When I hear that a mother of four boys has written a book — that she has poured out words in the midst of putting out small fires — I’m there. I want to read thoughts that were written while keeping everyone alive, while maintaining infrastructure and rule of law. When my four boys were all in single digit ages, I had all I could do to get both legs shaved at the same time, but Amber C. Haines, author of Wild in the Hollow and blogger at TheRunaMuck.com, has produced an exquisite memoir of her journey toward the Kingdom; of finding a place at the table and realizing that the King is her friend; and that in loving the body of Christ, her heart found a home.
Amber portrays her Alabama childhood in all its haunting and wistful beauty of place like a post-modern Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. However, this bio is no Suzy Christian’s Quest for the Perfect Potluck, so mothers will want to pre-read and give careful consideration to their daughter’s readiness before passing the book along. Discerning mums will know when the time is right, because unfortunately, it is important for young women to hear the truth that pre-marital sex is a rickety bridge made from guilt. It’s a wedge that drives shame into married love where it has no place. Amber is frank, raw, and real about the sham Christianity that leads nowhere and the ingenious ways we find on this cracked-up planet to be unfaithful to all our vows. She writes of grief like “a tight lead jacket,” so Wild in the Hollow is a somber read at times, but . . .
Then there is the joy of community, the “lens of prophetic hope” that recognizes the Kingdom in the wake of devastation, the gift of seeing the unseen and of recognizing fruit where it grows in others. Amber’s memoir tracks like life through the realization that although “the earth was made to quake,” there is Refuge. I don’t believe that it is a spoiler to share (with joy) that Amber finds her way home in a living dream for the church: healed by the Healer; loving the outsider and the despised; worshiping everywhere.
Amber ends her tale at the clothesline where my days so often begin and end, where the predictable symmetry of sleeve, sleeve, pants leg, pants leg frees the mind, holding space in the heart for love and joy — even in the wild.
This book was provided by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, in exchange for my review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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