Finding Bridesmaids–A Repost

Because it’s her birthday, I thought a repost was necessary. Written six years ago… the truth of these words doesn’t change. Happy birthday, dear Bethy.

“They say we go to college to find our husbands, but I’m convinced we go to college to find our bridesmaids.”

These words, uttered Saturday from the maid of honor at the wedding we were attending, struck me. Across the reception hall, I looked at my friend, Beth, the maid of honor from my own wedding. Her head turned, searching for me in the crowd. Our eyes met and we both immediately began to cry.

Thirteen years ago, she stood in all her blond gorgeousness to share at our weekly Campus Crusade meeting. “I’d like y’all to pray for…” I don’t remember what her request was, but I remember being struck by her ability to share her heart so freely, so willingly. I’ll also never forget that deep Virginia, Louisiana, Texas accent. I hear it every week on the phone still.

We met every week in college for Bible study, then accountability, then just to hang out in the Airport Lounge and talk, our southern accents lilting through the air. We danced like crazy girls at Nut House parties, and we dreamed like school girls of our own weddings. We did each other’s hair on graduation day, and we endured the rain and watched our perfect coifs wilt. She celebrated every step of my relationship with Bri, and she stood beside me at my wedding. She toasted our future.

I will never forget the picture of her out the back window of our car on our wedding day. Standing alone at the edge of the parking lot, hands clasped over her heart, tears streaming down her face. She left for a job in Wisconsin the week of our honeymoon. And I wept over the loss. Then God saw fit to bring her back… one month before my thyroid cancer diagnosis eleven years ago.

She held my hand the day of my first thyroid cancer surgery (and asked the nurse if she could have some of my drugs to calm her down). She sat with me for hours the day we lost our first baby to an ectopic pregnancy. She watched the birth of my two oldest children (and made my husband watch The Bachelorette in the hospital room while I marched the halls). She missed the birth of our daughter by 4 days. She lived only blocks from us for years, and yet we still talked on the phone every single day. She dreamed with me of her wedding day, and often talked of how she wanted me pregnant in her wedding (I’ll still never figure that one out).

She met her future husband, and we welcomed him into our lives. They came to our door to share the news of their engagement, and it was the same day we discovered we were pregnant with our Bear. And seven months later, I stood in all my eight-month pregnant glory and wept like a child when I hugged her in her wedding gown. And then she moved… to seminary with Dale. And I wept like a child and asked God why He was taking my friend so far away again.

She has struggled with her health, and almost three years ago now, we piled in the car and drove 12 hours out to St. Louis, because I HAD to see her. I HAD to hold her. I HAD to know she was okay. And then 6 months later, she came back here because she HAD to see me. She HAD to hold me. She HAD to know I was okay. And she stood next to me and cried as my long, dark locks were shaved off my head… the beginnings of my chemo and the emotional drama that would be my life for months… now almost 2 years.

Four months ago, her little Emma entered the world, and I missed being in the delivery room by 2 weeks. But we drove out, because I HAD to see her, I HAD to hold her, I HAD to know they were all okay. And the drama for all of us continues. Beth and I joke about how we are already little old women in our thirties… but we also dream of the day when we will be Wal-Mart greeters and dye our gray hair purple and blue.

We said good-bye again yesterday as she and Dale and Emma drove away from our house, and I cried. So much life we have lived together over the past years. So much we have shared. So much love and loss. So much suffering in our cup, but so much encouragement to pour over each other. So much clinging together to the sweetness of a Savior Who has given us more than we could ever imagine. He gave us each other.

I went to college and I found my husband, my soulmate.

But I also found my bridesmaid, my heart friend.

I am blessed. So very blessed.

Since this post, there have been two more cancer diagnoses. She’s had another baby girl. She still struggles with her own health. She still shows up every time my life crashes around me–whether it’s in person or through the constant texts and phone calls. We still carry so much love and loss in our loves, so much suffering in our cups, so much sweetness of our Savior. And we carry each other.


3 responses to “Finding Bridesmaids–A Repost”

  1. Stop making me cry…just stop it! Love this. Love you both. (And might I say that E. looks like a baby doll in that picture?)


  2. Oh Angie AND Beth,

    The tears are rolling down my cheeks as I read these words. I don’t recall reading them before…must have missed this post. This life….you beautiful ladies, God’s love, what a blessing!

    What would we EVER ever do without dear friendships like these? And oh, that they aren’t taken for granted! For they feel as necessary for life as the air we breathe. And we are so blessed to have friendships like this. Not everyone, by any means does. Especially friends who are also sisters in Christ!
    I was once told by someone, how lucky I was, to have a dear friendship, like the one you ladies share, with my dearest friend Barb.

    Both of you are some of the loveliest ladies I have known. Angie, your life lived out, is an encouragement to me…to keep on keeping on. Though you are younger than I, I’ve been challenged, and have learned from you. Your blog has been a valuable “book” on the shelf in my heart.
    Beth, you are just as sweet and kind and compassionate as most anyone I know. I pray that in 15 years or so, you both will be re-reading the above post once again, as YOUR daughters (and sons) are getting married. Our God is definitely one who hears and answers prayers. Who still heals in His way and His timing. How many people I have known, who have survived things that were nearly impossible. Late stage ovarian cancer….less than 5% survival rate for 5 years…and they are still walking around, after receiving a death sentence, now some 20 plus years later.

    We are praying, praying and praying! Angie you are very loved by so many people who are faithful to keep you in their prayers. Be encouraged dear sister. We will pray for better days, less pain and less sickness in the days ahead as well.

    Now, I am going to go away from the computer, and call me sweet friend Barb, whom I love more than I can say in words. Lord, God, thank you for friendships. For all the sweet, and bittersweet they share with us. For giving women friends, such as these….


  3. I’m so glad you shared these words about Beth. Happy Birthday Beth from Stephen and I.


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