Courage Emanuel 

My name is Anna Hargett. I grew up in Tuscaloosa, the third of four children. My father was a construction worker, and mother was a homemaker. We were taught well about work, manners, adventure, relationships, Christianity, and play. Every summer we spent a week at our grandmother’s beach house in Pensacola with two other families. We met again each New Year at one of their homes in Memphis to celebrate and shoot fireworks over the lake.

Our lives were predictable with meals at the table every night, church every Wednesday, and Sunday twice, household duties, beds were made with corners folded just so. We played games together like hide and seek in the dark, monopoly, and pick up sticks. We played in the creek behind our house, and built forts in the woods with our friends.

When I was 9, my father’s business took a downturn, and we moved into a townhouse away from the people we knew. Around that same time our pastor was asked to leave the church. We stopped going after that. For years we were looking for a new church home, but we never went to church as a family again.

When I was 15, my father sat us all down to tell us that he’d changed his mind about his role in our family. He was going to move on. We didn’t see it coming. I think we all had to try and refigure what had been true of our lives, love, relationships, and future. My oldest sister moved out to work her way through college. My older brother soon moved to Montgomery for school, too. My little sister and I were immersed in our teenage lives and relationships toward nothing we’d imagined but some of treacherous journey of independence.

When I was 19, I had my daughter. Standing up in motherhood became the determinate vision of my future. Starting at the bottom, I worked tenaciously and strategically to cover, build, and eventually decorate her in a life experience in which she would find love, joy, and value. It was a very lonely but sacred vision to me. Even the brave, wise, and gentle people that knew me and loved me looked out at the sea of impossibility shaking their heads a little when they gave me their blessing. I went out to cross that water with a baby and no boat, but a vision of where I had to go. Sometimes years there was no land in sight, only in mind. Treading and floating exhausted knowing there’s no way to go but on, we went on.

When she was 9, I finished school and began my work as an occupational therapy assistant. Living in a very special little apartment, we enjoyed some years where the nights were not so long but full of music and joy. On the weekends we found rest and explored. I did some artwork, wrote, started running again, and prepared meals at leisure while she ran in and out of the house with the neighborhood kids.

On February 1st this year I married a man that I couldn’t have made up better. Together we are a rich family of four. My husband and I love traveling, date nights in our Magic City, running marathons, lifting weights, and planning out the paths of our dreams. We love taking the girls for hikes, thrifting, school sporting events, cooking out, and working together in the yard.

The verse that I think of when I look at my life is:

Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you.”

C. S. Lewis said “Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at it’s testing point, which means at the point of highest reality.”

I believe this is a grace that God gives us, being with us. When no one can see ahead of you, no one can go with you, when every option looks painful, every step terrifying, when you believe it’s impossible, He always shows himself faithful and sovereign, not contingent or loving in part. -Anna


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