*5* & a beautiful gift.

I glanced down at my phone and saw a text from my editor (and dear friend) Jennifer Lyell. It said “Listen to your voicemail:)”

I’m terrible with voicemail. And she knows me well enough to know that if she doesn’t explicitly tell me to, I will likely never hear her messages.

So I listened.

And I cried.

It’s a minute and 58 seconds, and it’s one of the most beautiful messages I have ever received. I will save it to play over and over in the moments when I’m tempted to believe what the enemy whispers to me.

She is forgotten.

Audrey would have been 5 years old today. She would have been blowing out candles and running around the house and giving me the privilege of having one more load of laundry. She would have been getting ready for summer to start, excited to try and swim independently and celebrate the sunshine with her friends.

She would have been laughing, I just know it.

She isn’t forgotten, I know that because I carry her with me every moment of every day, and I will continue to. As the leaves changed this year I wondered if her tree would bloom as it has every other, and indeed it did. Just before Easter, reminding me again that it is only in the resurrection that I find the strength to wait for the flowers to dance again on barren branches.

They don’t stay long. Just a few weeks at most, and often not even that.

It’s still, in the grand scheme of things, a young tree.

It has years to go before it’s strong enough to bear more. I will remember that instead of mourning the fleeting glance, and I will believe it a gift that He knows how much beauty I can stand each year and He gives me grace in proportion.

He has, in so many ways, reminded me of the tender way He involves Himself in the details. One particular story has blessed me tremendously, and I wanted to take today to share it in honor of Audrey.

I have known for awhile that one day I would write a children’s book about her in some form, but it wasn’t until last year that I put my pen to paper. There were so many different ways I wanted to do it, so many stories I wanted to share. I struggled through the emotion of trying to convey the profound juxtaposition of sadness and God’s perfect love, not just for the book, but for myself.

And finally the words were written and the art began. The illustrator was tremendous in her gifting and a delight to work with, but as the first few pages came in I felt a tug in my heart.

My friend Kelsey had been over and we were looking at illustrations online when a friend of hers mentioned a young girl she had come across on Etsy. Kelsey clicked on the link and both of us stared at the screen, while page after page of her work confirmed what I was hesitant to say out loud.

She’s the one.

It made no sense from any angle. She was barely 20, didn’t do custom work, and had never illustrated a children’s book. And since we already had a contract with another illustrator, it was a moot point. I knew the book would turn out beautifully, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that this girl and I would connect. Her name is Breezy Brookshire, and I am so happy to tell you a little more of how this is unfolding.

I’m in the process of writing a children’s Bible storybook for girls as well, and I mentioned Breezy to them in the hopes of talking to her about illustrating it. I explained to my precious B&H team that I wanted a previously unpublished, teenaged girl to do the entire Bible. As you can imagine, it sounded like a foolproof plan. :)

We had coffee one afternoon and I scrolled through her art, watching their faces do exactly what mine had. They told me they would reach out to her immediately and see if she would be willing to discuss the storybook Bible.

She told me later that when she received the message from Dan Lynch at B&H, she checked the website to see if I was writing a children’s book because she was hoping it might be me. As God would have it, she knew of my blog and had read about Audrey. She and her family had prayed for me during that time, and were familiar with her story.

In any case, she wrote back to both of us and said she would love to talk more about it. I was third in line checking out at Hobby Lobby with Kelsey when I got the message. Not that I remember it that well.

Believe it or not (shocking, right?!?) she and her family had plans to come very near to Nashville in the following weeks and we decided to get together and see where things went. Before our “business meeting” with the B&H team, I invited the family for coffee and to my house because I wanted them to have a chance to express any concerns they might have and also just to get to know us a little. This was a young girl, a big project, and a lot of unknowns. I wanted to reassure them that the team at B&H was amazing and that I would do everything I could to support her in the process.

Sufficed to say, we fell in love with them. The Brookshire’s are one of the kindest, most pure-hearted and gracious families I have ever met, and we were delighted to be in their company. All kindred spirits, eyes on the work the Lord was encouraging us to partner in, humbly accepting the grace that would allow such a beautiful friendship.

At one point I stood up to get something in the kitchen and while standing at the sink, I turned to Breezy at the table and all of a sudden my eyes just filled up with tears. I don’t know how to explain the connection that happens sometimes between people, but the Lord just fosters a knowledge of someone in a way that defies the fact that you’re essentially strangers.

And although I had felt it before, I had a deep conviction in that moment about Audrey’s story, and I told them through tears that I felt like she was supposed to illustrate it.

We prayed about everything, we cried, we giggled, we just loved each other. It was wonderful. They felt like home. While we chatted, Breezy’s amazing sister Emily Rose was playing with Kate in a nearby room, and I could hear them telling stories and connecting. It was a beautiful puzzle; the lot of us put together for a greater purpose.

{That’s Emily Rose on the left and Breezy on the right in the top photo}

We had our business meeting the following day and it went exceptionally well; naturally all parties involved were excited and the focus was on the Bible storybook. After saying goodbye (yes, we were all crying. It may have been the air in the restaurant, I don’t know.) I walked into another shop in downtown Franklin and sat down on a bench to try and catch my breath. We hadn’t talked about Audrey’s book because it was out of the question, but I asked about it in a later conversation with B&H.

They explained that it would basically take an act of God for that work out, but that they would pray.

They did. I did.

And He honored our prayer with a series of events so bizarre and inexplicable that I am tempted to say it is the most convinced I have ever been that God enters into even the small things on our behalf. Every single detail of what looked impossible was taken care of, every person overjoyed at the outcome.

