And then she had two.
On October 24, 2012, nineteen days after she turned 11 years old, my precious daughter, Avery, died instantly as the result of a single car accident.
My oldest daughter, Jadrian, was driving Avery back from gymnastics class and home to go to church youth group. The weather was unseasonably bright and sunny and warm. They took a picture together upon leaving the gym. It was the last picture they took together.
We would never see it.
Minutes after leaving the gym the car hit a patch of gravel. They hit a utility pole. Avery died instantly. When I was handed the death certificate (yes, they just hand it to you. No envelope of protection or anything.), I immediately noticed the word SECONDS neatly typed in all capital letters.
It was typed in the box titled "ONSET OF INJURY TO TIME OF DEATH."
Here's what you want to know:
- speed was not a factor
- drugs or alcohol were not a factor
- texting or phone use was not a factor
- Avery fiercely loved Jesus.
- Avery had a faith that went way beyond her short years.
- The last words Avery ever spoke to me were: "YOU KNOW, MOM, I REALLY AM A GOD GIRL!"
In the hours, days, weeks, and months after her passing, God would prove His love over and over and over again in some truly incredible amazing ways. Ways way too big for my comprehension.
Avery is truly a God Girl in every single sense of the word.
I do not blame God. I never have.
I have questioned why he allowed her death. I have questioned why my oldest daughter has to be wrecked by a sense of misguided guilt and responsibility.
I have sat sobbing in parking lots and shower floors and church pews and aisles of grocery stores, but I have never blamed God.
I have felt my body crumble with grief so intense I was sure my skin and bones and teeth and soul would turn to dust.
But I have not blamed God.
Maybe because Avery trusted Him so much. Maybe because her entire life was trying to show me how I could trust Him, too.
Or, maybe because from this incredible, painful grief I have received the greatest blessing of all: I now know the God who holds my daughter. And He is good.