Love Moves

I would like to say I overslept accidentally, but the reality is I ignored my alarm. I thought about the plane that would take me from my house in a few hours and I hit the snooze button. I stared at the wall, unmoving.

Todd whispered that it was time, and I stood, legs weak and mind racing. I went through the motions of putting on my clothes and makeup, and after a few minutes I heard footsteps coming and tried to pull myself together for them. Look brave. Act like it’s not a big deal that we’re leaving today.

“I’m scared, mommy.” Abby said as soon as she walked in the bathroom.

I turned her to face the mirror and while my hands unconsciously braided her hair, I asked what she was the most concerned about. She snapped the hair tie on her wrist, rocking side to side.

“I don’t want to see the people who live on the street.”

I steadied her head with my hands, straightening her up so I could finish the braid.

Her eyes met mine in the mirror.

“I can understand that. Is there anything else?”

She shook her head, but her shoulders stayed high and locked.

“Maybe there is, but you just don’t know how to say it. You think?”

I reached my hand out and she handed me the rubber band, nodding as tears filled her eyes.

“You’re moving, baby. Stop moving. Mommy’s trying to get it steady.” It was easier to tell her to stop moving than to admit my hands were shaking.

“Just stay still, hon.” I felt the tears, the knot in my stomach; the paralyzation that comes from fear.

I couldn’t move.

But somehow I did. Somehow we did.

All day yesterday I watched that braid as it drifted just ahead of me through airport terminals. I watched as she twisted it in circles, round and round, when we met our Compassion team, and while she slept for a few minutes on our flight, I marveled at how long it had gotten.

When she was 2, I struggled for ponytails. As soon as the sprout of hair poked its way out, I was armed with bobby pins, bows, and a wet comb.

It’s a rite of passage, I suppose.

As we finally settled into our hotel last night, unpacked, talked, and decompressed a little, it was nearly 2 am. I tucked them in with assurances of what the Lord was going to do, and I prayed while they slept. I watched her silhouette rise and fall while cars honked and the television whispered Spanish, her braid lying long across her pillow while she dreamed.

I didn’t know what to expect from today, so all I told them was that we were here to love and the rest would fall into place. Abby asked if she would have to talk to anyone and I told her she wouldn’t. I made a joke about how they wouldn’t understand her anyway and she giggled. But I wanted her to know that there was no pressure on her to have conversations or interactions that she wasn’t comfortable with, and that nobody was expecting anything from her.

She held my hand on the long bus ride over to the first Compassion project and stared out the window.

“There they are, mommy.” She whispered, never turning away from them.

I squeezed her hand.

“We’re just here to love them, babe. We aren’t going to be afraid.”

“I don’t know how to love them.” She replied.

“You will.” I kissed her head and let her watch as I pointed out the hills and the children and the colors that belied crushing circumstances.

When the bus finally stopped, I knew she would be hesitant, so I stood up like it was another day in life and walked off like I had done it a million times.

For the record, it helped me too.

The moving, I mean. 

One foot, then the next. It’s the best I could do.


As we walked into the church, we heard loud cheering and saw flags waving while radiant faces welcomed us. We listened to several people speak and watched all of the little ones wander around us. I could tell she was warming up but maybe not quite ready to jump into things. A bit of time passed and a woman asked if she wanted to help hand out food to the kids. She shook her head no and looked at the ground.

Many of you don’t know this about my Abby. She is gregarious, funny, deliciously kind…but as far as anything where she would stand out and be in front of a group, she freezes. In her weekly tutorial class, her stomach stays in knots anticipating “presentation time.”  When her name is called she just says, “I can’t,” and the teacher moves to the next child. I didn’t want her to feel like she had to “perform” in any way on this trip, so I just let her sit and soak it all up.

I let her be still.

She’ll know when to move.

“What do we do after this, mommy?” She asked.

“We are going to go to the home of one of these kids and meet a family.”

“Inside their house?”

“Yes, baby.” I said.

I knew this wasn’t going to be easy for her, and as we filed into the tiny room a few minutes later, I watched her sway from side to side. I tapped a chair on the far side of the room where we could sit together and listen.

