Tag Archives: Inspiration

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 

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!!!

Embracing My Role as the Black Sheep of the Family

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I haven’t written much lately.  The things I need to say are too deep and I don’t feel like reliving something that I’m trying to overcome right now.  So, I’ve been expressing myself through various forms of art. 

I made the picture above to express that I am, like it or not, the blackest sheep in my family.  And you know, as much of a pain and the ass as it is to be me sometimes, I wouldn’t want to be anyone else.

I am anything but ordinary.  Some see my eccentricity, uniqueness, and non-conforming spirit as a weakness.  On the contrary, the gifts I have are what make me an incredibly unique, beautiful soul.

I hope you embrace your uniqueness too.  Praise God for the gifts you were given, and never seek to be anyone but YOU!

All my love,

Ava

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

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

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

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

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

We had SO MUCH in common!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jake,

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

Ava

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My extraordinary children, Jeremiah & Jonah

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All my love,

Ava

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