Our Life Together

The beginning…

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This is the first steps in our parenting journey.

It was the year 2000
We couldn’t get pregnant.  I needed pills and pills and tests and tests, and the whole time I kept saying, “we can adopt… I want to adopt too, so we could just do that now instead of waiting…”  Ron was in agreement, but he was also busy moving us.  We had a new assignment at a new church and we were moving back down closer to our hometowns and our parents.  We decided to wait until we were settled in the new house and then begin the process of adoption. (We were so naive about how all of that would work).

Year 2003
We move back near home and get settled into our new house.  I start to notice that I feel weird and that I’m cranky… well, more cranky than normal 🙂  I’m actually being super moody and freaking out for no real reason.  My mother suggests that I take a pregnancy test… I guess she’s had enough of my attitude. Ron was gone to camp to be a counselor during this time, so it’s good that he wasn’t around me during this time.

I bought a test but decided to wait until he came home from camp so he could be there when I took the test.  It was positive!! I was so excited.  We were busy getting everything ready for the baby, and then busy taking care of the baby.  That first year Ron graduated seminary and entered the Air Force as a reservist.  He was technically an IMA Chaplain, but that’s not what this post is about.  So let’s just say he continued to preach for the UM Church and do his regular monthly reserve duty at Little Rock Air Base.  I kept assuming we would adopt, but we would start it all when the baby was a little older.

Year 2005
Once again… I started taking all the pills… and running all the tests… this time we added in a fertility monitor someone sold us and bought our first pack of testing sticks… y’all… those things are expensive!!

Year 2006
One month using the fertility monitor and it told me exactly when I ovulated… I got pregnant.  This was 2 years after Price was born, so don’t think this happened right away.

Another baby on the way, getting everything ready for that, and Ron telling me he wants to go into the Air Force on active duty… meaning, full-time.  I was completely good with following him wherever he thought God was leading, so we started getting all of that ready and all of that training done.

We had the second baby, Wesley, and I settled in as best as I could with being a stay-at-home-mom with two kiddos, and Ron was still preaching and doing his reserve duties.

Year 2007
When Wesley was only 2 months old or so, we found out our first assignment with the Air Force on active duty… Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado Springs, Colorado.

We’ll start the next part at Peterson…  July 2007…

Will You Marry Me? – Part Two

The proposal…

If you missed Part One, you can find it here!! 🙂

So… we hung out Halloween night and spent a lot of time talking.  This is where I’m unsure what happened next.  I’m not sure if we exchanged numbers at this point or not, but somehow he was invited to my house to watch movies.

  • We need to take a break here so I can explain that my house (aka a trailer!) was a place that lots of people gathered to hang out.  I bought the trailer when I transferred to UAM (University of Arkansas at Monticello), and I lived there with different people over the next 3 years.  Carly, my cousin… Sara, a (non-traditional student I randomly met in Priscy’s Video store in Hamburg)… and Stacey (she only lived with me for a little while, but not long).  Sara was called a “non-traditional Student” because she was already in her 20’s and we thought it was hilarious, so we called her that all the time.  Anyway, I’m not even sure who all lived in my house at this time, but I think it was Carly and Sara.  The point was that we always had people over all the time for movies or just to hangout, so I made sure Ron (cute dude) was invited one night not long after Halloween.

Okay… so he comes over to the house and we do the normal flirty things that teenagers who are pretty shy always do.  We held hands on the couch surrounded by tons of other teenagers who were pretending not to notice that we were holding hands! 🙂

After the movie, he hung out a little longer than most of the people.  I walked him outside and he actually TOLD me he was about to kiss me.  He wasn’t the first guy to announce the kissing thing, so maybe it’s not as weird as I think, but he was just so sweet about it, and I think that’s when I fell in love.  I remember thinking how soft his lips were… 🙂  Okay… that’s enough about that, so we’ll jump forward a little… he left and I ran back inside waking everyone up to tell them I had just gotten a kiss!! 🙂

Writing this and thinking about it makes me think that I was more of a normal teenager than I thought I was.  Oh, and I keep saying teenagers, but I was already 20 and he was 21.  It’s okay… I was still acting like a teenager, so it’s okay! 🙂

The next couple of months are a blur… I know that somewhere in there I had about a million moments of fear and suspicion.  I was just the most insecure person in the world.  I kept waiting for the phone call saying that he had found someone else (that happened to me before).  I kept waiting for him to break up with me the whole time.  We spent so much time together and when we weren’t together I was constantly wondering who he was with.  I don’t think he knew that I was worried about this.  I mean, I didn’t call him all the time or stalk him or anything, but I was trapped inside my own head and so scared the other shoe would drop at any moment.

I was starting to feel a little better about our relationship at Christmas time.  I had already met his parents and grandparents (I’ll tell this story another time).  He gave me diamond earrings (I have no idea what I gave him… maybe a book).

