Determination Over Defeat

Faith over Fear. Patience over Frustration. Pain with a Purpose.

If you have been following my journey towards motherhood or have read my book, Miscarried Joy, then you know that my husband and I are standing in faith and believing God for children. Three of them to be exact. With three miscarriages you can probably imagine how easy it is to become discouraged. But we choose not to be, at least most of the time. After losing three babies, I am so anxious for another positive pregnancy test, yet a bit fearful that what has already happened could happen again.

Yes, I know, fear not, be anxious for nothing and have faith. But we are being honest here. There have been moments when it’s been downright difficult to walk in faith. Today is one of those days! Lord, why aren’t I getting pregnant? I have had my tubes unblocked, taken fertility medication, changed my diet among other things, and still…no positive pregnancy test in spite of having many of the symptoms. The doctors can’t explain it and I don’t hear God telling me why either!

Fourteen! This is the number of negative pregnancy tests we have held in our hands since we were giving clearance to start “trying” again in January of 2016. It is frustrating, discouraging and overwhelming all at the same time. I can’t express what I feel when I keep praying and declaring but still no manifestation. I know God’s timing supersedes mine but I don’t want to hear that played back to me either! So what happened today? Aunt Flo showed up in the midst of my hopes that this month was the one where that “Not Pregnant” wouldn’t be displayed on the digital screen. (Sorry if this is TMI for you!) This would be the month when I could give my husband the news that he would be holding his precious bundle(s) of joy. But it wasn’t. Instead, it is another month of calling the doctor to report another negative pregnancy report.

Our desire to have children is so strong that when we encounter challenges, we allow discouragement to settle in our minds and hearts. God didn’t bless Hannah with Samuel simply because He felt compassion for her discouragement. He blessed Hannah because she cried out of a place of extraordinary faith. Sarah was certainly discouraged along her LONG journey to motherhood.

Discouragement is often the emotional response to the sufferings we experience in our lives. It is normal but we must be careful to not allow this debilitating emotion to get the very best of us. You and I are not the only ones who have felt like giving up. Our family and friends may not know what to say to us, simply because they don’t understand the pain and disappointment we feel in this journey. Job felt discouraged by his family and friends for the same reason. They just didn’t get it! Our fervent prayers to God aren’t always answered in the way we desire.

Elijah knows that feeling well. He became discouraged when his ministry didn’t produce the results he had hoped for (1 Kings 19). Peter took his focus off God while walking on the water and began to sink (Matthew 14:22-31). That’s what really happens when we allow discouragement to settle into our hearts and minds – we take our focus off the power of God and begin to hone in on our circumstances. The danger of discouragement is allowing it to linger for too long; then we consider quitting on the dream or desires in our hearts. But if we give up where we are, we will never receive the manifestation of the promises from God.

So today, I had to make a choice. The same choice I have had to make for the past fourteen months – be discouraged or be determined.

Determined to keep moving forward in the face of obstacles.

Determined to keep praying and believing.

Determined to keep confessing what we believe.

Determined to keep expecting.

Determined to place my faith over my fears.

Determined to see the manifestation of God happen in our lives.

There are days when I don’t want to be the encourager because I need some encouragement. But there are never days when I want to give up because I choose to look at this situation through a spiritual lens. Do you know what I see? I see victory. I see positive pregnancy tests. I see us holding our children. I see God carrying me through this season.

He is carrying you too. So when you feel like giving up, DON’T! When you feel like wallowing in the sea of discouragement, get out! When you just don’t want to move forward, keep going! The Israelites would have never made it to the Promised Land if they had chosen to focus on their circumstances rather than their promise.

You may not be believing God for children. Maybe you are waiting on your husband, your healing, a new job or something else.

Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.” (Deuteronomy 7:9 NIV)

So today, I chose determination over defeat! I pray that you will make that same choice through your discouraging moments. Remember this…

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“Discouragement leads to doubt and unbelief, and temporarily blinds us to the truths and power that Christ possesses.” (~Tanika Fitzgerald)

Marriage after Miscarriage FB Chat

Marriage after Miscarriage Blog (1)If you are visiting my Blog for the very first time, Welcome! I do hope that you will come back often. If you are not aware, I recently wrote and published a book that gives a brief overview of my Unexpected Journey to Motherhood. I then took a journey through the lives of barren women of the Bible and extracted lessons of faith from their lives that we should be applying to our own; not because we want a a baby but because we want to strengthen our intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.

