The Hallway

It was a lengthy consultation, and the end result was a plan to say goodbye to four teeth and several (SEVERAL) thousand dollars.

Two of said teeth would be Abby’s, and the other two would be Ellie’s.

The money would be ours.

We had prepared for the latter, but the former was troubling for a number of reasons, not the least of which was that I was going to have to tell them they were having teeth yanked out.

Maybe I should rewind and clarify.

They are tender girls; prone to concern the same way their mother is. We cover our eyes when people get hurt in movies and we cry when we say goodbye for a few days. We don’t do “new” or “change” well, nor do we relish the idea of medical treatment.

When I was in junior high, my parents gave me a book about a giraffe who was afraid to have her tonsils taken out because they thought it would help me get over my fear. For the record, I still have my tonsils. And all of my wisdom teeth. But I got rid of the giraffe book. Never mind the fact that I received a cartoon book a few years before my driver’s license. Let’s not concern ourselves with labels here; tender will do just fine.

I told them about the teeth. Very nonchalantly, as if everyone did this sort of thing. They were watching carefully and I actually played it off pretty well.

It wasn’t a fantastic response, but we got through it.

Several weeks passed and the appointment was coming up, so I reminded them that this was the week that they were going to get braces and also maybehavetheirteethremoved.

There were mixed emotions. Some excitement about the braces, some nervousness about the orthodontist chairs and tools, and a whole lot of talking through different scenarios.

The night before the appointment, Todd and I kissed them to bed and sat on the couch to talk about how we were going to tag-team the next day. I asked Todd how we were going to do the payment, and he explained that we were going to split it up between 2 credit cards. Because I know that some of you like your envelopes and such, I will ease your minds. We don’t keep balances on our cards, but we (read: Todd) like to get our airline miles when we can, and let’s just say “braces for twins” is a RIPE mileage opportunity.

A few minutes after this discussion, Abby came down the stairs to where we were sitting and informed us that Ellie was sitting in her bed crying. I told her to tell Ellie to come down and talk with us, and a few seconds later our red-faced, tween-ish, how-did-she-get-that-tall daughter came into the room and plopped on the couch.

Because I have an advanced degree in these matters, I took the reigns by telling her it was natural to be fearful, because for CRYING OUT LOUD THEY ARE GOING TO YANK PERMANENT TEETH OUT OF YOUR HEAD.

She listened patiently and then explained that she wasn’t afraid. Or rather, she hadn’t been before my little tirade. I had successfully paved the way for terror, so I prayed the same prayer I do many times a day, in which I ask the Lord to omit this memory from her mental scrapbook and replace it with some sort of baking adventure.

“Oh. Okay. So you’re not crying because you’re scared?” I asked. “Then what’s going on, babe?”

She hesitated. She started to speak and then her lip quivered and she tightened her mouth.

“It’s okay, hon.” Todd offered.

After two more attempts, she finally got the words, “two cards” out and we pieced it together. She had come to the edge of the stairs and had heard us discussing payment options, and she was concerned that her straight teeth were going to leave us in financial ruin.

My heart broke. She kept telling us she didn’t care about her teeth and that we shouldn’t worry about it if it was going to be that expensive. We reassured her and sent her back to bed, both of us shaking our heads. Todd, because he thought she was so thoughtful and me because who thinks about money when there’s a drill with your name on it?

In any case, we made it to the next morning and joked around the whole way over to the orthodontist’s office. Abby kept reminding Ellie how much she liked the “funny juice” when her arm was broken, so Ellie was at least looking forward to having that experience.

Before we got out of the car, I prayed for them. I asked to take a “before” picture and we all smiled like we were happy. It’s what you do for scrapbooks, right? Even though years from now we will sit around a table and look at it and I’ll tell them I was trying not to panic. And then I’ll tell them that I watched their tall legs walk themselves into the office and I had to push my feet to follow because I wanted them to be too young to open doors alone.

We made our way back to the check-in area and as I started answering the questions the woman was asking, I noticed Abby swaying side to side. The sway is the pre-cursor to the tears for her, so I kept her on my radar.

Finally I looked right at her and saw that her cheeks were hot and her eyes were a blink away from spilling over. As soon as she saw me looking at her, she crumpled her face and buried herself in my side. Ellie was trying to be tough but she wasn’t far behind.

I whispered to Abby and rubbed her back, reminding her that this was a normal thing and we were going to be just fine.

The receptionist had watched it happen, and when she saw the tears she stopped tying and looked Abby straight in the eye.

