Friday, August 28, 2009

Remembering Anne

I first met Anne after she had just moved to town from the heart of South Carolina. We shared a class together and I remember that first day clearly. Like typical ebullient Anne, within 10 minutes she acted as though she has been going to our school for years. She talked and smiled to everyone, and soon had everyone in the class laughing hysterically at her hilarious commentary on just about every subject. Anne was so endearing, but she was also gorgeous. Long, blond hair and always immaculately dressed, her smile would radiate up and down the halls, making guys drool and girls envy her. But Anne was not only beautiful, she was brilliant and driven - that first day I met her she told me all of her life plans (which included being a t.v. anchor- check!). We quickly found we had common interests in politics and fashion. But most loveable about Anne was that she was genuinely nice and good hearted. And I instantly wanted to be her friend.

Through the years Anne would become like part of my family - like a really sweet cousin that could almost be your sister. Our mothers are best friends and we spent many holidays and special times together. She was in my wedding,too. We may not have talked all the time, but I loved her and would have done anything for her, just like I know she would have done for me.

So last October when Anne's life was brutally taken from her at the age of 26 I was devastated along with so many others who adored her. Many of you know about her death because it was a national headline for so long. What happened to her was so horrible, so unbelievable that for a long time I felt that it was just a huge nightmare. How could such a thing happen to someone so lovely, so God-fearing, so pure? How could God take the only child of her mother? How could He let her live five days in the hospital, giving us all that hope, only to take her home in the end?

I had so much anger about it for so long and often just wanted to hit something really hard with a baseball bat! (I didn't, I promise!) I have seen a lot of tragedies in my life, and don't think I ever really questioned God's sovereignty during those hard times. But this was different. It all just seemed a bit too cruel, too unfair, too un-God like. But when I started having thoughts like this, I always tried to remember Anne's strong faith and her trust in the Lord. I think if she could talk to us now, she could confirm what many of us believe by faith - that God works out everything, even the tragedies, for our good and for His glory She could tells us this for sure because like a good journalist, she has seen the true story for herself! To think she has already met our Lord and Savior! And He has revealed to her so much that us left here on Earth do not yet know.

Thinking about our loved ones in heaven is an interesting thing. There are so many ideas of what's it's like up there, all wonderful and hopeful. But I know there have been times in my life when things are going so good, like when I just had Mary Lawrence, and I honestly think, "I hope I don't die soon because nothing could be better than my life right now." But the truth is, heaven is better than anything here on this Earth. In heaven, there are no wants, no desires, no needs, no heartbreaks, no illnesses, no death. Our souls are completely and utterly satisfied. Upon hearing of Anne's death, author Beth Moore called her mom, Patti, to give her words of strength and wisdom. Anne had attended one of her "Women of Faith" conferences just prior to her death and Beth Moore was so moved by her story. One of the things she said was that even though we are all suffering her tragic death, if Anne had the choice, she would not want to come back to this life. The reason: she has tasted heaven and it is too good! It's pretty amazing to think that even with all that Anne had so much going for her here - her career, her talent, her beauty, her success - all of that is nothing compared to glory that is promised to those who love Him.

Anne's life and death is such a testimony to me personally, especially during this time in my life when I especially realize how precious life is. I remember a story her mom shared with me several years ago. In the middle of the night, something that told Patti that Anne was in danger. She got out of bed and realized the house was on fire, and the flames were coming up fast. Anne's room was on the other side of the house, nearly impossible to get to. But Patti prayed and pleaded with the Lord to let her be able to get to Anne and save her. Miraculously, Patti was able to walk past the flames down the hall and into Anne's room, and scoop her precious baby girl up, who was untouched by the fire, and the two of them made it safely outside. The house burned to the ground shortly thereafter.

I think ever since that incident, Patti knew that her time on Earth with Anne was a gift. And she learned early on what most mothers never want to : that our children really belong to their Creator and that we are not guaranteed a lifetime them. Each day was a gift and she taught that to Anne, who truly lived each day to the fullest - always vibrant, always joyful. She lived a life "worthy of the calling" in part because of the example of her God-fearing mother, who encouraged and guided her throughout her life. Thinking of their sweet relationship brings tears to my eyes because it was so close and so precious. They loved and cherished each other as all mothers and daughters should. I hope to be that kind of mother to both my girls. And I hope I can raise them to be a godly woman like Anne. What a gift Anne gave to her mother - nothing could me more comforting to Patti than to know that Anne is safe with her Father in heaven.

Even though her death is still so fresh on our minds, I felt I should write about her today, on what would have been Anne's 27th birthday. For the rest of my life I will remember precious Anne Pressly and the amazing legacy she left to so many. Since her death, people have come forward with so many stories of how she touched their lives in some way or another. And how her life and death sparked their faith in God. We may not see all of God's purposes right now, but we have seen some. No doubt glory has come to His name through this tragedy, and that's just what Anne would have wanted.

Anne Pressly Scholarship Fund
P.O. Box 77, Little Rock, AR 72203

1 comment:

  1. Beautifully written. When you were talking about heaven I was reminded of something God has been teaching me recently- about unending joy. Here on earth we have things that bring us joy, but they are always short lived- a great vacation and then having to return to work or having a sweet new baby- that never sleeps and is sick or any number of other situations. But in heaven we have that amazing joyful feeling, just like the first time you held your daughter-only even better, and it NEVER ends! In fact I am guessing it gets better and better. Praying for you and your sweet baby!