Purposeful Faith

Author - Jami Amerine

When Make Believe Isn’t an Option…

Post by: Jami Amerine

Our youngest vandal son came into our room early this morning for a cuddle.

He climbed in the bed and whispered, “Good mowning mommy.”

He smelled of warm sleep and I was happy to have a moment alone with him before the chaos of the day erupted with the rising sun.

I tickled his back and stroked his blonde hair.  And then, I noticed a terrible scratch on his neck.

“What happened Charlie?”  I inquired.

Charlie elaborated. “I spent da night in da jungle wif my fwend Ashwee.  A big wion scrwatched me.  Ashwee killed da wion five times!”

I tried not to giggle, “Oh my, I think that was a dream baby!”

Charlie’s brow furrowed, “Den how comes I gots dis scrwatch?”

Uh.

Well.

Good point.

It wasn’t long and the day imploded… as suspected.  It got bad fast.  A horrible argument ensued with a semi-adult-baby, a checking debacle, a missed opportunity, a leaking trash bag, a blown-out diaper, and a stalled-out vehicle… I checked my watch, it was only 9:45 am.

I wanted to crawl back in the bed and pretend with Charlie.

Frankly, being chased by a lion seemed like more fun than the day unfolding before me.

My fairy godmother, AKA, my mommy helper Bobbi took over the three littles and I escaped to my office.

I stared at my screen.

Nothing.

I drank four cups of coffee.

Nothing.  Well, heartburn and the jitters.

Again, it would be nice, some days to be an author of fiction.  Fantasy, where my mind might escape the non-fiction reality of sticky floors, parking tickets, and the pursuit of some form of normalcy.

What that would look like I do not know.  I wandered to the bathroom to blow my runny nose and blot my sodden eyes.  It was then I noticed the toilet lid partially shut.

I opened the closure.

The toilet was packed full of toys; a stuffed purple bunny, a roller skate, 10 blocks, 44 Legos, a Jedi, a dump truck and a baby doll.

I shut the lid and climbed back into bed.

I willed my eyes closed and pictured a lion chasing me through the jungle.  It was a relief.

Perhaps a creative mind is more burdensome, alas sometimes it is my greatest reprieve.

Make that, most times. 

My brain, fingertips, and caffeine charged imagination couldn’t resist and I climbed out from my sheets to face what was left of my day.

The unbelievable is my inspiration, the death and resurrection of a hero.  A hero who died for me, saving me from the bondage of my folly.  Setting my feet on the pure path of righteousness… glass slippers.  Despite all the ick, I delight in the yoke of He who saved me.  A yoke that is easy, whose burden is light.  A protective lion,  gentle as a lamb.  He lies with me in the high grass.

I stare at mystical clouds that make shapes, shapes I imagine are visions of peace, hope, joy, love, and I delight in this future with Him by my side.  I tug at a piece of cool grass, with my head nestled closely to his course fur I feel the rise and fall of His mighty breath and I hear the rumble of His word, a purr.

He stretches and yawns, proving His majestic ability to rest in the work already accomplished.  At His movement, as if on cue, butterflies erupt in the breeze and I am swamped… with peace.

I have no proof.

No scratch.

No resolve to the toilet calamity still soaking in the commode in the master suite.

Yet, I am okay.

It is well.

My mind is free from the burden of worry.  He knows every hair on my head.  This is the place where He calls me to rest.  This is the promise He made, “come you who are weary.

Indeed this is me.

You may inquire, “I think that’s a dream… a fantasy you created.”

And I have only one question for you, “Then how comes I got all this peace?”

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

Get all the Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

Jami AmerineJami Amerine is a wife, and mother to anywhere from 6-8 children. Jami and her husband Justin are active foster parents and advocates for foster care and adoption. Jami’s Sacred Ground Sticky Floors is fun, inspirational, and filled with utter lunacy with a dash of hope. Jami holds a degree in Family and Consumer Sciences (yes Home Ec.) and can cook you just about anything, but don’t ask her to sew. She also holds a Masters Degree in Education, Counseling, and Human Development. Her blog includes topics on marriage, children, babies, toddlers, learning disabilities, tweens, teens, college kids, adoption, foster care, Jesus, homeschooling, unschooling, dieting, not dieting, dieting again, chronic illness, stupid people, food allergies, and all things real life. You can find her blog at Sacred Ground Sticky Floors, follow her onFacebook or Twitter.

Feeling all the Feels…Riding the Wave

Post by: Jami Amerine

My week has been – ridiculous.

The list of life-altering changes include, a transitional end to our foster-love’s time in our home, the departure of our oldest son to Marine Bootcamp, our oldest daughter’s upcoming wedding, the release and launch of my book, potty training debacles, enormous new developments in my husband’s company, and the persistent comedic drama symptomatic of a household of nine.

On the evening after dropping our son at the Marine MEPS for his departure to San Diego, I couldn’t sleep.  My nose was slammed shut, my eyes were swollen, my heart was aching, and about 1:45 am I sat on the couch in our loft, fully clothed, and let loose.

