What Wolf Have You Been? {Book Club}

If you’re new here, welcome. Just for fun, 16 New Year’s Resolutions Only Book Nerds Can Relate ToWe are reading chapters 5-8 in Wild in the Hollowwhich is currently on sale on B and N and Amazon as of 6 hours before this goes live—by Amber Haines. This is why I love book club!!!

Not that we all have to love a book or agree on it or even read the most soul feeding writing ever. No, it’s the gentle accountability to slow me down.

Enough to pay attention to what I’m reading. Enough to think through how I want to say what’s going on in me as I read. Enough to wonder what’s going on in you as you read and comment. I’m picturing Kiera listening to Amber reading the book. And all of the stars and underlines in Michele’s book and wondering if she underlined where I did (chances are high she did because I have marked almost everything —NOT a helpful system BTW). I’m wondering what’s sticking out to Elizabeth as she reads it again. I’m thinking of Sarah and trying to anticipate what’s standing out to her.

This is why I love book club. Because you make me read differently than when I read alone.

The titles stood out to me again and the questions they whispered.

Hungry. What’s the relationship between desire and sin?

A Wolf Revision. She said, “Wolves can tend as shepherds.” What wolves have I known? What wolves have I been?

Thirsty. You’ve probably noticed this month’s themes are inspired by this book. In this chapter the unconfessed and discussed affair thirsted the life out of her. Amber was thirsty for connection with Seth, but it was a thirst that couldn’t be quenched as long as she knew something he didn’t know. When it is necessary to tell someone something? When is it wiser not to tell them? I’m not just thinking of an affair, I thinking of our teammates and local friends. I’m thinking of supporters and organizations. I’m thinking how there isn’t one-size-fits all, but clear rules are easier than the ambiguity of maturity.

Secret Hiding Place. How Jesus is to be our Hiding Place. How the secrets we can’t share create isolation. How unforgiveness can skew perspective. How has it skewed mine?

I don’t know why these titles have captured me. I look back at them and to a certain extent, they are nothing special. But I also see the progression, in simple one word or phrase form, our lives can take apart (and with!) God. Hungry leading to A wolf revision. Thirsty resulting in a Secret hiding place.

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There are so many layers here. I imagine you see your own relationships mirrored here. Or your team or host culture.

“We lived alongside one another, insatiable, but not for each other. We were together yet far apart in separate lives, bumping elbows as we brushed our teeth. Our skulls were cups that never got full.”

“We were the ones you called to do the right thing, the ones to help others through hard times. We were beautiful expectations, pedestaled elders, perpetuating the very sickness that drove us to the Love Shack. We looked so healthy. Surely that healthy glow would reach to our hearts. Surely our righteousness would become legitimate when we did our next good thing.”

The way Amber shares her birth stories is (I’m going to use the word again!) poetically beautiful even when recounting pain. I don’t know what it’s like to birth three babies in three years, but I know what it’s like to be a baby birthed and then followed 15 months later by my sister and then 16 months later by my other sister. Within two-and-a-half years there were three of us. I have no memory where there aren’t three. I have always been part of a herd. With confidence I can say you’re probably thinking of your own delivery stories and families.

“Once in a while, a stage hits that feels beautiful and slow.” I know those too. When have been beautiful and slow seasons for you?

How has God used dreams in your life? For Amber, to have three in one night leading her to being able to tell Seth was—I’m searching for the right word—powerful? empowering? undeniable? And then to have it confirmed to him too. I love that. Though I’m sure the ensuing conversation was one of the most difficult ones they have both had. What I love is the way God can go before, beside, and behind us when we have to have conversations that splay us wide open.

I know others of you reading this have had these kinds of conversations with your spouses. If nothing else, know that you are not alone.

Obviously, we’ve got a lot to talk over as I’ve barely scratched the themes in these chapters! See you in the comments.

Amy

Chapters 9-12 next week. February will be YA and a children’s book. We’ll read The Witch of Blackbird Pond only $6.99 on kindle or here’s a free PDF. The last week of February we got a treat with a children’s book and author! Lots to look forward to in our current book and future ones to come :). I love book club.

Disclosure : Amazon Affiliate links included in this post.  If you click through to Amazon, any purchase you make supports this site. 

8 Comments

  1. Anna January 11, 2016

    The New Year’s Resolutions for book lovers cracked me up.  I can relate, except that I’ve switched to mostly digital now.  It does cut down on the clutter and remembering which friend has which book.  (Or you remember, but you can’t seem to get it back from them.  Or you see your book on someone’s shelf, and you wonder if it would be awkward to take it back.  Should you ask?  Should you just take it?  The drama.)

    I marked lots of this book, too.  “The hollow is made for a Holy Spirit that satisfies, and any other thing will only dry the bones and hush the prayer.”  How many times have I known that there is nothing else that fills that hollow (or that thirst) but forgotten?  And I can think of times when I have seen others try to fill that hollow, and they don’t know or I can’t get through that they are chasing the wrong things.

    I saw the thirst on 2 levels.  On the physical level, she’s busy, she needs lots of water to nurse her babies, maybe she’s not taking care of her own needs while she’s trying to care for her babies.  But her husband is always there, bringing her water.  I also took that to mean that he was watching out for her and taking care of her in what ways he can.

