Category Archives: Christianity

How in the NAME OF GOD Did It Come to THIS?

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IT REALLY IS A SLOW, SLOW, FADE.

(THINK IT CAN’T HAPPEN TO YOU? THINK AGAIN)

 

How does a person go from living a wonderful life that is filled with love and beauty and is something that they are PROUD of to feeling like they are merely existing in a deep, dark pit? Well, it sure doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a slow fade .
 
You may be on FIRE for the Lord one day, but before you know it you may wake up and feel like God is so far away that you may never be able to find Him again. Of course, we know God NEVER leaves us. But how and why do we leave God? The answer lies in this picture.
 
little mermaid
 
Remember these eels from the Little Mermaid? Their names were Flotsam and Jetsam. The terms Flotsam and Jetsam are nautical terms that essentially refer to unwanted garbage that is floating around the sea.
 
Now reflect on the behavior of the evil eels from the Disney movie. First of all, they had a clear, strategically planned agenda. Second, although they were vile and wicked creatures, they didn’t jump out and scare Arielle nor did they pursue her with a chainsaw or an ax. Rather, they were patient and sly. The were smart, alluring, seductive, and convincing. They lied, made false promises, and soon had Arielle, who once feared them, convinced that the life she had was not good enough…and that she could have the desires of her heart if she would just follow them. 
 
Arielle’s greatest mistake was leaving the people who loved her behind and venturing off in secret…all alone and wholly unprepared, while she was vulnerable and desperate. Had the good people from Atlantis been with her she would have never wound up in the grips of Ursula, the sea witch.
 
In the same way, this is exactly what Satan does to us.  He very slowly and provocatively convinces us that what we have is not enough. He uses deception and Jedi-mind tricks to entice us into believing that greener pastures are just around the corner. He is cunning and mesmeric and makes that thing or person which is off limits to us appear beautifully enchanting and scintillating.
 
He did it to Eve in the Garden of Eden. At the time she was residing in Paradise with God Himself AND her beautiful husband. She TRULY had everything she could have ever needed or wanted BUT…somehow Satan managed to convince her that God was holding out on her. Thanks Eve for jacking it up for the rest of us {she was undoubtedly a blonde!!}  Did he con her in front of God? No. Did he con her in front of her husband? No. She was all alone…unsuspecting and unarmed.
 
Satan cannot harm us when we put on the Full Armor of God (see Ephesians 6:10-18) nor can he do it when we are in intimately tight, AUTHENTIC relationships with other believers! In order to get us to the destination he desires he first must isolate us…ALWAYS.
 
He takes his sweet time doing it. He is so smooth and I patient that you may honestly have no idea what is happening to you… Satan can make a hideous, rotting, infected, and infested corpse look like the most captivating, beautiful creature you have ever laid eyes on. So that thing or person that is off-limits to you will literally cause you to become absolutely spellbound.
What you THOUGHT you saw.....
What you THOUGHT you saw…..
 
Your eyes WILL deceive you and your mind will play tricks on you as you lose all sense of reason. Eventually, your desire for that which is forbidden will become insatiable until at long last, it overtakes you! Once you’ve sunk your teeth into the object of your affection, the lights FLASH on!
 
PSYCH! Not REAL! {sucks to be you!}
PSYCH! Not REAL! {sucks to be you!}
 
 
In the dark what you were chasing was SO beautiful. When the lights come on though everything suddenly comes into perspective and you realize that you are in a rat-invested dungeon staring wildly into the eyes of a rotten corpse… And guess what, Boo? What you had before, which you realize now was the purest, most beautiful gift from God… that place that you left to pursue the corpse… Well, it might not be there anymore when you want more than anything in the world to go back to the beautiful place you callously and foolishly walked away from to chase a rotting, rancid corpse.
 
Oops! {Maybe the lighting was just bad...}
Oops! {Maybe the lighting was just bad…}
 
So Beloved, do everything in your power to protect yourself…Be vigilant and on guard at all times because the enemy of your soul is hiding in the shadows waiting to devour you. Stay close to God and other believers EVERY day….and never, ever allow yourself to become ISOLATED.

Nostalgia and a Longing for Simpler Days…

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Dear Friends,

My oldest son, Jeremiah is having some intense emotional struggle right now that I am not even up for writing about.  If you wouldn’t mind, I sure would like to humbly ask that you pray for him; he is 16.

 

Tonight I was going to leave a video on the wall of his Facebook to cheer my boy up and inspire him.  This song always made me giggle and I simply love the message.  Add to that, I’ve been over the moon for Frank Sinatra for as long as I can remember.  I love his music.  Of course, I love old-school music in general.  My favorites include Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, and Nat King Cole, just to name a few.

 

I’d like you to view the following video and note how it somehow lifts your spirits, regardless of what kind of mood you’re in:

 

 

Now, riddle me this, Batman? How can one be in a depressed or anxious state of mind and hear this song without smiling and feeling just a little bit better than you did before you heard it? And how profound is the message of this song?

 

This snappy, upbeat tune was introduced in the movie, “A Hole in the Head” starring the late, great Frank Sinatra, circa 1959! We are talking about 54 years ago!  One must reflect on the simplicity of the world during those times; which were inarguably just not that long ago.

 

I grieve for my beloved America, as we seem to be given over to abundant chaos and such confusingly busy lifestyles that we, much more often times than not, miss out on the simple things in life; the most important and the most eternal things.

 

 Unmanageable stress is literally subtracting years from our lives.  MOST importantly, our children, many living in low-income, single-parent homes are confused and brokenhearted to say the very least.

 

Once upon a time we yearned for scientific progress, which to me, simply equated to us having access to more luxurious “things” and “things” that we thought would make our lives more convenient and somehow more valuable. Well, that certainly has worked out well for us, hasn’t it?

Oh, how I really do miss the old days.  I miss the old console TV sets that had rabbit ears and only a few channels; the ones you had to get out of your seat and turn the dial until you found a program you wanted to watch or could get reception on.  I miss my Disco 8-track tapes, and my cardboard box of a portable record player that played 45’s  and LP’s (33’s). 

 

 

 I miss playing outside, getting dirty, drinking from the water house, peeing on the side of the house so you didn’t have to go in your house and take a chance of getting hounded by your folks about something, and  I sure did enjoy catching crawdads in the creek behind my house.  I miss those things and so much more.

 

More than anything, I miss the family time we all shared day in and day out.  I miss those sit-down, delicious, gravy-invested dinners we shared as a family “at the kitchen table.”  I miss waking up early every Sunday morning to the smell of my grandmother’s cookin’, which literally made me jump right of bed; I was somehow seduced by the aroma of breakfast. 

 

We did the same things every Sunday.  We had our yummy, Southern breakfast, got dressed nicely, hopped in the car, and went to Sunday School “and” church.  I never tried to negotiate with my grandmother about going to church nor did I ever complain and tell her I was too tired to go.  It was part of our established routine.  It’s just what we did.  And after church my grandmother either “fixed” an extravagant lunch or we went to eat at Furr’s Cafeteria.  Mind you, retail stores and most businesses were closed on Sundays then.  Today, Chick-Fil-A is the only business that I can honestly think of that unapologetically closes on Sundays because of the corporations unshakable faith, values, and public desire to please God.

 

Yes, I miss those simpler days.  Praise God, I have so many memories to cherish.  I’m thankful for these beautiful memories and for my Godly upbringing! What about you? 

 

Do you think that as we move closer and closer to end times that the world is becoming increasing dark, chaotic, and depraved or is this all in my head?  I’d love to hear your feedback and opinions (that’s my polite way of telling you that you’d better chime in! lol!)

All my love,

Ava

drinking from the hose

kid peeing outside

tire swing

catching crawdaddies

dirty kids

mud pies

ice cream truck

sprinkler

family prayer

big wheel

I Am More…

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Things are looking up!  As a matter of fact, things are looking WAY up!  Why?  ONLY…I repeat…ONLY because of Jesus.  I’m tired now but my next post is going to be a doozy!  Brace yourselves!  God has revealed SO many things to me that I hardly know where to start explaining!  I love you guys!!!

The Sky Is Falling…

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It’s been well over 70 days since I’ve written.  I know this because I’ve been counting the days…one day at a time.  I’ve wanted…no, I’ve needed to write but my fingers have just been paralyzed.  I guess things really got hard back on October 21st.  I tried to write about that day but to date, what I did write is unfinished and is just looming in my drafts folder.

I have loved writing on this darn blog.  I have come to believe that no one truly cares about anyone nowadays, but somehow you all….strangers to my world…have managed to make me feel so significant, so valued, and so loved.  I will never be able to thank you enough for that.

I don’t even know what to say…and I don’t even know if anything that I say really matters.  But I hope that somehow I can touch your heart and let you know that you are loved… I love you.  Even though most of us have never met, we are all brothers in sisters in the Body of Christ… We are family and we will someday get to spend eternity together.  So you matter to me…  You matter so much.

I am NOT looking for pity or attention and I want you to know that I am NOT a victim.  I just want to put that disclaimer out there before I write anymore.  However, I want you to know that, for me, the sky IS falling.  My life has been a house of cards and somehow I have always managed to hold everything together and give the illusion that I was happy and complete.  I wore that mask so well for so long.  The house of cards is falling down.  I’m afraid I’ve run out of tricks.  My charade is up and at this point, it seems everyone knows that I am a joke.

I was a Psychology major and I minored in Counseling.  I know the DSM-IV-TR quite well.  I was on a research team with graduate students and have devoted my life, and my studies to studying human behavior, especially since my Mother’s suicide.  In my studies I gravitated more toward abnormal psychology, and have always had a deep interest and passion for the ugly part of psyc….the pathology, I guess you could say.  Also, I’ve spent years studying the human brain and have become very knowledgeable in the neuro-psyc part of things…  I wholeheartedly believe that the human brain is the last, great, uncharted frontier in the realm of Science.  There is SO much that we don’t yet know… And I pray that Science will progress in a direction that takes a more physical approach to human behavior and issues of mental health. 

I have pondered the Nature vs. Nurture debate deeply.  I have researched it well… and have personally arrived at the conclusion that it’s both.  However, I would tend to say that the “nurture” part of things has the greatest impact.  In essence, I subscribe quite a bit to John Locke’s theory of Tabula Rasa, which as you probably know means that we are born a blank slate.  I know that this isn’t entirely true, but I think it’s mostly true.