Ugly cry is not even close to a valid definition of the performance.

I am surprised, no entirely amazed that I had that much left in me.  And I begged God for relief.  Out loud, alone in the dark I whimpered-wailed my need for His help.  Up until that moment, I had just rolled with the emotions.  I’d been laughing at sweet memories, crying at the unknown, smiling at the thoughts of what was to come, and angry it went by too fast.

I couldn’t take anymore.

I needed some sleep.

I needed Him to stop the ride and let me get off… even if it was only for 5 hours.  I pleaded, “Please Jesus, help me… please, I am so tired, I just need to…”

Just then, my phone rang with a caller I.D. from California.

It was 1:48 a.m.

Just as I’d been informed, I heard my son’s voice is a sea of other hollers;

This is Marine Recruit…  I have arrived safely… the next time you hear from me it will be by postage mail in 2 to three weeks. I love you.  Goodbye.”

The scripted call I’d been told about at just that moment in the midst of heartbreak came, I can still hear him.  He sounded tired, stressed, and… hungry.  Whatever, I know him. That was his “I want a grilled cheese sandwich” voice.

And, I let loose a brand new emotion… gratitude.  I remember I started my new brand of weeping about 1:49 a.m…

I remember nothing else until 7:00 a.m… when my alarm went off to wake the children.  Fully clothed, jewelry, streaks of tear stained make-up, and my shoes –  I was startled awake and painfully crooked.

Somewhat refreshed, with a perpetual lump in my throat I limped through packing lunches and fixing hair, the toddler sons said something delightful and I giggled.  A tween left a wet towel on the bathroom floor and I grumbled.  An email popped up from an old friend offering prayers and another tear escaped.

This rollercoaster of emotions is indicative of this life.  The relief when I need it comes from my Jesus.  The rest… the rest is a blessing.  The release of tears celebrating, missing, wishing, and hoping for change or good – are part of the creation He fashioned.  Not to punish or test me, but to give me release and a reminder of my design.

In the midst of that gift, when I was most in need, He answered.  He sent a phone call, sure – it was due, but it came right when it was most needed… in the midst of my pleas.  And then, He blessed me with unconsciousness and much-needed reprieve.

My emotions and nerves are on high alert.  I am a compulsory explosion of sunshine and rain.  I am hitting every single cylinder.  And I am confident He who created me, will walk through this with me.  He is for me.  He came to bind my broken heart.  He came to comfort, heal, and nurture.  To grieve or rejoice, I am nearer to Him.  He knows me and adores me.

In my weakness He is strong.

He is my rock and my fortress.

I will ride this wave, reveling in these reactions, delighting in this life, and I will not go down with the ship.


Psalm 89:9You rule the swelling of the sea; When its waves rise, You still them.

Jami AmerineJami Amerine is a wife, and mother to anywhere from 6-8 children. Jami and her husband Justin are active foster parents and advocates for foster care and adoption. Jami’s Sacred Ground Sticky Floors is fun, inspirational, and filled with utter lunacy with a dash of hope. Jami holds a degree in Family and Consumer Sciences (yes Home Ec.) and can cook you just about anything, but don’t ask her to sew. She also holds a Masters Degree in Education, Counseling, and Human Development. Her blog includes topics on marriage, children, babies, toddlers, learning disabilities, tweens, teens, college kids, adoption, foster care, Jesus, homeschooling, unschooling, dieting, not dieting, dieting again, chronic illness, stupid people, food allergies, and all things real life. You can find her blog at Sacred Ground Sticky Floors, follow her onFacebook or Twitter.

Mercy, Grace, and the Wall-Eyed Fit

Post by: Jami Amerine

Our foster-love has entered into the broad world of the wall-eyed fit.

We have epoxy-stained concrete floors in our house.  It only took a couple times for her to rethink throwing her entire body weight onto the floor and screaming her head off.
It hurts, so the effectiveness of showing her frustration was overruled by the knot on her noggin.

Now, when she is frustrated she gently sits, then lies blithely on the floor… and then proceeds to throw a fit.

We cannot help but giggle as the drama of her tantrum is overridden by her cautious technique of getting to the pinnacle of the spectacle.

Often we wonder, as long as it took her to get prostrate had she forgotten what she was mad about?

And this may seem silly but recently I was upset with God.  I felt He had pulled the rug out from under me.  I found myself flat on my back, hurt and angry that He hadn’t been there to stop the insanity train from leaving the station.

For the better part of two days, I ignored my habitual instinct to “pray without ceasing.”  I found myself audibly saying, “I am not ready to talk to you about this…”

I went so far as to get out some stationery and pen to write out my complaint. With Thesaurus in hand and my gift for the written word, I would tell God exactly how I felt about the current downward spiral.

Yet the longer I postponed the tantrum, the more I worked through the calamity, the more my vision cleared… and all of the sudden I had new clarity.

He didn’t do this to me.

There were natural consequences for our current trial.  He was not dishing out troubles, yes He allowed them and then walked with us through them, but He was not in the business of destroying us.

