How and Where to Undo the Chains

I think often of King David as a boy, ruddy, with beautiful eyes, known for playing the harp and tending sheep. He makes me happy, like the boy who plays fiddle at our square. He handsomely wears overalls and causes question with his meek confidence. Once I heard a passer-by ask if he was from Chicago, and he laughed and made ridiculous eyebrows at that city idea. He said, “Well, Lorrrd no!”

And whenever the harmful spirit from God was upon Saul, David took the lyre and played it with his hand. So Saul was refreshed and was well, and the harmful spirit departed from him (1 Samuel 16:23).

Once in prayer, I was asking God about some specific things, and the first thing that popped into my head was the word “textiles,” and I can’t tell you how much Seth and I have laughed about it. If we’re sitting quietly on the couch, one of us will whisper it … “textiles,” and then we’ll laugh and laugh. So when I hear something in my head, I’m not quick to buy it, especially if it’s not straight from scripture or a variation thereof. I’m scatter-brained and have words spitting all around up there, and who knows at this point? I may take up a job in textiles.

Recently, though, I was praying that God would tell me who I am, and I was expecting to have images of Jesus, that I’m covered by who He is. I had been listening to music that entire day. I was thinking about that, too, how it changes everything for me, and the more the day went on, the more I imagined this scene where David played for Saul and drove the evil spirit away.

I’ve had people do that for me, the ones that pour out and seem to drive the dark away. I’m noticing it because I’ve been pouring out (by nature of my mother/ministry position), and I leave so little room for the ones in my life who pour into me.

Monday I visited a counselor. She’s my friend, but I sat on her couch and spilled my beans, and she prayed over me and asked questions. In the hospital with Titus, I separated myself from everything so much that I’ve had a hard time tapping back into who I’m supposed to be. Sometimes I feel like I’m acting in a play, and Seth had finally confronted me about my being so distant.

Then yesterday, too, a woman who pours into me about three times a year, she came and brought me coffee and a scone. She spoke truth without apology. As I’m learning to re-acclimate to home and four boys and a dog, learning not to run from my husband but to desire him instead, I’m seeing chains that I never would have seen before, things I’ve shoved way down.

I won’t stop writing, but I’m about to enter a season of rest. I feel like raging against our go-go culture and the way it has trained me to ignore. I am a woman after God’s own heart. Do I feel shy in saying it? I do. When I write, demons aren’t pressing down so hard on me and possibly on others who read. I think I’m in a place that I need to see my gifts for what they are,  a service powered by God for the building up of the church, which is His glory.

Undoing chains means calling things what they are. It means that we pour out and also that we’re honest when we’re running dry. It seems that chains are undone in the margins, in the sitting for a song or a cup of coffee, when we ask God questions and wait for answers.

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? 

On an unrelated note, if you got two emails of yesterday’s post, please forgive me for that. Feedburner is being so wonky that I switched email providers to Mailchimp, and I really love the way those emails feel. I told feed burner to not send emails yesterday, but they didn’t listen to me. Alas. I hope it’s fixed today. Regardless, would you want to sign up to receive my little posts in your inbox?


About me


What a Concussion Taught Me
March 25, 2016
When You’re Not a Precious Thing
February 03, 2016
Where Healing Begins: a Wild in the Hollow Guest Post from Sarah Jo Burch
November 23, 2015
When Home Is Within: a Wild in the Hollow Guest Post from Mandy Mianecki
November 02, 2015
Dear Seth: A Marriage Letter on Your Sobriety and What it Looks Like to Come Clean
October 27, 2015
Out in the Wild
September 22, 2015
Learning to Bend: A Wild in the Hollow Guest Post from Diana Trautwein
September 14, 2015
Marriage Letters: On New Seasons
April 06, 2015
Even on a Tuesday
March 17, 2015


Shelly Miller
Reply October 18, 2012

Oh my Amber, I'm sort of speechless here like my hearts been exposed, beating out in the open for the world to see in your words. Just thank you for being willing to be open and honest. You make a difference. A service powered by God for the building up of His church indeed. And now I need to go pray.

    Reply October 18, 2012

    You know, Shelly? Sometimes I write so bold, and then after I hit publish, I FREAK OUT!

    Thank you for speaking up. I'm going to settle down now and stop eating chocolate chips. :)

    Dern chains.

      Shelly Miller
      Reply October 18, 2012

      It's courageous to walk around naked like that for the sake of others. :)

Sarah Bessey
Reply October 18, 2012

I'll stand outside, here, armourless, with you. I get this to my core.

    Reply October 18, 2012

    I know you get it, friend. SO grateful for you.

Reply October 18, 2012

Some chains I thought I had undone appeared again this week, and just at the moment I was dealing with the pain on trying to break free (again), someone unaware poured into me. She used a phrase that was the exact opposite of the chain-givers' phrases, and it has helped me hold onto what is true this week. This post added to that life-giving pouring. Thank you, Amber.

    Reply October 18, 2012

    Amanda, I really do get this. My older friend even said I had anger issues toward God, and I don't feel angry, but part of that is that I'm not feeling much. I'm a feeler! It really throws me off.

    Those chains can be sneaky. One goes away and gets 7 more to tie you with.

    My counselor reminded me to put on the armor of God. I needed to hear it. I'm really encouraged by you. thank you.

Reply October 18, 2012

Nodding. Yep.

Separating ourselves as a defense to trauma is so common, I'm so glad you're talking to someone who can help you navigate your way - not "back" to the old you, because you're certainly different, grown, but navigate to the new you. To discover her. <3

    Reply October 18, 2012

    You always know. You're one of the rare ones, and you always pour into me, or at least you're the perfect neutral party. :)

Diana Trautwein
Reply October 18, 2012

Yes. Your words are gifts of beauty and love and hope and wonder that help keep the flame burning for a whole lot of us, Amber. "for the building up of the church" - yes and amen. Glad you talked and cried and got prayed over today - that shell we have to build when we're terrified - it needed to come off, to be broken through a bit. Maybe not a chain exactly, but a barrier for sure. Just keep writing your heart - it helps us.

Diana Trautwein
Reply October 18, 2012

Oh - and tell me about Mailchimp. Feedburner stopped sending my email subscriptions months ago and I'm too techno-phobic to have done anything about it. They tell me I have too much data (which my son-in-law tells me means my pictures are too big) and they don't tell me how to fix it. So I'm willing to make a switch - if it's not to techie.

Reply October 18, 2012

Thank you for these words I need to live by RIGHT NOW. Tomorrow I see a counselor, and it is time.

Be gentle with yourself, Amber.

    Reply October 19, 2012

    I'm having to learn gentleness altogether, Lynda.

    I'm so glad you're going. I hope it's good.

    Thank you.

Annie Barnett
Reply October 18, 2012

Amber, you speak such truth here. Your story does speak straight into ours, I think - a deep-calls-to-deep kind of language that I can't always figure out how to respond to in comment boxes, because quiet is usually where it pulls me. And that is a gift. (One I'm grateful for.)

Reply October 19, 2012

Amber, your words are always moving. Looking forward to 31 days of this:)

Kelly @ Love Well
Reply October 20, 2012

I can't stop thinking about this, Amber.

I so relate. The older I get, the more I find I need space and time and quiet to really the Holy Spirit search my marrow. But without that, I am just a clanging cymbal.

These are good words.

Reply October 20, 2012

Your comment about your husband confronting you about your distance, yes, that is what I've seen in myself. Isn't it odd that over time we drift to protecting ourselves by putting emotional distance in our marriages and then find ourselves longing for intimacy? We are strange beings.

I've been trying to work on keeping a tender heart towards those closest to me.

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