I think babies are the closest thing to Heaven… Really, I think this about ALL children in general.  There is nothing more pure and precious than a childNothing.  And I know that Jesus Himself feels the exact same way. 

I can‘t make sense of the world we’re living in these days.  What happened at Sandy Hook Elementary has greatly affected me.  But the reality is that children are abused in a myriad of fashions all over the globe… constantly.  What’s more, most of the time they are abused, neglected, and/or abandoned by the people who were supposed to love them the most… and to protect them with every fiber of their being. 

The world is a nasty, depraved place and honestly, I don‘t know why we continue to have children knowing full well that we are living in End Times.  I compare my generation to my kid’s…and to my Mother’s…and for GOD sakes, my precious Grandparent’s.  It unraveling and changing so fast that I can hardly process it.  Our country, which WAS founded on GOD has, I’m afraid, become an abomination to Him as I KNOW it has become an abomination to the rest of the world.  I fear that God’s blessing is vanishing from our land…  He flooded the world once and I have to wonder, “Was it even half as depraved now as it was then?”  I ponder Bible stories that my grandmother used to tell me about Sodom and Gomorrah… but see, I know NOW that those weren’t just “stories“.  Do we as a nation think that we are invincible from God Himself?  Jonah tried to outrun God and he wound up in the belly of a whale.  How much longer is God going to tolerate the depravity of our culture?  I just really wonder.

I am not well right now.  I fear that I may be losing my mind somehow.  I am absolutely terrified beyond words, but I am finding that I have not been able to escape this perpetual downward spiral that I am wildly riding.  My depression is beyond anything I could explain…and probably beyond anything anyone would be able to understand.  I feel powerless and I feel utterly paralyzed.  I have no idea what tomorrow will bring, but for me, hope is just not on the horizon.  I’m trying to fight but I’m very weak and I’m very tired.  My whole life has been a fight.  I will be 40 in January and NEVER in my wildest dreams could I have EVER imagine that I would be here.  I’m embarrassed, I’m morbidly humiliated, and shame and guilt are just killing me.

I have somehow managed to isolate myself from the world and the outcome has not been good.  The ONLY hope that I have is in Jesus,  but for the LIFE of me I cannot feel Him right now.  I am reduced to an absolute shell of the vibrant, charismatic woman I once was…  I don’t have much left.  So with every ounce of my soul I humbly beg that you pray for me and my boys.  Please intercede in my weakness.  Please beg God to help me survive and see my way out of all this.  I want you to know that I love my children more than anything on this Earth.  They are the reason I draw breath…  They are my whole entire world and I am so afraid that I am somehow failing them.  GOD HELP ME!

I have honestly never felt this way in my entire life and again, I’m just overtaken with complete terror.  There is a neuro doc whose primary practice is in San Francisco.  His name is Dr. Daniel Amen.  I have followed his work for years and know some incredibly reputable people who deeply believe in his work.  His clinic does brain scans that give CONCRETE answers to what is going on with a patient’s mental health.  That‘s what I want…of course I could never afford it.  But still,  I want CONCRETE answers.  Something is totally NOT right with my freaking brain.  I adore my counselor and my doctors too but diagnosing  neurological problems are really just a hit or miss….or a trial and error kind of thing.  I’m SICK of that. 

What happened to my mother HAUNTS me each and every day.  Her depression was real, but no one, INCLUDING AND ESPECIALLY  ME ever took her seriously until she was dead.  She lay in her bed for THREE whole days before anyone even found her.  I will NEVER forget what she looked like.  She has the SADDEST look on her face.  My mother was an incredible, beautiful woman but something happened and when she began to deteriorate it  seemed, to me, to happened really fast.  I take this shit seriously and I wish to GOD that the rest of society would too!!  This isn’t something we can just sweep under the damn rug people.  Look, the Sandy Hook incident would more than likely have never happened if someone would have reached out to that young man and taken his issues seriously.

I thank you for giving me a venue to express my heart…  And I thank you in advance for your prayers.  Jesus is not just MY only answer… He is YOUR only answer as well.  Keep your eyes FIXED on Him.  Recognize that He does NOT make rules so that He can be a buzz-kill or because He is just very bossy.  God gives us rules to protect us from our stupid selves!!!  When we disobey Him and veer out in our own direction we are blindly veering out from underneath His Almighty protection.  We just cannot afford to do that anymore, can we?

All my love,

Ava

Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger
or discipline me in your wrath.
Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am faint;
heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony.
 My soul is in deep anguish.
How long, Lord, how long?

 Turn, Lord, and deliver me;
    save me because of your unfailing love.
 Among the dead no one proclaims your name.
    Who praises you from the grave?

 I am worn out from my groaning.

All night long I flood my bed with weeping
    and drench my couch with tears.
 My eyes grow weak with sorrow;
    they fail because of all my foes.

 Away from me, all you who do evil,
    for the Lord has heard my weeping.
The Lord has heard my cry for mercy;
    the Lord accepts my prayer.
 All my enemies will be overwhelmed with shame and anguish;
    they will turn back and suddenly be put to shame.

-Psalm 6

WHY?

WHY?

Really?  WHY???

Really? WHY???

God Bless the Child…

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Beloved,

I have been totally absent from WordPress as of late.  The truth is, I have been totally absent from life as of late.  And for the love of God, I honestly started  this blog to inspire people and help them find healing!  That’s what my vision was. And  so lo and behold, would you look at what’s happened?  It’s been all about me.  It’s been YOU that have constantly encouraged and inspired me.  It’s like this:

One day Jesus was teaching, and Pharisees (bastards…ooops!) and teachers of the law were sitting there. They had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with Jesus to heal the sick. Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.  -Luke 5:17-19

You see, that’s me…the sick one; the paralyzed one.  I’ve got some pretty phenomenal, devoted friends (like you) who have been carrying my mat for a while now.  While I am so thankful to have that kind of love in my life, I am starting to feel kind of shitty and ashamed.  I don’t want anyone to have to carry my mat anymore.  I really don’t.  I want to be able to carry my own and I want to carry yours, for a change.

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I’m having a rough time right now.  Not surprised, are ya?  It’s the same song I’ve been singing for a little while now…  My circumstances have been hard to bear, but Sunday evening, something happened that truly devastated me to the core, something I’ll write about later.    This week our cell phones were shut off, my power was shut off, and my car has been grounded with nary a drop of gasoline in it.  I got my food stamps this week, so Praise God, we have food to eat, but mind you, I feel like insane white trash every time I swipe that card.  I’m so embarrassed.  Today, I had to borrow a large sum of money from one of my oldest and dearest friends to get “one” of the medications that I’m out of.  And while I’m bitching about everything else, I might as well tell you that I’ve run out of clean underwear and have been going commando for two solid days.  

Now while all of that was the gospel truth, I have to be honest with you.  I don’t want you feeling sorry for me, friend.  What you absolutely have to know if that Ava Elizabeth Wisdom is by no means a victim.  A victim is an innocent person who bad things just happen to.  The victim doesn’t choose to be a victim…it’s out of the realm of their control.

I am not a victim by any stretch of the imagination.  Granted, my childhood sucked ass, like countless other people’s have, but I have to be real with you and confess that I’ve made far to many bad choices in my lifetime.  Most of those choices were made out of pain I didn’t understand and a secret, yet overwhelming desperation to be loved…but there came a time in my life where I knew right from wrong and chose wrong anyway.  

I guess you could say I have always been an experiential learner.  I used to never listen to wise counsel.  I was a rebel to the core, always hiding behind my furious, unbridled anger.  I was hellbent to feel something real…even it was only agonizing emotional pain.  

As a kid I had been violently ignored, ridiculed, and rejected by someone whose affection, approval, and attention I now realize I needed as much as I needed food and water at the time.  However, and I am truly ashamed to report this now, “I think I was pretty successful at making him pay the price for the years of hurt I endured.”  Mind you, I swear to God that I didn’t ever want to hurt him the way he hurt me (or my mom)… not then and not now could I live with myself if I ever (knowingly) hurt that man.  But I will say, I tore his ass up pretty good when I came barreling into my teenage years like a meth-induced bat out of Hades.    Holy God Almighty!  I was the worst, most impossible teenager in the entire world.  Historically, I don’t think anyone in all of North America could have ever compared to me.  Come to think of it, I don’t imagine South America or Africa could have held a candle to me either.

Now in my defense, I do believe want to go on record here and say that I wholeheartedly subscribe to the epistemological theory of tabula rasa.  Notwithstanding, of course, the powerful role that genetics play in our lives.  I do think that we are products of both nature and nurture.  But riddle me this, Batman…

Journey with me for just a minute to the land of make-believe.  Let’s pretend a child is born with a fully-functioning brain (God knows I was not!).  No pathology exists in this child’s brain…  Grandpa wasn’t an alcoholic and didn’t wasn’t out chasin’ women in the honky-tonks, Mom wasn’t bipolar, schizophrenic, nor did she have a history of panic attacks, or the slightest trace of Borderline Personality Disorder…  Daddy hadn’t done  any time in the pen for cooking up bathtub crank either … No family history of pedophilia, and no one’s great-great-great-great grandmother worked a whore in a brothel.  You hear me?  This kid’s brain is legit.  There are no genetic defects.  So, fundamentally, we’re talking about  a quintessential, genetic apotheosis here… (we’re still pretending)

So suppose that  a child is born with this remarkable brain and that she has no genetic predispositions to anything other than

1) Prolific beauty

2)Wicked intelligence…and

3) The disposition of Mother Teresa (mixed with a the slightest bit of my modern-day charisma and savoir faire-Just kidding!).  

Imagine, that someone had this perfect brain.  Now let’s shift gears a bit, shall we?

Imagine that, even though this darling creature is genetically perfect in every way, her mother becomes unhappy with the progression of her potty training and decides to glue her hands to a wall…and beat her…almost to the edge of death (we’re not pretending anymore).

