New Year: A New Everything, The Jubilee Road
I will start by saying, 2018 was the hardest year of my life. And no, no one died, we are safe and well. However, I was struck hard with the grief of loss from the year before, change, and disappointments.
I think I am most fascinated by how quickly we want that part to be over. But for readers and listeners of my podcast who are also watchers of HGTV, what has to happen on the restoration shows, like Fixer Upper?
The complete teardown of and rebuild has to happen before the big reveal. That process is important. I don’t want to forget it.
Stripped down to the studs we can see the potential for new beginnings.
And that is where I am in this journey.
I confess because it is what I do best, my podcast, which I love to do, has been a red hot mess. Like so many other aspects of my life I have had to take a long hard look at how to fix it up.
I thought because I had been asked to, I would read blog posts.
But again, I confess, it was no fun, and I don’t read well out loud… like I need to tell you this. So I was frustrated and I didn’t want to be frustrated because I love podcasting so much.
SO, Christmas rolled around, and the good news was that the fog was lifting on my depression. All of the sudden I had ideas again for blog posts and my book ideas started flowing again, but the podcast? It left me stumped. I have a notebook of ideas, but when I said them out loud it all seemed flat. I decided to add it to my prayer journal, what to do about the podcast.
And then, I hit rock bottom… again.
I think one of the most important things to remember about depression and grief is that it isn’t resolved by the marking of a new year. It was Wednesday, January third, I wouldn’t know until I checked later that day. I slept later than I usually do, but my phone was dead, so I wasn’t exactly sure what time it was. I started tinkering with a piece of jewelry I have been crafting for my Etsy shop and the vandals would not stop nagging me for food. Braless, in my jammies and raincoat I stormed out of the house to get them donuts.
The donut place was closed.
I just felt so, not myself. Like, I am all about breakfast and loving my children well. But this meltdown had a lot to do with everything else in my life, writing, podcasting, my small art business, and most especially Foster Care.
Here I must tell you, we are not renewing our foster license. I am really very sad about this. But the loss of our long term placement, joybaby even though it was and is a blessing, is just too much for our family to go through again. Furthermore, since joybaby left, God has been giving me glimpses of where foster care reform could be such a HUGE blessing to so many. And, so Justin and I started our Etsy shop with the hope of raising enough funds to eventually have a non-profit program for families like ours who need community and support after the removal of a long-term placement, legal funds for foster families, and greater still…
A Jesus Love program for parents of removed children.
Again, I will interject, the program would not be sexual predators or extreme violent offenses. But, while in foster care, I met a lot of broken mamas. Joy Baby’s momma was and is a great mom. She fell on hard times and met with a harsh addiction. I am stunned by what she was able to overcome. And I believe, my family’s relationship with her, our love for her, and the grace she was afforded, even with as much as we wanted to raise joy baby ourselves, was an important part of her recovery and reunification with her daughter.
It is a long shot. But there are people that work in prison ministries with hardened criminals, that offer more grace to rapists and murderers than we offer parents who are alone, made a mistake, or have been falsely accused.
Jesus love is the solution to restoring these families.
Again, in my experience with family services, I saw some of the most brutal treatment of human beings who were in the most terrifying situation I can fathom. Someone, most likely someone they do not know, has their child.
Just for a moment, I want you to try and imagine all the emotions that would be associated with this.
But on this morning in the parking lot of a closed donut shop, those ideas, my writing career, and a wealth of other struggles and failures seemed as impossible as getting fresh donuts that late in the day.
This was my prayer… Jesus, I need a sign. I don’t want to test you. I promise I know that you owe me nothing. But all this seems impossible. I feel lost and the climb seems dreadful. I didn’t ask for any of this, you literally handed it to me. And now I feel completely abandoned. If any of this matters… if I am supposed to trudge on, I need to know someone heard me. Someone remembers how much I want Jesus love for everyone. How dearly I loved. How much we have lost… and that it matters. Will you do this? Please?
I came home cried all day and waited.
And then, my friend and fellow blogger Shelby Spear messaged me and said I needed to listen to Jen Hatmaker’s podcast with Susan Ramirez. They were talking about a foster care program they are involved in and then Jen said, “We had Jami Amerine on a few months ago talking about foster care…”
I have only talked to Jen Hatmaker a couple of times. I really struggled with the act, but I texted her and told her about the donuts and the struggles and I thanked her for remembering. She answered with grace and encouragement and then we had an LOL… or two.
He answered my prayer. And I trudge on. I do not know what He has in mind. But He answered me.
I put up a blog post.
Then, I made some bracelets.
And I sold my first painting… which is a whole different mixed bag of emotions.
But, I was still not sure what to do about the podcast.
Then Friday morning, in the midst of preparing for a party I was hosting for my teenage daughter’s drama team, one of my dearest friends, Rebecca of That Organic Mom, asked me to call her.
We hadn’t talked in a while, which is not that odd. We both have 1,000 children, commitments, and life happenings.
Rebecca and I started the Hopelively community on Facebook, (ask to join us by following this link!) but that is just icing. She is just a really good human being and friend. She loves Jesus and Grace and we always just feed off each other in every conversation.I think one of the most important things to remember about depression and grief is that it isn’t resolved by the marking of a new year. #newpost #newpodcast Click To Tweet
Rebecca has a podcast called the Healthy Bite. And she is a fantastic writer. Interestingly, she had just come across a scripture that is one of the themes in my new book proposal… which is all about living free and healthy not because of your circumstances but because of Jesus.
