Category Archives: Spirituality

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 

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

“It Was Then That I Dragged You”: Footprints, Ava Style!

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I saw this cartoon on Facebook earlier today.  I cannot tell you how much it made me laugh!  In all seriousness though, I wonder what God goes through with me on a daily basis?  Do I wear him clean out from having to “drag” me down the road of life? 

Things are still tough right now.  Mind you, I never ask God things like, “Why are you punishing me, Lord.”  I honestly don’t think He is.  I firmly believe that He doesn’t operate that way.  Nothing could convince me otherwise. 

I wonder how many of you have read, “The Shack“, by William P. Young.  If you haven’t read it, you should definitely pick it up.  It’s one of the best books I’ve ever read in my life. 

I think that the book has been controversial amongst some Christians.  IT SHOULDN’T BE!  It is a fiction book, plain and simple.  In short, it’s about a man who experiences something so devastatingly tragic that, as a mother, I can hardly stand to think about it. 

It reminds me of the lyrics of Natalie Grant’s song, “Held”…  She sings:

Who told us we’d be rescued?  What has changed and why should we be saved from nightmares?  We’re asking why this happened to us to who have died to live.  It’s unfair.”   Then she begins singing the chorus, “This is what it means to be held, how it feels when the sacred it torn from your life..and you survive.  This is what it is to be loved, and to know that the promise was when everything feel…we’d be held.”

So let’s just say that the main character in the book is certainly held by God.  As a matter of fact, he has an encounter with the Trinity that is so aweinspiringly intense that it leaves the reader to wonder if the author of the book has some Divine insight into the mind of God that we don’t have.  Yes, this fiction book is so brilliantly written that it leaves the reader truly wondering if it is fiction or not.  The author personifies the Trinity with three, unsuspecting characters that, for me, demonstrate the magnanimous, overwhelming love that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit burn with for us. 

Again, it’s a fictitious work!  Mind you, the author never postulates having all the answers to the mystery of Godliness.  However, as a writer, I can appreciate a brilliant mind when stumble across a work like this.  And I will go on record to say that I think the plot is nothing short of brilliant.  The fact that one, little, human mind could conceive of such a story completely baffles me. 

I love this book because it veers away from the legalistic, Pharisaic views of some Christians that I have known (who have damaged my faith at times) and dares to attempt to explain the Agape love that the Lord has for us.  If you’ve read it you’ll know what I’m talking about.  If you haven’t read it, I urge you to. 

I also love this book because, even though it isn’t real, it drew me in closer to the precious heart of our God.  It is wonderous and full of imagination.  It helped solidify for me that God IS Abba…or, my Daddy. 

That being said, I once again would like to state that God is certainly not punishing me.  Rather, Ava Elizabeth Wisdom is just living out the consequences of many years of bad decisions.  You see, I recognize that God didn’t create His Word, His laws, or His commandments to be a buzz-kill or to rain on my lonely, little parade.  Rather, God gave me…and you rules so that He could merely protect us from ourselves. 

Again, I am reminded of another song.  In Tim McGraw song, “Grown Men Don’t Cry” he sings:

I pulled into the shopping center
And saw a little boy wrapped around the legs of his mother…
like ice cream melting they embraced
Years of bad decisions runnin’ down her face.
All mornin’ I’d been thinkin’ my life’s so hard…
they wore everything they own, livin’ in a car.
I wanted to tell ’em it would be ok
But I got just got in my suburban and I drove away…

You see, this is how I feel right now.  Except, I feel like a mother with TWO little boys wrapped around my legs.  And yes, every tear I cry represents the years of bad decisions that I’ve made.  Oh, how I don’t want my children to live in the wake of consequences that were meant for me.  I can take a smack-down pretty well…but this is getting too real, people.  As it stands, I don’t know how I’m going to buy them the much-needed school clothes that they need to start school this year.

