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. We drink the good wine and this was good to the last drop. Selah, Amber.
    Sarah@EmergingMummy recently posted..In which he enjoys giving rest to those he loves

  2. this is artful and holy and oh so good. there are no ordinary spaces when it’s all incarnationally His. lovely.
    suzannah {so much shouting, so much laughter} recently posted..i’ll know my name as it’s called again

  3. So beautiful! Once again, words spoken straight to my heart. How often the Lord speaks through you!

  4. drinking the good wine. yes. how long is the africa trip? my husband goes places. papua new guinea in june for 3.5 weeks. and i know i am a terrible single parent. there’s more yelling. and more giving in. and more headaches. and more tears. and more grace.

    my tummy gets tingles when i read your posts and see those boys.
    kendal recently posted..sudan, sunday and salsa

  5. i read this twice just because once wasn’t enough. such pretty words strung together …

  6. I’m not a mother, and I ask God for that gift. But I cheer for mothers who are in love with their families. I think it makes God smile really big; maybe it has something to do with seeing you take joy in what He designed for you.
    Your poetry sang to me today.

  7. Oh mercy. I’m so emotional. I cried all the way through this. so good and real. thank you.
    Sara @ it’s good to be queen recently posted..stop the world.

  8. I know I can’t be superwoman. But this– this I can be. The joy and the mess and the gratitude and the beauty. All so good.
    Erin recently posted..What We’ve Been Up To– First Quarter Wrap-Up Edition

  9. I like that kid already. I can tell.
    hamster recently posted..ON SURVIVAL: WHAT DO WE COME HOME TO?

  10. Drinking the good wine – oh, I love this! And yes, I think hitting my 30s made me suddenly get craft ideas, too. I learned how to knit and I’m actually cross stitching. These are two activities I never thought I’d see happening in my home.
    Amy recently posted..So, what is Making a Joyful Home?

  11. I’ve read this twice and it still isn’t enough.
    Erika recently posted..Arrest me, please.

  12. “Watch me become nothing I thought I would and everything I said I wouldn’t be.”

    This, exactly. It is the scariest and the most exciting thing to be shaped. Your words are beautiful and true. Thank you for sharing them.

  13. I could eat your words.

    I leave my boy early each morning, and work at a desk. It’s not nearly as fulfilling as I imagine a crazy beautiful at-home life would be, but it’s what God’s given us right now, and I search for the good in it. Thanks for the chance to live vicariously through your full-time (overtime!) mothering.

  14. i needed to be reminded of the good wine.

  15. Charise Christianson says:

    This was lovely and I am so looking forward to getting to know you through your blog. The Lord, He is ever so sweet!

  16. this made me ugly face cry.
    thank you.
    and I’d have five more even though… even though….
    deb recently posted..distortion

  17. This photo has me heart struck.


    “And then there’s Africa, how things fall apart.” This line. This. Line.

    Cheers to the way it all falls apart and how we the Glory Seekers, hold on till Daddy, puts it all back together.
    Michelle@OneRoofAfrica recently posted..The Grace of Interruption

  18. Watch me become nothing I thought I would and everything I said I wouldn’t be.

    This. Though heartbreaking on some levels and redemptive on others. More grace and peace. Your words are beautiful and pierced my heart. Thank you!

  19. That first picture is one of the best things I have ever seen. Brilliance.

    Oh, your words. This reminds of the very first time I came across The RunaMuck and I read for a long, long time. Drinking in all the words, amazed at how artfully composed. Such talent. Such a gift. Saturated in beauty and truth.

    It makes me realize how much I missed your words on your long break, but who knows better than I how necessary those long breaks are for restoration and for giving space and time to the places the words come from.

    Evidently, yes. The 30s are the time to craft. You are so right. Don’t overthink – just GO. Your handwork and your word work and your life work – it is all so inspiring.
    Megan at SortaCrunchy recently posted..Your Green Resource – Week Six

  20. Jessica Y says:

    Back again this morning to reread and remember. This one struck a chord, huh Amber?

  21. 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

  22. This is so beautiful..

  23. 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…

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

  25. 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

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

  27. 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…

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

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

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

  31. 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

  32. 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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