When did I first believe Him to be cruel I do not know?

But I am rejoicing in the new-found message of GRACE.

Freedom in Jesus wasn’t something He promised just to hear Himself talk.
If we are free… then we are free indeed.

How I love falling into His arms.

How I need Him to catch me and show me it is all okay.

He makes all things new.  And all things work together for good for those who love Him.  In the midst of a trial, I was refreshed and renewed that He was for me.

He is for my marriage.
He is for my children.
He is for my good will.

Who is this God who we encourage others to adore?  Is the walk of salvation a trick manifested just to get others to fall in line?  Or is this the real deal?

Pray, I say to you He is so real… so dear and wise.

In my folly, I have questioned Him. In the explicit moments, He has welcomed me, without judgment or harshness, and allowed me to lie at His feet and worship.

What God is this that shows such mercy and love?

My God… my love and life’s breath.  He will never leave me or forsake me.

He is for me and He is with me, affording mercy and grace… even unto the carefully executed wall-eyed fit.

Matthew 10:16 (NASB)”Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.” 

 

 

Jami Amerine is a wife, and mother to anywhere from 6-8 children. Jami and her husband Justin are active foster parents and advocates for foster care and adoption. Jami’s Sacred Ground Sticky Floors is fun, inspirational, and filled with utter lunacy with a dash of hope. Jami holds a degree in Family and Consumer Sciences (yes Home Ec.) and can cook you just about anything, but don’t ask her to sew. She also holds a Masters Degree in Education, Counseling, and Human Development. Her blog includes topics on marriage, children, babies, toddlers, learning disabilities, tweens, teens, college kids, adoption, foster care, Jesus, homeschooling, unschooling, dieting, not dieting, dieting again, chronic illness, stupid people, food allergies, and all things real life. You can find her blog at Sacred Ground Sticky Floors, follow her onFacebook or Twitter.

Get all the Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

Tiny Hops of Hope

I watched with clenched fists and pounding heart.

Our young foster son, only 17-months at the time wobbled on chubby little legs.

The goose egg on his head was still protruding and very purple… and green and yellow.

The day before while trying his hand at toddling, he had toddled face first off a two-inch step on the porch and landed head long on a stone in the garden.

I had rushed to stop him, I wasn’t quick enough.  I wanted to protect him, I had the best of intentions and I had failed him.  Alas, he was oblivious to the danger and ready to try it again.

Fully confident in his abilities he stood and took three steps and fell.

Stood, took two steps and fell.

Stood and took eight steps, stopped looked at me and smiled and clapped.

Days later, the wound on his head was gone and he was fully upright and mobile.

A month later I looked out the kitchen window and saw him running across the backyard chasing a kitten, squealing with delight.

A process began from the time he rolled over for the first time that brought us to this moment where he can run.  I stood and watched the tow-headed angel boy, on confident feet sprint about the yard.

He stopped at a make-shift sidewalk chalk drawing of a hopscotch grid our youngest daughter had drawn earlier in the day.  He studied the grid and then… kind of sort of – hopped.

Continue Reading Here and LINK UP!!!! 

 

God: Artisan of Brave

Post by:Jami Amerine

I have spent the better part of 45 years afraid.

I am afraid of many things; flying, heights, spiders, the demise of one of my loved ones, egg salad, and weight gain, just to name a few.

Within the last year, I have added a new fear to my list… failure.

In the midst of this new terror, I made a friend.  At first, she wasn’t a friend, although she didn’t know, I was intimidated by her. I saw her message as a threat to my message. Which was, altogether inaccurate.

As our relationship progressed, she invited me to become a regular contributor here, on her website.  Her book, Fear Fighting launched this week.  In perfect harmony with my new fear of failure, her book has been salve to my wound.

A few nights after her book was featured on the Today Show by Kathie Lee Gifford, I climbed into bed to read more of Kelly’s beautiful paperback.  After a couple chapters, I rolled over to go to sleep and I went to work on my shortcomings, my inabilities, and disabilities.  I fell asleep afraid my book would fail. I began to compare the beauty of Kelly’s manuscript with the folly of mine.

I distinctly remember praying, “God, I am afraid I can’t do this…”

And I dreamed.

It was a vivid dream.  I dreamed I was watching Kelly speak and white butterflies flew about every time she spoke of the Jesus she adores.  In my sleep, I dreamt that I told my husband, “When Kelly speaks of Jesus white butterflies appear.” My husband brushed me off as silly.  In this reverie, I went on to dream that I was meeting Kelly at my alma mater by a fountain.  My husband came with me and when Kelly and I met and hugged white butterflies exploded in the evening sky and we laughed and danced. My husband knelt and began to pray for us.

I sat upright in the bed.  The dream still fresh in my mind, I reached for my iPhone to check the time.  I had only been asleep a few hours.  Shaken by the mystery, I decided to flip through my phone and consider.  I opened my Facebook, the first thing in my feed was a picture my friend, fellow author Rachelle DeNecochea had posted.  It was the image of a painting Rachelle’s husband gave her for Christmas.