In the end, Breezy signed an official contract as the illustrator of Audrey’s story on January 7th, which was the five year mark of the ultrasound that told us she wouldn’t survive.

And as the sketches for each page came in, my heart would pound as I studied the face of the girl in the story. Her name is Caroline, and she has bright red hair.

She’s about 5, I’d say.

And it was clear to me in those moments that the Lord had orchestrated all of it, and that by His grace He let me see this little girl dance and run and play dress-up with her bunny Audrey.

And she has life.

She has so much life…

I don’t know why He wrote the story this way. There’s no question it isn’t the way I would have. I hasten to say that every one of you reading this can think of something in your own life that feels the same. An area where you’re tempted to listen to the enemy as well, wondering if it’s been forgotten entirely.

I can tell you with assurance that He cares, and I can point you to the verses that declare that truth. But more than that, I pray you’ll experience it for yourself.

A tree was planted in my yard in honor of a little girl who never got to run in it.

I could spend the rest of my life imagining her bare feet in the grass, but in the end it wouldn’t change a thing.

So, instead, I wait.

I wait for the blossoms to come, and when they do, in whatever form they are given, I treasure them as long as I can. I praise the God who brings life, and in so doing, I praise the God who takes it

I believe He mourns with me while I wait, but I also believe He rejoices in ways I can’t yet. He sees it as it will be, when all is made right, and it’s beautiful.

It’s easy to cry when the flowers fall, because to our eye the beauty has passed.

My prayer for myself today and for all of you is that you will hear the still-strong voice of the Lord comforting you as He reminds you that you can only see a bit of the page.

The roots are strong, love.

There is life deeper than you’ll ever know here.

Savor the fragrance and revel in the brightness when it comes, and grieve it when it goes. It’s the nature of our flesh to do so.

But also, remember you too are a very young tree.

And there are many things ahead that you couldn’t begin to manage beholding, not even in your wildest daydreams.

They’re better than bare feet in grass, and better even than candles on a cake.They’re the pages that are yet to come, and this is a chapter that declares you believe it is so.

I believe it is so.

Jennifer’s message said that she had just received the final pages for Audrey’s book, and she was overcome by emotion. She cried as she told me how much her life pointed to the Lord, and I listened to her heart break with mine.

It’s beautiful, she said, her voice breaking.

I can’t help but agree.

It is a spectacular work of art, and I want to give my public and heartfelt gratitude for Breezy.

Breezy-you showed me  life in her I didn’t think I would ever get to see, and I’m forever indebted to you for all the tenderness you approached this project with. You are one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever received, and your love for her makes me weak with gratitude. May the Lord be blessed through the spectacular work of your hands, and may you always carry with you my unending esteem for your work ethic, your breath-taking ability, and more than that, your passionate love of our Father God. And may His name be lifted because of your offering-now and forever.  I love you more than I know how to say and I recognize it is only He who could weave this together. All praises to the One who cares intimately about our circumstance.

Sweet Audrey- I pray our Lord is glorified through this book, and that you know how very much we miss and love you. Every day we are closer to where you are, and we will rejoice to see you again.

I’ve cried today, sweet girl, because I wanted to have you with me and the emptiness breaks my heart. Most of my days that’s enough to get me through, but sometimes I can’t stop the tears. It’s okay. It’s just the way it is, I guess.

I wish you were here, love.

Any yet, our Father has given is so many gifts, so many promises, and so many reasons to remain steadfast as we wait.

We do the best we can, love.

So until then…

Happy Birthday, Audrey Girl.

We love you more than we can ever say with words.

*It won’t release for several more months but I wanted to include the image of the front cover so you could see it. Can’t wait to share the rest. Isn’t she beautiful?*

 

 

 

 

 

 


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  • Charise

    This is unbelievable and so very amazing all at the same time. It is so beautiful to look back after the fact and see the things and the ways God designed for them to happen. This was exactly what I needed to read at this exact moment to remind me that He is in all the details no matter how small. Thank you for sharing your heart so clearly with all of your readers. You’re an inspiration and sweet Audrey’s story won’t soon be forgotten.

  • http://twitter.com/kristaonpurpose Krista Wilbur

    Happy birthday, sweet Audrey! I am honored to know you through your mama and this blog and will be just as honored to meet you some day when we celebrate eternity with Jesus. Ang, thank you for allowing God to use your story and your gifts to change people. I can say honestly that you were a bold, bright light to me when I was lost and angry and questioning God all those years after when I first read your blog right after Audrey’s diagnosis and birth. Your story was my only tether to God during that time and I couldn’t tell you then why I felt so connected to you and your story… but as I read your words, I know why.

    “But also, remember you too are a very young tree.

    And there are many things ahead that you couldn’t begin to manage beholding, not even in your wildest daydreams.

    They’re better than bare feet in grass, and better even than candles
    on a cake.They’re the pages that are yet to come, and this is a chapter
    that declares you believe it is so.”

    This is a message that anyone can connect to, and thank you for the continued reminder that He is writing us beautifully! I can’t wait to see what He has to unfold for me and to follow along as He unfolds many more things for you and your family.

  • K

    Everything about this post is beautiful.

  • Jess

    The book cover has bought tears to my eyes Angie.
    Audreys story still touches me deeply,all my love is sent over to you xxxx

  • Samantha O’Hagan

    Beautiful!

  • http://twitter.com/lisajobaker Lisa-Jo Baker

    Reverent. This moment, this book, this story feel reverent and beloved. Love you and your beautiful daughter, Angie.

  • Jean Marie

    Crying my way through this post. Oh, the ways we could never guess that He would move.

