I think about Audrey all the time, and I miss her in a way I cannot describe, but not the heart-wrenching ache that was once there. That still comes at times, but now it is more of a piece of our family will always be missing, so during times like Thanksgiving and Christmas we think about her more -- and wish she was here for the traditions, the family pictures, and the excitement that comes with kids.
But if she had not died, Levi would not be here. Yes, we had talked about our desire to adopt well before Audrey or Ella were ever thought of, but it wasn't until we had to let her go that the timing was right and we felt the tug from God to take this leap of faith. That journey has been simply amazing, and having Levi in our family has certainly made our hearts a little fuller. One of the biggest blessings to me is watching Ella's pride and joy while she helps take care of him. Even if it means giving him a bath, which about drives me crazy because she keeps pushing me out of the way!!
If Audrey had not died, a box full of Gideon's Bibles would not have been purchased in her memory. Ella was (and still is!) very proud of these Bibles and gave one to every one of her friends. We still have some left to give to people as we spread the Word while telling our story of Audrey. Ella would take them with us everywhere - even to Gramma and Papa's church when we went to visit in Ohio. Recently, Mom told me a story about a little girl in their church. (I hope I can get the story somewhat right!) During a service, the people were asked to give a testimony and this little girl who is about 6 years old was joining in with the other kids. Later that day she sat in her room reading her Bible ~ The little Bible in memory of Audrey ~ and decided she needed to be saved. She went and told her mom that she had asked Jesus into her heart.
If Audrey had not died, I would never have had the opportunity to talk with Ella about heaven as much as we have over the past 19 months. I don't believe she has fully grasped her need of salvation, but our conversations have touched on that subject many many times. And her friend, Taylor, had many of these same conversations with her mom as a result Audrey's short life. She was never able to meet Audrey but knew that she could live in heaven one day and be where Audrey is. And just last week Taylor made the decision to give her heart to Jesus - it is simply an awesome story! Please read about it on Tiffany's blog.
If Jesus had not died, I could not have written this tonight! It is only because of his death, burial and resurrection that I have this hope and this confidence that Audrey is safe with Him today. And that her life, as short as it was, brought people to Jesus.
I am humbled.
So amidst the sadness that comes with having a stocking that won't need to be filled or living with a little piece of your heart missing, comes joy and happiness because of her life and her death. I can't let the sadness stick around for very long when I think about the people who were touched -- and continue to be touched -- because of the life of my daughter.
~~~We got our miracle! And we continue to see miracles because of her!!!