On our front porch, I have hanging pots of petunias. I’ve always loved petunias. Every time we walk past them, a bird flutters out by our heads, all bothered, so my oldest son said, “Mama, pull that down. I bet there’s a nest in there.” So I did, and there was one. We didn’t touch the eggs, only crouched silently over and held our breaths. I took a picture, and then he and I left for the Block Street Party, just the two of us.
One-on-one time together is rare in a house with four children. We’ve found that we all become much better people when we spend time alone together. He and I laughed about things that only the two of us would understand, because we’re a special brand of goofy. I have something special with each of my boys. I bought him a hippie drink and a non-hippie brownie, and we sat still on some old steps and listened to a fiddle play. Over and over again, he would say, “Thank you , Mama, for that drink. It was so good.” He’s never been afraid to put his arms around me.
We walked up and down block street twice. One man was wearing an entire outfit made of crochet. He made the whole street laugh. Bands were jamming. It smelled like sweets and barbecue. Little girls were spinning with their arms outstretched, dancing like they thought everybody was dancing. I looked at them and wished I could join them. I wished to have a butterfly painted on my face.
I had spent that morning working so hard. I skipped a time of worship to get some things done, and by the time I came home to my husband after the party, I was exhausted. Isaac’s countenance was brighter. We put all four boys to bed.
Seth put his arms around me, and my to-do list was so long, and I was so spent that I shirked him away. I do this a lot, but this time I felt the truth of it. I was made for intimacy, to treat the ones I love, to wrap my arms around.
If I won’t make room for rest and intimacy, then what will fuel all this work I do? What will my heart be made of then? What’s the purpose of it all? I was made to be stopped in my tracks, to be surprised by the blue speckled eggs.
But I have been the dictator of my own intimacy. I go to God when I feel like I owe Him. I have wanted revolution in my life, to be satisfied by God, but there’s something about giving into Him that I haven’t yet figured out. It’s strange how works-based righteousness sneaks into even intimate places.
Seth says, “Let me love you on my terms, too,” and it stings. This is how it is with God, isn’t it? I am a self-protector, afraid I will give so much that I disappear.
I don’t believe we can fuel our own desire. Eventually we’ll run out of steam, and I’m feeling it. I’m remembering that rest and worship directly affects how I love those around me. I am realizing that revolution doesn’t have to be a constant battle, a constant pouring out. Revolution is in the receiving. Revolution is intimacy for intimacy’s sake.
Give in to God, and let Him love you on his terms. Let those who love you stop you in your tracks. Stop and look hard and long at the flowers blooming all around you. Receive before you give. Smell the roses before they lose petals. You’ll find that even in the tiniest pauses,
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Amy Hunt says
I’m reminded of how I tell my son, “you’re  years old . . . you don’t always know what’s best for you.” And as I think of that I hear, “let me show you what love is.” It’s so much more than we think. Our fear limits us from receiving it in full. We want to isolate it or keep it small and comfortable because it’s easier to manage that way. It’s easier to manage the risks and the fears we’ve buried deep. But God wants us to unpack our fears and abide in His perfect peace and the only way to experience that peace, that life, is to rest . . . as we are.
Amber Haines says
Yes! “We want to isolate it or keep it small and comfortable because it’s easier to manage that way.” Somehow I’ve created a life-long habit of this.
Bev Duncan @ Walking Well With God says
I was always so used to being a “self-fueled” person. I, too, would go to God (not intentionally) only when I knew I needed him. Works based righteousness snuck into all aspects of my life. I did life on my terms. It’s only taken 53 years, but I have learned and am still learning that I need to let God love me on His terms, not mine. I need to be free to let Him stop me in my tracks. It makes me realize what beauty I have already walked by. Learning to push pause…
Thanks for a great post.
Amber Haines says
You are totally right that self-fueling turns into major works-based everything, and then we begin to focus on outer beauty, what people think of us externally. It’s the modern day white washed tombs.
Melanie Vanlaningham says
Your message really hits home today as I was in tears at work yesterday hearing myself say, “I don’t think I can do this anymore!” I love what I do, workin with young teens at a middle school, and I know God placed me there many years ago, but the stresses of the daily work grind away at my joy and I have nothing left. “Eventually we’ll run out of steam…” I’m there! Seems like I’m fighting myself more than anything and that sure doesn’t work.