I’m not having a pity party for myself over here; the pity party is for my two boys.  I wasted years of my life being a stripper and avoiding things in life that were uncomfortable for me.  I wanted the easy way back when I was younger and now I’m getting old and I fear I’ve run out of tricks.  I’m just so tired.  I want my boys to have the lives they deserve.  I chose them, for sure…but they didn’t get to choose me. 

Oh, if you had any idea how much I love my boys.  I’d die for them in a heartbeat.  I honestly would.  They are the reason I draw breath.  They are perfect gifts from God.  I just don’t want my babies to suffer for the lousy mistakes I’ve made in life.  And I am just overwhelmed with the feeling that ALL my mistakes are catching up to me right now.

Psalm 37 says, “I have never seen a righteous man forsaken, or his children begging bread.  That might bring me comfort…if I thought for one cotton-pickin’ second that I might actually be righteous.

Nevertheless, I know that God remembers the widow and the orphan.  And I have been told that the single mother is the modern-day widow.  I suppose the same applies for single daddy’s too.  He showed me this verse earlier in the year.  I may have already written about it, but I don’t care.  I’m going to write about it again.

From the book of Isaiah, in chapter 54…  God showed me this:

“For the Lord has called you like a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit-

Like a youthful wife, when you were refused”, says your God.

“For a mere moment I have forsaken you,

But with great mercies I will gather you.

With a little wrath I hid my face from you for a moment:

But with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you”, says the Lord, your Redeemer.

“So have I sworn that I would not be angry with you, nor rebuke you.

For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed,

But my kindness shall not depart from you,

Nor shall my covenant of peace be removed”, says the Lord who has mercy on you.

“Oh, you afflicted one, tossed with tempest and not comforted,

Behold, I will lay your foundations with sapphires.

I will make your pinnacles of rubies, your gates of crystal,

And all your walls of precious stones…

ALL OF YOUR CHILDREN SHALL BE TAUGHT BY THE LORD,

AND GREAT SHALL BE THE PEACE OF YOUR CHILDREN.

In righteousness you shall be established;

You shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear;

And from terror, for it shall not come near you.

Indeed they shall surely assemble, but not because of Me.

Whoever assembles against you shall fall for your sake.”

In that truly wonderous piece of scripture I feel like God is telling me that He knows that I have been rejected and forsaken.  He acknowledges my grief and sorrow and tells me that He isn’t going to leave me.  He tells me that, although I may not feel righteous, that He’s going to make me righteous… And above all, He assures me that my children will be taught by Him and that they will have great peace!  I PRAISE Him for that!

Honestly, I feel like that piece of scripture was written for no one else but me.  But that’s how God works.  And that’s how the Holy Spirit speaks.  I love that about our God…

You know, I think I was actually writing tonight so that I could bitch and complain about my circumstances.  Oddly, I don’t feel the need to do that now.  Writing is cathartic and just thinking about the Lord and being in His Word has given me some respite.  What’s more, I love all of you, my readers so very much!  I certainly don’t want to weigh you down with my burdens or my grumblings.   Just know that God loves me through you.  I am very fond of you all in the WordPress community.  And I sure am thankful for you too…

As I end tonight, I want to leave you with a photo of my Jonah and my little dog, Poppy.  Both have fallen asleep under my desk as I’ve been writing.  They look pretty dang peaceful.  Maybe I’m not the worst mom in the world after all! 

 

All my love,

Ava

PS…Please PRAY for my little family…I promise I will pray for you.  If you have specific prayer requests, I ask that you send them to me!  xoxoxoxoxoxo

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

Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award!

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And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another —and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:24-25

I am BEYOND delighted to report to you that my sweet sister in Christ, Miss Arlene, author of a wonderful blog titled “Armoured Up,” has nominated me for my very first blog award!  The nomination is in and of itself a tremendous honor.  However, it honors me and humbles me more to know that it came from my sweet Arlene.

