Jumaine and Dafnette Jones are speakers, authors, and leaders. They have been speaking to audiences for over 20 years, both individually and as a couple. When we asked them about their love story, Dafnette & Jumaine share how they met through a mutual acquaintance…by accident. And, what started out as a friendship, ended up in courtship and the two were married in March of 2005.
We first discovered Jumaine and Dafnette through a video that they shared on Facebook. They’ve turned their test into a testimony that is sure to encourage so many couples that are currently in “the waiting room.”
BMWK: What was it that led you to writing the book, The Waiting Room: Choosing to Thrive When Life Hurts
Dafnette: It was very difficult because when you’re waiting, sometimes you have those moments of, “I’m ok” and others like “Lord, have you forgotten about me?”
It became challenging to write it and sometimes even to read what I had written and needed to reapply to myself. It was really a fight just to get through and finish the book. But it was like the Holy Spirit said, “You have to do this.”
Photo Credit: M. Shonell Photography, copyright 2017
BMWK: You decided to share your story while you were still in the “waiting room”; while you were still waiting on God to bless you with a child. What was the biggest challenge with doing that?
Dafnette: Clinging to a promise; one that you really feels like “Ok, God is going to bless us with children?” But you don’t know the outcome, so putting that promise out there was a challenge.
And also it’s very personal, for me as a female. You get married, and our bodies should be producing offspring, but it’s not. It wasn’t. And you’re surrounded by others, where family is a theme – marriage and having children. You’re constantly in these environments where people are talking about family, talking about children, talking about “be fruitful and multiply”. You fixate on this child that you haven’t had. So that was very difficult to talk about.
I think that’s why God needed me to write the book to encourage His people. You can live your life and accomplish things while waiting (whatever it is that you’re waiting for).
When you’re dealing with fresh disappointment upon disappointment, it’s really hard to smile and rejoice, but you just have to.
You can live your life and accomplish things while waiting…
Jumaine: One of the biggest challenges is while you hope, and you cling to God’s promises, you never know when God will do it. You know that God can, but you don’t always know if God will. Or if He does, when He will do it. And even, sometimes, as a leader, wanting to encourage her [Dafnette], but not always having the right words to say. Sometimes as a husband you want to fix a situation, you just want to take it away.
I realized that this was a situation that I couldn’t fix. I couldn’t do anything about it. As I look back, it was like wow! It was Dafnette’s sharing our journey before God that allowed us to become pregnant.
In writing the book, Dafnette was just being honest and transparent and saying, “This is what we’re going through right now.”
BMWK: How would you say this waiting period affected your marriage? What lesson did you have to overcome in this period of your marriage?
Dafnette: Mutual encouragement because there would be times when I was really down and I’m asking, “Do you believe He’s going to give us children?” And he had to give me an honest response in the moment, like “I don’t know” or “maybe” or “yeah” and then we’d flip back and forth.
Jumaine: One of the things that we talked about was just trying to maximize the stage that we were in at the time. We said “Ok, we are praying that God will bless us with children.” But until then, let’s just take advantage of opportunities to travel or have a more flexible schedule to pour into our marriage. We went on missions trips. We didn’t want to press the pause button on our marriage, waiting for a child.
We’re able to look back over the past 10 years and say you know what, we were able to take advantage of some opportunities to both impact others and to enjoy our marriage.
BMWK: Tell us about the moment you discovered that you were pregnant and that moment was like?
Dafnette: I think I had a sense of disbelief. I was so used to getting “no, you’re not pregnant”. When the nurse called [after getting bloodwork done], she gets on the phone and she sounds the way she normally sounds. I was just ready to cry. I was fully anticipating bad news. So we get the call, the nurse said, “Well, I want to give you your results…I want to tell you you’re pregnant.” I’m in disbelief and Jumaine burst out crying. I’m thinking, “Ok, so what do I do now? When do I come in for more blood work to see if the levels are going up?” And then when we called my parents, I just started crying. “We’re pregnant!” I had been bracing myself for another disappointment.
