I've been following Angie's blog since the day Audrey was born so I knew much of her story.
One thing I really wondered about when ordering the book was whether or not it would be different than her blog. So, I will attempt to answer that for others wondering. The answer is yes, and no. It's not insofar as Audrey's life was very short, and Angie has blogged about it openly and comprehensively, so at some point, there's only so many ways you can tell the same story. So for anyone who has read her blog, there will be a familiarity about the book in both the details of the story and Angie's uniquely sensitive, poignant, and poetic style of writing.
However, there's a depth that comes in the book that I don't think is reached on the blog. By spending the entire book on essentially one topic, she takes you farther into her journey and their thoughts and broken hearts than is possible in any single post on her blog. While most of the details shared are not new (though a few are), but there is a cohesiveness and complexity that is new. Rather than getting bits of the story, one post or page at a time, you can weep with her through the entire journey at once.
The story is gripping anyway, but Angie's writing is artistically, beautiful. It is so intimate and delicate, that you really feel like you're sitting in the waiting room with her, wanting to yell at the lady in Target with her, standing at Audrey's funeral with her, ministering to other women with her, listening to her sweet girls with her, crying your heart out to God with her. The book is breathtaking and challenging.
While never preachy, the book is incredibly instructive on grief and fear and expectations and surrender to the Lord. Because it's not written as a lecture or discourse, the reader feels safe and free to explore her own journey as Angie invites you down hers. She displays an intimacy with the Lord that is a wonderful model to her readers, but does so without a hint of pride or self-righteousness.
Angie's book really helped me deal with the balance between the grief of the past, and the hope of the future. Her conclusion is that they are inextricably connected, which is such a welcome change from the general notion that they are mutually exclusive. By processing Angie's conclusions, it helped me be freed of the pressure I was putting on myself to "get over" my grief and "move on" and from the guilt that came when I did allow myself to feel hope again.
You will weep. You will be challenged. You will question. But Angie guides the reader through these things delicately, and always pointing back to the fundamental truth that despite our feelings, our God remains unchanged. She continually directs the reader back to the Word, and back to the Lord.
I like that there are some very practical sections of the book, including a section for loved ones of the bereaved, and for how to explain grief to young children. Her husband Todd also writes a short section, which is very instrumental in sharing the man's heart in a story like this. It helped me understand my husband a little more in our own grief story.
While this book is specifically about the loss of a child, I believe it would be helpful to anyone who is bereaved. Some details are pregnancy or parenting specific, but the questions asked of God in a time of grief and the overarching themes of faith and love and trust are universal.
Even if you know Angie's story, I highly recommend you read this book. If you've NOT read her blog, do so. It can be found at audreycaroline[dot]blogspot[dot]com And then, get the book, too.
Thank you Angie, for allowing God to minister through your life and through Audrey's.