The painting, by artist Melissa Paddock, was of two girls dancing in the moonlight with white butterflies in the sky.

I was undone.

Here is the thing.  I am not in any way insinuating Kelly and I are some grand prophetesses.  What I am implying is, my God knows me so well.

I am more than suggesting, He met me where I was in my fears.  The dream?  I would have easily brushed it aside as my tiny brain having a playdate of non-sense.  But I fully believe God didn’t intend for me to dismiss it.

My fears of failure are not from Him or of Him.

He has blessed me with opportunities, outside of anything I could have wished or hoped for – opportunities to speak about how magnificent He is.

You can call it a coincidence.

My husband is certain I saw the painting before I fell asleep.  I won’t argue with him, my phone was dead when I plugged it in and picked up Kelly’s book.  I believe that God wanted to encourage me. I am confident the dream and the painting were meant to minister to me.  I have faith that Jesus knows me, and is available to ease my terrors and worries with signs and wonders.  As Kelly says, “Faith is the thing that makes little warriors do big things.”

Certainly, He is all that is right with me.  The fear doesn’t come from Him, only the comfort does.  And I need not worry about my abilities, as I read Kelly’s words the next day I was further convinced, “It’s not about ‘my’ abilities that make me able but God’s capabilities, that make me more than able.”

I am encouraged like never before.

Truly, as many the years, I have spent in fear, I fully intend on spending the next years brave.

I will watch more closely and with a new found eagerness for Him to reveal things to me, and my faith will allow me to believe. He is the master of words, maestros of symphony, and a virtuoso of every canvas and coloring page.

I choose to believe He will move in every aspect of my life. When I am weak, He is strong. When I am strong, He is my strength.

I encourage you to grab a copy of Kelly’s book and “let the creator re-sketch your scenery of fear into faith…”

The season of bravery is upon us, the time of freedom is at hand.  The tools for breaking down your bondage are available.

Dear Captives, be set free.

“I will not be shaken for God is right beside me.”  Acts 2:25

 

 

 

 

Don’t miss taking part in the 4 Days to Fearless Challenge. Or, order my book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears, today!

Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

“The Sway” image was used with permission from the artist Melissa Paddock.

Jami Amerine is a wife, and mother to anywhere from 6-8 children. Jami and her husband Justin are active foster parents and advocates for foster care and adoption. Jami’s Sacred Ground Sticky Floors is fun, inspirational, and filled with utter lunacy with a dash of hope. Jami holds a degree in Family and Consumer Sciences (yes Home Ec.) and can cook you just about anything, but don’t ask her to sew. She also holds a Masters Degree in Education, Counseling, and Human Development. Her blog includes topics on marriage, children, babies, toddlers, learning disabilities, tweens, teens, college kids, adoption, foster care, Jesus, homeschooling, unschooling, dieting, not dieting, dieting again, chronic illness, stupid people, food allergies, and all things real life. You can find her blog at Sacred Ground Sticky Floors, follow her onFacebook or Twitter.

 

 

Renewing My Mind

I crave being made new.

I have a great desire to be a Size 6 and for firm thighs and flat tummy.  However, why do I equate my physical shape with the depths of my salvation?

They are hardly the same thing.

Somewhere in the twists and turns of thought and belief, I have convinced myself my mind is lacking.  I further the insanity by affirming said ideas when I look in the mirror.  What is this malady of lies I foster and feed?  When did I first believe that my appearance formulated my spirit?  If tomorrow I were to meet with an accident and lost a limb would I believe in Jesus any less?

By no means.

Would a handicap define me as lacking in my belief that Jesus died so that I might walk in the freedom of my salvation?

If this were true, why the Cross…. Continue reading and LINK UP!  

#RaRaLink UP

Grief Isn’t a Lack of Faith

Post by:Jami Amerine

From the windows of my bedroom on the second story of our home on our 640-acre ranch, I could see the sky morphing from daytime to a water colored twilight.

The master bedroom glowed with purple hues.

My husband Justin, always generous and thoughtful, had excused me for the evening.  I could hear the acquainted sundown clamor.  One of the college children was home to help. Our 14-year-old daughter would help too.  The three youngest, our two adopted toddler sons and our infant foster daughter laughed, hollered, and then one of them began to cry.  Dishes clapped, a chair scraped across the dining room floor. All the normal sounds heard on any normal evening in our normal lives played out like a recording.

Tonight wasn’t normal.

Having just learned we would begin the transitioning of our foster daughter to her birth home I was a wreck.  Make no mistake, I have championed her momma, I love her.  She is my friend, she is a good mom.  Still, this sweet child has brought nothing but joy and laughter to our home.  She is delightful.  For the last year, she has been a cherished part of our family.

I was slain with grief.

I ignored my instinct to remove my mascara. I was not interested in protecting my 800-count white cotton sheets.  I needed to cut loose and grieve.  My phone buzzed alerts on my nightstand, I didn’t move.  I just cried heaving sobs and blew my nose, repeatedly into a tattered Kleenex… eventually crying myself into a deep slumber.

