How Deep…

Several people have asked me what a typical day is for me right now. Aside from a great day with my family (ever celebrated a holiday with Italians? Mangia!), there were a few moments that stood out, and I think they answer that question pretty well.

I took a shower and only remembered to shave one leg. I tried to look up the weather for the middle of April, hoping that Audrey would have a beautiful birthday. I answered a bunch of email, and realized that my inbox was eating them up without warning. I spent a few hours trying to send them to a place where they wouldn’t be deleted; there are about 350 that I haven’t gotten to yet.

I lined up my perfumes and tried to decide which one I wanted Audrey to smell when she comes. I held my nephew. I watched the girls hunt for eggs in our backyard (1/2 acre with no trees and a flat lot. When I say “search,” what I mean is “pick up”) I read. I cried. I didn’t make it to church because I was so upset that I couldn’t get out of bed. I prayed. I read all the Gospel accounts of the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. I cried. I prayed.

The image of Jesus being mocked while he bled and suffered was unbearable today. More so than any other time I have read the story. His words, His shame, His pain. The fact that as I read those words, I am reminded that He knew my Audrey while He hung. He knew how many breaths she would have, how many tears I would cry for her, how I will run to her in heaven and rejoice that she doesn’t need her lungs there anyway because she is perfect. He knew these words before I typed them. His love is deeper than I can fathom. If you want to feel the Holy Spirit fill you, try something one day. Maybe today if you can make the time. Start by praying for God to reveal Himself in a new way to you, and then read through these words of agony and death, and imagine your face as what He saw. You were worth it. He still believes that. I hope you do too. When God turned away from His Son, and darkness crept across Calvary, He knew your face, your heart, your hurts. They are forever hidden within His wounds.

It always makes me laugh when Abby and Ellie watch Sleeping Beauty. They have seen it no less than 20 times, and yet, when it is time for Aurora’s finger to touch the spinning wheel, they cover their eyes and ask over and over, “What is going to happen to her?” The truth is that they know what is going to happen, but it doesn’t make it any easier to watch. There is time between her bleeding and her waking up. The in-between is where the doubt creeps in. Where you think that evil might just win, and that the great rescue will be stifled.

I know that He will raise up, He will conquer, but when I read about the cross I want to close my eyes until the in-between is over. Today, as I read each scripture, I was struck by something I have never put too much emphasis on before. Jesus did not return to His followers as a healed man. He had scars that told the story, that brought Thomas to belief. He was alive, fully alive, and yet, not unscathed. God chose to use these wounds to remind the world what He had overcome. It seems like if I were the writer of the story, I would heal them completely. Really show people what kind of power I had. Just make it look like it never happened…complete restotation. This isn’t what God chose for Christ, and it isn’t what He chooses for any one of us.

If we are called to suffer in the name of Jesus, we bear scars as well. He doesn’t hide them when trouble has passed, but rather He allows our paths to cross with those who want to touch them, to believe in them, to fall into the arms of the one who allowed them to be inflicted.

This is why I write to you all.

I have prayed many, many times that the eyes that read these words will run their fingers along the wounded hands of Christ, letting His suffering tell you the depth of love He has for you.

This life is not about being healed.

It’s about bearing wounds for the sake of the One who bore them for us. For you.

As a psychologist, I want to help people face these hard things. To turn them into beautiful gifts to be given back to the Lord.

It is as simple as recognizing that God has chosen your suffering for a purpose, and the splendor of His plan begins to be revealed as we trust Him to do that. Tonight, as I write, I am praying that whoever reads this will pray about what their scars tell about themselves, and what they could tell about Christ. If you want to share with me, please email me personally. I would love to hear all about how God redeemed/is redeeming your wounds. I have been so blessed to have others write and invite me to praise God through their stories…it makes me want to keep learning and listening.

I could go on and on, to try and make this sound as clear and meaningful as it does in my spirit, but someone has already done it much better than I ever will. These are the lyrics for the song “How Deep the Father’s Love for Us” written by Stuart Townend. It will be on the new Selah CD, and I have been listening to it over and over again this Easter season. Be blessed, and be encouraged. Today is the day of new life and resurrection…oh, and of the love that NEVER lets go.