“You’re scared, hon?” she asked. Abby nodded.

“Do you ever pray when you’re scared?” she asked. Abby nodded again.

Her eyes were kind and weathered with years of watching nerves and hormones collide, and without another word, she reached her hand over the counter.

Abby lifted hers up, placing it in the woman’s.

“Dear heavenly Father,” she began. “Please help my sister to be brave. Help her know she is in good hands, and that this is a place where we pray for our patients and take good care of them.” She continued for a few moments while I mentally thanked God for this provision. I watched her fingers smoothe Abby’s hand while she lulled her with the prayer, and they both squeezed at the end.

Now we were all teary-eyed, and the receptionist asked Ellie if that was her full name. Ellie explained that no, it was short for her middle name, Elisabeth.

The woman smiled and said she had almost named her daughter that but she was afraid people might call her “Beth,” and she didn’t want that to happen because she had been teased in her childhood by a “Beth.”

I giggled, asking Ellie what she though of when someone said the name Beth. I knew what she was going to say, and we all laughed when she said, “Umm, Mrs. Beth Moore.”

“Well she sure makes me like that name more!” the woman said. I nodded. Me too, I thought. Me too.

We sat in the waiting area for a few minutes before they took the girls back, and they drank their “happy juice” while we waited. Abby had told me (and the receptionist) that her biggest fear was walking to the area where they would work on her.

She wasn’t afraid of the braces, necessarily. And she was handling the tooth-pulling thing like a champ. But the hallway-that was the part she had dreaded for weeks.

I asked the nurses if it would be okay if I walked them back and they enthusiastically assured me I could. I put one arm around Abby and the other around Ellie and made small talk as we traveled that long hall. I talked about the paint colors and the funny drawings on the wall, and they just listened.

Finally, they got into the main room and the sweet ladies told them where to sit. They climbed up in the chairs and introduced themselves, and when Abby started to say she was fine, her face betrayed her and she had to wipe her eyes again.

I didn’t want to stay too long because I didn’t want to be in the way, and also I wanted them to see that they were fine without me. I told them I would be right outside the room and if they needed anything, the ladies could come get me. Then I squeezed their toes through their shoes and gave them a big wink.

“See you soon!” I said, and slipped out the door.

They were fine. They were really fine.

At one point the nurse came to get me because Abby wanted to show me that she was doing a lot better. She certainly was doing better. She was cracking jokes about wanting to drink coffee and she couldn’t keep her eyes from crossing, so there was that.

Right before the teeth yanking (which came after the brackets were put on), they got me and Todd again from the waiting room to show us their new braces. We told them how great they looked and then went back out while they went into another room for the “extractions.”

It didn’t last too long, and they both did phenomenally. All the ladies working there told me how amazing they were, and how their manners were so incredible. I nodded thankfully, saying how proud I was of them and how grateful I was to be their mom.

It seems like a silly thing to say, but it was a hard day.

I have spent so many nights tucking them into their covers and asking God to bless them, and I couldn’t help but realize that all of it-the years, the moments, the songs, the late-night talks, the pancakes, the gum in the carpet, the pages of books and life…

It’s all a hallway.

Arms around them, stepping forward, eventually to tell them I’ve done my part and then point to where I’ll be waiting.

You’ll be fine. You’ll be more than fine.

Just get me if you need me.

I’m not leaving, I’m just going to be out of eyesight. And if you call me, I will race right back here and stroke your hair while you cry.

And if you don’t need me? Well that’s okay too. I mean, I’ll make it okay.

Because you are brave and smart and strong, just like your mommy.

One day we’ll do it, girls. We’ll spill out the pictures on the table and you’ll say, “That’s the day I got my braces!”

And I’ll smile and tell you the truth.

That’s the day I walked back down the hallway by myself, and I cried when I did.

I didn’t want you to see it, and you didn’t, but I steadied myself on the bright walls and covered my eyes with my hands. You couldn’t have understood it, but I bet one day you will.

And until then, just know this in every breath God gives you:

Walking with my arms around you has been the greatest joy of my life.

 

James!

