The Mark

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.

With love,

Angie


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  • jennbecker

    So beautiful…thank you for allowing your sweet girl’s mark to impact our lives as well.

  • Maggie

    You have such a beautiful heart, Angie! Thank you for sharing your story (and Audrey’s) to help others. God bless you always!

  • Julie

    My 25 year old daughter and 3 grandsons, ages 3, 2 and she was pregnant died in a tragic car accident 14 months ago. Thank you for this posting. You have said more elequontly what I feel to….my God is good. And I will spend eternity with them. Thank you for your blog post. And your encounter with the little girl, I believe are “god winks” to send us messages that provide us hope and healing. Blessings!

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

      I am so sorry for your loss, Julie. Praying for your own “God winks” as you go through these days until you see them again.

  • Leigh Ehrhardt

    Precious Angie,

    Your Audrey left a mark on my heart that, as you know, was used by God to help me in the grief I walked through after my husband;s sudden death. As you continue to allow God to use you and to tell Audrey’s story, her life continues to minister to many. Her story, your story, my story and countless others are HIS story of grace and mercy and goodness. Thank you for so boldly and beautifully proclaiming that. Love you!

    Leigh in Houston

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

    Oh sweet Angie, I continue to be touched and moved by you…by your story, by your Audrey, and by our good and gracious God who leaves nothing to chance, but orchestrates every detail for our good and for His glory, even when it doesn’t feel like it’s good.

    As a nurse, it also gives me inspiration as I care for my labor and delivery patients who are delivering their own Audreys…and I feel such a weight of responsibility to walk with them in their devastating grief as they labor and deliver…as I make the finger prints on the card, as I weigh them, and dress them, and put the hand-crocheted hat on them and hand them to their mamas…to meet and say goodbye through tears all at the same time. There’s a holiness in those moments I can’t explain, even in a hospital room. I pray with them and cry with them and just sit with them sometimes, and I pray my presence there makes their pain ever so slightly lighter, as go through the long grieving process and live on without their sweet babies.

    I’ve often wondered about each one of them over the years…even the one I cared for just last Thursday…her first baby at 16 weeks… There are. no. words. And I pray they each have drawers like yours of the memory of that day, and that somehow I made a difference.

    Thank you for allowing God to use you even through this…He IS so good. With so much love for you….Jacque xo

    • helen

      I just want to say thank you to you, Jacque – I am a UK mother with a similar story to Angie (in fact my son Jeremiah, who died two and a half years ago, shares his birthday with Audrey). I cannot tell you what a blessing it was to have a Christian midwife with me when I gave birth, and all the other wonderful, caring medics who supported us (and continue to support us) during pregnancy, birth, death and bereavement. You do an amazing job and I pray that God will bless you abundantly for the care you give to your patients. Thank you xx

  • http://maiasoffthewall.blogspot.com/ s h e l i a

    I’m so excited to get this book for my Amelia. She loves bunnies and I love your story. Thank you for allowing God to use you in such a wonderful way. Blessings on you and your family!

  • angielindley

    I love this. I just ordered a copy of this book. I can’t wait to read it with my own daughters. I have an Audrey — she’s my middle child. I always love finding books with their names in the title — makes them feel special when reading them. I know she’ll love this one. Thank you for sharing your Audrey.

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

    I’m crying.
    He is so good, even when it doesn’t always seem like it or we don’t understand.

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

    Oh, the tears, but I’m smiling through them. This is so special, Angie. God is good. You convey that so well through your words and your life. Hugs to you today.

  • http://www.dominicandkristin.blogspot.com kasmith03

    I am in tears and can’t wait for the copies that I ordered to come. Thank you for continuing to share your girl with us in such amazing ways!!

  • Claudia

    Of course I’m crying, I started even before I watched the video … like so many times reading your blog since the very beginning and I have never been through anything remotely painful as you but somehow your story always touches my heart and I know the heart of many!!

    What an obedient Child of God you are … what a precious gift you are giving your baby and what a sweet way to Honor HIM for getting you through this because without HIM there’s no way we could do it, we all have something that we struggle with … don’t we?

    Thanks for opening your heart to all of us

  • Jean Marie

    Cried my eyes out reading this, and watching the clip. Oh, Angie. It means so much! It is incredible to think how honoring this is to the Lord, and honoring it is of Audrey. So beautiful.

  • Coby

    Sorry if this duplicates itself, having computer issues, but I am in tears over the story of the little girl at Disneyworld and over Audrey’s thumbprint. Our Lord is so gracious, loving, purposeful, and such a great Father. You have a beautiful heart.

  • Becky Jones

    Dear Angie…my humble words fail me…thank you, thank you..xoxo

  • Kim

    Bless you Angie….as you have blessed so many with your transparency and wisdom.

  • rebeccajo

    Oh, how God is still using that precious daughter of yours to further His kingdom!!!

  • Jenny McCartney

    God is so amazing! I can’t wait to get a copy of your book for my little girls!

