The Need to Look In

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After the adrenaline rush of all the trips and then the hospital, I crashed, and it happened with a house full of guests. Actually my guests were not really guests. My parents, sister, and nephews drove up from Alabama, and they’re the kind who will load your dishwasher and fix doorknobs while simultaneously giving you a virus. Everything in my brain had been all kapow and boom, but then the steam just ran out. This is what happens, I suppose.

When we’re tired, we’re more prone to argument and tears. Where I’m from, we call it being touchous. High five and double fist pump to anyone out there who’s heard the word “touchous.”

I’m so touchous that yesterday I took the day off and went online shopping. I got rid of my clothes when we moved here, so call me Alice and send me down the bunny hole. It’s boot season, and the schedule up ahead says WORK: visit doctors, figure out how to make Titus grow, and write a book. Also suddenly I’m the age that self-care can mean the difference between having glowing skin and growing a man hair next to the sun-spot in the shape of Texas on my cheek. There’s nothing like navel gazing to highlight insecurities.

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If looking in starts to make you woozy, take a deep breath and look out. Find some ground. Stay home from the after-school activities, and prop the feet. Put Neil Young back on the record player. The 8 year old impresses himself with multiplication tables. Listen to the 2 year old jabber. He jumps off a chair and knees you in the gut. Breathe. Thank God that no one has broken a neck yet. Ask the others to pick up legos. Between commands, ease in. Remember through the walk you took with your sister and daddy. In the woods, you forgot how old you were. The air gushing out of caves is always the same. You felt alive. It was a cool day, and the sunshine beamed warm like pride on daughters. Those gigantic trees hang on the side of the mountain with their short roots. Ancient things can feel like miracles. The little boys with you learned to follow or fall. We never stop learning.

Quiet moments to prop the feet are to break from the panic and to ward off fear, not to stare into my own iris, fall into the black hole. Rest and internal examination doesn’t have to mean navel-gazing or pondering how to put together a better life, but it’s so easy for me to land me inside myself in such a way that seems like long, dark puzzled hallways – a million doors and carnival mirrors down. Sometimes I want out and don’t know how.

When we feel the need for internal examination, to look in, the gaze requires a mingling with the Spirit, but this is where the Holiness of God is knee-bending and overwhelming. We are designed to know Him that way, a holy fire that overwhelms yet doesn’t burn us. This is necessary fear.

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I don’t know how to make Titus grow. I don’t know how to be less consumed with making our lives and my mind better – unless the fire is licking me from the inside. Either way, I’m consumed. Only one way gives a light down the hall, an unshakable kingdom. I am afraid. If the wild is in my eye and I act like a woman in from the desert, have grace. Bless me. Pray I lay down in the cool air next to the mouth of caves. There is a way to rest in the cleft of the rock. There is a way to see glory.

Comments

  1. Laurin Beardsley says:

    Amber, I have been praying for Titus and for you. I will just keep on. I know He hears.

  2. continuing to pray
    you will rest on the Rock indeed
    you will see His glory

  3. Oh I could go on and on about why and how much I love this but I’ll just say that this moment of propping my feet up to take a break with your words was just exactly what I needed to keep goin’. Thanks Amber.

  4. “Bless me,” you wrote. All I can do is sit in the quiet of the cave with you, in the opening, and swat away detractors and distractions, letting in only the acrobatics of your beloved family and friends.

    “Let her be,” I can say, like a bouncer, like a mother-bear. “Something important is happening here, so let her be.”

  5. you always light a fire in my belly, girl.
    always.
    you keep on, keeping on and we’ll keep praying.

  6. Cathy Kramer says:

    I know the feeling of “it’s so easy for me to land me inside myself in such a way that seems like long, dark puzzled hallways…I want out and don’t know how.” Praise God for the people He gives us to take our hand and lead us outdoors, with it’s fresh breezes and paths that are uncomplicated and easier to follow. We are restored and our eyes are lifted up to see the next few steps ahead. He always meets us, and lifts up up again! Praying for you as you walk with Him, wild-eyed and desert-dusted, may His glory light your path!!!

  7. Cathy Kramer says:

    I know the feeling of “it’s so easy for me to land me inside myself in such a way that seems like long, dark puzzled hallways…I want out and don’t know how.” Praise God for the people He gives us to take our hand and lead us outdoors, with it’s fresh breezes and paths that are uncomplicated and easier to follow. We are restored and our eyes are lifted up to see the next few steps ahead. He always meets us, and lifts us up again! Praying for you as you walk with Him, wild-eyed and desert-dusted, may His glory light your path!!!

  8. I’ll sit at that cave opening alongside Ann and swat away, honey. Praying for you, for Titus, for answers, for peace in the waiting. Loved every word of this. Thank you.

  9. Ashleigh Baker says:

    I love you, Amber Haines.

  10. Always enjoy reading your posts Amber. Praying for Titus. Oh and “touchous”, totally get it!

  11. Hi Amber,

    You don’t know me, but I’ve stopped by here a few times in the last year and a half and prayed for Titus. May you “lay down in the cool air next to the mouth of caves.” May you rest and feel his hand cupping over you, letting his glory pass safely by behind you.

    May Titus thrive. May you and Seth have rest today.

    Sincerely,
    Jennifer Dougan
    http://www.jenniferdougan.com

  12. I seem to be having my own ‘wild and crazy’ time at the moment. Growth hurts, and somehow amidst all the chaos, internal and external, I can feel myself growing. I am trying to remember to remind myself of that when it feels like I’m about to be swallowed alive by everything going on all at once!
    Praying for breaths of that cool cave air for both of us… and for your sweet Titus.

  13. I almost bought an old ox yoke off Craigslist to hang on the wall and speak to me about this thing of rest and burdens and weight. This speaks to all those tired places. Praying for that little man to grow and for you all.

  14. I always love your posts! You don’t know me but you spoke right to my heart in this post and the previous one, “For the child.” I’ve visited here a few times after reading your words on “in courage.” It’s been awhile, but this morning I came straight to your blog because I knew I would find encouragement and grace! WOW!! Thank you for saying what this mama of 4, ages 8 and under, needed to hear exactly at this moment! I am praying for you and sweet Titus! May God bless your beautiful family.

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