Tilted

A few months ago, I got an email from a girl named Sara.  As I read her words, I was struck by the incredible similarities between our stories.  She was pregnant with a little boy (Elliot) who had kidneys that were nonfunctioning, lack of lung development, in a breech position, no amniotic fluid…you get the picture.  Oh, and also, we had the EXACT same due date.  I wrote her back, and what started as a few words back and forth turned into a source of strength for both of us.  We were not alone!  We talked on the phone, and after we hung up, I cried tears of gratitude for this sweet angel that God had brought into my life.  She sent me her picture, and I decided that we were kindred spirits.
Yesterday, Sara gave birth to her beautiful (and I mean BEAUTIFUL!) son Elliot.  I woke up with knots in my stomach, but faith in what God might be up to.  I had to leave the house for a few hours, but before I left, I checked my email and there was an update from her aunts.  It said that he had been born screaming and crying….hmmm…with no lungs?  Yes.  God was up to something here…
I talked to God as I got in my car, as I ran my errands, as I did what mommies do.  All the while, I kept thinking, “What a perfect day for a miracle.”  
On my way home, I got a phone call from Todd.  He sounded serious.  I thought maybe someone had called to update me on Sara and Elliot.  
“Angie, I wanted to let you know that Dr. Trabue’s office just called.  They got the results from Audrey’s blood test. “
Her diagnosis.  I felt like I couldn’t catch my breath.  Since early January, we have speculated about syndromes and genetic issues.  We have wondered what this moment would tell us about her and about why she was, as Ellie calls it in prayer, “taken.”
“What did it say?”
“It said nothing, honey.  Nothing was wrong.  There is no diagnosis.  Everything was normal.”
I started to cry.  Softly at first, and then deeply.  Eventually it turned into a form of anger that I haven’t felt for a long time…I guess I was due for a good shouting match with God.
Todd felt terrible.
“I thought it would make you feel better, hon.  Why are you crying?”
“I want a reason.”  I couldn’t see the road through the tears.  I don’t know why, but I needed a diagnosis.  I am the kind of person that wants to understand EXACTLY what is happening.  I can deal with just about anything as long as it can be googled.  I pulled into my driveway and called Audra.  I still had a few more tears left in me.  
After I had gotten myself together a little, I went inside and went straight to the computer to see if Sara’s aunts had written.  They had.
Elliot passed away at 9:05 a.m., about an hour after he was born.
I got that far into the email and I slammed my computer shut. I just felt like the wind had whipped through and knocked me down, deep down into a place I don’t want to be.  A place where the answers are fewer than the questions.  A place where God is hidden, just slightly, by the shadows of this broken life.  It is an easy place to get comfortable, because all of your hurts are justified and the tears give way to doubt while all the while you meant to just pick yourself right back up.   
“You could have let him live! WHY? What was wrong with my baby???What do you have to gain from all of this loss????” I literally screamed at the sky while I cried over my own hurt, and the hurt of a sister who I have never met.  He never backs down, though, and I am grateful for that love.  It is the love of a Father who Himself is well-acquainted with sorrow.  It is the love of a Father Who has lost His Son. He understands the ranting and the door-slamming. The emptiness that wraps around me when I think of my sweet Audrey.  He knows.
And He only has one request.
Bring it right to me, Angie.
Every time the anger roars in your heart.  Bring it to Me.
Every time you feel like nobody hears you.  Bring it to Me.
When you think it isn’t fair.  When you think it isn’t true.  When you can’t think at all.
Bring it to My feet, and I will make an altar from your suffering.  
Yesterday, after I felt like I couldn’t take any more of the storm, Abby came into the kitchen with a drawing she had made for Audrey (they do this several times a day…I think it’s just part of how they are processing).  I looked at it for a few moments and then told her how amazing I thought it was.  She had drawn Audrey under a rainbow, standing by a sign that said “Come see the clowns!”  I’m not sure what the significance of that is, except that Abby did confirm that there are “only clowns in heaven sometimes.” That actually made me feel better, because I think clowns are kind of creepy.
Abby smiled at me expectantly.  I wasn’t sure what she was looking for.
“I want to give it to her, mommy.  I want to put it in her basket.” 
They call her “casket” a “basket,” and we don’t correct them, because frankly, I like the idea of a basket better anyway.
“OK.”  Now what do I say? How am I going to explain this to a 5 year old?
 She looked at me, waiting.
“So..should we put it in the mailbox, mommy? Will the man come and get it?”  
She wanted to understand the details of our new situation, and the truth at that moment was that I did too.
“Well, Abby, the great thing about heaven is that Audrey can see all of the things that we are doing down here.  AND, she can see what you made for her!  She can just look right into our house and see it.”  I waited to see how this felt to her.
Without a word, she spoke life back into my tired bones.
She took the edges of the drawing delicately and lifted it high above her head, closer to her baby sister.  She had her head tipped back, looking upward, and after a few seconds, she closed her eyes and a smile made it’s way across her face.
“She liked it, didn’t she?” I asked her quietly.
She nodded, still glowing, and ran off to play.
I don’t know where you are tonight, or what hurts you are holding up to God, but I will promise you this.  If you can just trust Him enough to bring it to Him, He will rejoice in your masterpiece.  And if you need to scream a little, know that you have a God who can take that too, as long as your face is tilted (even slightly) toward Him.
Please allow my sweet friend Sara and her son Elliot to make their way into your prayers tonight…ever-present Counselor, we have to trust You more that we can explain You sometimes.  
You are good, Lord.
You are good.

