1. Category Archive: Lenya Avery

    8 months seems like forever


    I don’t know for certain, but it seems that heaven is on a different time table than what we’re experiencing now. I don’t know if for Lenya she’s been in heaven for eight months, but for us she has, and it’s been way too long since I’ve held her, snuggled her, heard her voice, held her hand, read to her, sang with her, danced with her, watched her be so sweet and silly with her sisters, watch her look up adoringly at her daddy.

    The pain is still very much unbearable and some times more than others. But my husband and I have realized that although the pain is still very deep and real and in our faces every single day, God, in His grace, in His perfect love seems to be strengthening us in it.

    We recently went on our yearly family camping trip, and while it was really difficult as it was our first without Lenya, I loved the constant reminder that this life is a camping trip, and we’ll be heading home soon and very soon. The things God taught me through our Breaking Camp series continues to help my focus every day.

    Eight months may seem like forever, but our lives are a vapor, here one moment, gone the next.  Although it seems as if we’re getting further and further from her, we’re actually getting closer and closer to the day we will see her and our Savior face to face.  I think of the reunion on that Day every single day. Yearning, aching, seeing through the eyes of faith.  I need this comforting reminder every day:

    “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we will always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.”

    1 Thessalonians 4:16-18


    “three things I miss about Lenya: 1) her laugh 2) her being downstairs when I would wake up in the morning 3) playing with her.” – Livie (7 years old)

    “I love Lenya. She’s in heaven with Jesus and God.” – Daisy (3 years old)


  2. Category Archive: Lenya Avery

    Like Father Like Daughter

    These two.

    So similar in so many ways. Passionate, exuberant, wild, hilarious. They both wear their hearts on their sleeve, they both love life and live to get the most out of it. And on top of their personalities, Lenya looked the most like my husband.


    About one month before Lenya suddenly went to heaven, she and my husband (on a daddy daughter date) had discussed how difficult it was to obey. She told him, “Daddy, I want to obey so bad, but it’s so hard sometimes!”

    My husband explained how it was hard for him when he was young to obey, and it was still hard to sometimes obey God, but that it was possible because God helps us do what He wants us to do.

    So they formed a little club. Because they both have the same initials L. A. L. They started the LLAAL club (Levi Aaron and Lenya Avery Lusko club) and they were both supposed to remind each other to obey even when it was really hard. They were in it together. How precious is this, right???  And now, they still are, Lenya’s just the one who has already finished the race and is now cheering him on from heaven to fight the good fight!


    I love the special bond these two had. I love the special bond my husband has with each of his daughters.

    And I love that this relationship he has with the Lenya lion hasn’t ended, it’s just on hold until that Day. And when that Day comes, we’ll have all of eternity in heaven to continue in these relationships that we have in Christ. Yearning. Longing. Waiting for that Day!

    “…if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus… For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.”

    1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

    Consider yourself comforted if you know Jesus. And if you don’t, this is a great place to hear the truth, and to turn to Jesus, and to have the hope of heaven when you die, and the purpose of life now! So much love to you all!

    And I love that regardless of what kind of earthly father we have, our perfect Father in heaven is making us more like Jesus until that Day.  It’s so comforting to know He is faithfully working on us, and He knows what He’s doing!

    “…He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ…”

    Philippians 1:6


    {on a daddy daughter date}

  3. Category Archive: Lenya Avery

    My Big Kid This Week

    Before Lenya was born, I signed up with a website called to know how she was growing each week inside of me. When I signed up for this weekly update, I didn’t realize it would continue on after she was born. Every week, for her whole life I have received an email saying, “your two year old this week,” or “your 4 year old this week,” and so on.

    And now, I continue to receive weekly emails, and they always make my heart skip a beat.

    “Your 5 year old this week.”

    My heart usually fills with aching, and then, as I read what she would be up to if she were still here with us, I smile, knowing that what she is really currently doing is far far better than that.


    Often, my husband and I will ask our daughters what they think Lenya is doing in heaven at that particular moment. There have been many answers, some of which are “riding on a white horse” or “riding on a flying unicorn” or “dancing and twirling” or “swimming with dolphins.” We love to think about what she might be doing, knowing full well, that she’s doing the most wild, risky, crazy thing that she can possibly do.

    We may not know exactly what activities the Lenya Lion is up to, but we do know that she is present with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8) and that there’s a party in the presence of the angels when a sinner repents (Luke 15:10), and that there is constant worship going on (Revelation 4). We have experienced this nearness to heaven when we see and hear of people surrendering there lives to Christ, and we have a dance party – which is something we used to do with Lenya here with us. And whenever we are worshiping whether in church or at home or at the ocean or in the mountains, there’s also a nearness to the activity of heaven.

    While my updates of what Lenya would be doing might say, “riding a two wheeled bike” or “tying her own shoes” or “growing in confidence” –  I know we’re not “missing out” and neither is she, because she’s with God, experiencing the life she was made for and meant to live. And soon and very soon we will all be together living such a life!

    “In Your presence is fullness of joy.” Psalm 16:11





  4. Category Archive: Lenya Avery

    A Better Life is Waiting

    There is going to come a day when we will leave this life and enter into eternity [which we’ve been learning all about in our #breakingcamp series at fresh life]. And on that day, for the believer in Jesus, it will be a better day. Actually there isn’t a good enough word to describe that day. Jesus called heaven paradise, which means a place of extreme beauty, delight or happiness, so we’ll be in pure perfection in His presence.
    Our daughter Lenya Avery has been in Heaven 142 days and her better life (that we didn’t think would come so soon) is what she is fully enjoying right now.

    The song “Better Life” by Paper Route was her (self-proclaimed) favorite song that she kept listening to the week before she went to heaven. I have a very vivid and clear memory of her sitting on the couch, holding my iPad in her sweet little arms listening carefully to this song.  And I can’t help but think that the simplicity of this song prepared her for what she would encounter, and at the same time prepared us for the shock, and the pain and the grief that we were about to experience.

    While her death was traumatic and so sudden, it was quick, and she was instantly in God’s very presence because that’s what the Bible says, “to be absent from the body is to present with the Lord.”

    While Lenya is experiencing fullness of joy in His presence, we are left rejoicing because of that fact, but also, left in this world of grief and the aching of missing our Lenya Lion, knowing we won’t ever be with her or snuggle her or listen to her beautiful raspy voice again here on earth. And recently realizing the “big” days like birthdays and her graduating and getting married, we’ll never experience. Yet in this pain, the hope of seeing her again – either when God brings us home to heaven or when Jesus comes back for His church – is what holds us.

    Our better life is waiting for us. Until then we’re running hard toward heaven and doing all that is within us to tell the world that there is a God who loves them and showed that love through Christ – that those who are stranded in sin would find life and liberty in Christ! We’re going to continue to take what God has given us to do and do it with all our heart.

    “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. but if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.” Philippians 1:21-23

    A better life is waiting.