Recently, I was given the opportunity to read and review an author’s debut novel. Amber C. Haines has given us a true gift in her memoir entitled, “Wild in the Hollow.” This is Amber’s story of how she came to know a God who relentlessly pursues each one of us.
Amber’s story begins much the same way mine does – in a quest for happiness in the midst of brokenness, in the arms of one ‘love’ after another, in the bottom of a bottle. Her story is my story. Her brokenness calls to me. Her raw honesty haunts me and endears me to her at the same time.
Hers is a story of salvation and repentance and redemption. Hers is a story we can all relate to. With our busted self-esteem, mutilated hearts, severed family ties, broken society, we can all use the refreshing realness of a story that shows how God meets us in our shattered lives. He never stops loving us. He unceasingly demonstrates his desire that we would all be reconciled to His Father’s heart for each of us.
Amber’s transgression haunted me. And then her confession freed me.
Her words reached places of me that I had long forgotten about.
I cannot remember the last time a story moved me the way this story has. I laughed and I wept and I smiled and I hurt and I found myself praying right along with Amber.
Her story reminds me that, when it seems there is nothing to hope for, there is still good in the world. There are still pockets of community in the world reminiscent of days gone by. There are still friends that mimic family – His word tells us in Proverbs that, “Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family.”
In Chapter 12, Amber shares her struggle of control. This is one area that is a challenge for me as well. In this chapter, she says, “Self-control is a rest in him and his way, and all other striving is an illusion of control that divided me in three, mind from body and soul. Dropping the illusion propelled me toward healing.” God is still working within me in this area. There have been more times than I would like to recall, in which God has had to pry my fingers away from a situation in order for Him to do His good work. Thankfully, I am learning to let go.
Amber’s words are like a breath of fresh air; like waves on the ocean, rumbling and tumbling the water; like a breeze rustling the leaves of the trees. Amber’s words will stay with me long after I write this review. This will be a book I return to from time to time. If nothing else, to be reminded that I’m not alone on this messy, broken, beautiful journey home to His loving arms.