I hope you’ve been enjoying the Listen Close, Listen Well series. I am deeply grateful to dear writing friends who’ve shared their words and heart in this space so I can be freed up to love on our little Songbird. Baby #5 started sleeping through the night, so she’s transitioning to big sister’s bedroom—glory!
I’m delighted to invite a fellow member of “Martha’s Fan Club” to the blog (tightly wound women unite!) as we learn to listen better. Jami is one of the most generous friends I know and it warms my heart to introduce her to you. Grab a chair and your sweet tea as we drink in this story of surrender.
It Is Over!
By, Jami Amerine
“I can’t. Every morning it is like a brand new day!” I sobbed.
My dear husband, Justin, tried to console me, “Jami, I just think we need more help than you can offer him.”
More sobs. How is it possible that a woman with a Master’s degree in Education is unable to educate her beloved son?
But I couldn’t.
“It is just the word ‘the,’ every day he sounds it out BACKWARDS! E-HA-TTT. It’s just THE!” I wailed. My heart was breaking. From the very first day of kindergarten, I was determined things would be different for sweet John.
He wouldn’t be labeled.
He wouldn’t be shamed.
He wouldn’t feel the heartbreak I had felt—and his father, grandfather, and uncles had felt as a struggling student.
Justin urged me to go get my bath and try and unwind. Homeschooling the children was truly the most fun I had ever had. As I soaked in fragrant bubbles I wept at the thought of John absent from our one room classroom. Failure seeped from my pores. My head pounded, my chest clenched as I imagined John in a strange classroom, in a tiny desk, confused, and miserable.
I cried the kind of cry you might remember from childhood, no sound came, I could barely catch my breath. A shattered moan escaped my constricted throat, “Jesus…” I lay my head back on the cool porcelain. My eyes, half swollen, half desperate, succumbed to rest. Tears crept down my flushed cheeks. I sucked in a jagged breath and finally filled my depleted lungs. A new wave of sustenance swept over me. “Jesus, I don’t know how to help John anymore.”
I waited. I don’t know for what.
In the silence of the expiring bubbles, I heard, “Kenley School.”
I didn’t stir. My heart began to pick up speed.
Again, “Kenley School.”
Out loud to the empty Master on-suite, I said, “I don’t think we can afford a private school?”
“I just need to spend more time with him. I just need to get some different curriculum. I bet that if I only…” And this time much clearer. “Kenley school. It’s over. Let me help you both.”
I reached the hot water faucet with overly soaked toes and turned it full throttle. Steam erupted and bubbles rejuvenated. I melted into the perfumed bath, the blistering water, and the serene seclusion. Slipping deeper into acceptance. It was over. I wept tears of resolve, submission, and relief.
I emerged from my temporary retreat. Steam chased me into our room, illuminated simply by purple evening sky. I could hear Justin and the kids laughing in the family room. He had turned down the bed. Ice water chilled on my nightstand.
I climbed into cool sheets and curled into a fetal position. Tomorrow I would call Kenley School. God would provide the funds to pay for the tiny private school that John needed—that I needed. Again, I inhaled a deep sense of relief.
It was over.
Looking back on the relinquishment, listening well and listening close, I am forever blessed. John stayed at Kenley for two years. He attended on a substantial scholarship. He was a leader among his peers. He looked out for others, he befriended the little guy. He learned to read. He learned to cope with his struggles. He grew in a thousand ways in that tiny school for struggling students. In May of this year, John graduated from our homeschool. He is kind, hilarious, and loves Jesus. He is pursuing EMT certification before he enlists in the Navy, where he hopes to work as a first responder. When he told me this, once again I found myself heaving sobs in the bath.
And the whisper… “It’s over. I’ll take care of you both.”
“Jesus, take this man-child, sweet John, use him to profess your greatness. Use all that you have created in him to do. Thank you for carrying that which is far too heavy for me.”
And I sank into the steamy waters and let John go, again.
The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.” Psalm 118:6
With Open Hands,
Jami 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 holds a degree in Family and Consumer Sciences (yes Home Ec.) and a Master’s Degree in Education, Counseling, & Human Development. Jami recently signed her first book contract with Harvest House. You can find Jami at her crazy amusing blog, Sacred Grounds, Sticky Floors, or check her out on Facebook or Twitter. If you are a writer be sure to check out Jami’s FREE writing resource, Ladder to the Rooftop!
Read the rest of the Listen Close, Listen Well series below:
Not Ours to Give Away by Tiffany Parry
Lean In My Daughters by Kerrington Sweeney
Listening When It’s Loud by Teri Lynne Underwood
Fear and Doorknobs by Kim Osterholzer
What God Wants by Crystal Hall
Preparing a Place by Abby Banfield
The Luxury of Listening by Ashley Hales
His Grace Isn’t Just for Today by Abby McDonald
The God Dare by Kate Battistelli
Out of Your Comfort Zone by Tracey Casciano
Got Milk? God’s Got Answers! by Christy Mobley
On Hearing God and Being Surprised by Kristin Hill Taylor
Put On Your Listening Ears by Karina Allen
Letting Go in Order to “Go” by Martha Reid