I don’t know how to pray

It’s finally September, so I’ve given up. I’m picking up my yarn and crochet needles, putting on a scarf, and waiting at the end of the driveway for Autumn.

How do these green leaves still hang on anyway? The roots beneath must have tongues in aquifers. Beneath my house, I feel it, a cave full of water, and here I am standing up top wondering why the drink isn’t in my cup.

All is metaphor and marathon at once. I don’t know how to pray and yet I’ve never felt more nurtured in prayer, carried like a packet of war letters tied in string.

Sometimes maturity feels like doubt, the quiet limbo.

When the waiting is over, when I release that inhaled breath as Titus is healed, the heat lifts, when the words peel out, many will see and fear.

I’ll always be chief sinner, brilliant, unraveled, and given open ears that he dug with his blue fingers.

The Word breathes, mouth to mouth, ears filled, like gone under deep water.

Mercy will be when music finally pours from my mouth, and I won’t need come up for air.


About me


When the Truth of Your Shadow Side Sets You Free: A Wild in the Hollow Guest Post by Michelle DeRusha
October 05, 2015
All Things New: Hope in the Waiting
February 04, 2015
Living Means Waiting: On a Dress and a Candle
January 19, 2015
When I Don’t Feel God
March 11, 2013
Kingdom Come: Thoughts on the Wait
January 30, 2013
A Stone’s Throw: 1996
November 01, 2011
In the Dirt
November 08, 2010
a prayer in doubt
October 19, 2010


Reply September 5, 2012

this is so strong. and lovely.

Reply September 5, 2012

your writing lately simply takes my breath away.
thank you for sharing the depths with us. it is a privilege to go there with you.

Reply September 5, 2012

"The Word breathes, mouth to mouth..." Amber, it is beautiful going these places with you and your words, your heart. Thank you that you choose to take us along with you. Sometimes it takes me a very long while to return to where ever it was I was before I read your heart :) I stay, I linger, and I savor. Its good.

Reply September 5, 2012

Sitting still in traffic...late to kindergarten...while the rain pours in Bella Vista! Maybe it's headed your way!!
I love your writing...makes me wonder how many little things I look over each day that you seem to catch and write down. Praying for a deliberate slowing.
Maturity does feel like doubt...what is with that?!

Jessica Y
Reply September 5, 2012


Kiki Malone
Reply September 5, 2012

Call me crazy, but I think Autumn will come pulling up to the end of your drive in a VW bus. Probably red with one of those campers on top and travel cook stove in the console. Looking forward to postcards from that trip.

Reply September 5, 2012

Love this so much. I'm waiting at the end of the driveway too.

Cassie Boorn
Reply September 5, 2012

You always leave me fumbling with new ideas in my head and searching for words to leave in your comment box. Yes.

the Blah Blah Blahger
Reply September 5, 2012

...and I won't need to come up for air. Now that is the perfect analogy for what I long for, too!

Lynn Morrissey
Reply September 5, 2012

Ah, Amber, I truly resonate with this line: "Maturity seems like doubt, the quiet limbo," although, admittedly, my doubt can rattle and shake and thrash about until at last it quiets down and acquiesces simply to be still in the Lord who consumes it and to have the humility to know that I can't understand everything, but that I can trust the One who does. I had just said to a dear friend the other day, that the older I get, the less I seem to know. . . . and I was referring to the things of God. Gone is my proud-swaggering, youthful bravado--that harrowing hubris of thinking I was capable of crossing all my spiritual T's and dotting all my religious I's with punctilious, prideful perfection. It isn't that I doubt God or that I am not staggered by His faithfulness in my life, especially in light of my own yarn-frayed soul and unraveled sinfulness. It’s that I doubt myself more. I realize the closer I draw to God, the more I want to repent in dust and ashes...the more I think I know about this omniscient, omnipresent God, the less I know about Him because He is so vast and multi-faceted. How can I even begin to know all His love, goodness, and power? But how grateful I am that despite all this, God beckons me to communicate with Him. And wow! I realize I don’t even know how to do that. But when I open my heart and let it pour forth in prayer, God assures me of His love and forgiveness and grace and presence. Maybe that’s all I need to know. Thank you so much for sharing.

Sarah Bessey
Reply September 5, 2012

Your last line, there, Amber, you're better than ever.

Amanda @ Life.Edited.
Reply September 5, 2012

Goodness, woman. Your words might as well be a sword, or a song. I'm not sure which and therein lies the beauty.

Darcy Wiley
Reply September 5, 2012

Come heat or drought you're a tree with its roots in the stream. (Love the thought of the cave full of water and the tongues in aquifers.) This is one thing I've loved about being in Christian community, that while I as an individual am not the Bride...the whole of us is, and that means when I'm traumatized or withdrawn, there are others there to fill in the gaps with words that I can't think or feel to say. So glad you have been surrounded and "carried like a packet of war letters tied in string" (I loved that part too).

Kelly @ Love Well
Reply September 5, 2012

Spirit words.

Diana Trautwein
Reply September 5, 2012

Oh, sweetheart. We all feel like we're drowning, like we don't know how to pray, like life is in limbo whenever one of our babies is struggling. You are marked by this as a person of immeasurable depth and courage and the truth just pours out of your fingertips and runs rampant on the screen. Thank you.

Tanya Marlow
Reply September 6, 2012

All is metaphor and marathon at once. I don’t know how to pray and yet I’ve never felt more nurtured in prayer, carried like a packet of war letters tied in string.

This - these lines - were where I was at two years ago, in the crisis after the birth of my baby when labour caused my damaged health to disintegrate. The mourning and anger came later - that was the point of numbness and yet closeness. You have expressed it so perfectly. These lines are perfect - they carry so much in them. Your writing at the moment holds so much - so much wisdom and beauty and truth. I want to thank you for sharing your journey - I feel that i am learning as I follow in your slip -stream.

Reply September 6, 2012

This: "Sometimes maturity feels like doubt" was one of those times someone has articulated what I hadn't realized I'd been thinking.

I envy your faith. Maybe envy isn't the right word. I just wish I had something so solid to cling to. I hope your Titus (and your mama-heart) heals soon.

much love.

Reply September 8, 2012

Oh gosh, I live all this way away in New Zealand and I am feeding on your words. Amber I stumbled upon your blog and have been following your writing for a while. What a gift! God inspired food for my soul!

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