Family, Todd

She asked me out on a walk…

Hey everyone, Angie asked if I would share some thoughts today.  It is a very special day for us.
Before I share, I want to say thank you to all of you who have traveled this incredibly painful road with us.  You have no idea how your comments and emails have encouraged us.  How your prayers have helped carry us though.  You have been family to us, the body of Christ, carrying this burden with us.  I can’t express how painful it has been to lose Audrey, and how empty some days have been, but we know she is with Jesus, and that He makes no mistakes even when it doesn’t make sense.  Thank you again for caring, thank you for sharing, and for your prayers. 
My name is Todd and I am Angie Smith’s husband!  This is my first time posting, and judging by the length it will probably be my last.  Writing is not my strong point, nor is grammar, spelling, sentence structure, or anything related to English, so be prepared for more a “ungifted post.” 
For most of our married life Angie has been known as my wife, but since she has started writing that has changed.  I’m completely okay with that. 
Two weeks ago we were in Georgia visiting Angie’s family.  We decided to go to the local mall with the girls.  Ellie, Abby, Kate, and I went to Chick-Fil-A while Angie went to the Apple store.  As we stood in line a lady came up to me and whispered “If you’re who I think you are I LOVE YOUR WIFE’S BLOG!!  Not, “if you’re who I think you are, I love your music, your voice, your group.” 
Right after she left Angie came to eat with us and as I was sharing about what had just happened another lady came up, recognized Angie and told her how much she loved Audrey’s blog.  She continued to share how Angie’s writing had ministered to her.  Then she noticed I was there and for the sake of being friendly said, “Oh, your music is good too.”  Than she went right back to Angie.  That day I officially became “Mr. Angie Smith.”  I’m smiling as I write this.
How could you not love Angie?  She is strikingly beautiful.  Her smile lights up a room.  She is one of the most caring people I have ever known.  She invests so much in relationships with others.  She has showed me by example what friendship really is.  The time and devotion that she gives to those relationships is incredible.  She has the ability to focus and make someone feel like they are the only person in the room.   When people share she truly empathizes with them.  She has a heart bigger than herself. 
I think that’s why so many people have been drawn to Angie during this time.  She is honest and funny.  She has wisdom beyond her years. She has incredible insight, and the ability to put thoughts onto paper that so many of us feel but don’t know how to put into words.  She’s a mother going through unbelievable suffering, trying to make sense of it, and dealing with it one day at a time.  She’s someone you feel like you’ve known all your life the first time you meet her.
Allow me to praise my wife and honor the life she has lived not only these past 8 months, but the past 7 years we have been married.  I want to spend some time reflecting on memories I have shared with this amazing woman I am blessed to call my wife .
Today we are celebrating 7 years of marriage!!!  7 YEARS!  One thing we were trying to figure out was, is the 7 year itch from year 6-7 or 7-8?  I think it’s 6-7, so it’s all good from here baby!
I remember October 14, 2000.  We were leading worship for a singles retreat at 1st Baptist Nashville when this beautiful red head popped her head in during our sound check.  The next day we played flag football and she kept lining up next to me.  The thing was she was on my team! 
I knew she was into me, but I wasn’t ready.  I had to keep a spiritual face because I was leading worship.  The great thing about leading worship and singing in general, is that it makes you look much better and more spiritual than you really are. 
Later that night she asked me out on a walk and our lives were never the same after that.
I remember January  17th, 2001 when she came to me in tears and told me she had truly accepted Christ as her savior.  That it finally made sense.  I have never seen someone so hungry to know God, and someone who has grown so much in such a short time.
I remember August 26, 2001 when we got married.  Angie looked so beautiful.  It was such peaceful easy day.  We had so much fun with our friends and family, and the new life we were going to share together.  It was also two weeks before 9/11.  Looking back it was a time period that felt safer.
I remember a day in January 2002 when I came home to Angie in tears.  She had just miscarried our first pregnancy.  Our baby was only 6 weeks old but you would not have known that by Angie’s face.  She was devastated.  She went through all the questions, “Is God punishing me?,” “what did I do wrong in college or high school?,” “will I ever have children?”
I remember the joy she had several months later when we found out we were pregnant again.  Several weeks later we went in for our first ultrasound.  As our nurse practitioner did the ultrasound I was the first to notice two flickering lights.  No one was saying anything about it, so I asked what both lights meant.  As soon as our nurse and Angie saw it, they screamed.  We were having twins!!
I remember going for an unscheduled ultrasound in September and finding out that Angie was going to be on bed rest in the hospital for 10 excruciating weeks.  She was so scared and so brave.  She did everything to keep our girls in her.  She endured medication for weeks that most people wouldn’t have been able to tolerate a couple days.
I remember December 2, 2002 when two little girls were born that would change our world.  Ellie was 4 lbs 11 oz, and Abby was 3 lbs 11 oz.  Abby was so small she had to stay in the NICU for 17 days.  When she first came out she didn’t look alive.  She didn’t move or make a sound. 
