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April 02, 2013 | 03:17 PMAvery McCarthy looked at her mother with her blue eyes, swung her backpack over her shoulder, smiled and said, "I really am a God girl."
With that the 11-year-old girl walked into the Delavan Christian School. It is the last moment her mother, Bridget, had with her daughter, and she cherishes it.
"If it was a movie scene, it was the most beautiful scene ever," Bridget said as she wiped away tears. "God gave me that moment for a reason."
Avery died in a car crash in October.
To truly understand that last moment Bridget shared with her daughter, it is important to understand a few things about Avery.
Avery's favorite musician was Jamie Grace, a Christian singer from Atlanta. Grace has a song called "God Girl," which was Avery's favorite song.
It wasn't unheard of for Avery to be caught singing the chorus in the hallways at Delavan Christian School.
"I'm a God girl that's who I'll be
From the top of my head to the soles of my feet
No I can't deny it, wouldn't even try
I'm your girl in a crazy world"
After Avery's death, friends of the McCarthys started contacting Grace, a Grammy-nominated artist. They wanted Grace to know Avery's story, and how her song played a role in her life. Grace heard their calls. Grace's mother, Mona Harper, reached out to Bridget and invited her to Grace's concert Feb. 1 in Milwaukee. Before performing "God Girl" Grace told the audience about Avery and her last moment with her mother. (A video of the tribute is available on YouTube by searching "Jamie Grace Dedicates "God Girl" to Avery.")
Later in the show, Grace was performing the encore with singer TobyMac, and the students from Delavan Christian School were invited onto the stage.
For Bridget, it was an emotional moment as she watched confetti fall onto the kids and musicians. She knew it was beautiful, but she also wished Avery had been there to experience it.
Bridget wants to carry on Avery's memory and do some of the work her daughter dreamed about. Bridget said her daughter had a big heart, and she wanted to help everybody. Bridget created AVERYday Ministries to complete some of the good deeds Avery talked about.
A concert is set for April 13 at 7 p.m. at the Young Auditorium, Whitewater. Fittingly, Grace is the main event. Grace's sister, Morgan Harper is also performing.
The opener is Jon Troast, a Faith Christian High School graduate who also attended Delavan Christian School.
Avery's life goals included talking to everyone about God, and she dreamed of going on mission trips. She also loved to read and did so at an advance level and struggled to find age-appropriate books.
"Avery felt that if everyone knew about Jesus, they wouldn't feel lonely or afraid anymore," Bridget wrote on the Averyday Ministries Facebook page. "AVERYday Ministries promises to be Avery's voice, her hands and her heart; to plant seeds of faith, to spread God's Word, and to do our best to introduce everyone to Jesus."
McCarthy said the work she is doing with AVERYday Ministries is helping with the grieving process.
Through Avery's death, Bridget said her faith has grown. She said this is also true for others in her family.
"I truly know she is in a perfect place," Bridget said. "I know she is 100 percent perfectly happy."
On her blog, www.stumblingtowardsperfect.blogspot.com, Bridget writes about her daughter. She was told after Avery's death that, "You are Avery's voice, don't silence her."
Bridget receives emails, notes and hugs that thank her for putting Avery's story out there. Some of that appreciation comes from people she knows and some comes from strangers.
More about Avery
Avery wasn't an average girl, Bridget said. She was quirky and different, but in a good way. She cheered for the underdogs in life.
"There shouldn't be best friends," she once told Bridget. "Then someone always feels left out."
Bridget said Avery was her "little mama" and would help with her younger brother, Brody, by wiping his face and taking care of him.
Bridget also said Avery continues to give her strength. The morning after her daughter's death, Bridget went to Delavan Christian School and talked to the students about it.
The grieving, shell-shocked mother was able to keep her composure and answer Avery's classmates questions. Bridget doesn't take credit for that. Instead, said she credits God.
Just weeks before Avery's death, Avery convinced her mother to sponsor a child in a foreign country. Bridget was skeptical, but couldn't say no to her daughter.
Bridget and Avery were waiting for instructions in the mail on how to communicate with the child they were sponsoring. Avery didn't want to wait, and she wrote the sponsored child a letter. Bridget wouldn't mail it until the instructions arrived.
One of the many difficult days after Avery's death, Bridget left her home sobbing and eventually stopped in the Shopko parking lot. As she sobbed, she was seeking guidance with her struggle.
In the car, she spotted the letter Avery had written. Bridget opened it.
Avery introduced herself in the letter, told her new friend she loved her and asked if she knew about Jesus. If not, Avery would be happy to talk to her about him, Avery wrote.
Avery closed the letter with two Bible verses, which, in effect, said that when you are struggling God is there to help.