On Holding It In

What I left hanging in the air here in my post from Friday are links to the Gatsby video and a few of my favorite artists. It’s so funny the things that can paralyze us. I’m moving in a direction that I’ve hesitated so deeply to go, and that hesitation is rebellion. I knew it that day that there was something else to share here instead.

As I prayed through writing a book before I ever sat down to write a single word, He called me a minister of the gospel. Then slowly He whispered that I would speak in His name. I argued. I’ve never really done it, though I’ve spoken to over a thousand with a microphone. I’ve never asked the Holy Spirit to give me wisdom to convey in power His message to a room of believers. The only place I’ve had experience is here with you from time to time.

He pulls me along, especially in my terribly broken places, in the places I fail. I ignored something I was to write on Friday, and instead I posted what I did, which within itself wasn’t bad at all – but in me, it wasn’t obedience.

I am a multidimentional person who loves music and paint and Gatsby, but if I’m not serving you here with my story and art, then what’s the point of my art? If I am not sharing here from the great love within me, then am I coming here to bang a gong?

Would it be best that I come only to quote Bible verses? Even and especially in that, if it’s not from a deep well of LOVE, I am nothing.

We have been given powerful gifts with which to serve one another. In that love, Church, is how they’re supposed to know we are CHRISTIANS. I shy from my gift in ministry still. I read the list of gifts, and PREACH isn’t even a word there. It’s prophecy. Prophecy is such a ridiculous word. It’s a word that my upbringing hates. It’s a word that makes you a fool and a word that sets you under a microscope. People get stones ready for prophets.

I haven’t been to seminary, but even that argument doesn’t work.

By Greek Definition, a prophet is a foreteller; by analogy, an inspired speaker; by extension, a poet.

Haven’t I have been moved by a grand scheme? When I was a round-faced girl child in that Miss D.A.R. Pageant, and in my interview they asked me what I would be when I grew up, and I said, “A Poet,” I was right. When my hand hit the spiral notebooks in high school, and time and space syphoned there, God was moving me. Even in how I denied Him, He chased. When I hated the church, and I thought it was my big idea to study poetry under some of America’s grandest in the MFA Program, God meant it for greater things.

If my story of rebellion and coming home to Jesus were mine to bear in secret, I would be crushed under it. If it didn’t serve a bigger purpose, then I wouldn’t have this space anymore either. If I weren’t called out of ashes and had fire put in my bones, I wouldn’t be here. But it’s true, I come to build you up, encourage you, and console you because I am a desperate fool. I have said to Him that I wouldn’t speak, but the fire ate me up, and the last few days I’ve felt the burn of holding it in.

If I say, “I will not mention him,
or speak any more in his name,”
there is in my heart as it were a burning fire
shut up in my bones,
and I am weary with holding it in,
and I cannot. (Jeremiah 20:9 ESV)

This is my ministry, and I need to agree with God in that. What about you? Are you agreeing with God? Tell me how has He called you to love this broken church, because He has, friend. He has called you out.

See also 1 Corinthians 12-14.
About me


Soul Practices: Part 2
January 25, 2017
What a Concussion Taught Me
March 25, 2016
When You’re Not a Precious Thing
February 03, 2016
A Haines Home Companion: On Joy and How We Love
April 11, 2014
Rosie the Prophetess
March 06, 2014
Watch Me.
October 31, 2013
What to do with Temptation
September 11, 2013
At the Crux
September 02, 2013
Fan into Flame
August 28, 2013


Reply April 9, 2013

Oh my word. You sound like Jeremiah.

Watching you wander into this calling, fighting it, embracing it, wrestling like JacobIsrael.

I wonder what your new name will be ~ smile ~. Ambermiah?


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Reply April 9, 2013

He called me to preach supernatural healing, praying for the sick to recover. Meanwhile, my son and I are still working through our own healing of Lyme disease. Now tell me that isn't a mind scrabbler. I finally just had to get to the point where His calling meant more to me than the whispers of doubt from my own heart, and the mouths of others. Obeying His calling should be the only thing that really matters. I'm so thankful He's so patient with me. :)

Brandee Shafer
Reply April 9, 2013

Well. he made me a prayer warrior. But I have creepier gifts. I get messages for people, sometimes (not often, just sometimes). They come in dreams and visions and other bizarre ways. I HATE delivering them. HATE. But no one's laughed at me, yet.

Most everything I feel called of the Lord to do is something I hate doing. That's how I know I'm not confusing His desires with mine, though. If I don't want to do something but feel like I have to do it, I know I'd better do it b/c it's a real calling.

Reply April 9, 2013

Thank you, Amber. Your message is perfectly times this morning. Yes, God has called me out. It is becoming clearer and cleared with each step I take. I don't have the gift of prophecy but I do have the heart of an artist. I paint for His honour and I write to exalt His name, but you ask how that fits into loving His church... I don't know. I still walking with Him and I trust He will bring clarity in His time. I trust in that.