Later that day I went to check on her.  She had all kinds of tubes, IV’s, and sensors on her.  Her oxygen mask kept falling off.  I wondered if she would be okay.  Than the nurse tried to put the mask back in her nose and Abby took her little hand and swiped the nurses fingers off her nose.  She was irritated.  I knew right than she was a fighter and would be okay.
I remember when we found out in December of 2004 that Angie was expecting our 4th child.  She was so happy, and at the same time wondering what type of complications might arise.  Would she go on bed rest again?  Would she need a lot of medication to keep our baby inside her womb? Nine months later with no complications God gave us Sarah Katherine (Kate) on September 7, 2005.  She is a fireball, a little pistol.  She’s full of life and knows exactly what she wants.  Hmm, who does that sound like?  She looks and acts just like her mommy.  I lovingly call her “my little Italian.”  Angie’s maiden name is Battiato (Ba-tee-at-toe).
I remember the summer of 2007.  We were talking about having another child.  How great it would be for Kate to have a playmate, and for Ellie and Abby to have a baby sibling to take care of.  Our kids were really excited!  I was hoping God would give us our first boy! 
We found out in October 2007 we were expecting and about 14 weeks later that she was a girl!!  She was perfect.  We decided to name her Audrey Caroline after Angie’s best friend Audra and after Angie whose middle name is CaroIe.  When you go to your first couple ultrasounds your heart is racing because you want to make sure the baby is okay.  At 16 weeks Audrey was looking great.
I remember a phone call in late December from our nurse practitioner Susanna, saying that Audrey’s test for downs syndrome came back positive.  What that really meant was that there was a 1 in 120 chance that she had it.  The chances were very slim but still thoughts flood your mind. 
How I was going to tell Angie and how would she react?  At first she was devastated and than a couple days later she came to me and reminded me of a prayer she had prayed many times.  Angie’s master degree is in developmental psychology.  She worked with special needs kids and God had given her a gift with being able to help these beautiful children communicate.  She had told me many times how she had prayed that if God was going to give a downs syndrome baby to anyone that it would be us.  That’s what is so amazing about this woman. 
I was really scared and angry.  I felt like we had been given too much.  We had had so many problems with pregnancy why was God doing this?  My perspective was going to change very quickly.
I remember January 7th as we walked in for our 20 week ultrasound.  My mother was with us and there was a lot of anticipation, worry on my part, and wonder if our
Audrey had downs syndrome.  The technician started the ultrasound and immediately got quiet.  The doctor came in and in a matter of ten minutes he stopped everything and told us Audrey had complications that were terminal.  He asked Angie how she was feeling.  She was in complete shock and horrified, but her response was immediate, “I think my Jesus is the same as He was before I walked in here.”
It’s interesting when tragedy occurs how your perspective changes.  I went in praying “God please don’t let her have down syndrome,” and left praying “please just let it be down syndrome.”
My most vivid memory of Angie before Audrey’s birth was in March of this year.  We drove to the funeral home to make arrangements and pick out a burial spot for Audrey.  As we went to the grave site something happened that no mother should ever have the foreknowledge of experiencing.  Audrey started kicking as Angie stood over the very spot where she was going to be buried a couple weeks later.  Angie was frightened and in disbelief, but she was so brave that day.  She carried herself with so much dignity and strength, even though I know she felt hopeless.
I remember April 7th.  One of the best days of our lives!  Your prayers and God’s comfort gave us one of the most peaceful wonderful days we’ve ever experienced.  I remember being in the operating room right after Audrey was born.  We were crying over her and telling her all the things we wanted to say before she passed.  Angie was something to watch that day.  She was beaming as she showed off her little girl! 
I remember looking at each other as the nurse was checking Audrey’s heartbeat.  It was just the six of us on the bed.  The nurse nodded signaling Audrey’s passing.  We looked into each other’s eyes and felt complete peace in that moment as we looked on at her three older doting sisters holding her.
 Angie has poured out herself with every pregnancy.  She has poured out herself to God in this devastating time.  She has poured out herself to you.  Things I would never share she has shared gladly, and you all have been incredible in your response to her. 
She is an amazing writer.  In 11 years of Christian music ministry I have never seen a response to God like I’ve seen since Angie started this blog.  God is using her and I believe will continue to use her in ways she never imagined. 
Baby, I know this is long and everyone is probably asleep, or going back and reading one of your posts but I want to finish with this. 
Thank you for your life, thank you for the incredible mother you have been to all 5 of our children.  Thank you for the wife you have been to me.  Thank you for these incredible 7 years we have been together.
When we found out about Audrey’s complications we prayed that whatever Jesus decided He would do what brought Him the most glory, and He has.  It’s not what we hoped for.  Mom has described the deaths of Audrey and Luke like they are amputations.  You continue but you are never the same.   A dear friend of my family who lost her son shared that with her.
In the midst of all we’ve been through you have brought Him glory with the way you have chosen to handle this.  All the people who have asked Jesus into their hearts.  All the believers who have written in saying how they understand God’s love for the very first time because of your writing.  You have kept Audrey’s memory alive and honored her life by sharing honestly from your heart. 
You are braver than I will ever be.
Thank you for asking me out on that walk back on October 15th, 2000.
I love you
Toddy
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