Today we will cover chapters one through three: Rebel, Capacity:One, and Becoming Kin. We have a lot of ground to cover, shall we dig in?
“I thought I would never be able to do enough to be accepted by God’s people, and therefore by God. I lived outside the umbrella, and I knew it.” (pg. 18)
How many of us grew up striving to please God and His people?
Striving will eventually burn us out and for some make us feel resentful.
Early in life Amber realized shame was a good motivator for giving up any facade of being good enough in the church. She spent many years trying to fill the “hollow places.” There is a God-sized hole in our hearts that can only be filled with Him. Not sex, drugs, or even rock n’ roll.
I know for me I could relate to this chapter, because even though I always believed in God and Jesus, I didn’t know how to have a personal relationship with him or what that even meant for so long.
In my search for love and filling the hollow places in my own soul I filled it with boys. I wanted their attention and love I thought if I had it then I was accepted and good enough. I didn’t want to be alone.
Did you notice the resounding theme in chapter 1? Freedom. Oh, the things we will do in the name of freedom. From her life examples we see Amber was promiscuous, used drugs & alcohol, ran with the wild kids all in the name of freedom. And in doing so heaped up a load of guilt. Guilt that followed her around like a “darling pet.”
When we cannot accept God’s grace and live outside His boundaries for our lives, guilt will always be our shadow. The wrong kind of freedom-chasing will eventually exhaust us and leave us burdened down with guilt and shame.
Have you found this true in your own life?
Chapter 2: Capacity: One
“I believed that all God saw in me were the claws of shame. There was no getting them out.”
I remember being a young girl wanting nothing more than to be loved, free, independent. I wanted to experience all of life and not have any regrets, just like they promote in the movies and tv shows. Only what they don’t tell show you is the shame and guilt that follows when you live wild and free. They don’t show the emotional consequences that follow. Somewhere along the way you start to feel dirty and not enough. Why on earth would God love us? Want us? Care about us? He only wants the good-ones. Not us.
But he does. He does want us. He does love us and He does want to use our lives for His good purposes.
Amber says even in her rebellious days she remembers a distinct haunting from the Lord. I remember feeling this way too as a teenager. I would sit in church and be moved emotionally to tears. I felt like God was calling me to something more,but I didn’t how to accept what He was offering.
When Amber was at her lowest and wanted to die, she gave God an ultimatum. (Haven’t we all?)
To me, the last few paragraphs on page 30 are some of the most powerful words in the entire book.
What do you think?
They are of her telling God she is ready to die. And there on the linoleum floor of her dorm bathroom, God met her there and breathed His God-breath into her. For the first time in her life, Amber was fully alive and free.
Chapter 3: Becoming Kin
“There will always be ways I’m learning to let God love me, but maybe I inherited more than desire for the knowledge of good and evil from our Eve. Maybe I inherited her memory, the echoes of the garden.”
What stood out to me in this chapter the most is the feeling Amber describes after being saved. The feeling for the first time of being claimed, named and seeing in her mind God smiling on her. I think this is a feeling we all long for. Being known and seen by God. By El Roi the God who sees us.
It’s like God opened her eyes and she was seeing for the first time all the ways He had always loved her since she was a little girl.
“I didn’t have the language for it then, but I saw the Imago Dei everywhere and in everyone. I saw myself as a child of God, Abba letting me come to him, boldly and with ease, in the gentleness of relationship. I was confident, and I saw God as one who loved me completely as a good Father. And Jesus–he, my love, my brother–became my friend. He was becoming the only place that made sense to me, the only way to see the world.” (pg.36)
After her transformation on the linoleum floor, Amber began her journey with Christ. With fresh eyes and a clean heart she also began her journey to fitting in with other christians…
What was your first perception of the church when you started attending?
If it was negative did it push you away?
What brought you back to the church?
How do you reconcile grace and the church?
How has God met you in your lowest point?
What parts of these chapters stood out to you? What are your thoughts on them?
Please share your insights in the comments. I’m looking forward to fleshing out this book with you!
Shared by: Alecia Simersky