I know that rest and worship are critical to my ability to live out truth and love, and be loved by those around me. Hard to know how to let go when I don’t really know how I am pressing in and trying so hard. I see the affects of it, feel the affects of it, but haven’t been able to find relief yet. This morning I will take extra time to just really praise God and rest in His loving arms. I’m desperate to live out my faith and my belief that it is God at work in me….not me just working for God. Thank you for slowing me down!
Blessings to you!
Amber Haines says
I’m praying that rest for you today, Melanie, for you and me both. THank you.
Thank you for sharing this, Amber. I, too, struggle daily with putting the to-do list before intimacy with the people around me. Just yesterday, I had a few moments to spend with my kids and husband but I chose to do the laundry instead ( ya know-the to-do list never really gets finished). When I look back on the day, I realize there are so many opportunities to let Gods love in on his timing that will allow me to show His love when my loved ones need it. Work-based righteousness may have been allowed to sneak in and take over my past, but it will not have my future! Thank you Amber!
Christan Perona says
Oh my. Your post speaks of the very tension that can be found almost. every day in my life. Satan delights in how works-based righteousness and a natural task-oriented nature seeks to destroy truly delighting in my Rescuer. Truly delighting in the very things I was created for like community and relationships. Thank you for this post. Your words uncover that mysterious tension and brings it to light. And when things are brought into the light, they lose they’re power.
Melanie and Amber, I’m praying that you will find relief and rest today and that you will have a peaceful heart even in the middle of the outward storm and crazy of life!
René Bleakley says
It all comes from Him…and when I see this word, “revolution” I consider circular movement–like a revolution of the earth around the sun. Tiny moments that are here and then vanish. Thanks Amber, for the reminder. I love your voice. It’s real.
Your wisdom is far beyond your age, sweet one. Again, your post is so very timely for a busy old broad like me.
Thank you for your honesty, your candor and your precious spirit. It is so evident in each and every post. May the Holy Spirit continue to use your words to reach others. I am so very proud of you and to have rediscovered the big brown-eyed beautiful little girl who has grown into an amazing daughter of the King!
This is so good. So true… I feel like every day there are dozens of times that words (good advice or instruction) fly from my mouth and as I’m saying them I realize how while I may sound like I’ve got it figured it, I keep God at arms length and on my to do list. I barrier. Perhaps it’s fear, or control. (are they even different things? I don’t think so.)
This was amazing…
Joanne Peterson says
I went back and read your series on revolution on your blog, and one post by your husband. My mind is swirling, my heart is restless and swirling. I also read from Isaiah 55, and what jumped out at me that I never noticed before is the word return to the Lord, seek Him while He may be found. What have I let fill me that does not satisfy, and water that does not relieve thirst, the constant want? I have also fled from intimacy from God, and then expecting man to fill the gap, and they can’t. I will have to ponder, and sort, ask Jesus, what I have come away with is repent, to go back to the Lord for real intimacy, finding the snatches of time, and paying attention to my thoughts, and seeking, seeking God. Not in my strength, seeking, letting Jesus tell me, asking, how does the Kingdom of God play out in my daily life? as daughter of Abba? wife? mother? friend? as a servant in all things? etc.
I am seeing a common thread in everything I have been reading over the last months, and I need to be paying attention……
Sarah Schulz says
I love how you talk about this with both God and other people as those you need to be loved by, you need to receive from. Because I’ve been slowly learning that we learn how we are loved through other people more than directly from God speaking–that we miss how God is loving us if we haven’t been able to begin to learn intimacy with others–that, even, God refuses to fill the gap that we create when we refuse that intimacy with other people. I only spent 20 years trying to only be intimate with God before He got through to me about this!
Donna C says
Oh yes. And coming from the opposite angle – I don’t believe God can or does fill every need that we have for love from others. For example, God, as a spirit being, can’t fill the needs my kids have for a grandma. He can’t ask them over for a sleep-over or teach them to knit, or tell them stories about me when I was little, or any of the other things that grandmas do. And so far He hasn’t provided any flesh and blood women to meet that need in my children, either. So when I hear people singing about how Jesus is all they need… well, I don’t sing those songs, because as much as I admire the sentiment, in actual everyday life it’s not true.
