Thoughts from 35,000 feet (From Angie)

Posted by on Sep 4, 2013 in Updates | 28 Comments

Thirty five thousand feet. I find myself sitting here, flying between Los Angeles and Nashville. The wave of emotions continues to be extreme. I’m almost amazed at how much and how deeply I can feel and also how little… sometimes feeling totally numb. I spent the past week and half tying up loose ends, saying goodbye to friends that I love deeply, and waiting. Will had 7 hard drives full of everything. It took almost 2 weeks to consolidate and get the old ones running enough to get everything off. So, my time in LA was a little longer than I had anticipated. But, early this morning my friend took me to pick up the 3 TB hard drive that was finally finished with everything that could be recovered. That was it… the last thing I needed to do in LA. So, we continued on to LAX. I’ve had a lot of time to think this past week and half. Mostly because the mornings are too hard to get out of bed and the nights are too hard to fall asleep.

I just can’t figure this out. I know I never will, but I want to. I want to know why. I want to know why our lives had to be turned upside down in a moment. I want to know why I am left here. Why Will wasn’t. I want to know why everything was always so hard and unending from the first moment. I want to know why God has been so silent.

I guess I’ve been thinking a lot about faith lately. My faith. Will’s faith.

I still believe. I believe in a God who created life and I also believe this world is really fucked up. There is so much pain and suffering. There is so much hate and division. There is too much sickness and death. And, Will and I entered into the suffering deeper than I could have ever imagined. I know I have much to be thankful for, but I feel like I had almost everything taken from me. I don’t have a job. I had to leave my home and my community and friends in LA. The future I hoped for and dreamed of with Will is gone. My own mind torments me day and night. My partner, my love, my best friend, the one who made things in this life make sense that didn’t really make any sense, is no longer with me. And, God is silent. Why? Why did I have to lose so much…what feels like everything at times, and why doesn’t He seem to care? Not only that, but seems to have also left me.

I don’t believe that life was ever just about having what I want. Although I really wish I could have at least had Will, I would give up everything in a second if I could have him back. But I agree with what Will said, “I feel like I gave up the rights to my life when I said that I was going to follow Christ.” So I’m just trusting that Jesus will do what he came to do…redeem all that is broken. All of it. The pain, the suffering, the hate, the sickness… I trust that. Everything else I’ve been told or believed… I don’t know. Maybe I was too quick to think I ever really understood anything. Maybe the Bible is just full of people crying out to God in their suffering…God telling them how little they understand…and then fixing it. I believe He’s going to fix this. I do. I really believe that because I believe that’s what He does…He sent Jesus.

My faith has definitely changed. I’m seriously more confused than ever. But, Jesus is the linchpin to my faith. Because of Him, there is acknowledgment from God, the universe, whatever, that things are not right here. Will’s suffering, pain, and death were wrong and needs redemption. That what he went through was terrible and horrific in every sense of the word. That my grief and pain and hurt needs redemption. Will and I experienced a depth of suffering so deep and painful, I can’t even begin to comprehend it myself… but I know I’m not the only one in this place of suffering. And, I believe that Jesus came to redeem it all…all over the world. I believe that He gives us glimpses of it in each other. When we truly love each other and help each other. Not in how we think the other person should be loved, but when we really enter into the darkness (or the light) with someone, love them how they need to be loved. Sit with them in their pain. I remember times when Will would struggle to get out of bed because of his depression. I would try to encourage him to get up… let’s go for a walk… let’s do something… anything… you’ll feel better. That’s not how he needed to be loved. How I wish I could go back… I would get in bed with him. I would hold him in his pain. I would love him in the darkness until he was ready to come out and we could come out together. He did that for me constantly. He met me in my darkness. Maybe I shouldn’t have been so quick to try to just make everything better and “happy” right now, if it just wasn’t. Maybe we need to acknowledge when life is hard and fucked up and that’s why there was a need for Jesus to come and be with us in our darkness in the first place. If all of this was ok… if all of the pain, the suffering, the evil wasn’t a big deal and we just needed or even could, just get over it and move on, then there wouldn’t have been a need for Jesus to come. So, maybe we need to be okay sitting with each other in the darkness for a minute. And, trust that there will be redemption of all the pain. And that there is redemption even now in the moments of real love displayed. I guess that’s where I am in my faith journey. In a place that I am even a little uncomfortable with, but it’s where I am… at least where I am right now at the 35,000 foot view

**I know some of you may be uncomfortable with the profanity in this post. That’s okay. I am a little too. But, the truth is, there is no other word to describe what is happening. I could say messed up or screwed up, but the those words aren’t accurate. They don’t describe the depth of suffering. So, I don’t use that word to be edgy or anything. I use it to be honest to where I sit in this world and where I know many of us sit. And, because I believe many of us need to be less uncomfortable with a “word” and more uncomfortable with the reality of where people are.


