You Have Not Come to Darkness


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I reached in my pocket and pulled out a handful of sand. Along the sea-urchin, reef-lined coast, there were three of us who wanted to be completely skinny-dipping naked like a rebirth in Haiti, but instead, I walked in with my pants on, and so weeks later in my own Arkansas home, I pulled out a handful of sand.

If you want to know half of what I’m thinking, read Seth’s blog. Read what he wrote today.  Something has happened.

When I was in Haiti, I told the people in the car with me that I felt like a chemical had washed over my brain. It was the quantum physics of an invisible thing being realized, what some call a miracle. I experienced this one time before. It was the day I first believed, the day I forgot to smoke cigarettes and no longer craved any sort of substance. Something has happened.

Before I left for Haiti I asked Isaac what he knew of Haiti, and he really knew nothing. I mentioned the bad earthquake, and he immediately responded with “why would God ever do something like that?”

I said, “Baby, I don’t think anybody can know why that happened, but I do know that the earth was made to quake. Tectonic plates were made to move along the molten surface. This is how mountains and islands were made in the first place.”

The earth was made to quake. Swallow that one.

And then I read of the Unshakable Kingdom, and when I read it a vision formed in me. When I left for Haiti, I felt the shaking. I was quaking way down inside, fear and trembling. There were things behind the scenes in my life and in the lives of dear ones to me, and we were all shaking. I told you then that there were things I could never type.

This is life for all of us, isn’t it? It’s beautiful, and it’s shaking. It is gold beads of fire strung on a web. It is sun through drips of rain over ruins.  Great things are being revealed, and great things are falling away.

When I left home, I feared that witnessing such poverty would strip me of every last ounce of joy, but I’ve already told you that while I was there, it was like I came into the intended version of myself. I begged until I felt a shift in my own definition.

At first I didn’t want to say it, like counting chickens before they hatch. I didn’t want to say I had been healed just in case the disease comes back, but now I am certain. I have been healed, enough to say it out loud. I have been healed of a darkness. I have been healed of an anxiety that has noosed around me for as long as I can remember. I have been given JOY, and it will never leave me.

I am not afraid of God anymore like they were long ago at Mount Sinai, like when Moses trembled in the blazing light of God. Mount Sinai had formed from a bursting upward rub of hot ground, and it was indeed so holy that even if an idiot ass leaned against it, it would die.

Things are shaking. Things may indeed be burning down. It has us talking about the reason for this life, all these kingdoms shaking down around us, about this culture and the tired church machine. We are exiles. We are being dismantled with complete faith that rebuilding comes.

But we no longer go to Mount Sinai. Now is a new thing. Now we go to the Mountain of Zion – in the kind of awe that opens eyes to see wing on wing on wing, a myriad of angels. I come to an assembly (we of every land) a church beautiful with her veil pulled way back, shining.  Mount-Zion fear is fear that sees a people in a fire, but the people aren’t consumed. Mount Zion fear is a mind that can’t understand its own joy.

amberhaines
About me

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17 Comments

tonia
Reply April 30, 2014

Yes, I know this, and I keep putting out a careful foot to see if the healing will hold. I'm getting more confident. Enough to smile big and rejoice a little with you for seeing the darkness go and the boldness rise up.

    Amber
    Reply May 1, 2014

    Something in me has recognized in you someone who understands a lot of what I mean, probably more than I understand myself. I appreciate you more than you'll know. thank you for rejoicing with me.

    What's unexpected is that it's not like the temptation isn't there to go to the dark place. It's a mind habit. It's that now I look at it and say to myself "No, I am free from that." And for the first time I really believe it.

      tonia
      Reply May 1, 2014

      Um, yes. Thank you. That's exactly what it is now, a mind habit. I sat in church on Sunday (that alone is a healed and healing statement) and kept forcing myself to write down the beautiful side of things so the cynic couldn't leak out. I've got to train my mind out of the old, dark paths and into new ones. Glad we're doing it alongside each other.

      Kiran Lotay
      Reply May 2, 2014

      Bless the Lord for what he is doing in you Amber. Thanks for sharing it. These are the seeds of renewal. It's exciting. Reformation is on the horizon for Western Christianity. May it be full of grace and free from bitterness.

      Love in Christ,

      Kiran

JoAnn
Reply April 30, 2014

i have read this five times today. I love it. It gives words to my heart.

Heather
Reply May 1, 2014

BOOM. Oh I just have too much to day. But typing on tiny keyboard in airport. I love you.

    Amber
    Reply May 1, 2014

    I have too much today and to say, too! But mostly I love you.

Heather
Reply May 1, 2014

Say. Not day. But that too

Samantha Lowdermilk
Reply May 1, 2014

I just had church in my own little living room and couldn't even whisper an amen. All I could do was rest my head back, close my eyes and exhale. Not even kidding. So much beauty and so much God at work in the broken. All by his design. Made to quake. Made to break. Made to spill out and build. I am not consumed.

Kristin Potler
Reply May 1, 2014

When I returned from months on the mission field with little people in tow, having traversed villages in China and the Philippines and people asked, I answered, "I no longer have fear of the unknown and my God has grown many sizes." I love that He has done a permanent work in you. We call that, "ruined for the ordinary." Love you friend!
~Kristin

Annie Barnett
Reply May 1, 2014

Beautiful and full of hope, friend. Thank you for taking time to write it out, for finding space to savor and delight in this.

Laura
Reply May 1, 2014

I completely understand. Beautifully, truthfully worded. Once the Joy washes away the darkness, it is gone and can never hold the same power again. Bless you <3

Diana Trautwein
Reply May 1, 2014

gorgeous, miraculous. so grateful.

Liza
Reply May 2, 2014

I get this. I really do. And it's lovely.

I followed along on your recent trip to Haiti, well, more than I follow other blogger trips with groups like Compassion and World Vision. I usually avoid blogs when I see that trips are coming, because the posts always leave me with despair over the plight of others and they lay on the guilt so thick - as if it's my fault people live in poverty and as if it's my fault they'll stay there. But in every single post that I read from your Haiti trip - from everyone on the trip - all I got was a sense of joy. Joy that people can have good lives even if they don't have much. Joy and anticipation of a better life. Joy in one simple school building that is proof that a better life is possible. Joy in the work that is being done, even though it is long and hard work.

And then here you are again, proclaiming joy. I remember the day I found healing. I still had bad days after that, but they no longer defined me or consumed me. Like you said in an earlier comment, it's now a mind habit. But it's a habit that's easy to identify and shove aside.

Kelly @ Love Well
Reply May 4, 2014

You know I can't escape this post, don't you? It echoes in my heart and in my soul and my bones. My marrow. It vibrates with this. Because it is beautiful and so very you, and I love you with my whole being, and yet is is also my Jesus and my story. I know this rebirth. Remade. DNA spun anew. I look the same on the outside, but on the inside, I am as different as a caterpillar is from a butterfly. And the joy. Oh my goodness, THE JOY. It bubbled up through my new skin and poured itself out like a healing balm, like a nectar of ambrosia, and it is my strength for now and forever more.

Changed. Yes. Changed.

Koki
Reply April 27, 2016

Even after so many years, this post reads like a sighing. Thank you Amber!

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