Solving for X

To say that I cannot do Algebra is somewhat of an understatement.  My high school Algebra teacher, Mr. Womack, used to throw chalk and erasers at me and yell, “Sweet Georgia Brown! I gotta retire!” When I applied to graduate school at Hardin-Simmons the Dean at Abilene Christian sent a letter on my behalf that said something like:

This young woman is capable of many things.  Algebra isn’t one of them.  As a Christian-affiliated university, we cannot in good consciousness take any more of her money for remedial math courses.  We have determined she has a cognitive inability to solve for X. However, we believe she will make an excellent graduate student at your school… PLEASE take her.  


Solving for X has many negative associations for me.  In the history of my dad’s life the only time he ever got physically violent he was helping me with my Algebra homework. Well, there was one other time that involved my little brother and a block of cheese, but that’s not my story to tell.  Justin and I nearly broke off our engagement when he tried to help me in college with an assignment.  I home schooled my older children, and they knew that solving for X was the thing that we didn’t speak of if we wanted happiness and joy in our home.  Justin would help them with that type of thing while mommy was nursing Cosmos at the bar.  As recently as last month, our three-year-old Sam was getting in the van with 4 matchbox cars.  I said, “Sam, you may only take one car.” And Sam said, “But mommy, it a 4, 6, 14, and then the X, 9, 11.”  And I let him take all four cars because he used letters and numbers in a sentence and I was unable to effectively argue those terms.


I can’t do it.  And it doesn’t really make me sad or stressed anymore. I have moved on.  And in the scope of things I know this isn’t something that determines my worth or impedes me in other ways.  I use the program Grammarly for my writing and and every week it sends me a report of how my week looked.  This week my report said that I typed 85,986 words and was 99% more active than the average user.  It said some other stuff too, but  it was a lot of numbers and then their was a pie chart and I blacked-out.  And that is okay too.  I don’t need a numerical measurement of my Grammatical abilities because that takes away, subtracts if you dare, from what I love to do with something that I truly despise.  And although, in our society Algebra is a means to an end for some, there are others who love the challenge.

pie chart

I have a friend that is a math teacher and she said it is like doing puzzles all day long.  She cannot think of anything more fun.  We traveled somewhere together once and she constantly played Sudoku, which is like a cross-number puzzle. She tried to explain it to me and I peed my pants and forgot my name for half an hour, but she enjoys it, so who am I to question?  She finds blogging obnoxious. After reading one of my blogs, she said, “I have no response to that.  You need counseling.”


I cannot sleep tonight.  My brain will not shut off.  In the throws of parenting adolescent humans, there are probably more sleepless nights than there are in parenting littles.  But I am encouraged to write this.  Whole humans are not wholly perfect.   No one creation is perfect in every aspect of living.  There are math wizards and there are poets.  Engineers and culinary masterminds.  Artists and scientists.  And sometimes there are combinations of great minds and abilities.  Our society has many rules for measuring worth, success, and smarts.  As parents, we cannot help but want it all for our children.  In this season, for me, I am seeing the blessing of trimming down on what I measure as success.  As an a biological parent of four, I know that my children may have math deficiencies, creative abilities, and Justin’s mechanical intricacies.  As an adoptive parent, I won’t know where my children’s wonderful inborn talents might stem from or where their deficiencies derived, but God does and He can equip us to foster greatness where it needs harvested.  And this gives me peace.


Tonight the sleepless, restful, worrisome part of this season isn’t the academic struggles it’s the struggles of raising sinners.  Imperfect humans in need of a Savior.  This is hard.  Time outs don’t work the way they used to.  Mistakes have greater consequences.  Those consequences cost more, and for longer. And as much as we have tried to instill Jesus in our children, He will have to become their own at some point. Relinquishing this is scary.

I always have heard parents say you never cross the finish line on worry, the worries just change. I am sure my parents still worry for my siblings and me, although I doubt they wake shaken to their core at my inability to do Algebra.  I know they worry for our marriages, our children, finances, or that we may move back in with them. With the broad range of ages of my children I find myself worrying about a wide spectrum of issues.  I worry Charlie will take his poopy diaper off again (gag) and in the next instance I worry Maggie might actually get that internship in LasVegas.

And as I am rendered sleepless again I realize,  the worries are different, but the solution is the same.


X represents worry. Prayer solves for X.  I can relinquish the worry back over and the solution is constant. God is sovereign. He will fill in the gaps of all my shortcomings as a mom.  He will right wrongs and mend fences.  It may not look the way I think it should, and it may not always be easy, but His parenting is exponentially  better than mine.  He is the Alpha and the Omega.  He is a mathematician, artist, scientist, and engineer.  And He loves better than I.

Solving for the unknown is His alone.

Rest well Mr. Womack, Georgia Brown finally solved for X.