M. Shonell Photography, copyright 2017
BMWK: Dafnette turned in the manuscript for her book, The Waiting Room, in November, and they got the call that she was pregnant the first week of December 2015. They had their baby girl on July 14, 2016.
Shortly after giving birth, Dafnette nearly lost her life due to losing over half of her blood volume and then being in a medically induced coma. Three weeks later, she had a pulmonary embolism but got to the hospital in time for them to treat it. She said, she could definitely write another book about her post-delivery experience. To this, Dafnette says: “To God be the glory I’m actually here to be a mother. Not just give birth.”
Jumaine: One of the things that was crucial for us through this whole journey is the importance of having a strong support system and people who can pray with you and be an encouragement to you. It’s something that we both needed.
Dafnette: They’re getting pregnancy news, and we still had to be a good a friend. And then it was a blessing too that I had friends who even gave me permission to miss the big moment in their life because they knew what was healthiest for me, and allowed me to support in other ways.
BMWK: Having to answer questions about why you don’t have kids must’ve been difficult. Looking back, what would have helped and supported you instead of making you feel inadequate for not being able to have children?
Dafnette: There are times people could sense something was up, so they’d approach us with “Can I ask you a question?” And sometimes I’d know that at least they thought enough to ask me a question. Sometimes just start with, “Do you want children?” Or maybe, “Is there something I could pray with you about?” Each person is different. For some people, it may not bother them as much or they may want to talk about it. Some people may not, so asking simple questions like these would be helpful.
Making jokes, and making light of the situation because you don’t know what to say, can sometimes be more hurtful. In the church community, around people in leadership positions, or speaking from platforms, just acknowledging that there may be people in the room who don’t have children but would like to. Sometimes that made me more receptive to a speaker when they said things like that. It really helped me in environments where people acknowledged that. Everybody in the room may not be a parent, or some may be going through difficulty.
BMWK: What are some of the best marriage lessons that you have learned along the way?
Dafnette: Pray together, and be honest. There may be decisions you need to make and sometimes you may not be on the same page. But don’t dismiss your spouse’s wishes. About a year beforehand, God led us to a decision to go ahead and pursue treatment. I was feeling like “I really don’t want to do this”. But we prayed together and I felt God motion my heart because clearly it was important to my husband.
And lo and behold, that’s what God allowed to work. Remain committed to one another. Jumaine and I knew foremost that we would remain committed to our marriage and one another no matter the outcome of our fertility journey.
Honor one another while in the waiting room. When we’re tired, frustrated, and discouraged we must be especially careful to honor and affirm one another.
Jumaine: Take time to invest in your romance as a couple. One of the things that Dafnette and I have done is being committed to having weekly date nights. In addition to that, we do quarterly getaways where we go somewhere close.
Going through a situation like this, or any challenging situation, takes so much out of your marital bank account. If you’re not making those regular deposits, it can create challenges. Make sure you take time to do that once a week, or as often as you can – going out for dinner, going to see a movie, going out having fun.
It reminds us as couples that life is bigger than the challenge that we’re facing. As I look back over those 10 years, those were 2 of the things that were crucial in keeping us going.
BMWK: Jumaine and Dafnette serve at The Bridge, a multi-ethnic, multi-generational church in Silver Spring, MD, where Jumaine is the Lead Pastor and Dafnette is the Spiritual Growth Director. They enjoy traveling, reading, spending time outdoors, photography, and consider themselves “foodies.” They are passionate about seeing people grow and thrive in all areas of life. As a result, their teaching and writing address practical issues and struggles. They have been married for almost 12 years and are the proud parents of a new baby girl. If you’re interested in connecting with Dafnette and Jumain Jones, and learning more about The Waiting Room, you can connect with them on Twitter (Daffnette, Jumaine), and online at DafnetteJones.com
Please join us in thanking Jumaine and Daffnette for being so open and transparent in sharing their testimony that will give so many couples encouragement while in the waiting room.