When Your Writing Doesn’t Fit: Kingdom Come


messycupcakes

For me there were months in these beginning stages of writing a book that had no part in actual writing. I had to have a quiet, pulled-back stage of mulling. I had to wrestle with God, and I had to walk away blessed to work out my gifts, trusting He won’t let me turn into a clown in the process of getting literarily naked for my readers. It turns out that I’ve written under a great deal of fear in the past, and there is no way a book can be written under such fear.

It seems to me that we’re surrounded by writers who either write about the cupcakes of a beautifully tidy Christian life or by  those who write with oozing unhealed rawness. I tend to identify altogether more with the raw writers, but I long for the underlying zeal for truth and faith in the healing hand of God beheld by those who tend toward answering with a formula. As always, the more I tend to worry about becoming like one or the other, the worse and more confused I get.

I’m sure I’m not alone in how I feel like there are many courts, how I have no place in any of them. I once found my place in the orphan-care court, but then we cancelled our adoption and God changed our perspective on what orphan care even meant. Sometimes prayer about such things is like smelling the stew on the stove, a little glimpse of home, of belonging. But then we open our eyes, and we’re still here – strangers.

If we pray for God’s kingdom and power and glory now and forever, then we are saying with our mouths as Jesus did. There is kingdom now in the smell of the stew and the inner rest of home, and there is Kingdom come when we actually get to eat of it and rest our new bodies tucked up in God’s wing. I think I’m learning that Kingdom now is a realization that there is no other fit but of one rested in a Good Father’s care.

I say it in advance. My writing doesn’t fit. I know it as it happens. It doesn’t fit, but it smells like home to me, and that’s the direction I’m headed. Kingdom come.

 

photo credit here

 

amberhaines
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29 Comments

Jessica Y
Reply February 27, 2013

So thankful it doesn't "fit".

Melanie
Reply February 27, 2013

I just love this. Walking with you in the now and not yet of it all.

Melanie
Reply February 27, 2013

Oops, I was going to write some more.
Over the years my husband and I have had several miscarriages. In those times I feel the pull to react one of two ways- either say Christian platitudes like God is in control and I have peace (without honestly wrestling to get there) or I let the sorrow become my identity.
I think your writing shows a third way. A way of Hope. Not a pie in the sky kind of hope. But hope that is messy and substantive. Hope that changes us, changes the world.
One that looks around and sits long enough to say this hurts and isn't how it should be. And has vision for what will be when 'sorrow and sighing flee and gladness and joy overtake them'.
Thank you for that!

Stephanie Precourt
Reply February 27, 2013

This is why I like reading what you write, because it fits me.

Steph

    Amber
    Reply February 27, 2013

    We always knew we we meant to be. :)

jdukeslee
Reply February 27, 2013

I like that direction you're headed, toward Kingdom Come. And I'm just going to walk by you awhile, if that's all right, brushing a shoulder up against you from time to time, and being one voice in a chorus of many who whisper in your ear, "We need to hear what you have to say, Amber Haines. You fit with us."

Kelly @ Love Well
Reply February 27, 2013

I think, in the truest part, we are all messy, even if we don't always come across that way on the page. Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief. It's all in the same breath.

Your writing makes my soul resonate with Spirit truth. It fits me.

Joe Lynn Henley
Reply February 27, 2013

The Lord is infinitely more interested in our trusting Him with our present, as well as our future.We don't know for sure what is around the next bend in the road of our lives, but He does, and He has assured us over and over again that He will be with us, even carrying us when we don't have the strength to cry out to Him. Let the burden of the "book" rest on His shoulders, and if it is meant to be, He will bring it about in His time. You are honoring Him by encouraging others with His Truth. Simply keep on as the Holy Spirit leads you, Amber.

Laura
Reply February 27, 2013

Oh, Friend. I would read any ill-fitting book you write. I think it will fit me just right. I'm so excited by the thought...

Tanya Marlow
Reply February 27, 2013

Today I felt the need to get me some Amber words so I sat down and read Periphery. And then I read it again, and soaked in it awhile, and shed two healthy tears. It felt good, good in my bones, good in my soul.

I know it - that frustration of not feeling like I quite belong, and no right furrow to slip into, the discomfort of the trite but wanting to be hopeful.

But oh! Your words are such a gift! I mean by that both that you have considerable talent and also that it feels like I unwrap something precious. I like your third way, and I really like that you write out the process too. It gives me hope!

I wonder if you realise that when you are saying 'I do not fit' you are really saying 'I am unique'?

Much love xx

    Amber
    Reply February 27, 2013

    I'm so grateful God gives us as sisters. Grateful for you, Tanya.

Shannon
Reply February 27, 2013

"Sometimes prayer about such things is like smelling the stew on the stove, a little glimpse of home, of belonging. But then we open our eyes, and we’re still here – strangers."

