Compassion International, Peru 2012

In the Middle

In less than a week, I’ll be facing the impossible again.

A lot of people ask me how I fly so much now, and my answers are less spiritual than I would like for them to be. Yes, it’s absolutely the grace of God. But I still have some weird controlling issues.

Number one: I can fly as long as there are no storms.

Number two: And I’m by a window.

Number three: And it’s not night time.

Number four: And if I have personally interviewed, fingerprinted, and breathalyzed the pilot(s).

Number five: I have enough Xanax on hand to tranquilize a horse.

I’m kidding.

I’m kind of kidding.

I’m not really kidding.

It’s ridiculous, actually. I know that it doesn’t matter if I’m sitting by a window, staring at the ground and willing the plane to stay airborne. I can’t control it with my mind.

{Insert rude awakening}

A few months ago, Shaun Groves asked me to go on a trip to Peru. For the record, he told me the flight was “like 3 hours.” Shame on me for not fact-checking with the google before I renewed my passport. Because guess what it’s not?


It’s actually six and a half and approximately 11 minutes shorter on the way home. Not that I checked the itinerary several times. It’s a wild guess based on intricate knowledge of world maps and such.

This morning, Todd explained the way the plane is laid out. It’s a 2-3-2. I’m taking Abby and Ellie with me, so in order to be together, we would have to be in the middle seats. In case you’re keeping score here, those aren’t the ones by the window.

I do hope they end up with nice seat-mates.

Dangit. Joking. And I do realize that this doesn’t seem like a crisis moment for you all. I mean, you don’t control the plane with your eyeballs so clearly you can’t understand the pressure on me right now.

Come Sunday, I will be sitting in the middle, with two of my life-loves alongside me. In case you’re wondering, the only thing harder than flying for me is flying with people I love. I apologize to the people around me in Starbucks right now, because as I was writing, the song “Broken Hallelujah” came on Pandora and it pushed me right over the edge.

I need you to know that EVERYTHING in me wants to miss my flight, skip my alarm, make up an illness that turns deadly at 30,000 feet.

Don’t think I haven’t considered all of the above. I’m actually very creative with excuses.

The bottom line is this: God has asked me to sit in the middle, and I’m being obedient.

So, Sundays…

Will you join me again? I hope so, because I’m feeling a little needy for community in this right now 🙂

Here are a few ways you can partner with me, and I want you to know how much I appreciate any and all of the ways you do.

  1. Please pray for our team. For safety, for life-change, and for a lasting impact on the kingdom of God.
  2. Please pray for Abby and Ellie to be impacted in a way that makes them love the Lord more and want to serve Him with their lives. Help them balance the reality of what they see with the reality they have always known, and to feel inspired rather than overwhelmed.
  3. Please read along with us as we share our days.
  4. Please sponsor a child or children with Compassion by clicking HERE. At the very least, allow the Lord to speak to your heart about it, and be tender to the spirit of God whispering to you. Will you at least go take a look at these sweet faces and pray for them? I just did, and MY GOODNESS. They are precious.

I’m certain there will be other prayer requests as we go, and many, many updates. I’ll be using Instagram {angiesmith19} and twitter to keep y’all posted as well.

Despite what it feels like, I’m believing that the safest place to be is within God’s will.

Even when it’s, well…

Smack dab in the middle.


Love and gratitude,




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  • Reply Krista November 5, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    Love the way you serve God, even in the midst of your fears. Will ABSOLUTELY be praying for you, your girls, and the whole team!

  • Reply Kristen O'Neill Strong November 5, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    Praying for you, sweet sister! I love you.

  • Reply Franmthomas November 5, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    Joining so many others in prayer…Oh, may He be just too much…more than you have ever experienced before!

    Much love,

  • Reply Gabrielle November 5, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    You are such an inspiration as you battle your fear to follow your call. May you and your precious girls have a blessed and safe adventure!

  • Reply Kyla Burrowes November 5, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    I agree with you that the safest place to be is within gods will and I hope you find comfort in knowing that you have lots of people praying for a safe flight for you and your girls. You are such an inspiration I know that you’ll touch lives with the love of christ wherever you go. The lord puts us in uncomfortable situations so that we can learn to rely only on him:) trust me I’ve been there. Thank you for continuing to share your story!

  • Reply Devan November 5, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    Keeping you in my thoughts. I have read your blog from early on, and saw you speak in Lexington, KY…first big one, I think…you have so much courage! Such an inspiration!

