It’s Official!

Well, today is the day.

Chasing God has officially been released!

This one was such a labor of love…I hope it speaks to you :)

I hope you all had the Merriest of Christmases and the Happiest of New Years, and that God has blessed you with a sense of His wild love in the midst of all the celebration.

Thank you so much for supporting my words and my work-you’ll never know how much it has meant.

xoxo

A

 

*5* & a beautiful gift.

I glanced down at my phone and saw a text from my editor (and dear friend) Jennifer Lyell. It said “Listen to your voicemail:)”

I’m terrible with voicemail. And she knows me well enough to know that if she doesn’t explicitly tell me to, I will likely never hear her messages.

So I listened.

And I cried.

It’s a minute and 58 seconds, and it’s one of the most beautiful messages I have ever received. I will save it to play over and over in the moments when I’m tempted to believe what the enemy whispers to me.

She is forgotten.

Audrey would have been 5 years old today. She would have been blowing out candles and running around the house and giving me the privilege of having one more load of laundry. She would have been getting ready for summer to start, excited to try and swim independently and celebrate the sunshine with her friends.

She would have been laughing, I just know it.

She isn’t forgotten, I know that because I carry her with me every moment of every day, and I will continue to. As the leaves changed this year I wondered if her tree would bloom as it has every other, and indeed it did. Just before Easter, reminding me again that it is only in the resurrection that I find the strength to wait for the flowers to dance again on barren branches.

They don’t stay long. Just a few weeks at most, and often not even that.

It’s still, in the grand scheme of things, a young tree.

It has years to go before it’s strong enough to bear more. I will remember that instead of mourning the fleeting glance, and I will believe it a gift that He knows how much beauty I can stand each year and He gives me grace in proportion.

He has, in so many ways, reminded me of the tender way He involves Himself in the details. One particular story has blessed me tremendously, and I wanted to take today to share it in honor of Audrey.

I have known for awhile that one day I would write a children’s book about her in some form, but it wasn’t until last year that I put my pen to paper. There were so many different ways I wanted to do it, so many stories I wanted to share. I struggled through the emotion of trying to convey the profound juxtaposition of sadness and God’s perfect love, not just for the book, but for myself.

And finally the words were written and the art began. The illustrator was tremendous in her gifting and a delight to work with, but as the first few pages came in I felt a tug in my heart.

My friend Kelsey had been over and we were looking at illustrations online when a friend of hers mentioned a young girl she had come across on Etsy. Kelsey clicked on the link and both of us stared at the screen, while page after page of her work confirmed what I was hesitant to say out loud.

She’s the one.

It made no sense from any angle. She was barely 20, didn’t do custom work, and had never illustrated a children’s book. And since we already had a contract with another illustrator, it was a moot point. I knew the book would turn out beautifully, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that this girl and I would connect. Her name is Breezy Brookshire, and I am so happy to tell you a little more of how this is unfolding.

I’m in the process of writing a children’s Bible storybook for girls as well, and I mentioned Breezy to them in the hopes of talking to her about illustrating it. I explained to my precious B&H team that I wanted a previously unpublished, teenaged girl to do the entire Bible. As you can imagine, it sounded like a foolproof plan. :)

We had coffee one afternoon and I scrolled through her art, watching their faces do exactly what mine had. They told me they would reach out to her immediately and see if she would be willing to discuss the storybook Bible.

She told me later that when she received the message from Dan Lynch at B&H, she checked the website to see if I was writing a children’s book because she was hoping it might be me. As God would have it, she knew of my blog and had read about Audrey. She and her family had prayed for me during that time, and were familiar with her story.

In any case, she wrote back to both of us and said she would love to talk more about it. I was third in line checking out at Hobby Lobby with Kelsey when I got the message. Not that I remember it that well.

