Category Archives: faith

Away Too Long

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ASHAMED.  GUILTY.  REGRETFUL.  FOOLISH.  LOST.  EXHAUSTED.

Well, here I am.  I’m back.  I wonder if you remember your ol’ pal Ava?  It’s only been 262 days since my last post.  I guess you could say that I’ve been a bit distracted and preoccupied since I last wrote.  Okay… Maybe obsessed and consumed are better ways to describe why I’ve abandoned my beloved WordPress family.  I doubt you guys even noticed I was gone, but in truth, I have really missed connecting with you as you mean more to me than you may ever know. 

Folks, I love writing more than you can imagine.  I sometimes struggle, more than I’d like, with devastating feelings of  inferiority and am, beyond the shadow of a doubt, my own worst critic, so it’s significant when I tell you that writing is something that I know I do well.  I know that it’s a gift that God lovingly bestowed upon me and I feel so connected to Him and wholly alive when I write.  So naturally, I don’t do it like I should or want to.  I mean, I am codependent after all and am typically consumed with fixing and serving maladaptive people and simply don’t nurture the things that are edifying to “me”.  I am self-sabotaging and sometimes downright self-destructive,  so it stands to reason that I am not going to do anything that would build me up, right? 

Now, you all know, if you know me at all that brevity is not a strength I possess.  I am too wordy.  I don’t know when to shut up.  I am uncomfortable with awkward silences and feel the need to fill the void with verbal vomit.  Admittedly, my posts are usually way too long.  This one won’t be too bad, so fear not.   Just know that I am having a hard time finishing anything I start as of late.  I feel that I just “need” to submit one post, connect with you, and get myself back into the habit.  It’s imperative.  This is becaus, there are people in my life who–despite my best efforts–did not get the memo about my awesomeness.  My Dad is one such person.  There is nothing that I will ever be able to do or say that will change his pervasively low opinion of me; for some reason, he just cannot see my heart.  You however, see my heart!  You’ve seen my filth, you’ve heard me bitch and moan, and you’ve watched me making colossal mistakes BUT you loved me in spite of that.  That’s major!

Several of you like Grandpappy Sky, Diane, Rod Arters, Arlene the Queen, Sabrina, and Scott Williams  I feel like I know personally.  You make me feel cherished, and I certainly cherish you.  You all inspire me to be a better version of myself.  I dearly love you and am so thankful for your presence in my life as it has served great purpose.  I am going through some struggles that I am working on harder than I think I’ve ever worked on anything.  I have been in bondage for so many years, particularly where my need for love and approval from unloving, disapproving men are concerned.   I have been addicted to sex and love.  Guys want to f@#k me senselessly, but they don’t want to commit to me and they sure as hell don’t want to fight for me. 

I officially reached the end of me and surrendered everything to God with my “entire” soul about 4 days ago.  Before that, the devil was whispering (more like screaming) lies into my ear… again.  When the bottom fell out a little over two weeks ago the fear that I was going to end up just like my mother, dead by my own hand at a young age, was in my face like never before.   After all, we seem to be twin souls.  Moreover, I can still envision the look on my father’s face and hear the sincere disgust in his voice when he’d say, “You’re just like your mother.”   I grew up thinking that being like her was an awful thing.  I’m not so sure it was though…

 I love the Lord more words could ever express and when I make a promise to Him, I take it seriously.  Therefore, I simply will “not” make a promise to God that I know that I cannot or may not keep.  With that, I am fasting from sex, including getting my freak on with myself, which I don’t mind telling you, “I quite enjoy.”   My power tools are about to be locked in my attic.  I am also fasting from booze, which makes me do really, really regrettable things that are out of character for me when I am feeling emotionally fragile and vulnerable. 

I was seeing this guy for about a year.  I stayed too long in the relationship (more later on that).  I could have walked away with my dignity, but “no”.  I did not.  I am fasting from my addiction, not to him, but to what he represents in my head as I have recognized that he, like so many before him, are mere symptoms of the root cause of my problem.  He was just a personification of some really old, deeply repressed shit that I never really knew existed in me.  Nevertheless, all lines of communication (e.g. text messages, phone calls, Facebook, etc) have been blocked and I will not make any attempt to communicate with him in any fashion.  The only reason I have the strength to do this is simply because of my affection for God and desire for Him to be number one in my life.