While the woman (Lily) explained that her husband had recently been taken by police officers and wrongfully imprisoned, her son played quietly and her infant daughter slept on her lap. The translator winced as she explained that there had been an accident about a month ago, where the the little girl had been left in the care of a relative and had stepped into a pot of boiling water. As Lily peeled the sock back from her daughter’s foot, I saw the scars and tried not to gasp audibly.

Abby stared at her, eyes wide, and I wondered if this had all been a mistake.

Why did we come? We could be home, safe and sound, life humming at its normal pace.

She’s still a little girl with a little braid and a little heart.

And this is a room with a plastic tarp as a ceiling and flies swarming in the dust.

What kind of mother brings her daughter into this?

I wonder if other moms might not say the same-if it seems noble and important and they ignore the nagging sense that this might hurt their children instead of inspire them.

In an instant, I saw Lily’s eyes cloud over she cradled her daughter, and the words looped together in my mind, speaking peace to my mother’s heart.

You love yours the way she loves hers.

Let Me do the rest.

As they led us into open area in the back of the home, I watched as tiny shirts danced from the clothesline and a teacher from the center helped the boy wash his hands.

Despite the fact that my children have rarely seen a sight this desperate, even in movies, I prayed a simple prayer.

Make their eyes blind to anything but love, and make them brave enough to act on it.

Before we left Lily’s home, we took some time to pray for her.

Abby cowered behind me.

Eyes closed, I asked the Lord to intercede for this sweet woman, and to provide for her and remind her that He is present. As the team continued, I opened my eyes just long enough to see that Abby had moved. She was standing, eyes wrinkled shut in prayer, with her hand rubbing Lily’s arm. Incredulous at her courage, I watched her fingers drift up and down, tenderly, honestly…the purity of the moment startled me.

This is how love moves.

It braids, it rocks, it comforts, it mourns, it whispers through prisoner’s bars if need be…

It breathes hope and it braves runways.

It says “we” instead of “they.”

Every step we take in the direction of compassion brings us closer to the the cross, and I don’t know that I’ve ever seen the Gospel more clearly illustrated in my life.

Just after the prayer, Abby embraced Lily in a way that makes words choke in insufficiency.

It moves us, this kind of love.

A thousand sermons could never preach what you did today, my Abby-girl.

It isn’t an obligation, but rather a privilege. And at the risk of sounding pushy, I’ll say it anyway.

You have the opportunity to touch a life right this second.

She’s nine years old and she made love move today.

Will you?

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  • Flower Patch Farmgirl

    So beautiful. Praying for the whole brave team.

  • Katie Axelson

    There are tears in my eyes! And this is only the first post I’m reading from the trip. I can tell it’s going to be a great, powerful week. Praying for you all!

  • Laura

    So powerful. Thank you for sharing with us!

  • Carey Dunlop

    It’s so hard to know just how much of the world to share with our kiddos, but to share love and show them ways to share it, wow. Looking forward to making a compassion child part of our Christmas this year and for many years to come.

  • Kristen O’Neill Strong

    Well done, Mama, with your words *and* your girls. And this right here ~ “Make their eyes blind to anything but love, and make them brave enough to act on it.” Carrying this in my heart tonight. Stunning, moving post, Angie. Love you!

    • Tina Squires

      me too

  • Laura

    Beautiful…praying for all of you and for many to be moved. I’m praying to see a glimpse of our Jasson in one of the centers.

    You are brave, precious and most important…obedient. The obedience is what makes all of your beautiful.
    Much love to all of you.

  • Angie

    Moved to tears. Just…wow.

  • Leigh

    Oh, Angie! Powerful words and even more powerful pictures. Life changing. Pure love. Thank you for being brave to take your girls. And, Abby, your love shines bright tonight in Peru and in each place this post is read. Praying for y’all!

  • Ann Voskamp

    a thousand, thousand sermons.
    Oh girl.

    All day, this is all I’ve got:
    The Gospel is not only what we believe in. The Gospel is ultimately what we. live. out.

    *Love moves*

    Love you so, Angie.

    • Daniel Farrow

      I couldn’t say it any better than Ann has already. Thank you for sharing the difficult things Angie. Shalom (God’s Perfect Peace), Daniel

      • Tina Squires

        I agree

    • Tina Squires

      that is true and I strongly believe that

  • KrisSpringer

    LOVE THIS!!!

