A Study of Chains, Day 4: Fear of the Good Man Gone Bad

Ruby, the neighbor, talks like she’s got a chainsaw in her throat and a rock for a heart, those cigarette lips. We snap peas on the front steps, all the women with five gallon buckets, seething “men are idiots, got no sense.”

Across the way, my daddy’s garden is huge and lined with poles wrapped in green vines, beans and tomatoes. Soon the watermelon will sprawl. I have followed his every footstep, and I know my daddy’s no idiot, too small to say it out loud. I listen on, try to turn my mind to the yard dog and his swishing tale, but somehow deep within forms a link, the foothold.

My great-grandmother, Mama Lois, lived alone. Before he drowned – or at least was found – in the lake, her husband was a bootlegger, and once I heard a cackle of women laugh at the time she put something in the liquor. All the men who’d traveled for their whiskey had to squat their way back home up the mountain. She really got them good. We’re smarter than they are; oh, we laugh, slap the knee, add another link in the chain.

I have four sons and I’m married to a good man. I beg God to draw them in, keep them near to His heart. For dear life sometimes, I beg. Fear of the good man gone bad, like a jug of milk, like a melon on the vine. I tend to crouch over in my tending, with my marionette strings I hold them up and try to keep them good.

Wisdom has whispered this much. I am no puppeteer, and I may quicken a souring if I hover so, if I worry to death of unfaithfulness or stoney hearts.

I care if they leave me; I do. But there’s fear that negates love, and a controlling woman forgets it.

Find the root, that first link in the chain that said that men will eventually leave you and cause you all the pain the world has to offer. Dig it up, unhook it, and drive it to the lake. Let it go. Let it sink to the bottom there where the catfish eat at the rotting roots, forgotten generations covered by the flood.

There’s a freedom I hear about that I just don’t always recognize in my life. I long to be free so much that maybe I’ve built a habit of feigning it. I would love it if you would like to join me in exploring this path to true freedom, A Study of Chains in 31 Days. You can follow along on Facebook or subscribe to these posts by email or in a reader. {Thank you so much, by the way, for walking with me.} Are you ready to shirk these chains?

About me


Ashamed of Gospel
March 01, 2013
Chained by the Father Metaphor, Day 9
October 09, 2012
Peace Trumps
July 17, 2012
fanning embers: a woman’s loss of control
January 05, 2012


Jessica Y
Reply October 4, 2012

I fear this leaving too. I fear them being prodigals. I fear for my girl more though. Cause I am one. And I know what happened. I know how it turned out in redemption but the part before... It scares me to death. So because of this... my controlling tendency OFTEN negates love.
I need to practice the art of letting go and trusting.

Reply October 4, 2012

Right now I have been so battling the fear that the love of my life will reject me. Fear of disappointment has been big for me but I hardly know where it began - disappointments came so thick and fast. But what I do know is you are right 'fear negates love' that is so true and reminds me only His love - perfect love - casts it out. He loves so much we can trust Him with what matters most. Thank you.

Reply October 4, 2012

Reading these posts, I think of Paul's words at the end of Colossians: "Remember my chains. Grace be with you."

It is right to remember the chains, for it reminds us Who loosed them.

Keep up the chain-rattling, Amber Haines. And grace be with you.

Lori Harris
Reply October 4, 2012

Words are so liberating, even when they weigh heavy for a time on the hearts that hear them. Speaking them makes them real and oh, how the enemy would love for us to keep quiet and cower in fear of how they may be received. Keep speaking real, hard words and show God's story-'cause He wins...He wins! Thank you for the reminder this afternoon-I read it twice to soak it up!

Danielle May
Reply October 4, 2012

THAT is when my marriage finally nudged toward that spot where God created it to be...I let go of that chain that told me he would leave, then the one that told me I didn't need his love, and finally the one where I had absolutely no clue of how to LET him love me. Freedom is so sweet.

Reply October 4, 2012

"Let it sink to the bottom there where the catfish eat at the rotting roots, forgotten generations covered by the flood."

Thank you, for this. Lord knows I've heard these words as well. Spoken a few myself.

Jen @ Martymom's Musings
Reply October 4, 2012

This is so real for me right now...Four kids, ages 4-15. My boys the 13 and 15 years olds are testing those freedoms and it scares me. They are good and for the most part make good choices...but I admit I have fears and I want to hang on. Some are very real, like parties and driving. Others are down right silly like what if when my oldest goes to college he forgets to do laundry and has no clean underwear and what if he forgets to charge his cell phone or drops it in the toilet, how can I call him to remind him to charge it and not drop it in the toilet.

Seriously, I am working so hard at loosening and letting, with the necessary boundaries of course and a big step of faith that even when I cannot hold them as close as I would like, He holds them closer...and leaning on Him to help me show the love more...so that when they look back they know.
...and I am not ready to talk about my girls...oh my heart!


ps-Amber I am loving this series. I love how God speaks to me through your beautiful words.

Reply October 5, 2012

This post makes me shake in my boots too, though I didn't expect it too. After all, I'm married to a good man who has never once given me reason to doubt his goodness. The fear's there anyway though, slow and molasses-thick under the clearer currents of logic and trust, and reading this post brought recognition... of how I sometimes dare my husband with my actions to turn, of how I'm terrified of ever having a son, of how I fiercely suspect every father-daughter relationship I see. As much as I too struggle with hyper-self-awareness, I wouldn't have thought to dredge up this chain. Lordy, woman... this series you're doing is the real, transforming kind of truth.

Reply October 5, 2012

Oh God, please remind me to hold my men with open hands, and speak words of affirmation, respect, and love whether they are within or without the sound of my voice. They are not mine to fix or criticize, but mine to pray for and encourage.
And they will know we are Christians by our love.
Thank you Amber. That sound you hear are chains dropping at the feet of our Savior...blessings.

Reply October 5, 2012

I know I haven't been here in forever to say it to you, but I never stop thinking it. GIRL YOU CAN FREAKIN' WRITE. And your heart that pours out in your words, well, it's just gorgeous in every way. Thank you for saying what needs to be said, and for saying it in the most creative, beautiful, poetic way imaginable.

Reply October 6, 2012

I guess I will be very right I say that what you shared are every thoughts of a married woman. There is constant fear of the good man one knows going bad especially when you have seen it happen to someone else. But I like the way you support the thoughts with prayers because that is the biggest weapon you can use to defend the evil one.

erin a.
Reply October 7, 2012

Wow, Amber! This is good. What a writer you are. And, your topic for 31 days is awesome!
this - "I am no puppeteer, and I may quicken a souring if I hover so, if I worry to death of unfaithfulness or stoney hearts."
Thank God! He's got this!

Jeeni zucchini
Reply October 19, 2012

You had me at... "Ruby, ...talks like she’s got a chainsaw in her throat and a rock for a heart, ...seething “men are idiots, got no sense.”"
Women really need to learn to do better... to set better examples for girls. And to be better for the boys too. Developing double standards and hard hearts... begins at home.

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