My life story: Part One

For months now I've been sending words out into the world wide web, mostly for the benefit of my mother and others at home who I don't call as often as I should. Every view and every comment still makes me giddy like a child on Christmas morning, but I want to share some real thoughts with you.

So here's a little bit of myself. Who I am, and where I've been have never been typed out before. I feel like until I give you that much, you can never know where we're going. So here it is. My life story: A picture of redeeming love.

Life was easy for years. I was the oldest of three kids. The leader of the pack, and the top of the pecking order. My father was an engineer in the navy, and we lacked for absolutely nothing. My brothers and I spent our days playing outside in our cozy Virginia Beach neighborhood and amusing ourselves with small toys and huge imaginations.

My parents were both Christians and raised us with the morals that they found in the Bible. We learned Bible verses with our ABCs and prayed for missionaries daily. My mother chose to leave behind her multiple degrees to homeschool me and my two brothers. Everyone has some pre-concieved view of homeschooling. Homeschool {like any form of education} depends largely on the teacher and the time that is given to education. My mother jumped in with both feet. We had bulletin boards, calendars, maps, desks, pencil boxes, and name tags. I can honestly say that I don't feel like I missed the "classroom experience".

Well, other than being socialized that is. I had zero friends. Just kidding. :) I had tons of friends. There were church friends, neighborhood friends, and sports friends. We were blessed enough to be raised in an area that had hundreds of other homeschool families and full sports leagues who played against each other and a dozen private schools in the area. Socialization has never been a problem. (I'm on the bottom row, second from the right. Yep, the bangs.)

So there I was, a homeschooled kid in a Christian family who mostly did what my parents wanted me to. But I wasn't a Christian. To be honest, Christianity wasn't something I thought much about. After all, I knew what I needed to do if I wanted to be a Christian. Every church kid knows, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved." I knew, but I hadn't done it.

One day I was at a Vacation Bible School and I heard a man preaching through one of the most well known verses in all the Bible: John 3:16.

He said "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. That whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish but have everlasting life." 

He told us that we could insert our own name into that verse to make it personal.

For God so loved Amanda, that He gave His only begotten Son.

Me. God so loved me. He loved me enough that He was willing to make a way for me to be with Him eternally. I had already chosen my selfishness over His salvation. I had known the truth and yet not accepted it for myself, but that day I felt Him reach out His hand and say, "I sent Him for you. I offer you the gift of eternal life if you'll accept it." And I did. I told the Lord that I knew I had fallen short of perfection and needed a way to be made for me or I would never get to go to heaven. I thanked Him for the perfect substitute He sent in my stead and I asked Jesus Christ to stand in my place so that when God the Father looks at me, He only sees His perfect Son. He saved me from hell that day, of that I am sure.

But life didn't end there. He left me here for a purpose. The purpose of every Christian alive today is to show Christ's love to others. That's all. Our only job is to be a great big flashing sign that says, "For God so loved you that He gave His only begotten Son."

It's an all encompassing redeeming love.

A couple years later our little church merged with a bigger church and suddenly I was a just a piece of sand in the vast expanse of the ocean front. Without a heads up, my world got pretty big. A few years later, when I was eleven years old, my parents announced that they were pregnant with a forth child. The sister I had always wanted, came a couple of years late.

We transitioned smoothly into a six person family and life continued on. Then something huge happened. My father sat us down and told us he felt like the Lord was calling him into the ministry. He was leaving his job as an engineer to be the assistant to the pastors at our church. Through a series of unplanned events, my father was quickly promoted to pastor, and suddenly I was a baptist pastor's homeschooled daughter. How's that for a stereo-type? I mean, yikes.

I was not eager to fit that mold. I wanted people to think I was doing right, but I didn't want to be labeled as "homeschooled pastor's daughter" by my peers. So I broke away from the mold that I felt had been created for me. While trying my hardest to wear my "good girl" mask in front of adults, I showed my peers a different side of me.

This paragraph is awkward and hard, but how will you know what Christ has done is my life if I don't tell you how far I ran away from Him?

For two years I did nothing but run. I was still in the choir every Sunday but on the week days I was lying to my parents and spending long nights out drinking and messing around with boys. I filled my days and nights with lies rolled up in fun. Unless someone saved a picture or a text that never made it online, there's no proof that any of it happened. When I went off to college, my parents believed I had never even kissed a boy and I hoped I'd be able to keep my secrets forever. The Bible says, "Be sure your sin will find you out." and in my experience, it always has.

Here's Part Two. :) I promise it's better.

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