All I Have

There is a way contentment sings, the purpose of the song and the beauty, the waking to hope. I step over a pile of clothes, like instead of having put them up as is the rule, God had me stack them so I’d see how much I have. Wadded up down there in the floor blocking the narrow pathway around our big bed in this apartment, our lives have never looked more messy.

I’ve never been happier. When my Aunt Cathy found out she was having her 4th son, I was a little girl, and I remember thinking how insane she was, like she had a choice in the matter. I would take four more. God, I would take four more.

I’ve called women Super Woman. “Well, I’m not Super Woman, like you,” I’ve said. I know now how offensive that is, how wrong.

My back hurts. Titus’s eyelashes are so long. If my eyes weren’t getting a tad blurry, I’d count them all. When I pray lately, I say “Daddy.”

At the table I shimmy around a strapped-in highchair and a baby swing. I step barefoot in oatmeal. I bounce Titus, and I walk from child to child. Try to stay in the lines; Reread that sentence; Try again on that lower case “e”; I am so proud of you, so proud, and quit eating that crayon.

Will I ever be happier than I am right now? More tired? Watch me become nothing I thought I would and everything I said I wouldn’t be.

I have craft ideas. Is this what happens to women in their 30’s, they get craft ideas? Is this what I get for saying I’m not crafty? Just go with it, Amber. Pick up that crochet hook. Buy the fabric and the glue gun. Look around, shrug your shoulders, and GO.

Sunday we dedicated Titus to the Father of Lights. Our entire Community Group came. They surrounded us with hands. We bowed our heads as an elder prayed, and I cried, thinking, “how did I get here, how so blessed?” Then Ian shoved The Joker from Batman into my tall boots, and I found it maybe 4 hours later.

God does not indwell us to be ignored. I’m stretching out, being made for the good wine. I know the seasons are short, but the wine gets better.

This week, one of our community endured 40+ hours of labor before birthing a ginormously gorgeous baby. I hugged her, so proud I thought I would rip, and she smiled and said she would do it again. Super woman? I know better. We drink the good wine.

Seth leaves again for Africa in January. God knows ahead of me. That’s all I have, and the dishwasher goes on making its hum. Clothes get dirty faster than they get clean. I don’t know how to get them put up. And then there’s Africa, how things fall apart,

how God still inhabits the praise of His people.

first photo: credit
About me


Soul Practices: Part 2
January 25, 2017
When We All Speak a Foreign Language
January 20, 2017
What’s Up: New Year and a New Plan
January 13, 2017
What do you taste?
November 08, 2016
What a Concussion Taught Me
March 25, 2016
When You’re Not a Precious Thing
February 03, 2016
If Love is the Only Goal
January 04, 2016
Making Room
July 02, 2015
Women Set Apart
February 23, 2015


Reply October 26, 2011

We drink the good wine and this was good to the last drop. Selah, Amber.

suzannah {so much shouting, so much laughter}
Reply October 26, 2011

this is artful and holy and oh so good. there are no ordinary spaces when it's all incarnationally His. lovely.

Reply October 26, 2011

So beautiful! Once again, words spoken straight to my heart. How often the Lord speaks through you!

Reply October 26, 2011

drinking the good wine. yes. how long is the africa trip? my husband goes places. papua new guinea in june for 3.5 weeks. and i know i am a terrible single parent. there's more yelling. and more giving in. and more headaches. and more tears. and more grace.

my tummy gets tingles when i read your posts and see those boys.

Reply October 26, 2011

i read this twice just because once wasn't enough. such pretty words strung together ...

Reply October 26, 2011

I'm not a mother, and I ask God for that gift. But I cheer for mothers who are in love with their families. I think it makes God smile really big; maybe it has something to do with seeing you take joy in what He designed for you.
Your poetry sang to me today.

Sara @ it's good to be queen
Reply October 26, 2011

Oh mercy. I'm so emotional. I cried all the way through this. so good and real. thank you.

Reply October 26, 2011

I know I can't be superwoman. But this-- this I can be. The joy and the mess and the gratitude and the beauty. All so good.

Reply October 26, 2011

I like that kid already. I can tell.

Reply October 26, 2011

Drinking the good wine - oh, I love this! And yes, I think hitting my 30s made me suddenly get craft ideas, too. I learned how to knit and I'm actually cross stitching. These are two activities I never thought I'd see happening in my home.

Reply October 26, 2011

I've read this twice and it still isn't enough.

    Reply October 26, 2011

    Meaning, I could eat your words all day.

Reply October 26, 2011

"Watch me become nothing I thought I would and everything I said I wouldn’t be."