Believe it or not (shocking, right?!?) she and her family had plans to come very near to Nashville in the following weeks and we decided to get together and see where things went. Before our “business meeting” with the B&H team, I invited the family for coffee and to my house because I wanted them to have a chance to express any concerns they might have and also just to get to know us a little. This was a young girl, a big project, and a lot of unknowns. I wanted to reassure them that the team at B&H was amazing and that I would do everything I could to support her in the process.

Sufficed to say, we fell in love with them. The Brookshire’s are one of the kindest, most pure-hearted and gracious families I have ever met, and we were delighted to be in their company. All kindred spirits, eyes on the work the Lord was encouraging us to partner in, humbly accepting the grace that would allow such a beautiful friendship.

At one point I stood up to get something in the kitchen and while standing at the sink, I turned to Breezy at the table and all of a sudden my eyes just filled up with tears. I don’t know how to explain the connection that happens sometimes between people, but the Lord just fosters a knowledge of someone in a way that defies the fact that you’re essentially strangers.

And although I had felt it before, I had a deep conviction in that moment about Audrey’s story, and I told them through tears that I felt like she was supposed to illustrate it.

We prayed about everything, we cried, we giggled, we just loved each other. It was wonderful. They felt like home. While we chatted, Breezy’s amazing sister Emily Rose was playing with Kate in a nearby room, and I could hear them telling stories and connecting. It was a beautiful puzzle; the lot of us put together for a greater purpose.

{That’s Emily Rose on the left and Breezy on the right in the top photo}

We had our business meeting the following day and it went exceptionally well; naturally all parties involved were excited and the focus was on the Bible storybook. After saying goodbye (yes, we were all crying. It may have been the air in the restaurant, I don’t know.) I walked into another shop in downtown Franklin and sat down on a bench to try and catch my breath. We hadn’t talked about Audrey’s book because it was out of the question, but I asked about it in a later conversation with B&H.

They explained that it would basically take an act of God for that work out, but that they would pray.

They did. I did.

And He honored our prayer with a series of events so bizarre and inexplicable that I am tempted to say it is the most convinced I have ever been that God enters into even the small things on our behalf. Every single detail of what looked impossible was taken care of, every person overjoyed at the outcome.

In the end, Breezy signed an official contract as the illustrator of Audrey’s story on January 7th, which was the five year mark of the ultrasound that told us she wouldn’t survive.

And as the sketches for each page came in, my heart would pound as I studied the face of the girl in the story. Her name is Caroline, and she has bright red hair.

She’s about 5, I’d say.

And it was clear to me in those moments that the Lord had orchestrated all of it, and that by His grace He let me see this little girl dance and run and play dress-up with her bunny Audrey.

And she has life.

She has so much life…

I don’t know why He wrote the story this way. There’s no question it isn’t the way I would have. I hasten to say that every one of you reading this can think of something in your own life that feels the same. An area where you’re tempted to listen to the enemy as well, wondering if it’s been forgotten entirely.

I can tell you with assurance that He cares, and I can point you to the verses that declare that truth. But more than that, I pray you’ll experience it for yourself.

A tree was planted in my yard in honor of a little girl who never got to run in it.

I could spend the rest of my life imagining her bare feet in the grass, but in the end it wouldn’t change a thing.

So, instead, I wait.

I wait for the blossoms to come, and when they do, in whatever form they are given, I treasure them as long as I can. I praise the God who brings life, and in so doing, I praise the God who takes it

I believe He mourns with me while I wait, but I also believe He rejoices in ways I can’t yet. He sees it as it will be, when all is made right, and it’s beautiful.

It’s easy to cry when the flowers fall, because to our eye the beauty has passed.

My prayer for myself today and for all of you is that you will hear the still-strong voice of the Lord comforting you as He reminds you that you can only see a bit of the page.

The roots are strong, love.

There is life deeper than you’ll ever know here.

Savor the fragrance and revel in the brightness when it comes, and grieve it when it goes. It’s the nature of our flesh to do so.

But also, remember you too are a very young tree.

And there are many things ahead that you couldn’t begin to manage beholding, not even in your wildest daydreams.