Cross Point Video

Today has been a day of loss and hurt. I have spent most of the day in tears, for many different reasons. I am still processing what God has brought to me, and the way that I will carry it. I am so, so tired, but I will try to post tomorrow, because I really feel like I need prayer. For now I wanted to pass this along. Allan (from Selah) goes to a great church here, and his pastor made a video of our story that they showed yesterday in church. I think they did a great job, and was honored to be a part of what turned out to be a beautiful day of celebrating God’s goodness and faithfulness.

Here is the link to Pete’s blog-he’s the pastor, and just an all-around great guy. If the poor boy just wasn’t so homely-looking…:)

You may have to scroll a little bit to get to us, but it’s called “Rocked To My Core.” It’s about 22 minutes long, so get comfy!

http://withoutwax.tv/

To Pete and everyone else at Cross Point who was involved in this, thank you, and may God continue to bless your ministry greatly.

Angie

Slideshow

A few weeks ago, I mentioned a song that I had written with Todd and our friend Christa Wells. Amy Perry (who sings in Selah) has a sweet, talented husband named Jake who is pursuing video production in California (in addition to being a Mac genius. I’m not kidding-that’s his title. :) ), and he was kind enough to put these pictures into a slideshow for us to show at Audrey’s memorial service.  you can contact him at archiveproduction@gmail.com if you are in need of video help (or just to tell him how great he is!)

It has been a prayer from the deepest part of me that God would use these words to minister to people who have experienced loss similar to mine. Although this is just the demo of the song (the final version will be recorded on my Birthday-May 19th!), I hope it speaks into any hurts that it finds.  You will probably want to pause the music.  If you double-click the video screen, it will take you to the youtube site and then you can click “watch in highest quatlity”…that seems to be that best way to see it:)

I am daily mindful and thankful for your prayers…they have convinced me to put my feet on the floor morning after morning.

I Will Carry You

There were photographs I wanted to take
Things I wanted to show you
Sing sweet lullabies, wipe your teary eyes
Who could love you like this?

People say that I am brave but I’m not
Truth is I’m barely hanging on
But there’s a greater story
Written long before me
Because He loves you like this

So I will carry you
While your heart beats here
Long beyond the empty cradle
Through the coming years
I will carry you
All my life
And I will praise the One Who’s chosen me
To carry you

Such a short time
Such a long road
All this madness
But I know
That the silence
Has brought me to His voice
And He says…

I’ve shown her photographs of time beginning
Walked her through the parted seas
Angel lullabies, no more teary eyes
Who could love her like this?