  • Amanda Goodwin

    Your words, again, move me. Your courage to bring your girls moves me. This is the ultimate motherly love.

    I’m 25 and am trying to go on my first Compassion trip in June, Lord willing (finances) and reading your experiences is always a blessing.

    I am praying for all of you and I know love is stirring all around you. These people will never be the same once the love of God in your heart, smile, and voice pass them by. God bless you sister for your compassion and teaching your girls how to love as He loved us.

    • Tina Squires

      yes thank you

  • Jean Marie

    Tears in my eyes. This is what I’m praying for Abby, for Ellie, for you, Angie. Feeling the Holy Spirit move you to LOVE how He loves. Thank you for sharing.

  • Audra Lewis Tilden

    I can’t stop crying :) love all 3 of you girls!

  • Jessica Turner

    I love you. I love your girls. Praying for love lessons each day of your trip. xoxo

  • Sara

    What a sweet girl. You have no clue what you’re doing for your girls. They’ll remember this always.

  • Jen Wright

    I AM UNDONE … at all of this!!! It is for sure one of the MOST beautiful things I have ever read. Honestly!! It is the gospel lived out in its purest form. Kudos momma. You are choosing the better thing!!! You are!!! Praying for tomorrow and another deposit into your babies heart that will knit theirs to a Christ that loves with reckless abandon!! Undone!! Mercy. :)

  • Jen Gash

    Human touch is love in action. This week, when there is fear and there are no words, touch removes the fear and the need to speak. Love you girls. Praying for you and the team. And for you to see God in powerful ways. And for you to be more gloriously wrecked than ever. Hugs to you.

  • Deb Surdyke

    I don’t even have words! SO GOD!

  • Julie

    Breathtakingly beautiful- as only He can be. He is shining through your sweet girls and you. Have a blessed safe trip. You’re an incredible, godly mother.

  • Kimberly Compton

    As tears streaming down my face, I pray for you and your girls. Love does move, doesn’t it. Thanks for touching my heart.

  • Jill Foley

    Beautiful in every way.

  • Jacque Watkins

    The gift of your words, your writing, your storytelling…it’s magical! And as a mama, I’m moved and undone in the most glorious of ways. “It breathes hope and it braves runaways…this is how love moves.” May it be so, is my prayer tonight, for you, for the girls, for the whole team, and most of all for the children.

  • Annie28

    This was a beautiful post, Angie. I’m fighting tears.

  • Steve Jones

    Having a déjà vu moment here reading your words and fighting back the tears. What an amazing story of today! Thank you for having the guts to do this again. And so proud of you for bringing your girls. I know God totally wrecked me again when I saw it all through their eyes and I realized how much more He knows about what’s best for them than I do.

  • Jen


  • Megan

    So beautiful

  • kodi

    Wow. Wow wow wow. I know you’re not looking for affirmation, but I think this post shows that you’re doing this parenting thing a whole lot better than most of us. I can only pray that someday I can lead my children to the knowledge that success by worldly definition is nothing, and Jesus is everything.

    Sidenote: I saw you at Women of Faith in KC and you were AMAZING. I wanted to come tell you, but I was volunteering so during your meet & greets I was preoccupied, but seriously- you don’t think you’re a speaker, but you spoke straight to my heart.

  • Audrey

    Abby and Ellie, I’m so proud of you. I’m praying for your trip! I love you and miss you, and God is using you in amazing ways. -Miss Audrey

    • Tina Squires

      yeah he is

  • Sonika Raj

    “One foot, then the next” – indeed, Angie. Indeed. Thank you for putting one foot in front of the other and yet, being brave enough to let your daughter go at her own pace – that’s a real gift. And this – “make their eyes blind to anything but love, and make them brave enough to act on it” – this is just beautiful. Thank you for sharing your story.

  • Paige

    Wow!. I saw the picture earlier on twitter but once I read the story I was moved to tears. What courage and what a tiny (in person) example of the great love of our Savior!

  • Nester

    Angie, I don’t know how you do this with your words but I’m so glad that you do. I’m so glad you went again and took two of your girls. Thank you! xoxo

  • Franmthomas

    Oh Angie…a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes sister. Thank you for sharing this with us…I want to love like that. Absolutely beautiful. Praying for all of you….all of us.

  • Kathy Erkkila Ptaszek

    Very touching…and inspiring. Just love. What a great idea!

