a lamb and her wolfskin: a love story


Want the backstory first? Read A Love Story from the bottom to the top, or click the My Love Songs tab at the top.

word-of-testimony

—- a lamb and her wolfskin

I have never felt more like a grown woman, a baby folded up inside like fortune in a cookie. I say what I mean. My necklines show more than I have ever dreamed on my own body. I feel sexy, wearing elastic waist bands earlier than I should. My lips are full – my eyes greener. I don’t know who I am, where my childlike is. 

I want to love that man who cooks me burned chicken when I crave it, and I do in the way that meets on a bed and says excuse me at the bathroom mirror before heading out. But I say what I mean. He calls to say he won’t be home from school until 2:00 AM, and I say, “I don’t care,” and I mean it. 

Secret thoughts of that other man begin to trickle over me so gradually that I’ve changed shapes without the knowing. I never think of it as an affair, not the lying, not the poetry, not the missing, not the kiss. I don’t know what I mean, so I don’t know how to say it.

A wolf tends as a shepherd, and I would dye my wool to leave, but we never call it an affair because it is never good, never god-good as I want it to be. 

So shortly, I cling as I can, teetering between guilt and prayer, to the new kicks within, my image of Seth as a weak man, my husband, the daddy in my home. And the weak man is good because I am only weak woman. I am face to the ground, weak woman, extra ribbed, secret ridden, my easy god-sense left in the garden. 

The weak man and the weaker woman, we shape-shift, reconcile, and hold hard, try to figure out what it is we have  made of ourselves.

I learn that humility hates a secret, and I almost burst at the seams.

Seventeen hours of labor, peaked monitor, locked eyes, I love yous, back moans, and a baby rips out, and there, we have finally done it. We have made ourselves Love.

I never stop being sorry.

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37 Comments

Adventures In Babywearing
Reply August 13, 2009

Oh my. Humility hates a secret... we all have one, too.

Steph

Amber
Reply August 13, 2009

The secrets are killer.

I want to add that this is only the beginning of the story. There is more. The Loving was in the making and having of a baby, but even more, it was in the suffering together. It did something big to us - seeing something through. The end of my pregnancy and the actual labor was true suffering, and I saw it in Seth's eyes. He loves me and doesn't want me to hurt. He was on my side.
I know know that everyone isn't so fortunate, but I know looking back that even in love - No Pain, No Gain.

Heather of the EO
Reply August 13, 2009

I'm all welled up. Yesterday I said something like "I don't want to forget the things that hold us tight together for the enduring of them." You'd think I'd want to forget so many ugly things. But sometimes I think I wouldn't be with Ryan if not for those ugly things I never thought we'd survive. Beauty from ashes, indeed.

This was beautiful. Like Steph, I love "humility hates a secret." I'll always remember that.

Robin ~ PENSIEVE
Reply August 13, 2009

Amber, if few people comment to this it's because you leave your readers with their breath knocked out of their lungs....I only tell you this because otherwise, contemplative silence is what beckons and I don't want you to think your words aren't being heard.

They are...it's just difficult to speak after....

Megan (FriedOkra)
Reply August 13, 2009

Yes, Robin is right. Although I will break my speechlessness to say this is one of the most achingly beautiful and FEELABLE things I've read in a long time. We all have secrets, painful ones, but we do NOT all have the courage or the poetry to speak them into life as you have, and in the speaking almost untell the story. Your writing healed as it flowed out of you. Did you notice that, I wonder?

Lora Lynn
Reply August 13, 2009

I just want to comment so you know I'm reading, I'm listening, and I'm hearing. And I'm one of those without words. But I'm here, admiring you for your courage and your beauty from ashes.

Emily M
Reply August 13, 2009

"I don't know what I mean, so I don't know how to say it." I know that feeling, and you captured it beautifully.

My own marriage went through a dark phase similar to what you describe, and we were able to "shape-shift, reconcile, and hold hard" until lightness and grace finally caught up with us. Even though our circumstances were very different from yours, it did me good to read this, remember, and see again how far we've come from those days.

Kelly
Reply August 13, 2009

i want to cry... what a conclusion...

Heather
Reply August 13, 2009

This is some friggin amazing writing.

Amber
Reply August 13, 2009

Well, It's been five years since this happened. I'm not courageous - only a whole lot more concerned about people who are trapped in their secret sins.

I've been able to share this story with a few dear cream-of-the-crop souls who have struggled with lust and crushes and affairs. Every one of these people thought they were completely alone - the only ones ever experiencing such temptation. In not talking about it, not having accountability, not letting the light shine on the darkness, we allow strongholds.

I would not be telling this story if it weren't the word of my testimony concerning God's grace and redemption in my life. If I could trade it for a different story, I would. Or - maybe I wouldn't. It's a hard one.

melissa
Reply August 13, 2009

i agree with robin that your words are hard to speak over. i read them over and over again. i can't share my secret story because i claim i'm protecting my children, my husband but it's really myself i'm protecting.

Emily M
Reply August 13, 2009

I meant to add in my comment that when I finally spilled my secret, I threw up for the first time in years. Violently. For hours. It was like my body had to physically reject all the poison I'd been keeping locked up inside. I know I could not move forward until it was gone, though, so I was grateful for the purge.

Lust and crushes are tough for women to talk about, I think. People assume that men will struggle with that, but when a woman has the same problem, suddenly no one knows what to say.