They’re better than bare feet in grass, and better even than candles on a cake.They’re the pages that are yet to come, and this is a chapter that declares you believe it is so.

I believe it is so.

Jennifer’s message said that she had just received the final pages for Audrey’s book, and she was overcome by emotion. She cried as she told me how much her life pointed to the Lord, and I listened to her heart break with mine.

It’s beautiful, she said, her voice breaking.

I can’t help but agree.

It is a spectacular work of art, and I want to give my public and heartfelt gratitude for Breezy.

Breezy-you showed me  life in her I didn’t think I would ever get to see, and I’m forever indebted to you for all the tenderness you approached this project with. You are one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever received, and your love for her makes me weak with gratitude. May the Lord be blessed through the spectacular work of your hands, and may you always carry with you my unending esteem for your work ethic, your breath-taking ability, and more than that, your passionate love of our Father God. And may His name be lifted because of your offering-now and forever.  I love you more than I know how to say and I recognize it is only He who could weave this together. All praises to the One who cares intimately about our circumstance.

Sweet Audrey- I pray our Lord is glorified through this book, and that you know how very much we miss and love you. Every day we are closer to where you are, and we will rejoice to see you again.

I’ve cried today, sweet girl, because I wanted to have you with me and the emptiness breaks my heart. Most of my days that’s enough to get me through, but sometimes I can’t stop the tears. It’s okay. It’s just the way it is, I guess.

I wish you were here, love.

Any yet, our Father has given is so many gifts, so many promises, and so many reasons to remain steadfast as we wait.

We do the best we can, love.

So until then…

Happy Birthday, Audrey Girl.

We love you more than we can ever say with words.

*It won’t release for several more months but I wanted to include the image of the front cover so you could see it. Can’t wait to share the rest. Isn’t she beautiful?*

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mended Contest Winner!!

[From Angie's Editor]

Thank you so much to everyone who entered the contest. We truly wish we could give each of you a day at the spa! And although we can’t, we are going to send a free copy of Mended to each of you who entered a link to the contest post. Email the link to your Mended post and your mailing information to mendedbook@gmail.com and we will send you the book!

Now, for the winner of the spa gift certificate! Lauren Alexander was drawn as the winner. Lauren, email us at mendedbook@gmail.com and we’ll get the details worked out. Lauren’s post encouraged us and we hope also serves to encourage you as you consider what it means to be mended: Stitched Together. 

One of Heather’s dress-ups got ripped a few weeks ago. Ty was standing on it and Heather started moving, and the garment tore at one of the seams. She still wears it and prances around, pretending to be the princess at the ball. It doesn’t bother her because the dress is still held together albeit barely.

I hate it when people say things are ripped clean in half, because with the fabric of our days that is never true. There are always frayed edges and tattered pieces of cloth left behind.

The word “cancer” sometimes makes me feel tattered inside all over again, unraveling a barrage of painful memories and hopes dashed to the front of my memory, thread fringes hanging from a torn garment.

My mom was gone from me too quickly while in the prime of her life and faith, the edges of my life ripped at the seams for all to witness.

I felt orphaned, and honestly I have yet to experience a lonelier feeling. Loved ones were near, but dangerously near – so close that I lived in danger of seeing my tattered heart shred completely should I have lost another.

Friends, it wasn’t time that healed the wound or hemmed the brokenness into something that could be used. Oh no.
That was the Lord, sewing my pain into a robe of joy. Might I share with you the testimony and timeline of the mending?

In April 2007, just a few short months before my mom died, there was a baby born into a family filled with chaos and confusion. A baby girl I didn’t know existed at the time, but one of the babies God would use to sew up my busted soul.

Then, in February of 2008, in the depth of my anguish and grief, just a few days shy of my mother’s birthday, another baby girl was born to that same family. Little did I know, this tiny stranger would soon be inextricably tied to my destiny.

In March of 2010, just one day shy of celebrating our 1 month wedding anniversary, a dimpled baby boy entered this world, a brother to those two baby girls. I had no idea this child I’d never met would bring our home such joy and laughter.