Arlene and I have never met in person, we actually met via the WordPress community.  Regardless of me having not have ever been in her physical presence, I can tell you that she lives in my heart.  Arlene somehow stumbled across my blog a while ago and has been encouraging me and praying for me and the boys ever since.  Hence, the scripture reference above…

Arlene has been a vessel for the Lord in my life, and for me it re-solidifies how abundantly important the “BODY” of Christ is.  We truly need to be in constant fellowship with other believers and encourage one another as well.  Arlene is my sister.  And like I told her recently, I absolutely regale in the fact that we WILL spend eternity together!

And mind you, I believe the BEST gift that anyone can give is the gift of prayer.  It just so happens that Arlene is a bold, lioness of a prayer WARRIOR!  God has blessed me so much through her friendship.  I encourage you to check out her blog.  Further, I encourage you to drop her a line and get to know her.  She’s too precious to keep to myself!  You can find Arlene’s blog at:

armouredup.wordpress.com

Now to receive this award, you must do the following:

1) Reference the person who nominated you for the award.

2)Write seven facts about yourself.

3) Nominate 7 other ladies and pass along links to their blog.

7 Random Facts About Me:

1) My grandmother was the most Godly precious woman.  She was like a mother to me and I sometimes think she was an angel!

2) Since I was a child I have had a fixation with eating ice, particularly when I go to bed; my teeth have not suffered for it.

3) I hate doing laundry.  I don’t mind actually putting it in the washing machine, but putting it away overwhelms me (especially socks).

4) I thoroughly enjoy inserting Qtips into my ears!  I clean my ears out about 5 times a day and refer to the pleasure I experience as an “eargasm“.

5) I wanted to be a pilot since I was seven years old until I was called into teaching at the age of 28.

6) I drink Diet Cokes like I should drink water.  I’m addicted to them…which is kind of gross and unhealthy!

7) I have a hard time saying goodbye to anybody, good or bad, especially in my romantic relationships.  I can’t bear the thought of never seeing the person again.  But I do recognize that God puts people in our lives for seasons (sometimes).  I am really working on this.

And alas, the ladies blogs I am nominating for The Sisterhood of World Bloggers Award: 

1) birdmartin.wordpress.com

2) myjourneymyrules.wordpress.com

3) werclassly.wordpress.com

4) momandboy.wordpress.com

5) withoutababe.wordpress.com

6) mommasunshine.wordpress.com

7) sessica.com

I sincerely hope you have time to check out the blogs that are listed above!  We are a family here, after all!

All my love,

Ava

On Hungry Birds and Guided Missiles…

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“Mom, we don’t have anything to eat.”

“Mom, I’m hungry.”

“Mom, can you go to Sonic?”

“Mom, what’s for dinner?”

“Mom, when are you going to the grocery store?”

Jeremiah & Jonah

The photo above is quite befitting as I picture Jeremiah on the left; he needs a haircut so bad.  We had an appointment this evening but I checked my banking account and learned that the $1.50 Diet Coke that I swiped my card for at work overdrew my damn account.  Ugh!  When will it end?  No gas, no groceries, bills coming at me from every angle…  It’s hard living this way.  Sufficed to say, I am terrified.

I’m not teaching anymore…at least for a while.  I have gone back to work for a major airline.  Since September 11th, we have taken a huge hit, so it’s been almost impossible to get back on with the company as they simply have not been hiring.  I was extremely happy there when I worked there 12 years ago, so I was thrilled to see a job opening and therefore applied for it immediately.  

I prayed about teaching, which had been a huge source of stress for me for a plethora of reasons.  I had been so anxious and had no peace in my heart whatsoever.  I prayed and “totally” put the situation at the foot of the cross.  You can surrender to Christ with your mouth…saying it is one thing; but I surrendered to Christ with my soul–every ounce of it.  When I did He gave me an inexplicable peace–a peace I hadn’t felt in a long time–and miraculously, doors started to open and doors that needed to be closed, became closed.