    I’m delighted for you, and I’m delighted for Breezy and the Brookshires and I’m delighted for new friendships, and the way you’ve both been blessed.

    and I’m soooo delighted that the beautiful way Breezy draws will tell the story of your Audrey. She is very much not forgotten.

    Happy 5 birthday, Audrey!

  • http://www.mercyfoundme.com/ Jacque Watkins

    Thank you for your heart..for the tender way you write and the way you refect His love. And for this…”But also, remember you too are a very young tree. And there are many things ahead that you couldn’t begin to manage beholding, not even in your wildest daydreams…” I’m holding onto this, giving thanks, and trusting His heart. I am SO very thankful for you!

  • Katie

    Amazing and beautiful. Happy Birthday, sweet Audrey! You will never be forgotten!

  • Amanda Mills

    Such a beautiful story. My husband always shops Breezy’s store for me for Mother’s Day, birthday, and Christmas. I love her work, and I love her sweet spirit.
    Blessings,
    amanda

  • Karen

    Just wow and beautiful on so many levels. I love how God is the “hero” and how Audrey will be dancing through these pages and I also love seeing the “good” in social media. Your life and Breezy’s life brought together through this incredible medium that is so often used for ‘bad’.

    This post a great reminder as I wait for Him to cover some details that are way beyond my control! Ps 16:11

  • BFGOmelissa

    I am speechless and in tears. The cover is overwhelmingly perfect and beautiful and the life is already springing from the pages. I have thought about you and your family and especially Audrey this week. I knew her birthday was coming up – which is odd considering I forget most of my best friends’ birthdays. And I have thought of you with every single cherry blossom sighting. Yesterday alone, that was about 46 times. I’m exciting for the world – for this book. And how can you possibly go wrong with an illustrator named Breezy? I’m in love with her too and will never meet her. :-)
    *I loved your comment about us all being young trees. I wrote about being a tree in my book. :-)

  • http://sojensparks.blogspot.com/ Jen

    I love how the Father loves you. My heart is too full to speak without sounding like a complete weirdo, so know that I prayed for you all day, I’ll continue to pray for you while I’m awake, and into your evening. Hoping today is soft for your heart, dearest. xx

  • Melissa Short

    The cover is beautiful Angie. I love how God is working in your life, and how you take the time to notice it and cherish it and share it with us. We will never forget Audrey, because you share your story so honestly and beautifully. Happy Birthday Audrey! I’m praying for your family today.

  • http://profiles.google.com/suebee429 Sue Speir

    Happy Birthday, sweet Audrey! This post is one of the most beautiful things you have written, Angie. And I love how God can work out every single detail if something is his plan. This made me cry for so many reasons. Audrey, the beauty of your words, the hope we have in Jesus, to see God working in such personal ways, and the absolutely perfect cover. I will be praying for your sweet family today.

  • alyssa zech

    That was the most beautiful miracle; I am just crying over here. Praise God for His Love and Mercies to give you this opportunity. I hope it helps further heal your heart. The cover art is already amazing, can’t wait to see the rest!

  • http://www.eleanormharte.com/ Eleanor

    I got chills reading this. Chills looking at the cover and chills reading of how Breezy had heard of you years before you heard of her. Audrey is definitely not forgotten – I had remembered that it was her birthday and was praying for her. And though it definitely doesn’t ease the pain of not having her here, please know that Audrey played a big part in leading me to God. Happy Birthday, Audrey. We’re thinking of you.

  • Megan

    So happy for you, Angie. Praise His name!

  • http://twitter.com/sharalyn Sharalyn Shafer

    Beautiful! Tears of sadness and joy here. I can’t wait to go purchase it. :-)

  • Kim Jensen

    Happy Birthday Audrey Girl. I will wait patiently for the release of this beautiful book written by your mother. I’ve followed your blog for quite some time now, but have never commented nor reached out to you before. But today, I couldn’t hold back. I wanted to thank you for for so many things, especially for your first book, I Will Carry You. You see, I read this book last year as I carried my daughter through 30 weeks of the pregnancy as she too was, diagnosed with complications incompatible with life. Her original due date was April 6th, 2012 – yesterday she would have been one. We named her Elliott Faith and she was our first baby. Your book was like a guide for me, your honesty and openness steered me along such a terrifying path, your faith in the Lord and His words spoken through you helped to keep my shattered heart strong enough to endure the unknown and trust in Him, when at some many times I could have easily denied Him and walked away entirely. I was much to angry to pray to Him or read His word, but He spoke through you Angie and continues to do so in the most beautiful way. I am so thankful for you, Angie Smith. As so many time before, your words today spoke right to my heart, reminding me that “there is life much deeper than we know” and I will continue to believe and wait for the day I see my sweet Elliott Faith again. thank you.

    • http://itwasbroughtonbylove.blogspot.com/ Southern Gal

      Happy birthday to your Elliott Faith.

  • http://itwasbroughtonbylove.blogspot.com/ Southern Gal

    I always remember your Audrey’s birthday. It’s something that comes to mind when I see the date on the calendar. Isn’t that amazing? You think she’s forgotten and yet God has used you to put the story of her sweet little life in so many hearts. You carried her in your womb, now you carry her precious memory in your heart. The cover art for Audrey Bunny is absolutely gorgeous. I clicked to Breezy’s blog before I got to the end of your post. Your description of her made me want to meet her. Thank you for sharing the amazing continuing story of Audrey. We love her, too.

  • Rebecca Frazer

    Even though I only know you through your book and blog, God has been laying you on my heart all weekend. I hope the joy and peace of the Lord has been with you today.

