First of all, please let me express my deepest thanks to those of you who sent me emails, gifts, and prayers on my Birthday yesterday. I cannot believe how many of you “strangers” thought to bless me with your acknowledgements!
It was a good, full day. We recorded Audrey’s song, and although we got a lot of great stuff (Amy can SING….as if you didn’t already know….:) ), we decided that the demo was really special because of the timing of it. I was still pregnant with Audrey, and I held the little headphones around my tummy while we were recording so that she could hear it. She kicked while she listened, and every time I hear it, that is what I remember. I also remember that Amy was crying during the recording, and we left it in the song because it just captured the moment so beautifully.
So, although I think they are going to add some things from yesterday (as well as a string arrangement from somebody VERY special..more on that later!), we are going to leave a lot of the demo the way it is. One thing we did do yesterday, which I am really excited about, is to create a version for people who have lost boy babies (so instead of “her” in the last verse, it says “him” etc….). This will be known as the “Elliot” version of the song, in honor of Sara’s baby Elliot. We have had many requests for the song to be played at baby funerals etc, and I really wanted to have one for mommies that have lost their sons as well. I have some bad news about the CD, though…the release date has been pushed back to next Spring because the business people say they need more time to market it…stinky, I know BUT, it is worth the wait…it is a great, great record…
Last night we went to a benefit dinner for the Hope Clinic, and it was amazing. The woman who runs the Hope Clinic surprised me with a cake (thank you, Renee!!!) that tasted like heaven on earth. The dinner was held at the new-ish Symphony Hall in Nashville, and celebrated 25 years of dedication to unborn lives. I never cease to be amazed at what God has done with this ministry. If you would like to contribute, make sure and mention Audrey Caroline on your check…we are going to do something special in honor of her there, and I will keep you posted on the details. I cannot think of a better way to have spent my Birthday! It was a blessed day, and I have no doubt that all of your prayers to that end reached me.
I have been so excited to start answering your questions, and they are all so interesting that this may take awhile, because I would love to get to all of them. There were three that seemed to keep showing up (the same three that people have emailed me for months, so I am glad to have the opportunity to address them here!), so I will start with those. One is about writing a book, one is about how I met Todd, and the last is about how I came to Christ.
First off, the easy one.
I am humbled (not just in the way that nice people know they are supposed to say they are, but in the “I can’t believe this” crying tears of gratitude way…) that so many of you have commented on my writing. It is something I love doing, and have never really pursued the way I wanted to. I would love to share this with you, though, because it is so like God to do it.
A few months before we found out Audrey’s diagnosis (I was already pregnant with her), I was working on a proposal for a Christian parenting book and was in the process of securing a publishing deal with a Christian publisher. Before I could finish it, January 7th rolled around and I told them I needed to not be thinking about anything but the baby. I know now what I did not know then.
That was not the book I was supposed to write.
I mention this next part because I covet your prayers in the coming months. We have been presented with a few opportunities that are above and beyond what I could have dreamed up, and they have fallen in line with very specific prayers about how Audrey’s story will be told, if it is to be told at all. Todd and I felt strongly that if there was an opportunity for publishing of any sort, it would not be because we sought it out, but rather because God gave it to us. We also asked that if someone was going to publish it, they would come across it because of personal experience and not because of “business.” There were a few other requests to God in there as well, and Todd and I are prayerfully considering a few options that have come our way. As it stands, we have as much time as we need to in order to mull things over, and that may be years. We are so focused on figuring out how to “do life” again that this hasn’t really settled in, but I hope and pray that there will be a day…
What I know is that I want people to have a resource from another mommy who understands the pain of losing a baby, and I want people to meet my sweet Audrey. Please pray for discernment in this area…we feel ill-equipped and unqualified, but confident that this is the best way for God to show up. And thank you for even asking the question…if nothing else were to come of it, I would know that God had chosen you all to encourage me, and that is more than I could have asked for…thank you. I will certainly keep you all posted if there are any developments:)
A lot of people also asked how Todd and I met…the quick version is that we met at a singles retreat…he was singing, and I got dragged to it by some friends who later became my bridesmaids and several of my dearest friends. On the trip up there (Fall Creek Falls), I was shaking. I had no idea why, but at one point I said to the girls, “I think one of us is going to meet our husband this weekend!” Little did I know…
The long version involves your third question, and some details that I have hesitated to share because they are complicated. This is the bottom line:
If God can use me, He can use anyone.
I think that before I get into that story, I should pause. I have already made this longer than I intended, and because of my “no edit” policy, I fear that I cannot go back and make it more concise or clear:) I am my own worst enemy.
I will say this.
I did not grow up going to church.
I did not know Jesus for most of my life.
I did not know Jesus on October 15th, 2000, when I met my future husband.
I did not know that a Savior could love me the way He does, given what He knows about my life before Him.
If I hadn’t received so many emails from people who feel like I have it all together spiritually, I probably would never have dreamed of sharing this part of my life. God spoke to me while I was at the beach, and He was pretty clear about what He wants me to write. It isn’t really a pretty story, but it has a great Hero, and a beautiful courtship. It is the most meaningful (and difficult) think I have ever tried to put on paper, but it is worth the hurt. I am planning on posting that soon, and do hope it will meet you wherever you are, and that it will whisper Jesus to you.
I do have one request, though. I have noticed that a lot of you write things like, “Although we will never meet…” Well, don’t:) I want to feel like we will, and that I will get to thank you in person. It makes me sad to think that I might not get that chance…so, instead, let’s say “When I meet you…” That feels better.
I will have you know that in the middle of a restaurant in Destin, I struck up a conversation with a complete stranger. Several minutes into it, Todd and the girls came over to tell me that our table was ready. I guess that triggered something in her mind, because she looked at me with a big smile and said, “I know you! You have a blog, don’t you? I have been praying for you!” I grabbed her by the neck and squeezed her until the other patrons were sufficiently confused (security was not alerted), and then I thanked God for showing me some of the flesh behind the prayers. I hope He continues to do this for years to come.
Thank you for listening, for loving, and for encouraging me.
Oh, and also…I can’t wait to meet you.