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Amanda’s Story

was raised by parents who loved the Lord and taught me about Jesus. When you grow up in a Christian home, I feel like you have different crossroads in your faith. So my initial step of faith was when I was four. I’d been asking a lot of questions about Jesus and had it explained to me what it means to believe in Him. So I decided I wanted to ask Jesus into my heart. I went into the bathroom—and I totally remember this—stood in front of the mirror, and I asked Jesus into my heart because I thought, I’ll see Him come into my heart! And what’s funny is that I wasn’t scared or sad because I couldn’t see Him. Even at that age God gave me spiritual understanding, and I was assured that He did come into my heart, even though it was different than what I thought.

Growing up, my faith was really important to me and a huge part of my life. But when I hit high school, I was encountering questions about my faith that created a lot of confusion. I went off to college and was like, “Whatever. I’m doing this my way.” And I did—but it was always with sorrow, like I simply hadn’t figured this out. When I was a junior I was invited to a Bible study that read Philip Yancey’s What’s So Amazing About Grace? It ROCKED me. I remember our leader explained grace, and I just cried for hours. I thought, This is what I want. I get it now.

My husband and I moved back to Minnesota in 2013. Tim was working for a company that had a toxic environment and was just soul-sucking, and we felt the Lord telling Tim to leave. It felt terrifying since we had two young children and a mortgage—this was NOT our plan. But we felt God wanted us to step out into the desert and trust Him and follow Him. I thought, Great! If God is telling us this so clearly, He obviously has the Promised Land right there. Tim quickly had a great opportunity, but that fell through. I had a lot of anger and confusion and doubt. I felt I had heard God, that we had followed Him, and that He had promised us that job.

I had been a Christian my whole life, and I didn’t understand how I could think that God had directed and guided us to something—and then be wrong. And if I was wrong about understanding God, how could I trust anything I thought He was saying to me?

There were days we were really faith-filled and we said, “God has got us. We’re trusting Him.” And then there were days when it felt like a heavy weighted blanket was on me. I was facing fear about the future and wondering if I even understood who God was.

I was out on a walk one day, and I was sobbing. I felt Jesus say to me, “I need you to know how close I am.” I literally felt like a thin veil was lifted. And all of a sudden I felt His presence in a tangible way and this peace and warmth and assurance and joy that was indescribable and . . . and love. He was like, “I am right here. You are scared. You don’t know what’s going to happen and I can’t tell you, but it doesn’t matter. You think I am far away, but there is no space between us. That’s how close I am. I’ve got you.” It changed my heart. And not in the sense that I didn’t have questions about the future, but I was no longer gripped by fear. I realized that God was so different than who I thought He was. He is actually our dad—He desires for us to be intimate with Him. The vision I think He’s given me is to place my head on His shoulder and just rest in His arms. That has totally changed my faith.

The season was long, but Tim did eventually get a great job that has more than provided for our family and has given us the gift of having him with us a lot. But the other gift was this promise from Romans 15:13 that God kept reminding me of over and over again: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope.”