    I have been acquaintances with Breezy since I was in elementary school entering our state homeschool art contest! Everyone knew that whatever category Breezy entered, the rest of us were competing for second! :) I don’t think we really minded, because it was just such a pleasure to see what she came up with every year. She is such a sweet person, and I am so glad that God is using her to minister to you, and to so many others through her artwork!

  • http://twitter.com/stacey29lincoln Stacey Thacker

    Every detail, every word, every watercolor mark — directed by His hand.
    The story still unfolds, and He is on every page.
    Love Breezy – her & Emily’s paper dolls are some of our treasures.

  • Sheyenne Wilson

    I cannot wait to read this book! Its Audrey’s story & your courage that helped me to continue carrying my daughter, Whitney, despite a fatal diagnosis at 21 weeks. After Whintey’s birth/death, my husband wrote a series of childrens’ stories, too. It was a beautiful means by which he expressed his grief and clung desperately to Hope. I cannot wait to read Audrey Bunny- and the pictures are so beautiful! Thank you for sharing your daughter, for in doing so, you are giving courage to others so that their babies’ may also have beautiful though brief lives.

  • Brittany

    I just cried the whole way through this post. Although, I’ve been crying a lot lately anyways. Can’t wait to read your book! I’m sure it will be amazing.

  • Tara Nichols

    What a beautiful wy to honour your daughter’s memory, can’t wait to pick up a copy!

  • GreatGrandmaGinny

    Dear Angie,

    Every year since April 9, 2000 I have not wanted
    the 9th of April to come again. Yet every year it does. Those first few
    years were very difficult and brought a literal pain in my heart, and
    tears to my eyes. But as the years keep going and I realize how much
    closer I am to the Father and my son who is with him already I find
    myself able to cope better on April 9th and enjoy some of the many, many
    wonderful memories I cherish.

    I have always wished I could
    express what has happened to me, my relationship with my Precious Lord
    and the heavenly grace I have lived with every one of the other 4732
    days of these years.

    I am so happy I saw Todd’s post on my FB
    today, which lead me here. Angie, you have the most remarkable gift with
    words and the Lord has written stories in your life, that though
    painful, they truly resonate and minister to the mass of mom’s who
    follow you.

    What you said today about your journey since you met
    Audrey blessed me so much and I finally can see the words that reflect
    what has been bottled up inside of me with no way to escape….

    Thank
    you dear for your faithfulness in and through the storms and especially
    thank you for having the courage to “speak” with such truthful abandon;
    not an easy task…Blessings on you and yours always…

  • Coby

    There are no words, just tears. What an amazing testimony to our Lord! Anything I say beyond this will sound so hollow. Amazing! Happy Birthday, Audrey!

  • Kendra

    It’s Amazing! Your heart and your Audrey are beautiful. Thank you for sharing openly and honestly your struggles.

  • Sharon O

    Wow… this is so exciting.

  • Hannah

    She is beautiful! So very beautiful! Your post was such a blessing to me today. I cried all through it. 10 months ago today I suddenly lost my sweet boy at 25 weeks. You’re writing helped me so much in those dark early days of grief and continues to do so. Thank you for sharing Audrey. She is never ever forgotten. Happy Birthday sweet girl!

  • http://twitter.com/Kristen_Strong Kristen

    Angie, it’s just stunning. Stunning and poignant and whimsical and tender and just. beyond. lovely.

    Praising God for you tonight, for Breezy’s beautiful work, and for your Audrey who will never be forgotten.

    Much love.

  • Lesley

    Beautifully written! I cried as I watched Audrey’s I Will Carry You video again today. What a beautiful girl! Thank you for sharing her story with us. I can’t wait to get her book! Praise God that some day you will be reunited with her again for eternity!! Happy Birthday Audrey

  • JessicaLetchford

    Hi Mrs. Smith,

    This made me want to cry! It is so beautiful how God brought Breezy into your life, and how He is right here, caring for you and working everything together. I’m really excited about this book. Thank you for the reminder to pursue God, pursue my gifts, pursue loving people, and pursue life. Thank you for the reminder that it’s OK to cry.

    Love, Jess

  • Amanda

    Thank you for such a sweet reminder. We lost our newborn daughter, Caroline, three years ago….to a very similar situation as your Audrey. I will look forward to this sweet book. Praise God for your faithfulness to share your journey.

  • Amanda Lockyer, Kentucky

    Thanks for sharing this beautiful book that is on its way! A friend of mine shared me your website and blog because she thought it would touch my heart. My daughter, Gracie, was born 1 month before your Audrey and would have been 5 on March 7th of this year. I also am married to a man named Todd and we have been married 10 years this past July! Grief is not something we experience alone for sure…and the emotions of your loss shared in your blog encourage mothers like myself who still whisper to the air and speak to our little girls that we long to be reunited with someday!

  • Amanda Serrano

    This is so beautiful, and I can’t wait to read Audrey Bunny. You and your family were the first thing I prayer for yesterday morning. Your sweet Audrey is never forgotten because you have let us love her with you. And you are consistently teaching me better ways to love our Jesus, too. Thank you for these gifts!

  • Angela

    What a gorgeous cover and an inspiring post. Thank you. What blessings, all. I struggle daily with a special-needs child & I feel so many of the feelings you write about. I pray those words imprint on my heart – “you can only see a bit of the page.” Angie, I am just one mom in one small town but I remember your Audrey. I have girls the same range as you (including one that shares a name) and I remember her. Peace and happiness to you and yours.

  • http://candelierious.blogspot.com Lis

    I prayed for you yesterday. It was hard to contain the tears reading through this post. I am in awe of how God is able to work things out! The cover is amazing; this story is amazing, and I know this book will be amazing. Your little Audrey will NEVER be forgotten.

