Monday, November 26, 2012

AVERYday: Avery Asks God a Question - Part 10


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:

"Dear God,"

(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." 


13 comments:

Ellen said...

I'm thinking of you, every day...sending caring thoughts of healing to you...thank you dearly for sharing during your grief.

Chiconky said...

She sounds like such an amazing person.

Shanon Domenosky said...

Thank you Avery!! You, Jesus & your beautiful mom saw my heart & knew that I too needed you to share this with me at this moment in time when my heart is So Very heavy. Bridget you give many of us so much hope & strength! God is working His magic through you right in this very moment! Without for a seconds time sounding at all selfish I am screaming Thank You Thank You Thank You!!! God Bless You Every Breath, Every Word <3

Johi Kokjohn-Wagner said...

Thank you so much for sharing Avery with us; especially today, when I let the manic energy of my kids beat me down and bring out my snark. You, your words and your beautiful family are doing great things for so many, Bridget. I hope you know that. I continue to pray for you all. xxxx

Tina, said...

I think of you and your family so often, you are always in my prayers. Thank you for sharing Avery and all the amazing stories of how God continues to put her in front of you when you need it most. I truely believe in God's ability and that he is giving you little bits of her at a time to help you work through your grief.

Grams716 said...

Bridget, I have always, in a flippant way, believed that all of us are put on this earth for a purpose. Only God truly knows the purpose though. After reading your words about Avery, I have to thank you and Avery so much, because now it's not a flippant belief, but a concrete one. It is like God sent your Avery Angel down here to teach us all. Hearing about her has increased my faith and made it easier for me to talk about God and Jesus. While it hurts to think that her job here on earth was done in so short a time, it's also a source of comfort to know that she is touching so many people. That she truly did have a purpose. The world is truly a better place for having had Avery in it! Thank you again for sharing her with us!

St. Andrew Parish History Administrator said...

She (and He) have left you these wonderful little nuggets to help you on this journey. She, unintentionally, but part of His ultimate plan. I am happy your heart is open to recognize these gifts.

Mary said...

What a beautiful find.

angie said...

Her faith is just too beautiful for words. Thank you for sharing. Thank you for inspiring. Don't you think "God Notebooks" should be the new rage? I do.

Wanda Farmer said...

That was the most beautiful and inspiring story I have ever read. Avery truly was filled with faith in God. Thank you so much for sharing that wonderful notebook with the world.

Getrealmommy said...

I have always loved your blog for your humor, it has always been one of my favorites. Although I don't know you personally, I feel of course like I do. I haven't been to your blog for some time, and I was shocked tonight to read what happened to your daughter. I am so, so sorry. It seems like your daughter was very special and she had a gift to teach others. You also have a gift as a talented writer. I hope you will find comfort in writing, and continue to share these experiences with us through your blog. I know you have something to teach us as well. My thoughts are with you and your family.

THE LETTS FAMILY said...

What an awesome lesson/reminder for ALL of us. We are all learning a lot from Avery. Truly, truly amazing. I really needed this reminder today - to look in my heart, in my quiet place, where God speaks to me. Thank you, Bridget, for sharing this.

Just Me said...

I'm so very sorry for the loss of your special, precious daughter, Avery. She is teaching me so much through your blog. To value the times we have with our children (I have an 11 year old son and a special needs 27 year old son), even if they are going on and on about Star Wars and I don't understand a thing about it. God used Avery's short life so that other's could see Him. Really see Him. She really believed. I wish I had known her. Think of how happy she must be in heaven with her closest friend. Much love to your family and prayers for you!!