Throughout the publishing journey, I have had the honor of interviewing with radio stations, the Harvest Show and more. One of the most popular questions I get is “Tanika, how is your husband doing?” Often, when a couple experiences a miscarriage, the focus is on the woman and the man is often forgotten. My husband and I wanted to help couples who, like us, have experienced the incredible pain of losing a children (or 3) that you looked forward to hug and kiss but was never given the chance to do so. We shared our story with transparency and provided tips for couples that will help you to grow closer rather than apart in the midst of your loss via a Live Facebook Chat

                         

Check out the video and leave any additional comments and questions you have below. We will respond to all questions. it is our prayer that we are helping couples to overcome this incredible pain and begin to walk in extraordinary faith.

You can purchase your copy of Miscarried Joy: Moving Beyond Incredible Pain to Extraordinary Faith on Amazon. You can also purchase a signed copy HERE.

 

Tools to Jumpstart 2017

Happy New Year!

This is the season of setting new goals, resolutions, reflecting and preparing for a successful year. I separated my tools into the following categories: Spiritual, Financial, Personal and Business/Ministry goals. Every year we develop goals with the intention of achieving them, but sometimes we do fail to put the actions behind our goals. In order to be successful, you have the have the right tools. I shared the tools that I am using to Jumpstart 2017 and Achieve Your Goals in my Facebook Live video.

I wanted to provide a recap and more details on the tools I am using for 2017:

Photo Credit: Cultivate What Matters Shop
Photo Credit: Cultivate What Matters Shop

Goal Setting – For the past 7 years or so, I have spent the month of December reflecting on what went well and what goals. Last year, a business partner posted that she was using Powersheets as a tool for Goal Setting and monthly tending to your yearly goals. I used this tool last year and am using it again this year. Lara Casey created an incredible tool for us to make what matters happen! You can learn more and purchase them here. The one-year workbook is sold out but the 6-month sets are available!

Photo Credit: Day Designer
Photo Credit: Day Designer

Planning & Using my Time Effectively: There are 24 hours in a day and in order to achieve our goals, we must use our time effectively. In order to do so, I must write everything down – and I do mean everything. I had tried multiple planners and it seems that the Day Designer works best for me. I use the Flagship size because I have room to write everything down. It gives me a fresh start to my day and I can create a new “to-do” list everyday. Check it out and purchase it here. If you prefer to plan monthly or weekly, check out my other favorite planner, The Passion Planner. I like the durability, compact size (they offer a larger size as well) and fun designs of this one.

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Photo Credit: Shereadstruth.com

My 2017 Spiritual Goals include being intentional with spending time with God daily (Rise, Worship, then Grind). In 2016, I went through the Sparking Gems Devotional (loved it!), but this year God has instructed me to only read the Word during my quiet time. This morning, I downloaded the She Reads Truth app. It provides Bible reading plans along with some in-depth commentary about the reading plan. For the month of January, I am focused on the Book of John. My husband and I are committed to studying God’s Word at a much deeper level. To help us do this, we ordered the Life Application Bible Commentary New Testament Set. If you want to really dive into books of the Bible, check out this resource. We are SO excited about it!

Personal Development is key and reading is a great strategy to help in this area. I am committed to reading one spiritual or personal development book per month. Here are the ones that are on my list for the first quarter of 2017. I use the Audible so that I can listen to books during my commute to/from work or at my desk while I am working on other things.

everydollar_laptop_phoneFinancial Responsibility is important for success! For 2017, Maurice and I are continuing to track every penny we spend through the Every Dollar App created by Dave Ramsey. We love it because you can log into the same account on multiple devices and all the information is synced. Plan your monthly budget, track your actual spending and make adjustments as needed. We love it and I think you will too! Download the app to your iPhone or AndroidSign up HERE for your free basic account. Enjoy!