  • scart25@hotmail.com

    Happy 5th Audrey. Rest assured she isn’t forgotten. My family has it on our calender as a remind to pray for you and your beautiful family.

  • Kaye

    What a gift He has given.

    Praying for your family.
    Prayers and hugs,
    Kaye
    Psalm 46:10

  • Rachael

    I cried my way through this post.
    Yesterday would have been my daughters 1st birthday.
    I spent the day aching.
    Your post was beautiful.

    I can’t wait to read Audrey Bunny.

  • http://twitter.com/radchenko819 Anna Radchenko

    beautiful cover. beautiful post. beautiful story.

  • Amanda

    What a BLESSING to read this today. Thank you so much for sharing. I have ordered some embroidery patterns from Clementine and they are lovely and precious…just like the young ladies themselves.

  • Amy

    Oh my goodness, as soon as I scrolled down and saw her, I was overcome with tears. What a treasured gift.

  • Michelle McCombs

    I think this is my first time replying to your blog post, but I’ve been a reader/follower since Fall of 2008. I had just lost my own daughter too early (~20 weeks) due to a rare disorder in November of that year. Her birthday should have been April 5, 2009. Finding your blog helped me so much during that time of grief. After our loss, we got pregnant again, with another daughter. She was born on April 7, 2010. Amazing how timing all works out. I will always remember Audrey and how our girls share that date. Can’t wait to read Audrey Bunny. Thanks for being an inspiration.

  • S. Farrell

    Dearest Angie,

    I began following your journey shortly after Jan 7, 2008 and though this is my first time leaving a comment, I feel as though I am leaving a message for an old friend.

    At the time when I was on my knees praying for you and your angel, Audrey, my life was on a steady and calm path. Since then I have been through much – my family has fallen apart and there have been changes I never would have dreamt of, actions that have pierced hearts, pain that has brought me to my knees..
    Through it all I have so often thought of the strength and mercy and grace you showed during your trials. How you gave thanks to our Father God, for the good and the -not-so-good. How you acknowledged and shared your pain, your dreams, your wants while always remember Gods will and His plan.
    I came here to celebrate little Audrey’s birthday. I still think of her so often and I am so often reminded of your strength and beauty – your honesty, as you walked the path paved for you -and I raise my head day after day ready to walk mine in part because of you.
    Thank you dear sister in Christ. Thank you.

    Happy Birthday sweet Audrey.

    • Sharon

      This is so beautiful and touching.

  • Jenny FlutterbyeChronicles

    Cried all the way through this post. The book looks beautiful and I can not wait to read it. I am so glad everything came together in God’s perfect plan.

  • rjb

    Stunningly beautiful!

  • Julie Scattaregia

    What a glorious example of God’s desire to be in every detail of our lives. I love the way He shows us! I can’t wait to read your beautiful story. The artwork is absolutely stunning! Happy, happy birthday, Audrey!

  • Sharon

    Oh Angie! Thinking of you today on Audrey’s 5th Birthday. This is a beautiful story of what God can do in the midst of such deep pain. I can’t wait to get a hold of Audrey Bunny when it releases. Blessings! Sharon

  • Allison

    It is amazing the way the Lord works — your sweet Audrey will certainly not be forgotten; she was introduced to at least one new person right on her 5th birthday. Your blog was revealed to me over the weekend, & that is when I began reading about your baby girl. I haven’t gotten through all the blog entries yet, as I started in the very beginning, but I am so moved. I am a fairly new momma & I can not even imagine the pain. You are an amazing, inspiring woman & I look forward to following your words. And I can not wait to purchase the book for my little one. Many, many blessings to you & your precious family.

  • http://www.masterpiece-beth.com/ Beth Zimmerman

    Precious! I listened (Audible audiobooks) to all of your books this past summer as I was battling depression and an attack by the enemy on my marriage. You’ve been close to my heart ever since. So grateful that you have this blessing! Thank you for sharing with us!

  • cynthiastuckey

    I am so blessed by this post. I read it last night just before bed, and went to bed thinking of how clearly Christ is being magnified in Audrey’s story, Still, Five plus years later! I “met” you just a few months before Audrey went to Heaven and am increasingly amazed all the time at the beautiful ways God has been praised by so many throughout these years. After getting a “sneak peek” of the beautiful cover, I’ve already pinned it and added it to my Amazon shopping cart! Cannot wait!

  • Guest

    I’m not

  • Guest

    And He honored our prayer with a series of events so bizarre and inexplicable that I am tempted to say it is the most convinced I have ever been that God enters into even the small things on our behalf.

  • Laura Smith

    I’m just so grateful for you. So grateful to God for how He’s using you. Lifting you up in prayer that you continue to find abounding joy amid the sadness. He is so good, and you are a testimony to that.

  • Rachelle H

    Sorry you have to be sad on her birthday :( what a great story. God is into the details! Our 5-year-olds are together–sometimes I’m jealous of the glories they are seeing, and other times I am thankful they do not know the bad parts of this world. I cannot wait to read your precious book. . .they are alive and well, and somehow God allows small ways to connect (I don’t mean that in a crazy mystical way, but that God allows us moments to remind us that although we do not have them, they are alive with Him.) Meeting you at the Dot Mom conference was a highlight, and I look forward to reconnecting sometime!

  • http://www.facebook.com/alicia.linares.31 Alicia Linares

    Ohhhh Angie… Tears in my eyes as I finish reading this post. What an amazing gift.

    Happy Birthday Audrey girl.

  • Connie L Amato-Mahle

    Blessings, dear Angie.
    Such a bittersweet day. Your sweet Audrey girl’s spirit lives in so many others who have come to know her story, and she continues to touch hearts.
    Prayers for you, friend.

