Good News! God’s Redeeming Grace

Baby Weeber #3 is coming!! We are pumped, ecstatic, praising God for yet another miracle.  We were so tired, so worn out.  Even the Faithful feel faithless sometimes.  I was there -  I didn’t understand why this process that had worked so well the first two times just wasn’t happening.  I didn’t understand why God wasn’t answering our prayers.  None of it made sense.  GOD WAS WORKING. HE HAD A PLAN.

12 long months.   10 of those with fertility medications.  6 failed IUI’s.  The emotional rollercoaster that comes and goes each and every month.  More testing, more doctors appointments.  Our IVF treatment was scheduled for late February… little did we know, we wouldn’t be needing that appointment.

GOD WAS WORKING. HE HAD A PLAN.  He covered me (us) in so much grace.  My bad attitude, my questions, my faith that felt so weak, he was working through it all BECAUSE the day we found out my due date it.all.made.sense.  We are due with our sweet babe, September 11.  Exactly 3 years after my ruptured brain aneurysm and brain surgery.  You guys, God’s got a REDEEMING plan for the things he takes us through!  For us, He’s taking a fearful, uncertain, close to death day and redeeming it with JOY, ANTICIPATION, and LIFE! 

I know this is just a due date, that it doesn’t necessarily mean that our babe will be born on this day… but after a year of waiting, trying, crying and questions, I do not care. 

I see hope.  I see life.  I see beauty from ashes.  I see love.  I see God’s Redeeming grace.

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A Call to Battle

This one’s for you, Satan. 

I.am.done.

I’m done putting up with your attacks. I’m done putting up with your lies.  I’m done with you attacking my family.  I’m done with you picking on the vulnerable, the least of these, the ones who can’t fight for themselves.

Enough.is.Enough!  This is my battle cry.

It started a few months ago… my sweet 4 year old son, Declan came up the stairs one morning and told us that he had fallen out of bed in the middle of the night.  He said that he was crying and that there was a man in his room who was laughing at him and calling him a “big baby”.

Chills ran down my spine.  After comforting him, I rationalized with myself that he must have just been dreaming.  However, the bruise on his leg told otherwise.

A few months later, my husband Nate was downstairs telling Declan a bedtime story.  After telling the story of a little boy, Declan wanted the story told again, but this time with a little girl.  Nate agreed and asked Declan what her name should be.  “Lucifer” was his answer.  Nate asked him why he chose that name and he replied with, “I just like that name.”

Chills again. Then scared. Then angry.

I contacted Declan’s Sunday school teachers HOPING that they had brought up that name in class the day before when talking about Adam and Eve and the serpent.  I just wanted, needed him to have heard it from someone, somewhere.  Nothing.  Nothing had ever been brought up about that name.  We have certainly never said it in our home… where had this come from? WHO had this come from?

After that we prayed over Declan’s room.  Over him, over our house.  We prayed and declared that JESUS was the Lord of our home.  That HE was on the throne, and that in JESUS’ name the devil and his demons would FLEE from our house.  I put up homemade construction paper signs in Declan’s room stating, “Not Today, Satan” and “Jesus is the Lord of our home”.

I immediately felt a sense of peace.

You guys I was angry. Angry that the devil was trying to mess with my baby. Angry that he was going after someone so vulnerable instead of me.  Angry that he was stealing my joy.

What was the reason for this?  Was it because of my speaking?  Was it because I was going out there and proclaiming Jesus’ name and his healing power?  Was it because of my awesome marriage and having a servant-hearted leader for a husband which in turn represents a beautiful picture of Christ and his church? I felt like it was my fault.  And not at all to make it sound like I’m this super spiritual, better than you, going out and doing Jesus work person.  BUT, this is what I know.  I know the devil comes to steal, kill, and destroy.  I know that he doesn’t want God’s name proclaimed or his miracles uncovered.  He doesn’t want God’s healing power, his goodness, His GRACE put in the lime light.  Satan doesn’t want God’s name lifted high. And because of this, He. Was. Attacking.  

I spoke this past Saturday to 200 women about our story and how God wants to use each and every one of us and our stories for His glory.  So many people were praying for me – for my nerves, for confidence, for my health, specifically for my voice so that I would be able to share.  I appreciated it so much.  God’s name was glorified and lifted high that day. 