I love this. I have the sensation more often these days of a square peg in a round hole. I'm learning to embrace the poor fit, because it points me to God. Your writing speaks my language of being unsettled, yet learning to be content. Thank you!

PS-we are an adoptive family, but our view of orphan care is expanding and changing. Your posts on this topic help me to work out my thoughts. So thanks for that as well!

Lisa Easterling
Reply February 27, 2013

You always word my heart. Love you, girl.

Annie Barnett
Reply February 27, 2013

Amber, I'm grateful for this third way you weave words. I thought of you, and a few others, when I wrote these words last week: "In writing and in life, I harbor a growing appreciation for folks who can wrap one white-knuckled fist around hope and let life’s broken ugly drip from the other open palm." When you write from that place you describe - rested in the Father's care - it's a "deep calls to deep" kind of writing, and it draws others to a place of rest too. It's one of the reasons I love reading words here and am celebrating this book being birthed!

Kristina
Reply February 27, 2013

"Smells like home."
I'd have to bet that my kids think home smells like different things. I think it's the same idea with us and heaven and writing. It feels like home because its a little piece of home captured on the screen and what we attribute to home is different for all of us. One of my friends says that writing is a call to be with God and it seems like your writing is pouring out fem that place...the place where you've been with God. So keep doing that...keep being with and wrestling with him and you know, you might just walk away smelling like Him and that's where everyone can feel at home.

Melissa
Reply February 27, 2013

So I've quit reading Christian publications. Mostly. I try to fight it off and get back into it but...I don't know. The fiction makes me want to barf and the non-fiction does not speak to me where I am. So perhaps your work might not fit into the womens ministry shelf at my church, to which I say THANK GOD. Something for the rest of us. Can't wait!

Brandee Shafer
Reply February 27, 2013

Well, awesome. Just be who YOU are. Because we have plenty enough of everybody else.

Airs
Reply February 27, 2013

Maybe we are wounded cupcakes? Or healed over wounds, not oozing anymore? There is a common thread, thank God.

emily wierenga
Reply February 28, 2013

oh girl. my writing doesn't fit either. but yes. it smells like home. love you.

Tamara
Reply March 1, 2013

Thank you for writing this. Mine doesn't 'fit', either, but I keep telling myself that that is what I love about writing like yours. You have such a gift, and you have been an incredible blessing to me over the last few years. I am very grateful for the words God has spoken into my life through you.

Kimberly
Reply March 2, 2013

I am terrified I lean towards the cupcake camp. I'm not kidding. It's the kind of reading I try to avoid, but I worry that all the previous years I wasted reading terrible Christian fiction have rubbed off in the worst way.

You're cutting back the thicket and creating a new path for the rest of us, Amber. For those of us who are too afraid, and those of us who long to see how it's done--and done with excellence. Thank you, from one (hopeful?) misfit to another.

Kathi
Reply March 3, 2013

Amber,
Your voice speaks to those who were meant to hear it. Some of my favorite people to read have left you comments on this post, and I think that is worthy praise.

Heidi Stone
Reply March 3, 2013

You read my mail. :) Really encouraged by this post to not limit my writing to fit my audience but to pray that the Lord fits together those of us who speak a similar language.

Kim
Reply March 4, 2013

Amber, I've lurked around here a couple times, but I can't help but comment today. A member of an (in)courage writing group I'm in pointed us to this post, and it resonates with me so much. My sister and I blog together, and we were just talking last night about this hard place of finding our voices and pursuing them even if they don't fit. It's scary to take the plunge into territory that others might not want to tread into, and sometimes I back pedal instead of moving forward. Thanks for the inspiration, and I'm looking forward to reading your words often now.

Angela
Reply March 9, 2013

Amber, your writing has blessed me. You write beautifully about the beauty and rawness of the Christian life. I often feel my writing doesn't fit either. I struggle between honoring the rawness and pain and trying to presenting hope to those hurting.

There is so much struggle and pain. When I see God bring hope and grace in the moment, I want to share that He is indeed real and does give grace. I know from experience there are times it feels we walk alone. In those times, the hope that God brings is a lifeline for survival. I don't think there ever is a "formula." So appreciate your honest writing. Looking forward to your book. Thank you.

Charissa
Reply March 11, 2013

This is oh so true...why is it so difficult to just be comfortable with our own voice...

Samantha Livingston
Reply March 14, 2013

Those last few words really speak to me. "[My writing] doesn’t fit, but it smells like home to me, and that’s the direction I’m headed. Kingdom come." Thanks for that encouragement. I think that's where I'm headed too. :)

Annette
Reply March 28, 2013

Bravo! Your words ring so true, deeply, richly, authentically. There is enough Christian-ese out there - we serve each other well by being candid in the fact that we don't have all the answers, we can know the answers but not always apply them well, and share our questions and wrestles, even if they don't it. Especially if. Keep it coming.

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