  • moonstars11

    “And He honored our prayer with a series of events so bizarre and inexplicable that I am tempted to say it is the most convinced I have ever been that God enters into even the small things on our behalf.”

    I’m not for sure how to put into words exactly how that blessed me again. You see I had a miscarriage with our very first baby. The doctors called it a blighted ovum. This May 13th
    that baby would be 1. I never got past the first trimester but the pain is still real. I’m now currently pregnant with our 2nd child, a little boy who is due on May 18th. That wasn’t the plan. I didn’t
    want to have a pregnancy and be due the same time as the other baby so that I wouldn’t worry. God had a different plan. He knew that we needed to heal and then to see the beauty in what He does for us. In the middle of July of last year I was standing in my bedroom screaming at the top of my lungs asking why God would allow us to take so long to get pregnant again after such a devastating loss and that he knew that I didn’t want a May baby again because I wanted a pregnancy where I wouldn’t compare the 2 even for just a few months. I’m glad God saw it differently. That He cares so much about the little details that this pregnancy has been text book
    perfect. I’ve never felt better than now and we have 5 1/2 weeks to go before we finally get to meet our son. The enemy though likes to tell me that because of this baby, I will forget the first. The first time I was pregnant, the emotions, the pure joy, and that I will forget that I was a mother long before I had a baby to hold in my arms. I cried the other day as I was going through a few things from that time frame of when we lost the baby. I said to my husband that I didn’t know if I could let go of some of the smaller things from that time frame because I never want to forget the first life we made together. He looked at me and said, you will never forget that. It was like God spoke right through him to me. God is for sure in the intimate details of our lives holding onto us when we don’t think we can stand any longer. I’m so blessed because I know that God cares. That He won’t let me forget our first child although we never got to see or meet him/her this side of heaven, the incredible story of healing that came out of our pain will never be forgotten because He cares too much.

    I’ve been following your story long before you were given the fatal diagnoses of Audrey. I’ve
    cried and prayed for your sweet family. And I know that because of your story, so many others have been blessed, touched, healed, etc. etc. etc. Her story will forever be etched in the hearts of so many who followed along and continue to follow along with your family. She will never be forgotten. Bless you Smith family for the tough road you’ve endured and for the blessing you’ve been to so many others because of it. Happy 5th Birthday Audrey!
    With love,
    Adinda

  • Casey

    not realizing this was her birthday week..it shows God’s power. The two of you have been on my heart much this week. I have tried to get on and read, but my phone wasn’t cooperating. So today when I get on and read with such a heavy heart from my own life I see the beauty that God is bringing through your own heartbreak. I have also written a kids book and I’m having a never ending issue with trying someone adequate to give it a beautiful picture. This week three years ago my daughter was left paralyzed (she had been previously completely healthy..was paralyzed within hours) and this fell on my youngest first birthday. So this week is bittersweet for me too. We love you A and are so grateful for your ministry.

  • Wanda

    Oh wow! Love this sweet story! God just keeps on keeping on!!! Can’t wait for the book!

  • http://twitter.com/mrs_mcj Sonya

    Amazing! This brought me to tears! I love when He steps in just where we need it. Can’t wait for the book to come out!

  • Lara Walton

    Tears through reading this. Your book, your blog was introduced to me by a dear friend last year after losing my baby boy, Parker, at 18 weeks. We planted a dogwood last year about a month after his passing. It is blooming beautiful white blooms right now as a reminder that each year, he will not be forgotten, just like your precious Audrey will never be forgotten……..through her story, my life was changed. Blessing to you!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/amyspieg Amy Spiegel

    angie,

    i ran into breezy’s mom a few months back in the grocery store and told me that breezy was illustrating your book! they are such an amazing family and such talented girls. so happy to see another indiana girl represent @ b&h!

  • Inkling74

    I remember. I remembered again just a couple Sundays ago as a group I’m in is going through Beth Moore’s James for the second time, and we got to that one week. You know the one I’m talking about. It’s a good thing it was my second time around, because I couldn’t see to write any notes in my workbook. My eyes filled up with tears as I remembered that hard, hard day almost four years ago when my family stood around a freshly dug grave. My dad was praying, and my heart was hurting for 100 million confusing reasons. And I looked over to my left and my eyes landed on a name and then they landed on another name. Your precious Audrey and your nephew had their names so very close to where my niece is. Well, she’s with Jesus, sitting on his lap with Audrey and your nephew. But their names were all there. I won’t forget. I can’t forget.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dena.fantini Dena Fantini

    she continues to live on through every person that meets her story through your words God helped you share. her story in turn has give us the strength and the faith to carry out our own similar story through our Marco. i was lost whether or not to include our 4 year son in on his brother’s journey to to save him from it until the end, but your book brought the words that led us on our path to celebrating every minute we had him with us and every minute after the Lord had him in his hands. i am grateful to your family and Audrey every day my son includes is brother in our daily life. God bless and I keep coming back to see that beautiful picture above.

  • Amber

    Wow. I’ve just spent the past however many minutes alternating between full body chill bumps and welling up hot hot tears. Your precious Audrey is surely not forgotten, and I imagine that she is just little-girl-precious-giddy about her book. I can’t wait to buy it for my little girls, though I’m sure I’ll have to practice many times to be able to read it all the way through (I can’t talk and cry at the same time).

  • http://www.facebook.com/belovedaimee Aimee Hill-Huffman

    what a beautiful intertwining!!!! I love Emily Rose and Breezy…both so beautiful and talented. What an incredible way to honor Audrey and share her life.

