Anticipating Grief: Embracing Grace in Oncoming Fear {Rays in the Storm Series}

rays in the storm series

To continue our Rays in the Storm series, I’m excited to introduce you to my friend Jami Amerine. If there’s one word I’d use to describe Jami’s writing, it’s “real.” She says the things most of us want to say but are usually afraid to put out there, and I respect and admire her for it. She is truly one of a kind and gives fresh perspective to often difficult subjects. I thank God our paths crossed in the writing world, and I hope you’ll give her a warm welcome today as she talks about grace in the midst of a grief that goes deep.

Anticipating Grief: Embracing Grace in Oncoming Fear

My husband walked the floor with the little cherub.

She was perfect.

All of our last foster placements were boys.

It was a joy to have this doll baby in our home. And we came to serve, not be served.

But the truth is, I had wanted a little girl for a long time.

Not my will be done, but thine.

As my husband walked the floor with the pink bundle, he sang George Straight lullabies. She cooed and a tiny hand reached up and touch his beard. I saw her smile at him, he smiled back and continued to croon.

My heart lurched. My throat tightened. My eyes burned.

“Oh honey,” a whimper escaped my lips, “she will only be here for a while, don’t get…”

The words caught in my throat. How I hated when people told me not to get attached. Still, he was already madly in love with the wee Kewpie-like infant. Big blue eyes, black eyelashes, and rosebud lips.

Anticipating Grief- Embracing Grace in Oncoming Fear

She was perfect.

My husband turned abruptly and shot me a glare. “Don’t what?”

“I, I um,” I stammered. I knew it was nails on a chalkboard to him too.

Don’t get attached. Don’t get hurt. Guard your heart.

His dark eyes latched onto mine and he stated flatly, “She will be loved, FEARLESSLY.”

“You’re right.” I quipped.

And then… I went in my closet and wept.

I dread the hurt. I dread the grief. I dread the image of an unknown car pulling from my driveway with this little one strapped inside. I dread the empty crib. I dread a tiny sock that was lost… and then is found at the most inopportune time.

I dread missing her. I dread my husband, kind and dear… losing her.

In a heap on the floor and grieved for that which hasn’t come to pass, but that we signed up for. And I heard my whimpers, “not fair, why, and please no more.” And somewhere in the midst of heartache grace appears.

Scripture written on my heart breaks through the self-absorbed state of mourning. Yes, mourning that is mine. Mourning that is our family’s, but mourning that needn’t be celebrated yet. And I recite it out loud, although I cannot remember how it is possible I know it so well.

There is a time for everything,

and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,

a time to plant and a time to uproot,

a time to kill and a time to heal,

a time to tear down and a time to build,

a time to weep and a time to laugh,

a time to mourn and a time to dance,

a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,

a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,

a time to search and a time to give up,

a time to keep and a time to throw away,

a time to tear and a time to mend,

a time to be silent and a time to speak,

a time to love and a time to hate,

a time for war and a time for peace. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)

And I rise from my fetal position and wash my face. Showered in grace and a new breath of strength. I go to my husband and foster daughter and laugh. Weeping will come. I dance with them to country tunes, mourning is for later. Now is not the time to refrain from the embrace, now it is not the time to give up.

For every activity under the heavens, there is a time…

And with the fresh grace poured over me like living water I save grieving for such a time under heaven when the season is ordained. In this time of grace, I simply love; fearlessly.

 

job 1-21Jami Amerine is a wife and mother of 6-8 children. Jami and her husband Justin are foster parents and advocates for foster care and adoption. Jami’s Sacred Ground Sticky Floors is fun & inspirational. Jami holds a degree in Family and Consumer Sciences (yes Home Ec.) and a Master’s Degree in Education, Counseling, & Human Development. You can find her crazy amusing blog at http://sacredgroundstickyfloors.com/ or check her out on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/sacredgrounds.stickyfloors/ or Twitter at https://twitter.com/jamiamerine

 

 

Loving Through the Risk

greater love

My husband and I have a running joke that when our three-year-old reaches the dating age, he is going to be trouble.