So what about that?  And while we know that there is most likely no chance of the existence of the aforementioned brain that I dreamed up just now, genetically speaking, we do know  FOR CERTAIN that recently, 23-year Elizabeth Escalona, beat her baby girl so severely that there wasn’t a spot on her tiny little body that wasn’t bruised or bleeding.  She pulverized her little girl until the child entered a coma.  Mind you, this didn’t happen in Liechtenstein, Mozambique, or in the South Sandwich Islands that lie off the coast of  freaking Antarctica.  No.  It happened about 30 miles from my home in Dallas, Texas.

I TRUST God to provide SOME sort of healing to this beautiful, precious little girl…  But come on.  How will her little, human heart ever understand or make sense of the fact that her own mother hurt her like this.  

Friends I am very verbose.  As you may have noted by now, I am never at a loss for words.  But what happened to this little girl…  Well, I’ve got the words to talk about what happened…  It’s just that for once I am using what little self-discipline I possess to not write about this more than I have already.  Truly, I want you to know that I have played this scenario out in my head, far too many times.  I am a very visual person and I am also wildly analytic.  

All things considered, let’s just say that my mind has considered all things in regards to this little girl’s case.  I am aghast.  I am veritably horrified and afraid to let my children walk out of my front door.  What kind of depraved world do we live in, people?  What mind could even contrive such an atrocity.  Moreover, what monstrous soul could carry a thing like this out.  

Here’s the thing.  “Glue doesn’t dry instantly.”  It would have taken more than a minute for the glue to dry.  That’s all I’m going to say about that.  If you choose to follow my haunting, gruesome train of thought then I’ll let you go there without any help from me.  I’m just saying, the mother didn’t just snap.  Too much time elapsed to say this wasn’t premeditated, at least in some minute way.

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Now, back to the notion of tabula rasa.  You should know that I do think genetic factors play a substantial role into the development of a human being but I emphatically lean way more toward the nurture side of the nature vs. nurture debate.  I believe that children-being perfect, innocent gifts from God-are born with a relatively blank state.  It’s also worth mentioning that I was a Psychology major in college.  I’ve studied this issue to no end and hold firm to my beliefs.

Children come to us as these magnificent, blank canvases.  I love that about them.  Children captivate me.  I love them more than life itself.  Their pure, unfettered view of the world and their simple, but sometimes magical expressions of faith rock me to my core.  And have you ever noticed that a child will never debate you on the existence of God?  Never.  They’re wired to believe in what they can’t see nor even begin to understand.  Of course, I think kids are incredibly connected with supernatural things…and the Divine.  They just believe…   It’s magical to witness the faith of a child.  

With that, I don’t mind shifting my gears a bit and letting you know that I’m mad as hell right now.  I’ve been mad as hell for days.  Perhaps, you haven’t sensed my anger up to now… But don’t be fooled.  My lips have been clinched for days and I’m ready to fight.  I’m not kidding, I’m really angry and really on edge right now. I’m sick and freakin’ tired of the maladies that exist in our fallen world and I’m even more tired of the effect that they have on our children.  And at the risk of sounding like a crybaby pee-pee pants, I’m really pissed off about the things that happened to me when I was a child.  It wasn’t fair.  And I still have to fight tooth and nail every day to maintain my sanity and to give my kids any kind of normal life.  I’m bitter about that.  I just feel like things are coming into perspective for me and I am starting to see things for what they are.  

I’m not going to write about this now (I will later) but I got into a bar fight on Sunday.  I’ve never done something like this.  Something happened…something I can’t talk about now.  Long story short, this big ol’ , manly gal, who truly looked like Beth, Dog the Bounty Hunter’s wife was bullying me.  I was devastated about something that had just happened and she was there to make a complete fool of me and capitalize on my pain.  Now, I’m not a big girl by any stretch of the imagination.  And yes, I was wearing an argyle sweater, some skinny jeans, a cute little headband, and some gold metallic ballerina flats…  It was a biker bar and I suppose I stuck out like a sore thumb, particularly as tears were streaming down my face.  So Big Mama got up in my grill.  I mean, y’all, she really got up in my grill.  

NOTE TO SELF: Think before you engage in hand-to-hand combat! 

She was cursing at me and then I guess she shoved me really hard in my chest.  After she made contact with me… After she put her damn hands on me, it was over.  I was like a Pitbull on PCP with a side of bath salts.  It took several men to break up the brawl.  It’s like all my fury just showed up all at once.  I was told her face was messed up after the incident.  I mean, I didn’t break her nose or anything like that, but I did put a pretty good smack-down on the old broad which was, I think, was a complete shocker to everyone who looked on. Mind you, I hadn’t had a single sip of alcohol.  As a matter of fact, I had just got up from a little nap.  But when she hit me,  I felt like an untamed beast.  I am super lucky because 1) I didn’t have so much as a scratch on me, and 2) I was merely thrown out of the bar and the police weren’t called.  I would have definitely gone to jail if the police had been called.  God was really looking out for me…  Lesson learned, Ava.  

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On a softer less Hell’s Angels-like note, the picture below is me at my 2nd birthday party.  In this picture you can tell I was blissfully happy.  I was living out my little slice of Camelot but I didn’t know it at the time.  All the world was as it should have been for me.  You can’t fake a smile like that!   Who could have known that my perfect little world was about to change forever?  Who could have predicted that the Utopian bubble that I had been flourishing in was going to rupture in less than one year?

Friend, take a second to study my little face.  I was so innocent.  I was so pure.  In overwhelming contrast of how I am today, I was very quiet.  I was also very dainty and delicate.  I was shy and incredibly modest.  Not so much like the career stripper I’d later become.  I guess I always did know how to work a crowd at a birthday party!

   

Nowadays, there are people I know who’d swear that I actually possess a pair of testicles.  I can neither confirm nor deny these suspicions.  What I can say though is that “if I did“, you can bet that they’d be mammoth in size.

I want to make jokes and laugh the heartache away but the truth is, I grieve for the little girl in the picture above…as if she weren’t me at all.  She’s so far gone now, but I remember her.  I remember that she wanted to actually be Wonder Woman.  I remember that when her sisters took a nap-every day-that she would run game with her mom, pretending to be napping too…  In reality she’d quietly go into her room, close the door behind her, and go straight to the bottom drawer of her nightstand.  That bottom drawer contained an exorbitant amount of the most amazing make-up you’d ever bear witness to.  

It was with that make-up that she… “I” would daily transform myself into a beautiful, enchanting princess who had a life like the one I once knew.  A life before the isolation.  Sometimes I would pretend to be a lovely, graceful ballerina.  I would open the top to my cardboard music box and then emulate the little, plastic ballerina by spinning.  I’d spin around and around and around…  I don’t really remember where it was I would go in my head when I was little.  I just know that it was a place where I was happy.  It was a place where I was loved the way my grandmother and grandfather had loved me before my mom got remarried…back when my life was perfect…  Back when my dresses were adorned with like, 500 gazillion  jingle bells that were carefully sewn in just for me… Back when I was the center of my grandparent’s world and nothing else mattered.  

You see, my mom wasn’t able to take care of me when she first had me.  I suppose she was really young and she had  a lot of past hurts and traumas that she had to work through.   So, I lived with my grandparents.  I was the center of their entire existence.  And they were the center of mine…  

My biological father had split when his tenacious sperm cell burrowed its way into my mother’s unprotected egg.    Men tend to fall asleep after they blow their load (it’s actually called the refractory period) and I suspect that my biological dad could have dozed off during the early stages of my meiosis.  But of this I’m certain: the chromosomes hadn’t even had time to split and migrate to opposite ends of the nuclear envelope when that dude jetted and threw us the deuces and all but yelled out, “Peace out, biatches!!” People, I’m talking, the dude left the state to avoid being my dad.  

I wonder if he knew then that he was throwing me to the wolves.  If he had have known, would he have given a rat’s ass?  Nah.  Probably not.  He was a famous DJ in the Dallas area at the time; a hippie with a cult-like following of women.  I think my mother was outside of her damn mind getting involved with him!  He was a wealthy kid from a conservative, VERY Catholic family.  I guess they wouldn’t have mixed well with us.  

My grandaddy was a deacon in the Southern Baptist Church and my grandmother thought that people who raised their hands during worship were loco (I was raised thinking the term  Charismatic mean demonic or something).  She could have never gotten jiggy with confessionals, Hail Mary’s, and incense burning of any sort.  

And as far as I was concerned, the Virgin Mary was the coolest, most honorable chick on the planet.  It’s not like God would have ever chosen me to bear His only Son.  But dude, Mary was certainly all that.  I can’t wait to meet her when I come home to Heaven… But she was just a human.  I’m not going to pray to her.  Yeah, so I guess our families weren’t meant to blend.

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So back to my tabula rasa hoopla and ballyhoo…  I said all “that” so that I can reemphasize that I BELIEVE that  “I” was born a blank slate… a pure-white empty canvas.  I experienced things in my childhood that even those closest to me don’t know today.  But for fuck’s sake….WHY?  Why did these things happen to me when I was just a sweet, trusting, open-hearted little girl.  I’m so mad!  And I’m not feeling sorry for myself because the little girl who I’m defending doesn’t in any way feel like me.  I don’t know where she ended and I began.  

Now you’ve experiencing a lot of unfocused, overly emotional, senseless rambling up until this point.  Hang with me.  If you blew through this post praying that it would end, “That’s OK”.  If you don’t hear anything, hear the rest of this, please.

ALL of the unholy shit that I experienced is NOTHING compared to what some of these other children are going through RIGHT now.  My childhood was marred and maimed by pain, rejection, and abandonment.  However, the reality that I must face is that my life was a freakin’ Marti Gras compared to some of these babies out there in the world right now.  And don’t think they’re far away from you.  The child next door to you could be going through hell right now and you might never know it.

Oh my God!  I want to scream!  I want to kick the living shit out of that mean and nasty bar whore again and I want to scream at the top of my lungs!

I know I can’t go back and save myself, but oh God, I CAN do something for them.  I can help a hurting child today.  It’s so easy to do.  

So (at long last) I end by saying, “God bless the child…”  God bless the child who is suffering in silence.  God bless the child who is alone; that invisible little soul.  God bless the child who is injured or molested by the hands that are supposed to love and protect her.  God bless the child who cries alone in the dark.  God bless the child who is terrified and completely overcome with fear.  God bless the child who doesn’t have enough food to eat.  God bless the child who is cold tonight.  And God bless the child who is only 8-years old and is feeling the weight of being the protector and head of his household because his dad left!  God bless the child…  

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You know, I think to myself, even Adolf Hitler was a baby at one time.  I don’t care what anyone says, he was not born with a bloodthirsty aptitude and a desire to kill millions of innocent people.  I will argue that with anyone all day long.  