Reply April 9, 2013

Someone told me my spiritual gift was prophecy and I almost had a heart attack. I don't want it. Most days I still run from it. I think, if that's true I should be more holy, with more readers and better words.
But...I know God doesn't measure success like I do. I hate that. If I'm supposed to write His words I'd like a contract that states I'll be perfect and popular...oh, and a brilliant writer. Thanks.

Otherwise, (and this is what it is) it's a humbling, HUMBLING calling.

the Blah Blah Blahger
Reply April 9, 2013

I'm not sure how He's called me to love the broken church, yet. But I thank you for asking...I'll be praying about that for a while!

Reply April 9, 2013

That question is exactly what is tumbling over and over at the back of my mind. I have a feeling it'll be a few years in the answering... But what I know right now is that God shows me things. Little glimpses into the kingdom of heaven, and then mostly I'm left wondering what on earth I've just seen! Sometimes I know, but mostly I'm left with so many questions.
Some people have said I have the gift of prophecy, but I wonder... if I do, it comes on me like the wind, and there's no telling when it will be there or not. It's definitely not something that I can make happen because I want to. Maybe that's a maturity thing? Or maybe that's just the way the Spirit works with me... like I said, so many questions!

jessica s
Reply April 10, 2013

I've taken those spiritual gifts tests, and they don't always sink into my soul like truth, but one that did was "prophecy". Not in a "telling the future" prophecy sort of way, but a "speaking the truth" prophet kind of way. And I don't understand what that means yet, only that I have to speak words to my friends, I have to speak truth to them, or it burns me from the inside out. I have to speak encouragement, or caution or whatever it is, and it is an inseparable part of who I am.
And it is crazy to me today that you wrote "by extension, a poet". because I write poetry, and when I can't hear that quiet whisper of truth because I'm so busy with my own life, then my poetry stutters to a stop. And I don't write it. And then He draws me back in, and tells me to listen to his voice, and here I am, writing again. Truth that I don't even understand yet.
and I'm sitting here ready to cry, because your words make my 'gift' legitimate and real, and maybe the fact that I'm a teacher and a prophet are not accidents. maybe I have words that I am supposed to speak that I have held back out of fear because "women do not speak in church". Because I don't understand what it means that I have a gift for sharing God's word and yet I seem to be told that it doesn't have much place. Because I don't know yet what it means that he has called me out.

Stephanie Spencer
Reply April 10, 2013

Amber, I am with you on the hesitation. I am a woman in vocational ministry who grew up in a denomination that restricted women from that role. I have wrestled and battled over the years with how God made me and what He was calling me to do. I wonder if you would resonate with the piece I wrote for Ed C's blog awhile back? One way I have come to look at it is evaluation of risk, "To me, it feels like a bigger risk to let my gifts go unused in the world around me than to risk using them in the wrong setting." http://inamirrordimly.com/2012/08/10/women-in-ministry-the-risk-of-unused-gifts/

Also, I know I haven't been around your place much (though, I have admired from afar), so this might be weird to ask, but I will anyway...

I'd like to invite you into a new series I'm beginning on my blog. Lore Ferguson thought you might be interested. It's a community joining together to write a post on a Psalm a week, starting with Psalm 51 next week. (The next week, it will be Psalm 52, etc.- we are going in order, wherever that takes us.) I'm looking for folks who want to jump on board weekly, as well as those who want to write guest posts on Psalms. Are you interested in either? I'd love to have a poetic prophetic voice like yours involved. You can email or click on the link to read more details.

Reply April 10, 2013

The gift of prophecy should be viewed within the mind of those gifted with it with faith. God is using those with the gift of prophecy for the greater good, whether it is for the church or for someone you bump into on the street. I've had the gift of prophecy since I was saved 34 years ago. At first I wasn't sure what was going on until my knowledge of the scriptures increased. I've learned to love having the gift of prophecy even when I know the message is not a pleasant one from time to time.
I can accept the not-so-pleasant-prophetic-message I am compelled to speak with faith simply because I know that God is in control. If I can be used to counsel or direct for a positive outcome then I pursue the outcome with prayer and I speak honest, straight forward words without pretense. God is always honest with me and I can do no less. During one trying time for me with this gift, I prayed for God to give me the wisdom and discernment to deal with this gift and the outcome because the prophetic message I received was very troubling. Like Jeremiah, the message was burning within me and I had to speak, when I spoke the burden melted away. Under-gird the gift of prophecy with faith and trust in God, no matter what the outcome of a prophetic message is.

Reply April 10, 2013

I am speaking at a women's conference this weekend about how to encourage ministry wives. The last few weeks have been so wild and crazy as my husband and I were preparing to send our daughter to Japan for the next three years to serve in a new church plant. My spirit keeps arguing with God's calling on me because I have been angry at myself for volunteering to speak when our schedules are so crazy right now. Reading your post really convicted me that this may be just the opportunity that God is providing to speak truth to those that can encourage a pastor's wife that is feeling forgotten and discouraged. Thanks for the wake up call that I needed to hear today to help me refocus and be excited that God wants to use me for His Kingdom work!

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