lunch then to the mall for a shopping spree we really couldn't afford. It was Wednesday now and I hadn't been out of bed, showered, brushed my teeth or hair, had hardly eaten since.

I needed serious medical care, psychological intervention. My husband and I were very young, far from family support, struggling in church and friendships, too vulnerable to understand just how critical and precarious my mental state had become.

My friend, if you find yourself reflected in anything I have described, PLEASE know there is hope! This is not a reflection of spiritual lack or failure on your part. God does not call you to do this alone. (Here are some resources!)

I should have been hospitalized. We didn't even understand that was an option. When I was without answers, God Himself stepped in as my Wonderful Counselor. Please join me today at HELD where I share how God worked in my heart that Mother's Day week of 1994. I don't share my story as a model for the proper way to deal with such crisis, but instead because the way God chose to work was so unique and I want to give Him all the glory for preforming a true miracle in my life.

I'm still in your presence, but you've taken my hand. You wisely and tenderly lead me, and then you bless me.
- Psalm 73:24 (The Message)


© Jennifer Saake, 2011

Monday, May 09, 2011

My Voice

Dare I admit that I have "voices in my head" that I "hear" when I'm reading someone's book or blog? If you also put voices to written words and would like to know what my voice actually sounds like, you can hear me today for about 40 seconds at the opening of a Focus on the Family's interview on infertility and miscarriage.
My sweet author friend Marlo Schalesky and a woman named Sarah, in training to become an infertility specialist, share the microphone at Focus on the Family today and tomorrow. Marlo, now a mom after infertility like me, and Sarah, still in the midst of the heartache of empty arms, share from their hearts and will touch you right where you are hurting.
I will be writing more about that most painful Mother's Day that I mention in the radio clip this Wednesday, both here on the Hannah's Hope book blog, and over at Held, sharing two different sides to the same story. I hope you will join me back here then.
In the meantime, feel free to jump on over to Held today and hear what Julie Donahue has to share about the first Mother's Day when she began to "feel infertile." Julie and I share a long history together through the launching of Hannah's Prayer Ministries and it's always a joy for me to read what God puts on her heart.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

The God Who Sees

I tried to smile and find genuine joy, but grief stole in uninvited as the tears silently streamed down my face. I struggled to breath evenly so as not to make obnoxious sniffling noises that would further shine the spotlight on this barren woman intruding on a Mother's Day service...
Please come join me over at Held to read the rest. :)

Hannah'sPrayerBlog

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Is This God's Punishment?

I think it's a question we are all prone to ask when pain stretches out and relief remains far from sight. Thank you Traci, for your beautiful take on this question as your tacked another myth of infertility!



Maybe God doesn’t want you to have kids. Maybe the babies you’ve lost had something “wrong” with them {they didn’t} and that’s why God took them. Maybe God is trying to teach you something. Maybe there is sin in your life that needs to be resolved before you’ll get pregnant. Maybe you’re not good enough to be parents... Actually, I don’t recall anyone ever saying those particular words, but I think all of the above makes you feel like you’re hearing that last one...

If you have heard any accusations like these, you will be blessed by Traci's refutes of these lies!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Nine Days of Dread?

Are you already stressing over Sunday the 8th of May? Or will you simply be glad to get past that date and all the commercials and propaganda? Yes, I'm talking about another Mother's Day.

Today over on Held, Holley Gerth is sharing a fresh perspective I pray will encourage your heart:
Mother's Day comes soon. One baby in heaven and still walking the road of infertility...

A few years ago a coworker came running up to my desk with a smile on her face and excitement in her voice. "A greeting card you wrote has been nominated for an award!"

I asked what kind of card it was. Baby Congratulations.

As she walked away, I leaned back in my chair and pondered the irony. Then it seemed God's voice whispered right in the middle of my wondering…

Please visit Holley's post, Eve's Daughters, to read the rest. She even offers a bonus link to a free download for Mother's Day encouragement.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Adoption & Pregnancy

Another great "Bust a Myth" post this week is Adopt and You Probably Still Won't Get Pregnant



Only 5-10% of parents who adopt due to infertility go on to conceive and bear children...

If we had conceived when we desperately wanted to, we would not have BB as our son. If we had conceived when we desperately tried to, BB would not have us as his parents. God knew the plans He had for us and for our firstborn son.

God also planned for LB, born one year and four days after our first, to be his little brother. He needed our DNA to make LB. He needed another man and woman's DNA to make BB. BB was not means to an end to get LB - they were both meant for us.

Life As Two

It's National Infertility Awareness Week. Have you been exploring any of the amazing blog posts going live out there in the big wide world of cyberspace to mark this event? Here's a great one on hanging onto hope when God calls your family to contentment in a life as two.