Create a Holiday Savings Account: Am I the only one who spends more than I planned during the holidays? Well, no more! This year my husband and I decided on a different approach. We have determined an amount we will set aside each month. At tsavings-holidayhe end of the year, the money in this account will be used for hosting holiday parties and shopping for our friends and loved ones. This will prevent us from going over budget and will alleviate any financial stress that comes along with the holidays. You can choose your current bank and start a regular Savings account. Tip: Set up a direct deposit from your check so that the money never hits your hands!

Photo Credit: Nike
Photo Credit: Nike

Health & Wellness is a key goal for 2017 and beyond. We must remain healthy in order to achieve the purpose and callings God has placed on our lives. We joined Lifetime Fitness again (I have always loved this place!) and I will be intentional about working out at least  3 days a week. I love group fitness classes but my schedule does not always allow me to attend. That is why I LOVE the Nike+ Training App. It is like having a Personal Trainer in your pocket! It gives you hundreds of workouts at the intensity level that works for you. Download it to your iPhone or Android device!

As part of our wellness regiment, we detox daily, Cleanse monthly, take a Probiotics tablet daily in addition to our multivitamins. Some of my favorite products that help us in our Health & Wellness journey are these. All of them are available for purchase in my shop herefullsizerender-6

  • Greens on the Go: the natural blend of ingredients in Greens is designed to help alkalize the body, restore pH balance, and support the immune system for overall health and wellness.With the natural detoxifying properties of Matcha Green Tea and a complex blend of 34 different varieties of fruits and vegetables, Greens delivers the best nutrients to support your body’s natural detoxification and help your body to naturally cleanse and balance for a healthier you.
  • Probiotic to aid in our digestive health and balance out that bad bacteria by restoring the good!
  • We Cleanse monthly using a gentle two-day herbal cleanse that helps your body reset and rebalance itself so you can feel and look your best!

Tips for Success in 2017

  • Pray about your goals before you write them down. Out of sight is often equivalent to out of mind.
  • Put a why (your motivation) behind each goal. Your why should make you cry and move you to put action behind your faith!
  • Allow God to change your goals throughout the year. After all, our plans should align with His.
  • Be effective with your time!
  • Give yourself grace and remember that perfection is not attainable (this is a tip for me).

Please share this Blog on your Social Media pages. Spread the wealth! Here’s to a prosperous and productive 2017! Leave your comments below to let me know which of these tools you will be using!

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Pushing Through the Pain

fullsizerender-5“Discouragement leads to doubt, unbelief, and temporarily blinds us to the truths and power that Christ possesses.” (~Tanika Fitzgerald)

Discouraged! That is an accurate description of how I felt when I woke up this morning. The time on my phone was 5:32am and thoughts of “What’s wrong with me? Why aren’t I getting pregnant?” began to run through my head. So guess what I did. I ran a Google search of “causes of infertility”. Now I can’t even count the amount of times I have done this throughout this journey I am in the midst of and I know that Satan’s doubt was probably leading me to do this today. Since I have shared my journey with all of you, I have been privileged to speak into the lives of other women who have encountered the same challenges or those who are still in the midst of this waiting journey. It has been a blessing and honor to be used by God to help others who have miscarried anything they are still waiting on God to manifest. Some may say, “Tanika, you wrote the book Miscarried Joy: Moving Beyond Incredible Pain to Extraordinary Faith, so why would you be discouraged? The answer is because I am human. Satan is now going to attack my mind and feelings in a greater way because of this particular task God has called me to walk out.

Instead of continuing search after search on Google, I got out the bed, went into a room in our home and spent time with God, alone. This morning was one of those times when I had to push through my own pain. I opened two books that I knew would be able to help me push through this – The Bible and the book I wrote, Miscarried Joy. Yes, what God placed in me to share with other women ministered to my very soul this morning!

In the spirit of transparency, let me share with you what I wrote to God in my prayer journal this morning. I pray that you are encouraged by it:

Good morning Father! Today I feel grateful, rested and am so excited about what You are doing in this season of my life. I am excited about the ministry You have allowed me to walk in. I feel blessed to help other women who are also waiting in faith or those trying to heal from the loss of their Miscarried Joy. I feel honored that You have chosen me. But today, I also feel a bit challenged in my thinking as it relates to having children. Thoughts of “what’s wrong” have been running through my head. So I had to come into the Holy Presence of my Father to take those thoughts captive and to renew my mind. Rather than spending time searching for natural remedies of what might (=doubt) be wrong, I will come to Your altar to pray for spiritual solutions. God, I know You will bless us to conceive and birth healthy children. Lord, I receive healing in my body now. I decree that any physical thing that is keeping us from conceiving be broken today. I decree total restoration in my mind. I shall not for one second doubt the promises that You’ve given me. I will not allow the enemy to cast doubt in my thoughts. Instead, I will remember what Your Word tells me about faith – it is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not yet seen. So I won’t throw away my confidence; it will be richly rewarded. I must persevere so that after I have done Your will in this very hard place in my life, we will receive the 3 babies that we desire. I will not shrink back because you will not be pleased. 