Enough is enough. The journey that I am embarking on with God is not going to be easy for me.  However, I am afraid that if I do not overcome it, that I may die.  I do not want to die.  So I’m fighting harder than ever this time. 

My goal is to write about what God is revealing to me, at least over the course of the next month, particularly since I am in the Word like I have honestly never been in my entire life…  I hope you’ll stick around and listen to me get honest about my not-so-pretty, insanely unflattering junk.  I believe that pain and the human will to survive is universal, so I’m betting that you may see yourself in some of my stuff. 

Nevertheless, I just want you to know that I love you… and that I’m so thankful for you.  I pray that you’re all still out there.  As it stands, I am feeling a bit:

ASHAMED.  GUILTY.  REGRETFUL.  FOOLISH.  LOST.  EXHAUSTED.

 

If loving you is wrong I don’t wanna be right!

-Ava Elizabeth Wisdom

 

Refuting the Lie: How I Fought Depression and Kicked its Ass for Good!

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Dear Friends,

Mariel Hemingway, granddaughter of legendary writer, is one of the most fascinating people on the planet, in my humble opinion.  My life has been extraordinarily impacted by my mother’s suicide.  It rocked my world to the core.  However, I have had to carry the burden of just one suicide.  One is certainly enough, but Mariel has experienced at least 7, that she is aware of.  I simply cannot imagine how one could bear so much.

The most frightful thing about suicide in my immediately family for me was the terror and the gut-wrenching, incessant feeling of impending doom that suicide was my fate.  I saw it as this sort of tangible darkness that was just waiting in the rafters to eat me alive.  I thought I couldn’t get away from it…ever  And, do you know how many health professionals  told me that my risk of suicide was dramatically increased because of my mother’s suicide?  Why?  Why did so many people tell me this?  I mean, had any of them ever heard of the term self-fulfilling prophecy?

I don’t mind going on record to tell you that the majority of this blog has been dedicated to gloom and doom.  I’m sincerely sorry for that and thankful for the support that you all so beautifully and unselfishly gave me. I honestly don’t even know how long it’s been since my last post.  Do you know why?  It’s entirely because I am blissfully well and happy for the first time in my entire life.   I experienced true healing: body, mind, and soul.  I have truly been delivered and set free from the bondage of unspeakable fear.

My depression had been present since March of 2010 when a remarkably tough and insanely unfair even happened in my life.  However, from October 2012-March 2013, I was in the grips of a severe and seemingly unyielding clinical depression.  I was literally at the precipice of death.  I could barely get out of bed to use the restroom.  My hygiene even suffered.  Bar none, it was the bottom of the bottom for me.  I could barely make a fist at times.  And I was so scared.  I have never been more afraid, particularly for my children.

I fought like hell to get well.  I worked harder than I’ve ever worked in my entire life.  A immeasurable part of the healing process came from the work I did at Onsite Workshops, in Cumberland Furnace, Tennessee.  You can bet that I will write much more about this remarkably amazing, cathartic, mystical place… Right now, however, I just want you to know that I am no longer afraid.  I no longer live in constant, crippling fear and anxiety.  I know that I am NOT  now nor will I ever be a statistic.

I am no longer depressed.  I keep ahead of depression spiritually by praying, meditating, simplifying, expressing abundant gratitude, and not allowing myself to cultivate negative thoughts.  I work overtime to think positive, life-giving thoughts.  I keep ahead of depression emotionally by truly loving and honoring myself, avoiding toxic people who are psychic vampires, not allowing anyone to abuse me in any fashion, setting and keeping healthy boundaries, and by focusing on the people who have eternal significance in my life (as opposed to those who seek to harm me).  And I keep ahead of depression physically by putting healthy, non-processed foods in my body (particularly fresh fruits and vegetables), taking my Juice Plus+ (which I never intend to live without again), and exercising regularly in a way that I love and enjoy.

NO ONE, AND I MEAN ABSOLUTELY NO ONE “HAS” TO ALLOW ANY SORT OF MENTAL ILLNESS TO DEFINE THEM.

I think that each and every one of you should watch this short video. It would sincerely mean so much to me if you did.  We all need to become advocates for those suffering in silence with mental illnesses and/or addiction.  It’s time to talk about the elephant in the room!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kov2ZHrA04w

All my love,

Ava Elizabeth Wisdom 

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???