I will carry you
While your heart beats here
Long beyond the empty cradle
Through the coming years
I will carry you
All your life
And I will praise the One Who’s chosen Me
To carry you

Blossom

Good news…I’m not spam!!! I cannot believe how many of you wrote to me to tell me that you wanted me to know you were still praying for me. I have needed and appreciated those words more than you will ever know during the past days. There is much too much to fit here…I feel like I am walking around in a dream most of the time. The last 2 weeks have been some of the hardest I have ever experienced. I am still sifting the moments, the memories, and the loss. Trying to figure out where it all goes in my life, and how in the world I am supposed to watch my kids play at the park and not just blurt out, “I just lost my daughter” to all the other mommies. What is this new life I have been given? In time, I know it will begin to make sense. We will learn what to say when people ask how many children we have. We will learn to fall asleep on a dry pillow. We will remember how to love fully, without fear of losing the one thing we can’t stand to lose. We will.

But not today.

Today I am broken. I feel like I am in the midst of intense spiritual warfare. The Blogger people unfroze me yesterday, and I sat down to write after the kids were in bed. I stared at the screen for about an hour, just crying and trying to stretch my fingers across the letters to form something that would tell you what I am feeling. I finally closed my computer and went to sleep, only to toss and turn for most of the night. When I did sleep, it was filled with images of Audrey, but they always unfolded differently. In one, I was screaming at the sky while people all around me told me that I wasn’t loud enough. They kept telling me that if I screamed at the top of my lungs, God would let me have her back. He would drop her from the sky. And so, in my dream, I stood with my arms outstretched to the heavens, believing. Then I remember crumpling up on the ground in tears, knowing that I wasn’t enough. I couldn’t do what I needed to do to save her. I woke up in the throes of helplessness, my bed soaked with sweat.

In another dream, I was away from home and had a feeling that something was wrong with her. I called Todd to check in and he told me that she had died, and that we had both missed her memorial service. I would wake up every few minutes, sometimes grabbing at my stomach to see if she was still there, or if any of it was true. Of course, on every occasion, I eventually remembered.

I feel like I am constantly releasing her, reminding myself that it is really happening. She is gone.

What I have in that moment is the blanket that she was wrapped in for most of her life.

What I have are the pictures of her sweet face.

What I have is a beautiful necklace that a stranger sent to me with all of my daughters’ initials on it.

What I have is a scar, five inches long, which tells me that she lived here not so long ago.

What I do not have is my daughter. And that loss is deeper than anything I could put on paper. It is concrete, definitive, gaping. It is my new life.

Shortly after Audrey was born, some of my close friends came to my house and told me they had a surprise for us. About half an hour later, there was a cherry blossom tree planted in our front yard in place of a maple that had never lived. To see those little pink flowers in the place where we had become accustomed to seeing dead branches was profound for me. Several times a day I walk by my dining room windows and smile at the blossoms because they remind me of my past, and they urge me to believe that new life has begun. The soil is rich in longing, needy for purpose, and prepared to be the giver of life. The friends that brought me that tree could not have known the full extent of how meaningful it was to me.

The official name of the tree is the “Yoshino Cherry.” I have always (unbeknownst to them) loved Japanese cherry trees. Growing up, I spent about four years in Kobe, Japan, and some of my fondest memories drift back to me in the form of pink petals floating on the breeze, beckoning hard-working men and women out of their offices. The cherry blossom season is so short (only a few days!), that last year, the government issued a national apology when they miscalculated the dates. I remember the way my sister and I jumped up and down as the petals fell like snow around us, and thousands of people gathered all around to just experience the beauty. This is one of the descriptions that I found online:

“The Japanese Cherry starts flowering profusely from the first warmer days in April, heralding the coming of spring.