I am so excited that Beth Moore’s newest study has FINALLY hit the stands. I had the pleasure of sitting in on one of her teaching sessions while she was filming for the study and I can tell you this…she is ON FIRE. We are all in for a HUGE blessing with her newest study. It’s called James, Mercy Triumphs. I love the book of James, and as soon as I heard she was going to be doing it as a study I was over the moon. Her daughter (and as some of you recall, my Compassion Intl. trip to India buddy) Melissa played a pivotal role in the writing of it, and as I looked through her notes in the workbook I was sure that this was going to impact me in a new, powerful way. There is so much depth, and yet it is accessible in the way that only Beth can manage. Can you tell I am PUMPED?!?!?! OK. I’ll stop before I get creepy. Too late? Oh well. You’ll understand once you see it :)

And in order to celebrate the launch in a fun and creative way, Lifeway is having a little shindig that we would love for you to come to. You don’t need to travel anywhere, just log on here to the live Facebook launch party on 11/1/11 at 11:00 a.m C.S.T.. and join the fun!

There are going to be amazing prizes (see button below!) as well as several appearances and interviews (I’ll be there!) including…drumroll…BETH!!! You know you don’t want to miss that :)

I haven’t said anything publicly, but a few of you know why this study in particular is really special to me…I’ll be sharing all about it during the live chat and I have a feeling that if you have followed my blog for any length of time, you’ll understand why it’s such an incredible blessing.

So go ahead and get yourself all registered for prizes and meet us here on Monday. Can’t wait!!!!


Love to all,
A

You Might Have Heard…

That I’m a little bit of a crazy stalker fan supporter of Beth Moore’s.

I plead the fifth.

I will say that I got to go to one of her tapings for her upcoming Bible Studies about the book of James and I got a little bit overexcited when she saw me in the audience and came and sat on my lap while she told everyone there who I was.

I blacked out for a little while, so I don’t remember the details, but I do know that she read from my book in the taping the night before, so if you buy that study you will get to hear it. I have no words for that. Let’s just say I’m going to go to jail for harassment honored.

I am so excited to be a part of the Lifeway Women team, and I can’t wait to tell you about the simulcast event that they will be doing with, well, you might have guessed by now.

A moment of silence, please.

OK. Moving on.

If you have your church book this event before July 1, you will save $250, so get crackin’! It is an incredible opportunity and I have been so blessed to have heard some of the testimonies that have come from being a part of her simulcasts. I have had a chance through my own writing to really get to know the women behind Lifeway Women and I can’t begin to tell you how honored I am to be partnered with them.

Years ago, I sat in my first Bible Study. Overwhelmed and convinced it was not the place for me, Beth’s words spoke freedom into my hopelessness. As many of you know, this study was a huge part of my becoming a Christian, and I can’t even begin to express my gratitude for the woman who first showed me the tenderness God has with women who are broken and desperate for the Lord.

I don’t talk about things like this on my blog because it’s a revenue opportunity (it’s not :) ) but because I genuinely believe it has the potential to radically change your relationship with Christ, and if I’m not focusing on those opportunities, I am totally missing the boat with this blog.

To see Lifeway Women’s Facebook page, click here, and to learn more about us and about this incredible event, please click here.

You won’t regret it.

Almost a dozen years after I first heard the Gospel from a stranger, I’m still chasing the God Who forgave both of us and allowed us to share His love with so many others.

I would love for you to spend this September day with Beth…so get your church to sign up. You’ll be so glad you did!!!!

And for those of you who have done a Beth Moore study or read one of her books, go ahead and leave a comment about something you were blessed by…maybe a particular lesson/study or anything she said that has stayed with you. And because I know you all need some motivation, all of the comments will be entered in a contest to win one of my copies of “So Long Insecurity.” This book is AMAZING…

If you haven’t read anything by her or don’t even know who she is, go ahead and just say hello and I’ll put your name in the hat to win :) Contest will end at noon on Wednesday….have a great start to your week!!!!

Love,

Ang

I Can’t Believe It (and an announcement!)

Ok, for any of you who have kept up with me in the last several years, you know that I am quite a fan of Beth Moore. Fan is a gentle word, which conjures images of someone who appreciates another person’s gifting. It is a better choice than stalker, which sounds, well, weirder.

I got to hear her teach this weekend in Birmingham, and you will NEVER believe what I also got to experience.

Beth. In her jammies. With giant rollers and barely any makeup. In her hotel room.

Lest you have an image of me knocking out the room service lady, dressing up in her clothes, and sneaking up to Beth’s room, that is not what happened. That scenario was a not-so-distant plan B to actually being invited to meet her.

A few small points I would like to make here.

I did not throw up nor pass out when I met her ( which may have been directly related to the fact that it is hard to pass out in front of someone in pajamas) and also, she is exactly who I hoped she would be. I cannot tell you what it meant to me to stand with the woman who first introduced me to the Lord.

