on the rats

Today, I would love for you to hop over to Like a Warm Cup of Coffee. Sarah asked me and a few others for some advice, and if you visited her, commented, and clicked around on her blog, I think you would like it a lot. She cares for the hearts of women, so go there and get encouraged.

To what I had to offer there, again on the topic of affairs, I’d like to add another thing — something that a dear one said to me last night. We were discussing our tempers in regard to parenting, and she mentioned C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity, saying:

Surely what a man does when he is taken off his guard is the best evidence for what sort of a man he is? Surely what pops out before the man has time to put on a disguise is the truth? If there are rats in a cellar you are most likely to see them if you go in very suddenly. But the suddenness does not create the rats: it only prevents them from hiding. In the same way the suddenness of the provocation does not make me an ill-tempered man; it only shows me what an ill-tempered man I am. The rats are always there in the cellar, but if you go in shouting and noisily they will have taken cover before you switch on the light.

We make these rules, as good Christian girls, to protect ourselves from sin; we do it just like the Jewish leaders of the Old Covenant, adding laws to keep safe. BUT here’s the deal. The Rats are still in the cellar. If we make our goal to follow the rules, we’ll miss the whole point and have an unbelievable and miserable faith, rats slinking back, a study of how to keep dodge.

To deal within the heart realm is to pursue the Humility of Christ, a broken and contrite Spirit. It’s not simply for the white-washed walls but rather to go cellar deep for the cleansing work. 

I have so many motives to pour out today, so many rats to shoo.

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About me


When We All Speak a Foreign Language
January 20, 2017
What do you taste?
November 08, 2016
If Love is the Only Goal
January 04, 2016
What Would You Do If You Found My Name in the Ashley Madison Data?
August 24, 2015
Women Set Apart
February 23, 2015
The Barbarian’s Heart
February 11, 2015
True Story
September 24, 2014
You Have Not Come to Darkness
April 30, 2014
A Haines Home Companion: On Limbo
February 27, 2014


Reply September 3, 2009

so true...i long for an authenticity that gets rid of the "good Christian girl" & does the difficult & real cleansing deep within. thanks for the word this morning.

Reply September 3, 2009

Agree, but I don't think that's it is true we are only who we are when we are surprised. That's part of us, but we are also the part that thinks before leaping. Kurt Vonnegut has a line from Mother Night that I think is appropriate: "We must be careful of what we pretend to be. For in the end, we are what we pretend to be."

    Reply September 3, 2009

    Ooo, Brad! Whipping out some Vonnegut! Good one, and I agree.

Reply September 3, 2009

thanks for this. great image I'll remember.

Reply September 3, 2009

*that it is true

Reply September 3, 2009

Wow. You've put so eloquently what I've been thinking and comtemplating for months, trying to grab a hold of what's really in me, and why I am the way I am. I completely understand being a 'good Christian girl' and how growing up so sheltered, it's so easy to become exactly what we've been sheltered from. I was just speaking to my mom last night about this very thing, and explaining how easy it is to want to run in the opposite direction- not from God, but from the church that is so full of rules and regulations. It's so easy to want to turn your back on the lists of do's and don'ts. So happy to find this community. So happy. :)

Adventures In Babywearing
Reply September 3, 2009

I think I am going to have to really think on this before I give a better comment than just thank you. But for now, thank you.


Reply September 3, 2009

Ugh. Amber, the rats...how true! It's like a curse word slipping from mouth (in front of my children) when I am suddenly scared/angered in the car or eslewhere. I think to myself- where did that come from? Then I remember, deep down there is some work that needs to be done.

Reply September 3, 2009

What can I say? I hate rats, and it just isn't the same if you talk about kittens. Rats are in my basement. They are in my living room. I think that I even saw them, yesterday, at the post office.

Thank you for this post.

Reply September 3, 2009

hmmmmm. so true. my kids know my rats better than anyone, I think.

Emily M
Reply September 3, 2009

Definitely true, and I agree with Susie that my kids probably see more of my rats than anyone else.

Sara Sophia
Reply September 4, 2009

I have read that book many times.

But tonight I needed to hear its words again.

"The rats are still there."

I hope we all find the courage to dig deeper and accept who we really are.
We are the darkness.
We are the sin.
We are the depression.
We are the ungratefulness.
We are the shame.

But He takes us, and brushes away the cobwebs,
and sets those oh-so-painful rat traps.

We are being molded.

We have to stop leaping from the Potter's wheel, whistling our merry tunes and protesting that we are fine.
That we are finished.

I thank my Jesus for helping me understand,
"the heart is desperately wicked. Who can know it?"

And to understand that HE does.
And stitches together every ragged piece.

Oh the Love.
Oh the Sacrifice.
Oh the Infinite Patience.

He calls us Daughter. Son.
He calls us Beautiful.
He calls us His.

And I can pull the covers up to my chin and rest.

Reply September 5, 2009

oh- i am overrun with rats. thank you amber- for turning on the light.

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