  • Amy Hunt

    Yes and Amen! Praying for your hearts and what God wants to show you about His through your togetherness.

  • mongupp

    I did not expect that picture. Absolutely beautiful.

  • Dianne

    She is beautiful in its most pure sense… beyond her years…

  • SouthernGalThoughts

    This brought tears to my eyes and love to my heart. Good job, Mama. Listening and letting God have His way with her.

  • Teena

    Wow. My heart is burst open….. praying all of you through. Powerful. Love. Much love.


  • Jill

    What a beautiful, powerful post. I traveled to Haiti this Summer and it was the most difficult, scary, wonderful experience. I didn’t really realize it at the time, but you’re right….love moves… step at a time.
    What an amazing experience for your girls. They will be changed, no doubt.
    Thanks for sharing your trip with us!

  • Dianne

    She is a beauty. Of the truest kind. Thank you, thank you, for being brave.

  • Aimee

    Wow! This is so beautiful, Angie. Brought me back to when our family visited our Compassion children in the Philippines last year… our kids were 10 and 14 at the time. So powerful.

    Love moves. Amen, sister!

  • Amanda Reeves

    All I can say is wow, what an amazing experience for you and your girls to experience together. So thankful for the words that God spoke with you in this post. You are an amazing mother! God Bless!

  • Maria Aguilar Castro

    Kelly said i would cry & I am ;) so true & powerful!!! I was once very poor girl from a border town in Texas I have been soooo blessed and my husbands new business is growing and we pray God gives us the ability to give and to do it w him in mind!!!!! Thx so much

  • Deb

    Sorry, I just can’t quit crying. What a blessing for you and your children to experience real love. To love unconditionally, just like OUR GOD does. o/ PRAISE THE LORD for following GOD’s plan for you and your childrens life. GOD bless! Deb

    • Tina Squires

      yes way to go

  • Sally McAttee

    Very touching and convicting. We are to show unconditional love to all people and share the love of Jesus with them. Thanks for sharing.

    • Tina Squires

      yes that is our job as followers and disciples of Jesus Christ

  • Stefenie

    This was beautiful! Thank you for sharing your heart so honestly!

  • christinagomez123

    Absolutely beautiful! There simply are no more words…just beautiful!

  • Ashley Ferguson

    Praying for all of you, this post really spoke to me.

  • Carisa

    Beautiful in so many ways…

  • Patricia Church-Ellis

    tears ~ love moves through your words in ways you don’t even realize ~ how beautiful

  • Sally Larkin Green

    It’s awesome when God shows up. I love that he is moving in the lives of our children. What an exciting time for you and your family. Do not doubt the power of God ~ he speaks to those who listen. What a wonderful adventure to embark on. Enjoy every moment of it.

    • Tina Squires

      he sure does speak to his children

  • Melissa Hutsell

    So good. SO hard. What a holiday season this will forever be. Forever different.

  • Megan LaPorte

    What a beautiful, beautiful post. Your way of writing is…well, exquisite.

  • NHudspeth

    Tears! God BLESS everyone on this trip! Giving & Receiving!

  • Kelly

    In tears at my desk. So so beautiful.

  • Lisa-Jo Baker

    Makes me want to pack my kids up onto the middle row of an airplane anywhere and show them the upside down places of the world. Or maybe just drive them a neighborhood over. And all move together.

  • Mary Graham

    WOW! Thank you, Angie, and sweet Abby for such a beautiful and powerful reminder of what love looks life. My prayers are with you and I send my love to you and those precious girls.

    • Tina Squires

      me too

  • Julie Sunne

    Beautiful and moving. You’ve said it all in just doing. All glory to God who’s sending His love through your sweet daughter.

  • Kat @Inspired2Action


  • tammy strait

    beautiful. so, incredibly beautiful. love moves. yes. yes, it does.

  • emily p freeman

    Been thinking of you all day – and of your girls.

  • Kristen Hutchinson

    Angie, I am so excited to see your girls on this trip with you! What a huge blessing! I’m guessing you guys do Classical Conversations with your girls?? We do, too! :-) “To Know Him and Make Him Known”… so awesome they’re walking this out in Peru!

  • Taylor

    More beautiful words were never written. Such a testimony and your girls are so blessed to have you. Praying you all through this trip!

