Some of you may have had the opportunity of knowing the “old” me. When I am flipping through my scrapbooks, I catch a glimpse of her. I was the girl in college who went to every party, drove down one too many backroads, drank a few too many cocktails, and went wherever my gypsy soul desired. At the time, I couldn’t have cared less – I was having a blast. The “old” me was wild, spontaneous, somewhat crass, and a little self-centered (I may be putting that mildly).
(I mean, quite possibly my best Halloween costume yet. VH1 television stars. Hulk Hogan and Flava Flav.)
I like to refer to this version of myself as, Amber B.C.
After college, I thought I had my act together. I got a full-time job, was paying my own bills, and moved into an apartment with my boyfriend (who is now my husband). We fought, frequently, and butted heads on most things, but we were completely enamored by one another. We worked and worked and worked. Yet, we were never satisfied; never truly happy.
During our first few months of living together, JD and I decided we wanted to try going to church. However, it almost seemed like we were going for the act of going, rather than for the sake of building a relationship with Jesus. Growing up, neither of us were really “church goers” – I always knew there was a God, but I never actually KNEW God. We tried going for a few weeks, but ending up drifting away, for lack of feeling any REAL connection.
March 8, 2010 was the day we found out we were pregnant. If you have been a faithful reader, then you know 2010 was not our best year financially. We were without a doubt, broke. Ironically, at the time, we didn’t realize our brokenness (I may have just made that word up) had reached across so many other areas of our lives. JD and I attempted getting our act together, and debated on going to the courthouse and getting married. We even tried attending church again; but there was still no solid relationship being built. Yet, week after week, we kept going.
A little over a month later, I had a miscarriage. I don’t even remember the date, but I do remember what we were doing. We were getting ready for church.
I remember how cold and oddly quiet the emergency room was. I can recall the layout, down to the smallest detail. I laid there in a thin cotton gown, waiting what felt like an eternity to see the ultrasound tech. Finally, the doctor came to see us with my test results. He was tall, haggard, and a little awkward. When he spoke, he said very plainly, “I am extremely sorry for your loss. It appears that you were about seven weeks pregnant, and because of the location of implantation, the fetus stopped growing. Again, I am very sorry.”
We left that afternoon with heavy hearts and a lot of paperwork.
All-in-all, the process of the miscarriage was very long and drawn out. Due to the location, a DNC could not be preformed. I had to start going weekly to get my blood drawn, making sure my hormone levels were regulating appropriately. A full three months later, we were finally cleared to return to our “normal” lives.
Not long after that, we stopped going to church. As terrible as it may sound, our miscarriage became some taboo thing that got pushed under the rug. We didn’t talk about it, never discussed our feelings around it or how it may have changed us. It just got added to the giant pile of brokenness that seemed to be gathering in the closet.
It was difficult to get over, especially since I had always wanted to be a mother. It was even harder going on as though nothing had ever happened. People went on with their lives, and our experience became old news. So, I pressed forward accordingly.
Two years later, we got invited to go to church by a fellow coworker, and immediately accepted the invitation.
October 23, 2011, sitting in the back of an overcrowded Corner Bakery, JD gave his life to Jesus. I was sitting there next to him, praying the same prayer he was, but it just didn’t resonate with me. On the way home, he kept talking about how great he felt and how happy he was; and I was over here feeling the exact same way I was before church, except with a full belly. For whatever reason, I just wasn’t fully comprehending what it meant to “give my life to Jesus”. It was like I had a giant brick wall built in my brain (or rather heart), and I just couldn’t find my way around it.
That very next day after work, I was sitting on the I am Second website, watching testimony after testimony. All of the individuals had fantastic stories and experienced life changing things that truly made you feel something. The kind of things that pulled at your heartstrings and gave you goosebumps. It wasn’t until I watched Bailee Madison’s video that it clicked. When she was finished sharing her testimony, I got up from the kitchen table and went to our bedroom. It was completely dark. Right there, next to our bed, I got on my knees and prayed to God. I told Him that I wanted to start living my life for Him. I prayed that He would accept me and wash away my sins. It wasn’t some long, rehearsed prayer; it was plain, simple, and to the point.
It was instantaneous, the feeling that washed over me. It was unlike anything I have ever experienced. It was literally like someone flipped a light switch on. All of a sudden, I felt lighter, happier, cheerful! Even my mind seemed more clear. It was the strangest thing – some amazing high. Then it hit me; this must have been what JD was talking about!
That was it. That’s how I gave my life to Christ. In a dark bedroom of our old rent house on a Monday night.
That following January, JD and I got baptized together; first him and then me, just the same as when we gave our lives to Christ. There was something so comforting in being washed from our sins and building our life together on a solid foundation. Something so beautiful about being vulnerable, and growing together in our walk with the Lord. I couldn’t have hoped for a better start to our marriage.
It is crazy to think, that it took a child giving her testimony to lead me to Jesus; but it did – partnered with other events, I’m certain. That is one of the many things that I love about our God; He has no limitations. He can take any thing, any person, any situation, and turn it in to an opportunity to bring you in to a relationship with Him – you just have to seek Him.
So I have to ask, when was the last time you felt empty or truly unhappy? How about hurt, confused, or abandoned? What if I told you, there was a way to make that go away? What if I said, I know someone who loves you, who adores you, and wants to take care of you? Would you want to know more?
How about I put it like this: Jesus loves you. Jesus wants to take care of you. Jesus wants to carry your burdens and lighten your load. Jesus wants to give you a future full of joy and happiness.
“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 hope and a future.”
Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
That same God took the pain I had been hauling around over losing a child, and began carrying it as His own. He then turned around, and gave me two beautiful, healthy boys and the resources to care for them.
So, I’m here to tell you, God wants to take care of you too. He wants to take your heavy heart and turn it in to something glorious. He is waiting for you. All you have to do is seek Him.