The intense beauty and short survival span have associated Cherry Blossoms with spiritual and philosophical ideas such as the beauty and fragility of human life.”

I read these words and I just fell apart. It’s okay. I needed to fall apart. I pictured the God of the universe watching two little girls dance under the falling blossoms, in a country so far from home…innocence in motion…and years later watching my dear friends plant life in a season of loss. Once again I was reminded that none of this is a surprise to Him.

I went to a tourist site to track the Cherry Blossom festivals for this year, and I clicked on “Kobe.” This is the place where so many of my childhood memories come from…so much joy. I watched the dates come up and the tears just started falling. April 7th, 2008…one of the peak bloom days.

A one week time span, and there she was.

Tonight, my knees will bow to the God that gave her to me…and the God who took her from me. The God who loves to bloom where death reigned. We welcome you, Lord. Come and make it beautiful again.

Sweet Audrey-blossom. You captured us all.


My dad and some business associates
Me and my sister

A Letter to My Daughter



Sweet Audrey,

There are no words I could say in this letter that would be able to express what you are to us, but I feel compelled to write them anyway.  

Do you know you changed the world?
From the day we found out we were expecting you, we knew that God had chosen you for our family.  When we started feeling you move around, we invented stories about who you would be. We took bets on whether you were a boy or a girl (daddy was wrong!).  Abby and Ellie set aside toys that they wanted to give to you.  Your daddy let me buy books at the bookstore about being pregnant, even though we already have a million.  He knows I love the smell of books, and he just watched with a smile while I gathered them all together.  We talked about you all the time.  Our house was filled with love for you long before we ever knew who you would be to us.  We let Kate help us set up a crib in her room while we told her that she was going to have a baby brother or sister sleeping next to her someday.  We introduced her little toddler bed and taught her all about being a big sister.  She loved her freedom…we found her in the pantry eating chocolate at 3 a.m. one night!  And so for weeks, we planned.  We talked about names, about paint, about schools, about everything but the one thing we didn’t know.
God had something much bigger planned for your life than we could ever have imagined.
On January 7th, we heard the beginning of the story.  You kicked while I listened to them tell me that I should let you go.  You, unable to say a word, spoke volumes as we considered what had been laid before us.  Audrey, there really was never a choice.  You were ours from the moment God ordained it so. There were moments in the darkness during that time when I worried that maybe we should give you to God.  We didn’t want you to suffer, and we knew that as soon as you were with Him, you would be at peace.  Were we selfish for trying to keep you here?  We knew before we let ourselves travel into those thoughts that they were lies.  That decision was not for us to make. We settled into the reality of “our new life,” and the stacks of books on pregnancy gave way to scripture.   
Did you know that while you were in my tummy, you went to the beach, to Disney World, to the ballet, to the zoo, to the symphony, to pick out our puppy, to the children’s theatre, to listen to daddy sing, to church, to Poppy’s house…and so many more places.  I talked to you about how the laundry machine worked, told you about all our neighbors, and taught you how to choose a ripe pineapple at the grocery store.  I never stopped talking to you. You were my daughter, and I loved you like I love your sisters.  We prayed for you all the time.  Our prayers changed with the days.  We never, ever doubted that God could heal you.  I know you know that.  I know you felt that.  But I still feel compelled to tell you that we believed, Audrey.  And the fact that you are with Him as I type these words does not change that belief.  There is not a single moment that passes when I question His will for your life.  
I will never, never forget the day you were born.  Nobody who was a part of it will, either. April 7th was one of the best days of my life.  You made me brave, Audrey-girl.  Your mommy used to be afraid of the hospital, afraid of the noises and the smell of medicine.  My whole life, I have been afraid.  I wasn’t afraid that day.  I was peaceful.  I was calm.  I was in the presence of the Lord Himself more than any other time in my life.  I listened as they told me about what would be happening that day, and I nodded.  I surrendered.  I stopped worrying about me and I just fell into the arms of the Lord.  He carried us all that day, didn’t He?
At 4:31, I heard a nurse say, “She’s out.”  Daddy said, “She’s out?” and he peeked around to see them carrying you to a table nearby.  I thought I heard you squeaking and I asked if you were alive.  Daddy looked at me and he nodded.  ”She’s alive.”  I couldn’t believe it.  The doctors looked you over and they listened to your heart.  They cleaned you off a little bit and then daddy laid you right beside my head.  You had one little eye opened and you were trying to take it all in.  I was too.  I put my hands on your head and just started crying because you were so beautiful.  I fell completely, head-over-heels in love with you the instant I met you.  That’s who you are, Audrey.  
When we got back to the room, your Uncle Tom was already taking pictures. Do you know that he took about 1600 that day?  We rejoiced in telling everyone that you were alive.  Your heart was moving slowly, and we knew that it was a matter of time before we would have to release you, but no one would have known that.  For the rest of the day, people held you, touched you, talked to you, and prayed for you.  And everybody smiled when they saw you.  There weren’t many tears, because in a way, we weren’t sad.  We were just too busy praising God for you to be sad.  
Your daddy gave you a bath while I watched.  He got all of your little tootsies clean, and I watched the water run down the back of your neck as he held you up.  Her first bath…