The scripture: A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones. Which is from Psalm 17:22 had left her undone. We both cried and lamented all the things… and reveled in the truths of this simple scripture.
ANYWAY, Rebecca had stopped doing her podcast and knew I was struggling with mine. SOOOO, we are thinking we will revamp and do it together and talk about all the things, if we can keep from laughing, crying, and all the other things that happen when we start talking.
I do not take lightly prayers or petitions in donut shop parking lots.
But He answered.
So next week this podcast is getting a new name and a new look… and a precious new co-host.
I am delighted to tell you in this location with coinciding blog posts, with the same subscribers and nearly 2,000 downloads in just a few short months, Sacred Ground Sticky Floors Podcast will become… Drum roll
Jubilee Road: A Grace Ride with Jami Amerine and Rebecca Huff.
We bounced a lot of ideas off each other for names but when it came down to it, Jubilee Road was what we both felt like made the most sense.
2018 is a great metaphor for a winding, bumpy road. But I was never alone on the ride. Neither was Rebecca.
I am reminded of a road in Utah between Price and Spanish Fork called Route 6.
When I was about 5 we moved away from all of our family for my dad’s job, South to Farmington New Mexico.
But when we would return for holidays and vacations, this is the route we would take back home.
U.S. Route 6, was actually named the most dangerous and deadly road in Utah in 2014 with over 80 fatalities,
according to kls.com. With its twists and turns and unbelievably sharp drop-offs, it is a road I will never forget. For one thing, I had a tendency for some pretty fierce car sickness. My father and I neither one will ever forget a vomiting incident that involved a giant Hershey bar I refused to share with my siblings and the fact that he was wrong…
I was going to be very very sick, which I proved down his neck and back.
But I have other memories of that road as well. The anticipation of my grandma Mickey stepping on the porch rubbing her hands together in delight, desperate to love on us. Visions of all the fun I would have with my cousins, playing in the cool Utah mountain air, movie nights, ice cream cones or hot cocoa, depending on the season. Sledding or water slide parks. And oh my goodness, the view. The mountains exploded from their depths into the clouds. They were mysterious and beautiful and they seemed to have no end.
Although in many ways I dreaded the nauseating drive, in many other ways I knew it would pass.
I focused on the enormity, the colors, and textures and the majesty of the drive.
And this, this is why Jubilee Road so impacted me as an option for the podcast.
I am left thinking about joybaby. The best way I can think to verbalize this is, I miss that little one. Often,I remember her hands, her sweet smell, and her sass. She was wholly my daughter. But I do not get to raise her. I haven’t seen or held her in 15 months and 26 days. I have not tucked her in, held her tight, or watch her chase and play with Sam and Charlie. That loss, while unbelievable, was worth the ride. I would not trade the time she was with us for anything. It was a season of jubilee. Her absence, while laced with triumph has been devastating.
I used to say I could never… but I did. And I am still here.
The pass, the grief of saying goodbye, of missing her, and wanting her, has been debilitating. But at the same time, I am still here. God will use that grief to create something new… and I am very excited that one new thing includes my Rebecca.
Rebecca met sweet joy baby. She is most familiar with my hurt. I am most familiar with hers.
We will make a great team,
Together, we want to discuss all the things that leave us mystified, inspired, and raw. From health and wellness to family, marriage, and Jesus, we are on a wild, wild ride. I am most hopeful you will jump in the back seat, of what I imagine would be a really cool pink retroish convertible, and let’s chat.
We want to hear from you.
We want to know if you have questions or hurts, because we do. And saying them out loud to Jesus and a friend… well, it makes all the difference.
Finally, let me say this. Talk out loud to Jesus friend.
I believe Him.
I believe that He died so that we could come to Him with EVERYTHING. Without sacrificing a lamb or covering our heads. The veil was torn so that we could no longer be separated from Him by ritual or good and bad behaviors.
Grace is the greatest gift and mystery.
It is the only thing we must commit to. You CANNOT be separated from Him. You needn’t start over because the calendar says to. Friend, He knows you. And, He died for you. He is available to you. I cannot wait to talk about this gift every week with you and Rebecca.
My prayer for you in 2019 is the total freedom that was bought for you on that cross.
Grace upon Grace.
I pray you meet with Him in a whole new way.
I pray your eyes are opened and the scales are further and further removed to the gravity of His love.
Grace upon Grace.
And most of all, I pray that Jesus be all over you. That you are drenched, soaked to your bones with the love this God has for you, no contingencies, nothing stands between you and this adoring Father.
Our scripture for this week is: Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
This is a blog post and the semi-transcript of Season 2 Episode 4 of Sacred Ground Sticky Floors Podcast. Next week, if you are a subscriber to the podcast I believe that you will get a notice for Jubilee Road: A Grace Ride with Jami Amerine and Rebecca Huff Season 3 Episode 1. You can join me in praying for an flawless transition. We will be talking about the scripture Psalm 17:22 A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit drains the bones.
We will discuss how even the best of intentions for physical and mental wellness are void without a joyful heart. I propose, even in our darkest seasons, joy is the hope that moves us forward. I think you will love it.
Until then may your floors be sticky and your calling ordained! Love, Jami
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