What if his early years were different somehow?  Mind you, I’m not saying that he wasn’t a monster as an adult.  There is this invisible line when your childhood ends and your adulthood beings.  That age is different for each and every one of us I suppose.  I think it’s the moment that you consciously accept who you are and what’s happened to you…to the child you once were.  That’s healthy.  But NEVER is it healthy to just accept your circumstances like a punk bitch and say, “It is what it is.  This is just the card that life dealt me.”  Hell no.  That’s not what you do.  You FIGHT…. you FIGHT to get back what was unfairly taken from you.

Look, I’ve come to realize that as much as I hurt for the little girl who was once me…there’s not a damn thing I can do to change the past.  I can’t build a time machine and travel back through the years and stop anything that happened nor can I protect myself,  my sisters, or my Mom.  I would have already done that if it were possible.  

But even though I’m getting old I have learned something profound.  Some would say my epiphanies have come too late in life.  After all, in my head I believe that I am on the cusp of menopause.  Plus, not that long ago I literally had to pull a coarse, gray whisker from my face…  

Anyway, in all seriousness, here’s the message of my heart: While I can’t go back and heal my own heart… And while I can’t go back and save the innocent little girl that I was once was, I can still find complete healing and experience total reformation with the help of my Lord and Savior.  Do you know how?  By loving kids today…  By loving all of them emphatically, like my very life depends on it.  I suppose in a way it does.

I have a particular calling and some crazy gift with emotionally disturbed, broken teenagers.  I can affect so much change in their lives.  I know because I’ve done it.  But I’ve been so depressed and out of touch that I haven’t done it lately.  I’m changing that tomorrow….

What’s YOUR calling when it comes to children?  Your calling may be with boys… or maybe just with girls…  You may identify best with a particular age group.  But please listen to me… I literally beg each and every one of you to find just one child… Find just one child and pour out your love into one of their darling little lives.  

If you’re a man, PLEASE hear me.  I believe that the obvious demise in the state of our nation has everything to do with the breakdown of the traditional, American family.  In Rick Warren’s book, “The Purpose Driven Life,” I remember vaguely that he said that love was spelled like this: T-I-M-E.   How do we expect a large majority of our fatherless children to lead anyone or anything when they simply have no leaders in their lives to model?  And don’t any of you overzealous single mom’s get up in my grill and start telling me that your kids are fine without a dad.  Bullshit.  I’m tough as nails and I love my kids with a burning, fervent passion.  I have tried to be everything to my boys.  But there is one thing I cannot seem to be: their DAD.

As males and females we each bring unique attributes to the table when it comes to parenting our children.  But we are different.  God did not create a woman to raise her children alone.  Conversely, God didn’t create a man to raise his children alone either.  We need each other   More than anything, our kids need us.  

If you’re like me, you can’t change your circumstances.  I’d LOVE for a knight to ride up on a white horse and save me from the world.  Well, no such knight nor anyone clad in anything that remotely resembles any kind of armor or even aluminum foil has come to call.  Granted, I sleep with a box fan on, so I wouldn’t hear if he came at night.  But there’d at least be traces of horse dung or something.  Right?  He’d leave me a note?   Aye, aye, aye…. I joke, but the truth is, he’s never come.  And I can’t bank on the fact that he ever will.

But about these kids….DO SOMETHING.  Please.  Pray…give it to God.  Ask Him to bring a child into your life that needs you…  Who knows, friend… just the tiniest effort on your part may change their world forever and ever and ever.  It’s easy to love your own children.  But I dare you to branch out and find a child who you didn’t know existed.  Pour out some of that love you have…  I PROMISE you that, even though, you may change a life, YOUR life will be the life that is transformed.

All my love,

Ava

PS….To Arlene, I’m sorry if the curse words burned your eyes.  To Diane, I know you get it…  Now talk to Arlene for me!  LOL!


 

Beauty From Ashes: How God Killed Two Birds With One Stone, Part II

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By now I was in my final year of college and still a single mom; Jeremiah was now 8 years-old. I could see the finish line! I was almost there. The University of North Texas was an hour’s drive for, which was too far given my heavy involvement in my research and whatnot.  So, that spring Jeremiah and I loaded up and moved to Denton, Texas to be near UNT. It was the furthest I had ever lived away from home.  I felt like I had set out on some brave new adventure. It was just the boy and me. I had worked hard for years in school and together, Jeremiah and I were about to conquer the world!

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I remember that time in my life well.  I was living solely on financial aid.  I wasn’t even getting any child support at that time because Jeremiah’s father was in jail.  We had food stamps and Jeremiah was on Medicaid.  I saw welfare as a means to an end.  I didn’t feel bad nor did I feel embarrassed about being where I was at the time.  I swiped my Lone Star card with pride!

Since I didn’t have health insurance, I found out that I qualified for a plan through the county hospital.  One afternoon I was at one of the local clinics…having my lady parts inspected. I was actually there to get an IUD. It had been forever since I was on the pill and I certainly didn’t want to wind up back in the abortion clinic for God’s sake. I knew that I was playing Russian roulette. I knew I had to do something.

My ob/gyn agreed that the IUD was a good option for me. We set up an appointment for me to come back in and have it installed the following month. I remember that it was during that visit that I complained to my doctor about my breast implants. I had had two breast augmentations at the time, one in 1995 and the other in 1997. The doctor who performed my surgery in 1997 almost ruined my entire world and my rockin’ hot bod.   When I woke up from that surgery I discovered that he had made my breasts the size of Dolly Parton’s. I’m not kidding you; I was a teeny-tiny stick figure at the time. I was 5’5″, 120 pounds and that quack had put 850 cc’s in each of my breasts. I felt like a freak show. I felt like Frankentitty.

We had SO MUCH in common!

Both of my breast implants had become encapsulated. Further, I wanted a full reconstruction done but didn’t have an extra $8000 lying around to make it happen. As I discussed it with my doctor that day, we came to the conclusion that because of the encapsulations, the county hospital just might afford me a full reconstruction for almost no charge. It was brilliant.

Much to my surprise, after I left the doctor’s office and was in my car, my cell phone rang. It was the doctor. I had just walked out of her office. She was calling to tell me that she was canceling the appointment for the insertion of the IUD. We’d have to put it off one more month because she wanted me to have an MRI on my breasts. She informed me that she didn’t want any metal in my body during the procedure; apparently the copper wire from the IUD might interfere with the results of my MRI. Although I wanted the IUD, I wanted a new boob job more! And plus, what was one more month going to hurt? I had managed to not get pregnant for over 4 years! I was close to graduation… I would soon be ditching the horrendously enormous tits… I had it all planned out!

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It had been a while since I’d talked to Jake. He was mad at me for something stupid and had been giving me the silent treatment for some time. But again, I wasn’t trippin’. While Jake was a phenomenal creature and had everything going for him, I had quite a bit going for me too. As a matter of fact, God had performed a miracle for me. I was wholly dependent on my financial aid to take care of Jeremiah and me, but during the summer of 2004, for some reason, I wasn’t able to qualify. Wouldn’t you know it, God showed up just in time? I applied for and was one of 9 people from around the United States to be selected as a National Science Foundation (NSF) Scholar. I would be paid over $3000 for both summer sessions to do research (something I loved doing anyway)! I had financial assistance for Jeremiah’s childcare and the campus was just one mile from our new place. The stars were managing to line up for me and my boy! Our dreams were coming true!

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One lovely spring afternoon I was strolling through the campus when I saw something odd. It was enormous and there was a crowd gathered around whatever it was but I could not make it out. About two-stories in size, at first glance I thought it was a giant McDonald’s menu. My curiosity led me toward the massive structure. There was something going and for some reason, my curiosity was piquing out of control. When I got closer this is what I saw:

There were guards around the exhibit. Debates were heating up everywhere. This pro-life exhibit was definitely ruffling some feathers.

When it comes to abortion, you can’t straddle the fence. You are either pro-choice or pro-life. I thought I was somewhere in between at the time, but in reality, I guess I would have to had classified myself as pro-choice. Ultimately, I felt that that if abortion weren’t legal that women would be getting killed in back-alley butcher shops trying to get abortions.

For whatever reason, I felt compelled to walk up and talk to one of the volunteers who was sitting outside the gates of the exhibit. I am not one to push my views on others; you will scarcely find me debating about sensitive issues.

I remember the girl that I spoke with, although I couldn’t tell you her name. She looked really sweet and had a natural, gentle beauty that seemed to define her. I remember she had a tiny cross necklace on. It was evident to me, because of her demeanor alone, that she was a Christian, although this was not a Christian exhibit. We talked for a little bit and I took in the exhibit. As we talked, I opened up to her about my past abortion, something I never spoke about. She didn’t say too much. She just listened to me talk. Somehow or another I felt the Hand of God during that encounter with the volunteer. I had never asked for forgiveness for having an abortion, and I sure as heck didn’t have an ounce of repentance in me for the whole ordeal. But when I walked away from the exhibit, I did. I can’t explain it. It wasn’t guilt or shame… It was just a beautiful conviction… A renewal of my spirit… After walking away from the exhibit I felt I was seeing the world with a different set of eyes. I didn’t know I needed any healing, but I felt healed in some cosmic way.

As a matter of fact, I felt so transformed that afterward I met up with some of my best friends to tell them about my experience. We were all scholars on a particular research team at the university. All of them were amazing girls, but in hindsight, I noticed that these gals were liberal as hell. I say that with a chuckle because I loved them all (and still love them all) so much. They were my sisters, but they were also modern-day hippies.

I shared with the girls what I had experienced, which opened a discussion. For the first time ever I found myself taking a stance against abortion. I had known so many girls, particularly from my stripper days, who seriously used abortion as a form of birth control. I’m not a judgmental person, but I’m also not ok with the fact that you’ve had 8 abortions. I learned that day that I did consider an unborn child a human life. I acknowledged it had a soul. Something changed in me that day.

