Stacie Scifres & Mallory Brown are creators of an incredible platform called The NFL Wife Handbook. On their website, they attest to the incredible opportunity to share stories from women across the league and their dependence on Christ.
“Mallory & Stacie are inviting other wives to share their God-centered stories with you – because of their divine obedience and trust, they have prevailed in some of the most difficult circumstances. Testimonies aside, you will have the chance to learn more about these amazing individuals – and see them for who they really are.”
I encourage you to visit The NFL Wife Handbook and explore stories of strong women, along with some great Bible study plans.
They can also be found on Instagram @theNFLWifeHandbook.
Mallory reached out to me, curious if I would be interested to share my story. At the time, I felt a load of transition coming on and put the sharing on pause. I finally gathered my thoughts and here is the post that can also be found under Meet the Disciples.
Who Are You?
My name is Jessica McClendon, wife to former Guard/Center offensive lineman Jacques McClendon. This crazy handsome man and I come from the same town in East Tennessee. Matter of fact, we met back in the 6th grade. A real glamorous time in the 90’s when things were real cute. (Insert sarcasm here). We both went to separate high schools and then universities. I ran cross-country at a private Christian school and he played at the University of Tennessee. Go Vols!
When Did You Become a Christian?
I accepted Christ at a young age. Growing up, my family and extended family were very religious. I remember the church family was exactly that, family. As I grew older and life came at me, I found myself distanced from the Lord, but with open arms He welcomed me back. A relationship with him has been a priority my entire life. I discovered that nurturing and maintaining my relationship with Christ will only increase my spiritual development as an individual, as a wife and as a mother.
Share a Time in Your Life When God Was the Backbone for Your Trial.
Jaques and my relationship accelerated quickly and we married in 2012. Since he had already been in the league, we picked up and started married life together in Detroit. He had been drafted to the Colts while we were dating then released and picked up by the Lions. Little did we know how our first year of sweet wedded bliss would begin with loads of changes to come.
Six months after we got married, his mom was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and things slowly started taking a turn for the worse. During all of this, he was released during camp from the Lions and bounced around until he found himself with the Atlanta Falcons. God was there, because that team was located less than two hours from our families and I was able to be with his mom when he couldn’t be. I’m happy to say she is now cancer free.
Fast forward to another move to Jacksonville, Florida. This period in our life contains some of the most amazing people and happiest memories. During the years we spent there, I got to meet lifelong friends. We were happy, things had calmed down and we decided to talk about family planning. November of 2013 we made some decision to move forward with growing our family and September the following year I was in the hospital holding our sweet newborn baby girl, Madison. Praise the Lord. Talk about the most incredible blessing. Now, note that I said September, yes, that was three games into football season, which left me alone with a newborn and a husband traveling and being gone way more than he was home. Praise be to God that I married a man like him because, despite being on the road and gone so much, he found ways to make his presence known. We had a wonderful year with a beautiful healthy little baby girl, life was good!
Now, for a twist in the story. The month before we celebrated sweet Madison on her first birthday, Jacques and I had been talking about when we wanted to grow our family even more. Madison was such a quick surprise I just knew for sure I would be pregnant immediately. Eight months passed and I started to get worried. I talked with my doctor who decided to start me on Clomid, an oral fertility medicine. We tried this medication with optimism, but I cried over negative pregnancy tests for seven more months. During all of this, we questioned if our stress was playing a role in the infertility. We questioned timing because Jacques was transitioning out the league, a career he had for almost seven years. I prayed over this man and the transition but neglected to pray for myself. Who knew that we would come to experience a time of bleakness.
November to February were some of the darkest months for family growth and for his career. Currently, he is working to find work outside the NFL and working to set himself up for success in the next chapter of his career. Meanwhile, in the land of infertility, over 22 months and multiple MRI scans, blood work, procedures and visits to our fertility doctor, we are now going in the direction of IVF. I was diagnosed with severe endometriosis. The odd thing about it is that I have no symptoms other than the current infertility. We now have decided to move forward with IVF cycles in order to grow our family. This road has been long and hard and we are only at the beginning.
As I look back over the months and years, I see God’s hand in every forged relationship. I see Him as He hand plucked people to place in my life. We have trusted that He would keep us well, keep us healthy and keep His hand in each decision we make and every path we take. I will admit, I found myself entirely too caught up in the darkness that surrounded our family over the last year. The negative thoughts, all the crying, that did nothing but hinder me from growing closer to my husband and to God.
I went on a weekend away to spend time with my best friend and to just breathe. One night during deep conversation, she looked at me and asked the most profound question. “Have you stopped being thankful for all the things you have?” And there it was. I had gone from being grateful and happy and thankful to focusing all my attention and efforts into what wasn’t. It clicked and I tried so hard to switch gears and practice better faith, because on so many occasions He has shown us that his timing is beautiful and PERFECT. I finally wrapped my head around that concept and instantly, the sky became a brighter more beautiful shade of blue. Phones started ringing and, after that time of darkness, we started to see a little light.
My husband and I have a wonderful relationship. We are lucky enough to parent the most incredible little girl. We will continue to trust in God to carry us through these next life changes and chapters of our story. We have greatly leaned on the leadership of our Pastors, Kevin and Deven Wallace, at Redemption to the Nations Church. We have leaned on friends and family, and they all have done an incredible job at reminding us to trust in the Lord!
What is Your Go To Scripture Verse and Why?
Jacques and I love to talk about the future. I can’t wait to look back and admire God’s handiwork. If you let Him, He will show you that worrying will do you no good. He will allow all things to fall into place. He will guide your path and show you the most incredible and miraculous things.
Psalm 55:22 “Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.”
As Christians, we were not rescued to be burdened. We find ourselves making the mistake of carrying the burdens that are, honestly, not ours to carry, so much that we feel a weight of responsibility that we have not been called to shoulder.
He tells us in Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
If you struggle with patience or you’re battling your own personal issues, I urge you to seek solace in Him. Literally, place your cares, your sorrows at his feet.
Feel free to follow my story or reach out to me for prayer, or even encouragement, as I post about my journey through infertility and the next phase through IVF or even possibly adoption or surgery. I am nervous to share my journey, but there are so many women who experience similar things and we are only as strong as our village.