He loves anyone and everyone, but his affection toward the ladies overflows. As Daddy drove him to the hardware store over the weekend, he rolled down the window, blowing kisses to the female in the vehicle next to them.

When they reached their destination, my husband watched in horror as the blushing woman turned in behind them. Fortunately, it turns out kids my boy’s age are more cute than offensive.

His complete confidence that his love would be reciprocated got me wondering, “When do we lose that?” Or when do we start to care if we’re avoided?

It seems as though we reach a certain age and lose our childlike joy in extending uncontained, extravagant love. Is it the first time we’re rejected? Or do we decide it’s inappropriate?

Maybe blowing kisses to everyone we meet would raise a few eyebrows, but I can’t help but think we’d be better off if we kept our childlike boldness when we moved into adulthood. It takes a brave soul to move past worry of being rejected and embrace community.

Every person I see today is not just a face, but a living soul. And yet I so often when I see people, I think more about myself and their opinion of me.

I avoid eye contact with the neighbor at the market and say it’s because my kids are getting restless for dinner. I ignore the nudge to reach out to a new mom because I’m not sure how she’ll respond.

When I consider the lavish love God has poured into my life, I am convicted.

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 1 John 3:1 NIV

Friends, our love for others should be so bold and brave the world does not recognize it. They should look at us like Judas gawked at Mary when she poured perfume worth a year’s wages on Jesus’ feet: with complete disbelief.

Once we are in Christ, we are no longer people of the world. As Amanda Bible Williams of She Reads Truth poignantly puts it, “The Gospel is your context now.”

Our lives should breathe the aroma of Christ crucified in us.

When we see each person as a soul instead of a face, we can move past fear of rejection because we see the bigger picture. We realize the power of the Spirit in us goes far beyond our feeble attempts for acceptance.

Christ’s love in me is greater than fear of rejection toward me.

So the next time I see my three-year-old blowing kisses at a complete stranger, I will follow his lead. I will reach out a hand to the person with the heavy load who needs me.

I will make eye contact with the neighbor who crushed my ego.

I will remember I am not working for my own self-image, but for a crown to lay at my Savior’s feet.

 

*Photo credit (text and enhancement added)

*Linking up with Suzie Eller and Susan B. Mead. Come join us and be inspired.

The Glue That Binds

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Did you know that He prayed for you?  For me?  Before I was ever a glimmer of life in my mother’s eye, my Savior thought of me.

He didn’t pray that I’d have a trouble free life, that I’d make enough money to pay all the bills, or that I’d never experience heartbreak.  He prayed for unity.  With my brothers and sisters in Christ, with the people on the other side of the world I will probably never meet, with the neighbors who always let their dog leave presents in our yard.

In a world where we divide ourselves political stance, financial position, denomination and doctrinal views, Jesus prayed that we would be one.

His blood is the glue that holds us together.  He didn’t bleed only for me.  He also bled for a prophet who, when given instruction, fled in the opposite direction.  He bled for the thief who hung beside Him.

He bled for the one who denied Him three times, and upon his return, instead of badgering him, hung Himself out in the space between them, saying, “Do you love me?”

His Love is the glue.

He became the blackness that divided us from Heaven, his own body bearing the weight of it, and in that moment is own Father had to turn his back so that you and I could be free.

Free to choose.  And yet still some will say, “no.”  Still those of us who say, “yes” fight amongst each other.

I am a ligament that makes up a finger and you are another.  See that woman over there? She is the ear that hears the cries of the weak and says, “Mercy.”

We are One. God, help me not to be a lone part of the body trying to function without your Light, but a living, working part of the whole.

 

This was written in response to Lisa-Jo Baker’s Five Minute Friday prompt, glue.  Five Minute Friday is a wonderful community that gathers each week for uninhibited, glorious writing on one word for five minutes flat.  You can learn more by clicking the link below.

 

Five Minute Friday