Tuesday, January 26, 2016

a lot of fight left.

I remember the first time I ever met her. TJ had only been my boyfriend for about three weeks when I went to cheer him on at a JV football game, and I saw her up in the stands sitting with some of the other moms. Candie, TJ's youngest older sister, hollered my name and came running over to me in true Candie fashion, and immediately asked "Do you want to meet our mom?" I mean, of course I did...but a better question to ask in that moment would have been, "Do you have the guts to meet our mom?" She smiled politely and said hello, just as you'd expect a mom meeting her baby boy's girlfriend for the first time would, and I honestly don't even remember breathing the whole time I stood in front of her trying my best to hide all of my insecurities.

Within a few months, we were hanging out, just the two of us, at any given time. I began being invited to family gatherings and vacations (well, with the exception of a few dark seasons...but that's another story for another time), and she has loved me like one of her own since. I think she was surprised at how well we got along, especially since she had her mind made up at the beginning that I was bad news (another good story for a later time), but I was thankful for the grace she showed me even when I made her son crazy from all the boyfriend-girlfriend drama we had. She's a natural redhead with a natural fierceness to match, but no bad mood or cut of the eyes has ever made an impression that overpowers her relentless compassion and on-purpose love.
She hates when people draw attention to her, especially when it's for something good that she's done. She loves a clean kitchen, but she will dirty it up in a heartbeat if her family comes over for a meal. She works hard just so she has something to give away, and she hates taking anything from anyone. She radiates beauty even when she's wearing her usual athletic gear and ball cap, and she laughs in disbelief if you say it out loud. She never ignores phone calls, which is a rarity these days. She will rearrange her schedule at a moment's notice if someone needs her help. She is the best secret keeper, and I've never known her to not make good on a promise. She worries about her kids + grandkids even when we assure her that there's nothing to worry about, but she only does it because she never wants us to hurt or be without something we need. She is a faithful Carolina Gamecock fan, but she proudly watched her son walk across the stage as he graduated from Clemson University. She has made Mimi + Trent days a tradition that warms all of our hearts. She gets down on the hardwood floors to crawl around with Braxton even when her knees start to throb. She is practically a Pottery Barn spokesperson, and she will save money for months in order to get what she really loves instead of settling for something she only halfway loves. She has black and white photos plastered on walls throughout her house, because she says that everyone looks better in black and white. She sacrifices her time for those who mean the most to her, even when we all roll our eyes at her inability to say "no," because she knows what it's like to be the person on the other end. She leaves the television on all day long, because she likes to hear the sound of it in the background. She rarely speaks badly of anyone, and she avoids conflict as often as she can.

That's the Angie I know.

The Angie we all know.

The Angie we love.
It's been about a month since we learned that a rare disease had taken root in her body.

Cancer is currently trying to ruin her life, crush her dreams, and strangle her faith, and the real battle starts once tomorrow's surgery begins and recovery follows.

Will it be hard? Absolutely. But will it defeat her? Defeat this family? Absolutely not. You see, all of those things I wrote earlier are simply a by-product of Angie's greatest character trait. She's a fighter. And if I were cancer, I'd be scared. Not just scared of the fight in her, but I'd also be afraid of all those who are fighting alongside her. I don't know many people who are as loved as our Angie is, and all of us are going to rally together to make sure that light wins over darkness, that love triumphs over fear.
The battle is just beginning, but I believe that the victory is already won. From the first moment I heard the news, my prayer has been the same: Father, use this as an opportunity for eyes to be unveiled and for Your mighty power to be put on display in ways so magnificent that Your sovereignty, mercy, and faithfulness can't be denied. As we prepare for one of the hardest seasons we've ever faced, would you join me in praying this same prayer? Of course we want her to be healed, and I've been fervently praying complete + total healing over her, too, but how wonderful would it be for these trials to be the framework for softened hearts, countless "Hallelujah"s shouted, and salvations?

Pray, also, for Troy (our beloved Pops) as he bears the weight of many responsibilities all while entering into a season where "for better or for worse" will take on a whole new meaning.

Pray for the doctors performing the surgery as well as the team of specialists that are going to be working with Angie as she recovers. This will be an extensive, meticulous surgery for Angie, but she will be in the care of healthcare professionals that she trusts.

Pray for Savannah, Candie, and TJ as they wrestle with watching their mom go through trials, support their dad in any way they can, and battle feelings of helplessness, confusion, and sorrow. Please pray for me, too, because even though she's not my mama by blood, she's been my mama for half my life. She's not your typical mom or mom-in-law, so we will all be clinging to hope in a way we never have before.

Pray for Trent as he asks questions and wonders about what's happening to his Mimi. Though he doesn't know many details, he knows that she's sick and will be going away for a while. This kiddo loves his Mimi, so please beg the Lord to calm his fears and still his heart.

Pray for Braxton, too, because he will be spending a lot of time out of town and in new environments for the next little while. He's too little to have any idea of what's going on, obviously, but even he knows how much he's loved by his Mimi.

Pray for all of Angie's family members and friends as they sit in waiting rooms, homes, and desks waiting for answers and hoping for good news. Like I mentioned before, Angie is loved by lots of people who are consumed with a full range of emotions and process things in very different ways.
My flesh is prone to worry, but God has been steadily speaking His promises over my doubts, reminding me of how His provision and providence are unmatched. He is faithful even when the enemy whispers that He's not, He loves us even though we've never deserved His love, and He delights in talking with His adopted sons + daughters even when all we have to offer are tears. This is my hope during this season of so much uncertainty: God is the one calling the shots, and no matter what shots He calls, He is doing it for His glory and the good of His people. No trial we face, no tears we cry, no desperate prayers we offer are meaningless, and God will redeem all of it for purposes that we can't see yet.

Team Angie is strong.

Team Angie is ready to fight.

"I'm hurt and in pain: give me space for healing and mountain air. Let me shout God's name with a praising song, let me tell of His greatness in a prayer of thanks. For God, this is better than oxen on the altar, far better than blue-ribbon bulls. The poor in spirit see and are glad - oh, you God-seekers, take heart!"
Psalm 69:29-32
(The Message)

1 comment:

  1. Anna, Wow! This is beautifully written and so true! There are people everywhere who are praying for this special friend. My heart hurts for what she is going to endure but there is no doubt that she will be triumphant. She is such a strong lady and we will rally with her, and all of you, through it all! Much love and many prayers!


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