When the enemy attacks my mind, I immediately run to my secret place, My Shiloh – the sweet presence of God. Then, I went to the book God downloaded in me and read this:

Discouragement is often the emotional response to the sufferings we experience in our lives. It is normal but we must be careful to not allow this debilitating emotion to get the very best of us. You and I are not the only ones who have felt like giving up. The first step to overcoming discouragement is to be totally honest and transparent with God. He knows our hearts and every thought that enters our minds. It won’t do you any good to pretend that your anger, frustration, disappointment or fears don’t exist. Tell God about every single feeling you have and ask Him to heal your hurts, fill your voids, erase your fears and help you to rest in knowing that His plan is perfect and so is His timing. I don’t like waiting, but in this I have no choice. When I emptied my heart to God, he began to strengthen my faith in Him day by day. God allowed me to see my trial as a source of joy and an opportunity to know Him in a way that I have never known Him before. I am reminded of the encouragement that James gives when he says,

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” ( James 1:1-4 NKJV)

Troubles in life are inevitable. Your decisions drive the outcome of your circumstance. You don’t have to pretend to be happy, but you do need to have a positive outlook on the situation. You may not have a baby yet, but you will. You may have had to experience loss, but soon you will experience great gains. Troubles can produce a lot in our lives, but only if we persevere in the face of opposition. Ask God what He wants you to learn from this situation you are facing. Ask Him how He wants to use your story for His glory. I, like you, am still waiting on the babies I know God promised me. But while I am in waiting, I am using my pain for a purpose – to encourage you. The depth of our character is revealed by how we respond under pressure. It’s easy to be cheerful when all is going well, but will we still trust God when life just doesn’t seem fair? We overcome discouragement by the power and truth of God’s Word.

Discouragement is a trick and trap of the enemy. Let’s move beyond it when it comes, because it will. I pray that my transparency is a true blessing to you. It is not always easy to share the intimate pieces of this journey, but if I touch just one person, God’s will is being done through me!

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To purchase your signed copy of Miscarried Joy, visit www.miscarriedjoy.com – You can also download the first chapter for FREE!

My Unexpected Journey to Motherhood

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“I’m so sorry! We can’t seem to find a heartbeat.”

I remember those words being spoken to me in the cold ultrasound room on that rainy November day.  A day that began with much excitement and expected celebration ended in disappointment, stolen joy and incredible pain. Though this was the third angel baby that we were gaining, the words didn’t lessen the pain. In fact, it was amplified, followed by so many questions. Not questions I expected the ultrasound technician nor the doctor to answer. I needed some answers from God in that exact moment. I needed Him to answer these questions for me:

“Why me, God?”

“Why is this happening again?”

 “What am I supposed to do now that my faith is dwindling?”

“When are You going to give us our hearts’ desire?”

“God, have You forgotten about us?”

“What have we done to deserve this kind of pain?”

After hearing those words again, tears filled my eyes and the unexplainable joy we had in the prior weeks turned into an unexplainable pain. This isn’t quite the journey I was expecting. What happened to “first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage?!” Wouldn’t that have been the perfect plan? That was how I thought my life would go, but clearly God allowed another plan to manifest. A plan where my pain dropped me right in the middle of my purpose. It wasn’t the journey I was hoping for and it certainly isn’t one I would choose to travel. When you start along a journey, most times you know the final destination but you may not know the intermittent stops along the way. I never ever thought I would run into bumps and bruises along the path to motherhood. In fact, a smooth sailing ride without any detours is what I had in mind. But clearly, God’s plan was different (and of course bigger) than anything I could have imagined on my own.