Turns out the 'we're-living-a-child-free-life' announcement is not one that most know how to deal with. I should have anticipated that, of course. What I hadn't anticipated, however, was the assumption that we were giving up. Many assumed that hope was lost... the we were beaten past our resistance point and were waving the white flag of surrender and defeat...

Monday, April 25, 2011

Hold On!

Held, the new blogging community of Hannah's Prayer Ministries is officially launching today. If you are facing infertility, pregnancy loss, infant death, adoption challenges, or are longing to support anyone in any of these circumstances, Held is written with you in mind. Please come subscribe to posts, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, submit your story, or simply read and be blessed.

Hannah'sPrayerBlog


What kind of articles would you like to see posted to a blog like this? What's your story? To what experiences and emotions can you best relate? Please share your hopes for Held and give us feedback so we can work toward making this place a blessing for you!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Tears

Does your womb (or your heart) ever feel dark and dead? Does the miraculous seem overshadowed by the bitter sting of grief? Are you looking God in the face, yet not really seeing Him though the fog of your tears?

...Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.

They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”

“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

“Woman,” he said, “why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”

Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”

Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher).

Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.

- John 20:11-18 (NIV)

What will it take to hear Jesus' words of life through your anguish? Does it feel like He's pushing you away instead, saying "Do not hold on to me," but it's too hard to hear His reasons behind what feels instead like rejection? When you try to explain your emotions to others, are you met with misunderstanding or even ridicule?

Just as Jesus is victorious over the grave, He can breath new hope into your heart too. Please join me tomorrow over at Held as God births a new ministry out of the ashes of brokenness.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Saturday Shock

Another FANTASTIC article by Kristi Bothur over at Glory and Strength:
Plenty has been said about Good Friday, the day Jesus was crucified. A day of anguish and accusations, darkness and defeat. Friday was the worst, darkest day in the disciples’ lives. All of their hopes were dashed, nailed to a cross, buried in a tomb.

And Easter Sunday – we know a lot about that. Jesus alive! The grave empty! A day of joy, hope, and miracles!

But no one talks about Saturday....


My “Good Friday” was March 9, 2009, when I realized that the baby I’d carried for 18 weeks had died. In that moment, my world ended, and I was plunged into the darkest place emotionally that I had ever been. I clung to God, desperate for His comfort and peace....


When resurrection comes, it will not erase the past. Easter Sunday did not change the fact that the crucifixion, in all of its ugliness, had happened. His followers would never forget that day. And there was no getting back to normal either. They didn’t return to their former lives of following an itinerant teacher and healer around Judea. No, they went forward into their new normal characterized by God’s power and presence in a way they had never dreamed possible.

But first, you have to get through Saturday...

Read more, this week only at Glory and Strength: Stuck in Saturday

Friday, April 15, 2011

New Blogging Community

We've all heard it from childhood. The expectation of most marriages is family growth through joyful pregnancy and birth. But what happens when those dreams don't unfold as we imagined? Often we are left feeling as though we’re in a headlong free-fall away from the protective hand of God. And not only that, sometimes it seems no one else cares or understands either.



Hannah's Prayer leadership has been praying for over a year about how to expand our ministry outreach not only to women facing fertility challenges, but also to offer tools for our friends, families, churches and loved ones who long to support us but might not be sure how. We are excited to tell you that on April 25, the day after Easter, we will be launching our newest ministry outreach, Held the blogging arm of Hannah's Prayer Ministries.

While we won't be officially "open" for 10 days yet, we would love to give you a sneak peek at what we are cooking up. You can read more about the vision of Held along with information about how you can be part of the excitement.

If you have a website, blog, Facebook page or any other way of helping us spread the word, please feel free to grab the Held button and share it around. We've got some great posts already lined up and would love to have some lots of friends ready to visit when we launch on the 25th.

Hannah'sPrayerBlog
Grab the code!


We are beyond excited to see what God's got planned for this blog, and we hope the excitement will be contagious! Please come and join us in this unfolding journey!

P.S. There's a related Facebook page as well: http://www.facebook.com/HeldBlog

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Crushed In Spirit

The recipe called for crushed rosemary, and all I had was whole. So I measured the required amount onto a plate, found a small glass with a flat bottom, and began to systematically break up and grind the dried spice into tiny little bits. As I did, I kept thinking, “This is how my heart feels.” For two years, I had been walking a road marked by illness and pregnancy loss. Two years of uncertainty, dismal diagnoses, loss, and surgery. It had broken me down, so much that I felt unrecognizable from the person I was before. The finer I crushed the spice, the more deeply it seemed to represent my crushed spirit...
Please continue this fantastic article by Kristi Bother of Naomi's Circle over at Glory and Strength. (It will only be live through the month of April.)