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Things were great in my life. I had the best kid in the universe, I had escaped stripperdom, I was about to—against ALL odds—graduate from college, with honors. I mean, life was good and the wind was at my back. I was sure I could do anything at that point. As a matter of fact, I was a Psychology major and I had just made the decision to stay in school and get my doctorate. I was going to be a clinical psychologist!

Wouldn’t you know something had to happen to rain on my parade? I mean, damn… I hadn’t been keeping track of my periods in quite some time, but I had this feeling that it had been a good while since I had had one. I waited… I waited some more, but the mofo never came. So I did what any girl would do, I took a pregnancy test.

Actually, I took many pregnancy tests. Wouldn’t you know that all of them were POSITIVE??? I felt like I was having an out-of-body experience as I read the results over and over and over. It was surreal, and I felt as if I had just been hit by a locomotive.

This was bad… I mean, this was really, really, really bad. I felt like a trapped rat as I began to mentally explore my options.

I had always told everyone that I met that I was a single mother. My mother was a single mother, so I saw single mom’s as strong, heroic women. What I didn’t tell anyone was that I felt like I had cheated Mother Nature somehow with Jeremiah.

There could not have been an easier child to raise. Oh my word, that child was a Lamb of God. Plus, I had managed to escape the karma that my mother had always cursed me with. I had it coming bad for being such a wretched teenager. What in God’s green earth was I going to do now?

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Was I the girl I was in 2000 when I had my last abortion?  No.  Absolutely not.  And was it an accident that the doctor had cancelled my appointment to get the IUD or that I had seen and been transformed by the exhibit?  No.  Absolutely not.

God had touched my life.  He had prepared me for this.  I was having this child.  There was no doubt about it.  I didn’t have a clue how I was going to pull it off, but I would make it…somehow.

But what about Jake?  I had to tell him.  So on May 4th, 2004, I sent Jake the following email:

Jake,

You and I really need to talk. If you choose, I can write you a letter, but I think it may be better to talk to you in person.  That’s just my gut feeling; I may be wrong.  I have a final in the morning at 10:30 and won’t be available until tomorrow, after this test.  If you choose to delete my message and not reply in anyway that is your choice, but be warned that you are making a big mistake.  Again, this is not some tactic…this is “really” serious.  I don’t have time for games.

Ava

Much to my astonishment, I didn’t receive a reply.   This pissed me off, so I sent another email (this one not so delicate):

Jake,
Since you have chosen to completely ignore me I have no other choice but to tell you this way.  I have no desire to see you or speak to you about this.  My respect for you has gone out the window
It is the consensus of all who know about this that I have a “responsibility” to inform you.  Consider it done; it’s just ONE less thing I have to worry about.  I would have been a little more sensitive about telling you but you denied me (and yourself) that opportunity.
There is no possible way that you are not the father as you were the only person that I had sex with even close to the time of conception.  But don’t worry…the Attorney General’s office will provide a “complimentary” DNA testing when the time comes.  I found out a while ago and have taken several home tests and have seen my doctor.  My due date is the 29th of December.  I am not happy at all, I am very afraid; my nerves are more screwed up han you could even imagine.  However, I will continue to put my faith in the Lord and acknowlege that He doesn’t make mistakes.
Your selfishness, snobbery, and complete disregard for my feelings in general have absolutely blown me away.  If it weren’t for this issue, I would have “completely” written you off after you said such hateful things to me the last time I had contact with you, especially after I asked your forgiveness.  That is all I have to say to you.  I am “livid” with you Jake–you just have no idea. 
Ava

Ol’ boy still didn’t repond.  What was going on?  Weeks later I spoke to his brother.  His nonchalant attitude toward me told me that Jake must not have told him.  I was so confused.  Finally, I boldly let the cat out of the bag.  I, with a fierce barage of hormones cheering me on informed his brother that I was pregnant.  Further, I unloaded on his brother as to how furious I was that I had told Jake a month prior and that he had chosen to ignore me.  His brother’s response: “Let me call you right back.”  I knew he was calling Jake.

In no time, I received an email from Jake that read, “My brother says you have something to tell me.”  I wanted to write back and say, “Why yes, dipshit.  I certainly do.”  But I chose to take the high road.

As it turned out, he had blocked my email address.  Why, you ask?  Well this is the part that’s kind of humorous, I suppose.  Additionally, it’s a tad bit gross.

Since I was a child I have possessed an affinity for picking at things on the bodies of those I love.  Yes, I know it’s a sickness, but I’m a picker.  Each and every time my teenage son has a mild outbreak of acne on his face, my eyes light up….and he runs the other direction.  I’m not kidding, I honestly should have been a dermatologist.  Do you know how many videos on ruptured cysts and boil removals that I’ve watched on YouTube?  I would love to be able to do that and get paid for it.  The science of the human body; it’s fascinating to me.

To make a long story short, the last time I had had a rendezvous with Jake, he had a pervasive (awesome) cyst on his back.  Alrighty…so remember I was over the moon with my Berringer that night, so I advised him that I would help him. 

A day later I received a nasty email from Jake.  He informed me that the cyst was 10 times larger and that he was in serious pain.   He advised me that he wanted no further contact with me (lol). From there he blocked me.  So, he could have actually known about our baby earlier, were it not for that damned cyst (glorious as it was)!

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Although Jake has more than stepped up to the plate these days, he wasn’t so considerate before Jonah was born.  It was a devastatingly depressing, lonely 9 months and I was often sick.  As it turned out, I would not see Jake for a single day of my pregnancy.  I saw him the night of conception, and then I saw him the night his son was born.

So if you read my last 2 posts, you’d see that I lost a child to abortion on October 7, 2000.  Praise the Holy, Soverign name of the Almighty Lord that I didn’t lose this one!  On December 22, 2004, I delivered this little man:

I was severely depressed and unhappy when I was pregnant with him.  However, the moment I saw his beautiful face, I was in love.  I was absolutely, madly, head-over-heels in love!  This baby literally took my breath away.

I had Jonah between the Fall of ’04 and Spring of ’05 semesters.  I remember during the spring semester that I was taking an ancient literature class.  I have fond memories of bouncing Jonah around–while he was attached to my chest in one of those baby strap on things–reading “Gilgamesh” to him in a tone that was a little like Dr. Suess or “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?”  Raising two kids without a husband was not an easy task, but I proved to myself and everyone else that I could do it.  The road has been really hard, but it’s been absolutely worth the ride.  I’d do it all over again if I had to.

My extraordinary children, Jeremiah & Jonah

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I’d like to give props to the organization who boldly sets up exhibits like the ones you saw earlier on college campuses around the United States.  It may offend many.  However, it saved my baby.  It saved him.  I cannot help but collapse to my knees and praise Jesus for that.  My child could have very easily been a nameless angel, sent right straight back to God.  But he wasn’t

The name of the organization who I encountered on that beautiful, spring day in 2004 is Justice For All.  Many years ago I looked them up and sent them an email expressing my gratitude.  I sent with it a photo of Jonah.

Would you believe that the Executive Director, David Lee contacted me immediately.  He and his increidble posse asked to meet with us and take us to breakfast.  It was a wonderful time. 

Some people would call my friends whack jobs, or at best, extremists.  I don’t care.  You should have seen the look in their eyes when they met Jonah for the first time.  As a matter of fact, here’s what happened to the photo that I sent to the organization:

He became a little poster child for the organization.  The photo above was used on Facebook to promote the cause.  Out of “800” challenge causes, Justice for All placed 6th, raising over $25,000 in 2009.  My child has a purpose.  Every child has a purpose. 

I spoke with the Executive Director, David Lee on the phone today.  He told me that he’s been traveling all around teaching teens about abortion.  He said, “I want these kids to know about abortion before they’re even in a position to ever consider one.”  I found his words poetic.  I feel that this organization gets to the root of the root on this controversial issue.  They’re solid Christian people who are peaceful.  They don’t go around blowing up clinics. I feel like they give people the facts beforehand.  Because friend, I can say with absolute certainty that the abortion clinic that I went to in 2000 did not give me all the facts.  If you have a moment, please check out Justice for All’s webpage at http://www.jfaweb.org/HOME.html

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As for Jake and I, although we never went on on a date prior to Jonah being born, we became very close.  God killed two stubborn, hell-bent birds with one, single stone.  For me, he began a transformation in me that would eventually cause me to abandon my sexual promiscuity.  Further, through my relationship with Jake, I would learn my own self worth and how to begin to let go of a lifetime of crippling insecurity.

Jake is doing well now too.  He married a few years ago and is expecting another child within the next couple of weeks.  Through our experience together, Jake abandoned a deeply involved lifestyle of sexual addiction.  After Jonah was born, we began going to church together.  What’s more, Jake would eventually  accept Christ as his Savior and be baptized in my church.  To this day he still says that I am responsible for his salvation.  Do you know how much this means to me?  After all, he is the father of my son.

God can do inexplicable, aweinspiring things in our lives if we’ll just step back and let him have the reigns.  As humans, we carry so much unnecessary weight that we simply do not need to carry.  Jesus paid the price.  It is done.  We can put our worries and burdens at the foot of the Cross and leave them there.  If your situation seems impossible, I can tell you, mine did too.  Beloved, ALL things are possible with Christ Jesus.  Know that.  So whatever you’re carrying today, LET IT GO!  Surrender and give it to the Lord.  He will not fail you…He can’t. 

All my love,

Ava

Giving the Greatest Gift: The Power and Love Behind Intercessory Prayer

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Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another that you may be healed. 

The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. -James 5:16

While I’ve made it quite clear, in no certain terms, that several thousand dollars would solve many of the daunting, insurmountable problems I’m facing these days, I’ve discovered that there is a gift that you can give me, and that I can give you that’s absolutely priceless.  It’s worth more than gold and it’s value far surpasses any stack of cash that I could ever begin to envision.  And trust me, party people, having a solid decade of stripper experience under my belt, I’ve seen some pretty fat stacks of cash!

But this precious treasure doesn’t have to be wrapped nor does it require one of those grossly overpriced gift bags that you always get suckered into buying when you’re late to a party.  No… You don’t need a cardboard box, fancy or otherwise to send this gift in. This gift doesn’t even require one single, square inch of bubble wrap to wrap it in  nor  would you require those pesky, Styrofoam peanuts to protect this treasure.  You won’t need FedEx, UPS, the US Mail,  a bicycle courier or even so much as an envelope and a stamp to send it.. 