  • Reply Christy Booth November 5, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    I don’t fly either, unless it’s for missions. I SO GET what you are saying. I am praying for you and your precious babes! cpb

  • Reply Mary Graham November 5, 2012 at 6:37 pm

    Praying for you, Angie. You’ve broken through more faith barriers in recent years than anyone I know. I’m so proud of you for your courage. I know you and the girls will have a life-enriching time! I’m praying….

  • Reply Anne November 5, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    I’m glad to know someone else (and snazzy, well spoken, gifted Angie nonetheless needs enough Xanax for a horse 🙂 . It was the only way I got through my week, but for a completely different reason. I know you know this already.. but I’m sharing anyway….It is about trusting God, but I also think he gives us tools ( besides prayer and His Word) to help us with our thoughts and accompanying emotions. In a Cognitive Behavioral class I took last year, there is this fantastic “Testing Thoughts” worksheet that has changed my life. I just used it an hour ago to take myself off the ceiling. I will email it to you- maybe it will be helpful! I am going to send it with my own personal info in it so that you can see how it is used… but also so that you can pray for me while I’m praying for you. Thanks, Angie, for your realness. Missed hearing you speak in Michigan this past week 🙂

  • Reply Lisa November 5, 2012 at 7:05 pm


    Praying for safe, anxiety-free travels and an amazing trip for you and Abby and Ellie! I sponsor a Compassion child from Peru – if you happen to visit Dios es Amor Student Center, PLEASE find Juan Carlos Bruno Mariluz (13) and hug his neck for me!

  • Reply SouthernGalThoughts November 5, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    Oh, what a blessing to be able to share this with your two girls. I’m so glad you can take them. It will change them. Our friend, Joy, who died in Malaysia two years ago, loved Peru. Actually she loved any where she was led to serve.

    And do not, I repeat, do not watch the trailer for that new Denzel Washington movie, Flight. You will sure enough be breathalyzing the pilot…

  • Reply Elizabeth A. November 5, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    Angie, I will be praying for you. I hate flying also. So, I can totally relate. Wanted to share this with you….I have some dear sweet friends who live in Peru. Bishop Michael (Anglican Church) and his wife Linda Chapman. Bishop Mike, baptized me in a creek near his home in Moravian Falls, NC in June of 2005. He’s been in Peru for a couple of years now. A Bishop there for a little less than 2 years. Anyway, I don’t know where all you will be going. I believe that they are in Lima. But, they travel all over. He was in the jungle this past week. They are there because they saw the need for the gospel. They have seen so many amazing things while they have been there. The Lord has laid it upon my heart to go there. Your posting this is just another confirmation that I’m hearing correctly. So, I’m excited to see and read about your journey. And if you run into Bishop Mike and his wife Linda….please send them my love. Covering you in prayer!

  • Reply Coby November 5, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    Praying for you dear Angie! I also hate to fly! I don’t know if this helps, but my sis in-law is a flight attendant, and she says that during turbulence tests, a plane’s wings can bend to almost 90 degrees, or something crazy. In other words, planes are built tough, built to withstand bumps. Of course, I still scream and maybe say a naughty word during turbulence, but that plane IS tough.

    I can’t wait to hear what The Lord does in you and your girls!

  • Reply Casey November 5, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    I will pray. I feel your pain. I used to love flying anywhere…no I really dread it. This will be great and God will give you and your girls precious memories!

  • Reply Jennie November 5, 2012 at 8:25 pm

    Will definitely be praying for you and the girls. Can’t wait to read all about your trip! I can totally relate to your fear of flying. In fact I had my husband read your post because I knew he would get a kick out of it. He always kids me about “willing the plane in the air”. I have to sit by the window too. Have an amazing trip!

  • Reply Bethany November 5, 2012 at 10:16 pm

    Praying for you and your little ones and the whole team. Your words bless me over and over again whether they be here, in book form , or as they were last weekend in person at women of faith!

  • Reply marlen816 November 5, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    Prayer offered and I am the same way when it comes to flying. Do they really let you personally interview, fingerprint and breathalyzed the pilots? Because if they do, you are so flying with me next time =)

  • Reply Corrina November 5, 2012 at 11:13 pm

    A few years ago I was given the opportunity to go lead a trip to Romania–a place I’d always wanted to go. My youngest daughter would be about 20 months old and I planned to bring her with me–I wasn’t ready to be gone from her for that long. I’ve brought both my other children with me on mission trips when they were young. Then the date changed. To after her 2nd birthday. And she could no longer fly free (or for the same as tax on a ticket for foreign travel). Oh I so wanted to be disobedient to God. I didn’t want to travel without her. I wanted to get out of leading that trip. But God wouldn’t allow me. It was so hard and didn’t help towards the end of the trip when I found out my daughter was very sick while I was gone (but her daddy took good care of her). But I learned so much and am so glad I was obedient to the Lord. He will do the same for you! And how exciting to take your daughters. I cannot wait to take my daughters with me on missions, now that they are old enough to remember 🙂

  • Reply Kim November 5, 2012 at 11:17 pm

    Will be praying for you and the girls. I can not wait to hear about your trip

  • Reply Carol Hulin November 5, 2012 at 11:47 pm

    I`ll be praying for you and the girls. I`ll pray for the plane too….!!! 🙂

  • Reply Wick Anderson November 5, 2012 at 11:59 pm

    Praying for you and the team! Who knows…maybe someday there’ll be a “Megabus” to Peru!? May God move in great ways!

