"For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace"

Monday, June 18, 2012

our story

“Oh magnify the LORD with me and let us exalt His name together”
(psalm 34:3)

“For this child I prayed, and the LORD has granted me my petition that I made to him"
(1 Samuel 1:27)

Yes, that is us in the picture and it does mean that I am pregnant and we are expecting a baby in December! December 25 or 26th that is. Yes, I know that is Christmas. At first I had pretty mixed emotions, “Their birthday will be overshadowed for their whole life” but then really in the scheme of things it can be a really neat thing & we will cross that bridge when we get to it. What we really care about is having a healthy baby, so if that means delivering on Christmas day, then praise Jesus!!

The journey to here hasn’t been the easiest. I wrestled with even sharing it, but Seth and I both agreed when we started this blog that we wanted to be transparent and the only thing holding me back from sharing our journey would be my own pride.
Everyone has their own story, none is better or worse than another’s- just different…this is our story. So in that case, here goes…

We were like a lot of newly married couples and talked about “when we were going to have kids”. We started off saying “2 years into our marriage”…2 years came quick, so we bumped it to 3 years. That was when we thought we’d be saying in IL to have little ones. Once we joined FamilyLife and knew we were going to be moving for a year (at that time we only thought we would be gone one year) we decided to wait to start a family. Last July we went to a Staff Conference for Cru out in Colorado. One morning I was doing some quiet time and talking with God and all of a sudden I heard him tell me that we are supposed to start trying for a family next month (august). I talked back and said “no way God, that doesn’t fit with ‘our plan’ because I wanted to be by family when we had kids” and the persistent answer I got was “Trust me”.

 Honestly….it really wasn’t just the fear of being away from family. The truth is, I didn’t want to start trying for fear that it might not be possible for me to get pregnant. I didn’t want to face that pain or impending trial. I didn’t want to go through that, I didn’t feel brave enough or strong enough. I wanted it to come easy. But in the back of my mind I knew God was wanting to teach me something and that terrified me. I didn’t want God to teach me anything else, I knew everything I needed to know- right?! Haha, right Angela. I asked God if this was going to be  really hard & emotionally painful but I only heard “Trust me”.
Trust Him. Okay, I could do that, I mean the good LORD has carried me through much else, I could surely take a month or two of trusting Him in this journey, right??

 I shared all of this with Seth and he told me to not be afraid and to not worry about something I didn't even know if it would be a trial. I tried whining and complaining that I just reaaaally didn’t want this to be one of those trials, you know, the kind that you can’t wait to see the end of?

So began the journey and let me tell you, I had a lot of work to be done to my heart. Who would’ve thought that God would use something like trying for a baby to tear down some of my strongholds and inaccurate thoughts of Him? At first it wasn’t so hard, the disappointment, the “better luck next month”, etc. But then it got hard. The pain of discouragement, hopelessness, “what’s wrong with me?”, “is God punishing me?”, “I just want to quit”, and on and on. It’s an emotional rollercoaster month after month and as much as I tried staying hopeful and positive, it was not fun. Just to be honest. I started convincing myself that I needed to do something to please God OR that I wasn’t doing something good enough. Guess what I learned throughout this journey- neither one of those are true and neither one of those reflect the character and heart of our God. I was shocked to realize how many lies I had been believing and how easy it was to believe them, it was almost, in a weird way, some sort of comfort- because I if I could blame “something” as the problem then I could fix it, or so I wanted to think at times. God helped me sort through how wrong that thinking is. Whew. I didn’t think that this would turn into such a spiritual refinement. And I am still in the process.