This gift is guaranteed to be love by the receipient so you know your gift won’t be seen again at next year’s Dirty Santa or White Elephant party.  This gift is easy to access and you don’t need a good credit score to give the gift to a friend or loved one.  As a matter of fact, this gift is even highly suitable to give to an enemy!

If you give this gift I can promise you that you will incur absolutely no out-of-pocket expenses.  WHAT IS THIS REMARKABLE TREASURE I SPEAK OF?

It’s simply the gift of a heartfelt prayer!

And this, Beloved, is what a FIERCE Prayer Warrior looks like!

Meet my dear friend, Arlene who is beautifully pictured above.  Arlene means the world to me.  I’m not kidding, I’d gladly give her a kidney, some bone marrow, or half of my liver if she needed it.  She is my sister in Christ.  Her presence in my life is a prodigious blessing from God.  I am a person blessed with many, many friends and acquaintances and consider myself to have an abundance of love in my life.  Regardless, the older I get, the more cautious I am to call someone my true friend.  I have an inner circle, and you can bet that those who comprise that small, sacred circle I treasure beyond comprehension.

What I think you’ll find interesting about my Arlene is that we’ve never actually met face-to-face.  Can you believe that?  Arlene resides in California and I reside in Texas.  We actually became friends via the WordPress community. 

You may, at this point, be questioning the authenticity of our friendship, but she is my sister.  You can bet the farm on that.  And why could this be difficult to believe, I wonder.  Should relationships be hindered in any way by geography?  I think not.  We are the body of Christ, and the body is vast and not restricted to one central location.

I would love to be in my friend’s presence someday, but until then I rest in the knowledge that we’ve got plenty of time.  You see, Arlene and I have trusted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.  Since we possess this commonality, we get to spend eternity together.  So for now, she lives solidly in my heart.  Someday though our mansions of gold may actually be on the same block!

And, how do I know this friendship is the will of God?  As soon as Arlene first stumbled across my blog she began to pray regularly and intensely for me and my boys.  She literally covers us in prayer.  Like the Holy Spirit and Christ Himself intercede for us when we are too weak to pray, Arlene intercedes for me and my darling boys. 

I recently checked my Facebook account.  Arlene and I hadn’t talked in a few weeks.  Would you believe that, out of the blue, Arlene left a message on my wall saying, “Praying for you always…”May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13.  It still gives me chills to think about this, but what I want you to know is that Arlene left that message on my wall at exactly the time that I was being informed that I wouldn’t be able to keep my job.

I replied back to her, “How did you know to pray for me and to contact me at the moment you did, Arlene?  I am about to cry right now.  How did you know?”  She wrote back saying, “Sweetheart, He knows what we have need of.  I have not stopped praying for you.”

Mind you, this was at the moment that I had contemplated ending my life.  This was at the moment that my world had come crashing down around me.  This was at the moment when I thought God had not only forsaken me, but that He actually detested me and had been ignoring my prayers.  You see, God will use you, like He used Arlene as a vessel, if you’ll just allow Him.  God speaks through people…  It’s something that delights my soul. 

Yesterday Arlene and I had the opportunity to speak on the phone.  She informed me that God had called her to intercede for me; she was merely obeying Him.  I told her that her prayers were the best gift that she could have possibly ever given to me.  I also shared with her that I believe that a mother and a grandmother’s prayers are highly potent.  My mother and grandmother have passed on… My grandmother prayed unceasingly.  I believe that her and my mother’s prayers literally kept me alive on so many occasions where I should have certainly been dead.

With that, I thanked her from the bottom of my heart for the gift of her prayers.  As a matter of fact, she prayed on the phone with me so hard, with such fire and authority that I felt led to put the phone on speaker and walk through my home in an effort to cleanse it.  I knew that with her bold, authoritative prayers ringing out through my house that the enemy had no choice but to flee!  As a matter of fact, Arlene prayed with such intensity for me that I firmly believed that Hell itself was silenced for a good minute or two. 

God tells to pray unceasingly, but, as a wise man once pointed out to me, He does not call us to pray for everyone.  The difference between Arlene and me is that Arlene knows how to be still and quiet long enough to actually hear God.  I’m working on that.

In conclusion, when you see someone in a seemingly hopeless, impossible situation and feel helpless, like there’s nothing you can do…REBUKE the Devil because He IS the Father of Lies!  Pray your face off, friends!  Prayer works, and it’s the absolute best gift you can give anyone. 

If you’d like to check out Arlene’s blog, “Armoured Up,” you can find it at http://armouredup.wordpress.com.  I highly recommend it!

All my love,

Ava

At the End of the Road With an Empty Bag of Tricks: How Death Seemed So Seductive

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The Light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.  -John 1:5

Beloved Friends,

It’s been almost one month since I’ve written.  I’ve wanted so much to write each and every single day, but certain life circumstances have left me just plain depleted and wholly exhausted.  I suppose my pervasive depression was the driving force that has kept me wrapped tightly in my favorite blanket…in bed.  You see, that’s that majority of what I’ve been doing since I last wrote–sleeping or working.  When I’m not working I’m sleeping and when I’m not sleeping I’m working.  That’s the long and short of it, friends.  I have become a hermit lately with no social life or fellowship to speak of.  As a matter of fact, my hygiene has even suffered a bit!

You see, a few months ago before my gross reduction in income,  I used AG, Biolage, Purology, and Philosophy products to care for my hair and body.  In the realm of make-up I prefer Mac, Two-Faced, Smashbox, and Urban Decay, just to name a few.  Men, this may mean nothing to you, but ladies, you know exactly what I’m talking about!  More than any of my physical traits I love my hair and for years upon years have only allowed the best products to come near it.  I mean, I was using a $55 bottle of conditioner and a $30 glaze to keep my hair from being frizzy, while giving it just the perfect amount of volume and texture to put me in a close 2nd in a  “best hair” contest with Jennifer Aniston herself!

The “BEFORE” photo!

Is this my fate?

My $20 sugar and hemp-infused body scrub and $20 shower gel left my artificially tanned skin as smooth as a baby’s backside and smelling of an organic rhapsody of lavender with subtle hints of warm, toasted vanilla.  After my rejuvenating power showers, I used to like to smooth on some of my deliciously decadent Philosophy body cream ($28) before hitting my pillow which I even misted with a light Bath and Body Work’s fragrance. Now, I buy Pantene products from the Dollar General, and adorn my skin in Wal-Mart’s generic version of Dove’s mildly-exfoliating body soap.  My razor is one that my former reprobate of a roommate left behind accidentally.  It isn’t the sinfully sharp, quadruple-bladed razor that I’m accustomed to; it’s one of those Bic disposable numbers.  So, like I said, my hygiene has suffered a little; I can admit that.  But in my dirty defense, “bath time is no longer a spa-like experience“.  Shoot, as of late,  I’ve been so down that I have even had to remind myself to brush my damn teeth each day.  The loss of my beauty products hurt a little but I’m proud to report that my hair and skin have held up better than expected… and I still have all my teeth (in spite of my recurring nightmare that I’m missing my front one–we’ll talk about that another time).

I suppose that being separated from my elite beauty products aren’t really my biggest issue though right now.  As a matter of fact, although my skin is a bit ashy and my hair is somewhat wiry I must say, I have much bigger fish to fry. 

Surprisingly, money is not now nor has it ever been a great source of pleasure for me.  I mean, sure I like to shop sometimes, but I simply do not love money; never have.  I have dated wealthy men; wasn’t impressed.  Hence, I can say, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that I will never marry a man for his money.  I like to have money for reasons related to financial stability.  You know what I mean, friend?  I desperately want to be able to comfortably pay my mortgage, car note, and my other giant mountain of debts.  I want to comfortably be able to give my children lunch money each day and not have to worry about how I’m going to get groceries from week to week.  I want to be able to save my money too like normal people seem to do…  And I want to be able to tithe.  But more than “anything” I want to be able to help others who are in need.  “Especially” single parents and their seemingly indefensible children. 

I often joke with God about Him not ever allowing me to win the blasted lottery.  I mean, my church would receive more than 10%, I would do mission trips to Africa and South America… building educational facilities all along the way, putting shoes on bare, calloused, little feet–and I could certainly ensure that an exorbitant amount of hungry, suffering children never feel the pangs of hunger in their little bellies again.  I could effectively share and spread the Gospel and even put a sizeable dent in the monstrosities that make up the sex trafficking industry.  I could pop a few caps in the asses of some of the cartel too!  In short, I could help so many people.  So why in the world would He not trust me with a bit of money?  It just doesn’t make sense, does it?  Even if he didn’t choose me, He could at least chose someone with a heart like mine!  Ugh!  Money is the root of all evil!  It’s come to a point where I am disgusted by it and what it represents.  I kind of hate it actually.  I hate how it distracts people and keeps them from experiencing face-to-face encounters with God.  You see, if I’ve learned anything, I’ve learned that poverty causes you to lean on Jesus, which deepens and sweetens your relationship with Him.  In that way, I feel kind of sad for the majority of rich folks.  (Disclaimer: I’m not saying that all rich folks don’t have precious relationships with God!)

But I suppose my theories on money and religion aren’t so important right now.  You see, I have to admit something, friends.  Late Sunday night… early Monday morning, I was in a place of such deep, devastating sorrow that I was, in all sincerity planning my great escape.  I was planning on ending my life.  My pain was so agonizing and unbearable that night and I had cried until my eyes were almost swollen shut.  All the suffering that I had experienced in my life just came together, forming one indescribable but all-consuming ache.  I had a plan and began subtly saying my goodbyes to those that I love in the wee small hours of the night.  Were it not for my beautiful son Jonah who was peacefully sleeping near me, I know that I would be nothing more than a memory right now.  Praise Jesus that I was able to remember back to the night my then, 5-year-old Jeremiah (who was sleeping) and I  drove up on my mother’s house to see why she hadn’t been answering the phone all weekend.  It was on that fateful night that I discovered that my mother had committed suicide. 

