About the Author

Amber C Haines, author of Wild in the Hollow, has 4 sons, a guitar-playing husband, theRunaMuck, and rare friends. She loves the funky, the narrative, and the dirty South. She finds community among the broken and wants to know your story. Amber is curator with her husband Seth Haines of Mother...

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  1. Lovely, Amber. And I think–in God’s eyes–you are everyone you’ve ever been, everyone you are, and everyone you ever will be…all at once. (Yes, amazing.)

  2. i’m up and ready to leave for my teaching job. and this is the last blog i have time to read and i don’t think it’s coincidence at all. because i yelled in the classroom yesterday and awakened feeling sorry and not wanting to go because i don;t want to grouch. flipping this over to grace and freedom….thanks, amber.

  3. I grew up with a “conditional love” mother. If I satisfied her, it was loving. If I failed, not so much. Everything had a cost.
    I think that set me up for trying to live perfectly.
    I’m so thankful for a loving God who swept me up and reminds me daily–I BELONG TO HIM!! I’m just how he wants me to be! I can start over everyday!

  4. As a woman who thinks she shall control everything . . . thank you for your words this morning. God loves us . . . a friend posted elsewhere that God’s mercies are new every morning — lets all grab a hold of that thought.

  5. Often if he messes up, he can’t seem to get over it. He cries and begs forgiveness over and over again and then falls apart in utter disappointment when he doesn’t come through with his imagined “right way” to be.

    This part broke my heart a little bit because I am soooooo familiar with this exact pattern. When I mess up I can’t see my way clear of moving on. Thanks for inspiring me.

    joy

    • Broke my heart too! I’m a daughter, mom, (retired) early childhood teacher and I saw how that young man stays in the moment and doesn’t give himself grace; would it help to just hug him tight and, instead of allowing him to focus too much on the behavior which makes it his fear to repeat and keeps him in that negative space, to just say I love you and focus instead on what he has learned about himself… I.E. “You’re so beautiful. I love you. Let’s figure out how to…(do this) together” and praise the solution/behavior/child right away. We all beat ourselves up and stay out of grace, ourselves, sometimes our parents, our children and then we feel shame instead of learning to see ourselves as children forever on a journey to grow and feel and just be who we are created to be.
      I feel so much compassion for the mom and her young man – God bless you!

      • …wishing to complete that thought further.
        We may be ‘taught’ to reward our children for good behavior and ignore or discipline the ‘good’ and, with many situations and a well adjusted and happy child that may be okay, wait and discipline and then praise them later for being able to talk about it or behave later… I understand that.
        My issue is with realizing that a child’s grandma (for example, or hamster!) may have just passed on, their parents divorced, a family member with an addiction too busy to hug lately …. a child is not a mouse to do the conditioning theory thing of punishment/reward! They behave better, as we all do, when we know that we are loved and that someone is on their side, rooting for us!
        God is rooting for us and has so much to teach us about that kind of love…

  6. Thank you for being so honest. I understand this all too well. I want so mush to be the parent/person that accepts my child Just.As.She.Is. to be laid-back and easy-going, And free. Slow to respond, and relaxed. Everyday, I feel as though I fight to not be up-tight, quick to react, motivated by what others may think.
    We pass on the very tools we’ve been hurt by; don’t we? And what I’ve been learning is the more I accept me just the way I am . . or the slower I respond (especially in public), and let her be her – and learn for herself, the more I am able to pass on tools that heal and help.
    Can we do coffee or breakfast 🙂 ?

  7. “the tension of the already and the not yet” ahh I know it well. It is a sweet reminder to know that the work is already done. Thank you, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this!

  8. oh my son and I are the.exact.same.way!! My daughter brushes off all correction, and I am always left questioning whether she understood the gravity of it {as seen by my perfectionistic heart}. But you just opened my eyes to her, my dear… perhaps she just understands grace far better than I do. Thank you.

  9. Oh if we could just wrap our minds around this grace in the midst of the moments that shatter our picture of perfect. My son reacts like yours. Had an incident last night and the worry still lingers over me this morning. Thank you for the reminder.

  10. oh, how i do love this. rest in His love for you this day, believing that you are quite wonderful. and that you deserve to know that this very day, child of God!!! He lavishes you with His love.
    blessings,
    steph

  11. Amber thank you for ministering to me today. I beat myself up for things I have done. Thanks for the reminder to rest in Gods grace.

  12. Thank you for this beautiful reminder. It’s been a rough week and I’ve wondered how badly I’m messing up my girls. I want them to know grace, mercy and unconditional love. I often wonder if they really know how much I love them, or if they just say they do because they think it’s what I want them to say.

