Author: Amy

abba, father

When you get to a new place and you don’t know where you’re headed, when everything is filled with uncertainty–your relationships feel dubious, your future filled with conflict or loneliness–this is the most perfect place that we can find Father, where we can discover the quality of fatherliness our lives have. Most of us would be hard-pressed to say, I’m filled with a sense of fatherliness. We either crowd our lives with activity or relationships to amend the sense of insecurity, or we succumb to despair or depression or some kind of passive state of dealing with things. They are flip sides of the same coin, ways of controlling our circumstances, whether by not engaging with them or by manipulating them.

Father lives in these places. He is the one who speaks into the void and says, Let there be light. But only after He has hovered above that void, considering, watching and most of all, being excited in what He is about to do. The moments offstage, the anticipation before the dance begins, is one of the most thrilling of all His creative acts. We are not very comfortable joining Him in this place, because we spend so much of it in anxiety rather than in wonder. We think it is an ambiguous place, but far from it: it is part of His intentional act of creativity.

I’m not speaking of the wilderness–although the wilderness has an offstage quality to it–but of the transition spaces in which He begins to get inspired about the new creation He is about to do. Too often we interpret those places as wilderness because we feel so alone. We are hard-pressed to know His presence in them. But where is he to be found? Not in the thunder or the lightning, but very very close, imagining, wondering,… thinking and whispering. It is a place of great mystery.

For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”

Romans 8:15

It is in the very places of anxiety that we are most supposed to know Father. These places are not there just so that we cry out to HIm; they are there so that we will experience Him, and we experience our own presence as favorite sons and daughters.

The quality of fatherliness is so poor in my generation. When I say fatherliness, I mean all the things that relationship with a Father means. It means a sense of security, a feeling of uniqueness, trust in authority and masculinity. It also impacts how we carry on fatherliness to the world: confidence to carve out our own dreams, stake our territory, care for others. Our creative willpower to say, “Let there be light!” with confidence and without fear of conflict, comes from a deep sense of fatherliness.

But for so many who never got this blessing, an earthly father who made us feel secure and inspired us to carry on into the world, we greet our lives with a great sense of anxiety. We get to the door of obstacles and unknowns and we either yield or bang on it with childishness. We had no one that said to us, “You’re mine!” so we do not know who we belong to.

I’ve for some time been thinking about the serious problems that come with a lot of the contemporary popularity of “child-led” education. In one local secondary school near me, teachers are not allowed to correct or discipline students even if they are misbehaving. They are simply to observe and then give students room to express their feelings. Something in this feels strangely fearful to me. I find that increasingly we are afraid of telling children how to live because we feel they have not been listened to enough; when it is, in fact, WE who are afraid and have not been listened to enough.

A mother and friend of mine recently shared with me that it scares children when they are given that much power to make decisions. They learn that their misbehaving or emotional outbursts earn them control and authority but deep down it scares them to have that kind of premature authority. This made so much sense to me, as I searched my own childhood and realized how anxious I was most of the time, how little direction, advice and correction I had from a dad, and in that place I tried to make it up on my own.

The world became a place in which I feared the next, feared the unknowns. I struggled with serious depression for about five years. I had so little quality of fatherliness. I was afraid of discipline, too, although deep down inside I was my own worst critic. We are meant to know His discipline because it brings us freedom and confidence–we only know ourselves truly when we are inside Him, His boundaries of Himself. We don’t know who we are outside of them–the world out there is too ambiguous. And so to make sense of it we often impose the harshest expectations on ourselves. The world outside of His dwelling is filled with a spirit of fear because creation is chaotic when it tries to live outside of Him. Thus children model this when they are given power to educate and discipline themselves.

The spirit by which I cry out Abba, Father, is my true self, who was reborn as a child of Abba. My ‘spirit of daughtership’ knows I am a child and I become relaxed in my place in the world. In this spirit we feel challenged and excited about who we are and where we are going. We yield and rest when it is time to listen and rest, we move from one day of creation to the next in anticipation and joy in the holiness of our work and relationships.

a man and a woman

Listened to this song today. We forget how much we need each other, need the differences, need the ‘mysterious distance’ between the two.

“A Man And A Woman” by U2

Little sister don’t you worry about a thing today

Take the heat from the sun

Little sister

I know that everything is not ok

But you’re like honey on my tongue

True love never can be rent

But only true love can keep beauty innocent

I could never take a chance

Of losing love to find romance

In the mysterious distance

Between a man and a woman

No I could never take a chance

‘Cause I could never understand

The mysterious distance

Between a man and a woman

You can run from love

And if it’s really love it will find you

Catch you by the heel

But you can’t be numb for love

The only pain is to feel nothing at all

How can I hurt when I’m holding you?

I could never take a chance

Of losing love to find romance

In the mysterious distance

Between a man and a woman

And you’re the one, there’s no-one else

You make me want to lose myself

In the mysterious distance

Between a man and a woman

Brown eyed girl across the street

On rue Saint Divine

I thought this is the one for me

But she was already mine

You were already mine…

Little sister

I’ve been sleeping in the street again

Like a stray dog

Little sister

I’ve been trying to feel complete again

But you’re gone and so is God

The soul needs beauty for a soul mate

When the soul wants…the soul waits …

No I could never take a chance

Of losing love to find romance

In the mysterious distance

Between a man and a woman

For love and faith and sex and fear.

And all the things that keep us here

In the mysterious distance

Between a man and a woman

How can I hurt when I’m holding you?

making time to write

A lot of people have asked me about writing recently, especially how to make time for it and what it takes to write a book. I genuinely enjoy writing, and always have since I was a child. So I always processed my thoughts first through writing, and then through other things. (I used to make up plays and songs, and always set up stages as a kid… I’m not sure where this performing part of me went but I did try being in two bands when I was in my 20s.)

