I can’t tell you what an honor it is to be able to share this with you all, and I’m in tears (again) just mentioning it.
Evidently that’s normal for someone who is introducing her first children’s book, written in honor of the sweet daughter she lost several years ago.
It’s actually been really hard to for me to talk about it (which is why you may not even know I was working on a children’s book) because it was such a holy, healing experience. The Lord was so kind to me while I stumbled over my words and prayed for the end result and the message that would be conveyed to readers.
Yesterday was the official release day and I am already completely overwhelmed by the response to it. To me it is a representation of the way her legacy continues, and to be able to hear the way others are reading it to their own children over and over again has blessed me more than I could have imagined.
If you’ve followed my blog for awhile, or even if you are someone who vaguely knows her story, you’ll see a lot of “hidden” things within the book that refer to Audrey. I won’t give them all away, but I did want to tell you about my very favorite one.
It’s the one that means the most to me, and I’ve hardly been able to even talk about it before now…thank you to sweet Breezy Brookshire for supporting and loving me while we prayed through delicate decisions, and for Dan Lynch at B&H Publishing who always allowed me to have the final say, even when it made things harder for him. B&H has a strong history with me of always allowing me to have significant voice in any project, but this one was even moreso because of the sensitive subject matter. Dan, I appreciate you trusting me and allowing me to tell what was ultimately a story she could never tell for herself.
Ironically, I’m at Disney World now and the book released yesterday while I was here. So many memories and sadness associated with her here, and then to have the book in people’s hands while I am wishing she was in mine. It’s a lot to process and I know I’m doing it rather poorly here.
I hope you hear my heart, though. And I hope you know how I will forevermore be grateful for those of you who chose to be a part of her story. Please know that you have been my confidence on shaky nights and the love that propelled me to believe there would be a better day.
Yesterday we were near the carousel and our nanny Nicole saw a little girl who was lost from her family. I went up to her and introduced myself, shaking her sweet hand and asking if I could pick her up. She nodded, and tears filled her eyes as they frantically searched for a familiar face.
I told her I wasn’t going to leave her until we found her parents, and she described them very well considering she was a young child-even down to the color of stripes on her mother’s shirt. We found a man working in the park and he began to assist us, but it was clear that I was Madeline’s safety-net, her promise-giver, and her loving protector, so they requested I stay with her until her parents were found.
We galloped and she giggled.
I told her she didn’t have to be scared and I told her how remarkable her bright red curly hair was. She smiled. She wasn’t very nervous anymore because she trusted me,and we made a game of it while the men in uniforms paged one to another in search of her mom or dad.
At least 10-15minutes passed, and the man closest to me said he believed they had found them. We saw another man come around the corner and she wiggled out of my arms and ran to him, squeezing him with a huge smile on her face. She looked back at me and continued smiling.
It was at this point I realized she was almost exactly the age Audrey would have been, and I felt my throat tighten as I patted her back.
“She’s beautiful,” I told them “And really smart as well,” They agreed and thanked me. With that, she was gone. Back to where she belonged and yet I had, for a moment, felt so motherly with her that it had a twinge of sorrow.
The Lord is so kind to me in these moments, and I never miss the chance to remind me of truth.
We are lost here.
We aren’t home yet.
And we have people who love us and take care of us and steward the gift of watching over us, but they are not our ultimate home.
I believe that my Audrey has been returned to her home, and that I will see her there again.
It hurts so desperately sometimes that I don’t see how it could ever stop. But on some days I walk in the promise with a little lighter step, choosing to believe that the temporary will be swallowed and the eternal will give her to me forever.
It wasn’t an accident, what happened to my Audrey.
Who is to say exactly what or why, and I dare not suggest I know.
But I do know this.
His sovereign hand was the last she passed through, and He allowed her a few hours before He brought her to Himself. It wasn’t a mistake, a punishment, or a misunderstanding.
I am clear on the facts.
But oh…..how I miss her little red (maybe curly?) hair, and how I wanted to tell that little girl I loved being with her but I knew there was a better place.
At the end of the day, it can only come to this.
Either He is good, or He is not.
And I will say this with no sense of questioning or doubt. He is good.
He formed her and I love her just the way He chose to weave her together. I miss her, but my love for my Lord is uncompromised, and I see His hand on all the marks that the rest of the world sees as accidental at best, as punishment at worst. I see the hands of a loving Father, touching that which we may not comprehend until eternity, all the while whispering, “It is for good, love…”
That is why this particular “secret” of the Audrey Bunny book is so, so special to me.
I hope it will be to you as well.
Please watch the video and hear how it came to be…
And revere the One who wove her and spun her exactly as she was, and continues to love her in our absence.