Ideally, I’d like to get into teaching at the airline I work for and possibly be involved in curriculum and development.  It’s a faith walk right now though.  I am just going where God leads me.  Still I am afraid.  

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, “I do not want my children to suffer for bad choices that I have made in the past.”  A while back a passage of scripture popped out at me from the 54th chapter of Isaiah:

For the Lord has called you like a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit,

Like a youthful wife when you were refused.

For a mere moment I have forsaken you, but with great mercies I will gather you.

With a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment;

But with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you.

This is like the waters of Noah to me; 

For as I have sworn that the waters of Noah would no long cover the earth,

So I have sworn that I will not be angry with you, nor rebuke you.

For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed,

But My kindness shall not depart from you.

Nor shall My covenant of peace be removed.

O you afflicted one, tossed with the tempest and not comforted,

Behold I will lay your stones with colorful gems,

And lay your foundations with sapphires.

I will make your pinnacles of rubies, your gates of crystal,

And your walls of precious stones.

All your children shall be taught by the Lord,

And great shall be the peace of your children.

In righteousness you shall be established;

You shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear;

And from terror, for it shall not come near you.

Indeed they shall surely assemble, but not of Me.

Whoever assembles against you shall fall for your sake.

Could that verse speak to my circumstances more?  I was astounded when I found that!  It’s like it was written just for me!  But that’s how the Word of God works!  

 With that, I’d like to think of my children like this, not like the picture above: 

 The psalmist tells us in Psalm 37 that he has never seen the righteous forsaken nor his children begging bread.  I know my kids are protected under the mighty wing of God (and praise the Lord they love Ramen noodles).  We’ll be alright because we are God’s children and He loves us in unfathomable ways.  And friend, YOU are His child too.  Whatever it is you are walking through, He’s gone before you.  Trust that.

And if you aren’t a Christian, it’s really easy to become one.  All you do is pray to your Father and tell Him that you believe in Him.  Tell Him that you simply cannot do it without Him.  Tell the Lord Jesus that you believe that He is the Son of God and invite Him to occupy your heart.  Admit that you’re a sinner and ask God to forgive you and wipe the slate clean.  He will, beloved.  He will wash you as white as snow.  

And don’t let any kind of sin that you are currently walking in prevent you from coming to Christ.  Come now.  He is gentle and patient and will clean you up little by little.  If you have a particular sin that you’re struggling to let go of he will slowly begin to change your heart so that you will want to break free from whatever bondage that you’re living in.  

I heard a story on the radio the other day that I thought was really cool.  It said that “guided” missiles aren’t “guided” toward their destination until after they’re launched.  

They have no destination until after they leave the launch pad.  Think of Jesus as the launcher, and yourself as the missile.  Baby, just GET LAUNCHED.  Get to the launchpad and GET LAUNCHED!  Once you invite Him to be your boss, He will fill you with love and acceptance.  He will then guide you toward your destination.

I think one of the biggest lies that Satan tells us that we’re too much of a mess to come to God NOW.  Don’t wait for the right time, friend.  We are all sinners and so it may never feel like the right time.  The time is now.  

And remember, Jesus himself didn’t run around with a bunch of people who had it all together.  He ran with whores, thieves, tax collectors, etc.  The great Apostle Paul was a murdered who murdered and persecuted slews of Christians before He surrendered His life to the Lord, and look who He became.

And look, I don’t know most of you.  So ask yourself this: “What does she have to gain by telling me this?  What is her agenda?”  I have nothing to gain and no agenda.  But if I don’t know you now, I’ll know you when we get to Heaven.  Because, if you accept Jesus, that’s exactly where you’ll be spending eternity.