Later, sticky eyes pried open to a pitch black room.  I reached to my side for Justin, he wasn’t there.  I picked up my phone and tried to make out the time.

2:17 am.

And then… I remembered.  Grief washed over me again. Safely alone I said it out loud, “God, I am so sorry I lost it. I am so sorry my faith is so weak.  I am so sorry for…”

Grieving?

Crying?

Mourning a loss?

I sat up, my head pounded.  My nose was efficiently slammed shut.  “No, I am sorry… “

That you will miss that baby girl?

That your relationship with she and her momma are now irresolute?

That your work, work you love, is ending?

I reached for the lamp on my nightstand and switched it on and then opened a package of makeup removing wipes.  I wiped my face and continued to attempt to repent for… grieving.

In my sorrow, I had convinced myself I was somehow lacking.  In my hurt, I had managed to negate the gift of tears.  In my uncertainty, I had belittled my role as daughter of the Most High, having every confidence that stoic patented me faithful.

Rest.

Cry.

Let me comfort you.

I kicked off my shoes, removed my earrings and in a most artistic fashion, removed my bra without so much as unbuttoning my blouse. I switched off the light and heard Justin’s muffled snores coming from the family room.

Thank you for Justin.

Thank you for the children.

Thank you for the gift of tears.

I yawned and my lungs burned with the fatigue of grief.  Hot tears escaped my weary eyes. Yet I knew, this was not a sign of my unbelief. No, this was a sign I was blessed among the mourning and loved and cared for as the weary.  I lamented the times I had missed out on being fully loved and favored for by my Father in Heaven, somehow believing the lie that grief was indicative of a lack of faith.

A lie from the enemy.

I do not doubt the Father’s love.  I do not question His devotion to the baby girl I have loved as my own.  I do not believe He will not continue the good works he has instilled in her birthmother.  Why would I feel that my heartache counts me less than devout?

My breath steadied, and I felt myself slipping back into the comfort of His blessing, rest.  Good Father, Mastermind, and Creator of tears, laughter, and all emotion, every state of being and every stage of life. He blessed me with these life affirming emotions, no longer will I consider they somehow nullify the gift of my salvation – the majesty of faith – faith that counts me worthy.

Thank you, Jesus.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

Read More:
Grace for One Who Self-Condemns
Why God Really Has A Better Way
Can I Just Stay Here a Little While?

Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

547592_3961306391397_890561921_n (1)Jami Amerine is a wife, and mother to anywhere from 6-8 children. Jami and her husband Justin are active foster parents and advocates for foster care and adoption. Jami’s Sacred Ground Sticky Floors is fun, inspirational, and filled with utter lunacy with a dash of hope. Jami holds a degree in Family and Consumer Sciences (yes Home Ec.) and can cook you just about anything, but don’t ask her to sew. She also holds a Masters Degree in Education, Counseling, and Human Development. Her blog includes topics on marriage, children, babies, toddlers, learning disabilities, tweens, teens, college kids, adoption, foster care, Jesus, homeschooling, unschooling, dieting, not dieting, dieting again, chronic illness, stupid people, food allergies, and all things real life. You can find her blog at Sacred Ground Sticky Floors, follow her onFacebook or Twitter.

The Care and Keeping of a Mean Girl

Post by: Jami Amerine

At a recent doctor’s appointment, I learned my physician suspected that the greatest health crisis I was facing was… dehydration.  That’s right, I am thirsty.

I consider myself fairly intelligent when it comes to health and nutrition.  I confess, I am embarrassed by this diagnosis.  Alas, I knew he was correct.  And the fact of the matter is, I don’t have time to drink eight, 8 oz. glasses of water a day.  On the days I do get that much water in my thirsty body, I don’t have time to make it to the bathroom in an efficient ratio of water in, urine out… so I am fairly miserable for 90% of the 64 ounces.

Needless to say, I left my doctor’s office feeling defeated, depleted and discouraged. There isn’t any way that my scale can be ten pounds lower than his. Is he just a vindictive mad scientist?  I sat in my car and had a hale and hearty cry and then as I examined myself in the mirror, I began to multitask. I reapplied mascara and lip gloss while listing all things I find most awful about myself.

Fat.
Loser.
Lazy.
Dehydrated.
Whiner.

Horrible at math, mostly weights and measures.

Exasperated.
Phoney.

And the worst of all… mean.

I am a very mean girl.

I called the friend who was babysitting our young son and two foster placements and told her I would be there in an hour. I went to the store and bought her a lovely fall floral arrangement and the ingredients to put a fragrant squash soup in her crock pot for dinner. Crusty bread and an apple pie were added to my basket.

I would take great care of my friend for helping me.