How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom
(REPEAT)

Easter blessings,
Angie


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  • Concerned Teacher

    Oh, this is so beautiful. You have so blessed my morning with this new entry.

    I couldn’t sleep last night, and so I just figured that I was awake for a reason, and your story came to my mind, so I prayed and prayed for you and your sweet family.

    You have made me feel like I know you, even tho’ I don’t; yet I know enough for the Spirit to keep me awake so I can pray.

    Carolyn

  • Anonymous

    thanks for the inspiration at the start of this hard week ahead…know that you are being prayed for……love to you and your family:)

  • Anonymous

    I was directed to your story by a friend.
    I am in total awe of you and your faith.
    I am currently trying to cope with raising my two kids alone after their father, my first love, ran off with a blonde from work when my youngest (now 7 & relatively healthy) was a premature & sickly newborn. My oldest is High Functioning Autistic & very challenging. He is now 13 & getting stronger than me every day.
    I have many struggles in my life & recently my faith was really shaken when my Mum’s breast cancer returned after 10 clear years, now it is in her lungs. I am really struggling with where God is these days.
    I admire your strength. You are going through this tragedy with sweet Audrey, yet your faith is stronger than ever. I really hope I can get to the place you are & have my faith restored.
    I will continue to follow your story & pray you have at least some time with your Girl to be able to say Hello to her before she goes to live with Jesus.
    Helen in Australia

  • Jessica

    love you, Ang. Praying for you, as always.

  • Jessica

    “This life is not about being healed.

    It’s about bearing wounds for the sake of the One who bore them for us. For you.”

    Thank you for sharing through your blog. The Lord has used your words to teach me and to help me to see a different perspective/paradigm than I am used to seeing.
    I am praying for you and your family.

    Jessica

  • Anonymous

    Scripture says that God saves our tears in vials and they are like “sweet perfume” to Him! Something we don’t understand at all. How can our tears be like sweet perfume?? The Bible “does” talk alot about (our) suffering as well.

    You said to share a story. Mine is quite different than yours. Early in my marriage my husband had an affair (our kids were babies..our son a newborn even). When I found out I wanted to die and it was so embarrassing and horrible. Somehow we got into counseling and eventually there was forgiveness and healing. Now our children are grown and married and we both have a heart for couples. More, I have a heart for young moms. So we share our story to show there is hope and that one can move on. The memory is still there, but the excruciating pain is gone. I can still be moved to tears by it all…but they’re different now.
    Blessings to you and thank you for sharing your journey here with us!! Still praying for you!

  • karen44

    The “in between time” — that’s a great description.

    I was folding laundry the other day, thinking and praying for you. I realized that this is such a bittersweet time. The pain of the situation is always there, but the hope of healing is always there, too. And you don’t dare hope too much that Audrey will be healed — just in case — but you still hope. And wait. And pray. In between the not knowing and the knowing how God will work.

    Just know that you are loved and prayed for.
    -karen l.

  • MandieGirl

    Angie, I have found your blog through a thread of others, and have been reading for around a month. You have blessed and challenged me to live and feel everything, and to be as strong as what I know God has made me. I really appreciate your openness and realness. I pray for you and your family, and know that no matter what happens with Audrey, that your love for her and your obedience to God WILL bring Him glory. Thank you for your example.

  • Hillary

    All I can say is….WOW. You made me really think while I read that. The last few months have been so difficult for me, but I know that with God on my side…I can get through everything.

    Have you ever read the book, “He Chose the Nails” by Max Lucado?? Excellent book that goes through all the different things that Jesus went through for us on the last few days of his life.

    Thank you for sharing your journey with us. I will continue to pray for you and your family.

  • Alice

    This entry reminds me of a song by the late Rich Mullins called “Where You Are.” My favorite line is “Oh, you’ll meet the Lord in the furnace a long time before you meet Him in the sky.” I hang on to that thought when I am going through all the various trials that He allows me to face.

    Praying for you today…

  • Anonymous

    Angie,
    Your words are beautiful. You are a gifted writer. Every time I read your blog, you bring tears to my eyes. I pray God will give you strength in the hard moments. As well as the ability to experience pure joy in the difficult time in your life.

