on what’s inside: the secret places, the callings, and our fourth child

After the two pink lines, there’s a secret phase.

See the woman go about regular living. See her not listen to the radio, rather think of what Soul means. See her have conversations, her hand reach up and gently cradle her tiny womb. See her not even know she does it. There’s hardly a thought that isn’t salted with preparation, the burn of knowledge that new life explodes inside.

And then if she chooses to find out the gender, no matter the overwhelming desire for one sex or the other, see her watch the ultrasound, follow the outline of already chunky body. The curve of tiny bottom, long legs and arms gathered in, the fingers opening and closing, her baby has eyes, will see the dirt up close and the spirit veil one day open to God. Her baby has ears to hear the wind muffle an eagle’s cry at the edge of mountains, ears to hear the Silent Holy say, “go this way.”

Yesterday I walked about the Promenade. I looked at baby clothes. I am having my fourth boy.

I am having my 4th boy. I am having a boy. A boy!

I finger the tiny black sleeper with motorcycles and think how clothes don’t matter. I avert my eyes from flowers. What is his name?

I love him so so much. I would already die if he needed me to. My baby. I am not disappointed.

Three boys has been an honor, but when we cross over to four? That’s a calling I hadn’t even considered, how I know I can’t do it, how I know God will show proof of His might and grace.

I walked through sales, pretending to find my non-pregnant size, and my insides were exalting. Who am I that I get this mother job, this short tether to God in prayer? My One and I walked together, in our secret place, and it was the sweetness honey’s made of, to know God and to carry the ones whom He chose for me to carry.

About me


What I Knew In My Dying Day: a Wild in the Hollow Guest Post by Tara Owens
August 19, 2015
Condemnation on the Molehill
June 08, 2015
Tools for the Highly Sensitive Mother: An Introduction
April 27, 2015
The Uncouth: The Hormonal
May 12, 2014
What Mothers Me
April 01, 2014
Learning How to Eat (and a giveaway of Mom in the Mirror)
May 20, 2013
A Haines Home Companion: Alter
February 22, 2013
A Haines Home Companion: Motherhood and Anti-Depression
February 08, 2013
A Haines Home Companion: On the Trail
January 25, 2013


Reply March 5, 2011

Oh, what a blessing, what a quiver of boys for you. And an honor. Truth be told, I desire a fourth boy. I do. I am so happy for you & Seth and the big brothers, Amber!


Robin ~ Pensieve
Reply March 5, 2011

I'm married to one of four boys and I see you in my mother-in-law's place, years and years and years from now. A sweet place, one that has given her four daughters-in-love to match those boys who share her blood.

It's congratulations all over again, to know this little wonder just a teensy bit better, to see him now in shades of blue.

I hear the love exploding, so excited for this son who'll soon find his sweet spot among a den of tigers :).

    Reply March 5, 2011

    Isn't that the truth, Robin! We were all in our bed this morning, all three of them squeezed between me and Seth. We wondered about having one more in there! It's amazing.

Reply March 5, 2011

I love what Robin said - about him finding his sweet spot in the den of tigers. This post makes me smile wide, my friend.

Flower Patch Farmgirl
Reply March 5, 2011

One thing I love about the life God gives is that He never runs out of opportunities to surprise us. Congratulations. This is lovely.

sara @ it's good to be queen
Reply March 5, 2011

"to know God and to carry the ones whom He chose for me to carry" ....love that. Wow, amber...what a gift. what an honor. God has given you an army. what fun your house will be!!!!

Lisa @ Crazy Adventures in Parenting
Reply March 5, 2011

Yay! A fourth boy! Congrats!

I silently desire a fourth of *somebody* myself (as you know, we already have three of each), but I think my tired body wants to be done. Instead, I will be contently blessed with the six we have, and will live vicariously through you, Casey, Kim, and others, offering my arms to snuggle when/if needed :)

Much love to you and Seth <3

Reply March 5, 2011

Oh, Amber, I'm absolutely thrilled! I admit that I was hoping all along for another boy for you - not sure why but it just seemed "right." What a tribe of men you are raising. We're just four weeks (or so) away from discovering what we are having ourselves but that will be at the birth. I'm quite excited since we have one of each. So much love to you and your boys.

Tammy@if meadows speak
Reply March 5, 2011

Is this some conspiracy for a home-grown jedi clan? And I loved Robin's perspective. Ahh....sweetness.

Tammy@if meadows speak
Reply March 5, 2011

Oh, and Congrats!

Reply March 5, 2011

A boy! Oh Amber, FOUR boys. What a precious, high calling. You are richly blessed!
Much love to you.

We are THAT family
Reply March 5, 2011

Four godly sons to change the world--you are blessed!

Elizabeth @claritychaos
Reply March 5, 2011

I am so happy for you, Amber. A fourth boy is my dream. :) You will be loved and cherished and well cared for your whole life through, Mama.

Johanna @ These Prices
Reply March 5, 2011

This is so beautiful. How blessed you are!