I’m pretty sure I said absolutely nothing of substance, but I am proud of the fact that I didn’t kick off my shoes and ask if all the girls could stick their feet in the tub together (that was part of the food delivery plan, which, in retrospect may have been flawed. And also, illegal).

I left the room after being encouraged in a way I never expected, and I cried when I got to the elevator. To the other 37 women who shared that elevator with me, I apologize and take full responsibility for making that the most awkward 54 seconds of your life.

I recovered enough to listen to Kay Arthur preach, and marveled at the way the Lord has used her testimony and her love for the Lord to inspire so many women. I respect her immensely and pray that one day when I am 77 years old I will be able to quote Scripture and rock skinny jeans and knee high boots the same way she does.

The next morning, Kelly Minter led a devotional and I decided to add her to my list of stalkees. Lucky you, Kelly. Lucky you.

Priscilla Shirer spoke next and I will not try to recreate the lesson for you. Sufficed to say, the hair on my arms stood up for an hour and a half and I took notes like I was in college again. But not biology, which I never took notes in because my professor wore holiday sweaters that played music and I couldn’t bring myself to look away long enough to do anything but imagine his closet. And also, did they ever start playing in the middle of the night? Creepy. Although it does have potential as a Lifetime movie mystery.

I digress.

Priscilla is one of the most phenomenal Bible teachers I have ever had the privilege of hearing. I cannot recommend her highly enough, and if you have never done one of her studies, you really should. One word of caution though. If you ever see her in person, do not sit directly behind her husband unless there is stadium seating. Noted.

Worship was fantastic. It was the first time I have ever heard Travis Cottrell sing live and he is honestly phenomenal in person. Being married to a singer I feel like I am always wondering if people can really sing as well as they do on CD because there is so much that happens in the studio. He is FANTASTIC, and so were all of the others who led worship.

I had a book signing and met some amazing women who I am still praying for, and I never cease to be amazed at how many women have similar stories or know someone who does.

Then, it was time for Beth.

It goes without saying that she looked fabulous (in a jacket she got at Steinmart, no less. Or, “Steinmarts” as Sophie has quoted..she was also there and I was so excited I kind of attack-hugged her :) .

She brought the house down as she always does, and if memory serves me correctly, she may have talked about me while she was teaching. Like, said my actual name that my parents gave me. I have a birth certificate to prove it. And also, she looked at me.

But I can’t give you any more details about that because I blacked out and concentrated on getting the feeling in my body to come back.

From what I recall, it was very kind.

Kay, Priscilla, Beth, and Kelly did a Q&A at the end and I think it was my favorite part of the whole weekend (minus Beth in rollers saying, “I know it’s hard to take me seriously this way, Angie…”). I laughed until I had tears in my eyes and walked out of there so grateful for a group of women who had all gathered together to meet with the same God.

I wanted to stay for the Compassion dinner and see all of my sweet friends (ones I have met and others I hadn’t yet) but the kids and Todd were with me and we felt like we needed to get home and put them in their own beds. So, we did.

I am so grateful to Todd, who spent the weekend taking the girls swimming and to Claire’s for earrings so that I could be there. I hate traveling without them, and it is a very rare man who can take care of 4 kids in another city to support his wife. He is incredible…I am so grateful for him and his heart.

So, if you have made it this far in the post, I want to share a little news with you (Why did you think I was going to say I was pregnant?!?!?! Because I am totally NOT :) )

A few weeks ago I alluded to a little secret I had and I can officially share it with you now…I think you will understand why I asked for prayer, and why I will continue to do so. This is not something that is in my comfort zone (as in, I would rather teach biology with a singing snowman sweater on), but I am blessed beyond words to have this opportunity.

I can’t tell you how much I hope I get to meet some of you ladies who I haven’t been able to yet…so when you get a chance, check out the info and see if you can join us :)

And please, please pray for me.

I want to serve Him well in this life, and don’t think I’m taking a minute of it for granted. January 17th will mark my tenth anniversary as a Christian and I am in constant awe of the One Who loves me so relentlessly…

Love to all…
Ang

This Just In….I Heart Beth.

Started out my day with my mom’s group. Just began Beth’s “Breaking Free.”

Came home and saw that my new book came (the one by you know who). I read it for a couple hours while my kids drank bleach and ran in the street. That was a joke. We have a fence.

Actually we don’t even have a fence. We need one, though. The bleach is getting all over the road.

And now, I’m finally getting around to entering the winners of the contest to win her book.

