About Amanda

I am a daughter of the living king seeking to follow Him in all I do. God has broken my heart for the orphans of this world. I am learning that my sole responsibility on earth is to love with complete abandon. Follow my journey as I continue to learn how to serve Him.

Read how my love story with God began...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Beanie Babies Take Flight

I wanted to take a break from my story of transformation, to tell you the exciting things that are happening with my old Beanie Babies! I was one of those girls who was absolutely obsessed with Beanie Babies. I had to have them all. My mom would be at stores before they opened waiting for the newest Beanie Baby. There have been so many times I've thought that I need to get rid of them. They have not done anything but clutter our attic. Yet, I have never done anything with them.

The other day this amazing woman posted on her Facebook that she would love to give all of her kiddos Beanie Babies for Christmas. Rebecca is the founder of My Father's House in Kampala, Uganda and is currently loving the kids at her ministry's children's home and school. So, tomorrow I will be hitting the road with these guys...

...We will be making the drive to Tennessee to meet Rebecca and give her the Beanies. I cannot tell you how excited I am to send all 109 (yes I counted) to Africa. I think it's awesome that God is allowing me to pass along what I once treasured to 109 precious children on the other side of the world. What is even more awesome, is that My Father's House is one of the places we will be serving with Visiting Orphans in June! You can learn more about Rebecca and her testimony here at my crazy team leader, Kari Gibson's blog. I cannot wait to hold the hands and faces that will be receiving my Beanie Babies!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Changed - Part 2

Read Part 1 here.

When the doctor told my parents of the damage my brain had suffered, I of course knew none of this. My parents kept me from the grim reality. I can clearly remember the doctor visits, but that was not the scary part.

What I remember more than anything were the nights. It was at night that my fears were at their greatest. During the day I was surrounded by people. At night I was alone. Every night when it was bedtime, the terror set in. I would cry and beg my mom to stay with me until I fell asleep. I did not want to close my eyes for fear of what the night would bring. Fearful that another seizure would happen. Fearful that I would not live to see the morning.

After taking the seizure medication for some time, doctors decided to begin to ween me off of it. Shortly thereafter, I went back for more scans and tests. Doctors were baffled by what they found. All traces of brain damage were gone. There was no evidence I had ever even had a seizure.

"...and the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well." -James 5:15

"...for I am the Lord who heals you." -Exodus 15:26

Jehovah Rapha had moved in me. The Mighty One had worked a miracle in me. God truly is so good.

Let me diverge from my story for a moment to make it clear that even if God had not healed me, He would STILL BE GOOD. He would still be the only Jehovah Rapha. He would still be mighty and awesome. He would still be the creator of the universe that longs for an intimate relationship with each of us and would still be so deserving of our praise.

Of course my parents were ecstatic over the doctor's news, but I was still terrified. The memory of that Sunday still plagued me. I still cried and begged my mom not to leave me at night. I remember my mom telling me that if I had Jesus in my heart, there was nothing to fear. But I didn't. God used my seizures to stir my heart. It was during those long nights that I came to realize I so desperately needed to be forgiven of my sins. I so desperately needed the one called Jesus to come into my heart.

When I was 13 I made a decision that changed my life forever. I prayed for God to forgive me of my sins. I prayed that He would come into my heart to stay. I promised to serve Him alone. And God was right there to answer my cry, to cleanse me.

"'Come now, let us reason together,' says the Lord. 'Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.'" -Isaiah 1:18

God's ways are so above our comprehension. His plan so much more magnificent than anything we could ever imagine. If before the day I was born, God had asked me to write my life story, I most certainly would not have included seizures. But I am so thankful to have had them. I now have an awesome testament of God's glory to share with people. And after I welcomed Christ into my heart, I did not have another fearful night. I have never again been afraid to fall asleep. Fear had been replaced with peace.

"For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all." -2 Corinthians 4:17

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.'" -Jeremiah 29:11

God had a plan to change me. He had a plan to invite me to become one of His own. And since that day almost 9 years ago, He has not stopped changing me.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Changed - Part 1

I don't know how many people actually read this. I know that some of the people who do, already know this story, but this is my story. The story of how God changed me. It will come in two parts, so be patient. I created this blog as a way to share my journey and passions. It's time I share me. It's time I share why I am so passionate about visiting the orphan, why I never shut up about it. It's time I share how my great, big, awesome God has worked in me. And although this is my story, it's not about me. It's about God. It's Him in me.

I had what I consider to be a pretty perfect childhood. I had a mom and dad who loved me dearly. They spoiled their only child rotten. I was at church every Sunday. I knew all sorts of stories from the Bible. I was the good girl who's biggest fault was talking too much (some may argue that to still be true!) I had everything.

One night when I was about 9 years old, I can remember my parents calling me awake. I remember being disoriented and sleepy. I did not understand why they were waking me up and making me talk to them. I did not know that their perfect little girl had had a seizure. The experience wasn't scary for me. I really didn't understand what was going on. We went to the doctor. They ran a couple of tests. He told us that sometimes this happens. Sometimes kids have one unexplained seizure and that's it. After that they simply grow out of it.

Things continued normally for me after that. I did not grasp what had happened. I never thought about it again. Then, about a year later, I was sitting in church one Sunday when something went wrong. I remember sitting beside my mom, looking at my Bible, eating a peppermint. Suddenly my body went numb. I could not control anything. I tried to reach out to my mom, but my hand was drawn to my chest. I tried to cry out, but no words came out. I was a prisoner to my body. I was trapped without any control. I was having a grand mal (or tonic-clonic) seizure.

It is hard to explain to someone what it actually feels like. It is horrifying. I compare it to what I imagine some people in a coma feel like. You are aware of things around you, but it's all sort of fuzzy. You don't necessarily hear people, but you know they are there. Inside you are screaming for someone to make it stop, but your body is not cooperating.

When the seizure was finally over, our church family gathered around me to pray for me. When we left, well intentioned people came and asked if I was feeling better. Their good intentions angered me. What sort of question was that? I never felt "sick" to begin with. If they were referring to whether or not I felt better emotionally, of course I didn't. I was a terrified little girl who although knew the stories of Christ, knew nothing of His peace.

The rest of that day is a blur to me, and for that I am thankful. According to my parents I had seizure, after seizure that day. My perfect life turned to fear. I underwent test after test. I was poked and scanned. I underwent CT scans, MRIs, and EEGs. I was put on medication. Because of the medication I had to go monthly to have my blood drawn.

My parents were told my brain had suffered too much damage from the seizures. I would never be the same. Their perfect little girl would never recover. I would never be able to drive, finish school, have a normal life. I was forever changed.