It was around this time God began whispering those two foreign words to me: foster care. I ignored it for as long as I could and finally gave in with great reluctance.

We were married just shy of 8 months when those two little girls and that little boy came to live with us, tiny aching hearts from a deeply broken situation.

Unraveled.

I recognized the pain in their eyes because I had seen it in my own. Had I never felt orphaned, I don’t know that I would have identified with the plight of the orphan the way that I do. The Word of Life jumps off the page even to this day as I think about how God transformed deep pain into purpose.

Can the torn cloth really participate in the work of the Mender?

All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort—we get a full measure of that, too. - 2 Corinthians 1, The Message

The deep truth is this: we were undone, and now we look back with gratitude at the kindness Jesus showed to repair us in such an unlikely and unique way.

The Father of all comfort is using the threads of Tabbitha, Heather, and Ty’s little lives to hem up my brokenness.
God is purposing my orphaned heart to bring redemption to their story that included abandonment and disappointment. This family of five has been sewn together with the loving tenderness of our God’s healing needle and thread. Sometimes it hurts and it continues to unearth our need for Him and each other.

The Mender is stitching all of us together, tattered ends lost in the love He has for us and the love we have for each other.

We are nearing the adoption, but just because the paper trail will be over and the gavel will bang doesn’t mean the Lord is done knitting us. No, it won’t be complete until That Day. We keep looking forward to the moment we’ve been longing for as the people of God: when we trade in our ripped dress ups for the beautiful gown, stitched with love by our King. No more mending to be done, only celebrating and clothing ourselves in the Righteousness He earned for us.

Until then, as Dave Barnes wrote,
“We are stitched together
and what Love has tethered I pray we never undo.”

He is before all things,and in him all things hold together. Colossians 1:17

Thank you so much. And, while Angie’s handed over this post to me, can I encourage you to post a comment on here and/or a review on Amazon about how Angie’s writing has been used by the Lord in your life? Angie will probably strangle me for suggesting that (Hi Ang), but as someone who works with her I can attest to the fact that her heart’s desire is not anything self serving, but rather it is for God to show His power through what He has mended in her. Writing and publishing is long and difficult, so I know it would encourage her to get a peek into how God is using the words He has given her in your life, as I’m positive that He is.

And . . . I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t remind you that you can go buy Mended here and here . . . or in a fine bookstore near you.

Thanks again for your support of Angie!

Release

Today’s the day! My new book, “What Women Fear” releases. It took me a couple months to write but it’s kind of been a lifetime in the making.

I had a plan for this post, full of marketing stuff and links and all kinds of good “author” stuff. For the record, it wasn’t half-bad.

But I’m on a little trip with my family and while I’ve been praying through everything that’s happening in my life right now, I keep coming back to the same thought.

He is everything.

My feet were in the ocean and the beach was full this afternoon while I thought about how to write this post. Because at the end of the day, I’m a writer, and I would love for you to buy my book. I needed to translate that in these paragraphs because it matters if I sell books. It’s like any other job, where you want to excel and make the people who believed in you proud.

But it’s pretty hard to write a post like that when you have your toes in the water.

I felt so small…

I was wind-whipped with sand, eyes on the horizon and the thought of trying to say anything other than this was as absurd as it should be.

He is everything.

It’s all a jumbled mess without Him, and any ounce of credit I get would be an ounce misplaced.

And while I planned all the right words, the waves came.

Have you ever said the same?

I could have had everything right on paper, but if I didn’t believe those three words it would all be for nothing.

I’ve done my best to write a book I pray will bless others, but I have done it with hands that tremble in recognition of the One who allowed me the right.

