Remembering Audrey

by jessicaturner on April 21, 2008

I have started this blog post several times and keep erasing everything I write. Sunday was Audrey Caroline’s memorial service. It was a beautiful celebration of the story God had written for Audrey and her family. Amidst the sadness of losing a child, there was peace, hope and thanksgiving to God.

Angie and I had talked about the memorial service before Audrey was born and the elements Angie wanted included – a guest book, cards for people to write messages on, possibly (Lord willing) a slideshow of photos of little Audrey, music, prayer. All these elements were included in the memorial service, which was a beautiful tribute to this little girl who lived for just 2.5 hours, yet truly impacted the world.

Angie was able to pick up a guest book and I cut cardstock into 4×6 cards for people to write notes, prayers, verses, etc. on. In the years to come, I believe that God will continue to use the words of encouragement on the cards and in the book in the Smiths’ lives. As the scrapbooker that I am, I was passionate about these items because I believe that chronicling one’s story through a variety of ways – including have others participate in the story – is so important.

Anyway, when I walked in to the church I immediately saw the precious family photo that Tom took of the Smiths’ less than a week before Audrey was born. It was on a beautiful large canvas on an easel. Beautiful lilacs and hydrangeas were at the alter and on the table with the book and cards. Everyone was very peaceful. I would estimate about 200 people were at the service, which was perfect. We didn’t know what to expect in terms of numbers, but thankfully, the number was not overwhelming.

The service opened up with the singing of Jesus I am Resting, Resting; Be Still My Soul and Give Me Jesus. Pastor Scott Patty talked about God and how He has used Audrey and the Smiths in the lives of many. Then there was a beautiful slideshow about Audrey, filled with beautiful pictures that Tom Uchida shot. It was underscored by Carry You, a poignant song sung by Selah that Todd and Angie wrote. Audra then read Angie’s letter to Audrey that is posted on the blog. Despite tears, Audra read the letter with passion, grace and love. Selah then sang The Lord’s Prayer and How Great Thou Art. Before they sang, Todd took a few moments to speak, with Kate in his arms (she didn’t want to leave her daddy when he went up on the alter to sing). He told Angie how proud he was of her through this entire process, encouraged and loved each of his sweet daughters and thanked the community of believers from around the world who had been praying for his family. The service closed with Pastor Scott sharing the gospel and the congregation singing the doxology:
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heav’ly host;
Praise Faith, Son and Holy Ghost.

I cried my eyes out through much of the service, grieving for the loss of Audrey, the Smith family and the situation, but also thankful that God has revealed much good in spite of it all.

Many people have written me in thanks for keeping Bring the Rain updated when Angie was delivering Audrey and in the hours that followed, as well as for being “a good friend” and with prayers for me and Eli. With each note or comment, I am struck and humbled. I believe that in most cases, we do not get to pick the trials we walk through – who would pick to walk through any of them? In spite of our circumstances, God calls us to walk by faith, knowing that He will protect us, guide us and love us no matter what. And so that is what Matthew and I have done. I am so thankful to call Angie one of my closest friends. I have cried many times over the past few months – for Audrey, for Angie, for the Smiths, for Elias, (who I thought would grow up with Audrey), and over so many other things.

Though the memorial service is over and some might say the story is done, it is not. Just a chapter has concluded. I know that God will continue to use Audrey’s story for His glory, and I pray that Angie and Todd will be blessed with opportunities to tell it and encourage others. Please keep the Smiths in your prayers. I think oftentimes, after a memorial service, people cry, give their condolences and move on, so to speak. The days, weeks and months ahead are going to bring about much grief and new trials. Please pray for strength, peace and continued faith in God for the Smiths. Please also pray that Matthew and I will be able to serve them in whatever ways they need it most.

Peace be with you today.



{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous April 22, 2008 at 2:17 pm

Thank you so much for sharing about the Memorial service for Audrey. I have missed Angie’s posts so it was nice to know a little of what went on. I will pray that you and your husband will know how to “be there” for the Smith Family as life continues.Thank you again.

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Julia April 22, 2008 at 3:30 pm

I will continue to pray for them. And for you. I should tell you that their story has already helped one person I know. My sister-in-law miscarried twins on Easter Weekend…and through her grieving I pointed her to Angie’s blog…and just being able to read about her grief and pain and amazing faith has been helpful for my Sis. Thanks to the both of you for sharing.

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Anonymous April 22, 2008 at 3:49 pm

Jessica-
You are an amazing friend to Angie and sister in Christ. I have thanked God for you and the love you have shown the Smith family. Thank you for being who God has intended you to be, and for sharing when Angie cannot. I believe that Elias will still grow up with Audrey (just not the way you intended), as she has touched us all, and her spirit and memory will continue to touch us all.
Thanks again!
Erin

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Anonymous April 22, 2008 at 5:59 pm

Thank you for keeping us posted.I will keep the Smith family and your family in my daily prayers.
I would love to see Angie write a book.This story has helped so many.Thank You

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Peggy April 22, 2008 at 7:20 pm

It’s so hard to leave an apropriate, uplifting comment after that with tear soaked eyes.

I add an AMEN! To all you asked for prayers…and you’re absolutely correct about the after… that’s when the grieving becomes unbearable at times with no one else around…I pray that you(and Matthew) will be right there for them…Thank God for friends like you!!!

This was absolutely excellent in every way that you shared this heavy sadness…and helped keeping Bring the Rain up to date…

I clicked on your blog from Bring the Rain because I saw that you do scrapbooking and I wanted to pass that on to my cousin, who sahre in your obsession(lol) after reading that heartbreaking story, I wanted something to brighten my day! I now noticed that you have 2 others just for Scrapbooking! My cousin, is in the midst of doing 2 for upcoming twins that are graduating!

I found that photos or in this case, scrapbooks help to keep the memory of the person alive, and even through tears of the loss, you can be glad for the joy of the moment of the photos and that Our Heavenly Father holds her dearly in His arms as well as the Smiths and each person this impact. You are so right..this is just the beginning or a chapter of what Audrey will do…in impacting others for jesus and the legacy her very short life gave and gives!
Stay strong and be a peace giver and comforter along with the Holy Comforter! How lovely this service seems from your precious words of love! Thank you and I’ll pray every time I hear a song from Selah
or Bring the Rain!!!Great ideas!

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Amanda April 22, 2008 at 7:28 pm

Jessica- Thank you for sharing with us the memorial day. It helped me feel like I was there. May God give all of you strength and love to support each other with each and every trial that life brings. Thank you again.

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Harris Family April 22, 2008 at 8:02 pm

I have said it before and I will say it again. You really are an amazing friend and I am sure Angie is to you as well! I will continue to pray for the Smith family. You are so right…sometimes the hardest part of the grieving process comes later. I will also pray that you can minister to the family as you, too, are grieving.

Thank you for taking the time to share with all of us about the memorial service. I can only imagine what a beautiful, blessed time it was- just like Audrey’s life. It brought tears to my eyes just reading about it.

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Anonymous April 22, 2008 at 11:41 pm

Thank you so much for updating us! It means so much. I will continue to pray for both of your families. I now check each of these blogs daily!! I feel as if both of you are my neighbors, and loved ones.

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Monika April 23, 2008 at 7:01 am

Thank you for sharing of memorial service! You wrote it so nice and you are amazing friend for Angie. Take care, Monika

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3QTGUYS April 25, 2008 at 5:02 am

Hey, Jessica. Thanks for sharing. I am so glad that you did, and I know that Angie is so thankful to have such a fabulous friend in you.

I am so glad that the service went well, I have thought of you both so many times, and hoping that all is well.

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