Saturday, May 22, 2010

Watering Audrey's Tree

"People say that I am brave, but I'm not. Truth is I'm barely hanging on" -Selah

That is a good way to say what the last few days have been like. I try to keep busy (as much as my leg will let me!) and keep my mind occupied with plans for our trip. But still there in the back of my mind, as it will always be, is the reminder of my precious daughter who I miss so terribly I can't stand it sometimes.

Then there are those times where it is so unreal I feel like I am in this dream ... this nightmare. I think back to a month ago when we still did not know what outcome we would be faced with, my hopes for a lifetime with our sweet Audrey. Looking back, would we have changed our decision not to have the amniocentesis? Would we have wanted to know?


I would not have changed a thing. Not only because at the time we felt that is how God was leading us, but also because we had 4 sweet, precious, life-changing days with our daughter. Most babies with this diagnosis do not live an entire day, but because she came early and because we did not have previous testing, she was immediately put on a ventilator after she was born.

So....yes, this meant we had to make the grueling, heart-breaking decision that I believe no parent should have to face, that being when to take her off the ventilator. But that is my human side talking. God would not have left us with that to face if He did not think His perfect plan was the best.

I still struggle with her lifeless body laying in the ground, and not knowing enough about Heaven to know what she might be doing right now. Or even what she looks like! And I will always struggle with those things until God calls me home. However, one thing I realized is that her beautiful little body WILL RISE!!! And yes, I knew this, I've grown up with these truths from the Bible, but it was just something that didn't really occur to me over the past 2 weeks until yesterday. When Christ returns to take us Home, those who are dead in Christ will rise first! It makes me want to spend every waking moment at her grave so that I am there when this happens! =)

And I hope it happens today!!!

One last thing, I came across something I saved on my computer from 2 years ago when some dear friends had to face the awful experience of losing a child. Their 4-month-old was taken to Glory in his sleep. Here is what her husband said:

Standing in the hospital room, holding Kelan, his lifeless son, Aaron said to his dad, "I can't believe how much God loves me. I love Kelan so much and I know God loves me more than this, and this is deep...this is wide. I don't know how God can love more than this but I know He does."

Kendra's last line in an email she wrote to me was this: "I am so lifted in prayer that I feel much stronger than some people think I should be."

Please continue to hold us up in prayer!


p.s. We will be suffering through a week and a half of Disney World so I will not be writing again until June 3-ish.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

God's plans are unfolding, even in small ways

Ella often tells us she is happy and sad. She is happy that Audrey is in Heaven and her heart is fixed, but she is sad that she can't play with her. She also has asked a lot about why McKenzie is not here (I used to babysit...that's our girl and we miss her!). But with all the changes that have taken place, we have also been blessed with new neighbors on either side of us. One family has three little girls, and just today a family is moving in on the other side with another sweet girl who has been playing with Ella all morning.

The girl Ella is playing with today said to Chad, "She said her sister died." Chad told her "yes, she died last week." The girl said, "Was she 1?" Chad said, "No she was 4 days old." Girl, "Does she pray for her?"

We love to hear how Ella is expressing her understanding of all this, it is just another added blessing! She often puts into words and shares with others what we are feeling in our hearts.

Ella told Jude yesterday, "Jesus fixed Audrey's heart but now she has to be in Heaven, and..but we put her body in the ground."

Have I mentioned we love girls?!?

No, nothing will ever fill that hole we feel in our hearts for Audrey. And I know I will always be thinking about what life would have been like with her. Like at Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthdays, I had already started making plans in my head. Or next year when she would have turned one, what would she have looked like? What would her voice have sounded like? That pain will never leave me, but at the same time the peace I have is beyond my ability to fathom. I remember praying every day, even several times a day, "Lord, please allow Audrey to be part of our family." I thought He had answered that with "No." But I was wrong, he did allow her to be part of our family for 4 days. And that is more than most families get with the same diagnosis.

That is not much time you say? Well look at it this way, One day with the Lord is like 1000 years. Before Audrey's first day is over in heaven she will welcome us there, she is waiting for us!

Heaven knows no time. So even if someone lives to be 100 here on Earth, compared to eternity, it is not much different than 4 days!!!

Even that being said, I will never understand all of it this side of Heaven. But what I do know is Heaven is so much more real and sweeter to me now.

I'm ready to go.

Are you?

I love the words to Steven Curtis Chapman's song:

This is not at all
How we thought it was supposed to be
We had so many plans for you
We had so many dreams
But now you've gone away
And left us with the memories of your smile
And nothing we can say
And nothing we can do
Can take away the pain
The pain of losing you

And we can cry with hope
We can say good-bye with hope
Cause we know our good-bye is not the end
And we can grieve with hope
Cause we believe with hope
There's a place where we'll see your face again
We'll see your face again

And never have I known
Anything so hard to understand
And never have I questioned more
The wisdom of God's plan
But through the cloud of tears
I see the Father smile and say 'well done.'
And I imagine you
Where you wanted most to be
Seeing all your dreams come true
Cause now you're home
And now you're free

We have this hope as an anchor
Cause we believe that everything
God promises us is true