  • Jody

    For several reasons I could hardly breathe as I read this post, nor could I see the words clearly through my tears at times. I continue to think of you and Audrey and Todd and your girls and this ‘story’ that God is unfolding in your lives that demands your faith and surrendar. I am touched by your insights…moved by your perspective…and humbled to know the grace and mercy of a God so amazing that He sent His son to die in my place and who understands my suffering. It is deep and overwhelming to trudge through the circumstances He allows in our lives. But as you said, the blessing is there too. He has already overcome and will bring us through. Exactly as He planned for us. It’s those steps and unknowns that are so hard at times. I send more love and prayers for you on this journey.

  • photoeye

    Your faith is AMAZING, and I give God all the glory, as I know you do too! I feel in reading your words that I have no troubles, and the first time I read your blog (a few weeks ago) I couldn’t ask God to “bring the rain”. But I have thought much and prayed much and just this morning I wrote in my prayer journal for Him to “bring the rain”. I want His blessing and His hand on my life…and I want all he has for me and I can see now that it may not be in living life without troubles. In the past when I have had difficult times that is when I have felt closest to God, I want that feeling every day of my life…anyway, all that to say thank you so much for sharing all that you do, it helps change lives!

    Sarah

  • Emily

    Good morning, sweet sister.

    My name is Emily and I think I commented last week. But since you asked specifically about our wounds, I thought I would tell the shortest version of my story here. I did read your words. I am blessed by them. I cannot walk away and pretend I did not, without so much as signing my name.

    I am the mother of three little girls. Hope is four and was born healthy on the day that marked six years since I started following Christ. When she was seven months old, I found a mass on the side of her neck. For seven more months, we had no answers, no test results, nothing but a growing mass on my baby’s neck. By the time she had surgery at 14 months old, I was halfway through my pregnancy with her baby sister and I knew she had gastroschisis. (Her intestines and other organs were outside of her body.) Needless to say, we spent entirely too much time at Vanderbilt in 2004 and 2005.

    Matilyn Faith is my Easter miracle. She was born 27 days before Easter with all of her small intestine, most of her large intestine, part of her stomach, her fallopian tubes, and part of her ovaries outside of her body. They were blue and appeared to lack blood flow. In just a few hours, her wound was repaired and, like Jesus, her scar was left to tell her story. But Mattie’s scar is in the form of a beautiful, unique little belly button. The day before Easter, three years ago, we brought her home in the Easter dress I had feared she might never live to wear.

    This past summer, Hope and Mattie met their baby sister. Miller Grace was forming beautifully in my womb and we were praising God for the beautiful “point of umbilical insertion” we had been so trained to look for and had prayed wholeheartedly to see. It was not until 30 weeks gestation that I knew something was wrong. Sweet Miller Grace was unable to swallow her amniotic fluid and I was growing by leaps and bounds.

    Over the course of four weeks, I had about four liters of fluid removed via four amniocentesis procedures, each of which lasted about an hour. We could see that something was special about her brain and we could not explain the seizure like movements I felt and all could see on the ultrasound screen. We were so prepared to love and raise our special needs girl.

    Miller Grace was a gift from Heaven and the Lord allowed us to borrow her for 5 days, 8 hours, and 48 minutes before He made her whole and let her find her place on His lap. It has been nine months now and nothing is the same. But, just as you said, by giving the Lord access to my wounds, He has brought a greater healing that I could have ever imagined.

    I blog, too, that God might receive glory for all He chooses to do in our lives. You will be amazed at the lives that Audrey will touch in her lifetime, no matter how brief. Glory is at stake here. Have no doubt about that! He will be glorified through this fearfully and wonderfully made creation. He will never leave your side and when you fear that He might have, rest assured that He will be the very breath in your lungs.

    A lifetime of love and purpose will be fulfilled in the moments that you share with your fourth daughter. Be prepared for the most beautiful, sacred experience of your life. “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!” is what I long to say. :) Really, He’s remarkable. He’s amazing. And He has this all worked out.