Reply March 5, 2011

I love a rainy Saturday. Even with Kevin working at the Home Show and just me here to fill my three babies wishes for drink, food, and entertainment, it allows me time to sit down and catch up. I've been reading "The Run-A-Muck" and all of the other fabulous places that it takes me to for a good year and a half or more. I normally don't comment on anything because one, after reading your beautiful writing, my words really feel quite shabby and two, I've known you your whole life and in some ways, it feels like I'm reading your deepest thoughts in your personal diary. I know that sounds strange because you invited me to read your blogs. It's just a feeling. Your writing has made me laugh and cry. Sometimes both at the same time. I love you to and through your bones. You were my first "real" baby. Here we are, so many years down the road and your fourth baby is on his way (Congratulations!), but when I think of you, it is always a picture of us on the little two seater swing in my old backyard (where Carla still lives,) you singing "Jesus Loves Me" (in your "I've barely learned how to talk voice") and me trying to teach you the sign language to go with it. I love and admire the Woman, Wife and Mother that you have become. I'm in awe of you and really, sometimes, in the throws of diffusing whatever "war" my three children are waging against each other, I ask myself, "how would Amber handle this?"

Reply March 5, 2011

Amber here's the straight up truth! Every year I witness the remnants of a seriously endangered species. The species of the godly young man. More and more beautifully created young girls who are seeking the Lord are stopped short of seeing an example among their peers of God-believing Christ-trusting young men. In fact it's so rare I wonder who these girls will be able to trust with their hearts. So the wonderful blessing of you and Seth raising your boys in the fear and admonition of the Lord lifts my heart in thanks and praise for God's perfect plan. It also gives hope to families filled with hair ties and pink pajamas that God will be faithful. So happy for you, so excited to meet this little one who will someday lead his family with faith in his beautiful savior! As God isfaithful to provide He's as equally faithful to preserve. Love y'all!!!

Megan at SortaCrunchy
Reply March 5, 2011


Second, Scott's comment brought me to tears. As we pray over our two girls, we pray for those young men who might one day stand alongside them to covenant together. Oh, how pray for those someday-young-men and their parents now, inviting, teaching, leading them to the gospel of the Good News of Jesus Christ. What a mighty calling, indeed.

Peace and blessing to you as you enjoy the last half of pregnancy.

Reply March 5, 2011

i read with bated breath. will she tell us? and you did. and i am so pleased for you. i'm looking across the room at my younger, stretched almost to the end of the couch. and listening to my older, in the adjoining room playing praise songs on his guitar. both boys. i am blessed. and it IS beyond reason that God chooses us to carry and grow them isn't it? the knowledge of his mercy grace patience love guidance provision both overwhelms and sustains. praying for you as you embark! can't wait to see those other three love on this little bro!

Reply March 5, 2011

Love this so much. So much.

Heather (ham1299)
Reply March 5, 2011

Aww! How precious! CONGRATULATIONS!

Reply March 5, 2011

I am so happy for you, but for these four boys that have beautiful, wonderful parents that will help them to be wonderful, godly men to change this world. :)

Emily @ The Pilot's Wife
Reply March 5, 2011

Oh Amber, how wonderful! He is a lucky little boy.

Reply March 5, 2011

What an opportunity to raise men of God! As a mother of three boys myself, I know exactly how you feel - averting your eyes from the overwhelmingly pink sections of stores - and finding the indescribable joy in the plan God has for you!

Reply March 5, 2011

"to know God and to carry the ones who chose for me." Oh that. Insert lump in throat.
This is pure joy, Amber.

Reply March 5, 2011

Oh how I do love the secretness of pregnancy. No way to describe sharing a body with someone. I miss it when it is over. Hooray for another boy. I have a dear friend (another Amber) who has 3 boys (just like me) and she is pregnant with her fourth. We were chatting the other day that we do feel like it is a calling at this point. Like the girl would be the shock. :) Praying for a joyful rest of your pregnancy and beyond!

Reply March 5, 2011

Congratulations! Your parents sure did something right to raise such a beautiful young lady (inside and out). It seems like just yesterday I was watching you in the show choir at DAR and thinking how pretty and talented you were. Now you're all grown up and raising those wonderful boys for the Lord. I pray God's blessing on you and yours. I enjoy your posts.

Sara @ Happy Brown House
Reply March 5, 2011

Oh Amber, how exciting! What a gift God is giving you and Seth to raise up an army of Godly men! And really, what's one more to add to three boys already? Now the teams can be even for football in the yard! :)

Kelly Sauer
Reply March 5, 2011

Wow - do you know when I was younger, I wanted to be a mom to six boys? I'm still wishing for your girl, but that's me, and look at you, falling in love all over again! (Would you believe that I half thought you might be having twins??? :-P)

Congratulations - your boys must be ecstatic!!!

    Reply March 5, 2011

    AH, Kelly, when I read that, I almost threw up. Love to you.