Anyways. On the medical side of things, I went to a doctor here and she talked to me about starting a pill to help me become pregnant. Part of me thought that was a great idea and another part of me didn’t know if I was ready for that yet & didn’t quite have a peace about it (disclaimer: I fully believe you should do whatever God leads you to do and taking a pill is NOT a bad thing so don’t hear me say that  AT ALL through this!). Later that same day I had an appointment with a chiropractor. Don’t ask me why I thought a chiropractor would be able to help me, in fact I didn’t think that she would, I thought the idea was kinda crazy. But I went because it was an open door and a free consultation so what did I have to lose? She told me she could help me and was so full of hope and excitement that I decided to give that a try and hold off on the pill for now. We changed our diet quite a bit and went whole food. We used a lot of organic produce and meat without hormones added to it. We cut down a lot on grains/wheat and sugars (haha, however once I started getting morning sickness all this went out the window and I started craving my childhood foods- pizza rolls, potatoes, and mac n cheese- good old comfort foods). I can’t & won’t say that going to the chiropractor is what got us pregnant. It is purely up to God and His timing, but I do believe He uses tools and people to accomplish His plans sometimes. I don’t think it was one specific thing.

The day I took the test I was pretty nervous and pretty doubtful at the same time. I mean, heck, after you take so many negatives, what’s one more?? It’s an emotional rollercoaster, that’s what it is!! So I took the test and started walking out of the bathroom before I even waited for results, I just figured it was negative…but as I was walking out I noticed something that’s never been there before—two lines. Now it doesn’t take a nurse to figure out what that means…but even as a nurse I doubted what that meant. I think I ran in and out of the bathroom about 20 times in pure shock. My thoughts went something like this… “Me? Pregnant? Seriously?! No way. But maybe, I mean there are two lines! But maybe the test was a false positive (really, Angela??). No I think it’s really real! Oh my word, I’m pregnant! What do I do? I have to tell Seth!” I ran around a few more times and then texted Seth I needed him to come home, but he was in meetings and couldn’t & frankly I think he was a little baffled that I needed him to come home so urgently during a work day. So I went shopping and bought a onesie to surprise him with. I made him a card that said congratulations daddy & set it all out on the table. When he got home from work later, he took one look at the card and said “are you kidding me?!” “nope!!”. He picked me up & spun me around. I loved his genuine & authentic excitement!

In the middle of the journey, I didn’t see an end and I thought it would be like this forever. I wrestled a lot with God and journal-ed out my feelings a lot. If you are going through something similar I would recommend journaling and being honest before God with what you are feeling and where you are at. He met with me countless time after time speaking His true promises to me so I could hang on to them and have hope in Him alone. He didn’t want me to hope in the doctor or in the chiropractor or in a diet change or in anything we thought might help….He wanted my heart to hope fully in Him that He is a good God and He has the perfect plans and the perfect timing for our lives. He didn’t want me to compare my life to a friend’s or a stranger’s or even to worry if it was possible. He wanted all of my trust and He wanted all of my faith to be in Him. It was a daily give-it-over-to-God. A daily surrender. He wanted to be more than enough for me- He wanted to be all that I needed. He also taught me that nothing is impossible for Him and that if I call to Him, cry out to Him, that He will tell me great and unsearchable things that I couldn’t even imagine! Why would I put my hope in something on this earth when God was up to something far greater than I could comprehend? So what started as a journey of being terrified and dreading what was potentially ahead turned into something so beautiful that only God could do. He took a trial and peeled back some of my layers of doubt, misconceptions of Him, strongholds, and even idols in my life and revealed His pure and perfect love for me and taught me how to trust that no matter what He is good and has good plans for His children…and it’s all in His timing & His ways. It’s still a hard concept to grasp when you’re going through something. I’m sure the next time I’m in a trial I will struggle with understanding His timing, but I have this look back at and remember that He never left my side, He continued to whisper great and precious promises to me, and He loves me. We can’t let our experiences skew our view of who God is- He doesn’t change- He is who He says He is in His Word and He will always be. He’s got a love for us that is far deeper and far purer and far more passionate than anything we can even imagine.

I think this may be long enough. I could write and write what I’ve learned, but you get the idea.