    I cannot wait to “meet” your girl and to read the many ways He uses Audrey Caroline to further His kingdom. The ripples on eternity that will begin with her life will spread far and wide. I am lifting you up. His grace will be sufficient for you.

    Emily
    Mom of 3 miracle girls
    http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/millergracecassetty
    http://emily0305.blogspot.com

  • Anonymous

    Hi,

    I don’t know you but when I saw this article on MSN I thought of you.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23682263

    I don’t have children so I don’t know exactly all you are going through but I do know that we can have hope that everything is done for a reason and it is all according to God’s perfect plan.

    I’m sure it’s hard to hang onto that sometimes especially when you are in the middle of a hardship, but God will get you through it. He always will be faithful to us he calls His own.

    :)

  • Anonymous

    As I straggled this past weekend to be in a car 5 hrs drive there on Saturday early morning back Sunday late night to go to my in-law for Easter, I was thinking about what was Easter all about .. sure I have adopted the chocolate giving tradition, and the egg hunting, the girls had matching outfits with cute looking hats and gloves ..I too had a new dress for the service …but as I said to my Alex who now being 9 see the frivolity of it all, There has to be more …Because of what Jesus did was so extraordinary so incredibly amazing..that each time I truly think of it I see new things …sure eggs, chocolate, new dresses and diner with my in-law.. that was so much fun ..but it is all about Jesus and what He did for us …After the service in my in-law’s church they have a memory garden were they have the aches of some of the people that have gone ….it is a beautiful place .. there is a grand old tree and flowers and here in Florida it was blue skies, not to cold not so hot .. beautiful .. And the girls were looking through the names of people and Alex said to me .. Mom we should do one of this remember me (that is what she call it !) garden at home, were we could sit and remember grand pa and grand ma (my both not hers) and even the baby we lost (I lost a pregnancy at 4mths along and she still talks about the baby we will see in heaven ..) …so that we could think about them more often Mom .. I was lost with words and just looked at her and cried …loosing the baby it not a thing I speak about to often .. we had Sammy after and I just don’t….so Alex hug me and said .. mommie we could even put a picture of Jesus to remind us of Him too …in that moment I seen more clear than before how much the resurrection of Christ has mean to me ….He die for me, He knew my straggles and pain and He still was willing to die .. Oh Angie sister He bore it all …you pain and mine ..all ..oh glorious love that even though we were sinners Christ die for us, but that was not the end of the story ..He lives also for you and for me …for all who belive in Him shall not perish but for us to have ever lasting live …I pray for you, for you family too, but let me also pray more for you ….May God bless you and give you strength … thank you for charring this part of your pain with me, with us .. May God keep you always buy His side ..
    Your sister in Christ .. Damarys

  • Laura

    No words….just groans…praying those gorans are translated into sweet prayers going straight to the throne. Remembering the groans I made as our family walked this journey. Loving you from a distance.

  • Lizzie Fish

    thanks for this, angie. we are praying for peace for you. your open heart and learning spirit are a lesson for all of us. love, the fischers

  • Keri

    Beautiful and much needed today. Thank you for reminding me to embrace my scars as a reminder of what God has brought me through. You are a blessing and Audrey is already leaving a legacy through her mom.

  • katiejo11

    You inspired me to start my own blog today. Here is the story of my own angel:
    http://whenhellomeansgoodbye.blogspot.com/

  • Angela

    my mother in law attended a selah concert in In on friday night, told me about the story todd had shared and directed me to your site with a ‘read at your own risk’ disclosure. i’ve just spent the last hour reading every single post from the time you started this blog. i found myself laughing out loud at the stories from your girls to weeping with your pain and hurt re: audrey. i’m 14 weeks and just can’t imagine your position and am challenged to wonder if i would have the same faith, trust, hope, and rainbows in my day if i was faced with the same thing. i’m sorry, i didn’t intend for this to be a long post, but i see your gift and passion of writing in these posts, you have words for things i can feel and just don’t have the words for. god has gifted you amazingly and my husband and i will be joining everyone else in prayer for your family and for audrey. despite the physical outcome of her life, she’s already ministered, already touched lives and already brought healing with ber life. thank you for posting this blog. btw, i don’t use my blogspot, but do post at http://www.xanga.com/laplace12

  • Heather in Nashville

    Angie,
    I have no idea how I found your blog, but I’ve been reading it for awhile, and I just wanted to thank you so much for your words. I don’t have any major scars to share yet, and my mind cannot imagine what it is like for you to be going through this. But I know without a doubt God is using you for His glory by sharing this story. He is doing a great work in your life. My life has been blessed by coming across this blog, and I am continually inspired by the spiritual maturity you have. Thank you so much for opening yourself up to us all.

