A letter from Amie...

Amie is my sister. She is 24. She's in jail.


We received a letter from her yesterday. I couldn't stop thinking about it.


I haven't heard from her in over 2 months. That's pretty short really...it's usually longer.


As I re-read the letter in my mind last night I asked Allison if we could pray together. It was definitely one of those times where you experience mercy for someone a little bit like Jesus. I had a hard time holding my voice together as I asked God to let Amie shine.


Amie lived with us for a while...we introduced her to the grace and peace that only God can offer. Eventually, she would give in to the flesh and try to bury the spirit that's inside of her. Try is the operative word. That pesky spirit always rises back up. Always.


I've watched Amie live on the streets as a crack-addicted little girl for half of my life. While she's had experiences that most of us can't even imagine...she's still never really grown up. Not the way people are supposed to grow up. Not the way I wish she had grown up.


Everyone hates the situation and we want answers and we want to be able to fix it. It's just not that easy sometimes. Sometimes you are forced to make the most of a train wreck. It's tough for me to not be resentful...not be angry...not be numb to her. But I have to choose to contend for Amie. I have to pray for her. I have to lift her up. I have to forgive her and encourage her. I have to love her right where she is. Good Lord this pisses me off and makes me cry at the same time.


Please pray that 75 days becomes 75 weeks, 75 months, and so on.


Keep fighting.


I've got a lot to do today...but I'm not going to do it all. I'm heading out to visit Amie. I'm her big brother and I believe there will be a day of restoration.

44 waggish utterances thus far...:

Cheri said...

Heart wrenching stuff. I'll be praying for you and Amie today. Love Wins Ryan!

Auntie Em said...

Oh Ryan. I'll be praying for you and Amie today too.

Sonja Chandler said...

Peace be with you Ryan.
Just be still and know that He is God he say she is and that he is able.

Much love and thoughts coming your way today.

EG said...

Have a good visit. I'll keep you in my prayers. And Amie.

Melissa said...

Be still, my soul; the Lord is on your side;
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
Leave to your God to order and provide;
In every change he faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul; your best, your heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul; your God will undertake
To guide the future as he has the past.
Your hope, your confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul; the waves and wind still know
His voice who ruled them while he dwelt below.

Be still, my soul; though dearest friends depart
And all is darkened in the vale of tears;
Then you will better know his love, his heart,
Who comes to soothe your sorrows and your fears.
Be still, my soul; your Jesus can repay
From his own fullness all he takes away.

Be still, my soul; the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord,
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul; when change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

lmerie said...

Hang in there and have a great visit. Addiction is such a burdon for those with it and for their loved ones too. Will keep you guys in my prayers!

MooBeeMa said...

Bravo! Nothing is more worth our time than reconciling and then reconciling and then reconciling again.

Hol and J said...

I haven't commented before (not sure why), but I enjoy reading. This brought me to tears. Thank you for sharing.

Praying for you and Amie right now.

- Holly

Kimberly said...

Ryan.... this post really touched home for me... It's all I can do to hold myself together while commenting...

I have an adult daughter who is an drug addict.

She goes off on one of her binges and won't contact me unless she thinks I'll give her money... she should know better by now. I've never been an enabler. She contacted me a couple of weeks ago and then a few days later. I felt like collapsing immediately!

God, this situation really pisses me off... but at the same time... wrenches my heart. Please help Amie & my daughter, Nitasha, to seek YOU and be totally drug free. In Jesus' name, amen.

Krista said...

I am in tears reading the letter from your sister. I am saying a prayer for Amie. My family has been going through this same thing for the past 5 or 6 years with my first cousin. She has been in an out of jail all due to drug addiction. She has now been clean for over a year. We are all very proud of her!

Lo said...

god you make me want to rise up and be the person i'm meant to be. whether that means actually sitting down and praying, or screaming thank you as loud as i can for the blessings i have in my life, or simply remembering that it's not all. about. me.

i am not very religious, i'm anxious when i say i'm agnostic, but i do believe there is SOMETHING out there... it's hard for me to sit down and say 'God'.

but today i will pray to whomever/whatever hears for Amie. she deserves it. so do you.