  • Jenn

    Wow! Thank you for taking the steps forward to go there and bring your girls even though you didn’t have the courage on your own. Your Abby has taught me so much today about how to love…

  • Diana L

    so here I am, having just prayed to be a blessing to those who will come through our Boutiqe doors, and now I have to not look like I’ve been crying.
    Love moves – indeed! You have modelled this love of His well, and He was cheering as Abby was Jesus to that mom.
    Peace and safety as you and your travel this week.

  • Teena Graham Price

    wow. I have read this three times already today. Once alone….. once to my children and once to my husband! Thank you so much for sharing. LOVE MOVES. So proud of your girls. I dream of taking my two boys (9 & 10) to Bolivia one day to meet their Erik! Praying and following all week. Much love

  • Kristin

    Love moves.
    It’s all I can see as I read through the tears.
    Love moves.
    Thank you, Angie. And thank you Abby.

  • Carrie Herndon

    Thank you. For reminding me that God meets us and moves us past the fear to love.

    • Tina Squires

      yes thank you and that is so comforting

  • ohamanda {impress your kids}

    So gorgeous. Thank you for bringing your girls. What a treasure for them. But also for us to see–and to encourage us to encourage our own kids in hard things—hard things that lead to beauty. Praying for you all this week!

  • Sara

    Beautiful is all I can type as I’m wiping away the tears.

  • Kevin & Misti Oblander

    Tears streamed down my face as I read your beautiful post! Your girls will never forget the things they will see & experience on this trip. Praying for all of the team!

  • Kristi Rudisill

    Beautiful testimony of how we can truly make a difference, showing God’s love to those in need. A good resource for getting to these countries on the mission field is through Many missionaries don’t realize that they can get lower airfares through them, but you can :) God Bless you in your good works!

  • Joy Lujan

    tears. Love Moves. Or, as James says, “Live It.” Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  • Tracey

    The girls with their eyes closed as they hug Lily made my heart burst. Thank you for taking them. Thank you for going to show us how love moves.

  • Carol

    Thanks for letting us in on such beauty.

  • Zhanna

    Wow! I don’t even know what to say!

    “She’s nine years old and she made love move today.”

    What a powerful message. My eyes are flooded with tears.

    I’m scared as well. This is what I want to do. I want to go out and love on people. I want to step out of my comfort zone.

    And you did it. I love how you said you’re take one step in front of the other, that its the best you could do. Such honesty. Such obedience. Taking those steps is the best start, a beautiful start, it is all that is required and God does the rest. He just needs obedience.

    Thank you for this Angie!

  • Keely Marie Scott

    Wow… i mean WOW! So excited to not only travel with you through your words but through the girls too! Thankful for you friend! xo

  • Kristin

    :’) Love does move…thank you…..proud mama moments

  • bconnor

    Wow… just wow. Thank you for sharing this journey with us. Our prayers are with all of you!

  • Tonya Salomons

    So moved… moved beyond words!!! Thank you a thousand tmes thank you!

  • Linda McDonald

    I am speechless, thank you for sharing this beautiful message.

  • Linsey @ LLH Designs

    OH, my heart. THIS is love…pure love…HIS love. And oh, how it moves! Thank you for sharing!

  • Coby

    I am absolutely speechless and in tears. You – Christ IN you! – inspire me to love bigger, better, more – to look for ways to teach my boys the way you are teaching your girls, to love and serve beyond boundaries and my own fears, to give what I am able…and then some. What Ann Voskamp said: “…The Gospel is ultimately what we live out.”

    Thank you for sharing this.

    • Tina Squires

      That is true and we all try to live in away that’s pleasing to GOD

  • Lynn Bennett

    Thank you for sharing this incredible moment and your reminder that “love moves”. I am asking the Lord to remind me in each of the moments that lie before me!

  • Emily

    Incredible. Thank you Abby for your courage.

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  • Alysa Bajenaru, RD

    One foot in front of the other. Just move. Thank you sweet girl.

  • MomsMustardSeeds

    Thank you….thank you for sharing the pictures and the words….my children and I are following along…it’s eye opening for them…as they witness a world so full of life and love – yet empty of things…things that cause distractions in our world. Yes, love Moves….thank you!