On my way to the checkout, I stopped and grabbed chocolates for my sister, my husband’s favorite cookies, and the children’s favored frozen pizza.  I scurried to the other side of the store and thoughtfully picked lovely greeting cards to bless my friends, our foster-daughter’s birth mom and her caseworker too.  Just before I checked out, I filled my basket with an abundance of toiletries for our three oldest children  who are at college. Then I made my way to the gift wrapping aisle to find bright colored bags to put the shampoos, shaving gels, creams, lotions, and deodorants in;  if I hurried I could leave the bags at their dorms before I picked up my babies.

When I climbed back in my car, quite pleased with the purchases, I would bless my darlings with, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. Immediately I began to admonish myself, I forgot to grab myself any water.  I rehashed the list of my faults:

Chubby.

Dumb.

Slothful.

Parched.

Grumbler.

Frustrated.

Fake.

And the worst of all… mean.

I am a very mean girl.

About that time my daughter called to ask about my doctor appointment. I reported to her my struggle and she chirped, “OH MY GOSH MOM!  You must get this new app!  It’s called plant nanny!”

I followed her instructions and downloaded the app. I picked a cute little cartoon plant and begrudgingly entered my weight and read my results. The plant nanny decided how much water I must drink to keep my little imaginary plant conscious alive. The little seedling blinked at me with trusting animated eyes and I cooed at the psychological entrapment that would force me to drink enough water to nurture the cybernetic life into a blooming dependant illusion.

Over the next few days, I became more diligent in my pursuit of water. My iPhone would alert, my little make-believe Japanese succulent would bat her eyes at me and I would drink, click, and apply “water” to my H2O conscious companion.  I treated that animated being like royalty, then on the 4th day, a tragedy arose.

I lost my phone.

I turned the house upside down, it was nowhere to be found.  Later that evening, I recovered my phone between the  couch cushions.  When I opened the plant nanny app I knew immediately, the app had died of thirst.

Fat.

Loser.

Lazy.

Dehydrated.

Killer of simulated Japanese succulents…

And the familiar voice hummed in my ears, “You are so mean… you were so good to tend to that imaginary plant.  You are so kind to your neighbors, orphans, and case workers. You observe such careful and tedious attention to everyone, but you are so mean to My girl.”

I know this to be true.

The things that come out of my mouth toward myself are brutal. The TLC I afford those around me is stellar. The attention I bestowed upon the animated succulent … was criminal compared to the neglected efforts I make to grab myself, His girl – an artless glass of water.

I am most convicted of this, I may look as though I love my neighbor… but how could I possibly when I so blatantly despise myself?  How can I be so hard and ugly to the daughter of the Most High?  How can I spend so much energy on what I deem righteous and be so cruel to myself?  He who died for me, that I might be called blameless… His girl. I agreed with Him. It was not what He wanted for me. He wants me to recognize, I am clothed in His goodness. He sees me as perfected. He adores me as His own.

I have neglected the gift of my inheritance, daughter of Jehovah.  I deleted my plant nanny app.  I applied mascara and powdered my nose.  I grabbed my glass off the table and filled it with new water.

Water that this beautiful girl needs to bless the nations with wealth, prosperity and the Good News of Jesus Christ.

A champion for the little guy, a woman on a mission. Refreshed and adequately warned, don’t mess with His girl.

And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, a slain offering and sacrifice to God – a sweet fragrance. Ephesians 5: 2

Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

547592_3961306391397_890561921_n (1)Jami Amerine is a wife, and mother to anywhere from 6-8 children. Jami and her husband Justin are active foster parents and advocates for foster care and adoption. Jami’s Sacred Ground Sticky Floors is fun, inspirational, and filled with utter lunacy with a dash of hope. Jami holds a degree in Family and Consumer Sciences (yes Home Ec.) and can cook you just about anything, but don’t ask her to sew. She also holds a Masters Degree in Education, Counseling, and Human Development. Her blog includes topics on marriage, children, babies, toddlers, learning disabilities, tweens, teens, college kids, adoption, foster care, Jesus, homeschooling, unschooling, dieting, not dieting, dieting again, chronic illness, stupid people, food allergies, and all things real life. You can find her blog at Sacred Ground Sticky Floors, follow her onFacebook or Twitter.

 

 

 

The Gift I Have Refused…

Post by: Jami Amerine

My dad and his older brother have a favorite tale they expose about their youth. Their younger brother was a studious boy. He would finish his homework and then go to bed before the sun went down, in an effort to be well rested for school the next day. After he’d been sound asleep for about an hour, my dad and his brother would wake their younger brother for school.  The poor boy would get up, dress, and scramble upstairs for breakfast.  Their mother would be the first to alert the poor dupe of the prank.

Recently, alone in a hotel, I was so duped. I fell asleep at 8:45 in the evening.  We have seven children, and I had been hectic away from home at speaking engagements. I was exhausted.  When I woke I barely recognized my surroundings. I got up, made a pot of coffee, pulled on my cozy robe and opened the light blocking drapes. I was pleased to see the sun wasn’t up yet. As I opened my computer, I smiled to myself; I would have an entire day to work alone in the hotel and I was eager to get started.

That is when I saw the time.

It was only 12:15 am.  I had been asleep less than four hours.