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!

 ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

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

The Killer in Me: Part II

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One fateful, autumn night I ended up on one of my unintentional hell flights to the demon’s dwelling.  I was truly a tormented soul at the time.  My heart was aching so badly that I was absolutely desperate for somethinganything—to numb the pain.  I hated dancing, I hated my life, I had just been rejected by one of the greatest loves I would ever know, and I was drunk again

I wanted; no I needed just a few lines to get my head straight.  You see, when I did cocaine, it cleared my mind.  It helped me to give words to feelings that I could not label.  It sparked my creativity and I was quite simply, brilliant.  For the first couple of hours I was on top of the world.  We’ll talk about the opposite end of the spectrum another time.

So, in my raw, carnal desperation for the drug and the numbing properties it could offer my broken soul, I let something awful happen.

This fiend had been trying to have sex with with me for a couple of years but somehow I was always clever enough with my words to keep him off of me, while still keeping him intrigued with me just enough to supply my coke.  His product was pure and uncut.  As drug dealers go, he was near the top of the food chain.  I can’t imagine how much money I’d been snorting up my nose if I’d been paying for it.

Well let me tell you something, nothing except God’s grace is really free in this world.  You always have to pay the price sometime or another.  As for me and my coveted connection, my luck had run out.  He wasn’t falling for any of my bullshit anymore.

I was so messed up that night.  I was in agonizing pain.  I remember him becoming increasingly aggressive with me.  He took me in his garage and he saw to it that I paid for every last bit of cocaine that he ever gifted me with.

I had somehow made myself belief he was actually my friend.  And on that night I needed a friend but there wasn’t a friend in sight.  You him…and me.

He was sober.  I was not.  His moves were calculated and intentional.  I was being carried by the wind.  He was inherently evil.  I was inherently pure, despite the dancing, the drinking, and the drugs.  I could have never harmed a soul.  He was the personification of evil…and he meant to do harm to me.

I don’t want to recount the details of what happened in that garage that night.  All I can tell you is that it was in no way consensual.  It was a lucid nightmare.  I wish I could forget it all, but the memory has been forcefully branded in to the tapestry of my soul.  I still feel dirty as hell when I think about it.

My precious Jeremiah was just 4 at the time.  What kind of person had I become?  I wanted to die, but the love that I had for my son kept me bound to life, so even death couldn’t soothe me. 

To make a very long story short, some weeks later I ended up needing a pregnancy test.  That test, and the many other tests I took in desperation after that proved to be positive.

I have always been against abortion.  Jeremiah was the only pregnancy that I had ever had.  In 1996, when I was preparing to take my first pregnancy test at the age of 23, something compelled me to get on my knees on my mother’s bathroom floor and pray that I was pregnant.  My life was so off course and my spirit inherently knew that having this child would save my life.  Without this child, I would have had nothing to live for.  I would have surely died.

This pregnancy was the stark opposite.  I literally felt as if the demon seed of hell had infected my body.  I had no emotion toward the innocent life that was growing inside of me.  I just wanted it out.

As luck would have it, I was broke at the time and didn’t even know what abortions cost.  I had friends I danced with who had had as many as 8 abortions.  A few of the girls I worked with unashamedly had made abortion their primary form of birth control.

And not surprisingly, there was a customer who frequented the club I had left in 1998, the one that burned down—he was an obstetrician/gynecologist who was known for performing all the girls’ abortions.

He was a kind, educated man who I had spent time with on a few occasions when he’d come in to the club for a cocktail.   And he was the only doctor who performed abortions that I even knew of.  I had never been anywhere near an abortion clinic.

A very concerned, dear friend loaned me the money and took me to the clinic on a Saturday morning.  It wasn’t at all what I was expecting.  It bore no resemblance to my doctor’s office which was full of life.  This place was full of death.  

Friend, hear me when I say that there were so many women there that I could not keep count of them all.  It was in fact so crowded that the office could barely accommodate all of the women who had come to terminate their pregnancies.  Everyone looked so afraid and hopeless.  A spirit of despair filled the air. There was even one young woman who was pleading with her boyfriend over the phone to come and help her.  It was obvious he had abandoned her.

Almost every single woman in that clinic was alone, except for one couple.  Where were all the damn men who had contributed to these pregnancies?  It was the story of my life!

