|Amy and Steven--her youngest son.|
|Dave and Amy's children.|
Eleanor Roosevelt said, “A woman is like a tea bag; you never know how strong it is until it's in hot water.”
Ms. Eleanor’s simile has always caught and held my attention. I am not a tea connoisseur, but I do understand that it is the heat of the water and the length of the time the tea bag or ball remains there which produces the aroma and flavor of the tea.
Hot water and time.
Amy has had her fair share of being immersed in hot water. Cup after cup.
Amy is married to our shepherd; she is the glove to Dave’s hand. She is a strong personality and gets told this a great deal—her steel gift of administration often gets noticed or mentioned.
But it’s several other gifts that God has given Amy that I want people to know. To see.
1. Amy’s incredible insight into God’s word, God’s people and God’s plan floors me.
2. Amy’s assessment of a situation. Spot-on.3. Amy’s ability to see through the fog. She identifies problems at their source.
4. Amy’s tenacity for the welfare of her children. She is their advocate and defender.5. Amy’s strong, simple love for her husband. She is a true help-meet.
6. Amy’s stalwart, real faith in the Father. Even in hot water.
Amy and Dave have adopted six children. They have one more foster child who is due to become a member of their family in 2014. In 2006 Amy lived through every parent’s worst nightmare—she lost one of her children to a long term illness.
These interviews tend to be long because I just can’t leave anything out of the women’s answers. There’s way too much insight and wisdom. Please, please read. God will reveal incredible things to you through these women’s words.
1. Tell me about your family.Dave is a minister; and I am a homeschooling mom who gets to teach a small group of children four days a week. I love that God has always given me a flexible and interesting schedule as a mom.
Most of our children have some type of special need. Isaac was our sickest child. He never walked or talked. Everything he attempted was a struggle for him, but he was one of the happiest and sweetest children I’ve ever known. Wyatt (this is a link to an incredible video about Wyatt) was our first foster child. He was shaken at three weeks old, and suffered from severe brain trauma, as well as broken bones. It took him almost a year to fully recover, but the lasting damage is not as severe as it could have been. He has hand tremors and weakness in his arms and is currently experiencing some difficulties in kindergarten. He also has avascular necrosis in both hips, which may or may not have been caused by shaken baby syndrome. He’s one of the strongest children I know. Haley has an attachment disorder resulting from her experiences with her birth family. She finds it hard to trust others or find security in our home because she did not experience trust or security in her first years. She’s strong and independent, and is working through those issues day by day. Steven has a learning disability, sensory integration disorder and ADHD. While he struggles with academic learning because of a low IQ, he also finds it hard to function in social situations because of his sensory disorder. Finally, our 12 year old was, Sophie, was just diagnosed with epilepsy. Through it all, God has been faithful and never left our side (emphasis Tamera’s. Please reread that last sentence. Through it all…God didn’t pull Amy out of it. But he was with her THROUGH IT.)
2. What is your most comforting and most challenging verse?
Jeremiah 29:11-13. Always has been, and I feel always will be, I know it is over quoted. You find it on plaques in every Christian bookstore. But it’s also written on my heart, and it’s one that God poured out on me during those early years of marriage and struggling with churches, family and having babies. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future.”
Matthew 10:34-35. In the season my most challenging verse. I know God is love, and I try to live my life treating others with the love I think God bestows upon us. But I also know when the truth is spoken, it stirs something up. People become divided, outraged, and downright nasty. (Emphasis Tamera’s). Then the verse “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law--a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household” comes to life. I wish we as Christians were showing more love, not division.
3. What two books have impacted your life?
The Shack by William Paul Young. This book gave me insight into the Trinity like no other book I have other read. The impact on me has been huge.
Idol Lies by Dee Brestin. This book was a life-changer. It showed me what I harbor in my heart and how I choose other things to fulfill me instead of turning to my Jesus for those things.
4. What are your spiritual gifts and how is God using you in his kingdom?
My two strongest God-given gifts are administration and teaching. These two gifts are where I feel comfortable and it’s where I know God uses me. I’ve always flourished in positions where I could use my administrative skills. Leading others has always been an area where God has used me.
In this season of my life, I am a homeschool teacher to 15 children (two are my own). I love this environment and I’ve learned a lot about education doing school this way. I also teach preschool and elementary at church, although I’m trying to be more of a “director” in the children’s ministry rather than a teacher. It’s a work in progress. I handle the administration of the children’s programs: Sunday mornings, Wednesday nights, children’s choir, and VBS. It’s my element. I feel comfortable leading Bible studies, but I think I need to stretch myself, and this is part of the reason I’m doing a 6 week Bible study starting in January.
5. What would you tell your 21 year old self?
At 21, I was not a Christian and did not know Jesus. I would most definitely tell my 21 year old self that nothing goes as planned, and to stop making plans for your life. Live in the moment; live as if nothing will be the same tomorrow; and live a life full of love for others.
6. What one piece of encouragement would you offer the women reading this interview?
I have never been a woman to rely on other women. My friends have tended to be male. Part of the reason for that is I find it hard to trust other women. In the last few years of my life, though, I’ve found 3-4 women that, without their friendships, I’d be a totally different person. I’m thankful God opened my heart to them. My advice to other women is to find those women who you can be open with--those women who will hold your confidences close and not fail you. I tend to still not trust other women. We can be catty and just awful to each other. But in allowing God to tender my heart some, I found some beautiful friendships. Allow God to do the same with your heart.