Granted four hours of uninterrupted sleep at home is nothing short of a miracle. Between the teens texting to ask me if I am awake, the toddlers requiring comfort after a nightmare, and the baby demanding a bottle – I rarely get unremitting sleep.

I turned off the coffee pot, closed the drapes, and climbed back into the crispy, hotel grade, Egyptian cotton sheets.

It was both a relief… and a burden.

I lie there giggling to myself.  And then, I worried about my husband, home alone with our brood.  He was probably exhausted too.  I felt dejected I wasn’t there to help him.

Unable to fall back to sleep, I got up and worked until 5, fell asleep on my keyboard and was startled awake at 7:20 when the neighbor in the adjoining room started his shower.

I felt all the pangs of a protracted night and my keyboard was firmly imprinted on my left cheek.

I drug my weary body to the shower and stretched the kinks out of my neck and back.  Steam chased me from the bathroom and I poured a cup of stale coffee into a sorry little Styrofoam cup and added powdered cream. I stared out of the window at the foreign town, straining to spy a Starbucks on the horizon.

As bitter java assaulted my tongue, I bemoaned the day before me.

The sun poured out the freshness of a new morning, yet I felt less than fresh. Scripture floated into my mind, “Come to me all you who are weary, I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

Yet, in spite of the rest, He offers me, I sleep on my keyboard and then bathe in culpability when I put my feet up to take a break.

Rest.

I associate rest with something shameful rather than a blessing.

Curious, the Maker of Heaven and Earth produced this body for survival in an unconscious state. Eyes closed, breath steady, mind in a playground of non-sense, unprovoked folly, escapism, and suppressed considerations.  Occasionally, darkness creeps in and a chase ensues or great terrors play out, still, He fashioned me for slumber.

To rest.

Society demands I work harder, invest more and rest less. He waits for me. The blessing of rest in His gentle hand, and instead of wrapping up in His majestic creation of slumber, mind, and body – I analyze, supervise, and contrive.

I am weary. And I am most weary of the weariness. Self-induced standards of being most effective, crowning production, and the bragging rites of minimal repose.

If He were here now, if I stood before my Lord and He presented me with a lovely package; a medium sized box wrapped in shiny paper, an enormous bow, glitter, and streamers, would I decline the offering?

Would I boastfully retort, “I don’t need that from you.”

Oh, my stars! The mere thought slays me. Yet, I refuse Him… often.

But not today. Today, I closed the heavy swathes of my room. With lotioned flesh and a soaking wet head, I slipped back into the pajamas I had tossed aside before my shower.  I hung the “DO NOT DISTURB” sign on the outside doorknob.  A mischievous smile crept across my face. I poured another cup of coffee and snickered when I uncovered two tiny cups of liquid creamer underneath the packets of dehydrated Coffee-mate powder. How had I missed those?

A gift.

A gift of rest.  I might write.  I might watch the I Love Lucy marathon on channel 18.  I might nap. A package of crackers and bottled water sit on my nightstand. Today, I accept the gift of rest.  This is a rare occasion, still, I wonder, how many days I neglected the gift? A load of laundry dominates the opportunity to cuddle on the couch with my babies. Running to the grocery store in lieu of a lunch date with my husband, or staying up another hour to catch up on that which will never actually ever be fully settled.

Coffee with a friend; bubble baths or just a moment alone on the closet floor begging His help maneuvering homework and dinner – so that I might sleep just an hour before the baby wakes.

A good Father, Creator of the gift of rest.  And more than this rare occasion where I celebrate loneliness, I know I will need the rest He offers in times of worry, heartache, and grief.  What will I say then? Lord, I pray I remember you stand in wait with the majesty of rest. Rest only you can bring me.

Thank you for that, my Lord.  Thank you.

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547592_3961306391397_890561921_n (1)Jami Amerine is a wife, and mother to anywhere from 6-8 children. Jami and her husband Justin are active foster parents and advocates for foster care and adoption. Jami’s Sacred Ground Sticky Floors is fun, inspirational, and filled with utter lunacy with a dash of hope. Jami holds a degree in Family and Consumer Sciences (yes Home Ec.) and can cook you just about anything, but don’t ask her to sew. She also holds a Masters Degree in Education, Counseling, and Human Development. Her blog includes topics on marriage, children, babies, toddlers, learning disabilities, tweens, teens, college kids, adoption, foster care, Jesus, homeschooling, unschooling, dieting, not dieting, dieting again, chronic illness, stupid people, food allergies, and all things real life. You can find her blog at Sacred Ground Sticky Floors, follow her onFacebook or Twitter.

Can I Just Stay Here a Little While?

Post by: Jami Amerine

It was an ugly cry; nostrils flaring; with an occasional snort/hiccup/whimper/wail.

On my white blouse, there were traces of snot and black tears.

I knew full well, this meant mascara was streaming down my cheeks and that I looked – dreadful.

This made sense because this how I felt, dreadful.  And vain as I am, I didn’t care that I looked a wreck. Pieces of my heart were going to being left in this “men’s” dorm. My sons would now live here, in halls that smelled like feet and corn nuts.  Here on the second floor of a dormitory I had blazed past 1,001 times during my studies at Abilene Christian University, I was about to leave not one son, but two.