One of my favorite moments was when they put you on the scale.  You were much bigger than they thought you were ever going to be, and it felt like victory.  ”3 pounds, 2 ounces!” As soon as the announcement was made, the room broke out into cheers.  Did you know that your daddy’s birthday is 3/2? Those are beautiful numbers to us, sweet girl, because they tell us that you were here.  You had weight in this life.  
Your sisters were a little nervous when they came, but as they looked you over, God showed them who you were.  The peace that had filled the room for the entire day rested on them, and they began to laugh and to talk to you as they would any other new baby.  They each held you carefully, and kissed your sweet, clean skin.  While they were all gathered around me on the bed, your nurse Candace came to listen to your heart.  I asked her to be sensitive because of the girls, and after listening for a few minutes, she told me quietly that you were gone.  The girls never knew that they had been present for that moment, and I thank God that He took you that way.  There was never anything but peace.  We sang over you as God welcomed you into heaven.  
I cry for you often.  I miss the smell of your skin and your perfect little nose. My arms ache from emptiness.  I tell your daddy all the time that I just want to hold you again.  I cannot see to write these words because my eyes overflow with the tears of a mother who has been asked to give her daughter away.  I knew I would love you when I met you.  I knew you would become a part of me. What I didn’t know was that instead of feeling like it was a brief encounter, I feel like the world stood still. He somehow gave us an entire lifetime of memories in such a short time.  I didn’t feel like I lost a baby, I felt like I said goodbye to someone I had always known, who had been my daughter for years and years.  Even now, as I write, it seems impossible that you were only with us for 2 1/2 hours.  Thank you Lord, for giving us all the time we could have asked for with her.  The clock was insignificant… we knew her deeply, a lifetime’s worth.
Audrey, you have no idea how you have impacted those around you.  Did you see all of the nurses who cried when they came to see me? Did you hear the nurse manager tell me that since you had been born, the name of the Lord had been spoken repeatedly at their station in a way it never had? That you, my love, had brought them together?  Did you know that the people who came to your birth who knew nothing of your story talked about the “amazing peace” that filled the room inexplicably?  Do you know that there were radio stations all over the country announcing that your mommy was going into surgery while people drove home to their familes? Do you know they asked for prayer as you entered the world; that strangers dropped to their knees on your behalf? Do you know how many people have met Jesus because of you? There is more than I can fit here, Audrey.  More than I can fit anywhere.  You are the greatest miracle that I have ever been a part of, and I want you to know how incredibly proud I am to have been chosen to be your mommy.  I promise you that I will never stop being your voice here on earth. I will tell everyone about the little girl who came in a 3 pound body to change hearts.  I will always miss you, Audrey; there will never be a day where you are not a part of us.  I want you to know that you changed me, honey.  You made mommy so brave because of how much I loved you.  I am so proud to have a scar to remember where you once were.
Thank you, my sweet, sweet girl.
Today we are going to sit as a family and we are going to take the band-aids off the bunny that we have carried for months.  We are going to tell your sisters about the way that Jesus has healed you…that you don’t need those anymore because you are well.  You are perfect.  Thank you Lord.
As I have been writing, the rain is pounding on my window.  It is what many would call a very dark and ugly day, with no sign of sunshine. Because of you, Audrey, it is not that way to me any more.
It is an answer to prayer.
Jesus, you have brought us the rain and we praise You for it.  We lift up the God that made us strong enough to love our little girl the way she deserved to be loved.  And we trust that You will continue to use her as a vessel of your goodness, of your faithfulness.  Lord, you have shown me that when this life is empty, you will fill.  You have walked with us in a way we could never have imagined.  What seemed like a cross to bear has now taken the shape of a great blessing which we are honored to have been a part of. Thank you, Lord.  You are the light of our lives, now and forever.
Audrey, there is much more to say.  I rest in knowing that you already know it before it has left our lips.  We love you.  
Sweetest baby girl.  