  1. Tammy Bullock
    September 13, 2013


    It is heartwarming to know you have a community of people who walk alongside you through words, prayer, and silence… We are God’s instruments in His great plan of redemption. We are the body with different gifts and capabilities working in concert to minister and strengthen you. The Lord knew and planned for this long before you were born. When you can’t trace His hand, trust His heart… For you and at this moment that takes blind faith because of the anguish and ire you feel right now… He has provided a wonderful community of people who love you, believe in you, and walk with you. It is more than apparent there is a sense of relief for you when you write. Express yourself! Release and let it out! We want to read/hear what you have to say. We are here and most importantly, God is here right with you.

    On behalf of those of us in Nashville – Welcome! If you ever, ever need us, please reach out. We want you to know we are happy to have you!

    God’s grace and peace with you!

    Tammy Bullock

  2. Laurie Dhonau
    September 11, 2013

    I’ve found that the more I study Scripture, the more questions I have. The closer I come to Christ, the more I realize how far I have to go. My efforts to know God better always remind me that I am not Him. I am human and always will be, with all my frailties. But my questions and doubts provide motivation to seek Him and through them, my faith continues to grow. Know that you are not alone in the dark, Angie. Even if you don’t feel our presence physically, there are many of us who are lying down beside you and will continue to hold you until you are ready to rise.

  3. Beth Skinner
    September 10, 2013

    When I was a young widow in my 30s I felt so much the same. But I tried to remind myself of a conversation I eavesdropped on as a little girl. Our church organist had been widowed young. She and her husband had just one child. He was killed suddenly in a car accident at the age of 21. Shortly after, I was in church after Sunday School hanging out waiting on mom and dad to come from their class. Mrs. Grant was practising for the sevice when another adult approached her to express their condolences. The woman said “I kmow it must be hard to not be mad at God.” Intrigued, I wanted to hear Mrs. Grant’s response. I had never lost anyone close and as a 10 year old death terrified me. But her response stunned me. She smiled at the woman and said, “Angry? How could I ever be angry at my Lord? So many never really know love. I was blessed with the love of my husband for many years and I had 21 precious years with my son. How could I be angry that God placed them in my ordinary life?” I never forgot that exchange. 25 years later I admit I was not nearly as gracious in my own loss and profound grief at the cruel cancerous murder of my husband. i believe cancer is a tool of the enemy to try to murder the physical and the faith. But I did try. And over time I did recover the ability to focus on all I had been given rather than what I had lost. I pray this for you.

  4. Susan
    September 10, 2013

    Praying for you. Fear not for “cursing.” The Apostle Paul himself used strong words to emphasize points. See Phil. 3:8. The word “rubbish” has been heavily sanitized for our American minds.

  5. Julie
    September 10, 2013

    I’m glad you wrote this, Angie. Love you.

  6. Christi
    September 10, 2013


    I went to Union with Will, but I don’t think you and I ever met. I have followed your journay closely since the beginning and i must say this post was the most heartwrenching of all to read, more than any other post. I cannot imagine your pain. I was reminded of Job and how Satan specifically asked for him. It was not God’s idea, but God allowed everything to be taken from Job: his wealth, his family, his land…but Job was faithful and after years of suffering, God brought him to a greater place. That is easy for us to say because we know how the story ended, but at the time he was living it, Job didn’t know the ending. I imagine you know exactly what he was feeling, the fears he had, the anger as he shook his fist at the lord.

    I want to encourage you to pray through your pain. We don’t always like what we are put through and I think that’s okay. To have joy in suffering with Christ is not the same as en-joying it. I think it’s okay to cry out to God and tell him we are angry and tell him we don’t like it and we think it sucks. I think He even wants us to do that. Open your heart up to Him and be real. You will see Will again. I know that doesn’t give you much comfort now and I know it doesn’t even begin to heal your pain, but it is a reality you can build on. And when that day comes, there will be no more sickness, no more death, no more tears, no more hurt. This earth is not our home. We were never meant to be comfortable here. We long for a brighter day.

    You are in my prayers, sweet warrior. By God’s grace you will come through this and you will be used to help others in a mighty way.

  7. Christa
    September 10, 2013

    Thank you for sharing. The part about learning to sit with someone in their pain and darkness and love them they way they need to be loved was so profound. I hope that knowing you have encouraged and inspired so many different people in so many different situations by sharing your story will somehow help you through this. Just to sit and think about the pain and joy and everything in between that we share in this world, it is very overwhelming, but none of it would matter without the redemption of Christ.