Marina Bromley says
Beautiful, Amber… just beautiful.
OH, how I can relate.
Thank you for sharing.
Amber, you’re lovely. I enjoy reading you more and more. Receiving got hard for all of us who gave too much – too afraid to stop giving in case there’s only a hole. Imagine having to stop and dare to receive. Good food for thought – in fact, food so good it’s crunchy! And wholesome :-).
Lisa Murray says
A welcome respite and reminder of my desperate need to stay amazed by the simple wonders that surround me, to stay grounded in the quiet of my rest and solitude, and to stay focused on the things and people that make the whole journey worthwhile! I truly appreciate your insights as well as your willingness to be vulnerable enough to take a peek into what we all struggle with in our lives.@LisaMur90355601
Dr Par Donahue says
Thanks for this very insightful post. I am reminded of our pastor’s sermon on Easter Sunday. He said we are all crucified between two crosses, the cross of regret over the past and the cross of fear of the future. Then, is short, he told us to remember Christ is forgiveness so we should acknowledge that and forgive ourselves. And, we should not fear the future but embrace it, knowing that Christ is walking at our side and we can do all things through Him who strengthens us!
Be thankful for all you have done, forget your regrets, and grasp the future with one hand while holding Christ’s hand with the other. Enjoy life!
Kathy @ In Quiet Places says
A couple evenings ago I was standing in the kitchen looking out the window as my husband left the house to go for a run. He didn’t know I was watching him, but he stopped at our magnolia tree and leaned in and buried his face in a magnolia bloom. I could see that he enjoyed it. (and I was glad a bee wasn’t also inside that bloom!) It made me smile to see him stop and smell the roses, I mean magnolias. When he got home the first thing he said was, “We need some of those magnolia blooms in here, they smell so good!”
When I was taking my own walk early this morning, I had to tell my thoughts to quiet down, I wanted to hear the sound of the breeze rustling in the tree leaves around me. It was truly beautiful. It was the most peaceful and satisfying sound I have heard. Except maybe for the sound of a creek flowing on its way.
Whether it is stopping to be present with our family, our God, the beautiful world He has put around us, it is so worth making time for.
Thank you for encouraging others with this beautiful post. We all have our days and weeks when we need to be reminded.
I don’t do this well at all. The “stopped in my tracks” or the “receiving before giving”. Your words hit me just where they needed to, in the place telling me to let go. Thank you.
Donna C says
Thank you Amber – this is lovely. And I needed it 🙂
Amy Bryniarski says
I have finally realized that there are truly seasons in our life where God allows struggle but then he stops us in our tracks and gets us out of stagnant box we put God in. He tells us to let go and let him start working in our hearts.. His love is radical and his freedom is real. I want to start living truly living in that freedom that I had many seasons ago. This is the season to truly stop and see him working amongst us through the people we love & the lives we will reach
Heidi Roesli says
Once again your words touch my heart… right in the tender spot. I am 53 years old and I want to dance in the streets and have a butterfly on my cheek too. And life so often becomes about the “doing” and the “world changing” and then I forget about the loving and being loved. Thank you for helping me realize that it’s really ALL about the loving and being loved first.
Beth WIlliams says
I wonder how much longer I can “put up” with my job. I don’t feel useful or smart enough and the feelings run deep in my soul. Yes God put me there years ago and has kept me there all these years. The stress of work, taking care of my dad, my emotional state all zap the joy from my life.
I need a revolution and time to sit back and take stock of what I have. Time to
revel in who and what God is to me. I should take time daily to listen to Praise music and just worship my God and the many wonderful gifts he’s bestowed on me.
I feel so hopeless, at times, yet I yearn to be a better Christian, show my faith, and allow God to do a work in me.
Blessings to all 🙂
Susan Shipe says
Assuming Seth is your husband, I had one of these moments last night. Why do we act like such “poo’s” with our husbands? We cater to others all day long and then … well you know the rest. I quickly recovered the situation and let him love me on “his terms.” Thanks for your openness.