“Tune your ears to the world of wisdom, set your heart on a life of understanding.” Proverbs 2:2

May your floors be sticky and your calling ordained.  Love, Jami

About jamiamerine

I am a wife, mom, & seeker of joy! I love to share funny and inspirational tales with my fellow moms. I fully believe that God intended laughter to be a form of rest and worship. I have a few kids. I have a few years on me. I have a great husband. And I love to laugh. I studied home economics in college, I can cook just about anything, but do not ask me to sew. In my graduate work I studied education and human development, I consider my life continuing education, my children are my ongoing thesis. If they survive that, I will let you know! I write non-fiction for laughter, respite, and inspiration. I also am in the process of submitting my first fiction mystery and have two more in the works! Mom life is hard work. My prayer for my readers is that, even if it you just have five minutes, you can be inspired and encouraged today. Keep it short and sweet... rest in Jesus girlfriend.
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31 Responses to Solving for X

  1. Teresa says:

    Beautiful words!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. mckelvie12 says:

    It was bad. Not the blog – that was great. Trying to teach you and your sister algebra was painful. Look at you both now. I think it’s in part to my patience during math lessons.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Kathy says:

    I can’t do X either so it was with great shock and more than a little amusement to discover our 3 year old was gifted in math. At 30 he now holds two math degrees from Texas State, works for one of the country’s accounting firms, and is studying for the CPA example. Who Knew???

    As for the rest of your equation, you are right, you never quit worrying about your babies no matter how old they are or how many babies of their own they have but the assurance that God is there for all of us is definitely the correct answer.

    (By the way, our oldest, who also doesn’t do algebra and is almost finished with nursing school spent her first two years of college at McMurry. Love those Abilene colleges.)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Edith says:

    We are apparently soul sisters, you and I; so much of what you write resonates with me! I feel your pain on algebra! And oh my, SO MUCH comfort in Jesus being The Solution!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ruth says:

    Being in the throes of parenting is like long division– tough in the midst but relieved if the outcome is correct and befuddled if it’s wrong. Thankfully we aren’t all the same; the journey would be unbearable if we were.
    And just sayin’, I can’t believe how early some of you gals get up in the morning! While reading other comments I check the time posted and shake my head in amazement. Once again, if we were all like me, only sunsets would be observed. 😴


  6. Lisa says:

    I loved this post! I, too, could not understand algebra to save my life! I once asked my teacher if he could go over it again for me because I just did not understand….. he told me to “go sit down, I already explained that”! Sigh…… 😦 And you are so right… the worry about our children! I like your explanation of the “X” so much better! 🙂


  7. Jen L. says:

    I love this post (and I actually like algebra!) …just wanted to tell you that the look of Sudoku might make your head spin but it has absolutely nothing to do with numbers or math 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Staci King says:

    Sitting in the car by myself waiting on my child and laughing so hard I had tears rolling! I am quite sure my eighth grade algebra teacher, Ms. Crook, remembers me well because I simply could not grasp how a letter could be a number. I know I drove her crazy most of the year. It was the only class I ever got in trouble in and it had a lot to do with my inability to grasp the concept. I love math and finally figured it out but it was not easy:-). Thanks for the laugh and the wisdom. Sent my firstborn off to college in August. Trying to balance the worry with prayer but it is not always easy.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Paul Mathis says:

    I really liked this! Especially this: “X represents worry. Prayer solves for X.” I am good at math (at least I used to be), but not in showing my work. I could just tell you the answer. If asked, “Why is that right?” I would say, “It just is.” Didn’t always work well for a grade on my assignment, but it taught me that some answers in life cannot be explained. They just are. I quit trying to figure prayer out a long time ago. It just is.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Keri says:

    So beautifully written. As a mother of biological and adoptive and in a household where learning “differences” abound, aging from 7 to almost 17 your posts always speak right to my heart. I feel like I need to print and wallpaper my house with ones like these, lol. Thank you ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Rachel says:

    Such a fun way to give a good message. I do like bloggin and solving for x too so I’m not sure if that means I need extra counseling… but either day 😉 Visitng from raralinkup!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. This is great, Jami. More humor in my life would drastically improve it. 🙂 Thank you for sharing this with me.


    Liked by 1 person

  13. Mary Carver says:

    Math is annoying and sudoku is the worst. But this post was wonderful. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. scarlettagg says:

    I laughed and I cried. Worry….it consumes me, I have 4 children also and the first(who is 20 now) is very special and I mean special, gorgeous with a muscular build and chiseled face, much like your boys. But, his brain is wired different then most, he has ADDHD…DDDDD. He is tough as nails. The Cheshire cat grin on his face or the pursed lips thinking look, is usually when he is hoping no one will ask him what he is thinking, because he doesn’t catch on to stuff as quickly as most. Yes he graduated(with accommodations) and now has a job with the city water department. He is doing very well, but that glitch, that glitch that they will see and take advantage of worries me. Or that glitch the will cause him to feel less then whole, and like an outsider to his peers. That glitch also has an impulsive side that isn’t always the rational thing to do(like drop your sister on her head playing in the parking lot, in fairness she was loving the flying until the drop) fills me with worry. I love your words and your words bring back to the Savior that I know and I hope he does relinquish himself to so in those moments when he is outside of normal he can shift his eyes and know peace un-surpassing. Thank you.


    • jamiamerine says:

      Bless you. Bless you. Bless you. ❤️ my John struggles with LD. 17 looks 25… High school senior – home schooled doing dual credit. This year has been filled with the hardest of letting go. He came home yesterday with with an 80 on a college level history test. No accommodations…. For the first time. I am ashamed to say I woke at 3:00 physically sick worried about the next test. Good. Grief. It’s just so hard to let go…. So hard. Thank you for sharing your story with me. Those boys will wear us out!


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