I received a copy of Wild In the Hollow: On Chasing Desire and Finding the Broken Way Home, written by Amber C. Haines, from NetGalley for the purpose of generating a review. This book came out today! With the exception of identified Bible verses, italicized quotes are from the book. The opinions expressed here are my own.
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. Philippians 2:12
This verse doesn’t make anyone’s list of favorites. It asks us to actually participate in the working out our own salvation. And although though we don’t talk about it, every Christian knows it to be true. This faith walk sometimes includes fear and trembling.
Amber Haines’ book, “Wild in the Hollow,” invites her readers into her very personal faith journey. Times of fear and trembling but also joy and peace.
Amber’s writing has a certain feel to it. Every paragraph poetic. So beautiful. Even when some parts of her story weren’t beautiful at all, the telling of it moved my soul.
I found parts of my own story in her words like this:
I get sick with missing [her hometown], but every time I go, it doesn’t seem to have the same sweet feeling as the one I had as a child.
She grew up in the church. Although she had her wandering years of rebellion, the foundation of her faith was laid in a Southern church.
I hesitate a great deal to say a negative thing about the church of my youth, the ones who painted that grace umbrella, the box of faith, for me. They taught me the words to “I’ll Fly Away” and “Nearer My God to Thee."
These sentences were followed by examples. Real names. Real incidents. When the church did right by Amber.
Then came the years of rebellion. Amber remembers trying so many things to fill her up but the void remained. She opens the doors of her past wide in this part of the book and perhaps these words are the very ones someone will need to read so they can move beyond the guilt of their own story.
At various times in Amber’s life, she’s had personal revelations. Times when God has shown her, we were here but now we’re moving to here. Finally, she’d reached rock bottom of all the rebellion. She dropped to the floor and didn’t know for sure if she’d every find it in her to get back up again. Or why she’d want to do so. My favorite line in the whole book:
Maybe the path to Jesus is paved with linoleum.
So Amber turned her heart to God once and for all. Things weren’t perfect from that point forward. She did meet her future husband in those days that followed. Together, they pursued higher education goals. They had babies. Four boys. They endured illnesses and addictions and marital troubles.
All the while, God kept working. Providing just the right job opportunities, a small group of intimate friends, travel to foreign countries and a deeper relationship with Him.
Throughout the whole book, you get this sense that Amber wants more. More community, more from the church, more of her family she loves so much and can’t get enough of these days.
We were small, and anything that helped us live that way felt like a healing. It felt like home. Home is all we were ever really looking for.
It’s a longing I recognize. The feeling that we’re never getting it quite right. There must be more.
If I were to sit down with Amber and discuss this book of hers, I’d share this verse with her:
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:6)
We’d nod our heads in unison. For though in this life Jesus continues to draw us nearer to Him, we have a future hope that promises so much more.
I'm linking this review up over at maryanderingcreatively.com this week. Head over there for other great book ideas!