I know my team at B&H is going to forgive me for going a little off the rails with this post. I’m fairly certain it’s not part of the marketing strategy:)

{I was literally at this point in my post when my editor sent me an email. I stopped what everyone here was doing and while the T.V. went on mute and computer keys hushed, I read her words out loud. If you will allow me, I would love to share a little bit of what she said, because I don’t feel like it’s a coincidence that it happened EXACTLY as I was writing about my amazing B&H team}

Ang,

I’m about to go to bed and want to drop a note because I’m thinking about you a lot on the eve of the official launch of a message that I know to my core will be used to impact hundreds of thousands. Do you know what I’m thinking about? I’m thinking about 4 year old Ang, your dad lifting you, you with extra books of the Bible, the legacy of faith you and Todd are building, you two scrubbing the floor after burying your sweet girl and realizing how in each and every nanosecond of all of those experiences and every other one, God was painting an exquisite portrait of the way in which He treasures you and reveals the texture of His love and nature through the way He has gifted you…

It’s the eve of my book launch and she’s thinking about Angie the person, not Angie the author.

It makes me smile ear to ear and shake my head in awe at the way God has pieced this whole thing together.

I am blessed beyond belief to have the honor of writing,

And all my thanks go to the One who has allowed it.

He is everything.

There are going to be some cool posts on deck for later in the week where I am going to ask you to jump in the deep end with me and share about what your fears are. There will even be a chance for you to get involved in a cool little project and then to win some fun stuff, so stay tuned.

If you would like to buy my book, you can click here to purchase from Amazon or here to purchase from Barnes and Noble. Last I checked the prices were almost exactly the same…

I’m really proud of this book and I hope you all enjoy it, but more than that I hope you know…

He is everything.

Blessings to each of you and thank you so, so much for your support~

{A}

Over the Moon {and back again}

I got a phone call last week that rocked my little socks off, so I want to start by thanking Barnes & Noble for giving me the opportunity to share this exciting news with you all. It is entirely possible that they are being so gracious to me because they have tracked my debit card activity at their stores over the past several years and flat out feel sorry for me because of my obsession with them…

Regardless, they are doing a little something that {a little birdie told me} they don’t do very often. It’s my understanding that a few books are chosen every month to be featured on their website and also in their stores, and you are never going to believe what this month’s choices include…

Okay, you might.


But here’s the best part!!!!

TODAY, and TODAY ONLY  {8/22/11} you can pre-order my new book online, “What Women Fear” for $7.49…HALF OFF THE COVER PRICE!!! You can order it here.

I am all about a good deal and this is about as good as it’s going to get :) . In addition, if you pre-order, please email your confirmation email to whatwomenfear@gmail.com and you will be entered to win one of two prize packages from B&H. {a $25 B&N Gift Card & 10 books in each package!!!!!}

I am honored and BLOWN AWAY that they would believe in and promote my book in this way. They were VERY supportive of “I Will Carry You,” and it means the world that they want to get behind this one in such a big way. It means a lot to me that a massive company like them would take notice of and invest in a writer like me.

So, all that to say, thank you to Barnes & Noble for your support, and if you were thinking of getting my new book, go ahead and grab it today while it’s cheap!!!!

Thank you all in advance…

Angie

 

These Happy Summer Days

I am at a place of contentment with my life that I can’t say I have felt in ages. I don’t know exactly what it is, and Todd and I are constantly talking about how we feel like there is so much on our plates and our calendars but we feel peace about it. We have been shifting things as we feel led to make sure we are keeping our priorities in check, but we feel like the Lord has given us extraordinary favor in being able to do what we love. I have noticed that so many times I read (and write) prayer requests and feel like I overwhelm you all with the things that are just hard. That’s definitely a part of being in community, but also, there is a time for praise to the Father who has given us all these good things. This is my public thank you to Him for allowing me to be a writer, which has been a dream of mine since I was a little girl. To imagine that He saw me even then, sitting on my bed and trying to think of things that rhymed so that I could run in and show my dad my latest masterpiece….and He knew that even now I would be smiling the same way.

I don’t take it for granted, Lord. None of it. Thank you so much for allowing me to be a steward of this great treasure…I pray I always bring Your name honor with my words.

To that end, today is a day of celebration!!!!!

