Our daughter Sophie expects good things.
When she was about 4, we went on a family vacation to Colorado. While on the grand camping adventure, we took a detour, and rode a train, The Narrow Gauge, through the mountains from Durango to Silverton. As the locomotive chugged up the canyon overlooking white rapid rivers, stony drops and curves, Sophie sat next to my dad, “Papa” as he pointed out geological formations, trees, and abandoned mines.
Soon, the woman seated in front of them turned and said, “Did I hear you say your granddaughter’s name is Sophie?” My dad answered, “Yes!” The child sitting next to the woman, a little girl in overalls and pigtails, a year or two older than Sophie, stood up in her seat and chirped, “That’s my name too! My name is Sophie Moon!” My Sophie said, “Actooly, my name is Sophie A. Rose Amerine.”
Sophie Moon folded her arms across her chest, “Hmph! I want A Rose for my name! Moon is stupid!”
The story, one of our favorites, is the first time that we realized that our young daughter believed her name to be a description of her visage.
Her name is “actoooly” Sophia Rose Amerine. Lost in her own translation she believed it to be Sophie A. Rose… flower child and bonus baby of Justin G. and Jami J. Amerine.
Sophie’s general demeanor is one of expectation. Able to play the piano by ear since she was only two, Sophie is most irritated and disgusted when something is not within the realm of her expertise. After only two weeks of basketball, she was exasperated and irritated to discover, not only could she not dunk like Michael Jordan, she was barely able to dribble.
Charming as she is rude, she can melt socks off someone who questions her abilities, simply by looking directly into their eyes. Stare at her too long and she will play hacky-sack with your soul. Perhaps, this is where An Open Letter to My Children: You’re Not that Great first started brewing in my brain. I am not one of those people that thinks my kid is better than yours. I always assume my kid is probably the culprit, still I let them explain themselves. And I don’t have a “My Kid is an Honor Student” bumper sticker. This is a two-fold decision:
- Why is this my accomplishment to brag about?
- I have never had a kid that was on the honor roll.
At the Christmas break of this school year, we sent Sophie to public school. After years of home schooling, our vandal toddlers, foster care, and my writing career were trumping home education. Sophie wanted to go.
A week after school started I asked her, “Are you making friends?”
Her reply, “Of course.”
Two weeks in I asked, “Are you able to keep up with the work load?”
Her reply, “Of course.”
And 6-weeks into her first semester in public education I asked, “Did you get a report card?”
To which she replied, “Of course.”
“Do I need to see it or sign it?” I inquired.
To which she answered, “What year is this? 1985? Take off your Tears for Fears t-shirt and check your email.”
In the grand design that is Sophie A. Rose, she had all A’s and continues to walk with her nose and chin high in the air. Granted, pride goeth before the fall. My prayers for Sophie are different than my prayers for my other babies. There is certainly a need for some level of humility that breeds compassion. Knowing her as I do, the fall that will cometh after her pride, will take her most certainly by surprise.
Still, I envy Sophie’s overzealous resolve.
Sophie is the poster child for “success breeds success.”
And is this not what we are called to? Belief in our abilities, our successes and the abundance our Heavenly Father asks us to trust in?
When did I stop believing it was okay to believe? Society and the Christian Machine tend to put bad words on words that were intended to be good. Granted, an abundance and influential message of “believe better and you’ll get more” is a prosperity gospel of voodoo proportions. God is not a genie in a bottle.
He is, however, a good and loving Father.
An “if I do this … then He’ll do this…” or an if/then Jesus as I like to call him, is not the path to a healthy relationship with the Creator of all. However, believing Him as just and good… oh Jesus!
He IS JUST AND GOOD.
I propose we do not believe Him to be so.
I propose we are so accustomed to a language that seeps with poverty and despair that we are missing the forest for the trees. And when I say poverty, I mean… spiritual deprivation, the poorest of poor.
Ironically, among the naysayers of prosperity are the most prosperous folks in the country. With two cars in their garage, savings in their accounts, and an all-inclusive vacation in their budget, the wealthy elite take great offense to the idea that God would indeed like for us to prosper. How can you take offense to prosperity when you are in fact, PROSPERING? However, among their spoils many of these prospering Christians are also wallowing in poverty.
Separated from the true nature of a loving Father, they spout gloom, doom, and demise and wonder why their children are vacating the pew for anything that sounds more hopeful, happy, and healthy than salvation in Jesus Christ.
I am of the firm belief that the pew is so full of distrust and faithlessness that we are no more fishers of men than a naive kid with an empty string on a stick angling in a rain puddle outside a Dunkin’ Donuts.
A belief in a good God, one who, yes provides monetarily, but more provides peace, joy, faith, goodness, kindness, and restoration is the God I was missing. So focused on fixing myself and fully convinced I could foresee the Lord’s last straw, kept me shackled to my misery.
This robe of self-righteous desolation is the catalyst to failure.
Here among the saved, I propose we tilt our noses and chins up in a prideful and resounding gong of “I BELIEVE IN THE PROMISES OF MY LORD JESUS CHRIST!” I believe He is for me. I believe He is with me. I believe He loved me… unto His death on the Cross.
Believing in our success as a beloved child of the Most-High promotes me to believe more about who I am in Him. Believing Him and what He says about me propels me to a higher level of moral standard. I want what He wants.
I am who He says I am. This is a level of success I adore. This is a mindset that oozes a joyfulness that people want to know all about!
And when they ask me, “Ma’am, might I inquire, what are you so happy about?”
I will simply respond, “Of course, I am Jami Jo A. Beloved Daughter of the Most High Amerine.”
May your floors be sticky and your calling ordained. Love, Jami
“Thus, you were adorned with gold and silver, and your dress was of fine linen, silk and embroidered cloth. You ate fine flour, honey and oil; so you were exceedingly beautiful and advanced to royalty. Ezekiel 16:13