Monday, April 04, 2011

Pregnancy After Loss

I became pregnant with our oldest son after nearly seven years of infertility. Having already lost eight children to miscarriage or adoption losses, I knew all too well that pregnancy doesn't always mean a bring-home baby. I found myself in a moment-by-moment battle with fear. To combat these overwhelming emotions...
To read more, please visit my post, God’s Transcendent Peace, over at Glory and Strength. It will only be live for the month of April. (If you are sensitive to the mention of children, please note that our second living son is briefly mentioned in the opening of this article.)

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Belated Prayers for UK Mother's Day

I just realized this morning (Sunday morning, my time) that I missed expressing my love and prayers to all my friends in the UK that find today painful with the observation of Mother's Day. Praying that the God of all Comfort will be your strength as you navigate these emotional landmines, as I know the aftermath of Mother's Day can sometimes be just as hard as the day itself.

A UK friend pointed out that yesterday was International Pillow Fighting Day. She proposed this as a much more exciting alternative to the emotional baggage of Mother's Day. It won't cure the ache in your heart, but why not grab a pillow and take out some of your frustrations?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Retreats!!!

Did you ever wish you could sit down, face-to-face, with someone who really understands this burden? Do you know anyone in real life who has walked this painful journey ahead of you? What if you could draw away to a quiet place, as Jesus Himself did often, and reconnect with God? What if you could make new, understanding, caring friends at the same time?

Well, here are two chances to do just that! First, Hannah's Prayer Ministries is excited to introduce Holley Gerth as the keynote speaker at our upcoming infertility and pregnancy/infant loss support retreat, June 24-26, 2011 in Costa Mesa, California.

Follow this button for more details (and grab the code from my sidebar to add the button to your own page too).



Or maybe you can't wait until June to connect with others? How about joining the "First-Ever Kansas City Infertility Awareness Conference" to recognize National Infertility Awareness Week (April 24 – 30, 2011). This even has been launched by an infertility and pregnancy loss support group called "Sisters of Hannah" (not directly associated with Hannah's Prayer Ministries). The conference event will on Saturday, April 30, 2011, at North Kansas City Hospital from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The event is FREE, however, as seating is limited, registration is required. For more information regarding this event, please email kcinfertilityawareness@hotmail.com.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Cup of Tea

Sometimes it's nice just to have a little encouragement. A cup of tea can't change grief, but if I could sit down with you and talk over that steaming mug, I would. Since I can't, here's the next best thing I can think of.

Head to the Teasta tea website and choose 2 different .3 oz samples of tea ($3.15 or less, each) and add them to your cart. Then head to check out and enter coupon code TRYME to receive both packages of tea for free, including free shipping.

I am in no way affiliated with this tea website and don't know how long their offer will last. When I submitted my request, it took three tries for the order to go through because their server was so busy, but I'm a tea lover, so I figured it was worth a few minutes to give it a try.

When I placed my order, I thought of you and how I would love to listen to your story over a cup of tea, share a hug, wipe some tears and pray with you tonight. Since I can't do those things in person, I'm posting this little "pick-me-up" as I'm praying for you. Please do take the time to share your story with me in the comments here, even if I've heard it before, so we can sip our tea together. {{{hug}}}

Thursday, February 17, 2011

She Has a Name...

Sweet reflections from a family of two about the daughter that has lived in their hearts and thoughts, though she has never been conceived. Grab a tissue and head over to Life as Two.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Adoption Loss: Through the Looking Glass

I've lived Robert and Heather's story, at least their first chapters of loss, repeatedly. (God had different closing chapters for our story, but that's a topic for another day.) What I love about Through Pain and Grace Toward Redemption is a perspective from the other side of the story. Thank you Gordon Atkinson for sharing Shelby's loving and courageous journey. I've lived a lot. I've read a lot. Little shocks me anymore, but the power of these words moved me to tears as God's grace once again crashed over my heart.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Translation to Czech

Yesterday, I learned from NavPress that Hannah's Hope: Seeking God's Heart in the Midst of Infertility, Miscarriage & Adoption Loss is being translated into Czech for distribution in the Czech and Slovak Republics!!! God never ceases to amaze me!

We are anticipating a journey of somewhere between 18-24 months before the translation in complete and the Czech version is available for purchase. Please pray with me that God will allow the translation to go smoothly and to His glory. I am also praying for the hearts of the women in the Czech and Slovak Republics, that God will meet needs through these pages, the He will bring healing to broken hearts.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Free Adoption Audio Book

Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families & Churches is available as a FREE audio download today at http://christianaudio.com/adopted-for-life-russell-moore
I gave the link a try and was able to download my copy without even having to provide a credit card or other billing information.
I have not read this book for myself, but have read pretty good reviews and figure the price is right today! (I believe one reader told me that author Russell Moore takes a pretty strong stance against reproductive medicine, but as I've said, I haven't read it for myself.) Have you read Adopted for Life? I would love to hear your thoughts!