We wait with hope
And we ache with hope
We hold on with hope
We let go with hope

Looking forward to Heaven with Hope,

Monday, May 17, 2010

First Week in Heaven

Audrey has just about finished her first week in Heaven, and it is amazing to think that she now knows more about our LORD than I will ever know in my lifetime on this Earth. We miss her desperately, and I long to hold her again and tell her how much I love her. I know Heaven is wonderful and I know I will see my precious Audrey again, I have those promises in His Word, but all I really understand is this Earth so I have that deep desire to know her more. To tell her again how much I love her. To hear her voice, even her cry. The simple things seem to mean so much more now, and it is OK to have these thoughts and feelings. But I have to keep going back to His promises and remember that no matter how low I sink, "Underneath are The everlasting arms." Deut. 33:27

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Thank you is not enough

I don't know how to express how much we appreciate everything that has been done for us this past week as well as the past 2 months that you all have been praying for our sweet Audrey. Your prayers along with the Grace of God continues to amaze us, and we trust that is what will keep us in the weeks, months, and years to come.

Please remember not to take any day for granted, don't let a day go by without kissing and hugging you precious children or telling your loved ones how much they mean to you. And above all, take every opportunity you can find to share Christ with those God puts in your path. We all have a story, and God gives each of us what we can handle and allows our story to be used for His perfect plan.

I will be continuing to blog and use our story as a ministry to others who may have walked, or will one day walk a similar path as we have. The only think I ask is that you do not send my story to someone who does not know the outcome of their story yet. I said to many people over the past 2 months that I do not know how I will ever get through if this was how my story would unfold, but then I realized that God does not give me the grace I need until the very time I need it. And when it came to the time where we found we did have to go through this, God's grace and peace were there each step of the way, and I know it will be there for as long as I am on this Earth.

Philippians 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

With Love,
Chad, Rebecca & Ella

Monday, May 10, 2010

Memorial Service for Audrey Ann

Wednesday, May 12, 1020

Visitation beginning at 11:30

Service at 2:00

All will take place at Lighthouse Baptist Church
3145 N. Thompson Lane
Murfreesboro, TN 37129

Graveside, family only

We would like our church family to be part of our dinner Wednesday evening, when there will be a carry-in dinner for everyone at 5:30.

In lieu of flowers, we request memorials be made to Vanderbilt Children's Hospital NICU.

May 10, 2010

Audrey was delivered safely into the arms of Jesus this afternoon.

Audrey's Song - Selah

There were photographs I wanted to take
Things I wanted to show you
Sing sweet lullabies, wipe your teary eyes
Who could love you like this?People say that I am brave but I’m not
Truth is I’m barely hanging on
But there’s a greater story
Written long before me
Because He loves you like this

So I will carry you
While your heart beats here
Long beyond the empty cradle
Through the coming years
I will carry you
All my life
And I will praise the One Who’s chosen me
To carry you

Such a short time
Such a long road
All this madness
But I know
That the silence
Has brought me to His voice
And He says…

I’ve shown her photographs of time beginning
Walked her through the parted seas
Angel lullabies, no more teary eyes
Who could love her like this?

I will carry you
While your heart beats here
Long beyond the empty cradle
Through the coming years
I will carry you
All your life
And I will praise the One Who’s chosen Me
To carry you

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Precious Memories

Friday, May 7, 2010

Ella and Audrey meet

Ella was more than thrilled to finally meet, touch, and talk to baby Audrey. Audrey was not the slightest bit agitated and the excitement of an almost 4-year-old, and we are sure it is because Audrey was used to hearing her big sister talk to her every night. It was a sweet momtent, never to be forgotten by any of us here.

We heard in Bible Study Wednesday about prayer, and in this case God has answered our requests with a "no." We do not understand, and perhaps will never understand until we are all together again in glory. It is Ella who is helping hold us together, she simply accepts the fact that Audrey will be living with Jesus.

Audrey has the characteristics of Trisomy 18 and will not survive once she is no longer on a ventilater. We will spend the next couple of days with Audrey as long as she is comfortable, and allow our families to get to know Audrey as well.

"I have found that when I am in a place that I don't want to be, that's where I grow."

Thursday, May 6, 2010

My beautiful blessings

Audrey Ann Huffstutler was born this morning, May 6, 2010, at 4:55 a.m. On the National Day of Prayer, and we have been so thankful for the multitude of prayers that have been going to God for us today. He has been good to us and we are thankful for all He has blessed us with today. And His grace continues to amaze me.

Today Audrey as been very stable, she is on a ventilater, and has had some medicine to help her lungs work better. She has had many tests today and we are still waiting to talk to her doctors about all of those. Some of the test results will not be back until tomorrow, so once again we are waiting and trusting. She is a little fighter and we continue to hope she simply amazes the doctors with these test results.

Over the day I have tried to stay focused on the Promises of God as well as singing songs. One that came to me today was from our Easter Cantata: "Once again I look upon the cross where You died, I'm humbled by Your mercy and I'm broken inside. Once again I thank You, Once again I pour out my life...Thank you for the cross."
My trials seem hard to bear but I am trying to remember that God knows, He suffered, and He cares for me and for my precious Audrey more than I ever could.

Please, LORD, help me to trust You!