Do you know you changed the world?
Mommy
For my blog family,
I cannot wait to show you more pictures of Audrey.  You all are a part of this story, and we want you to be able to see who you have been praying for.  We are working on sorting through them, and will give you a link shortly so that you can see our favorites.  She is amazing.  I hope that you can glimpse into the ways of God as you look through them.  For now, here are a few so that you can at least have a face to put with the name.  
Tom, I am speechless at what you have done for our family.  You have given us the most beautiful present that anyone could.  You are so incredibly gifted, and only your heart and your dedication surpass your talent.  We thank God for the many years we have been blessed with your friendship (have I known you 8? 9? We are getting old!), and for the selfless way you captured our child on film. This is my feeble attempt to express what is impossible to say, and it hardly seems enough.  You have given us a way to see our Audrey for the rest of our lives…thank you.  May God continue to bless you as you do the work of the Gospel from behind your lens. We love you (and Debbie and Sam!).
I received many emails during this time regarding the organization “Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep.”  What they do is amazing…I cannot think of anything more meaningful.  Our friend Tom Uchida, who took these beautiful photos of our daughter, has joined the organization because of Audrey, and will be part of their sacred ministry. I pray that you never have to use their services, but know that if you do, they will bless you immensely.  
Here is the little girl we have been loving for months…rejoice with us on this day.  She is healed, and she has filled our lives with joy.
Thank you for walking with us, and for continuing to pray.  
Angie

Your Comments, Emails and Letters

Hello all – this is Jessica posting (a friend of Angie’s, for those who are new to the blog). I have great news to share – Angie is going home from the hospital today! Originally, the doctors told her she would go home Thursday, so getting to go home a day early is a big blessing. Thank you for your continued prayers of healing for her body.

Angie and Todd have been blown away by the reach of Audrey’s story, just in the past three days. This blog has received hits from every state in the US and more than 90 countries! Much of the traffic has come from others referring people to the site – from big sites like Celebrity Babies to individual blogs. Angie and Todd wanted me to thank each of you who have told Audrey’s story – whether online or just in daily life to a family member, friend or colleague. It means more to them than I can adequately express in words.

Angie also asked that I communicate how much your comments, emails and letters have meant to her and Todd. They have received hundreds and wish that they could reply to every kind word, but they simply cannot. What I can promise you is that your words are read and truly appreciated by Angie and Todd. The messages sent are bringing healing amidst the heartache of losing Audrey. Last night they read through many of the comments left on the blog in the past few days and just wept. You each are such a big part of this story. Thank you for reaching out. Please do not think that your words have gone unnoticed because you haven’t gotten a reply from Angie and/or Todd. Your kind and loving words have definitely made an impact. They simply just cannot write to every person who has written. Please though, continue to leave comments and send emails. They are a powerful reminder of God’s love and faithfulness during this difficult time.