Hmmm….this is embarrassing, even for me.

I must say, this book is one of my favorites from Ms. Beth. I have already had a bunch of great conversations with some of my favorite people about some of the things she discusses. One of the questions posed in the first few chapters has to do with the one thing you think would bring you security.  Every time my phone rings, I start out with that question. Incidentally, it’s a good way to get rid of telemarketers.

If you didn’t win, hop over and order it up. You will not be disappointed, I assure you. I will say I have used more post-it notes than should be allowed by law and I broke into tears at least three times.

I have been really challenged by a situation my family is facing and have let myself feel hopeless about it. I feel really down about the way things have turned out, and this book has opened my eyes to a lot of things about the other side of the coin. Instead of feeling anger, it has really unleashed a fresh round of empathy for the other party. There is so much from our past hurts that spills over into our lives, and I am making a conscious decision to try and think through that as I deal with situations that sting. Insecurity is rampant, and one look at our society will tell you why that is.

Be better. Be prettier. Be richer. Be nicer. Be sexier. Be younger. Eat a box of Girl Scout cookies in one sitting.

I threw that last one in to make myself feel better.

I know you all can relate. Does it surprise you that I beat myself up about my parenting? That I really don’t like what I see when I look in the mirror? That I have baggage from my past that I have to face every day? That I wish I was so many things I’m not? More spiritual, a better wife, a better cook, and ON and ON and ON.

Please do me a favor…don’t address these things in your comments…I know you love me and will tell me nice things but this isn’t a cry for attention. It’s just stating the reality of my thought-life so you will know you aren’t alone.

Feel free to share any prayer requests you have in the comments section so we can come together as women (and the three men who are reading) and pray for each other.

On that note, I’m going to say something that I can pretty much tell will get me a couple nasty e-mails, but it’s something I think is important enough to address. May I be frank with you? I don’t want to hear you all bashing other bloggers. Particularly ones that I happened to have dinner with, and also happen to be friends with. You don’t have to love everything she says (or anyone for that matter), and in fact, you don’t have to read it. I happen to know this particular person (yes, I’m talking about MckMama) better than most of you do, and as a fellow Christian, I’m really over the hate. This isn’t meant to be mean-spirited, I am just frustrated with the way people go out of their way to try and hurt others. We are supposed to be a city on a hill, friends. And snuffing out other people’s lights only serves to dim the whole town. Yes, it is a very small proportion of her readers, but they have tried to make their way to me and I want to make it very clear that I have absolutely no intention of joining the ranks. I genuinely hope that those who have tried to beat her up will take some time to get to know her heart. They might just be surprised :) And if anyone sees any comments that are inappropriate regarding this matter on my blog (not just about her…about ANYONE), please feel free to report them to me.

Okay, off the soapbox. Just share the love, people. Share the love. We’re all in this together.

Really, off the soapbox now.

On a brighter note, here are the winners from the book contest!!!! Please email me if you are one of the four and we will get the books right to you :)

Blessings and LOVE,
Ang

Facebook
pick me pick me!!! Mr. Random Number Interger Man!!!
I love me some Beth Moore! I would love to read her new book! :)
I think Spiritual Shadowing is “biblical” !!! Isn’t it?? Well, it should be!!
Thank you for the opportunity!!
Bountifully Blessed in Bloomington~ Bridget!!
That’s exciting! I always enjoy your posts about Beth Moore :)
Thanks for opening up another book contest! Excited to see who wins.

THIS deserves it’s own post.

***Update: It looks like they opened up another section at the church for the benefit concert, so there are a couple hundred seats open now!!! It’s free so HURRY!!!***


***Another update…I have the BEST readers in the world. Seriously. After I posted this a woman contacted me and said she would like to donate 2 more copies of Beth Moore’s book for this giveaway, so I will be choosing 4 winners instead of 2!!!!! Thank you Liz…may you be blessed in return :) ***




I don’t need to say too much about this topic, which you all know is near and dear to my heart. Because she generally knows who I am at this point, I doubt she will ever, you know, press charges. If you read this blog, you know of my affection and respect for the one and only Beth Moore. Let’s just take a moment right here, shall we?
Okay. Better.
Some may refer to it as “stalking,” but that is an ugly word, and I much prefer a term that has a more religious feel to it. Maybe “spiritual shadowing?” Or how about “Oh, Beth, that’s so weird that this book signing was nationally advertised and I happen to be here with all of my Beth Moore books and my hair done all nice and pretty.” Not like I know when she’s coming to Nashville or anything.