The first part of the procedure involved a nurse violating me with some sort of phallic-shaped sonogram.  I didn’t know this then, but I think there was some sort of a law passed that they must show the mother her baby via sonogram before she makes the final decision to terminate her pregnancy.   

When I first saw Jeremiah’s heart beating on a sonogram in 1996 I was filled with joy and began to cry. 

I saw this child too.  I saw its heart beating.  I felt nothing.  On the monitor the embryo just looked black to me.  I saw this little, dark figure as the spawn of hell and felt no emotion whatsoever nor did anything in me prompt any kind of reservations about going through with the procedure.  No maternal instinct kicked in.  All I wanted was for his seed to be out of me.  I felt like the demon who had victimized me had now taken up residence in the most sacred part of my body.  I wanted it out.

After watching an informational video and undergoing the sonogram I was literally herded to a hall where 10 other women were lined up waiting for their abortions.  This is where I was medicated; my friend paid extra for the sedation.

The last thing I remember was lying down on the examination table, putting my feet in the stirrups.  From what I remember of the doctor, he was harried due of the high volume of patients who were waiting—there were several doctor’s performing abortions in close quarters of one another—but he seemed quite nonchalant as he carried out his daily routine. 

People who work on assembly lines form routines at work.  Their bodies are so adept at doing a repetitive task that they become almost automated in a sense.  This man was not working on an assembly line though, he was killing babies.  He seemed to have his routine down so well that I suspect he may have been able to do it with his eyes closed.

I wonder how many tiny souls left that wretched clinic on that Saturday, October 7, 2000.  I wonder how many babies were called right back to to the Maker, who had just recently created them and released them, in order that they would fulfill their own unique destinies, carrying out His plans and His purpose for their lives.

I know God chose us each individually before the beginning of time.  I know that He has a plan and a purpose for each one of us.  And I know that He intricately knit us together in our mother’s wombs.  He even knows the exact number of hairs on our heads.  I wonder how His heart breaks each time the lives of one of His precious babies are violently taken—at the hands of their Mommy’s, no less.

A mother’s love is an awe-inspiring force.  I would personally give my life to save Jeremiah or Jonah in the blink of an eye.  People can hurt me all day and all night long.  However, if anyone should be foolish enough to bring harm against one of my children they had better prepare for a battle to the death.  If you want to evoke rage in me, just hurt one of my babies…  You may walk over to me, but (if you’re lucky) you’re limpin’ back.  And that’s if I let you live and don’t physically scratch your eyes out.

Now riddle me this, friend, “Why did my maternal instincts fail to show up and protect the life of my unborn child?  Why didn’t I fight for my innocent baby?”

I am ashamed to say that until recently I have rarely felt an ounce of remorse for what I did.  And I have never cried a tear for my child.  I wish I could tell you that the opposite were true, but I can’t.  I know God will continue to work on my heart.

Please don’t think that I escaped unscathed though.  Conversely, poetic justice was duly served.  You see if I would have carried that baby—who I believe with all my heart was a girl—to term, she would have been born a week or two before my mother killed herself.

I’m not saying, nor do I believe that God punished me for having an abortion, but the fact of the matter is there is no way in the world that my mother would have left me with a newborn baby.  You may think that I can’t make this statement with certainly, but I know what I know.  I also know that my mom has a grandbaby in Heaven.  I praise Almighty God for that and pray that my mother will hold my daughter in her loving arms until we can be together forever.

-Ava

The Killer in Me: Part I

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The year 2000 was no doubt the darkest year of my entire existence.  Mind you, it wasn’t until 2001-2002 that my family would begin dropping like flies; I lost 9 of them in all during this dreadful time.

Misery consumed me at this point in my life and I was as far gone as I’d ever been.  You see, I had stop stripping in 1998.  When I fled the industry and an abusive relationship with Jeremiah’s father I promised God that, if He’d rescue me from the lonely, vile pit I had willfully dwelled in for so long, that I would never, ever go back.  Now, if you take anything with you tonight, take with you this simple piece of advice… “NEVER break a promise to God.”  Believe you me, He’s a God of love and a God of Grace, but He will go all Old Testament on your ass if you push Him far enough.  I did.