The “man-babies,” John and Luke tried to pity me, bless them. But truth be told, their demeanors could not hide the thrill.  A new episode, a world they have not known, outside the confines of our rules and our ideals. To the man-babies the halls did not reek of burnt pop-tarts and jock itch spray, to them it smelled of freedom. The future was labeled clearly over the doors of Mabee Hall, rooms 208 and 255.

Luke pat/hugged me and kissed our foster daughter that sat casually on my hip. She was oblivious, but I couldn’t help notice that the hug was accompanied by a gentle escort out the door. “I’ll call you mom, and thanks.”

The door shut and a sob escaped me.

And my blurry eyes were relieved to see him as he ambled toward me. At nearly 6’4” my baby boy was as unacquainted as acquainted.  John lifted his cleft chin in my direction with a casual “hey, I am around the other side.” The corners of his mouth quivered as he tried to be cool and not appear too giddy. In a swift movement he lifted his foster sister from my arms and in lanky, cowboy booted strides escorted us to his new room.

Just like Luke, my hug goodbye was laced with a gentle shove out the door.  John had to run back to his car and then meet friends, so he was a little more abrupt. I stood surrounded by student workers hauling mini fridges, parents no better off than I, and the buzz of adventure vibrating in the stale air.

I thought out loud, “I didn’t get a picture of them in their rooms!” I looked toward the exit and yelped, “John! I wanted…” and caught the last glimpse of John’s back before he swiftly turned onto the staircase.

And that picture is burned in my mind.

I keep looking at it. I can’t stop replaying it.

Soaked with tears and the heavy weight of the end of a cherished chapter, I made it to my car. I buckled the baby in her car seat and waited for my husband. In the distance I could see Justin and our two youngest sons heading toward me. We would leave here and go home to our new normal. We’d done this before when our oldest daughter moved into the dorm, on the same campus two years before.  But this was different.  Maggie is my friend, with John and Luke, I know the man-babies wouldn’t be around or text or call like Maggie does.  I know… nothing will ever be the same.

I turned up the radio to blaring toddler tunes so the littles would not be alarmed by my sobs.  I made grilled cheese for the boys; I choked down a salad, and bedded everyone down for a nap. I kicked off my shoes, grabbed a box of Kleenex and climbed into my bed.

I know you think I wanted to stay there; to hang out a little longer at that dorm and make sure they had everything they needed.  Alas, it was time to go. And here, now, in cool sheets with a red nose and swollen eyes I let loose in the place I longed to be. Alone with my God, I cried and prayed. My phone buzzed, I needn’t look to see, words of encouragement, messages of “been there… it will be okay, they’ll be fine…” Had I responded I would have said, “Please leave me alone, I just want to stay here a little longer.”

I didn’t want encouragement. I didn’t want to pull it together or stop the waves of heartache.  I wanted to weep and reminisce.  I wanted to lie there, imagining my head in the lap of my Comforter – my only Hope.  As sad as I was, and as much hurt as I felt, I was right where l wanted to be.

Our society doesn’t grieve well.  We pick up and trudge on to the next thing. We hate to hurt. We despise the low places and we do our best cover the agony with sensory indulgences… an ice cream cone, wine, or new stilettos.

Can I Just Stay Here a Little While?

Will you let me own this hurt?

Here I lie crumpled at the foot of the cross. In this place of my brokenness, there is a view that I can only see through the eyes of my suffering.  Let me stay.  Not to wallow in self-pity, but to weep in the arms of my Father.  Just for a while let me hurt. Just for a little longer let me embrace the great Healer.  He knows me, He remembers what I remember.  I know the man-babies have to go, I am not so dull. But just let me stay here a little longer and visit with the only One who can see the snapshots stored in my heart and head. Here in the quiet, surrounded by decrepit tissues and a tear soaked pillow case I need only to grieve without excuse. No condemnation, no pity, no “pull yourself together.”

Can I Just Stay Here a Little While?

Please, for here with my God is my favorite place to be.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”  Matthew 5:4

Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.


547592_3961306391397_890561921_n (1)Jami Amerine
is a wife, and mother to anywhere from 6-8 children. Jami and her husband Justin are active foster parents and advocates for foster care and adoption. Jami’s Sacred Ground Sticky Floors is fun, inspirational, and filled with utter lunacy with a dash of hope. Jami holds a degree in Family and Consumer Sciences (yes Home Ec.) and can cook you just about anything, but don’t ask her to sew. She also holds a Masters Degree in Education, Counseling, and Human Development. Her blog includes topics on marriage, children, babies, toddlers, learning disabilities, tweens, teens, college kids, adoption, foster care, Jesus, homeschooling, unschooling, dieting, not dieting, dieting again, chronic illness, stupid people, food allergies, and all things real life. You can find her blog at Sacred Ground Sticky Floors, follow her onFacebook or Twitter.

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