Well… I don’t need to spend any more time trying to express the amount of relationship anxiety I had during this time, and really probably throughout the first years of our marriage, but it would be redundant.  I spent a lot of time worrying about things that weren’t even worth worrying about.  I think this might be a theme for the beginning of my adult life.  I’m still working on this, but I’m sooooo much better! 🙂

So… it is spring break 1999… We took a trip with the MBSF to help a church do a vacation bible school.  I was so excited because I just knew the proposal was coming anytime.  We had discussed marriage and we had talked about rings and I just knew it was coming any time.  So I spent the whole week feeling really neglected because he was being a great bible school teacher/counselor and playing in the snow, and I spent the whole week being anxious and waiting to be proposed to.  I was so sad and depressed all the way home because I was so disappointed.  I thought he was just going to break up with me.  Gosh… my now-self wants to tell my then-self to just stop it!  I was so much more dramatic than I ever would’ve thought about myself.   The story is that he wanted to propose during out trip, but the ring wasn’t ready yet, so he didn’t want to propose with no ring.  I spent a lot of time worrying about nothing… (this also is a theme of my adult life).

March ends and it’s Easter Sunday.

  • We can pause right here again to say that my grandfather died on Easter Sunday morning before I was born.  He went to church that morning and during the church service, he had a massive heart attack and died right there in church.  Needless to say, Easter Sunday wasn’t ever a great holiday in our house.

Easter Sunday morning.  I had stayed with Ron’s parents.  Any time I stayed there, I slept in his bed and he had to go somewhere else.  Either his brother’s room or the couch.  So anyway, I’m sleeping and he comes in and wakes me up to give me an Easter basket.  I’m pretty sleepy, but I sit up and begin to open the basket and see what’s inside.  The ring box was in the basket and he was already on one knee when I found it in there.  The proposal was awesome and I was so excited!! I couldn’t wait to get married.

He had talked to my parents ahead of time, so they knew it was happening.  When I called my mother she told me that my daddy was so happy that it was done on Easter because now he has a good memory to help with the bad memory.  The proposal could not have been better…

Part Three – WHEN do we get married??

Welcome to my world… it’s pretty great around here!!

Amanda

Will you Marry Me? – Part One

How we met…

I wondered if he was EVER going to ask me to marry him… and I’d only known him four and a half months.  CRAZY!!  Let’s go back a little….

I was 20 years old, and thought I knew everything.  Well… I thought I knew what I wanted to do with my life.  I was going to continue in college and get my English degree, then I was going to go overseas and teach English as a second language.  My husband would be a missionary and I would teach English and we would live in some third-world country and be surrounded by lots of our babies and babies we had adopted from the country we were living in.  I’d be able to speak whatever language was spoken by the people there, and we would live happily ever after.  Spreading the story of Jesus and working together to improve the lives of other people.  THIS was the dream of my 20 year old self.  THIS is what I thought God had planned for me.

I was at a bible study in the beginning of the school year in 1998.  I was there with my boyfriend (Let’s call him Joe).  We had been dating only a couple of weeks, I think.  He worked at a car shop where they installed windows in cars and trucks.  My window had some scratches, so he told me I could get a new windshield and I wouldn’t have to pay anything because insurance would cover it.  I don’t know why I remember this because I’m not even sure that’s what happened, but I know I took my car there and I got a new window.  When I came to pick it up, he was introducing me to some of his co-workers.  I guess it’s safe to say it was common knowledge that I had a “type”.  I liked bald heads and goatees.  Joe and I had been friends for a while before we started dating, so I’m sure he knew this about me.  There was a large group of us who hung out quite a bit during this time, and I’m sure they all knew this about me.  So… Joe, who didn’t have a bald head or a goatee, thought it was really funny to point out bald guys to me and ask if I thought they were cute.  He wasn’t doing it out of jealousy or anything like that.  Really, I think we were just better as friends, and now that we’d added kisses into the mix, we were just friends who kissed each other.  Where was I, oh yeah… I was picking up my car from the shop and he’s showing me around.  His boss, probably in his late 50’s, was bald and had a goatee… Immediately, I suspect what’s coming as we walk up.  Joe introduces us and then says TO HIS BOSS! “She likes bald guys with goatees… don’t you?”  Gesturing to me!! I was so embarrassed, but I just laughed and didn’t really answer him.  I got over it pretty quickly I guess because I’m not even sure I said anything to him about it afterwards.  I just thought he was weird to bringing that up all the time.

So, now back to the bible study group.  Joe and I walk up and I notice immediately that there is a new car in the parking lot with an Atlanta Braves license plate (I love the braves, so this caught my attention).  I also notice there are a few new people in the buidling when we walk in.  I’m a junior now, and I assume that the new people must be Freshmen.  I also notice that one of them is bald… with a goatee… he is hot!  But I’m with Joe, so I just appreciate that he’s cute and move on.  Not Joe… he walks over to introduce himself, calls me over to introduce me, and then… he did it… he said “she likes bald guys with goatees!” I turned right around and walked over to the bible study leader to ask some random question to get away from Joe and Cute Dude!

After the bible study we were all sitting around talking and I found out he was a junior also and had been living at the Wesley Foundation (The building right next door!).  He was a business major, and that Atlanta Braves car did belong to him.  Okay… he’s got a lot going for him, but I’m with Joe.