A few hours ago I signed a new contract with Broadman & Holman Publishing for another 3 book deal!!! I cried and cried and cried because it was such a blessing. More than that I cried because Jennifer (my editor) told me that she was so proud of me and honored to work with me, but that she knew the truth and that she understood that my name on that paper was bittersweet. She wanted me to know she would rather have Audrey back too, and that all of this celebration has a pain that will never disappear. It’s okay. I don’t want it too. She is woven into every message I will ever be called to give. But to hear that the publisher who you are working with wants to be sensitive and aware of it? That is a gift of unspeakable honor.

I have a lot of writer friends here in Nashville, and we spend time at the pool, at coffee houses, at parties, and we talk about what is going on in the fickle world of all things music/creativity/writing etc where the market is so sketchy. But here’s what I love, and what spurred me on to write this post.

Several weeks ago we found out that our dear friend and neighbor Jon Acuff’s book Quitter had made it onto the Wall Street Journal’s Bestseller List. His amazing wife Jenny (who I go to the pool with every day and never ever get sick of. This is saying a lot). put up signs all over their yard for him for people to honk for a bestselling author and so all day long you could just hear this honking and it was so fabulous. We bought him a cake and had a twilight cake party poolside while telling him how proud we were of him. Then he and Todd posed for a picture with the very pink-looking cake and it didn’t turn out with the manly vibe they were going for so we didn’t post it. But I have it in the event I should need it.

Well, fast-forward a few weeks. Jon and Jenny know I am negotiating a book deal and know the details of it and all the concerns I have etc. They are praying with us and asking if we have heard anything. So one day we grab some whole foods for dinner and have too much so they swing by and eat with us (and then we go to the pool-sensing a pattern?). While we are eating I tell them I am about to sign the deal and they both screamed at the top of their lungs as if I had told them that they had won the lottery. They don’t know this but later that night I cried because it was so sincere, and I knew what it felt like to have someone genuinely celebrate you and have no sense of competition or insecurity…just LOVE.

Well, I had no idea that they were just starting. The next day they got a plan together and at 10:30 at night I saw a tweet with a picture of my front yard….they had pulled the ultimate summer caper. I waited to take pictures until the next morning, and this is what my lawn looked like…

 

Seriously.

So all day long there was honking and screaming and it just make me so happy. I think I was more excited about the feeling of community and what love really looks like than I was about the actual book deal (sorry B&H, you know what I mean :) ) It was just so special.

At Easter the Whittaker’s had kicked it off with a 11pm adventure by planting Easter eggs in all of our yards and having all the kids come out and find them.

It’s the coolest thing-to be a part of a community that lives life together in their jammies and with the kind of love that spends time showing the world how we are called to love one another.

It’s been a summer of redemption and healing for me in some difficult areas. I wasn’t expecting the radiant love that was waiting for me here, and I thank the Lord for it. Here is a picture of a group of us from last night…celebrating sweet Heather’s birthday.

That’s Jenny Acuff on the left, then Chris Alexander, Jacinda (Heather’s bff from CA), Heather Whittaker, Me, Ally Bergstrom, Marla Parker, Keely Scott and in front Jackie Brewster, Laura Morris, and Brandi Wilson.

May God bless you all with friends who celebrate with you, weep with you, and remind you of the sweetness of fellowship.

With so much love and fullness of heart,

Ang

(In)courage post

I posted something from awhile ago, but I am hoping some of you can relate…click HERE to read “The Glorious Hem…”

And may you be inspired as you walk today, in full knowledge of who is waiting for you.

Much love,
Ang

And don’t forget to head to my giveaway blog to enter to win a Lisa Leonard necklace!!! You have until noon on 2/16 :)

(In)Courage Post

Please click here to read some of my thoughts on gratitude…
And have a great Thanksgiving!
(There is a new post that follows this one in case you haven’t seen it :) )
Blessings and love,
Angie

Rush, Rush…

I have a new post up on (in)courage….maybe you can relate?
Click here to read…