  8. Becky Miller
    September 10, 2013

    In His time…..
    You will see beauty again! He will raise you from this pit of darkness and mourning. You are the only one on this earth that knows your pain. Only you know your fears. Satan would like for you to fall into his pit. Hold on tightly to Jesus! He does know your pain. He does love you, and will get you to the other side. In His time.

  9. Cassie paddock Chaplin
    September 9, 2013

    sitting in the dust with you from a far. Talking to Jesus for you while you can’t . Praying for honest healing from wretched honest pain, and despair. Loving you the only way I know how, and caring for your soul as best we can. Sorry that I’m too far away to just hug your neck. Peace be with you, and upon you.
    My thoughts and prayers,

  10. Cheryl
    September 8, 2013

    Thanks for always being so real Angie. I sat in my car in downtown portland tonight and watched sex trafficking play out right before my eyes with two young girls thinking the very same thing u said about our world. I keep asking myself why? Why are so many people on drugs, why is there so much greed, hate, anger and suffering everywhere? Why? We will never know on this side of eternity. I want u to know my heart does grieve for u. I wish I could be there for u to listen to u. Hold tight dear one.

  11. Candy
    September 8, 2013


    All of your feelings are justified. You are allowed to feel whatever you need to. All the steps of grief and back again and forward…whatever it takes. Life isn’t fair. It’s not fair that you are a widow. Things happen in this life that we just can’t even explain or understand. Process and move through and hope for light to come out of the darkness. I’ve been thinking of you often and I hope that you get a fresh start in Nashville. You are so strong. You will make it through and share your gifts. You will carry on for yourself and for Will. Be kind to yourself. After the services, and the moving and the uproot, just let yourself be still. Allow yourself to sit in the darkness sometimes and just feel the pain, and sometimes force yourself to come out and look for joy and life even if you have to go through the motions at first. Fake it until you make it. The loss will always be felt, but soon the ache will be a little bit less. It’s good for you to question and write and cry out. Stuffing your feelings and being stoic will not help you heal. There are many people caring for you and loving you and Will. Let them help you. Please take care of yourself. I wish you luck and relief. There is hope and I know you will find it.

  12. Adam
    September 8, 2013

    Hi, Although your story is full of pain love & loss it’s captivating… I have been praying for Will & you whenever I learned of your situation.. I just want to say that however you feel is ok… No one can tell you how to feel or how you should feel at a time like this… Most importantly is that you keep writing talking sharing & expressing those feelings…. What we don’t talk out constructively we act out destructively.. Praying & God Bless…

  13. Mona Boggs-Bennett
    September 8, 2013

    Angie ~I feel as you do at times i wished that when my husband died on April 13,2013 – I wished I could have gone with him but then I remember all the things he said he wanted me to care for and the things he wanted me to do I know I was left here on this earth for a purpose, some days are better than others -some hours are better than others, some minutes , some seconds I would be lying if I said I didn’t cry- I do daily but my prayers for myself and for your is that although our hearts my be broken that our souls and conscience are okay, praying for you daily and remember “Be still and know that I am God”- the God, of sorrow, pain, grief, suffering and hope.Hope that it gets better and if not better easier but hope, keep hoping and stayed prayed up. Praying for you !
    The Boggs-Bennett Family

  14. Melody
    September 8, 2013

    Hi Angie,
    I don’t know you, I briefly knew Will and am friends with DJ and Jason. I’ve followed this story because I recognized this path. My mother died 6 years ago from cancer – after an agonizing year and a half of praying, believing, hoping, begging, getting knocked down and doing it all over again. She was my best friend, and even though she wasn’t my husband, I understand in my own way losing someone so close to you at such an early time. She was 58. No wait, she was 9 days from being 58.
    I write to you not really even to encourage you or to say that Jesus is gonna heal it all. He does to a certain extent, and that’s a salve for the soul. I’m not even writing to say I know certain depths of grief and eventually you’ll “overcome” this. You do, to a certain extent, and that’s salve for the soul.
    I guess I’m writing to say that even as I am weeks away from giving birth to my baby boy, the only person I can think of that I would love to be there… won’t. She wasn’t there when I finally got married. She wasn’t there when I got engaged. She wasn’t there. And that really sucks. And I appreciate your honesty in all the shit-tastic depths of grief that you’re in. Because no words of “profanity” or words of…. anything can reveal the true depth of what you are going through. You are in that place, and that is true honesty. If I can encourage you in one way it’s this; don’t try to white-wash or build up over this honesty. Because as long as you are honest about your doubt, your faith, your grief, everything, your heart bit by bit will begin the long healing process.