    My oldest is a pleaser and perhaps a perfectionist, so much so that at 8, she already chooses her words carefully. I want her to know that she doesn’t have to use perfect words to talk with me and that I’ll be her safe place to fall, always. My youngest is the freeest of spirits, and I don’t want to quiet that; I want her to soar. So how can I correct disobedience and disrespect without clipping her wings?

    Grace. That’s the answer. For one who doesn’t know how to receive it, I don’t think I know how to teach it.

    • I have eight-year-old daughter, as well. I see the implications of my words and actions . . . things I never wanted to pass on. And her spirit, I’ve never wanted to squash . . . but I have. *SIGH* Grace for me = Grace for her. Allowing her to be her (and learn and grow), allows me to be me.

  13. Your friend’s comments about her love for her daughter regardless of her abilities is beautiful. Having children and loving them in the midst of their regular, everyday selves has taught me so much about grace.

  14. Oh Amber,

    How I have felt so many of these same emotions, shames, and fears. Thank you for sharing your heart in it. Sometimes I lock it up inside and pretend that it isn’t there, and all the time it needs to come out into the light so it can be fixed within us.

    Love you, dear sister.

    Kait

  15. I so needed this today. I am struggling with myself, and with my children, and with a half dozen labels in big capital letters, and there is way too much yelling in my home and I haven’t been able to put my finger on grace for a long time. I try try try so hard. But just to know that if I never figure it out… if I never figure out how to model the good way for my children, that if I never learn to walk upright in my faith.. that I am still the daughter, that I am in grace, that I am loved the same, that I am not a disappointment to Him. Bless you for saying these things today.

  16. I love how God can work those “coincidences” into our lives. I was having a difficult time once, and two dear friends each separately showed up on my porch and said they were worried about me. We had a good cry and ate Cookie dough ice cream. Was it a coincidence? I think not. I think God was working through both of those women, just in case one wasn’t listening, the other was.

  17. Sometimes we beat ourselves up, sometimes we unwittingly let the enemy beat us up before we recognize this is his attack, but after all the wrestling, we have God’s unconditional love to take us through these situations, His grace and mercy new each day! He does show up!

  18. Amber, you’re so right on both accounts. First, I get to learn from that woman (and girl) every day. Second, sit on it….you’re awesome.

  19. I’m completely speechless….thank you for being so transparent! There are times that I worry I’m messing up my girls, I’m not good enough for them, etc… There are times my ever so energetic 6 yr old daughter is bouncing off the walls, talking 90 mph a min & knocking everything down or doing something she didn’t mean too….and I lose it! She says she’s sorry over & over again and I lose it! Thank God for being so Graceful w/me and loving me.

  20. Love this post. It’s so wonderful, the divine serendipity of friends sent to lavish grace. Memorable moments. Some days motherhood (and my failure in it) feels heavy as the Books of Moses. All the things I learned as hypotheticals studying in quiet coffee shops as a single woman are now put to the test in family life. Most days it isn’t pretty. I let loose with the “mom roar” way more than I want to admit. But like the Law, motherhood can be our schoolmaster, drilling the truth into us, that we can’t even rightly control a home, let alone accomplish our own salvation.

  21. This is shockingly beautiful, my friend. Grace comes through people and events, and we don’t even know it.

    You might also like Emily Freeman’s book, Grace for the Good Girl.

  22. Thank you for your honest words. I have cried my face off today, after such a tough week with my eldest. Sometimes I just can’t believe how much I can feel failure, and how I worry so, about messing up my kids. We all have fallen short. But God’s grace and power is bigger. Thank goodness for that!!

  23. Amber.

    Great post about love & giving grace to others. We need to tell each other I love you no matter what & forgive quickly. Sometimes it can be very hard to fight the feelings of anger, angst & depression.

    With God’s help & love we will all conquer these demons! Praying God’s blessings on you and your family!

  24. Amber,
    My girls are in their thirties and memories of how much I failed them then and reminders of how I fail them now surface and stare me in the face. I have to look at His face and hear His words that Yes! I am righteous because He gave me that gift. I told a friend that I had especially crippled one of my daughters. Her reply is engraved on my heart: Yes, but God can teach her to dance with a cane. All of us fail our children but that reminds us, and teaches them, that there is only one perfect Parent in whose loving hands we all should commit ourselves.

  25. Amber thank you for being so real, I think often as Christian mums we can struggle to be real with others about the days we lose it with our children – doesn’t quite fit with the fruit of the spirit 🙂
    One thing that has really helped me is a friend said that when we apologise and seek forgiveness even from our children, we reset the standard in our homes. We will never be perfect but we can help our kids learn how to handle their own imperfections when we are willing to own our own mistakes. Bless you!