  • Reply Julie November 6, 2012 at 12:39 am

    Oh my goodness…. I feel the anxiety pains. all too real for me. Girlfriend- God has you right where He wants you. I often wish I could pull a Moses- not me, I’m not the right gal for the job, certainly you could choose someone else… Etc. but He will lead you through this one step at a time. What better place to be then between your lovies and smack dab in His will. Praying for you. .. Your team… and the amazing impact this will have on your sweet babes for eternity. as they watch their mama follow the Lord and conquer all fear. Much love Julie, Sacramento

  • Reply rjb November 6, 2012 at 10:25 am

    Oh, I know EXACTLY what this feels like. I wonder if there will be a day when I fly without THAT feeling before and during and at every single dip. And flying with precious family – just oh so difficult. But that part about His will – yeah, so true..and why can’t it make the feeling go away?? Know that you’ll be prayed for – that everything will be smooth sailing 🙂 by someone that’s been there!

  • Reply Jenifer November 6, 2012 at 10:26 am

    Oh, Angie……girl I am praying for you! Nothing makes us as strong as the need to show strength to our children. I LOVE the thought of you getting to take your girls on this trip to Peru with Compassion….tell Shaun to call me any time and my Ellie and I will be glad to go! What an opportunity to open the eyes of our children and ourselves to the world around us and how we can impact it for the Kingdom. I can always fly along and hold a mirror at the window for you so you can see out. Ha!

  • Reply Lorie Vital November 6, 2012 at 10:51 am

    Hey Angie~It’s me Lorie. The crazy woman who ran after you at Mellow Mushroom a few years ago.
    Just wanted to say that I will be on Mission starting this Saturday and I feel your post- I could have wrote many lines of it, but I’m heading back to love the most beautiful kids and my xanax supported self will be reading and re-reading my new favorite book “mended”. I am flying to Guatemala Saturday am. I’ll pray for you-you pray for me! God is good~amazing~loving and able to take care of us anywhere!
    love you!

  • Reply michelle November 6, 2012 at 11:55 am

    i once had such a bad panic attack the flight attendant said if my valium didn’t kick in soon she may have to restrain me – she didn’t know i would never hurt someone, that my flailing & kicking as an adult is absolutely not me. i share this embarrassing story so you know that other people have just as extreme a fear as you. and i literally can see washington-dulles airport from my house. it shakes with planes flying overhead so often i don’t notice unless i try to, so i “know” how many flights have no problems, but i always hate that it doesn’t matter if it’s a million to one, if you’re that one.

    that said, one of the BEST EVER TIPS i got was to tell the flight attendant when boarding. this has done WONDERS for me!!! if it’s turbulent, they come by to reassure me. one even moved me from the bounciest part of the plane to the least bouncy, just to help me feel less anxious. and one time during a bad storm, she had the pilot write me a note saying he was sorry about the storm & he would find us some smoother air as soon as possible. (i choose to believe his first officer was flying as he wrote the note.)

    and other than takeoff, and sometimes in landing if it’s big steps downward rather than smooth, i still freak. but that’s okay. as long as the whole time i’m asking God to hold me. and letting people know ahead of time, He has used them to calm me in ways i never would’ve thought.

    praying for you!

  • Reply michelle November 6, 2012 at 11:57 am

    also, a few times telling the pilot (if you see him waiting to board) helps, they will often give the kids a cockpit tour and that helps them. as for me, one pilot actually sent notes to me whenever it was bouncy via flight attendants so i wouldn’t worry. somehow, knowing he wanted to go home to his family helped, and having a personal connection that he wanted me to feel safe too helped even more.

  • Reply Rachel November 6, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    Oh Angie, I am absolutely praying for all of you on this trip. As someone who spent an entire flight from DC to London holding onto the armrest (and the arm of the poor stranger sitting next to me) for dear life, having already convinced myself that planes should not (and therefore COULD not) remain airborne for that length of time, I completely understand where you’re coming from. I will pray for an overwhelming peace to accompany you and the girls & for an unquestionable sign from God that you are loved and cared for.