  • amber

    She is not forgotten. On Friday I was in the car with my future husband discussing issues that we might one day face in our marriage or as parents… and I told him about Audrey.

    I can’t believe it’s been five years. I can’t wait for heaven!!

  • Allison

    After reading your post, I thought of a song I heard recently by John Waller titled “While I’m Waiting.” I think the lyrics will bless you as they have me.

  • info

    You were the first blog I ever read. I cried then and I cry now. Your story is beautiful and yet I am so sorry for your pain. Thank you for sharing it with the world so that it can help others heal. Blessings, Jennifer

  • PK

    What an amazing story! I’m excited to see the book. I looked through Breezy’s portfolio and she is a talented artist. I think her work is perfect for a story about a five-year-old!

  • Susan

    Angie, I want you to know that Audrey will never be forgotten. Before I even read your post, I thought about her on April 7th. I have been reading your blog since you were pregnant with your sweet baby girl. I remember checking your blog multiple times a day as your delivery date approached, and then on that fateful day when she entered the world, I cried for you and for her. I anxiously awaited news of her life. I cannot tell you how many tears I cried for Audrey Caroline. I know it sounds strange, but I felt her spirit, and she brought me closer to God just by being her!!! When I woke up Sunday morning (4/7/13), I thought to myself “today is Audrey’s birthday” and I said a little prayer to God that he might bring you comfort that day. A few days later, I checked in here on your blog and saw the write up about her birthday, and I thought, “wow!”. I cannot wait to read her book!!

  • Saminda

    I first read of Audrey’s story many years ago, and it has always stayed on my heart. You are a beautiful inspiration, Angie. And this post? So many tears here. The cover of your precious book is simply perfect. I will most definitely be purchasing a copy to read to my children. So so very happy for you that this has all come together with the grace of God’s hand. :) Much love, and happy birthday to your sweet girl. xxx

  • Kris Springer

    Precious!! <3

  • Erin.Ivy

    Yes, Angie. She is beautiful. And although it breaks my heart that you have a daughter whose clothes are missing from your laundry pile, whose not playing in your yard with her sisters… I am comforted that she has surpassed all of that. She skipped it all and went straight to the feet of Jesus.

    So, while you are broken – longing for your baby girl, she is anything but broken. She is experiencing the fullness of Jesus every.single.day, while we’re here in a broken and often sad world.

    As Christians, we know that God promises to bring something good out of even the darkest situations. Sometimes that can be more confusing than comforting.

    But, here’s your good. This is it.

    The book is angelic and I cannot wait to read it.

    All in His name!
    ELI

    Erin

  • mama2angel

    Happy Birthday, Audrey…Angie, your words are always so beautifully written
    and always bring me to tears. Cannot wait for the book to come out.

  • Melody Johnson

    Beautiful dear Angie…just beautiful. I can hardly wait to read Audrey Bunny. I will never forget your Audrey, just as I hope people will never forget my little Solveig who also passed from this earth only one year ago. Thank you for following the call to write and for honoring your daughter’s life as well as honoring the Lord through what you do. God be with you. Love from MN…Melody

  • WendyGunn@FaithsFirmFoundation

    I heard you speak at Women of Faith in St. Paul a couple of years ago. As you shared your heart and story about Audrey, you touched every heart there. Audrey’s life has brought so much glory to God already, and He is using her every day. This story is so amazingly awesome, and I praise God for His personal, powerful presence in our lives, and how much He loves us! Thank you for strengthening my faith today through this remarkable story. So glad to be part of this faith family, and look forward to meeting Audrey someday. Love, Wendy Gunn

  • Claudia Dalton

    I’m holding back the tears (I’m working the front desk of our agency right now so it wouldn’t be good if clients see me crying, right?) but I’ve followed your blog since the beginning … Audrey’s story is so present in my life and I LOVE to see how God works every detail together, how He knits our every step and turns it all into a beautiful and perfect plan -not painless that’s for sure but Beautiful after all – can’t wait to go and buy this book.

    You’re amazing and God is using your life in such a marvelous way … I’m sure Breezy is delighted to be working with you.

    Happy Birthday Audrey!!!!! <3

  • lizzieborden_20

    This is so amazing. I can’t wait to buy this book and see all the lovely pictures. For what it’s worth, I actually think of your precious daughter often. There are a few people that I know, or know of, that have lost babies at birth or shortly after that have touched my heart in ways I never knew possible. Something will bring them to my mind and heart. I pray with you that God be glorified through these works.

  • Mela Kamin

    God is so spectacular! Though my story looks very different, I needed to hear these words. And, you are a blessing to so many to share your heart, your family and your brokenness with others. I’ll leave you with the God-inspired words from Isaiah 43:1, which happen to be my daughter’s confirmation verse for this Sunday. “Fear not, for I have redeemed you, I have called you by name; you are Mine.” You are and she is. Jesus hold you close.

  • Yuko

    Happy Birthday Audrey! Thank you Angie, for sharing such a beautiful story. I just came across your blog, and I want to believe that God has guided me this way.

    I’m having a hard time comprehending my thoughts – I cried throughout this post. I think I cried because… I have a boy who is almost 5 years old myself. I cried because I can’t imagine how much you must miss Audrey. I cried because you reminded me of my grandmother, who lost her 11-year-old daughter (my aunt) almost 50 years ago, and still prays for her and talks to her every day. It’s very private, quiet and scared moments she shares with my aunt, and I was privileged to be part of it as a little girl growing up with my grandmother.

