I feel so sneaky.
I have wanted to ask for prayer for the past few weeks, but I was working on keeping a real good secret, and I am proud to say I pulled it off.
Yesterday, I went to Texas and surprised Sara.
It was the greatest, worst day I have had in a long time. I woke up at 5 a.m. after only getting about three hours of sleep, and headed for the airport (and you all know how much I love flying, right?) Well, it’s a good thing I had no idea how bad the flight would be, or I probably wouldn’t have gotten onboard. Proof that God shields you sometimes from the hard stuff coming up because He sees what you don’t, and to get to it, sometimes you just gotta get on the plane.
The poor man next to me was very patient when I asked him if I could hold his hand and then proceeded to draw blood from his forearm while screaming “Oh, Lord…NOOOOOOO LORD ..NOOOOOO!!!!!”
In an attempt to distract me (note to anyone who tries this…if someone’s head is lodged in your armpit, asking them about their day is going NOWHERE), he asked about my travel plans. I told him I was flying to Dallas and then later that day, to Pensacola. He took his pointer finger and drew a little map in the air of my flight route with a questioning look on his face.
“That seems like a strange way to go.” He wanted me to explain.
Later in the flight, he fell asleep and then we hit another “patch” of air. Let me rephrase.
I saw Auntie Em.
I woke him up because I felt weird about grabbing the hand of a sleeping man I didn’t know. And because he offered me his hand again, I offered him my story.
By the time I got off the plane, I was a wreck. He helped me get into the airport, and I thanked him and asked if he wanted to meet me in 19B on a flight to Pensacola later. I was joking. He was not. I pulled the old “I have such a tiny bladder” girl trick and ducked into the bathroom. Yikes. Not a good start to the day.
Sara’s friend Debra picked me up at the airport (here’s where it starts to get better). We had a great time chatting about the big surprise, and I started to remember why I had gotten on the dumb plane in the first place
When we got to the church for Elliot’s celebration service, Debra made the “eagle has landed” call, and we got into position. As I waited for Sara to come around the corner, I just kept thinking, She’s not going to recognize me. She is just going to stare at me and not know why everyone is acting like she should be excited.
As she rounded the corner, her eyes looked right into mine.
I don’t know how to say this other than to say it simply.
We knew each other.
She blinked, and tears started coming down her face. Lots of them and all at once. We hugged and hugged and neither wanted to let go, because it just made sense that way. We would start to talk and then halfway through a sentence we would just start hugging again. It was one of my favorite moments ever.
I got to meet her husband Brandon and all of their family and friends, and they made me feel like part of them. They have an amazing support system, thank God. Several times throughout the day, people would be looking at me and ask, “Are you Angie?” They had been following my blog because of how similar the story was to Sara’s, and as a result, had been in prayer for Audrey. I cannot tell you how much it meant to put faces to the prayers..beautiful, sweet, sincere faces. Amazing.
The service was gorgeous and God-honoring in every way. We laughed at the way it mirrored Audrey’s, even down to some of the song choices, although we had never discussed it. I kept thinking about how grateful I was to be there and be a part of it. About fifteen minutes into it, Brandon and Sara read letters to Elliot. I started to cry (in a pretty, “Days of Our Lives” kind of way). Approximately ten seconds after that, I shifted into the “snot flying out of your nose, making sounds that only dogs can hear” mode.
I continued to cry through most of the conversations I had that day. I just couldn’t seem to get it together, but it felt safe. It felt tender, like a fresh wound. I wouldn’t trade it for the world, because it has carved me deeper, and made me trust Him for one more day when I thought I wouldn’t survive the hurt.