Anyhow, writing for me is a second nature. But there is a difference between writing spontaneously and writing in a more disciplined way. And I think the disciplined part is what people want to know about. It’s not easy. There is something about writing that seems inherently solipsistic; when you sit down to do it you have to get past all the thoughts in your head that say, “I have to be doing something else right now” or “someone else needs me”. No one else can do it for you, and you have to be alone to do it.

Usually when I sit down to write, the first ten minutes to an hour are filled with every thought but the thing I want to be writing about. I have sat in front of my computer just staring for as much as an hour, maybe typing one word, erasing it, and typing again. The dreaded writer’s block.


why the kingdom advances forcefully

If you read Derek’s blog below, I have a l’il addition. It struck me while reading it, especially the part about us being willing to ‘suffer the downloading of his kingdom’, that that is what Jesus meant when he said, “From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven is violently advancing and violent men lay hold of it”.

I had an image of the kingdom pressing in, and being bruised on its entry. The ‘matrix’ of the world is too tiny, can’t handle the huge reality that the kingdom is. But as it enters our reality, it bruises, catches, and violently shakes on its way in. The “real” reality is actually much more dynamic, powerful and multi-colored than the gritty underworld reality portrayed in The Matrix. It’s our worldly reality that’s the gritty one, even if we are deluded by it. The beautiful kingdom has to bruise on its way through the door our suffering and myopic reality.


what is IT

The IT. The thing that is next, is out there. Have you experienced IT. The next level of Jesus incarnate. Have you looked in His eyes? Have you seen the next frontier–inside of you, in the world, in your relationships? The mysterious, wonderful IT. “It” is always in front of us.

Lest you think I am being a bit too mystical, what I mean by “it” is the thing you experience when you look at someone or feel something that seems like the next level of spiritual transformation, something you want. We all go around with this thirst. Why are we not searching for it with all our might? That is what is meant by the man who sold everything to search for the priceless pearl.

The priceless pearl is the IT.

I remember all the times I saw the IT. I said to myself, this is something new, this is something that is going to change my life, and I want it, no matter what kind of weird radical decisions I have to make in my life. No matter what it challenges inside of me. No matter how many safe things it risks.

So many of us just want more tools to learn how to cope with life, with our already existing reality. The IT is not something that helps us cope. The IT is going to rock your world, turn it upside down, rip open the cages, send us to bigger levels of Jesus in us.

Jesus wants to INCARNATE inside of us. He wants to be fully expressed, limbs, heart, mind and all. This is not a religious thing.

We all need more deliverance.

We all need more Holy Spirit.

We all need more healing.

We all need more understanding and discernment.

We all need more community.

We all need more Jesus.

We all need more freedom.

We all need more love.

We all need more vision.

We all need more repentance.

We all need more Jesus.

The package that it comes in may surprise you. It always surprises me. It is never a justification for where you are at. It may be some grace, some mercy and some kind eyes, but the IT will stir you, will bring you thirst for more.

Maybe it’s been so long for some of you; maybe it’s been so long to have experienced something that feels, tastes, smells like something you don’t know but you just have to have. Maybe you are just coping with life, coping with circumstances. It is not a method of coping. The IT is not a set of friends or jobs or circumstances that make you feel ok for being where you are at. Although at times those things are nice, they can soothe the balms of frustration at religion. They can help you live with your pain to an extent.

I am not talking about religion, something you go out and join. I am talking about a thirst for transformation. So many of us have gotten frustrated with church experiences, walked away and then found ourselves coping alone. If you are afraid of what people will think of you, if you are afraid of Christians and their judgments or others who will judge you for being more spiritual, the IT will drive you out of this fear. The IT will drive you into the arms of others who know HIM, to search for his living presence. The IT will challenge every thought, attitude, orientation. IT always comes as love.

The IT is the tree of life. One tree has a kind of knowledge, which often seems wise, which sometimes looks spiritual and you can live with it because it satisfies your thoughts about being right or even being Christian. The other tree, the tree of life, is the presence of Jesus. When you step towards it, it is filled with His presence. You all know what it means to breathe the air around this tree, even if it has been a long time since you breathed it.

The IT sometimes comes when you are least expecting it. It sometimes comes when things come crashing around and you are desperate. The IT sometimes comes when you are running backwards. But the IT always is there, whether you are actively looking for it or not. The IT can most certainly be chased, however. We can always choose between the two trees.

The IT is an experience I like to call looking in the eyes of Jesus. Have they penetrated you lately? They will shake you to your core. None of us are there, but are we chasing it? Really. Until we get to the place where we want to resurrect people from the dead, where the thoughts, ways, hopes, dreams, inspirations from the atmosphere of Jesus are pervading every area of our life, we need more.

The IT is itchy feet, an itchy heart.

If you catch the IT, just the mere whiff of it, pursue it at all costs. You will not be disappointed. It will bring joy, freedom, vision, and cast off scales from places you didn’t even know scales existed.

tribe clock

I think I must be time-impaired. No matter how many times I figure out what nation/city/etc. is in what time zone, I still mix it up. We do call abroad just about every week now, but I still can’t imagine who is in what part of their day. So I made this handy clock; maybe we can all use it. It’s actually real time. I don’t know why I didn’t figure this out before, having a little page with lots of clocks, kind of like the stock market does with the new york/los angeles/tokyo/london thing, only a virtual version.

Call it the tribal reminder. (The image takes you to my clock page.)

tribal clock