    I saw the bond between them grow stronger everyday through her prayers. Even as a little girl, I knew there was something solid there. I believe it’s love, something that’s invisible (especially to other people), but something that continues to grow beyond life and death. My grandmother taught me mothers never stop loving their child. My aunt has always been her precious little girl and she still is. It was comforting as a child, to know that how deep mother’s love is for her children.

    My prayers to you, your family, and all the mothers in the world.

    Love,
    Yuko

    • Connie

      This is absolutely beautiful, Yuko.

  • Katie

    I have followed your blog from the beginning…..and I am always amazed and humbled by the way everything you say and do, even in humor, points to the AMAZING grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. You have inspired me this Sunday morning. I believe I read your post about your upcoming book, Audrey Bunny, for a reason this morning. God is present in EVERY detail of our lives…..it is so easy to forget that in the busy-ness of life Thank you, for once again, letting God speak through your writing. I just posted a video on FaceBook of our miracle child, Lily, who we adopted after a VERY long road with infertility and heartbreak through adoption failures. It is set to the song Let them Be Little. I would be honored if you would watch it….and maybe, just maybe, God can use it to speak to your heart this morning also. My FaceBook name is Katie Fletcher Stovall. I can post the link here if you would like. God Bless you, Angie. Or you could email me at laughterkt2001@yahoo.com……I would love to share it with you.

  • Kristi Bothur

    Your Audrey would have been five. My Naomi would have been three and a half. She died in my second trimester four years ago. I read your book when it came out over a year later, and it was so so helpful. Just knowing that other women had survived such a devastating loss, with their faith intact and even able to help others, gave me hope and helped me get out of bed each day. Now, four years later, my husband and I have a ministry (www.naomiscircle.org) for other parents, and I am also writing a children’s book about loss. I am looking forward to reading Audrey Bunny. I will always think of you as Audrey’s mom.

  • Trudi

    But God…

  • Jennifer Cook

    Not sure my other comment went thru…this may be a double. Your words are on my in(RL) flip calendar today…so I found you blog. Tears. “There is no competition, ladies….Ask God to humble you and raise others up.” Your words. Big words. Blessings to you on your project. I’ll definitely buy a copy when the book is available for purchase. For our Caroline, a neighbor friend who is 18 months…she is a dear heart…a dear story…a triplet. Two brothers. She is unique…aren’t we all?! :)

    • Jennifer Cook

      p.s. Caroline is a red head!

  • Sarah Rieke

    So glad the Lord orchestrated such wonderful details. I look forward to reading your new book.

    I lost my daughter, Evie, this past November. She had almost the exact same condition as your Audrey. Your book, I Will Carry You, was so amazing to me during the four months that we anticipated her birth/death. Thank you.

    Evie’s story: http://www.lifeandgrace.com

  • lilahtov

    No she is not forgotten. I read your book after losing my baby Ezra. I distinctly remember crying with you and for myself while reading it and in my mind she will always be a part of Ezras short life as your book comforted me in those hard days. She will always be a part of you. We have a rose of sharon that we planted for Ezra and when its blooming it always reminds me how beautiful even a life so short is ♥

  • Emily Aguilar

    Thank you so much for your “*5* & a beautiful gift.” blog on April 7th (I just read it- Can’t believe I missed it). I wept because I KNOW exactly how much you miss sweet Audrey because I miss my little baby boy the same way. Thank you for reminding my heart that is OK to feel that way and to hold on to hope in assurance that everything will be perfect one day. Thank you.

  • T

    She is not forgotten, I never knew her or you…but I wept and miss her with you as I read your blog. I have friends who were unable to bring their babies home and the comfort they found in Audrey’s story was a blessing.

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  • Darcy (Benedict) Mazza

    Angie, I am sooooo looking forward to getting this book for our four little girls!! I ADORE the Brookshire girl’s work. We love their Family Treasures coloring book!! What a sweet story of how God put you together. I prayed for you and Todd on April 7th. I have Audrey’s birthday marked in my calendar so I can remember each and every year. Hugs to you both!!

  • Bette Bradford

    Thank you for sharing this – it has reached me DEEP. Your words are such an encouragement and are so perfectly timed – thank you, Jesus. I anxiously await the book’s release, and the artwork is just beautiful, as is Audrey, as are you.

  • Julie Gee

    My heart is deeply touched….a beautiful book for a beautiful Child of God…Audrey.

  • deewilcox

    This is beautiful, Angie. I’m crying at my desk at work. :) It is so beautiful and so wonderful to see this story come together this way, heartbreaking and beautiful all at once. What an incredible reminder of God’s immeasurable love for us, how much He sees us and knows us and loves us, and the way that he can sweep into our story and take our breath away. Thank you so, so much for sharing.

  • Angie Wood

    Angie,
    I remember listening to the radio the day Audrey Caroline was born. I heard them ask for prayer and I went home and found your blog. I followed you for probably over a year. You and I exchanged emails a few times. When I hear certain song I think of you and Audrey Caroline. One of favorite songs is bring the rain. Your blog used to play music while I read :) So, tonight I’m just awake looking up worship music and I decide to come check on you. I will never forget Audrey Caroline or you, Angie. It’s impossible. You impacted my life. That sweet little baby changed my life. Even typing this I can remember the video you made. I can still see your face turn to the camera and say “she’s gone”. I remember how strong you were. I remember how beautiful she was that day. I remember it like I was there. I know I’m not the only one. Just as Breezy’s family did, we prayed as a family for your family. My kids were very young, but I would dare to say they also remember. This blog changed my life. She will never be forgotten. Considering the devil is such a liar, you can pretty much assume that whatever he says is the complete opposite of what will really happen. I am sure many people will look for her as they make it into heaven. I can’t wait.

    With much love,
    Angela Wood and family