  • Reply Nicole Hutchison November 6, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    Angie, I’m definitely praying for you and your team and, remember, being “smack dab in the middle” is EXACTLY where God wants all of us to be. Powerful words for this Tuesday, thank you for sharing. There’s a sermon in there!!!

    Hugs & peace,
    Three 31 –>

  • Reply Kara Anne November 6, 2012 at 9:44 pm

    3 Months ago I got on a plane with my Mother and Husband for a 14 hour flight to China to adopt our daughter. I am not a flyer myself and I have trust and control issues. In addition, we were leaving our 3 year old son at home with Grandma and Grandpa for 2 WEEKS!! The entire flight and connections and interChina travel I was so totally freaked. We made both 14 hour flights there and home. The one home was better because our 2 year old daughter was sitting right there between us. I DO understand your anxiety. Xanax is a good plan. It can do wonders….. like suddenly make you find the humor in your 2 and 3 year old children drawing a mural on your living room wall, but I have heard your story (this past weekend at Women of Faith in KC) and I am absolutely confident that you will rock this trip and impact lives with the holy spirit inside you like no other person in the world can. Thank you for your testimony. It was truly an inspiration to me and made me crave the truth from the word of God like never before.

  • Reply Kristin November 7, 2012 at 7:25 pm

    I am a Sunday and I am honored to pray for you. I understand fears like that. Mine isn’t of flying (I love flying!!). But I am terrified of heights. Go figure….being in a plane (in the air no less) doesn’t bother me at all. But put me on a Ferris wheel, a tower, a high balcony, a mountain tram, or let’s be real honest here, Dumbo at Disney World….and I am a mess! As in calling out to Jesus to get me off this Ferris wheel type of mess!
    So, I’ll be praying for you, dear sister in Christ!

  • Reply amber November 8, 2012 at 9:40 am

    I pray the girls are inspired by your willingness to overcome your fears for the sake of His call.

  • Reply Patricia Mucci Tayco November 8, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    I just got back from the Compassion Sponsor Tour to Peru on Oct 20. I am guessing that you will be with Soledad and Elia as your guides. They are two of the most incredible women. They are truly the “hands and feet of Christ” for the children of Peru. I am praying for you and your group and look forward to your posts!

  • Reply Shaun Groves November 9, 2012 at 10:58 am

    Three hours? I must have been on Xanax.

  • Reply Melody Johnson November 9, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    I’ll be praying for you and your girls on this journey! What an amazing opportunity that lies ahead of you. God be with you… 🙂

  • Reply Yvonne Reynolds November 10, 2012 at 2:25 am

    Looking forward to following along on the trip and will be praying for all of you!

  • Reply Brittni November 11, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    I am praying for you all!!!!!Compassion came to our church this morning and I had the honor of sponsoring a precious little 3 yr old from Ecuador 🙂 Our God is so good!

  • Reply GlynnisWhitwer November 13, 2012 at 8:20 am

    Angie – I’m a friend of Lysa TerKeurst and I know she’s not with you this week. I’m sure she’s missing the experience with you. But I wanted to write you and let you know that I understand the fear of flying. And God has completely healed me of it by praying in a certain way.

    I’m talking my fear was huge … like starting to cry when I drove past the airport. Seriously.

    Anyway – here’s a link to my blog where I wrote about it. All I can say is I’m a walking miracle. I’m praying for you too!

  • Reply Theodene November 13, 2012 at 9:45 am

    Aloha and thank you for sharing this trip. I really never understood the fear of flying, but your words places a better understanding, My son and I sponsor a Compassion boy in Morropo, Peru, and look forward to learning more about Peru. We’ll be praying for you and the team throughout the trip. God is with you and will never forsake you. I am blessed beyond measure to learn from your experiences, thank you!

  • Reply lindsey ruthart November 13, 2012 at 11:32 pm

    Praying for life change! i know God is going to use your experiences in Peru to speak to many people. He is using you and your girls for His glory.

  • Reply Jamie November 14, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    I fully understand what you are going through and feel your trepidation. As someone who loves to travel but has gained a fear of flying (due to my huge control issues . . . (Sound familiar) . . .I was sitting on a plane to Chicago last week and finally think I figured it out. God continues to put me in these situations – sitting on airplanes where I have NO control – so that he has me sitting still to talk to Him. Often I am so busy taking care of everything and controlling everything that it is easy to push Him aside. Once they close the doors of that airplane – it is just He and I for a long time. We have lots of time to get reacquainted. (BTW – I am leaving for Haiti with my children on Tuesday but thankfully it isn’t a 6 hour flight).

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