1. Category Archive: Lenya Avery

    the Lenya-lion Locket

    A while back, we were at a restaurant celebrating Clover’s birthday. We  were eating and talking, and she turned to me and asked, “I see Lenya?”  She was referring to my necklace that I wear often. It’s a locket with a lion on it that the girls call my “Lenya-lion” necklace, and Clover and Daisy will often ask to see Lenya’s picture inside it.

    This time was different because Clover had recently started talking more, and after I opened the locket, she said very clearly to me (with her two year-old accent):

    “I love you Lenya. I miss you. I want to snuggle you. You’re wonderful. You’re beautiful.” And she shut the locket and continued eating her food.

    I immediately began to cry, and I couldn’t hold it back. I couldn’t stop thinking how Clover will never know Lenya on this earth.  Lenya got to hold and know and see Clover for her first eleven months, but it wouldn’t be the same for Clover.  It made me so sad that she would only know Lenya through pictures and videos and the memories we’ll always tell.

    Although it’s been almost 16 months, there have still been days and moments of deep sadness.  We miss Lenya so much and the pain of it all is still so great, BUT Jesus Christ already defeated this pain.  He conquered the stench of death and death itself, and His light cuts through the darkness of the grave.

    Although sometimes we feel so helpless, what we can do is keep our hearts and lives bent toward Heaven.  We will teach our girls to remember how short our lives are and how real eternity is, and continue to reach out to others while we still can, while we still have breath in our lungs, while it is still day.  Like Jesus said:

    “We must work the works of Him who sent Me and be busy with His business while it is daylight; night is coming on, when no man can work.” John 9:4



  2. Category Archive: Lenya Avery

    ready for heaven

    photo 3-3

    We get our children ready for school. We get them dressed and ready for church. We get them ready for soccer practice or ballet class. We get them ready for college, and their wedding day. But getting our children ready for Heaven? Especially when they go there before you? It’s not something you want to plan for.

    I wish we had more time to prepare Lenya for Heaven, and I wish I had more time to prepare myself for saying good bye, but regardless of my regrets, I know that we did indeed prepare her the best we could.

    Today is the day that marks Lenya being in Heaven for one year – three hundred sixty-five days.  When I said goodbye to her that night so that I could go wrap the girls’ Christmas presents, I didn’t know that would be the last time I’d say good bye to her.  And although, we weren’t ready for her to go, she was ready. You see, Lenya was born into a family who centers our lives around Jesus. Not a perfect family, no way, but a family who believes in Jesus as their Savior, and who knows that our hearts and minds were meant to be set toward Heaven. Lenya was planted in the house of the Lord, and as my husband says, it’s not because he’s a pastor, it’s because he’s a Christian.

    We learned Bible verses at home, and she learned Bible verses at church. We talked about Heaven all the time.  We would talk about how Jesus was the only way to Heaven.  We would talk about how she wouldn’t have allergies in Heaven, and that she could eat whatever she wanted. Heaven was in our vocabulary all the time, and I’m SO thankful for that.

    While we weren’t ready to send her to Heaven when God decided to take her there, we know she was ready. Although it’s painful that we can’t see her and hold her now, we know she is with Jesus, and that Jesus is continuing to make us ready for Heaven.  Just as my husband has preached, “Jesus isn’t just preparing a place for us, but He’s preparing us for that place.”

    photo 2-5

    I want so much to get Lenya ready for the day again. I want to get her ready for ballet again, putting her hair up in her cute little bun. But we readied her for Heaven, and she’s now in the target, safe in God’s presence, and now we have three beautiful little hearts still in the quiver who we have the responsibility to prepare  to dwell in the House of the Lord forever.

    “if then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” Colossians 3:1-3


  3. Category Archive: Lenya Avery

    Lenya the Lion-Hearted


    We were at Disneyland celebrating Lenya’s 5th birthday last year, and we were making our way to the next ride.

    We had this Joovy stroller that was fresh life red, and our three older girls could fit on it. Daisy sat like a princess in the front and Livie and Lenya cozied up in the “chariot” side, as we like to call it.

    As we walked, a pirate appeared alongside us, and arrrrr-ed at us. He said he had a special gift for each girl, so he asked their names and he gave them their very own pirate names, along with some pirate tattoos.

    He named them: Alivia Of The Seven Seas, Lenya the Lion-hearted, and Dangerous Daisy (apparently Clover was too little for a pirate name).