    You don’t me and I don’t know you. But know that this girl in Alabama is praying for you and I hope…. I hope for hope for you.

  15. Mark
    September 8, 2013

    Still praying. For all of this. For you, other family, friends, co-workers impacted so deeply. Thank you for choosing to continue to minister to us.

    P.S. I’m from New England, no cursing exists that can offend me. haha

  16. amy courts
    September 8, 2013

    i know grief. it sucks. there’s no way around it but through, and it’s hell. every step is a kind of hell.

    i wish i could wish you out of it, but it has to run its course – which is another reason grief is a beast like no other.

    so i’ll walk it with you in prayer, cause that’s how i navigated loss.

    and let me affirm: god is totally okay with you screaming and shouting and pounding every ounce of profanity from your veins and guts. he knows grief too.

  17. Candi Martin
    September 8, 2013

    We met at UU, but you not remember me. I’ve followed Will’s story from early on and prayed fervently for both of you. I am in awe of your faith and your honesty. Please know that you are still being prayed for daily.

  18. Babs Christy
    September 8, 2013

    Angie – you don’t know me, but my nephews, their wives and my daughter-in-law attended Union and knew Will, so I have followed your journey. I have been battling my own cancer for 15 months now, and I just read a book by Ronald Dunn called “When Heaven is Silent”. You may not be ready for it yet, but please tuck this title away and maybe someday it will help you deal with the questions you are asking.

  19. Susan
    September 8, 2013

    Angie…I pray for you as you enter into the fellowship of His sufferings. Posted below is a copy of a personal meditation put together from scripture & songs. May you be transformed in this time….

    Decision in the Darkness
    Meditations from Scripture & Dan Schutte’s song “Holy Darkness” 1996

    God only deserted him to test him,
    to discover the secrets of his heart.
    2 Chronicles 32:31b (JB)

    My brothers, you will always have your trials
    but, when they come, try to treat them as a happy privilege;
    you understand that your faith is only put
    to the test
    to make you patient…so that
    you will become fully-developed,
    complete, with nothing missing.
    James 1:2-4 (JB)

    God left him to himself, in order to test him
    and to know all that was in his heart.
    2 Chronicles 32:31b (ESVUK)

    Then Job broke the silence.
    He spoke up and cursed his fate…
    Job 3:1-2 (MSG)

    “It is God who has made my heart faint,
    And the Almighty who has dismayed me,
    17 but
    I am not silenced by the darkness,..
    Nor deep gloom which covers me.
    Job 23:16 (NASB)

    Holy darkness, blessed night,
    Heaven’s answer hidden from our sight.
    As we await You, O God of silence,
    We embrace Your holy night.

    “I have tried you in fires of affliction;
    I have taught your soul to grieve.
    In the barren soil of your loneliness,
    there I will plant My seed…”

    “Though my love can seem
    like a raging storm,
    this is the love that saves.”

    God withdrew from him,
    in order to test him,
    that He might know all that was in his heart.
    2 Chronicles 32:31b (NKJV)

    Were you there
    when I raised up the mountains?
    Can you guide the morning star?
    Does the hawk take flight when you give command?
    Why do you doubt my power?
    This was the answer Job gave to Yahweh:
    I know that You are all-powerful:
    What You conceive, You can perform.
    I am the man who obscured Your designs
    With my empty-headed words…
    Job 42:1-6 (JB)

    Holy darkness, blessed night,
    Heaven’s answer hidden from our sight.
    As we await You, O God of silence,
    We embrace Your holy night.

    Job answered GOD: “I’m convinced: You can do anything and everything.
    …I admit I once lived by rumors of you;
    now I have it all firsthand—from my own eyes and ears!
    I’m sorry—forgive me…
    I’ll never again live on
    crusts of hearsay, crumbs of rumor.”
    Job 42:1-6 (The Message)

    “In your deepest hour of darkness
    I will give you wealth untold.
    When the silence stills your spirit,
    will My riches fill your soul.”

    Holy darkness, blessed night,
    Heaven’s answer hidden from our sight.
    As we await You, O God of silence,
    We embrace Your holy night.

    I knew You then only by hearsay;
    But now, having seen You with my own eyes,
    I retract all I have said,
    And in dust and ashes I repent.
    Job 42:1-6 (JB)

    Holy darkness, blessed night,
    Heaven’s answer hidden from my sight.
    As I await You, O God of silence,
    I embrace Your holy night.

