Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Audrey Caroline

Have you met Audrey Caroline?


Well, let me introduce you.

Audrey Caroline lived less than three hours in this world. And yet she has impacted thousands of lives. Her story is absolutely heart-breaking, and you may as well know right now that if you dive any further into this, you may need a box of tissues. (Don't say I didn't warn you.)

Audrey's story, in a nutshell, is that her parents found out midway through the pregnancy that she had some physical conditions that were fatal. The best case scenario is that she would live for two minutes after her birth. Yes, you read that right - the best case scenario is that she would be born and live for two minutes.

Of course her parents were encouraged to "terminate" the pregnancy, but they knew they couldn't do that. They had to carry her to term and then leave the rest to God. Audrey was born on April 7, and she lived for about two hours and fifteen minutes.

Her mom, Angie, blogged this entire journey. I found her blog yesterday and was compelled to read the entire thing. (Enter the box of tissues.) The story is amazing, horrible, beautiful, maddening, and uplifting. I encourage you to visit the blog and read it from the beginning.

You can also watch this video, produced by a church in Nashville, that summarizes this family's experience. It is about 25 minutes long, but I promise you it is worth watching. If you are anything like me, it will change the way you look at things.

Also, Audrey's dad, Todd Smith, is in the group Selah. Their next album will include a song, called "I Will Carry You", that was written (and recorded) in the midst of this. You can hear it while watching this slideshow of the Smith family. (Again, you'll need to pull out the tissues.)

If you know anyone who has suffered the loss of a loved one, and especially if they have suffered the loss of a baby, they might be interested in reading Angie's blog. She is very transparent about her pain, her anger, and her deeping trust in Jesus.

And please remember Todd and Angie and their family in your prayers, since just last night their family experienced another tragedy. Todd's sister, Nicol (who used to sing in Selah), went to check on her two-month-old baby last night and discovered that he was not breathing. The paramedics could not revive him. How much grief can one family take?

In one of her posts, Angie mentions the hymn "It Is Well with My Soul." I never knew the story behind this hymn until she gave the background. Here is the story, as posted on Wikipedia:
This hymn was writ­ten af­ter several trau­matic events in Spaf­ford’s life. The first was the death of his only son in 1871, shortly followed by the great Chi­ca­go Fire which ru­ined him fi­nan­cial­ly (he had been a successful lawyer). Then in 1873, he had planned to travel to Europe with his family on the S.S. Ville Du Havre, but sent the family ahead while he was delayed on business. While cross­ing the At­lan­tic, the ship sank rapidly after a collision with an­o­ther ship, and all four of Spaf­ford's daugh­ters died. His wife Anna sur­vived and sent him the now fa­mous tel­e­gram, "Saved alone." Shortly afterwards, as Spaf­ford traveled to meet his grieving wife, he was inspired to write these words as his ship passed near where his daugh­ters had died.
Here are the words to the hymn:

It Is Well With My Soul

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

Horatio Spafford


Anonymous said...

If I'm remembering correctly, this was Grandpa Hershberger's favorite hymn?


Miss Monica said...

Yes, it was. And there's not been a time that I've sung it since his funeral that I haven't thought of him. =)

And since you've given a tissue warning, I'll have to read about Audrey Caroline another time, as I'm on my way out the door for work and really don't want to redo my make-up!!!

Anonymous said...

Now, this is the 2nd comment I've tried to send. the first one did not go through. Yes, this was grandpa's favorite hymn at the end of his life. As he knew his life was coming to an end he would repeat "it it well with my soul" often. He requested that phrase to be placed on his tombstone.