This, exactly. It is the scariest and the most exciting thing to be shaped. Your words are beautiful and true. Thank you for sharing them.

Reply October 26, 2011

I could eat your words.

I leave my boy early each morning, and work at a desk. It's not nearly as fulfilling as I imagine a crazy beautiful at-home life would be, but it's what God's given us right now, and I search for the good in it. Thanks for the chance to live vicariously through your full-time (overtime!) mothering.

nicole @ deliajude
Reply October 26, 2011

i needed to be reminded of the good wine.

Charise Christianson
Reply October 26, 2011

This was lovely and I am so looking forward to getting to know you through your blog. The Lord, He is ever so sweet!

Reply October 26, 2011

this made me ugly face cry.
thank you.
and I'd have five more even though... even though....

Reply October 26, 2011

This photo has me heart struck.


"And then there's Africa, how things fall apart." This line. This. Line.

Cheers to the way it all falls apart and how we the Glory Seekers, hold on till Daddy, puts it all back together.

Reply October 26, 2011

Watch me become nothing I thought I would and everything I said I wouldn’t be.

This. Though heartbreaking on some levels and redemptive on others. More grace and peace. Your words are beautiful and pierced my heart. Thank you!

Megan at SortaCrunchy
Reply October 27, 2011

That first picture is one of the best things I have ever seen. Brilliance.

Oh, your words. This reminds of the very first time I came across The RunaMuck and I read for a long, long time. Drinking in all the words, amazed at how artfully composed. Such talent. Such a gift. Saturated in beauty and truth.

It makes me realize how much I missed your words on your long break, but who knows better than I how necessary those long breaks are for restoration and for giving space and time to the places the words come from.

Evidently, yes. The 30s are the time to craft. You are so right. Don't overthink - just GO. Your handwork and your word work and your life work - it is all so inspiring.

Jessica Y
Reply October 27, 2011

Back again this morning to reread and remember. This one struck a chord, huh Amber?

Carolyn Counterman
Reply October 27, 2011

Amber, I always get here late, it seems. I think it has to do with me getting old-fashioned email delivery instead of RSS. I come so late to the conversation sometimes that often I just sit here mute. But this time, I wanted to say, just in case you are reading - I think you are the only woman who can make me wish I had had children.

Reply October 27, 2011

This is so beautiful..

diana trautwein
Reply October 27, 2011

Lovely, lovely, lovely. I, too, am late - but then again, can one ever be 'late' for such writing? Love the picture, too. Just beautiful.

Unlike you, I knew at #3, I was completely done. Loved them, loved them more than life, and I loved my at-home life - but I also knew my limits. Those limits were real and they were important. To truly love the 3 I had, there needed to be an end. But then - I was surprised when menopause hit that I truly grieved the loss of that part of myself - even though I was 'done' having children 20 years earlier. Now, fifteen years past that landmark, I am enjoying my littlest grandchildren tremendously - so glad and grateful for the presence of tinies again.

Blessings as you move toward January and things falling apart. All will be well - but then, you already know that.

Teri @ StumblingAroundInTheLight
Reply October 27, 2011

Just beautiful.
The glorious, giddy, tedium of motherhood-life.
Thanks for this!

Janice (5 Minutes for Mom)
Reply October 27, 2011

I am still in awe of you and all you incredible mothers of many -- but I will hold my tongue if superwoman tries to slip out.

Reply October 28, 2011

This is beautiful, I will keep reading this post. And the babies are adorable.

Patricia @ Pollywog Creek
Reply October 28, 2011

Beautiful writing, Amber. An even more beautiful heart. "How did I get here? How so blessed?" I remember that feeling (and my baby is 20). LOVE that photo of you and your boys. How is Titus' heart? Have I missed an update?

Reply October 28, 2011

Amen and how my heart needed this! Thank you!

Reply October 28, 2011

The first photo=oh, my.
Love this post.
Thank you.

Reply October 29, 2011

Such beauty in your words! I also know about messy, full lives, about drinking the good wine.

Mela Kamin
Reply October 30, 2011

well, that's just so beautiful and honest and full of love and life - it caught me remembering those moments I've had, still have if I look ... thank you for sharing & living and loving your family well and choosing to see it ALL as a gracious gift, Amber - just lovely

    Mela Kamin
    Reply October 30, 2011

    oh and yes, craft ideas abound in the 30s - other gifts & dreams emerge too - like going off and turning a testimony into a few songs ;)

Reply December 15, 2011

Hey just so you know, I keep coming back and reading this over and over. It takes me back to that October day(s) I want to relive. One of these days I'll print this out and put it in Cass' baby book. I love you to smitherines.

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