Also, I was listening to this song the other day as I was reflecting on God’s faithfulness throughout my life & specifically this journey and figured if it could help me, I know it could help someone else too…It can relate to any trial you’ve gone or are going through...big or small…whether you have been deployed, lost a loved one, final exams, infertility issues, marriage struggles, disease or sickness, bad days, difficult employers, disciplining children, and the list goes on! So for whatever you are or have or will go through- this song is for you! (Matt Redman- Never Once)

I do have to confess that when my parents, my brother & his family, and Seth’s parents came to visit- I intentionally left out some pictures on my blog because that is when we told them all we were pregnant, so now I’ll reveal the pictures.

 Telling our family: It couldn't have worked out better! We already had planned for my parents to come the first weekend of may, then for my brother & his fam, and then for seth's parents...all of this was planned before we knew we were pregnant. I had always wanted to tell our families in person, if possible, and God was so good to let us tell some of our family in person! We made these shirts- "Mom & Dad" and walked out in them...let's just say they were all surprised :). For our niece, instead of us wearing our shirts, we put her in a shirt that said "cousin to be" and waited to see when jake & jen would notice, it didn't take long :)! We were able to skype with everyone else in our family, which was awesome!!
                      My parents- It was soo fun to tell them in person!!! Their reactions were priceless!

                                The shirt we made for Kylie Jo...we took her out in public in it- a little risky because we hadn't told anyone else yet, but she was so stinkin cute in it :) 

                                                      The awesome weber family & baby # 2 on the way!

    Seth's parents- we told them the same way we told my parents & it was sooo fun to see their reactions & celebrate with them in person!

That's our baby!

Thanks for sharing in the journey with us! We look forward to what's ahead and know we have a lot to learn :)!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Mom & Dad B visit!

About a week ago Seth's parents came down to visit us! We were so excited to have them here and show them around, since we know a lot more about the city since they were last here when they moved us in! It worked out perfectly that they could be here to celebrate Seth's birthday with us. They got in on Thursday- which was Seth's bday, so we made his favorite- spaghetti with homemade avanti's bread, green beans, fruit salad, and a simple lettuce salad. I asked him what kind of cake he wanted and he said poke cake (white cake with jello poured in it and a pudding/whipped topping icing). We opened presents and hung out together, it was a fun day!
We had so much fun with them- we took them to Pinnacle Mountain State Park, did some shopping, went to the big dam bridge, went out to eat at some fun new places neither Seth or I had tried yet, took them to our church, went swimming, played some games and did lots of talking! We tried to do as much as possible because we wanted to make the most of our time with them!
We were so sad to see them go- again, goodbyes still aren't getting easy. I can't believe how fast the weekend went but we had so much fun together!

Here's a few pictures of our weekend together:
Seth got birthday cards from Dayne & Maggy in the mail :)

                                          Yes this is a helicopter. for adults. Over Christmas Seth kept saying how
                                          much he wanted to get one of my brothers this for a present and then he
                                          kept hinting that he really liked it. well, he was pretty happy to open it.

He found this book @ a bookstore here and kept talking about it, hint taken :)

                                       Haha, so we were recently invited to a really awesome 7 year old's b-day party and
                                       what else did we get him except the obvious- legos! Seth was pretty jealous and
                                       wanted some of his own (I think many of you guys can relate to never growing
                                       out of legos). SO I got him a starter pack which i'm sure we will keep adding to, haha.
27 candles!!

                                           We took Mom & Dad to the Big Dam Bridge (if you ever visit us, it's the
                                           must-take-every-visitor-to-spot) It is the longest pedestrian walking bridge in the US
                                           built for that purpose and it's on top of a dam so it's pretty fun to watch.

                                                        They are watching a boat go through. I don't know
                                                        what all the technical terms are, haha.
                                                             Mom & Dad B at the bridge!

                                                        Mom was giving me sewing lessons by hand &
                                                        on my machine!! I loved it!

                                           The guys did a project- they built us this awesome shelf
                                           in our kitchen!!