Reply March 5, 2011

How exciting! Congratulations and blessings!

I second what Scott said. I have 2 girls and pray for the men who will come into their lives.

What a beautiful image you painted for us. Thank you.

Reply March 5, 2011

God loves you so very much. Blessings to you and your family.

KC Rhon
Reply March 5, 2011

This my first time visiting your site. What a sweet and endearing post. Your heart is very evident and with that kind of heart, God can do great things in and through you. And those things will be passed on to your sweet boys. Congrats!

Danelle Townsend
Reply March 6, 2011

Hi Amber,
I love your sweet sentiments on carrying your fourth child. I like the way you said "carrying the ones He chose for me to carry."
He will carry you through the mountains and the valleys with these four precious boys. An amazing calling to disciple four boys!
Lots of love to you!

Reply March 6, 2011

What a blessing to walk in the highest of all callings- as a Mother. Congrats!

Kelly @ Love Well
Reply March 6, 2011

Such truth! Such blessing! May God continue to enlarge you in the waiting, Amber -- in every way. :-) Congratulations! (And may the Force be with you.)

emily freeman
Reply March 6, 2011

I'm crying in a good way at the thought of you having four boys. FOUR BOYS! What a legacy, to raise up four leaders of families - imagine the influence! So, so happy for you, friend.

Elizabeth W
Reply March 6, 2011

Congratulations! I have 6 boys. Having a brood of boys is such a gift. It's always loud and a little dirty but it is nothing less than awe. some. Congrats again!

Reply March 6, 2011

A hearty congratulations! No getting around it...4 boys is indeed a calling and you are wise and precious to see it this way. I have 2 dear friends who have 4 boys each and there is just something special about being with their families and imagining the legacy of all those boys being brought up to love Jesus.

Sharon O
Reply March 6, 2011

wow... how fun and busy your life will be. A house full of little warriors. John Eldredge is awesome when he says boys are 'hard wired' to protect, to be a man. His book "Wild at Heart" is a must read for parents of boys. My grandsons love to dress up in superman or other hero outfits. It is all about being a boy. I really liked what Scott wrote don't know the man but his words are very wise. Blessings to you as you prepare for a new son.
from a grandma of six (three boys~ three girls) in Oregon

Reply March 6, 2011

So thrilled for you....
Shouldn't there be a special term for a bevy of boys? Heap. Tangle. Sprawl. Riot.
Blessings upon your belly's inner workings and your mess of boys.

Jessica Turner @ The Mom Creative
Reply March 6, 2011

SO excited for you. Maybe we can hook him and Adeline up? Love you, sweet friend.

Reply March 6, 2011

Congrats, Amber! What a blessed little boy he already is with you as his mama.

Reply March 6, 2011

Being the called Mother of boys you are called to prepare men for God's service as boys, brothers, husbands and fathers. I love your perspective sweet girl!!!

Reply March 6, 2011

Oh, Amber!
Congratulations! We're so excited for you and Seth! I laughed out loud and cried for joy! God is good! What a blessing!
Much love,
Carrie, Troy & the boys!

Reply March 6, 2011

I'm carrying my number three, and I really really love boys. I mean, how could you not? The thought of three makes me worry a little, about the furniture and the mental stability of my dog, but really I can't wait to jump into the dirt and chaos and bugs and sword fighting that is boy TIMES THREE! So happy for you. You wrote it all so beautifully too.

Reply March 6, 2011

oh my. my comment makes it sound like I'm having triplets. I had a dream that I was, and I forgot all my children's names, but I was just happy that I hadn't lost one. It was very stressful. I am not having triplets. EeK!

Ann Voskamp
Reply March 7, 2011

From a mama of four sons... I love you raising four future men.
Love your words, the way you pluck them, write them, live them, love your heart, the way you see the world and our Jesus, love you and your boys and the way we all laughed there in the living room of the rock house, the Rock underneath everything. Fine men there, Amber- - all five of them. All for Him.

More love than I can ever express... looking forward to that boy on your birthday! :)

Reply March 7, 2011

Congrats! Boys are awesome :) So happy for you!

mary alice
Reply March 7, 2011

The family is as happy as ever. We love the boys and would never have it any other way. :)

Reply March 7, 2011

oh, amber, how i've related to you in this last pregnancy. and i rarely ever comment, but here i had to, and i'm even going to break blog "etiquette" and link you to my own revelation of 4th boy on his way. it's still a wonder, but i am overjoyed now. i had to have my 20 minutes of grief in her loss... but He was so good to replace it soon w/ how GOOD his gifts are!!!

Melissa Brotherton
Reply March 7, 2011

What an exciting house that will be!! Congratulations. :)

Reply March 7, 2011

Congratulations! I have three boys. Amazing, that the Lord has blessed us to raise leaders, to raise husbands, to raise warriors for Him! All for Him!

Reply March 14, 2011

Amber, beautiful, just beautiful.

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