    We all laughed and marveled at Lenya’s pirate name because that’s what we called her – our Lenya-Lion.

    Today marks 10 months since our Lion-hearted Lenya went suddenly to Heaven. It’s bitter because we hate death and that she’s not here with us. It’s sweet because we know she’s with Jesus, we know she’s perfectly pure in His presence. It’s bitter, sweet and everything in between.

    It is truly sorrow upon sorrow, but we don’t sorrow as those who have no hope, because Jesus Christ is the One  in whom we have believed. Because of His life and death and resurrection, and because we believe this, we have the hope of Heaven. There’s no other name. And in this we rejoice, we sorrow, we hurt, we love, we live, we move onward, knowing that although we feel like we’re drifting further from her, we’re actually sailing closer.


    She’s got her classic wild Lenya Lion’s mane in this one.


    Growling like a lion, on a daddy-daughter date.


    “Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord.” Psalm 31:24

  4. Category Archive: Lenya Avery

    The Greater Thing

    Seven days before Lenya went to heaven…

    I was reading a few books, one being Greater by Pastor Steven Furtick.  As I look back, I see how God was preparing my frail little heart for the worst experience of my life. These were a few quotes that I wrote in my journal and am so thankful for:

    “Yes God, I will follow You wholeheartedly into the greater thing you’re calling me to. Whatever it looks like.”

    “Your greatest limitation is God’s greatest opportunity.”

    And the second book I was reading was Balance by Richard A. Swenson, in which he talks about margin and balance in our lives and one quote I wrote down was:

    “we had better love with abandon, for what’s around the corner is not ours to know.”

    It has been 9  months since Lenya took her last breath in her Daddy’s arms and her first breath in her heavenly Father’s presence, and as painful as it is to look back in my journals from before Lenya went to heaven, I’m also so incredibly grateful to my God who is so good and loves me so much, to almost ready my heart for what lay ahead. Her death was still sudden, shocking, and terrible, but I see His presence and His love all over the valley of the shadow of death.

    Who knew that the “greater thing” in my life would look like this? God did. And He hasn’t left me to figure it out on my own, He’s with me. He strengthens my arms for battle, and He has a plan and purpose in the pain. AND He is good.

    “Do not be afraid of sudden terror, nor of trouble from the wicked when it comes; For the Lord will be your confidence, and will keep your foot from being caught.”

    Proverbs 3:25-26



  5. Category Archive: Lenya Avery

    there’s no place like home – first birthday in heaven

    Last year, for Lenya’s fifth birthday, my husband picked out these red, sparkly Toms for her. She loved them and immediately broke them in on the first day. The toes were worn down that day – literally!

    I told her how they were like Dorothy’s shoes from The Wizard of Oz – “there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home. click, click, click…”



    Lenya’s birthday is today, September 8. She would be six years old.

    I don’t know how birthdays work in heaven (or what age is even like for that matter), but whatever they’re like, I know she’s experiencing perfect, fullness of joy, because she’s with Jesus.  There’s no sadness for her – the only sadness that exists is in our hearts, because we’re separated by what seems like thousands and thousands of miles to the naked eye.

    BUT seeing with the eyes of faith, we’re actually getting closer and closer to That Day when we will see our Savior’s face and our beautiful Lenya’s face, and not just see, but hug, hold, embrace, kiss, snuggle…and we will be…home.

    There’s no place like home. Heaven is our real home. This world is just a dim preview of the real thing. Lenya is home, and waiting for us. And I love that we talked so much about heaven when we were together. She had many allergies, so we would always say how there were none in heaven. A few days before she went to heaven, she was looking at the stretch marks on my stomach from being pregnant, and she was concerned. I said, “they don’t hurt, they’re just proof and a reminder that I got to be the one to grow you girls inside me. In heaven, we’ll have perfect skin.” We had many conversations like this.

    When she was three years old, we were still trying to get her eczema under control, and one night I said, “I’m sad you’re rashy, Len.” And she yelled at me excitedly (in usual Lenya form), “it’s not sad for me! Because Jesus is always with me when I have a rashy! And there’s no rashes in heaven mom!!”

    I miss her, I love her, I wish I could hug her on her birthday, but all those hugs and endless parties will have to wait and be saved up for That Day.

    Happy birthday to my Lenya-lion, can’t wait to be home with her.



    photo 1-2


    “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden in Christ with God.”

    Colossians 3:1-3