On all I hold sacred, I swear that it was the purest of intentions that I bid farewell to my days as a topless dancer.  This was significant because, since I was very young this industry was the only professional life I had ever really known.   Shortly after leaving the club, I took a job with the airlines making $5.25 per hour as my initial wage, which paled in comparison to the ridiculous amounts cash money I made in the club. 

If my life weren’t changing rapidly enough, I also escaped a 4-year, sadistically abusive relationship with Jeremiah’s father.  Jeremiah was just two-years old when I discovered that he was playing with a meth-infested, glass pipe; he was using it like a whistle.  That was the crescendo of the madness for me.  It took that much for me to finally leave him.

Urgently, with the help of my mother and friends, the baby and I fled from our large, two-story home in just one day; all while Jeremiah’s father was at work.  We moved into an older, efficiency apartment near my mother’s house and were in hiding  from my ex for well over six months.  The photo below is the exact floorplan of the 488 square foot apartment we moved into.  It wasn’t anything like the luxury properties I had resided in before but it was our haven; we were finally safe.

I asked God to save me from a life of excruciating, ravishing pain, sin, and sorrow.  He did.  I even prayed fervently that He would burn down the club that I had worked in for 6 years.  A week later He did!  An online news article I dug up had this to say:

“On the morning of Thursday, November 18th, the fire at Caligula was so fierce that it took firefighters most of the day to control it.  The business is currently closed and the property has been fenced until the debris can be removed.”

God moved Heaven and Earth to save, not just my pitiful, sin-infested life, but the life of my precious child as well.  So imagine his dismay when I returned to dancing in 2000.  It would prove to be one of the deadliest decisions I ever made.

The irony of me leaving my job at the airlines that year to begin dancing again full-time is that I almost never went to work!  I would spend weeks… sometimes as long as an entire month planning to go to work, but I could never seem to make myself just go.  The thought of it made me violently sick and brought forth extreme fear and panic attacks. 

And don’t forget, I asked God to let the club that I had essentially grown up in and was so comfortable in the burn to the ground!  I had to find a new place to work, I was getting older,  I didn’t have my old friends to work with or my former clientele to support me.  I quickly became a little fish in a really big pond; something I wasn’t at all accustomed to.  Fear consumed me.

What’s worse is that my cocaine addiction escalated to such an extreme that it completely overtook me.  I overdosed more times that I can recall and can say with great certainty that I should have died on several occasions.  I’ve had to call 911 on myself more than once because I was terrified that my heart might explode.

I would always promise myself that I wasn’t going to do coke when I got to work, but time after time I always ended up doing shots and downing Grey Goose Cosmos to loosen myself up and dull the pervasive anxiety of having to take my clothes off for the swarms of debaucherous men I would have to pretend to adore all night. 

Wouldn’t you know that each and every time my buzz would kick in that I’d swiftly leave the club?  It was as if I had no control over my own body.  It was as if my car were on auto-pilot.  I drove wild and recklessly as if a tenacious, demonic force had placed blinders on my spiritual eyes, beckoning me down the same deadly path that led straight to the door of the one person who was always willing to hook me up and get me high.

The man who had been giving me the cocaine for so many years may very well have been one of the 7 Princes of Hell.  Even now, thoughts of this filthy creature make me want to vomit.  I don’t think I’ve ever hated a person, but I hate this man.  To say that this man took advantage of my visibly fragile state would be the understatement of the century.

There is so much I could say about this vile reprobate, but obviously, almost 13 years later, it would appeart that I am not fully healed from what he did to me.  I guess scars don’t hurt, right?

All I can tell you is that there came a night when my mind was clearly not my own.  That year I had dabbled with Wicca (long story), which essentially invited Satan and a few of his closest pals to have an all-out Mardi Gras in my life. 

Reflecting back now on who I was that year is like an out-of-body experience for me.  When I try to go back to that place to find healing and closure, it’s like I’m watching a movie starring some hopelessly lost,recklessly wild, out of control girl; but it damn sure isn’t meI don’t know who I was then.  I swear my soul was somewhere else.

As you may have noticed, this entry is long.  There’s something I want to say for the first time in my life, but fear that I may be dancing around the subject a bit.  It’s bitterly painful to admit.  It’s a secret that I have buried so deep that I honestly don’t even give any attention to the matter anymore.  I guess I’m living my life, pretending that what happened, simply did not happen.  But Oh God, it did happen…

(Story continues on “The Killer in Me: Part II”)

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