After spending time in the quiet, still and peaceful presence of God, I learned that God was not the cause of our miscarriages. I was reminded of Job’s story (because I certainly felt like him).

“Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. And the Lord said to Satan, “From where do you come?” So Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.”

Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?”

So Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!”

And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.” (Job 1:6-12 NIV)

Satan was the cause of Job’s pain, suffering and losses but God allowed the test. In the end, Job never cursed God! He never stopped trusting that even in the midst of such pain, God would deliver him from it. Job’s life has been my ultimate reminder that every pain has a purpose.

God has brought me into a season that is so incredibly tough. I am talking stuck between a rock and a hard place type of tough. Not only has He allowed me to walk in and through this season, but He has also instructed me to share with people all over the world. The past year or so has been filled with great joy, celebrations, fun and creating lots of memories. There have been moments when I was so in awe of God and honestly, there were others when I went back to wondering if God was the cause of my pain. Even in those moments, I clung to Him because I knew that only His hand could heal my hurting heart. I was certain then, as I am now, that only God could put the pieces of my broken heart back together.

If you follow me on Social Media or even have some knowledge of my life, then the events above are probably news to you. Losing three babies has been the most incredible pain I’ve had to endure in my lifetime. I never fathomed that miscarriages and fertility challenges would be a part of my journey. It never dawned on me that it would be difficult to conceive and carry a child to full-term. Nope, that was never supposed to be Tanika. But I have learned that because I am a child of Jesus Christ, my life is not my own.

I don’t get to choose my peaks, valleys nor the mountains I am forced to climb or move through prayer. I have to accept everything that God allows to come into my life. Does it feel good? I don’t think I need to answer that. Has it made me doubt God at times? You bet it has.

But I know that the pain we have experienced has a very specific purpose in our lives, for His glory and to encourage and help others who share similarities of my story. In my life, most things have come very easy for me. I have never really had to work extremely hard for most things in my life. But God has brought me to a place where I know I will have to war spiritually to conceive and birth naturally. This current season of my life is one that is developing my character and bringing me into a greater depth of intimacy with God that I have yearned to have for so long. It is allowing me to experience God as a comforter when no one else can comfort me. It has been continuously displaying His great love for me in the midst of incredible pain. It is equipping me to build a prayer life that truly moves mountains out of the way. It is teaching me to choose my words carefully and confess only what I believe. Most of all, I now understand the power in focusing on what God is able to do regardless of the current physical circumstances.

Have I had those moments when I thought about giving up? Yes! Have I had moments when it seemed like it was happening for everyone except me? More times than I can count!

Do I still have moments when I doubt that what my husband and I desire will manifest in the earth? No, not anymore!

Why not? Because I know and understand God in a much deeper way than I did a year ago. The enemy has attempted to mess with my peace, but he will never be able to steal my joy. Sharing this was a very hard thing for me to do. In fact, I wrote this blog a couple of weeks ago and am just now pushing the “post” button to tell the “world”. I am walking in obedience to what God has instructed me to do and now I am excited to share the intimate details of my story with you over the coming weeks.

If you, like me, are a mommy-in-waiting, I share your pain and I feel your emotions. I want you to know that you are not alone on this journey although it may feel that way at times. God has not forgotten about you and guess what, He is not the cause of your pain though He has allowed it to come into your life.

Every pain has a purpose. Yes, even this pain.

There are millions of women like you and me – women that are in a waiting season to become moms. These women are lovers of Christ and none of us feel like we deserve what is taking place in our lives. But you must learn not to dwell on what has happened (or not happened yet) and instead put your focus on what God is able to do.

But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing”

(James 1:4 NKJV).

Your time is coming. My time is coming. Our blessings are coming. We are going to take this journey together and I am so excited about what God is about to do in all of our lives as we come together in prayer and faith!

Please come and visit the Blog at least weekly for new Blog posts along this journey. I will share what I have learned through this experience and how my relationship with Jesus Christ has moved me from a place of incredible pain to now walking in extraordinary faith. I pray that you will take this journey with me. Share this blog with women who may be in the midst of this same season. Let’s connect in prayer and faith…together. There is so much that we are going to do as a community of moms-in-waiting! Stay tuned!

One more thing…the details of my book are coming REALLY REALLY SOON!

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