    The other aspect of the thirst was the spiritual aspect, and no amount of water or any other things could fix what was wrong.  She knew that she was keeping a secret that affected their relationship.  As you said, there is never a one size fits all answer for how much you need to tell or reveal.  If you ever have something that you can’t tell anyone, I think that’s a red flag.  You need to get it out, face up to the consequences or you can never move forward.   Even when it’s not something that you have done wrong, secrets give things power.  You need to bring it into the light.  I could go on and on about that.  I’ve seen the redemption that is possible, but I’ve also seen how people can trick themselves and then the secrets come out, and it is never good.

     

    1. Amy Young January 14, 2016

      The Drama. I love it. Add this to it . . . you lend out a fairly new book and the book that’s returned to you looks like it’s been in a battle! Do you say anything? Did they notice? Why do things like covers seem so important????

  2. Anna January 11, 2016

    The other part that was really struck me was this: ” But in the end, all I wanted was for someone to tell me a joke.  I wanted someone to save me, to knock the breath out of me with laughter.”

    My husband and I have always laughed together.  It’s been a stress relief in our most difficult, stressful, painful times.  I’ve had many other friends that I have bonded with over laughter in the hard times.  It’s been the release that kept us from breaking down and burning out, and part of the glue that cemented our friendships.  I could relate to her desire to laugh, to feel lighthearted for just a moment, and have that bond with someone.

    1. Amy Young January 14, 2016

      Oh yes!! The power of laughter. It’s so life giving.

  3. T January 12, 2016

    I’ve had the luxury of reading the first 8 chapters all today!  So, it is all fresh in my head, and still swirling around and we’ll see which things land in a place that stick…

    1)  I have to wonder, and asked my husband on his lunch break–how do we raise kids who don’t just try to follow the rules or pretend.  I told my 12 and 10 year olds about part of this author’s  story while they were eating, and how our relationship with God isn’t about doing right and not doing wrong.  But, how do we do this over the long haul???  How do we end up with spirit-filled people (and all 3 of our kids,not just one or two!) who have a connection to the Head that is alive and two-way?

    2) I appreciate how she shows that happily ever after isn’t easy and it isn’t the natural consequence of believers being married.  She was intensely lonely at times.  He must have been, too.  She said something like she missed him all the time, even when he was there, and yet at another time, she didn’t even care if he was coming home or not.  And at other times things were pretty good.  Yep.

    3) My oldest came out looking the wrong direction, too!  It was terrible, trying to push him out with his head that way–forceps were welcomed!!!!  During my 2nd child’s birth, I didn’t believe the doctor that she had crowned–it had been soooo easy compared to my son!  What a nice surprise that all births don’t include your insides being ripped up as the baby scrapes its way out!

    4) I remember being touch tired  (note, this is not “a touch tired”) from little kids, like she wrote.  Not owning my body anymore, and feeling like a cow.  Milk splurting out (she said like a fountain…that is too pretty a word for me!) and making me and our bed and my clothes smell rotten pretty quickly in the heat.  And our bed was in a loft with a low ceiling and hardly any room on either side, which made it a pain to change our sheets.  Eeek.  Surviving was tough.  My house was definitely not clean when I went to bed (she wrote that hers was!!).

    5) I’m pretty sure that this book won’t end wrapped up in pretty little bows.  But I am wondering what will come.

  4. Sarah H January 13, 2016

    This quote from chapter 8 really struck me: “My sin had so overshadowed his that I never realized how I harbored unforgiveness, which has a way of skewing perspective. Along with guilt, unforgiveness had been my haven of unrest. Unforgiveness had been my hiding place”.

    I had never really thought about hiding out in guilt or unforgiveness. I was thinking over my own life the last year and some of the pain and guilt, and how even though I want to move on, somehow it is familiar. Like if I stay there, then I have an excuse, and the familiar is less scary than making a change and moving forward. But this hiding place is definitely not one of rest or comfort.

    1. T January 13, 2016

      I reread that quote several times, too!  It was also a new thought for me.

  5. Kiera January 15, 2016

    Oh man, my comment didn’t post the first time, so now I need to try and reconstruct it. Well, first off, a busy week meant I didn’t have time to listen until tonight. I caught a cold which is not too fun, but the upside is that it made time for me to lay in bed and listen to Amber. Since I always save your post, Amy, until after I have listened, I didn’t know I was mentioned until this evening. 🙂 I am still loving listening to Amber read me her words.

    Some favorite parts – like Anna mentioned, the laughter. I loved the story about her and Seth connecting over laughing themselves silly at her loopy pregnant brain thinking she had to talk down her robe to the nurse. I feel like the best relationships are the ones where you can be your totally naturally goofy self and not feel like the other person is annoyed and you need to reign it in. I have this with my husband. I never would have thought to put “goofy” on a list of desired traits in a mate but it brings us so much silly joy.

    The part where Seth comes to her dripping from the shower to ask for her forgiveness after she has just admitted to an affair – so powerful. When I heard it, I remembered it from the Mudstories podcast with Amber that I had mentioned hearing before, but together here with all the details of the story made it that much more powerful. And the vividness of her dreams – a spotless living room but a deluge of snakes pouring in from the backyard – powerful imagery of how something we thought was buried/hidden can infect our whole lives.

    Finally, the mystery of her poetic words solved – she was a poetry major! I am so thankful she decided to use her poetic gifts to write this story for us. I mean, I could tell you the story of giving birth to my daughter but it wouldn’t be anywhere near as beautiful as Amber’s. I love how her poetic side too let’s her see the themes in her life – hunger, thirst.

    I can’t wait to hear more! 🙂

    P.S. Amy, I just started reading Thanks for the Feedback. Wow, that is good stuff. I feel like it’s a great stepping stone from Emotionally Healthy Spirituality too. Thanks for recommending it!

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