Today, I am thrilled to introduce you to my friend and fellow author, Jami Amerine, whose second book, Sacred Ground Sticky Floors: How Less-Than-Perfect Parents Can Raise (Kind of) Great Kids, releases this Tuesday, Oct. 2 (the same day as the first She Found Joy Lades Night Out 2018 National Tour event … oh happy day!!!). I really think Jami’s guest post is going to encourage your heart today, and I know her book will speak to your soul and help you keep finding the miracle in the mayhem of life. (Spoiler alert: That miracle is the love and grace of Jesus.)
What is this illogical beast I have created? When did I first believe that God thought I was a red-hot mess? I mean, I know I am a red-hot mess … and obviously, He knows, I know, well, you know. I am left to ponder the parable of the prodigal son. But truly, the prodigal isn’t the issue. The other brother is.
I imagine the silence of a house with a son gone. I have experienced this, on a couple of levels. Our son, Luke, had to be sent away for a season. I know, it sounds as awful as it was. At the time, we would have done anything to save him… from himself. Now, he is 18, that season well behind us. He loves to wrestle with our two youngest sons, Sam, 6 and Charlie, 4. He cooks, and he cleans, we watch movies and he texts me and says, “Hey, I love you mom.”
And he has had opportunities to leave and go live with friends or travel, but he loves being home. A prayer answered. Our other son, John, is 20 and a Marine. Yeah, a Marine. His absence is deafening. And truth be told, he won’t be back. He is engaged and madly in love with the red head he’s like-liked since the fifth grade. He will always be my son, but I know, it will never be the same. And yes, this is okay. It was to be expected. But I won’t lie, I miss the days when he was home, eating all the cheese and wrestling with his brothers.
I am afforded modern technological advances that make communication easier, but I can’t imagine what it would be like, to have no idea. And that is how I picture this man’s house, the infamous father of the prodigal son. His wife dissolved to tears of worry and loss. The other son, desperate to make up for the disappointments his brother inflicted on the household.
I have created images of a warm afternoon. Olive trees bulging with ripe fruit. Bees and butterflies darting about the wildflowers. Birds adding to the fragrance and delight of a perfect mid-day chorus. Livestock lazily grazing in the fields. A babbling brook and an aged well, sheep and chickens napping in the sun. And, just up the hill a large stucco home sits high, the sea just barely in view. And it is then he is spotted. Servants rush to the house and the father, so delighted to know his boy is okay, runs out the door barking orders for a feast, desperate to hold his man-child, and welcome him home.
Most certainly you know the rest; the other son begins to stew. He goes about his chores, madly and aggressively slamming things about. He was doing everything right, and no one ever celebrated him. When his father inquires, “what is wrong?” He lashes out at the injustices he feels he’s faced. And the father’s learned response, “All I have is yours son?”
And this sums up how I viewed God. I did all the things. We adopted and fostered babies, I made organic spinach smoothies, and I rarely cussed. I taught Sunday school and volunteered. We paid our tithes and did not cheat, steal, or lie. Yet I felt jilted, as if I was being ignored. Bad things happened, and I submitted to the belief God was “teaching me something.” I repented and begged, convinced I was the worst, a prodigal daughter who shifted back and forth in the receipt of my inheritance.
Truly, although I neglected to acknowledge Him as honest, I doubted He could really love a wretch like me. I never left and piddled away my inheritance. No, I just sulked, miserable that things weren’t better, fairer. All along I wandered the halls of a sacred home, a place where He dwells, believing fully in my squalor.
“All that I have is yours…”
And I cannot regret the time I missed. The banquet hall I stood outside of, wishing to partake but too busy trying to earn my place. In my hand I imagine the hand-written invitation lovingly signed, Abba.
This was the heavy burden of a walk with a condemning and demanding God. Most often I consider what it is like to just be with my children. Their invitation to be my child was an organic passage sealed only in love. In Luke’s hardest season, I was most in tune with how much I craved a peaceful existence, how much I missed his sincerity, his dimples and easy laugh. I craved his company and longed to just watch movies and visit. When he returned, there was no begging for repentance, I was entirely relieved he was home.
Simultaneously, John was a delight. But I cannot recall him ever asking, “am I still your son?” His place in our family is secure. He is our boy, err… Marine. For a season, as I exposed the message of grace, and the truth of my inheritance as daughter, these images were most intense and concentrated. Not one of my children, whether honor roll or paroled have asked, “Am I still your child?” When they have succeeded they have never run to me and said, “Do you love me more now?” Moreover, when they have stumbled or failed, they have never approached me afraid to ask, “Do you still love me?”
This is most paramount in a relationship with anyone. Conditional love, one that can be bought or traded for something better, that is a love I have no interest in pursuing. Still, I believed in a performance-based relationship with the God who died for me. Here among the fatigued and broken believers I propose we are standing outside the banquet hall, bartering for a ticket.
“All that I have is yours…”
Come to the Table
Come in. Sit at the table with the God who heard your name as He was brutalized and answered “Yes.” For her, if it was only her, I will do this, so I can be with her forever. Bought and paid for, the yes, you murmured to the Jesus who died earned you a place at the table. No matter the calamity, failure, accolade, or misfortune He is with you and for you.
No longer do I live as the son down the hill, trekking his way back to the father he rejected. I live as the son down the hall, with all the right and privileges of my birthright. I am His girl. I needn’t ask or strive or crave His sweet company… All He has is mine and all that I am is He who died.
Welcome to the table dear one, the feast has only just begun.
“All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them.” John 17:10
She is the wife of Justin, mom to Maggie, John (Marine-baby), Luke, Sophie, Sam & Charlie (the vandals.) She love words, chocolate, coffee, painting and Real Jesus. Jami and Justin have been married for 25 years… the original 4 babies are their biological children and then they started all over with foster care and adoption adding the new batch. They recently moved from their ranch in West Texas to the Houston area just in time for the launch of her first book, Stolen Jesus: An Unconventional Search for the Real Savior.
About Her New Book
From 9/17/18-9/30/18 if you pre-order Sacred Ground Sticky Floors from this link https://amzn.to/2PMnJlt and then EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org you’ll be entered to win an autographed copy of Stolen Jesus, an autographed copy of Made Like Martha by Katie M. Reid, a Sacred Ground Sticky Floors coffee mug, a $25 Starbucks card, and a $134 Luxury Bath Package from LUSH cosmetics!