Anywho.

Well, her newest book released this week and I think you all need to grab it. I found it on Amazon for a GREAT price, so if you can wait a couple days to start reading it, you can save some bucks.

If, however, you feel that it may make more sense to drive on a snowy road with three screaming children to pay list price, be my guest. In fact, if you do that now, you may see me there.

For those of you with “three day patience,” I have included the following link:

And because I want to share the love with you all, I am giving away two of my own copies of it. Not like I was planning on buying it in multiples, because that would be odd. Creepy even. 
I have derailed.
Leave a comment. Or leave five. Whatever you want. Mr. Random Number Integer man will choose the winners tomorrow night (2/5/10)
I know it’s a pain to leave me a comment because of the whole Disqus thing, and yes, I get your emails telling me I would get a lot more comments if I didn’t have it, but the truth is, I’m not really interested in that. I’m more interested in narrowing the chances of winning a Beth Moore book.
Praise the Lord.
And Hallelujah.
I gotta get my kids in the car.
Love to you all,
Ang
P.S. There is a fabulous FREE benefit concert for Haiti this weekend with Point of Grace, Selah, Mark Shultz, Ginny Owens and possibly even more amazing people. The evening show has sold out but as I write this there are 58 seats left for the 4 PM show. You need to click here if you are interested in trying to scoop them up before they’re gone!!! A love offering will be taken.
P.P.S. If you have not received a book from a contest you won (Pioneer Woman etc), I have not forgotten you. We had a little mixup with who was supposed to be bringing them to the post office and Todd and I have not fully decided who deserves the blame. Because this is my blog, you should know that it is him. 
:)

In Between

Tonight is the Selah benefit concert, and it’ss a rainy morning here in Nashville (raise your hand if you’re surprised….).

I couldn’t sleep last night. I had an awful, weighty day yesterday that involved making arrangements for my daughter’s body to be moved, doing a bunch of useless real estate stuff that involved me getting lost and forgetting to bring cash, and sitting in my car crying. 

Oh wait, let me start at the beginning.

I awoke to an email suggesting that I track down some nasty comments that had been left on my blog (I will not mention her name, as it is fake and was created to pull this stunt).  I found them, and well, she got the reaction she desired. I started shaking and fell out of my bed onto my face crying over the hatred that spewed from her mouth. I won’t repeat exactly what she said, and I have deleted the comments. They were, without question, well over the line. If you read them, I apologize on her behalf. I am crying just remembering….Oh Lord, are you certain you chose the right woman for all of this?….I am such a weak vessel…

She made mention of my “beautiful” life and how many children I could feed if I wasn’t so selfish in moving my daughter’s body. She questioned what I did with the donations sent to me (and said that she believed I kept them all-forgive me if I don’t dignify this with an answer), and that essentially, this blog was for my gain, and who am I, this beautiful, talented writer to “pretend” to believe I was surprised by my success. 

I am paraphrasing, and you should be glad. The originals were ummm, not so kind.

I am going to be honest with you here. I composed several “fake” responses in my mind (have you picked up on the fact that I am a “self-talker?”), and some of them included words I probably shouldn’t mention here. But all I could see through the tears and the hurt was my baby, and I wanted (humanly) for her to get her payback. See? I’m not so perfect, am I? Or, maybe I am just a mother who raises up when someone brings up her child. There was no way to contact her directly because it was an invented profile, so I sat in tears. Todd had a photo shoot, and I was so paralyzed that my sweet father came and took Kate to school and then came back to sit with me.

I want to say this to you, because as inappropriate as her words were, it also brought up a battle that rages within me daily. I am the woman who encourages people to read scripture and yet snaps at my husband for leaving his clothes on the floor. I am great at teaching how to “feel” God, and then there are moments where I lay awake in my bed and can’t find His presence anywhere. I can’t feel Him….

I am the one who asks you to give to the poor (and I have and do sponsor children, I just don’t talk about it) and yet I do wear nice jeans and live a comfortable life. I am caught in the in between. The Lord knows what we do with our money, and I don’t feel the need to defend it, but still. I don’t want to have to live up to this “perfect woman” image, because quite frankly, I CAN’T.

I like nice things (in moderation). I like my jeans, my purse, my scarves, my house, my…..you get the picture. And yet I am flying to Calcutta (must interject here that my itunes is on shuffle and it just started playing David Crowder….thank you, Lord, for caring about the details) because my heart longs to help the poor. I spend hours responding to emails, trying to help others, trying to bless God.