I reminisced upon the moments and hours that passed after seeing her lifeless, pale, white body laying in her bed.  She had the saddest expression on her face.  She looked like her heart had been broken.  She had been dead, laying in that bed for three days. 

I also reminisced upon her funeral.  She asked that we play a few songs, namely “Please Remember” by LeAnn Rimes.  It’s a beautiful song, but my heart broke into a thousand pieces when I heard it play at the service.  I vaguely remember that I literally let out a moan so deep and so loud during the song that my precious grandfather had to take his focus off of mourning the death of his child, and focus on consoling me.  It was one of those soul cries…I just couldn’t maintain my composure sitting there looking at her casket.

Then my mind wandered back to the days before her funeral, pre-visitation.  I got my mother ready for her funeral.  With the help of my cousin, who is a physician, we managed to get my mother’s body dressed.  And mind you, we didn’t pull the easy, funeral parlor trick where you merely cut a slit down the back of a shirt or a dress…we literally got her dressed, from head to toe.  She was bloated and had Frankenstein-like stitching all around her head from the autopsy.  Remember, my mom was a cop…  She once had to participate in an autopsy during her training at the police academy and was happy to report that she “got to crack the skull-cap“.  I remember her telling me that the human face is peeled back away from the head and that it simply looks like a mask as it is pulled down and then pulled back up toward the end of the procedure.  Add to that, I was also keenly aware that the deceased’s brain and other organs are taken out and weighed–among other things during an autopsy– and then tossed back into the chest cavity which is then sloppily sewn back up. 

She was so brave when she was a cop, so I had resigned to be brave like her during this sacred time to ensure that it was “me” taking care of her sweet body, ensuring that she was handled with supreme love and dignity.  The Holy Spirit definitely guided me as I prepared her body because I was so much stronger in that moment than you or anyone else could ever imagine.  I felt like she was with me and that God was bringing a much-needed sense of peace and understanding to our relationship.  Still, there were subtle reminders like her sad-faced, lifeless body reeking of formaldehyde, which was literally oozing from her pores and causing her beautiful hair to fall out as I curled and styled it. 

Praise the Maker that was able to successfully get her hair and make-up done.  I had managed to get her ready for her funeral all by myself, except for the help that my sweet cousin gave me in actually dressing her body.  I was proud of my cosmetology skills but what was bothering me was the fact that she had fallen after taking all the medication that she took.  I think she attempted to overdose but discovered that what she had taken did not kill her.  I think she sedated herself heavily and then woke up, disappointed that she was not dead yet.  I believe this is when she dizzily got up to grab for more pills (the ones that really killed her).  When she did she feel into a box fan thus breaking some of her acrylic nails. 

I said to myself right then, “MY mother is not going to see Jesus needing a fill!”  Hastily and with great determination I called a nail salon that was located across the street from the funeral home.  I asked them to please come and help me get my mother’s nails repaired.  Now apparently the Vietnamese culture does not play well with the dead, because a timid but traumatized little Asian voice echoed back at me saying, “D-no, we no do dat foe yew mudda!  We skeead!”   I couldn’t help but chuckle a little bit.

Finally though, my tenaciousness and perseverance had paid off.  With the help of my cousin, we found someone from a local hospital who was willing to give my mother her final fill.  I tell you what, that girl did one heck of a job!  She had my dead mother’s arms all sprawled out with “forms” on every nail.  By the time this gal was finished my mother’s nails looked amazing and the whole damn funeral home smelled not of formaldehyde, but of acetone!  I know it’s not funny, but the entire place smelled like a nail salon!

All this to say, the memories of my mother’s suicide are fresh.  So, the question is how could I do that to my Jeremiah and my Jonah?  How could I do it to my family?  How could I even entertain such thoughts?  Who would have found me?  Would I have had to have had a closed-casket because the left side of my head was missing from the exit of the bullet? 

I know these are maniacally morbid thoughts, but I thought of them all as I weighed out my unspeakable options.  Truth be told, I prayed and prayed for Jesus to come back.  I desperately wanted the Rapture to happen so my kids and I could just fly away from such an ugly, senseless, evil world.  I guess Jesus wasn’t ready to mount His majestic, white horse and ride to my rescue though.   Or maybe it was on account of the Battle of Armageddon hasn’t occurred yet or we haven’t all been asked to receive the mark of the Beast!?!  Either way, we’re all still here and aren’t winged and singing with the Hosts of Heaven.  I apologize if I have offended any of you by prematurely trying to end the world.

But you see, I’m really broke and struggling.  I stand to lose everything.  My home was literally one day from foreclosure.  My attorney met me at 7 am on Labor Day (September 3rd) to allow me to file for bankruptcy; I did.  Shortly thereafter, my boyfriend did some things that were absolutely appalling.  I had to send him away as his addictions and alcoholism were consuming us.  He was also becoming abusive again.  Add to that, I found two condoms in his suitcase… We “rarely” have sex and when we do, we don’t use condoms. 

I remember clearly back to September the 3rd because it was my late grandmother’s birthday that day.  I had been having some problems with dizziness and fainting and that afternoon, I got up too fast I suppose and I fainted.  Jonah was standing next to me when it happened.  I hit my head really, really hard on the closet door behind me.  Jonah screamed “MOMMY” in a tone that affected me to my core; still does today.  He was so scared and was crying.  I’ve never seen him get that upset and lose it like that.  Let’s just say that, in that instant it was painfully clear how much Jonah loved me.  It was also the memory of his cry for me that prevented me from making an irreversible decision the other night, which was the morning of the 24th.

What happened that night?“, you’re probably wondering, that could have taken me to the edge of a cliff like that.  I’ll tell you what happened, I found out that I lost my job.  Friends, I am yet unemployed again and I have to make a mortgage payment soon PLUS my monthly bankruptcy payment to the trustee.  I’ve depleted all of my resources. 

I took this job with the hopes of moving up quickly.  I don’t mind telling you that I went from making $50K a year to a little over $19K a year.  I was literally pulling in $9.53 an hour at the airline I worked for, with all my education and experience.  But you know what?  I loved that job.  I loved the people.  I loved working from home, which was a first for me.  I worked and trained so hard and it was all taken away in a flash. 

So here I am.  I do not know what’s going to happen to me next.  I have never been angry with God before the other night.  However, on that night I felt as if he had completely betrayed me and that all the prayers that I had humbly prayed to him…and I also felt like the time that I had spent on my knees were all in vain or that he was simply choosing to ignore me.  Today, I have decided to put up a little bit of a fight…as much as I can.  But know this friends, I HATE the devil.  He seems to want to devour me and my precious children.   It’s getting hard to take.  Just when I started feeling connected to the Lord again today, I turned on my computer to write on this blog.  I was going to praise God at that time.  As soon as my fingers hit the keyboard, my power went out.  Our electricity was shut off.  I owed $436.  Frightful times….

I am going to be writing a lot more in the coming days.  This is going to be an interesting ride but I invited you all along a while back.  God is going to move in my life.  I just don’t know how right now and I am overcome with grief and fear.  Please pray for me and my two children as we walk through this horrifically perilous time.  I’m running out of tricks, friends.  I’m getting older and I’m running out tricks.  As a matter of fact, this is how I feel (dramatic, but true nonetheless):

I love you all and will be writing again soon.  Sufficed to say, you are loved.  The very fact that you are reading this right now, wherever you are…humbles me in unspeakable ways.  If you only knew how much YOU keep me going!

The Light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. (John 1:5).  I can’t understand it right now either…

All my love,

Ava

ALL IN: Betting on God to Break a Gambling Stronghold

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Hello my Beloved friends!  It’s been quite some time since I’ve written.  So much has been happening and I have, quite honestly, been overwhelmed… and depressed.  I hate to complain…but I’ve discovered that there is some sort of inexplicable, healing bond that I share with my friends in the WordPress community.  Honestly, if you all could only fathom how much you mean to me.  

I sincerely love you people…and I know that you love me too because I can feel your love.  God can connect us to others in a plethora of ways.  I knew that.  What I didn’t know is that He can connect us with complete strangers, world-wide, via the darn Internet!  He never ceases to amaze me and I praise Him for the gift of your love and friendship.

As I mentioned before, I am now working (again) for a major airline.  It’s been hard and I have no idea how I am going to make it financially.  I have retained a bankruptcy attorney.  But, I should state, “I firmly believe in miracles.”  Further, I should state that it is going to take nothing short of a miracle to get me out of the depth of my financial ruin.  A little while ago I made my first call to a place that helps low-income people like myself pay their utilities.  My water was shut off and I need exactly $543.20 to turn it back on.  I am admittedly afraid and I feel like a loser.  I have always been able to give.  Now I am in a place where I can only receive and my pride has taken a hit. 

I could go on an on but what I really wanted to share with you and ask you to pray about is a situation with my boyfriend.  Our relationship has been painful to say the least.  There’s no denying that.  But something keeps me holding on to him.  I have prayed emphatically and asked the Lord to take the feelings of love that I have for my him away if He doesn’t will for us to be together.  To date, he has not.

Interestingly, my boyfriend’s mother is a minister.  She has written a book and operates a large outreach ministry that feeds the poor.  She loves the Lord more than anything you can imagine.  However, she enables my boyfriend.  And when I try to talk to her about “anything” regarding her son she flat-out ignores me or says something like, “I’m not going to get involved.”  Her ministry is also aimed at helping women who are hurting and suffering, particularly at the hands of domestic abuse.  She was abused throughout several of her marriages.  Of course, all the abuse ceased in her marriage to my boyfriend’s dad when she SHOT HIM.  Oh yes, you heard me right.  She “popped a cap in his ass“.  He was walking out the door to go and see one of his women (he had many affairs and left her alone most of the time with 5 children).  She decided she would not be left again and she shot him.  He didn’t die but the bullet still remains in his body today.

My boyfriend’s father, on the other hand, was a wealthy oil and gas tycoon.  I recently met him.  Let’s just say that he is no longer a rich business man.  Ummm…he’s a compulsive gambler.  He “lives” in casinos and gambles for a living.  For whatever reason my boyfriend, although he won’t admit it, worships his dad.  He told me recently that his dad has never told him that he loves him.  He also told me that there was only one time in his life that his father had ever been proud of him.  It was when he won a poker tournament.  Long story short, my boyfriend has developed one of the worst addictions to gambling that I have ever seen.  He lived in hotel casinos for over 3 years until he came to be with me.  He left his truck and his motorcycle in storage in a casino town right outside of Vegas and had been deeply upset about not having his things accessible to him.