I have been to the bottom of hell and back.  I could never deny the Lord.  I’ve felt his presence when everything else had been stripped away.  I am scared beyond measure at this time in my life, but the hope I have in Him carries me through.  Beloved, I can’t keep this love to myself.  It’s your too… All you have to do is ask.  If there is anything you need–prayer or otherwise–call on me.  I’m here for you, and so is God.

And friends, please pray for me and my precious kids.  We need a miracle right now…  

All my love,

Ava

Oh Shiney!

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This is a post from a “dear” friend of mine. It touched my heart and I know it will touch yours too…

Rick Mauderer

In order for a glow stick to shine it must be broken on the inside.

There are some things in life I’d just as soon not know. Knowing it just hurts  I have friends who know this fact even more than me.  I guarantee they would just as soon not know.  But knowing makes you all the deeper, all the more real, all the more able to be used, all the more stronger.  I bring three pieces of evidence to the courtroom of the public opinion today:

1) Shari Smith.  2 days before her high school graduation, her father, the pastor of the church in their town, was looking out of the window of his study  as his daughter drove up their driveway, get out of the car and check the mail.  He went back to studying.  A few moments later, he looked up again to see her car still in the driveway with the door open, and…

View original post 1,426 more words

Aside

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. –Genesis 50:20

I received a message from a long, lost friend via Facebook.  My friend is someone who I have known since 1998.  God bless her soul, she has struggled with severe mental health issues for as long as I’ve known her.  Her suicide attempts have been far too great in number as have her hospitalizations.  When my precious mother, who is pictured above, took her own life in August of 2001, my dear friend was constantly and unselfishly by my side.  She was even by my side when others had gone.  As a matter of fact, I remember my friend being in the house alone with me after my mom had passed there; we were cleaning things out and preparing for an estate sale.  I know she was traumatized by the event, but still–she remained by my side.  Of course, she was at the viewing and the funeral.  It was a simply tragic and devastating time for us all.  And to boot, my mother loved my friend very much and always expressed to me how she was so incredibly worried about her.

 

So last night, out of the blue, my friend contacts me and wrote the following:

 

“Just wanted to let you know, in case you ever wonder what the purpose of your mother’s death was, her committing suicide saved my life. Once I saw what it does to those left behind, I knew I couldn’t do that to people I cared about. This is something I’ve been wanting to tell you, but I wasn’t sure that you would want to hear it.”

 

When I received the message I had been quite depressed and was not in a healthy place emotionally due to other life circumstances.  However, receiving this message made me feel like the Hand of God had just come down and touched me.  What’s more, I can testify that my mother saved my life as well.  

 

I had been a stripper, addicted to cocaine but had just started back to school full-time, as a single parent.  After the death of my mother, I told myself that I could go one of two ways.  I could have tried to mask the pain with drugs and alcohol and  risked losing my soul completely.  Or, I could honor her in her death.  

 

I was an incredibly at risk teen, therefore I don’t know how I even managed to graduate high school.  However, after she passed I was enrolled in college a week and a half later.  I became President of my Honor’s Society that semester and began writing for my school’s newspaper publication.  I was a National Science Foundation Scholar and studied with the Honor’s college abroad in Greece.  I could have never accomplished such things without the inspiration of my darling mother.  

 

So the point is, that what Satan wills for harm and disaster, God wills for good.  He was glorified even in the depths of my own personal hell.  I will praise Him all the days of my life.  

 

My mother served and inspired so many while she was living, and it warms my heart to know that the ripple effect continues on.  She died believing she was a failure, but in reality she left a legacy of people who are better today just for having known her.  God only knows where her beautiful influence will stop.  I’m proud of my mother.  I dream about her incessantly.  Sometimes God doesn’t allow us to know why we have to experience such agonizing pain in life; but sometimes He does.  He did in this case.  Love never dies…it just grows stronger.  Those who have gone before us become interwoven into the tapestries of our souls.  Keep praising the Lord.  Praise Him through the rain.

 

All my love,

Ava

God Uses EVERYTHING For His Glory–Even Suicide.