  • Casey Springer

    I cried through this entire thing. And at the risk of sounding like a freak..I would hug you if I could and tell you I;m so very sorry and that I’ll pray for you to soak up the good days and allow God to carry you through the bad. I ordered the book sometime ago and have read your others and I’m on a journey with my own sick daughter. It strikes me that there are not easy days…I think we just learn to allow God to help us through it. Day by Day is always my mantra…HE hasn’t failed me yet. MUCH love…

  • BFGOmelissa

    Oh Angie, it is all so special, from the curly haired red-head to the thumb print … I’m in awe of the witness to God’s lovingkindness in the precious moments of your life.

  • Amy

    Audrey definitely left her fingerprints on my heart. Your words, your faith, Audrey’s story and our great big God got me through hearing, “your daughter has cancer” and many days that seemed so very uncertain. Blessed to know you through this little thing we call the internet!

  • Danielle

    So beautiful…..Thank you Angie……Thank you Audrey…..
    Thinking of you so often and praying for you…..

  • Yvonne Gronau

    That was beautiful. Thank you so much for being willing to share that with us. It brought tears to my eyes.

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

    *struggles to find words*

    ……………..

    ……. ………….

    *gives up*

    *has no clue how to read the book now without sobbing*

  • Amanda K

    I need a tissues box nearby when reading your posts… It is simply beautiful how you glorify the Lord through your experiences particularly your precious Audrey. Thank God for you!

  • Andrea Worley

    This is so precious. So genuine and real. I want to give you a hug, and I love what you said about no mistakes, and God is so good. He is.

  • Jennifer

    Writing a children’s book is a beautiful way to heal! I lost a baby girl from an umbilical cord accident just a few weeks before my due date. It’s been 17 years now, and I sometimes still stop and stare when I see girls who are the age she would have been. It’s a lifelong healing process, and yet God brings us such beauty throughout the battle.

    After struggling for many years to try to become pregnant again, the Lord blessed us with twins almost 5 years ago. I can’t wait to buy your book for them! God bless you!

  • http://dustinandtara.blogspot.com Tara

    Ohhh my goodness. Crying at work. Wow. Precious.

  • Lisa

    Unbelievably beautiful. Thank you as always for sharing such a difficult and precious part of your life.

  • Jacqueline Jenna

    Your work is so beautiful. I first learned of your story about two years ago. My mother had lost both of my older siblings as infants, Jenna to a heart defect, and John to prematurity, so Audrey’s Story really spoke to me. Her story and your words, have helped me in so many ways. I’ve always felt an element of survivors guilt: why them, and not me? Why did Jenna have only 7 days, and John less than 1 day, while I survived a difficult pregnancy and have had 25 years? Your book helped me to see the truth in a way I never had in my Bible. There are no accidents. We each have a certain number of days, and God has ordained every one of them. We may never have the answers to all the ‘whys,’ but we have a faith that stands without them.
    I’ve introduced my mother to your writing, and while her heart still aches for the babies she lost 28 and 26 years ago, reading Audrey’s story has been healing for her. I think it helps her to hear from someone who’s lost a child, who understands the pain. Over the years, she’s been told (even by other women) “you can have other babies”, or “at least you lost them as infants, so you didn’t have time to get attached,” (as if carrying a child for months isn’t as attached as one can possibly be to another person). You’ve helped her to feel validated in her sadness, and reinforced the idea that whether you have a child for one day or a lifetime, the love is the same.
    We both love your writing. Your Audrey has a place in my heart right alongside my sister and brother, the little ones God gave us only briefly before bringing them back home.

  • Elle

    Absolutely beautiful post, Angie!! I love what you said about how God sees the things we see as flaws and mistakes, are not mistakes but woven and spun by His perfect hand and is also loved by Him. Beautiful reminders.. Congratulations on Audrey Bunny being released! Truly great for all ages!

  • Jeannie Davis

    I am heading out to buy your book at the first chance I get! I lost my 5 year old daughter to cancer a little over 20 years ago. The heartache I feel sometimes from missing her is so unbearable that it overwhelms me to tears at the most inopportune times. I do however keep focused on the Lord and His goodness. She touched so many lives in the 5 short years we spent with her and she never cried or said the treatment was too much. All she talked about was how she was here to show others how to be good for God. She knew she was going to die and was ok with it….so ever more than I was. She was saved and baptized 6 weeks before she died and did everything she could to spread His word and His promises before she died. I was very humbled by your story and video clip. It took me a lot of years (10 to be exact) to begin to heal from her death. You can tell you are a woman of faith and that you stay strong in Him. Praying for you daily.

