the slow cooker, the messy truth, and gratitude


This is yet another non-post. Some days were not made for writing. They’re made for brewing, for stewing, for meditation. Some days were made for gratitude alone. Today, I am overwhelmed with it. 

After sharing my story at A Life in Need of Change, I interviewed with a local radio station, and this Sunday I am sharing with our church. It is humbling. My abortion story grieves me, floors me, but I can say that it is satisfying to share the word of my testimony. Every word of truth out of my mouth is like mortar between me and the Cornerstone. My weight leans more and more into Him.

I believe that if the church doesn’t become a safe place for women to share their struggles, to confess their dirty secrets, and to turn in needy repentance, then women will delve more deeply inward and continue to hide in the dark places. That’s why I tell my dirt, so my children don’t confuse me for something I’m not. My life has never been tidy. Let me not pretend.

I do have another Love Story to write, but for now,  I feel like letting the idea sit in a crock pot for a day. It needs to stew. There are so many things in the slow cooker right now so gratitude can do its work.

I have other work to do as well. I speak on writing at Blissdom ’10 this year in Nashville, and as I jot down a note or two on scrap papers stuffed in my schedule, I’ve begun to feel myself glow from the inside. There’s nothing like doing what you feel made to do. Mothering makes me feel this way sometimes, too, but it’s been so long that I’ve considered the whys and hows of writing so as to articulate them.

I love the process of an idea turning into content, into words on words on words. I love how content changes in a flash, when you think you have one thing and it turns into something else. I love how fluid is art, and I love the feeling of it sifting through the mind’s fingers as I try to hold it long enough to evaluate it and then teach its processes.

If you were to sit in a blogger’s session on Writing and Content or in a session on the Writer’s Craft, what questions would you have? I would love to report back here to you about our conversations there, if you’re interested.

amberhaines
About me

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32 Comments

Lora Lynn
Reply January 20, 2010

I can't think of any questions for you but I can't wait to sit and hear what you have to say!

Budgets are the New Black
Reply January 20, 2010

Do you work on your metaphors? Or do they just pour out of you like ____? (fill in the metaphor blank;)

I really want to know. I love metaphors, but I'm not very good at them. I think it's because I'm not southern.

mandie
Reply January 20, 2010

Well, I've no good questions, or any, really, but I do have to say that I'm proud of you and will be praying for Him to use this to minister to others, as well as touch your own sweet heart. Have a blessed weekend, friend!

John
Reply January 20, 2010

You ever thought about writing a children's story, something for your boys maybe, filling it with fabulous yellow roman candle artwork, that kind of thing?? Just wondering...

Oh, and please tell Seth hello.

brittney
Reply January 20, 2010

I don't have questions, either. Wish I could go hear you speak, it's not too far from me, but I'll settle for you sharing the conversations when you get back!

Kimberly
Reply January 20, 2010

I can't make it to Blissdom, so I'd love to hear whatever it is you have to offer on writing.
I love how you speak of your kids knowing your dirt. I honestly believed Christian adults didn't sin when I was growing up. Can you imagine? I lived a sheltered life to say the least, one that did not easily extend an open hand of grace. Grace is written all over your testimony.

Jessica
Reply January 20, 2010

No questions. I am just stuck on this:

"Every word of truth out of my mouth is like mortar between me and the Cornerstone. My weight leans more and more into Him."

fear.

Corinne
Reply January 20, 2010

I'm another one who won't be at Blissdom, but would love to hear what you have to say on writing.
Maybe what your process is like? I know everyone's is a bit different, and I always love to peer in to see what other people do :) If you write on paper first, or type on the computer, etc... silly details!

laura
Reply January 20, 2010

How I would love to join you at Blissdom! Darn, I always seem to miss the good ones. Questions...hmmm. I'm wondering about your process, I guess. Your writing always seems to flow so naturally. Does it come easy? or do you have to work at it? I'm guessing both is true, but that's the question that came to mind!

Can't wait for the new love story.

Muthering Heights
Reply January 20, 2010

I love you, just in case you forgot. :)

Hmmm, I will be there to see you, which will be fun! :) If I think of any questions, I'll send them your way!

Meredith
Reply January 20, 2010

Amber--as I told you last weekend (or maybe I didn't tell you but I totally meant to), I'm sort of in awe of way you can turn images into words. I tend to write exactly as I talk, which means I use the words "so," "like," and "seriously" a lot. Not really words that conjure up a lot of imagery... You have a gift, my friend, for making tangible that which is intangible to the vast majority of us. Not sure how you can teach that, but if you can, fill me in.

karalaney
Reply January 20, 2010

Your Father is so proud of you. I love you.

Tammy@If Meadows speak...
Reply January 20, 2010

A question I'd have, hmmm, mine would be on titles. What titles are best for a blog? Like long, descriptive ones? Or short catchy ones? Or mysterious ones? I notice some blogs articles have titles that make me want read just from its title alone.

Boy Crazy (@claritychaos)
Reply January 20, 2010

1. I love the fluidity of thoughts when free writing. I would suggest sharing the value of freewriting, writing without that inner editor chopping away at you, letting your mind go where it will so that you can naturally come full circle and connect the dots.

2. Maybe talk about what you said right here - about recognizing when ideas and thoughts and feelings need to steep and stew a while so they can take on the flavors of each other and build the aroma of the story before the thing itself actually takes shape.

3. Can I share something with you? I don't usually do this, but I'm going to link to an old post of mine. Due to some things going in on my life, my family, this old post of mine popped to my head today and I had to go re-read it, to remind myself a thing or two about gratitude. And since you brought it up, I feel a gentle nudging to share it with you. (it's actually a guest post I wrote at a different blog, so this doesn't link to my blog.) http://bit.ly/kXzI3

4. I wish I could hear you speak on writing. Or just talk about it together over a dark black mug of steamy coffee.

xo elizabeth

p.s. I agree with what you say here about the church, about transparency. Thank you for saying it.

