Avery knew things.
She would just declare things and they were always, always right. Sometimes they were little things:
"Mom, we need to stop and get me a lunch for the field trip tomorrow." What field trip? I chalked it up to impressive organizational skills. She knew my schedule, her schedule, grandma's schedule, the schedule of all her friends - and their parents. We joked that the best job for her would be secretary to the President of the United States. The girl loved a schedule.
But then there were bigger things. Things I couldn't understand, but probably would be overlooked by someone who didn't really know her.
For example, a couple years ago she came to me and announced she would be auditioning for a summer theatre production. With people she didn't know. And I had to explain to her that not only would it be with people she didn't know, it would be performed for people she didn't know. And these strangers would sit and watch her. And she would actually have to speak. Out loud. And she just looked at me and said that I would need to drive her and that we could not be late.
Now, at this point in Avery's life she did not do well with strangers. As in, could not function. I couldn't get her to look at my friends who I have had for years if they dared try to speak to her; how on earth did this kid think she was going to perform for strangers? It would crush her. She'll get terrified and scared and it'll be awful and she'll be traumatized.
And yet, she did. She went and auditioned and got a part, and then learned several other parts (because it was a summer program where there were multiple performances) and then she performed in the park in full view of the faces of strangers. And you know what? I was so wrong.
I tried to talk her out of it. I tried to explain it was too much for her. I tried to protect her from what I feared might happen. And I was so very wrong.
Over and over she would do this: declare something with an indescribable conviction that I, personally, had little faith in. She was always confident that this IS what she should be doing. No questions, no explanation. She just knew it. Even if it didn't make any sense to me.
A couple weeks ago I needed to write something down and there was no paper anywhere. I searched and searched - nothing. I was frustrated. I just buried my daughter and I can't find a stupid piece of paper! I finally discovered an unused journal that had been carelessly tossed on top of the refrigerator. Standing on tip toe on top of a chair, I tried to rip out a single page. The journal fell to the floor, splayed apart. Annoyed I hopped off the chair and bent down to pick up the journal. In the middle of this otherwise empty journal was a page handwritten by my dear, sweet Avery, back on April 30, 2012:
(What? She wrote letters to God?)
"I really want to go Up North with Lila but I'm scared!" (Oh, her sweet friend Lila! They had invited her up north with them for the first time last summer and she got homesick. Bad. Matt and I drove 8 hours to go get her. And then 8 hours back. She loved it up there at their cabin; but she hated not being able to talk to me.)
"I would rather do the 5 day one. But I don't know if they are doing it." (Last summer they stayed longer than she had originally planned. They kept talking about adding on days and she got nervous and upset so we drove through the day and night to bring her home.)
"I keep on asking myself Should I tell them or should I not? What do you think?" (Oh, my heart!)
"I love my mom so much and I love my friend so much, I don't know what to choose! May you please help me make my decision?" (Twice she has asked God for guidance.)
"Should I do the 5 day camp or the week or just stay home? PLEASE HELP ME!!" (Three times she turns to God.)
Now I get it. I get how she was able to come to me and declare something with absolute conviction that the decision she was making was the right one. She took her direction from God.
I remember when Avery walked up to me with her decision, obviously after this letter was written. "Mom, I'm not going to go up north with Lila this summer." I asked her if she wanted to talk about it. I asked her if she wanted to go for a couple days and then Matt and I would come up and get her, maybe stay at a hotel before driving home. But her mind was set. And happy.
I can see now that she knew she had made the right decision because she had consulted God and she heard His answer. She put her absolute faith in God. He told her He would lead her, and she followed without questioning - or negotiating.
How many of us (ME!) turn first to friends and family for advice? How many of us (ME!) unload all our concerns and worries to whomever will listen in the hopes that they will point out some magic answer? How many of us (ME!) forget to even ask God? How many of us (ME!) waste so much time trying to talk our fears out with people when what we should be doing is turning to God?
Oh, the things my God Girl is teaching me! (Trust me when I say she did not learn this from me.)
I need this now more than ever: when I don't know how I am going to put one foot in front of the other. When I have the devil knocking down my door, trying to suck me into a dark pit of depression and anger and fear -- lots and lots of fear. Fear about Jadrian's future. Fear about whether Brody will forget his sister... fear about whether I will...
Avery would tell me simply, "ask God; He will show you the way."