Again, we had a blast and can't wait for y'all to come back and visit again!!

Friday, June 1, 2012

are we incurable fantics?

(info may be sensitive to some)

Most of us have at least heard of human trafficking. It can be easy to turn our heads the other way and think that something so atrocious couldn't possibly be happening, maybe even in our own towns. But it is. It is happening right here in Little Rock and most likely right where you live too. Girls are being sold for sex. against their will, day after day for years. They are trapped, threatened, beat, and brutally assaulted. When did this start to become okay in the world? When did hearts get so hard that this has become a living for people?

It makes my hands ache to even type this and it's hard to press the keys to even write what I need to say. But I need to say it.

About 3 years ago we were introduced to the subject. Much to my ignorance and naivety I did not even know this was happening before then. How could something so awful, so unimaginable be going on for years and I didn't even have a clue it existed? It is such a hidden and secret crime, but thankfully in the past few years many abolitionists are rising up to take a stand against this and to get the word out to people like us who maybe just didn't even know something so terrible was happening. Once you know, really know, you can't forget. You can't forget about the 27 million people that are enslaved around the world or the two million children involved in the commercial sex trade. And these people are more than a statistic, they are a precious human life.

To say that I have a tornado of emotions surrounding this subject would be an understatement. I've never wanted to do something so badly yet felt so helpless at the same time. My heart screams "it's unfair, unjust!" and I struggle to know what to do. I sometimes get this "i'm going save the world" thought process going and try to figure out how I can free them. I can't. I can do nothing on my own. Apart from God, my feeble attempts and hopes for these girls are nothing. I have to remind myself that God is their God too and He loves them with an everlasting love and wants to redeem their lives.
But yet they are still trapped in this prison day after day. I have a hard time understanding these things sometimes.

I recently bought a documentary called Nefarious, Merchant of Souls. It's a documentary on sex trafficking around the world and yes, here in the US. It. is. so. hard. to. watch. It will break you heart, it will enrage you with anger at times, it will leave you speechless. But we have to educate ourselves, we CANNOT ignore this "fastest growing criminal industry in the world". Did you know that parents sell their own children to a pimp so that through sex they will make their parents a healthy wage...and what's EVEN WORSE is many of the fathers don't work, and not because they can't find a job but because they depend on their daughter's income and they sit around all day doing nothing while their daughter is being unbelievably abused day after day. Did you know that the average age of entry into commercial sex slavery in the UNITED STATES is 13??? Did you know 80-90% of families are selling their daughters in certain countries?

I don't want to believe it. And sometimes I wish I didn't know because it's so painful. But I can't ignore what I know. I can't. After we watched the movie, I just wept for a while. I have heard alot of this information before, but when you hear their stories and see their faces, it's not just another fact. It's a human life. Yes you might be emotionally heightened after watching the movie, but beware those emotions will dissipate when you go to bed and wake up and go about normal life, after a few days or weeks it's easy to forget or to dismiss those thoughts. But don't let yourself. I'm not saying to drown yourself daily in a wave of despair, i'm asking that you don't forget this evil and to hope in a God who redeeming people to Himself!

There is hope. Because God is God. Because girls are being rescued and brothels are being discovered. But it's a hard and slow process at times. It's a very dangerous thing at times. What can you do? Ask God how He wants to use you in this. Pray pray pray. Educate yourself. But please don't ignore this injustice, this terrible, unfathomable evil. It's more than a wordly battle, it's a spiritual battle.

William Wilberforce, who fought slave trade and slavery in 1800's said this:
"If to be feeling alive to the sufferings of my fellow-creatures is to be a fanatic,
  I am one of the most incurable fanatics ever permitted to be at large"

For more information on Nefarious, visit www.nefariousdocumentary.com
Other websites (these are just a few, there are many out there):
For information on PATH (Partners against trafficking humans) here in Arkansas:

*Statistics were taken from Nefarious resourcs & film documentary.