Thank you for the love and encouragement that you have expressed.

Blessings,
Jessica

Maternity Photos

Late last week the Smiths had some beautiful maternity portraits taken of Angie and the family. The photos were taken by their friend Tom Uchida of Uchida Photography.

Below is one of their favorites. As you can see Tom is an AMAZING photographer. Please visit the Uchida website and click on Audrey Caroline Maternity to see more pictures of Angie, Todd and their sweet girls. You are going to LOVE them.

Ways You Can Help

Angie and Todd prepared some details in case God decided to take Audrey to heaven after she was born. Angie asked that I share the following:

The family will have a private burial service next week. Please respect their wishes for this and be in prayer regarding this time they will spend together as a family, honoring Audrey and her story.

All are invited to attend a memorial service for Audrey on Sunday, April 20 at 2 pm (central time) at:
Grace Community Church
5711 Granny White Pike
Brentwood, TN 37027

In lieu of flowers, the Smiths ask that donations be made to the Hope Clinic for Women, a ministry they have supported for years. It is a faith based, safe and confidential place for anyone dealing with life choices regarding past, present and future pregnancies. It provides education, counsel and medical care for anyone regardless of age, race or religion. You can make donations online or mail them to:
Hope Clinic for Women
1810 Hayes Street
Nashville, TN 37203

Please be sure to write Audrey Caroline on the memo of your check.

If you would like to send a card or letter to the Smiths, please send it to:
Angie and Todd Smith
PMB 210
8161 Hwy 100
Nashville, TN 37221

I know that they will treasure every note that they receive.

Above all, please continue to lift up prayers for the Smiths – for strength, peace, comfort and understanding in the days ahead.

Time Together

Audra was right. Audrey is beautiful. When I got to the hospital, Abby and Ellie were sitting on Angie’s bed and Angie was holding Audrey, who was dressed in a tiny pink gown with a bonnet on her head. The girls were quick to introduce me to their sister Audrey and point out her red hair, gently pushing back the bonnet.

Overall, the family was doing well. They talked about Audrey, about what a blessing it was to have spent time with her before she went to heaven, about how she was with the angels now.

As I think I mentioned, Angie’s c-section went well, but nevertheless, she was feeling pain tonight. She will probably be in the hospital until Thursday. Please pray for healing and an easy recovery. With three girls five and under, plus the weight of Audrey’s story, the days ahead will not be easy.

I can’t say this enough – your prayers have meant a great deal in the months leading up to and through today. Angie commented that she and the family definitely felt blanketed in prayer as today unfolded. From laughs this morning, to peace going into surgery, to the hours spent with Audrey. Thank you for loving this family. You are a part of Audrey’s legacy, which, even now, we known will be bigger than we can imagine.

It is my hope that your faith is encouraged by Audrey and the miracle of today. While the doctors did not expect her to have life when she was born, she did. For more than two hours, her mommy, daddy and sisters got to kiss her, hold her and love on her. And while, in the end, God took her spirit to heaven, He did so in a very gentle, tender, peaceful way.

Please continue to keep the Smiths in your prayers. The Lord hears them all. We will continue to trust Him and His plans.

Tomorrow I will post information regarding a memorial service for Audrey and some other information.

With peace and grace,
Jessica

Audrey is in Heaven

Audrey is now in heaven with the Lord. She passed around 6:45 central time. Everyone in the family is doing really well, all things considered, and they fervently believe that the time they had with Audrey was miraculous. The girls got to meet their sister and love on her too.

I know Angie will be so moved by all the prayers that have been lifted up for Audrey, her and the Smith family. Thank you for the compassion you have shown.

I am going be with Angie now, but will post again when I get home.

Humbly,
Jessica