“For if I had not suffered, I would not know His comfort.”
by: Julie Adams
Her story started just as ordinary as anyone might expect but then it took a hairpin turn at 90 miles per hour that no one could have predicted.
Angie Allread, then Angie Skelly, grew up like many Choctaw kids; she attended First Baptist Church under the leadership of Pastor Gerald Lunsford, was saved and baptized at FBCC at the age of seven, and later recommitted her life to the Lord after realizing the significance of her decision as a young child. After graduating from Choctaw High School, Angie earned a degree from UCO with a bachelor’s degree in English Education and later married a really special guy named Jeremy Allread.
As it turns out, God was orchestrating these seemingly normative experiences in Angie and Jeremy’s lives to weave a story just as captivating and awe-inspiring as an Old-Testament narrative. You see, in 1997 during her student teaching, Angie started having trouble with her vision. So, of course, she went to the doctor which led to a series of tests including a CAT scan, an EKG, an MRI, and a spinal tap. Doctors diagnosed Angie with multiple sclerosis and told her that she’d soon be confined to a wheelchair and that having children was ill-advised.
In the middle of a dating relationship, Angie and Jeremy had to have a serious conversation about what this meant for her future… his future… THEIR future. Angie understood that Jeremy might want more in a marriage than she could provide, but Jeremy understood that while life with Angie may not be what he’d imagined, he loved her.
As God would have it, Angie and Jeremy married on April 21, 2000. “He knew I was defective and he married me anyway!” Angie exclaims through a smile.
What Angie and Jeremy may not realize (or they might), is that they are a living demonstration of God’s love for each of us. As Angie describes her life with Jeremy, it is undeniably the story of Christ’s love for the church. Angie calls Jeremy her “greatest and most undeserved blessing,” the man who is able to “bring calmness to any difficulty” she faces “putting aside everything else” to make sure she is taken care of without complaint.
No, there is no miraculous story of healing here; in fact, Angie has seen her world become “smaller and smaller” as her abilities have decreased over the years. She walks with a cane in one hand while holding onto Jeremy’s arm with the other. Sometimes she stumbles and falls, but she always stands up and scolds herself for being so clumsy… as if she did it on purpose! More recently, she sometimes finds it difficult to verbalize her thoughts as quickly as she’d like, another cruel side-effect of the MS. Yet, Angie never complains. Instead, she focuses more intently on her Savior. She said recently that “although the MS has taken away so many parts of my life, I have been given unexpected joys such as the opportunity to stop and prioritize important things and people in my life, the beauty of nature as viewed from my porch swing, and seeing God in a new way in the world all around me.”
Amazingly, Angie is not sitting at home lamenting the parts of life that cannot be. No, she is rejoicing in the comfort and peace of God’s goodness.
While none of us would choose the life that Angie describes living with MS, her life is one to be envied, admired, imitated.