    LORD, You have assigned me my portion and my cup;
    You have made my lot secure.
    Psalm 16:5 (NIV)

    The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup;
    You hold my lot….You make known to me the path of life;
    in Your Presence there is fullness of joy…
    Psalm 16:5,11 (ESV)

  20. Jenn
    September 8, 2013

    This is gut wrenching to read…I can only imagine how you are feeling right now and its very understandable and justifiable. I am truly aching for you. There are so many words I feel like I could offer you right now, but I don’t feel like they would honestly be very helpful.

    The one thing I will say is – Romans 8:18 “For we ought to consider that our present sufferings ARE NOT WORTHY TO BE COMPARED to the glory that will be revealed to us”.

    Praying for you!

  21. Sylvia
    September 8, 2013

    Angie, my heart breaks for you! I feel your hurt, pain, and confusion in your writing. I am not put off or offended by cuss words. We are all adults here and NO one can’t even begin to imagine the pain that you are feeling. I’ve been reading a lot about what do you do when God doesn’t answer like you hoped and prayed for. I’ve read and heard a lot, but the bottom line is you have to step into another realm of faith and say though you slay me, yet will I trust you ( like Job) . Lord even though I can’t see your hand in this or hear your voice I will trust you. God never promised us tomorrow but He did say that he would never leave us nor forsake us and that He would be with us always even until the end of the world.

    I often question why this world is so screwed up, too! It doesn’t make sense that kids contract cancer and die, that there are so many starving children here in the US and around the world, child sex trafficking and the list goes ON. It makes ansouteky NO sense at all! I heard my Pastor say that we should get made and angry when things like this occur. Not were it causes us to sin but it causes us to react and respond in a way that helps lessen the suffering and pain of others.

    Angie, if I can give any words of encouragement, I would say begin to thank God for the small things. Like getting out of bed, the strength to just brush your teeth, etc. and as you do that you will begin to hear his voice again. Your heart will be open to hear and receive from Him. He has not abandoned you. He is carry you through this, even though you can’t see His hand right now. I promise you that if you don’t give up on Him you will be able to look back at some point and see The faithfulness, love, mercy, and grace of God on your life.

    Thank you for sharing your heart ! I will continue to pray strength for you and a peace that passes all understanding. I will leave you with a quote that I posted on FB yesterday: Life without meaning has no hope. Life without hope had no faith. If you find a way to contribute, you will find your meaning, and hope and faith will naturally follow and accompany you into your future. Nick Vujicic.

    Blessings and Xxx,

  22. John
    September 7, 2013

    Angie, thank you for writing this. How you blend your faith and reality in such a raw, honest way is beautiful. I appreciate so much how you have allowed us to enter into your story. It is tragic indeed but you have allowed us to see glimpses of beauty within it and I thank you for that. I love you so much.

  23. Rebecca
    September 7, 2013

    This is so beautiful, Angie. The profanity is necessary, I think. I’m in the midst of my own sort of grief, and the platitudes hurt me the most, but when someone responds with “that is so fucking unfair”, it feels right. Like they get the depth of my pain and how very very unfair it is. Even if God is good and has an ultimate plan of redemption, the here and now is just not fair.

    Thank you so much for updating on here. For those of us that followed your story and ached and prayed, but don’t know you personally and can’t ask you how you are, it’s really good to read these updates.

  24. Laura
    September 7, 2013

    Angie- I don’t know you but I’ve followed your family’s struggle for some time now b/c of a post on FB. I’m so sorry for the loss of your best friend and lover. I want to thank you for being publicly real. Just because we are Christ followers doesn’t mean we are protected from evil , sadness or deep struggle. One thing it does mean is that though we may “feel” alone, we are surrounded by the evidence of the deep, deep love of our Creator; Jesus, the beauty of the creation, His word in the scriptures, acts of love from others/body of Christ, strangers that check up on you and pray for your peace, etc. Hang on to your hope in Jesus. Romans 8

  25. A.J.
    September 7, 2013

    I have been where you are, but under different circumstances. I know the silence from God you are feeling now, the faith questioned…everything questioned. It took me a year until I could say that I believed in God’s goodness again, believed it for me. A year until I started relaxing back into my faith instead of questioning if everything I had believed in was a lie. A year of begging God to reveal himself and feeling like my pleas were echoing back from a brick wall. I say this only to encourage you: there was no “shining light, voice from heaven” moment. But God became real to me again, little by little. Little by little, I began to see life in color again, instead of the black and white chaos every minute had become for me. At some point, I realized it was not about me holding on to God through all of this, but that He was, is, holding on to me.
    I am so sorry for what you are going through. I cry with you, I feel your pain. Just remember, “Joy comes in the morning.” The morning may be a long way off, but it will come.


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