Tag Archives: faith

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 1

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Beloved,

If you were able to read my last two lengthy posts you are now privy to the fact that I lost a child to abortion on October 7, 2000.  Not ever having a fully repentant heart I never managed to abandon my lifestyle of sexual promiscuity.  Sex had become my painstakingly warped way to connect with a man.  It was my subconscious way of getting love, although it would inevitably always bring me emptiness, more loneliness, and a host of other maladies.

I am a firm believer that men and women are wired quite differently when it comes to sex.  I am of the mind-set that men are more biologically driven and that the experience for them is almost entirely physical.  I’m not saying that men can’t experience love and sex at the same time.  There are always men who are exceptions to the rule (statiticians call them outliers).  I’m just saying that I think men are largely driven by physical urges, whereas for most well-adjusted women, it’s an emotional experience.

I’ll go on record here to say that I absolutely love sex.  I’m serious.  It’s a shame I’m not married, because I’d be a really good wife, if you know what I mean!  I don’t just love the physicality of having sex, I love the feeling of being that close to someone I love.  For this reason, I kind of feel like the universe has “Punked” me.  I mean, I hear about married women all the time who will not satisfy their husbands.  Or oftentimes, I hear of married couples who simply haven’t had sex with each other in years.

It drives me nuts that for me, a single women, sex is a sin that I commit inside my body, while for the married folk, it’s actually an act of worship unto the Lord.  Are you kidding me?  So here I am with all this drive and nothing to do with it at the present time.  And please, if you’re married don’t give me any advice on what to do with all this unused sexual energy.  There’s nothing you can say to make me think you understand.

If you’ve read Gary Chapman’s Book, “The Five Love Languages“, you’d know that Dr. Chapman has identified 5 love languages:

  • Acts of service

  • Gifts

  • Physical touch

  • Time

  • Words of affirmation

     

Well, I believe Dr. Chapman is right on the mark with his theories and research findings.  Now, can you guess what my #1 love language is?  If you guessed physical touch, you’d be dead on.  I’m off the charts.

Through sex with someone I love I feel an overwhelming sense of connectedness.  I feel mad love.  It’s a wholly cosmic, entirely spiritual experience for me.  But that’s with someone I love.  I’m proud to say that I am no longer a promiscuous girl.  Sex is too precious of a gift to give and I’m not giving this gift to just anyone.  Right now my stuff is on lockdown.

However, there was a time in my life where the opposite was true.  After my 4-year, abusive relationship ended with Jeremiah’s father in 1998, it was wheels off for me.  After a lifetime of inexplicable hurts and trauma experienced at the hands of those I had foolishly given myself to, I decided that I would turn my emotions off and just have sex like a man.  I decided that it was time for me to quit being so feelings-oriented and that I, like a man, would just divide and conquer.

I did this for some time.  It didn’t work out so well for me.  Regardless of how much I had hardened my heart, I wasn’t successful at being anyone other than the girl whom God had created me to be.  However, I learned that with enough drugs and alcohol I could numb myself quite well, ensuring that I could stay the course on my hell-bent, sexual binge.

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In 2002 I signed Jeremiah up for soccer.  He had just turned six years old and it was the first time he’d ever been involved in a team sport.  My intentions were pure!  It was at our first practice behind the elementary school that my own mother had attended that I saw him…  I was spellbound.

I would quickly find out that he was the assistant coach.  His name was Jake.  He was tall, had beautiful, thick dark hair, green eyes, and the absolute body of Adonis himself.  He was muscular and defined; you could have bounced a quarter of his perfectly round, alluring, bootylicious backside.  He reminded me of a Calvin Klein underwear model.  And he looked like he just might be a little bit naughty …

I looked at my sister and, like Babe Ruth pointing to center field–calling his home run in the 1932 World Series–I pointed to him, and confidently murmured to her, “I’ll bet you cash money, right now, that I will positively have him by the end of the season.”  I had named it and I had claimed it.  There was no stopping me at that point. 

It turned out that he was going through a divorce and that his son, only 8 days younger than Jeremiah had experienced so much upheaval during his parent’s  then pending divorce that he had ceased to function as a normal little boy.  None of the other kids on the team wanted anything to do with him.  At the age of 6 he was admitted into Special Education and would, for many years wear the damning label of Emotionally Disturbed.

I have always had a soft spot for maladapted children; they’re what I devoted my college years to studying.  Before I knew it his child and mine had bonded and I was either keeping both boys or Jake was keeping both of them.  Jake helped me by babysitting Jeremiah on several occasions when while I worked a part-time job.  I’d let his son spend the night with us and give Jake a much-needed break from time to time.  I’d like to say that it started out as innocent, but I know that, at least on a subconscious level, I had plans.