    For comfort in God’s hands, I like to remember Zephaniah 3:17-
    “The LORD your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with his love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”

    Keeping you and your family in my prayers,
    Heather

  • Old DAN AND Little ANN

    I too was touched in a special way this Easter by the emphasis that ‘by His wounds we ARE healed’. It seems that each Easter season He illuminates a new theme. This was ‘it’ for this year for me. I’m not to the bottom of it yet and I hope I never will be until I behold Him. There is no illness more severe than the terminal illness of sin and that killer of men’s souls was rendered powerless by the resurrection power of our God! Halelujah! Thank you for sharing your heart! Many jewels will come out of Audrey’s life and many of them will be expressed through the faithful voice and heart of her mama!

  • Lindsay

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23682263/

    I found this on msnbc.com. I wasn’t sure if any of the reading material would/could help you during this difficult time. I am praying for your precious family. God bless you during your darkest days.

  • Kristen

    angie — this blog needs to become a book. i thought of you on Sunday. love you, friend.

  • Kristen

    I feel like I’m reading a devotional when I read your blog. You inspire me, encourage me, and give me new perspective on God’s plan for all our lives and His amazing love for all of His children.
    Thank you for sharing this difficult journey with us.

  • Laurie

    I wanted to let you know I am praying for you, for Audrey, and for your family during this most uncertain time. Your faith is so inspiring and beautiful to the One who holds you now. He is revealing himself to you in the most tender way. The “in-between times” are hard, but without Him, impossible. He does redeem our wounds in such a beautiful way in His time. I will continue praying you through, asking Him to bless you with sweet time with Audrey.

    Love, Laurie in Ca.

  • Anonymous

    God be near you and your family. I have not had the same trial as you are going through but have experienced a moment where your life is one way one minute and the next it is upside down. I know
    God is with you. Have you heard Natalie Grant’s song Held? I am praying you and your family will be Held every minute.

  • Nicole

    A friend of mine directed me to your blog and I have been a silent reader now for a while. I’m not quite sure what made me decide to write you a comment today but, as I’m sitting here ready to scream because my kids are driving me crazy, I can’t help but think of your situation and be thankful that I have three healthy children that make me want to scream. I think you are an incredibly brave person for going through this and I want to let you know that you have made me want to find God again.
    I am reading a book right now called “Your Best Life Now, For Moms” and wanted to share a quote with you…
    “‘Mother’ means selfless devotion, limitless sacrifice, and love that passes understanding.” -Unknown
    I, along with my sister, am praying for you.
    Nicole

  • Sarah

    Angie, you are a true Inspiration. You will continue to be in my prayers.

    Sarah

  • Shane and Kathy Gebhardt

    You have such a way with words and your faith is amazing! I am inspired by you. Thank you (once again) for sharing your story and for sharing the great news of the gospel.

    God is using your trials to uplift SO MANY. You are an amazing person!

    God’s Blessings.

  • Tabatha

    I am here, reading your story… similar to mine in ways, and yet, so much more than God has given me to bear.
    You may never read this comment, but I share anyway… thank you for your story, no, your account. And thank you for writing the words to one of my favorite songs!
    How deep indeed is His love for us!!!

  • Angela

    Angie,

    Your writing is so beautifully poetic and supernaturally wise. I’ve just spent my kids’ entire naptime reading up to this point from the beginning of your blog, and every post has been full of wisdom, inspiration, encouragement, transparency, Godliness…. Thank you for taking the time to pour your heart into this blog which has apparently affected many others the way it has affected me. The Lord has given you a gift for writing and has supplied you with much wisdom. I wish we could be friends. :-)

    In Christ,
    Angela