I am in between, I guess.

Have you ever felt that way?

All of this may sound like a jumbled mess to you, but there is beauty when God urges you to face things in your life that are troubling. They may not bother some people (for example, I couldn’t care less if you live in a mansion or drive a nice car…it’s not how I pick my friends, nor how I sense people’s hearts, and if I know WHO they are, it doesn’t cause me to judge. It is not my place to do so…this is MY opinion), but I felt that the Lord wanted me to take something away from it. 

What satan intended for evil in her words, God used for good. He made Himself so real to me yesterday, I would have sworn I felt His breath on my cheek as I wept. He whispered as softly as He could…

Would You give Me everything if I asked? 

I didn’t even blink.

Yes Lord, every bit of it. It is Yours.

I think God loves the in between because He gets to show you things you can’t show yourself. I don’t think thoughts like that…He does. He was with me.

And He is with you, no matter what you are battling.

I didn’t compose a nasty email to the woman who wrote, in fact, later in the day, I revisited her words and asked for the Lord for wisdom. I started scrolling and saw the comments left shortly after hers by other Sundays, and to say that I wept with gratitude would be a drastic understatement. 

EVERY SINGLE ONE was either a scripture or a combination of kind words. They were loving, and recognizing the fact that above all else, this is a woman who the Lord loves the SAME way He loves them.

WOW.

If you were one of those women, I want to personally thank you for being Christ to her (and to me) yesterday. It is what this blog has always meant to be about.  There was no room left for battle, only love, and they did not allow the devil to get a foothold. You all mean more to me than I can possible express, and I am so proud to have you sharing life with me.

Also…

If you have been following me on Twitter (it shows up on the right side of the blog if you scroll down far enough), you will know that there is a woman who needs our prayers this morning. Will you join me in asking for a miracle?

And I couldn’t resist posting this….I think you will understand why. It was left yesterday by someone who I admire, who took the time to reach out….how very blessed I feel to have her prayer. I may or may not have screamed when I read it, depending on which side of me you would like to see of me today…here goes….


Blogger Beth said…

My Dear, Dear Angie, I am so moved, so blessed over what God, in His infinite grace and wisdom, is doing with your life and powerful story. I know this isn’t a new thought but, far more often than not, our passion is born from pain. It does us no good to wish it were not so. There is nothing, however, that awes us with His goodness and His fathomless plan like watching Him do it. Our hearts are often slain by His love for life. It’s all so odd and so beautiful.

Angie, my darling little sister, I will be praying for you. I would love some time to pray over you in person, just the two of us, if God would give us that opportunity. I know you have many mentors and they can give you so much that I cannot – so weak in my natural self – but, in the words of Peter in Acts 3, “that which I have give I thee.”

Love,
Beth

PS. Can I get my picture taken with you?

February 26, 2009 10:55 AM

Beth, if you are still reading, thank you. I am honored that a woman who has walked me through more emotional terrain than most of my best friends would take the time to write. You have taught me what it is like to be an ordinary woman who loves an extraordinary God. And also, I am very glad that your daughter is going with me on this trip, because there is NO way God is taking out a Moore. I may hide behind her for two weeks and request “close proximity seating” on our flights:) 
Back to you all.
I guess what I am trying to say is that you all, from the VERY beginning, have loved me for who I am, and I am humbled by it. More than that, it makes me want to be better (did anyone just picture Jack Nicholson?)
And if you come to the concert tonight, I just want to give you a heads-up.
I love Jesus, but I may be wearing nice jeans….
Ang