BUT, on the morning I was going to speak, guess who came down with a fever and a raspy voice that was so hoarse you could barely hear him.  That’s right, my sweet baby, Declan.

You guys, the Devil is raging WAR.  I just feel like he is trying so hard right now to tear my family, my boys down, (Specifically Declan).  Some days, I can’t help but think… is this worth it?  Me sharing my story…the devil attacking… Am I putting my family in harms way?  If he was attacking me, I’d say BRING.IT.ON.  but when it’s my sweet, innocent, can’t fight for himself son, this mama bear can’t help but wonder if the white flag needs to be hung.  I’m just being super honest here.  In my heart I know that I will keep sharing, keep showing up.  But it’s so hard thinking that maybe the good God is having me do is hurting someone I love so, so much.

Nate and I are no strangers to infertility.  We experienced it for years before Declan.  Praise God after 3 intrauterine inseminations, we conceived.  With Hudson, after more infertility, God breathed life after 2 inseminations.  And now… God has put the desire in our hearts for another and yet 5 failed intrauterine inseminations and a blocked fallopian tube loom in the air with still no success.  We praise God for these two beautiful sons that we have – don’t get me wrong we are so, so thankful – but this struggle, this trusting God with another child thing, just doesn’t get any easier no matter how many times you go through it. 

Not being able to have another baby after doing the exact same procedure as with the other two… coincidence?  I think not.  Satan doing what he can to steal, kill, and destroy?  I think so.

So people, this is my battle cry.

This is my plea.

We NEED to be praying for protection from the evil one on behalf of our kids.  They’re an easy target. Weak, vulnerable, gullible, and oh so innocent.

THEY ARE OFF-LIMITS SATAN.

We NEED to be praying over our homes. Our marriages.  Satan despises happy couples glorifying God together – families glorifying God together.

BE GONE SATAN.

We NEED to be praying over our places of work, our adoption processes, our missions trips, our speaking engagements. Because you know what?  Satan sees that you and I are doing something GOOD.  Glorifying our God.  Sending hope and help to the hopeless. Healing for the broken.  Hope for the dis-heartened.  He sees and he knows you’re doing a good work and he.doesn’t.like.it. and he is going to try and do everything in his power to stop it.

We need to surround ourselves with an ARMY of prayer warriors.  Lifting each other up, standing up against the enemy, and if necessary, carrying each other when one of us feels like flying the white flag.  Here’s the thing, if we’re doing something for God’s glory, attack will come.

Be vulnerable.  Open up with people about what’s going on in your lives, what you need prayer for.  Don’t let the devil take a foothold in an area of struggle in your life. 

Yes, struggling through this season is hard right now.  But through those seasons God changes us.  God grows us. God still shows up and says, “I am here! I am with you! I will never leave you or forsake you!  I.already.won. Trust me.”

So Satan, this ones for you.

You will not win.  JESUS is the Lord over my home.  You can discourage me with our fertility struggles, you can make me feel helpless when going after my sweet boy.  You can even steal my joy.  But you know what?

You’ve.already.been.defeated.

So no more.

God is on the throne in my life, in my home, and in my heart.  God, please fight this battle for me.

 

1 John 4:4 — “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” 

 Deuteronomy 3:22 — “Do not fear them, for the Lord your God is the one fighting for you.”

 James 4:7 — “Submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

 Luke 10:19 — “Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.”

 

A Grace-Filled Calling

So many times when I get asked to speak, the first thing I think is…”who am I?”  Who am I, that they would want to hear me? Hear what I have to say, my story?  I’m just a lowly, ordinary, everyday stay-at-home mom and wife. I don’t think I have what they want! But it’s not even a moment later, this verse floods through me like a tidal wave…relinquishing every ill-equipped, not-good-enough, under-qualified, thought.

                                                                 John 11:4                                                                                                                          “This sickness will not end in death.                                                                                                No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s son                                                                                                      may be glorified through it.”

This sickness, or my aneurysm in this case, didn’t end in death -  Even though every statistic out there was working against me.  50% of people with ruptured brain aneurysms die before even reaching the hospital.  From the 50% that do make it, 75% of them will walk away with physical or mental deficiencies.

I am not alive today because of luck, or because I “beat the odds.”  I am alive today because God has a very specific purpose for me in mind…To make His name Great and to give Him the Glory for what He’s done in my life.