    Jeannie

  • Sharon Talbot

    Oh Angie! So precious that you were able to use Audrey’s actual thumb print in the book. God is so amazing. Thank you for sharing this. God is so good to have Audrey’s story go on and on touching so many lives. Blessings to you :)

  • Tina

    Angie – you are such an inspiration and your sweet Audrey has indeed left her little mark on many and continues to do so. The way you honor and serve our Lord is remarkable and I am in awe of your devotion and dedication. Thank you for sharing this with all of us. I will buy this book for my son and knowing this very special detail of the thumbprint – I don’t know what to say other than thank you for being moved to share that with the world. Much blessings to you and your family. – Tina xoxo

  • http://aftermath1014.wordpress.com/ Andrea Dyben

    Our 22 year old angel passed away almost 2 years ago from Cystic Fibrosis. As the anniversary date approaches, (9 days) I have struggled. This post made me weep. I don’t have the words to explain exactly why or to describe its encouragement and affirmation of the pain and grace I have lived with so I will simply say…”thank you”.

  • http://www.permissiontoperuse.com/ Amy Bennett

    Oh, golly, Angie. That’s beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

  • http://candelierious.blogspot.com Lis

    Hi, Angie,

    First, I meant to comment this on your last post but then hesitated. I hope it comes out hte way I intend it to. Your writing has grown SO much since your first blog entry, which I read right when you posted it. I mean, you’ve always been a story teller, but your writing is so refined now; so eloquent and beautiful. I don’t know if that’s happened along the way from writing books, if it’s a natural maturity, or if it’s simply a gift being honed. But again, your writing is just superb.

    I love this video. I barely read the first sentence before the tears started. I am excited to purchase this book {even though I have a 9-year-old boy} and share with all those I can.

  • Jamie Reese

    This left me undone. Beautifully heartbreaking

  • moonstars11

    Oh Angie, there are no words. I’ve shed a few tears for you as I have watched you go through this process of putting this book together. And can I just say that as I was purchasing this book, I read where Breezy is from Marion Indiana. She’s practically out my back door and so I have no doubt that it was God who brought you both together to honor your sweet Audrey in such a beautiful manner. Your daughter continues to have weight in this world and I imagine that she will leave a legacy that will be hard to grasp. You sweet friend, you are a blessing to so many of us women, mothers, grandmother, dads, etc. I can guarantee without even knowing that you have helped and touched so many lives of so many people that have went through the unthinkable and have helped them to wake up and live 1 more day because of your honest walk with grief. Thank you for sharing yourself, your family, your life, your pain, and most importantly your stories. I’m blessed more by you daily. Thank you. -Adinda Webster

  • Melissa Taylor

    Beautiful. So glad you were able to memorialize her in a book… so hard to believe several years have gone by. I remember reading and praying as your pregnancy was unfolding. Several years? Really?

  • Patcine

    Tears. Tears of joy, sadness, hurt, familiarity. I, too have watched my young child go to where we all belong, Home. Over the years I have had dozens of experiences like your Disney one, when you finally realize the child you see is the age yours would be. The tightness in the throat, my face will feel like it’s catching on fire. But I’m with you, sister, He is good, without a shadow of doubt, He is good.
    Thanks for being a voice for us bereaved moms who don’t have this influence that you do, it’s incredible and you steward it so well. Love to you Angie.

  • Courtney

    Angie, this post makes my heart ache with memories and shared pain. But I wanted to thank you, for all your words, for your honesty and for sharing Audrey with us. When I was 18, I got pregnant from some complicated and awful circumstances. But as soon as I suspected I was pregnant, I loved my baby so much and knew I wanted to keep him. Not long after that I found out God had a better plan for my son Cam, just as He did for you little Audrey. I miscarried and my son, Cameron Henry, went home to heaven 3 years ago. Among other helpful songs, I found “I Will Carry You” and read the story behind it. Then I found the video your church did of you & Todd telling Audrey’s story. It was just what I needed to hear, I sobbed, I prayed and I started to find hope. I often listen to that interview video when I’m missing my son terribly and your beautiful, truthful words remind me that Cam ended up with a better life than I ever could have hoped to give him. That he is safe, happy, loved and waiting for me to join him someday so we can be together forever. I don’t have any other children right now, but when I do I know I will tell them all about their big brother. I want to share my son with others, as you’ve shared your memories of Audrey, in hopes that maybe I can help someone else going through a loss or just a tough time.
    Continually praying for you & your family,
    Courtney (Cam’s Mommy)

  • veronique91

    Recently I was really, really low on cash and debts were eating me from all sides! That was UNTIL I decided to make money on the internet. I went to surveymoneymaker dot net, and started filling in surveys for cash, and surely I’ve been far more able to pay my bills! I’m so glad, I did this!! With all the financial stress these years, I really hope all of you will give it a chance. – a5qs

  • Cristine

    I read this book for the first time tonight to my twins Ellie and Lana.I had tears running down my face. And it truly blessed my heart…I don’t know how I got this book it ended up on the girls book shelf some how. My daughter Lana is only two years and had 3 open heart surgeries and one more to go, leaving a scar over her chest. I can’t tell you enough how it truly touched me. And I know that one day Lana will realize that she is different and I will quote her all the scriptures you listed.And let her know how perfect she is and what a miracle God blessed us with. Thank You Angie