  • Sarah Bowers

    With tears streaming down my face, I say thank you! For the families you meet in Peru and for your girls – what a gift!

  • tina zimney

    Angie, before reading this, I had put your name down for my bible study question of, who is your role model, who are you attracted to, look up to, desire to be like and why????? Your name came to mind very quickly. This is why, this post, you have this soft compassion about you, you light up when you talk of God, you have an easy delivery in your talking. Angie, my dream would be to go on a trip like this with YOU. To meet you. Tina Zimney

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  • molly

    I’m speechless. And I’m a writer. So that says a lot. I so want to go on a mission trip. It has been on my heart since I started going to church again. I just don’t know where to find direction. I think I would be like Abby. Scared at first. But bravery would come because you’re right. Love moves.

  • Barbara Quiring

    I live in Ecuador with my family as we serve as missionaries here. I wonder, too, what I have done to my children raising them here? I trust that their lives are richer and that they have a better understanding of how to love their fellow man. They do not fit in North America, but they certainly do not look like they belong here either. I trust that God can work “all things together for good”. He is a God of miracles.

    Barbara Q.

    • Tina Squires

      yes he is

  • Yvonne Reynolds

    You and your daughters are being ‘doers of the Word, not merely hearers’. Love speaks volumes and it is so apparent in that tender hug.

  • Connie


    The spirit within us moves us and others… This has moved me.
    Absolutely beautiful!
    Godspeed on your pilgrimage,

  • Alyson

    Angie, Beautiful post. Inspiring. Full of trust, grace and love. Last May (2011), we brought into our home a 15 yr old from our foster care system. She moved into our family. We have two biological girls who were 11 and 9 at the time. HARD as a momma to see your children have to live out the gospel 24/7 and give up everything they knew as “normal”. We are now living a life of daily renewal as we live in the weaving of His tapestry. Fast forward to this past May, our 15 yr old’s bio brother moves in after we fight for a year to reunite them. Again, our understanding of what our life “should look like” in our comfortable culture has been shattered…..and I am forever grateful. I am renewed each day. My biological children are loving in ways I never could imagine. Our now family of 6 is only because of the unchanging grace and truth of our Lord and Savior. Press on to raise arrows for our Mighty King. The rewards will be great living out the truth of His love…..

    • Tina Squires

      Amen to that

  • Mary

    So great to read your blog. I returned from a Compasson trip to Peru Oct.21 and visited my sponsored child while there, first trip with Compassion so really enjoying getting to do it again through you.

  • cathy

    Love moves!! The love you show through Compassion and the love you have shown and taught your sweet girls moved me! Thank you for sharing!
    God Bless!

  • BBakeca

    Awesome article…thanks for sharing!

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  • Chuck B

    It breathes hope and it braves runways.

    It says “we” instead of “they.”


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  • Andi Hunter

    So poignant & absolutely breathtaking. Thank you. I saw God move through love last weekend on a Walk to Emmaus, it’s just amazing & yet so simple.

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  • familiaT

    This is where I live. This is the family I married into. Maybe not the same country, but one like it- brown children play outside the window as I type- their Spanish shrieks up to me between the air nail sounds coming from the pallet factory next to my husband’s family’s house.

    After you people leave- “you people”- you short term Jesus people- they talk about you. About how all your “love” comes only with the offer to forego their ancient beliefs, which they happily (and have happily for years) weave through the catholicism (but their own special kind) of their foremothers.

    About how you stay only so long, and conveniently capture moments like this on camera for your home churches, asking for sponsorship (they know how it goes). (Oh and I clicked on your link, see I was right- all about the dollar, huh?) Some of you might bring true capital- which is what they REALLY need- but too few of you bring only your solid middle class PITY, your staring children that won’t play in the mud (my children have had chicken lice twice over the holiday week – this is how you love people- down in the mud, playing folkloric games WITH them, instead of shaking your judgmental fingers at that folklore.)

    Yeah, we see you parade through here with your cameras ready, your whiteness your badge of difference- always so “loving” but always so separate. We see you popping into the neighboring towns for your crap souvenirs, counting your pesos so carefully. We know what you truly bring.
    They know, too. They talk about you after you leave: (“spare us your sermons, bring us a dentist! that will stay!”). You disgust me, with your waving cameras and your “works.”