SaRaH said...

You have the right attitude. The attitude of Christ. The 70x7 times that we are to forgive, love, and encourage. We will lift her up in prayer that our Lord will wrap His arms around her and strengthen her. Keep being the amazing brother and example that she needs.

Kelly said...

Thanks for sharing that Ryan. I remember seeing your sister a couple of times at church, I never met her though. I do think about her and how she is doing. It must have taken a lot of courage for her to write that letter. And I'm sure it will take courage for you to go visit her. You'll both be in my thoughts and prayers today.

DanThoms said...

Thats right Ryan, you fight for your sister because thats what big brothers do.

Kim said...

Praying for Amie. Praying for you and for Allison. Praying for restoration and healing and forgiveness and grace and mercy to overflow out of you into Amie's life.

Addiction pisses me off too... fight right beside her Ryan, because, as Dan said...that's what big brothers do, and because you have a heck of a lot of people praying you through it.

Thank you, for being open and raw and vulnerable....community can be within a blog too...and I'm thankful I'm a part of yours.


Not Too Old said...

Ryan, this makes me cry, and pray, and smile in hope. My stepdaughter has a half-brother (I know, blended families are confusing) who is in jail for the 4th time. He turned 21 last Sunday, and so far we have not been able to visit him. Next Tuesday is the next time we can go see him, and we're all going. I'm praying for a powerful, life changing experience for you and Amie today.
My own recovering addict stepbrother says that the hardest part is not deciding to go clean, it's the every day, every minute decision to stay that way. I'm praying that God sends Amie the every day, every minute strength she needs to make it through.

Denise said...

Crying and praying at the same time. Thank you for sharing this...please tell Amie I will pray for her.

Josh Main's mom said...

Hey Ryan
I am the sister of a crack addict I haven't seen or heard from him in two years, I don't know if he is alive or dead.
I've been there and I know how hard it is but I had to just let it go. It's been 15 years of this.
Maybe someday I will get my brother back but for now I just kind of grieve.
He's out there somewhere homeless and addicted and probably alone.
Here is hoping he finds what he needs to be at peace.
I wish the same for you and your sister, you are a good brother.

Ida said...

Ryan, I want you to know how much your post hit home with me. My parents and I are trying to get my younger brother to seek psychiatric help for the sake of his mental health. He refuses to acknowledge that he has problems, is trying to go to school, but he messes up often and makes life very stressful for himself and our family. We all love him very much and want to make his life better but unless a person wants to change his or her life, all you can do is be there for them. I know that when you visit your sister that you will tell her that you love her and sometimes that is all you can do.

My brother is still very young and I hope that he can see how he is harming himself but until that day comes, I will just have to be his older sister. I think that Amie can turn her 75 days into much more with your support as well.

Jennifer and Sandi said...

Wow your very strong!!! Amie and your family are in my prayers!!

- Jennifer

Just A Girl said...

Ryan, I can't even get my head around this whole situation. I understand the wanting to be numb to her. I've felt that, too, because it just hurts too much to keep hoping and being disappointed. Just love her anyway. Be her big brother. I prayed for redemption and restoration for Amie. "I looked for a man to stand in the gap..." Here we are.

Kate said...


I read your post and thought of this: http://www.amazon.com/Miracle-Streets-Cherie-Peters/dp/0816313601

It's an amazing (and true!) testimony about a woman who lived on the streets and experienced God's amazing grace.

May God hold both you and Amie close...

Cheri said...

Just read through the comments...and reading Dan's comment "that's right, fight for her" resonated in my soul...reminding me that we are not fighting against flesh and blood, but powers unseen. All the more reason to keep you all in our prayers.

Helen Ann said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Helen Ann said...

Thanks for sharing...It was so beautiful to see her get baptized. I am glad to see that she is still leaning on Jesus. I know how hard it is to pray for someone who keeps making the same choices that keep causing the same issues. It's tough stuff...I still struggle sometimes and I don't always contend as I should. Grace can be hard to give. And it shouldn't be since I am a recipient of it as much as anyone...Thanks as always for your transparency. You are a great big brother!