Megan
Reply January 21, 2010

I hope I can be in church on Sunday to hear your story. May God bless your truth-speaking.

Ann Kroeker
Reply January 21, 2010

Dern. Wish I were headed to Blissdom, if only to hear *you*!

the scooper
Reply January 21, 2010

Here's the question I have: How do you know when you've found your "voice?" I think I have but I read the words of so many others...sometimes I worry that their voices mingle with mine. In a quest for honesty and authenticity, I want to be sure that I'm staying true to myself.

That's my burning question. : ) And oh, how I wish I could sit in on that workshop and get to meet you!

To Think Is To Create
Reply January 21, 2010

I will be praying for you on Sunday.

I am excited to talk about my craft, but also wondering how I describe what I do? Hmmm...

Lisa @ Crazy Adventures in Parenting
Reply January 21, 2010

I must apologize, first off. I came here to read and comment and got sidetracked, then left for a doctor's appointment. I've sat idle on this page for a few hours :/

I am hoping against hope to get a last minute ticket to Blissdom. Between Disney & Christmas, I didn't have the funds to get a ticket before they sold out. I miss you and would love to see you again.

Sara
Reply January 21, 2010

Dear Amber,
I have been reading you for months now--I have been taken with the way your words moved. At times spring morning honest, all times shakingly real. I also have 3 boys: 4, 2, and 6 months. When I first read about your abortion and about the affair of your heart I was saddened. Even though I'd never met you, I felt you as friend, felt kinship and stewardship and I was so very sad to read about it. I thought many times to comment but I couldn't commit to doing so, in this way I could stay and keep my own perceived anonymity. But now I have to say that this is very courageous. And poignant. It made me think of one of my favourite quotations that resides on a smallish plaque in my house where I can see it often: "But, after I had read for memory, I read for hope." It is, of course, the achingly beautiful Elizabeth Barrett Browning and from Aurora Leigh, the First Book. I just wanted to share that with you. In sisterhood, Sara

deb
Reply January 21, 2010

I love your over the radio voice. The crack where you try not to cry, where I wanted to hug you.

Kristen
Reply January 21, 2010

The best part of Blissdom will be hugging you! Can't wait to sit in your session and give you "air high fives." You have a gift. Just be your beautiful self.

kendal
Reply January 22, 2010

I love your blog - I've only followed it a few weeks, but always look forward to a new post. Sorry to say that I don't know waht Blissdom is, but I will pray for you and your audience.

Where do you write? I mean when you sit down to it. I'm assuming your pocketbook is stuffed with scraps....

To whom do you write?

Lisa B @ simply His
Reply January 22, 2010

It's not in God's will for me to be at BlissDom this year. I've made peace with it and stopped arguing with Him :)

I am totally bummed to miss hugging your neck and listening to you talk. I have no questions that come to mind, but I would love to just sit and soak up anything He leads to come out of your mouth! I hope the sessions are recorded :)

Love ya lady!

Kelly Langner Sauer
Reply January 22, 2010

"My life has never been tidy. Let me not pretend."
My life was tidy once. I was pretending.

I loved hearing your voice the other day online. You sounded just like I thought you would - except for that lovely drawl.

I have been thinking deep about the story your voice told, the tears clogging your throat, the little-girl life that you don't hold now but always hold in your heart. Arianne's experience is gripping me lately. What could have been for me if God had not kept my babies safe in me. The internal struggle I had during my pregnancy with Bredon, when I looked seriously at my husband and told him I understood why a woman would get an abortion. The hugs I don't give, the yeses I don't say. The lives in my life now.

I can not get past one thing. Your little girl, that baby that lived in you and died at your hand - God made her, knit her together, gave her a little eternal soul that you weren't meant to hold because. He. wanted. to. hold. you.

It was her purpose.

And it was for this same reason that Jesus was born, and lived, and died. Because God meant for Him to die.

Amber, you know His heart in a way few will ever understand.

Your tears are in my throat now.

Sherryk
Reply January 22, 2010

Amber, I really loved this post! I feel that there is so much truth in what you said, and it played such a delightful song in my heart. I have been seeing that feeling of your soul becoming aglow and suddenly awakened by doing what you know He has always had for you recently in my life. Thank you for sharing.

Sarah
Reply January 22, 2010

I've been writing all my life, but recently I've been feeling a call, a NEED to do more with it. I honestly don't know where to start. I've asked a blogger friend (who is new to being published) to review an essay, since I don't have an "editor". And I've been browsing webzines. Where, really, do I start if I want to get something published? Thanks for asking!
Sarah

Linda
Reply January 22, 2010

I love hearing from writers - love learning what they have to share. I would ask how you write: do you outline first; to you just let the story take you where it wishes?
I have enjoyed reading your blog from time to time. I think it's time I added you to my bloglines and became a regular visitor.

Secret Agent Mama
Reply January 23, 2010

You just have to know that I adore you. You're courageous, and beautiful, and true. And I feel like you are one of my kindred spirits.

Love, always. See you soon, sister.

thegypsymama
Reply January 24, 2010

"That’s why I tell my dirt, so my children don’t confuse me for something I’m not."

Yes, that's it exactly. My children and the women I know, I love, I meet, I will never meet. I don't want them to think that because I believe I am perfect. Rather, it's because I am imperfect that I believe!

- Lisa-Jo
Your blog is my drug today.

review
Reply January 28, 2016

Hi, the whole thing is going nicely here and ofcourse every one is sharing data, that's truly good,
keep up writing.

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