So even though I feel ill-equipped at times and feel like I’m going to throw-up before every speaking engagement…I know that God is using me.  Using my story, to share His Grace, His healing power, and His miracles; His love.

You know what’s sweet?  He wants to use you too.  God loves redeeming the hard things we go through in life.  Maybe for you that was a failed marriage, a wayward child, a cancer diagnosis, bad decisions made as teenagers, letting anger get the best of you while raising your kids… I don’t know what yours is.  But God does.  And He wants to use you, He wants to redeem you.  He wants to use your story to help bring encouragement or caution or love to someone else.  Maybe for you that’s not speaking in front of 50 people, but maybe it’s talking to that woman at church.  Or warning that husband who’s spending all hours of the day at the office.  Maybe it’s talking to that teen and sharing your story, your heart.

Whenever I feel ill-equipped, God is always super kind in reminding me of the Samaritan Woman, or the woman at the well, as she is frequently referred to.  She was divorced multiple times, and she was living with a man who wasn’t her husband at the time.  She was on the bottom of the totem pole, one of the least of these.  Yet, Jesus met her where she was at.  He told her about and offered her Living Water, and you know what the Bible says?  It says in John 4 that “she shared what happened and many people believed in HIM because of what the woman shared.”  Isn’t that awesome?  She was a nobody, yet Jesus used her to bring people - MANY people - to Himself.

THAT is my mission.  THAT is my heart.  That through my speaking people would see and believe in HIM because of what I share.

She didn’t have a seminary degree, or a blog.  She was by no means Beth Moore.  And yet, God used her.  And He wants to use you and your story and experiences too.

Looking through the bible, we read story after story of Jesus using ordinary, everyday, sinful, ill-equipped people.  Take a look at some of these influential people he used for His kingdom…

Abraham – Was too old.                                                                                                                Elijah – Was suicidal.                                                                                                                          Joseph – Was abused.                                                                                                                      Job – Went bankrupt.                                                                                                                  Moses – Had a speech problem.                                                                                                        Gideon – Was afraid.                                                                                                                    Samson – Was a womanizer.                                                                                                       Rahab – Was a prostitute.                                                                                                    Samaritan Woman – Divorced.                                                                                                            Noah – Was a Drunk.                                                                                                                      Jeremiah – Was young.                                                                                                                    Jacob – Was a cheater.                                                                                                                        David – Was a murderer.                                                                                                             Jonah – Ran from God.                                                                                                              Naomi – Was a widow.                                                                                                                  Peter – Denied Christ.                                                                                                                Martha – Worried about everything.                                                                                            Zacchaeus – Was small and money hungry.                                                                                    The Disciples – Fell asleep while praying.                                                                                      Paul – A Pharisee who persecuted Christians before becoming one.

-Taken from Jarrid Wilson

Where are you on this list?  Not here? Add your name in with your “deficiency”.

To take it one step further… read this verse again, but instead of reading the word “sickness” insert your trial/hardship/story.                                                                                                                                                                                            John 11:4                                                                                                               “This sickness will not end in death.                                                                                                 No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s son                                                                                                      may be glorified through it.”

This marriage will not end in death? This diagnosis? This pregnancy? This season of trial? What are you going through…God wants to redeem it, He wants to use it for His Glory.

                                                                2 Corinthians 12:9-11                                                                                                   But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you,                                                                                      for my power is made perfect in weakness.                                                                           Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses,                                                                                so that Christ’s power may rest on me.                                                                           That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults,                                                                         In hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.                                                                                          For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

 

Let’s be weak together, let’s share together, let’s do life together because through our weakness, God will show His strength.  God will redeem the broken pieces of our lives and use it for His glory.  God will open up doors for you to share your story, share His glory if you are willing to take that step of faith.

Luke 8:39 – “Return home and tell how much God has done for you. So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him.”

Psalm 66:16 “Come and listen, all you who fear God, and I will tell you what he did for me.”

Daniel 4:2 “I want you all to know about the miraculous signs and wonders the Most High God has performed for me.”

Philippians 1:12 “Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel.”

Are you willing to be used by God? To share your story?