Dana D said...

believing with you for a day of restoration!!!

She Knits Flying Monkeys said...

Thank you for giving her unconditional love.

amy wright said...

I'm praying for Amie. Thanks for posting this...so that we can pray!

Bonnie said...

Just keep offering her all that love and sibling support. There is no one like a brother or sister to show their love and be truthful. Thinking good thoughts for Amie.

sharpmj@email.uc.edu said...

We will be praying. Addiction is Enemy. Tread lightly.

Krista said...

Having been in the situation of having my favorite (alright ... only) older brother have to move through the actions of forgiving me, forgiving things that I had done, the person I was ... I feel for you. I feel for your sister.
I hope ya'll can come to some kind of compromise that you can both accept and feel comfortable in.

Donna Boucher said...

I will pray for Amie and you, Ryan.

You will never regret loving her and forgiving her because it is always right to love and forgive.

I know it is hard not to build walls to protect ourselves from pain and disappointment and resentment.

But God is with you.
He is near.

You are doing His work.

Bless you!

kimmyk said...

aww this made me cry.
sending prayers her way.

panykattack said...

I cried when I read this.
You are showing what Agape means.
So many people in her life have probably given up on her and it's amazing that she still has her brother to love her.
You are being Jesus with skin on for her. If this site was like MySpace and I could give kudos, I totally would.

Mom on a coulee said...

I will put Amie in my prayers, my sister-in-law is going through the exact same stuff with her brother, and she has finally resigned to all she can do is pray. May God give you strength today and may the Holy Spirit shine through you and speak through you as you encounter your sister today. God is powerful through Him anything is possible, but you know that.

Monica said...

I found my way here from Pioneer Woman. Thank you for posting this. We've been going through a hauntingly similar situation with my sister-in-law. You described our roller coaster emotions perfectly. At almost 30, Kim has never really grown up either - sometimes talking to her is like talking to my 8 year old. I'm happy to report that she has recently been released from jail, is clean and has been for a few months. And, like you, my prayer is that these months will turn into years and years into a lifetime.

We have to contend for people with addictions. The enemy would like nothing more than for us to give up on them. At times Kim will give up on herself and if we (her family) give up as well, she'll be lost. As hard as it is to push our emotions aside we have to. We have to see her with Christ's eyes, pray for her, love her and fight for her. Because if we don't, who will?

Anonymous said...

praying for amie! so proud of you all for standing by her and continue to support her in her struggles!

Sherry said...

i can so understand your strugles please don't give up hope my father spent many years addicted, ah the effects on the family. After he got clean he worked with people out of prison he has brought so many people to Christ. God is rasing her up to shine for him i will be praying for her please let her know she is loved.

Anonymous said...

Wow. You know, I'm gonna show this to my kiddos tomorrow so we can pray for her too.

Powerful stuff, prayer.
I'm so glad she's had you guys in her life.

Michelle said...

I hope the visit went well. I will pray for you and your family.

Karen said...

My prayers today are for your Amie.

Penny Rodgers said...

Just like others have already mentioned, I too have a sister-in-law who is in prison for drug use. We, too, have received many of the same letters that Amie sent you. Patty has been in and out of prison for the past 20 years...

It's a heartbreaking journey, I not going to lie. It's mostly rocky. But sometimes during the smooth patches you'll remember who Amie really is. You'll get a glimpse of how things used to be and how you wish things could be. Then the rocks will return...

I'll be praying for you and your family as you travel this road. We've been on the journey before and we're looking back praying that you're rocky patches are a little smoother. I always have to remind myself that Jesus is also on this journey and that he loves Patty and Amie more that we do.

Ree Drummond said...

I hate addiction.
Hate it, hate it, hate it.

Annie said...

This really stinks. Amie is beautiful, and she is so blessed to have you as her brother. Drugs are horrendous. I'm the adoptive mom to two kids born to drug-addicted moms. Their addictions were stronger than their love. I think Amie's got an advantage here....we'll all be praying for Amie. Thank you for sharing such an intimate part of your family life.