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


  1. 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.
    Carolyn Counterman recently posted..Second Chance Wednesdays – Part 9

  2. This is so beautiful..

  3. 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.
    diana trautwein recently posted..A Foggy Day…

  4. Just beautiful.
    The glorious, giddy, tedium of motherhood-life.
    Thanks for this!
    Teri @ StumblingAroundInTheLight recently posted..Seeing Beyond

  5. 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.
    Janice (5 Minutes for Mom) recently posted..Good For You Girls Skin Care Review and Giveaway

  6. This is beautiful, I will keep reading this post. And the babies are adorable.
    Isabella recently posted..How To Conceive Quickly

  7. 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?
    Patricia @ Pollywog Creek recently posted..The fair flowers of grace…

  8. Amen and how my heart needed this! Thank you!
    Caroline@carolinecollie recently posted..Important Weekly Update

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

  10. Such beauty in your words! I also know about messy, full lives, about drinking the good wine.
    Jenn recently posted..The Favorite Child

  11. 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

  12. 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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