how to walk on the flood water

I was once a fine waitress, could balance plates up my arm, a table’s worth of food and drinks – a skill I learned from watching other women.

Likewise, I learned to love a big bag and can’t seem to get out of the house without the books I’m reading, my planner, a water bottle and granola bars enough for a week away – just in case.

When I get out of the van, I pick up the bits of fast-food trash, put that big bag in the crook of one arm along with a sack of groceries. I grab the mail and also the son who’s flopped asleep in his car seat.

On my left shoulder, I carry our grandmom who’s in the hospital with heart failure and the guilt of not bringing myself to call my other grandmother. On the right, the suffocation of an unorganized apartment heaped with desire upon desire to write my book, to cook scratch organic meals, and to teach my children to be genius Jesus followers.

In my teeth, I carry one son that I don’t know how to parent. In my mouth, I choke on the things I cannot write. My head hauls marriage, bobbling under efforts to remain connected. My womb flips with fourth son.

This, I know, you do too, in your own way.

And I woke this morning realizing the flood I’d brought over myself, nearly so that I couldn’t breathe. I am not practiced at letting go and rather find myself sickly comforted by all the things to which I cling.

At 4:30 AM I wake for my sons, not that they weren’t sleeping. I sit up in an internal desperate call for help that I should have yelped out a good while back.

I can’t carry all this.

It is good to lay it all out there, to make the lists before Mind-Body-Soul GOD. It is good to say, “Take this. And this. And this,” to see His arm yank beneath the flood, His both arms stand me up, so I can walk with Him

(in His only hushed, secret, unhurried way)

on the water,

eternal perspective,

in the truth about my lack of control.

It is good to breathe that kind of God air.

I want to learn the practice of letting go.

About me


kris c
Reply March 9, 2011

How true this is for me as well. Praying you find the peace an joy that comes from releasing it all to HIM who is able and willing to carry it all...

Reply March 9, 2011

Wow. I'm carrying the same bag, grandmother, dad with MS, three daughters (all birthed though, none still in the womb:). The problem, I suppose, is carrying them all tensed up not consciously aware of the weight. Thanks for this. Going to give them to Able Arms again.

Reply March 9, 2011

You described the feeling so well. Your beautiful way with words helped me see my own precarious balancing act...oh that we would yelp sooner!

If there is one thing five kiddos and a brand new wee girl are teaching me right now, it's to holler "up, Daddy!" no matter what is going on or how busy He seems. I just heard Francis Chan saying that the other day and it really hit home for me.

Love you and am praying...I know well the crazy-ness feeling of early pregnancy with little boys and life afoot.

Reply March 9, 2011

Oh the practice of letting go... How I wish I knew it, too.

Kelly Sauer
Reply March 9, 2011

My heart starts pounding as I'm reading this, and by the end, I'm breathing again. Oh, you know...

Elizabeth @claritychaos
Reply March 9, 2011

Exactly. I've been working on this. The overwhelmed and the carrying, but also the thinking I can do it all on my own.

Reply March 9, 2011

Yes! A mentor once told me, "Sheep are not burden-bearing animals." But I load up just like you do until that starts sinking in, which is often lately.

Thank God for hearing our cries for help, even when they are too greatly delayed. He is merciful and gracious.

Reply March 10, 2011

Thanks for your post. Excellent writing - I love that visual picture you have created for us about crying for help -having a loving father that pulls us up and helps us walk.

Reply March 10, 2011

oh yes. the burdens bag. it's awfully heavy.

Melissa@one thing
Reply March 10, 2011

I can't carry all this...
SO heavy.
This reminder is good for a mama who has so far cleaned up: an entire bottle of maple syrup, a bathroom flood and the carnage of 45 grade 9 boys in my home while I was at yet another AMAZING 'generations night'.

Reply March 10, 2011

It hit me so hard today, how I am feeling lazy at reaching out more to tell about Jesus and I realized omg I am failing with my boys, what am I doing here at home for them? It's more urgent to me now than ever.


laura@life overseas
Reply March 10, 2011

Amber, this was perfect for me today. As my head is swimming and I am already overwhelmed and annoyed-- and the day hasn't even started. The house is trashed and I would rather just run away with the laptop than do homeschooling stations with kids tired of schooling-- and whiny because of it. My brain is swimming with ideas that just don't have time to get out and so I sit, now, amid the mess, ignoring my kids, typing this comment . . .

And I guess I am at crossroads again, just like you said, of choosing the most important things today. And LETTING GO of the rest . ... and so, laptop will close and I will haul myself up outta this chair to make them do their chores and meet at the table for phonics.

Cuz, I know that for me, that is the more important thing to carry today. Even though I reckon I gotta drop most of the rest.

For now.

Thanks so much for this. Perfect timing, truly.

Reply March 10, 2011

what a beautiful post, miss amber. i feel this weight, too... love how you wrapped your words around this thing we mamas do.

Reply March 11, 2011

me too.

Reply March 12, 2011

oh yes. for some reason i keep finding myself in situations where i have no choice but to let go. in the drowning place. if only i could see the deep water before i stepped in it...

Ann Voskamp
Reply March 14, 2011

i have read this only ten times.
how many more till i learn?
i love you...

Jessica Y
Reply March 15, 2011

Ann, I have returned to read it 10 times as well. I, too have to learn. Throw my hands in the air....Isnt that what He wants from me?

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