 

<3 Anna Weeber – brain aneurysm survivor, stay-at-home mom, wife, nervous public speaker, humbly being used by God

Grace Filled Life

I watched her from across the room. This woman, this mother, was losing the battle.  I could see her cheeks growing red; panic and frustration on her face.  Her little boy was screaming, yelling at the top of his lungs and somehow crying all at the same time.  She started to walk away with her younger child on her hip, trying to do the “I’m not putting up with this” ignoring tactic, no doubt… he screamed even louder, “Stay by me, stay by me!”  Others started looking and the poor mom could tell they were making a scene.  She slowed down her pace so he could catch up and the screaming would stop.  Only it didn’t.  As she got close the boy yelled, “No! Don’t come by me!” 

I will never have kids like that, I thought.  I will never be a mom like that.  I will teach my kids how to behave in public, how to respect adults and honor their parents.  I’ll know how to handle a situation like that so much better… my kids wouldn’t even think of behaving that way.

Humbly, I admit to you that both of these ladies above are me.  The onlooker was me before kids… the already-perfect-parent-but-not-yet-parent.  I had all the answers, all the discipline techniques, all the 'I would nevers', written, folded and neatly pressed.  I had a Child and Family Development degree after all.  I.was.set. 

The flushed cheeks, red in the face, not having a clue what to do mom was also me… literally yesterday.

You guys... parenting is hard!  Of course, you already knew that. No matter how ready you think you are, how many degrees you have or how many times you babysat as a teenager, it seems like nothing truly prepares you for a time like… yesterday.

So many times in parenting I find myself just thinking (or saying to my husband), I just want someone who knows me, knows us and our babies to tell me what to do!  Everyone says, “Oh, you just do what’s best for you and your family.”  Thank you, but I literally don’t even know what that is.   Do I let my baby keep crying, this time? I just went in 5 minutes ago. Do I give him another timeout? I already gave him a spanking for doing the exact same thing.  The funny, ironic and ridiculous thing is, the moment anyone tries to give me their advice or tells me what to do, I think to myself, “Thank you, but who are you to tell me how to parent my family?”

Hypocritical much?

All I can think about right now is this huge billboard with lights all around it and through it… something like you would see on the LasVegas strip with the word Grace on it. 

That’s the answer.

All we have, all we need is God’s grace.  To live in it and give it freely.

His all-consuming, never-ending, undeserving grace.

I never thought I would so tangibly see God’s grace as I did when I experienced a ruptured brain aneurysm while I was 26 weeks pregnant.  You can read more about that here.  But I am uncovering more and more of God’s grace as I walk through this parenting journey. 

I know I can’t do it alone – His grace is always there. He will never leave me or forsake me.

I know I feel tired and weak – His grace sustains me.

I know I feel empty and alone at times – His grace is all consuming. 

I know I can’t be or do everything – His grace is enough.

I am enough.

I was hand-picked.  Chosen to be these sweet boys' mama and no one else can fulfill that role like I can.  Like you can.  Even though I know I am the perfect mom for these boys, days like yesterday remind me how much I so deeply need Christ.  How much I so deeply need His love and guidance and wisdom and patience.  His forgiveness.

I can’t get this song from Hillsong United out of my head. 

A thousand times I've failed
Still Your mercy remains
And should I stumble again
I'm caught in Your grace

Everlasting
Your light will shine when all else fades
Never ending
Your glory goes beyond all fame

Your will above all else
My purpose remains
The art of losing myself
In bringing You praise

A thousand times I’ve failed. Yes! That’s me! I have and did and will continue to fail!  BUT.  I, we, are caught in His grace.  No perfection necessary, no dinosaur cut-out PB&J’s necessary, no perfectly themed birthday parties necessary, no dressed perfectly, hair done, matching shoes all the time necessary.  We’re caught. We’re His. We’re enough.

So give.  Give grace to those littles who may just need an extra hug today. Give grace to that husband who’s working so hard to provide for you and your family. 

Show.  Show those people in your life what a grace-filled person looks like.  Be an earthly example of Jesus to those people you influence today.  Show them what it looks like to mess up, but to still be caught in God’s grace.

Accept.  Accept the never-ending, free-flowing Grace of Jesus Christ in your parenting, in your marriage, where you work, where you’re at.  We’re not perfect - we know that, our kids know that, our husbands know that.  Let’s not beat ourselves up, the world does enough of that.  Accept His grace and He will work through you to let His light shine.  Someone that makes a positive difference in the lives of her children, husband, and those she comes in contact with.  Someone that shows people what it looks like to be the hands and feet of Jesus.  Someone who shows Grace.

<3 Anna