Lisa @ Crazy Adventures in Parenting
Reply August 13, 2009

Gorgeously written, so powerful, I am what Robin said I (and others) would be - breathless.

brittney
Reply August 13, 2009

and speechless.

alison
Reply August 13, 2009

When I read this, I drew in my breath--perhaps a breathless reader, like Robin suggested--but also because your. words. found. me. out. Maybe not with the same secret, but there are ones that still lie between us. What a testimony! I can't wait to read more!

Kiki@Seagulls in the Parking Lot
Reply August 13, 2009

Wow. Speechless. In a good way.

Your writing is beautiful. There are many things that people, women keep secret and think they are all alone. Thanks for not keeping this secret. It is so good to read about God's grace and redemption.

Megan @ Hold it Up to the Light
Reply August 13, 2009

I long to be as brave as you.

Kimberly
Reply August 13, 2009

Thank you, thank you, thank you. I want to say more, but I just don't have the words. Knowing that I am not alone is enough.

emily
Reply August 13, 2009

you speak the things that wives all over don't know what to do with. I can't wait til the "H" section at the bookstore is filled up with stories spun and woven by Haines. And we will travel in droves and packs to buy them up and read them til morning and night and morning again.

BlueCastle
Reply August 13, 2009

I read and then had to re-read. There's so much behind your words, I feel stupid even offering my little comment, but I feel guilty reading, re-reading and then mulling your words over without leaving some sort of "thank you" behind. I always thought once I was married I would be safe. Safe from temptation. Safe from wanting anyone else. But I haven't been. Thank you for your writing. It's perfect and comes at the perfect time for me in so many ways.

Jane Anne
Reply August 14, 2009

Here's the thing about your post for me- I read it and it stuck with me throughout the day. At end of my day, I'm remembering a great love story - a story with sin, pain, love and forgiveness. It reminds me of the great love story. In that story we are all the same.

We are THAT family
Reply August 15, 2009

I read this when you first posted it and didn't comment.

I couldn't.

Because some things crush the very breath from our bodies.

For me, this is one.

My hubby and I have walked so closely to your words that it takes my breath away.

It will be four years in November. Four years since my heart was splintered into a thousand pieces. Four years since the Creator put me back together again. Whole, but different.

Our final baby, conceived in the raw pain of our marriage is named Grace.

Because that's what God gave us.

Thank you. You've reminded me of something beautiful this morning. Even though I taste tears.

It is well with my soul.

rhemashope
Reply August 15, 2009

your writing is incredible, truly a gift. thank you for using your gift and your story as a means of displaying the awesome glory of God and His unrelenting love.

Mirinda
Reply August 15, 2009

I've read this post several times over the past couple of days.

I don't know how to respond because this hits so close to home it hurts.

Thank you for showing us all how amazing God's grace is, for being brave enough to open yourself up and show the scars in doing so.

the scooper
Reply August 15, 2009

Oh my. I've been afraid to comment on any of these, fear that there's confession in the commenting. Thank you for being so free and courageous with us.

Sarah Valente (Kingdom Mama)
Reply August 16, 2009

As a spouse who blogs from the other-side of adultery (although much more brutal that what you've described), I am sure that your husband has forgiven you and loves you even more deeply for posting these introspections. You are gifted and anointed.

Sweet-n-Simple
Reply August 24, 2009

Amber, I can't thank you enough for sharing this! Thank you! You are truly a beautiful spirit and a gift to us all! God bless you and your family.

I read the comments here too and see I'm in the company of wonderful people. Nope, ladies, we're not alone and there is strength in numbers. Stay strong and God bless you all too!

misty
Reply August 25, 2009

Thank you for opening your heart, your struggles and your pain for us. It has been 5 years to the day that I gave away what was my husbands to another man. The more we talk about this and open up about our secrets the more other women (and men) feel like they can do the same. I believe this is how God takes what is meant for evil and makes it good.

Sarah Markley
Reply August 25, 2009

I've never stopped being sorry either.

I understand this.

Kara Laney
Reply August 25, 2009

dearest amber,
oh how my heart aches. for that one person whom you know has my heart. the secret sin. the thing that disguises itself to make it seem okay, normal, right. i continue to stand, to fight, to grieve, to fall, and to get back up again. i know one day i will be able to write it all out, truly write it out, as our words, like above, have so much power. i so love the God i see in you. and i so love the you that He has made you to be.

Secret Agent Mama
Reply August 25, 2009

I don't know how to say it.

Wow. I think I wrote this.

misty
Reply August 26, 2009

I keep coming back and reading this poem. Every time is like a punch in the chest, a drop of rain on a hot summer day, a cool breeze in the middle of the desert, bare feet walking on glass. It is both painful and refreshing. My heart aches. My soul rejoices. Thank You.

Carrington
Reply October 10, 2009

The way you write, I can feel what you feel, and I can relate even though I've never gone through it. I'm not normally very empathetic or anything, but through your words I get it. I feel like I'm being given a gift from the Lord of wisdom- your wisdom, after having gone through this. I can see how easy it can happen, and how hard you have to fight to protect your marriage. Thank you.

patty
Reply October 12, 2009

gosh, amber. i've been away, but it took just one post. i know you're busy, but may i? www.blessedmoon.squarespace.com/journal/2009/9/14/my-back-porch

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