When You Want Your Picket Fence: Kingdom Come


I’ll be writing mostly from coffee shops this year, because home is a dervish, no writing there. These days we cling together and around our heads flies laundry. The towels, out to fold or out to soak wet in the carpet (who knows), instead become like handkerchiefs swinging above head like surrender and sometimes like celebration, like church. We pause after weeks of restlessness to let the room go silent and watch the baby dance to the music in his head. I rarely don’t hear “Mama,” this phase of cutting pears, standing over spelling words, and tying laces at once.

After a week with family for my aunt’s funeral, I’m finally home with my five guys. The other day, after Titus had spent weeks more without growing at all, he grew a half pound. I was expecting to be sent to Mayo Clinic, but instead we were told to celebrate. It’s so funny the longing for normalcy when everything gets thrown off. I’ve begun my lists. Seth and I will begin writing this week like it’s our job, though honestly sometimes I’d rather take up the quietness of bread-baking.

As we read through the Bible together this year, I’m focusing on the term kingdom. My perspective and hope and need for approval is shifting. Things are boiling down. I feel a sharper twinge of temporariness to my clothes, house, and even to my time. Along side that sense of temporariness actually comes joy – even though I’ll never lay these eyes on my aunt again, and my heart is broken about it. When Josie hugged, she would wrap her arms round and settle there until you gave in and let her hold you up a minute. Sometimes she would hold so tightly I could barely breathe. She would say I love you, baby.

It’s all metaphor pointing elsewhere. I struggle, just want the normal so badly, and so discussed this with my Friday morning coffee girls, and one reminded me that Seth and I don’t aim for picket fence, and so that’s not what we’ve got. Something about begging Kingdom Come protects me from and opens me up to the whole wide world and every one in it. We’ll just do what’s next.

Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62)

We plowed past picket fences a good while back. Kingdom Come.

photo credit here
amberhaines
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19 Comments

Mia
Reply January 23, 2013

Dear Amber
I am sorry to hear of your Aunt's death, but overjoyed about Titus gaining a bit of weight. Such good news. Yes, dear one, sometimes we acutely feel and know that the world as it is now, is not the way it is supposed to be! Thanks for your link-up again. Really enjoyed linking-up again this week.
Much love XX
Mia

    Amber
    Reply January 23, 2013

    I can't wait to get to read it, Mia!

dearabbyleigh
Reply January 23, 2013

yes. the next thing.

Aimee
Reply January 23, 2013

YAY for Titus' weight gain!

I'm so sorry to hear of your aunt's death. (((Hugs)))

Danelle
Reply January 23, 2013

This was just beautiful Amber. To embrace the "temporary" and let go of "control", to see the temporary as the blessing. Kingdom Come is not a stagnant place. I know the bread baking desire too, everyone likes my bread and they don't even have to tell me, they just take the second helpings. It is easy. I don't seek approval, I don't have to struggle in the mixing of the ingredients. Yes. I get this. But please know that on the days that you write like it is your job, you bless so many with your words. Early on in my blogging life I came across your site and thought it was just truth written so beautifully. I would read out loud some of your sentences like the art they were. And are. Love you Amber.

Heidi Clark
Reply January 23, 2013

My first house had a white picket fence in the front yard and I thought it was all perfect. My front yard now is full of mole hills and keeping my house clean is like running a never ending marathon. There is a bittersweet filter on my life now but I feel like I see clearer and my soul is filled up. We aren't normal enough for a white picket fence any more and I kinda like it that way. ;))

Quiet Girl
Reply January 23, 2013

So wise, Amber. You don't have that because you have not aimed for that... You are also not already behind this year just because January 1st has blow by. I can't wait for more of your inspired words. A true gift.

Annie Barnett
Reply January 23, 2013

Grateful for your lighting the way here as you plow past.

Sarah Van Beveren
Reply January 23, 2013

So beautiful Amber. That last line made me stop and linger for a few minutes.

Amber
Reply January 23, 2013

Love...yes, i want the normal, too. Then I don't. Then I do...

nic
Reply January 24, 2013

just the insight i didn't even know i was hungry for this morning. we're aiming for kingdom, so why am i dismayed by the grubby roots of every day loving? you've nailed this thing, amber.

'it's all metaphor pointing elsewhere.'

grace at {gabbing with grace}
Reply January 24, 2013

great words, here! Sometimes, I fight aiming for the picket fence and a lot of other days I'm aiming higher, brighter, better. But the back and forth can be exausting when you tack guilt on. the Kingdom come prayer is one I come back to often. may it be seeped in us! By the way, completely new here (got here through someone's twitter recommendation), love the site & your poetic writing style. Nice to "meet" you. =)

Ashleigh Baker
Reply January 24, 2013

Sitting there with with you in the wanting normal and yet... not. Praising over every ounce of Titus' weight gain.

Ashley
Reply January 24, 2013

Amber, how I love your words and your seeking. They fill in spaces and put concrete to my thoughts of the out there somewhere. This line: "We plowed past picket fences a good while back. Kingdom Come." What a mighty declaration.

Rachel
Reply January 25, 2013

Like all else here, I'm glad to read of Titus' weight gain and sadness for you in the passing of your aunt.

I too often forget there are many others who don't have white pickets, you'll never know how much this post meant to me in this exact week. Thank you.
And yes, in passing white picket fences along time ago, kingdom come. Amen, Amber. Thank you.

Rachel
Reply January 25, 2013

Like all else here, I'm glad to read of Titus' weight gain and sadness for you in the passing of your aunt.

I too often forget there are many others who don't have white pickets, you'll never know how much this post meant to me in this exact week.

The last two lines? Amen, Amber. Thank you.

Diana Trautwein
Reply January 25, 2013

Picket fences aren't all bad, you know. Sometimes they outline what's most valuable in this life. Other times they become a trap. It's all in how you see. And I like the way you see.

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