Family and Books

***Update***Just wanted to let you all know that Lifeway (Christian bookstore chain) is having a sale, and several of the books I mentioned are on sale until the 26th.  The Jesus Storybook Bible is only $8.50 and the Henrietta Mears book (What the Bible is all about Bible Handbook) is 50% off, so it’s $8.99.  I think it’s the best of it’s kind, so if you are wanting to dig into scripture, this is a great place to start!!!! You can do it!!!
Also, I am so excited about the Bible Study.  I will post more when I have a better idea of the details, but I am sad to say I don’t think we will all be able to squeeze into my house, so I am looking into a few locations that might let us borrow space.  Please pray that we can find a good spot/time that works well for everyone.  I also wanted to let you know that we are going to be doing “Stepping Up” by Beth Moore, and I am working on figuring out a way to include all of you who are interested in joining us.  I am praying through details, so please join me in asking the Lord to bless the “planning.”  I am so, so excited to share this time with you.  I will keep you posted…in the meantime, head over to Lifeway and get some good deals!!!
Hi all!  I hope you are well.  The past few days have been really busy (in a good way), so I haven’t had a chance to post.  Nicol, Greg and Summer are in town, as well as Todd’s brother Jack, his wife Molly, their kids Bella and Jackson, and my in-laws.  I love a house packed with family, and it has been amazing to just spend time together…we are so incredibly blessed to have each other.
I have been praying for the past few weeks about this, and I am really excited to mention it here and see what God has in store.  I am thinking about starting a Bible study (probably Beth Moore but I haven’t decided for sure) and I would love to invite you to be a part of it. We will meet at my house, either every week or every other week depending on what is good for everyone.  If you are interested (and live in Nashville!), please email me at angelac519@gmail.com and put “Bible Study” in the subject line.  I would love the chance to fellowship with you, and would consider it an honor to share some time with you as we seek the Lord together. I am thinking that maybe a group of 15 would be a good size…let me know if you would like to come:) If you are not a believer, but would like to learn more about Christianity, please know that I would LOVE to have you.  I am so looking forward to connecting with you…
Also, I wanted to let you know that Danielle’s Blogs are on sale through the end of the month, so if you are thinking of making over your blog, now’s the time! I can’t tell you how much I have enjoyed working with her, and I know you will too. 
And finally (sorry this post is all over the place…it’s late and my brain is tired:)), I am going to pass along this list of some of my favorite books.  Many of them have been instrumental in shaping my faith-walk, and I would love for you to have the opportunity to soak in the wisdom they have to offer.  I categorized them based on several emails I have received, and I hope this is helpful to you.  I have vivid memories of standing in a train station bookstore with my dad in Japan and fanning books from cover to cover in front of my face so I could smell the pages.  I haven’t changed much:)  I am praying you will be as inspired as I have been by these amazing books…may you yearn for the face of the Lord as you read.
Bible:
I usually read from the NIV
The Bible in 90 Days (Cooper)…this is the NIV version, but broken down into sections so that you read the whole Bible in 90 days…this is how I finally read the whole thing!
Bible Commentaries:
Believer’s Bible Commentary (MacDonald)
NIV Commentary (Bruce)
I would also recommend a Hebrew/Greek Lexicon-this will give you the meaning of the original words used in scripture…so interesting and helpful for study.
It’s also good to have a concordance (I use Strong’s) to look up/cross-reference words you find in scripture. 
Learning the Bible:
What the Bible is All About (Mears) LOVE this book!!!! It is big, but it is really good. 
The Bare Bones Bible Handbook (George) Good beginner book.
How to Study Your Bible (Arthur)
Praying God’s Word (Moore)  Broken down by topic (depression, anxiety, unforgiveness, despair etc), this helps you find scriptures related to different strongholds.
Prayer/Meditation:
Intimacy With Christ (Guyon)
Experiencing the Depths of Jesus Christ (Guyon)
The Seeking Heart (Fenelon)
The Valley of Vision…a collection of Puritan Prayers
General Christian:
The Hiding Place (Ten Boom)
The Ragamuffin Gospel (Manning)
Sabbath (Muller)
Connecting (Crabb)
Prayer (Foster)
Celebration of Discipline (Foster)
The Sacred Romance (Curtis & Eldridge)
Wild at Heart (Eldridge)…for men
What’s So Amazing About Grace (Yancey)
The Pursuit of God (Tozer)
Desiring God (Piper)
Same Kind of Different as Me (Hall & Moore)
Blue Like Jazz (Miller)
Your God Is Too Safe (Buchanan)
Mere Christianity (Lewis)
Chronicles of Narnia (Lewis)
Daily Devotionals:
My Utmost for His Highest (Chambers)
A Diary of Private Prayer (Baillie)
Streams in the Desert (Cowman & Reimann)
Bible Studies:
Anything by Beth Moore…my favorites are The Patriarchs and Breaking Free, but all the ones I have done are amazing.
Anything by Priscilla Shirer…she is also ridiculous.
Women Gifted for Ministry (Towns)  
Parenting:
Grace Based Parenting (Kimmel)
Parenting the Way God Parents (Koonce)
Easy Homeschooling Techniques (Curry)
Children of Character I (Freeman)
I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart:
I will tell of all your wonders.
I will be glad and rejoice in you;
I will sing praise to your name,
O most High.
Psalm 9:1-2
Have a great night…I will write again soon.
Angie