My name is Amy and I live in China.

My name is Amy and I know people with messy lives.

My name is Amy and I have a messy life.

My name is Amy and I have been Redeemed from permanent muck and live with the tension of the Already and Not Yet.

The AA formula of “My name is Amy and I’m or I have _________”(fill in the blank) has lived on for so many years because it captures the simple and the complex in one fell swoop. In terms of this blog, the messy middle is where the pains, joys, boredoms, frustrations, interests, relationships, and God reside. It’s not as easy or clean or simple or safe as life on the perimeter, but there’s no place I’d rather be.

My name is Amy and I find myself in the messy middle of a life that both needs and wants to be salt and light.

You can subscribe to an RSS feeder or to receive the messy middle in your inbox by following the subscription link in the top left corner. There’s always room for one more in the messy middle!

29 thoughts on “About”

  1. Without the messy middle we would not be so in awe of the Already and not yet!

  2. my name is lyndie and i am learning, slowly, to live with messy, and rejoice in it. i look forward to learning from you here.

  3. Amy. Just love your writings and blog.

    David, Bear Valley Church Writers Group and Newsletter Editor for The High Calling.

  4. I’m glad I found your blog, Amy. I just love the title.

  5. Glad I found your blog, a fellow non-mom (at least by mainstream culture definition). Loved your non-mom open letter, A big part of who I am is because a non-mom took me under her wing and gave me what my bio mom couldn’t/wouldn’t.
    Thanks be to God for every way, shape and form of mothering.
    The messy middle wears me out physically and emotionally. Thanks God I am not in this alone.

  6. Just happened to stumble upon your site – had a quick read … you’re remarkable!! Can’t wait for that book (if you haven’t written it already).

    Cape Town, SA

  7. Hi Amy. Stumbled across your blog via your guest post on ‘in a mirror dimly’ and SO glad I did! Having also experienced leadership, China and the whole single thing, I can relate and empathise. Love your honesty and writing style too. Looking forward to reading more and hoping all goes well with you (especially in Chinese taxis…).
    Vicky (writer based in UK)

    • Vicky, SO glad you did too! Thankfully most taxi rides are neurtal to positive encounters with folks just trying to earn a living. Enjoy a cuppa for me today (shout out to the UK!). Amy

  8. Flashbacks to the high speed, seatbelt-free rides in Shenzhen, I think! Hopefully you’re not exposed to anything similar on a regular basis. Glad to connect with you anyway. England salutes you! Vicky

  9. Amy:

    I found your post about Mother’s Day (May 10th post I believe) to be amazingly and graciously sensitive and loving. That post reminded me of what Jesus would say. I am a pastor myself and each year God is making me even more sensitive to the brokenness of others and myself…meaning that it is important to be inclusive about how God blesses all our lives, not just a certain few who happen to be mothers or fathers. We have a churchful of people who mother and father others, but they might not hold the “title.” I am glad God gives them all, and us all, the title of “beloved.”

    As we come up to Father’s Day on the calendar (not the church calendar, but the regular calendar) I am inspired by the text of Ezekiel 17:22-24 (lectionary reading for June 17) and I hear the Spirit speaking to me about recognizing the exalting of those people who feel and are oppressed either intentionally or unintentionally. This goes for people who might feel excluded on Mother’s or Father’s Day. Do I have your permission to share some of your thoughts in my upcoming sermon? I wanted to get permission first. I will only have those ideas in my sermon notes, but I did want your “ok” on it. I am going to combine the idea into thoughts about how this text reminds us that God is for the oppressed and those potentially left out. Please comment and let me know what you think.

    Thanks for your insightful post and I pray God’s blessings as you pastor people online with the Word of God…Jesus Christ…Amen :)!

    • Hi Will, and thank YOU for the insightful addition of the Ezekiel text! Please feel free to use it and blessings to you and your flock. Amy

  10. Amy, I recommended your insightful post (an open letter to pastors) to another well-respected pastor friend in an email. He shares your concern for remembering those who need an embrace on days like Mother’s and Father’s Day. May the Spirit continue to use this post to remind God’s church that we are all loved intensely by the Father of love, his Son Jesus Christ, and the encouraging Paraclete, the Holy Spirit. Amen.

  11. Just wanted to let you know I read your post during my sermon today (mentioned messymiddle.com) and it was as though God brought this pastoral and calming presence amongst the congregation. The Spirit truly helped remind us all that those who are unintentionally (hopefully not intentionally) marginalized, invisible, or forgotten are the ones who God chooses to shine like a city on a hill. Everyone has value and worth, and on Father’s Day, dads have a continuum of fathering as well :). Just wanted to thank you again for your permission to share your great post with our congregation and God’s blessings to you as you feel led to write as the Spirit moves you to do so.

    • Will, Will, thank you. Thank you for coming back to share a bit of how the Spirit has blessed and used words he started in one part of the body to minister to other parts. “Calming presence” — that part got to me; bless you too!

  12. Hi Amy, I just ‘stumbled ‘ across your blog – in particular what you wrote re Mothers Day – so well said. I always struggle with Mothers Day – yes I am a mother – but my own mother passed away when I was 20 – and the older I get the more I have struggled with Mothers Day – I think for me it just kept highlighting my grief – could just cope with the day when my children were young but lately not as well. God has given me many spiritual mother mentors throughout my life and I am so thankful of them. Thanks for your words.
    I have read a few others of your posts – and discovered that you are in China – those Beijing taxis are something else!
    Bless you and keep writing – love your honesty

  13. abbiepsmith1 said:

    Amy, I just came upon you via your post about Mother’s Day. Stunning, dear sister. Thank you. I recently released a book with Navpress called, Celibate Sex: Musings on Being Loved, Single, Twisted and Holy. Let me know if you’d be interested in me posting an interview with you on my blog (www.unsteadysaint.com). You clearly have a wide amount of wisdom and grace to share.

  14. Amy. Found you from your post about Mother’s Day. It summarized so many things about the struggles I have had with that day- even though I have an incredible Mother and Mother-in-Law! I’ve been at peace about not having children because that is not the plan that God had for our lives… but that particular Sunday has always been tough for some reason in my married life. I’ve been looking for good blogs to read and am thrilled to have found yours! Blessings!

  15. Robin Riebsomer said:

    Hi Amy,

    We used your open comments to a pastor for Mother’s day at our church today. Thanks for being so inclusive! I am a celibate lesbian woman with no kids. Your comments helped me feel much more included. Fortunately, the woman who led the service at our UU church today did many things to ensure that we all felt included.


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