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There was a definite sexual tension between the two of us and it would be no time at all before we’d met in a motel room bringing to fruition our carnal, lustful desires.  I remember it like it was yesterday.  It was largely my idea, of course.  His brother watched the two boys, who were spending the night together at his house that night so we could meet up for a casual night of secretive passion and pleasure.

I wish I could say that it stopped there.  It didn’t.  Our meetings would inevitably continue for about two years.  They were usually late-night, spur of the moment affairs.  In most cases, I would drive over, slipping in under the cloak of darkness while his son was asleep.  I always enter his house through his dark garage, passing through his dark laundry room which led straight to his bedroom where sometimes, if I were lucky, there’d be music and a candle lit.  From there you can probably speculate what went on.  After the act, we’d spend quite a bit of time talking…about everything and anything.  We got along famously.

I don’t think I realized it at the time, but in spite of my best efforts to conduct myself like a man, my feelings may have begun to grow a little for Jake.  He was a responsible, professional man who made a great living at what he did.  He was laid-back and kind.  Add to that, he was a good father and was always wonderful to my son.  I tried to repress my feelings, but they’d keep popping up on me.  I think Jake picked up on them too, because he’d often make statements that let me know in no uncertain terms that he was in no way looking for a relationship.  What we had was just sex.

After a while he’d eventually disappear, not answering the phone nor returning any of my calls or texts.  And believe it or not, I honestly wasn’t trippin’.  I was a full-time student and was excelling in college.  I didn’t have time to pine over this guy, regardless of how great I perceived him to be.  He was emotionally unavailable.  I knew that full well, so I decided not to pursue something that I knew would lead to a dead-end road.  I had bigger fish to fry at the time.

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Eventually Jeremiah and I moved into a different apartment down the road from where we had lived when I was seeing Jake and where I had lived when my mom died.  It was time to move forward with our lives.

Fast forward to 2004 where one morning I was walking out to my vehicle to go to school.  I found a small note on my truck, tucked behind my windshield.  It was from him.  The note said that he didn’t have my number anymore (the bastard probably deleted it).  He left his phone number and requested that I call him.  Of course, I did.  And in a twisted sort of way, I suppose I was honored that he had sought me out.  Afterall, I don’t even know how he knew where I lived.

Jake and I picked right up where we’d left off.  However, the stifled feelings that I had for him, much to my chagrin, hadn’t gone away.   It seemed like out encounters became more frequent before they ceased altogher.  But I was somehow able to maintain my compsure and conduct myself like a man when I was in his presence.  Jake had a lot to offer, and I certainly liked him and was wildly attracted to him.  But somehow I had, with a lot of practice, managed to numb my heart.  When I look back now, I feel sad when I reflect on how desensitized I had actually become.

I’d find out later that Jake was truly a sex addict.  It seems he was numb and desensitized too.  After his loco divorce, he never really commit to anyone–he was so mysterious and enticing–he didn’t have to.  As I look back now, 8 years later, I find myself supremely aware that both of us were on paths that would lead us straight to the gates of hell.

He was the cool, collected, quiet one.  He seemed purposeful and disciplined in everything he did.  I was the wild, talkative, impulsive one who would always wind up being as drunk as a fidler’s bitch when we’d meet up for our adult time.  After a while, it became pretty routine.  Again, we were both on hell paths at the time.  But from the outside he was able to maintain things in such a way that, to outsiders, he had it all together.  This was not the case, I assure you.

I remember one afternoon, we were both getting dressed when I said to him, “What would you ever do if you got someone pregnant?”  He promptly and intensely replied, “I’d cry.”  I laughed at him. And like I had done in the past, I once again made my disclaimer, well you know I’m not on any kind of birth control.”  He just seemed to shrug it off as if he were invinsible. 

The next time I’d see him, it would be late in the evening.  I had downed several of those mini-bottles of white zinfandel and was unbelievably lit.  I was so intoxicated in fact that I barely remember the events that went on that night.  I sort of remember that for some odd reason that he had gone to the bathroom to get a condom.  This was odd because we never used condoms before.  As my good fortune would have it, Jake was fresh out that night!

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(please continue reading this post in, “Beauty From Ashes: How God Killed Two Birds With One Stone, Part 2)

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

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

ALL IN: Betting on God to Break a Gambling Stronghold

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All my love,

Ava

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

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PRAISING GOD THROUGH THIS STORM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ALL my love,

Ava