With that, at the end of June, my boyfriend bought a one-way ticket back to the town where his “stuff” is.  This is the same town that his father “lives” in.  His intent was to get his truck and his chopper and drive back to Texas.  He has been there for 7 weeks, emulating his father’s lifestyle, gambling non-stop, and living in comped, casino hotels.  And sufficed to say, I have never witnessed him being as down and as hopeless as he is nowadays.  He is admittedly miserable and is quickly losing hope.  He feels that he is literally trapped in the hell hole he’s in.  

Recently he quit answering my calls and texts.  I panicked and boarded a plane to Las Vegas last Saturday morning.  I didn’t even tell him I was coming.  Once I got to Vegas I rented a car and drove about 100 miles to where he is now.  I just knew he was with another woman.  But, I thought to myself, “Why does he continue to profess his love for me?” and “WHY won’t he just let me go?”  Whatever was going on I “had” to see with my own eyes.  I have a hard time saying goodbye to others, particularly to him.  I love him so much.

So I just “showed up”.  I did.  And believe it or not, ALL my suspicions were put to rest.  He’s not with another woman.  And trust me, I did some detective work around the local casinos before he even knew I had arrived.  He loves me emphatically.  He just has one of the worst gambling addictions that I’ve ever witnessed.  Essentially, he is stranded there until he gets approximately $800 for gas money to drive home.  He doesn’t have it, and he’s never going to have it as long as he passes a poker table or a slot machine on his way out of the door.  My heart aches for him.

The last night I was there he had been drinking quite a bit.  This tough, stoic, bad-boy of a man was in tears begging me not to leave him there.  But I had to go.  What’s more, he expressed that he no longer had the will to live.  He was giving me his things and telling me that he would be my guardian angel.  He told me to be strong and take good care of the boys and that I would find a wonderful man someday.  He expressed absolute disgust with himself and told me that he was a bum.  He loves me.  He loves the boys.  However, he thinks that he has nothing to offer to us.  If he only knew that his love is enough.

I’ve been with this man for the better part of a year and have known him for almost 20 years.  I can honestly say that he has never let me into the depths of his heart like he did this last weekend.  I know him on a whole different level now and I am willing to walk through fire with him to get him to where he needs to be.  Of course, I can’t rescue him.  What I can do though is pray for him emphatically and without ceasing.

In his mother’s book she stated that God told her that her son would someday do amazing things for the Kingdom of God and that he would be a “mighty man of valor”.  He loves the Lord and has so many special gifts.  I think he actually borders on being a true genius.  No lie.  I am intrigued by his brain.

After his father’s departure and his older brother’s suicide when he was a teen he has been battling many demons.  And I believe that the more you are a threat to the Kingdom of Darkness the more you will be attacked by the Enemy in a ploy to keep you from achieving your maximum potential in Christ.

But friend, we know that nothing is impossible with Jesus.  He already has the answer and solution to my boyfriend’s problems.  My human mind can’t fathom what the solution could possibly be but God can supersede anything that I could possibly dream up.

I feel very angry though.  I feel angry with Satan.  He’s a piece of shit.  I hate him.  It’s one thing to attack me, but whehe attacks people who I love…that’s a whole different story. 

Friends, I am humbly asking you to please pray for my boyfriend.  Please pray against a spirit of depression and suicide.  Please pray that the chains of gambling that have him bound will be loosed in Jesus’s name.  Please pray for God’s Divine protection and that His will will be done in the life of the one I love.  Please pray anyway you can.  You can pray in a house, your can pray with a mouse.  You in pray on a plane, you can pray on a train.  You can pray with a fox, you can pray in a box.  I think you get the point…or shall I throw more Dr. Seuss rhymes at you to gain your full attention?

I’ll tell you something, I believe in the power of prayer.  It never ceases to amaze me that we will try so hard to carry our own burdens sometimes without soliciting help from God.  I mean, God is the Creator of the universe.  He “made” the stars that I love so much and He actually knows each one by name.  We have DIRECT access to him but yet we forfeit our lifelines sometimes in order to carry our burdens all alone.  I’ll tell you what… My burdens are so heavy that I am becoming physically sick.  I want to get out of the way and allow God to work in my life.  After all, he’s right there, 24/7 to help me…and YOU with our EVERY need.

So again, I am soliciting my prayer warriors.  I hate to mention my man’s name but in my heart, I would really appreciate you praying for him by name.  His name is Howard.

Friends I think this is a very deep, generational battle that’s going on for his soul.  He is a perfect, hybrid mix of his mother and his father.  His soul is in anguish and he need deliverance now.  Recently I prayed so hard for him that I fainted; this is how serious I think this battle between darkness and Light where Howard’s soul is concerned is at the present time.  

Please help me.  We need miracles…  Even if Howard weren’t my boyfriend, he is still a child of God.  We are all brothers and sisters in Christ.  Please pray for your brother.

And tell me, where do you need bold prayer in your life?  What are you holding on to that is putting a wedge between you and your loving Father?  Please feel free to share it with me and I will pray with full authority in Christ.

I want you all to know that I really do love you.  You really do matter to me…  Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, friend.  He is our only hope in times like these.

All my love,

Ava

I CHOOSE to Praise Him…In Spite of My Circumstances!

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PRAISING GOD THROUGH THIS STORM

I love the above video.  In the song, “Shackles”, Mary Mary boldly sings, “Take the Shackles off my feet so I can dance.  I just wanna praise Ya!” and sings things like, “I’m gonna praise You through my circumstance!”  

It’s been a while since I’ve written.  There’s a definite reason for that.  I guess there’s no better way to say it, “I’ve been in a dark place“.  I wish I had the strength to shake some of this stuff off, but I don’t.  Sometimes major life circumstances get us down.  However, one thing we can do is to CONTINUOUSLY praise the Lord for the blessings that He has given to us.  Our flesh has a tendency to focus wholly on the things that are going wrong and on the hurt and sorrow our hearts feel.  Beloved, this is just want the Enemy wants us to do!  But we can make a conscious choice to praise God through our darkness, heartaches, and through our times of fearful uncertainty!  And be advised, when we praise God through our adversity, we confuse the hell (pardon the pun) out of the Enemy!

I just found out last week that my beautiful home is in foreclosure.  This is the first home the boys and I have ever owned.  We built it approximately 4 years ago.  I picked out everything in it, down to the color of the grout for my ceramic tile.  It’s my sanctuary.  More than that, it’s my children’s sanctuary.  We also had a roommate move in last week.  I moved Jonah, my little one out of his bedroom and gave that room to my new roommate.  Jonah and I are now sharing a room.  Each time I come home and press the button on my garage door opener, Jonah and I are faced with a garage full of all his things.  This breaks my heart…but not Jonah’s!  God has done something in his little spirit and he actually feels excited about the whole thing!  Jonah, who is just 7, chose to trust in the Lord and praise Him through all of this change.  If my baby can do this, so can I and so can you!  

The bank won’t take my payments anymore, so we are just going to save up what we would normally pay toward the mortgage.  And, I have an appointment on Wednesday with a bankruptcy attorney.  Through all this, I realized that home is where my babies and I are.  Shoot, we could move from luxury into a trailer park home and I know we’d be OK.  It would hurt us, and it would be an inconvenience, but the Devil will not steal my joy nor will He put a wedge between me and the Lord!

I have thought a million times about going back to work in a strip club.  And don’t think that even prostitution hasn’t crossed my mind either.  I have made a living on my looks in the past, but I refuse to do it now!  I want God to bless my efforts!  Further, I want others to see that, while I am suffering, I can still shine the light of Christ!  I choose to praise Him!  My water was shut off a while back and I have warrants for my arrests because of traffic tickets I can’t pay, but I choose to praise Him!  

My boyfriend has been away from me since mid-June and has been living back in Las Vegas.  He is living in hotels and gambling incessantly; he’s constantly drunk and I know he’s even been doing drugs.  He assures me how much he loves me but yet hasn’t taken my calls or responded to my texts in days.  He could very well be with another woman and my heart aches from the pain of the loneliness, rejection, and constant abuse…but friend, I choose to PRAISE the Lord anyway!!!  After all, he is the only One who can deliver me from this cesspool of drama.

I’ve got to get out of this utterly painful relationship but I guess there’s an intrinsic yearning that I have inside of me to be loved by a man.  I feel SO bitter that other people have husbands and I don’t!  I want a companion to love and to be loved by!  I want to have someone to split the bills with!  I want a male role model for Jeremiah and Jonah!  And for GOODNESS sakes, I want to be able to get laid every day and it be an act of worship unto the Lord…rather than a sin I commit inside my own body!  I know that last one didn’t sound too Godly… But hey, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t have that edge!!! Please pray for me.  Please pray that God and only God, and only God will fill every deep desire of my heart.  Obsessing over my boyfriend feels like idolatry to me.  I don’t want anything to come before God!  

Speaking of that, I am reminded of one of Beth Moore’s sermons (I adore her).  She asked the question that Jesus asked of his disciples: “What is it that you WANT?”  Really, what is it that you really, really want that you perceive that you don’t have?  What is it that your heart yearns for?  “That“, she said, “is the point of spiritual warfare in your life!”  And oh, how right she is!  Let us not live from a cycle of lack!  When we do we give the Devil a powerful foothold and it greatly affects our relationship with our Father!

So, what it is that you want?  What do you think is the point of warfare in your life?  Where are you leaving an open door for the Enemy to attack you?  Pray for God to strengthen you in that area, and don’t forget to praise Him through the storms life.  I’ve never felt more blessed in my life when everything seemed to be falling apart and I praised Him through it anyway.  I hope you’ll do the same.  He will never leave us or forsake us.  I know this, and I hope your heart can internalize it too!

Before I end, I wonder how I can pray for you?  If you have any prayer requests, please share them with me.  I having been praying harder than ever lately, and I’d love for you to be able to get in on some of the action!

God bless you, Beloved.  Keep your eyes fixed on the Cross.  Trust me, If “I” can do it, I know you can to!

ALL my love,

Ava