I hope you’ve been enjoying getting to know the great ladies at (in)courage so far this week! There are thousands of women who are blessed by their daily devotionals and book studies that they do.
If you’ve been enjoying the devotionals each day on their website then you might want to check out some of the books that their contributors have written. I wanted to give you a glimpse at some of the new books this week along with the chance to hear from the ladies themselves. Be sure to check out Diedra Rigg’s post from Monday as well as Emily Freeman’s from yesterday. We have a lot of the books on sale at LifeWay for 25% off through October 31 so come see us! Look for the (in)courage end cap in the book area!
Today we have Amber Haines stopping in. Her latest book is Wild in the Hollow: On Chasing Desire and Finding the Broken Way Home. I’ve seen some great comments on it through social media so it’s resonating with a lot of readers. Let’s take a look at it before Amber comes to share with us.
Amber Haines is a woman haunted by God. Like Eve in the Garden, she craved the fruit that she thought would lead her to freedom. But the whispers of temptation led her instead down a devastating path toward isolation, dissatisfaction, and life-altering choices. In her most broken moment, Amber met God waiting for her in the fallout, freely offering her grace and life.
This is a story of the God who makes himself known in broken places. In prose that is at once lyrical and utterly honest, a brave new voice takes readers on a windswept journey down the path of brokenness to healing, satisfaction, and true intimacy with God. Amber calls readers to dispense with the pretty bows we use to dress up our stories and instead trust God to take our untidy, unfinished lives and make them free, authentic, and whole. Anyone who struggles with doubt or holds secrets, anyone who feels marginalized or like she is missing something, will find in Amber a sister and an inviting voice back home, into the heart of God.
The Healing of Desire
It was a trip to Tuscany that did it. It was the sound of bells, the smell of lavender, and the taste of olives. Somehow I left Tuscany with a vision for the church and for the Kingdom of God, so full of beauty and desire that I was finally able to speak it. I knew what I wanted. I wanted kingdom come.
I wanted to root down and live the metaphors of land, of dependence on rain and shine. I wanted to walk with my sons in a garden. I wanted to teach them about place, about humility, about knowing where we are on this blue speck of dust floating in the corner of a swirling galaxy. I wanted to teach them of space, of making room for the voice of God and serving those around them in joy. I wanted to teach them of time and gravity, how short and heavy, how our bodies don’t perceive eternity without an eye for invisible things.
I desired to know a kingdom economy, a working together that sees beyond the outlines and formulas, one that envisions others as a fingertip, an eye, a heel, the strong thigh of the body of Christ. I desired to watch the inner workings of seeds and to pull up thorns, to throw out the cares of this world like something that strangles my own babies. I desired for revolution in the church, the un-American way, the holy, holy, holy of the kingdom come. I desired to see a kingdom mind-set, a corporate hallelujah, confession, and pang of heart. I desired to have all desire wrapped up in Jesus.
Desire always points to the kingdom I serve.
So I cannot live without the church, because she and I are one. The years I spent in isolation from her divided my heart against the kingdom of God, so of course my desires were confused, and I had no place to fit. “Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment” (Proverbs 18:1 ESV).
There is hardly healing of the self outside the church because the Spirit always moves us forward into living as our whole selves, as friends who love what he loves, and he loves us. He makes us whole as individuals, and then we are propelled forward with desire to be healing agents of his kingdom. It is about the whole of us, global.
This economy even works in my home. My son Jude and I are either embracing or clashing at all times because we are so much alike, and when I am living my gifts of encouragement and helping Scripture come alive for young ears, he tends to live more into his gifts as well. I tell him what I read in Scripture that morning, and I even share how some of it doesn’t make sense to me, and he weaves the story I tell him like a visionary, a lover of justice, and a spreader of joy. Even though my children and my husband know more than anyone how I have struggled, when one of us seeks the kingdom, our home is a domino effect of healing.
Yet with all my desire, depression and anxiety may be avenues of surrender that I have to walk until I die. Yet I am still lacking in nothing. I was made for joy. When I laugh, it is a loud invitation. When I am living out my gifts and walking in the fruit of the Spirit, I know good and well my fit in the kingdom. My life is poema, and it lacks no tension. I have always been weak, but it is his joy that makes me strong, that gives me a fit among his people.
I am lacking in nothing, and that does not mean I have had no weakness. It only means that his “steadfast love is before my eyes.” He loved me first. This is the entire thing. This is the essence, the meat, and the foundation of his kingdom.
Anxiety and depression dry the bones. His love is blood reaching every part. His love awakens the dying parts, knits me back together, mind, body, and soul. When I am desiring and therefore seeking the kingdom, I am awake to my Love, first love who sought and found me on a linoleum floor, first love who became my kin. This love teaches me intimacy, how isolation is a work against the healing of the whole.
Amber C Haines, author of Wild in the Hollow: On Chasing Desire and Finding the Broken Way Home, is mother to 4 sons and wife to guitar-playing author and attorney Seth Haines. She’s a lover of poetry and of the dirty South. She’s a soulful writer and blogger at TheRunaMuck.com where she writes about keeping faith from the perspective of a Christian woman who’s had an abortion and an affair. She loves to tell a story, to speak and write about the church and the power of weakness and forgiveness. She finds community among the broken there and wants to encourage you in your pursuit of the Kingdom of God to be an agent of healing and reconciliation. It was brokenness that taught her so, and she’s still learning.