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Out in the wild

Every morning when my husband leaves with our school boys, I walk them out with hugs and kisses. I wave goodbye and turn straight for my work boots, my mucks. One of my greatest joys during this stage of my life, after those boys and my man, of course, is the moment I let my chickens out of their coop.

I’m usually still wearing my pajamas. The pond there reflects a different drifting sky every time. Sometimes it’s blue. Sometimes the dark in the water supersedes the sky. The catfish bubble at the sound of my chicken coo, and the mist swirls this time of year because the water is warm, and morning air is cool.

I let my chickens out, and yesterday coyotes pitched howls straight to me from the tree line. It gives me shivers, but it’s a gift to be out in the wild. I stand in nature now every single day without fail, and it always feels like a surprise. How did I go years without this before?

We own five acres, but there’s something about hearing how bears roam into backyards near here that reminds me how small I am, how this is not mine but my Father’s world. I am not in charge. This, I’m finding, is the recipe for rest – to know that I am not in charge.

You should see my to-do list. It takes more time, energy, and planning than I could ever muster for me to keep my home and heart going – even at a base level. I’ve read so many blogs and seen it in books. I’ve heard the message in sermons and on the radio. “You are enough!” they say, and I get it, but I beg to differ.

outinthewildPhoto by Karen Jackson

It may be the most freeing thing I know: I am not enough. If all control were put in my hands, there would not be enough of me to think through and carry out all the good things I hope for my children and especially for the world. I can hardly keep myself undivided from within. Half the time my mind won’t obey my soul. My mind tells me to quit the sugar while my hand stuffs a Little Debbie into my face. What self-control I have comes not from me – but from God.

And so I am learning to rest in the places where I meet Him. Every day I coo at my birds, and I know the cold is coming, and there’s nothing I can do to stop it. All I can do is say thank You for the mist. Whether I am grateful or not, whether or not I stand at the pond with an idiot’s smile, the fog still gathers up like a haunting. Deer still cautiously sneak through the woods. The wild flowers still bloom. All I know is that life is exponentially sweeter with grateful pauses, with rest, with the release that comes with being small and knowing the wild.

Reading Time:

2 minutes





  1. Beth

    Thank you!

  2. rachel

    This is just so, so good. Spot on! Thank you for sharing!

  3. Erica

    So very helpful for me today – as I also care for children and chickens – and spend hours preparing the strawberry field for winter. I’ve been wrestling with my not-enough-ness lately – and I’m glad I took a break and checked this blog. Thank you!

  4. Missy Robinson

    ooooh – I love this and I love the wildness! Feeling small reminds me that God is so much bigger and He’s got this! Thank you for sharing! I wish I could have chickens…sometimes I’m tempted, but I settle for our small pack of three shih tzus.

  5. Sharon Gibbs

    I love that the “pause” produces such grateful pulses–of life, and wonder, and Christ. Soaking in the joyous pauses, despite the wild ways of life, calms and releases me. Thank you for giving me this moment.
    P.S. I have been known to go outside in (weirdly matched) pajamas, too!

  6. Shannon

    This is painfully beautiful. I’m going to Pin it because I know I’ll wanna come back to it!

  7. Nicole

    This is a beautifully written piece. Thank you for sharing.

  8. a spirit of simplicity

    I have been feeling rather a bit overwhelmed of late. It’s nice to read your post and be reminded that I am enough just as I am.

  9. Rebecca A

    I was just speaking of a similar notion over a hectic young child filled lunch. How grateful I am life really is out of my hands and in God’s. I enjoyed reading this.

  10. Sarah M.

    Beautiful. Thank you. We recently moved out of the city after 15 years. Yesterday I was reading a story to my kids about looking at the stars at night, & I started to cry. I just feel so blessed to be able to do that again after such a long time.

  11. Nicki Hawes

    This is completely beautiful! Yes- you are right! How can we do the things we do without the amazing power of God at our side? What a comforting point; thanks for sharing!

  12. Diana Trautwein

    Beautiful, Amber. So lovely. And I’m so, SO glad you’ve found your wild place, you’ve found home. (I’ve written about this need to be small, too. I get the ‘enough’ talk, I do. It’s important to know that we’re both enough and hopelessly never enough, you know? Yeah, it is. Love to you.)

  13. Kit

    Amber. This helps me. I am so weary and anxious and I can’t make it stop. I am decidedly NOT enough. Thank you for writing.

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