Beginning of October 1998 (a couple of months later)… Joe and I break up, and now we are friends who no longer kiss… Neither of us are very sad about this.  I know I’m not, and I know he’s not because the day he told me he wanted to break up with me I went to a concert and he was there with another girl.  At least he told me a few hours before he went out with someone else.  Anyway… I’m not bitter at all… really….

Halloween night 1998 – I was a peanut M&M and my cousin, Carly, was a plain M&M… or I was plain and she was peanut.  It doesn’t matter… what matters is that same car was in the parking lot of the MBSF (Missionary Baptist Student Fellowship).  I was excited about doing our canned food drive that night (Food Bank-o-Ween), and excited to be hanging out with my cousin/best friend.  We were getting settled in the trailer and ready to be driven around when Cute Dude walked up.  He was dressed as Stone Cold Steve Austin (if you didn’t watch WWF/WWE during this time, you should probably google him.  He was bald… with a goatee…)  So we talked the whole time, and I had so much fun…

We will finish part two with the proposal… unless I ramble too much, then there will be a part three to this story! 🙂

Welcome to my world… it’s pretty great around here!!

Amanda

Who am I?? – Traveler

I’ve seen things…

When we go back to my childhood (yes again!!) you might or might not be surprised to know that I didn’t go anywhere for vacations.  Our family all lived near us except for one uncle who still lived in Arkansas.  We did go see him a few times, but not really any other vacations and not anything that I would consider traveling.  My high school youth group for church provided me with more traveling in those few years than any of the years before combined.  We went to church camp at Glorietta, NM and Panama City Beach, FL.  We went on a spring break ski trip to Breckenridge, CO and another spring break trip to Disney World in Orlando, FL.  These trips were awesome, but somehow it didn’t feel like traveling.  I mean… I’m sure I was a normal, self-absorbed teenage girl who was just loving hanging out with her friends on the bus and terrified of the birds that were allowed to fly willy-nilly all over the Disney Theme Parks!! YIKES!! My senior year, our physics class went to Washington DC on a trip and got there on a train from Meridian, MS to Washington DC.  I was a great trip, and one of the ones I remember most easily.  Both of my parents went on this trip, so maybe that’s why I like it so much!  After graduation, I didn’t want to go on a “senior trip” or anything like that (I told you I had no desire to be rebelious).  My parents took me to Branson, MO for a few days.  We had a really good time, and I’m surprised by how much of that I remember too… We went to my first Ripley’s Believe it or Not?!  museum (these museums – or odditoriums – will for some weird reason continue to pop up in my life and travels!)

I went to college in Arkansas, and spent most of that time just trying to get over my freshman year and graduate.  So… no traveling then… I guess that might not be completely true.  We did a spring break mission trip to Kentucky with the MBSF to help them start a youth group.  I then went back there by myself for the summer to be their youth group leader and try to get it going.  I worked for the preacher’s parents at their hardware store, and lived with them while I was there.  It was fun, but weird being on my own… sort of!  The spring break after I met Ron (maybe I never said his name, but that’s my bald-headed man!!)  anyway, we went on an MBSF trip to Washington DC and stopped by the church in Kentucky on our way home.

I wanted to see more of the country.  I didn’t really have a desire to leave the United States, but I knew there were cool places out there that I wanted to see… eventually.  And some places I wanted to see again.

So Ron told me, when I met him, that he thought he was being called to be a United Methodist minister.  I knew some of what the methodist believed, but most of it was just what I had heard other people say.  I needed to find out more about this, and maybe my research will be in another post, but this one is about travel! 🙂

I told him that I was ready to go with him anywhere… then excitedly explained how I couldn’t wait to move all around the country with him and see new and awesome things.  He informed me that he would be in the Arkansas conference and that we would be moving quite a bit, but only around the state of Arkansas.  I pouted… I admit it.  I thought this was my chance to get out and see things.  I got over it and kept reading books so I could graduate! 😉

After we were married for a few years, and in the midst of infertility angst, He comes home from one annual conference and says he’s been approached about joining the Air Force as a chaplain and he was thinking about giving it a try in the Air Reserves.  I followed right along with him.  No griping from me about him following God’s call… Nothing really changed very much except he did have to go to training more often.

We moved churches (inside of Arkansas), I finally got pregnant the first time.  After Price was born, he went away to another training, and before it was even over he was talking about doing this for real.  Joining the Air Force on active duty.

My question “Will we move out of Arkansas?”  His answer “We will get to live all over the world!”  I was IN!!  And it’s been a great adventure…

We spent nearly 3 years in Colorado Springs, Co as our first assignment, then to Ankara, Turkey for nearly 2 years where I was pretty terrified.  Next was Fort Meade, Mayland (directly between DC and Baltimore)… I LOVED it!! And now we are in southern Spain for the next 2 years (it’s actually only about 18 months now… we’ve already been here 1/4 of our time.  It is flying by over here!!  I’ll write more about these individual places and the things we were able to do and see there, so stay tuned for more travel!!

After nearly 10 years on active duty, and now with the number of places I’ve been and places I’ve lived stacking up…. I can honestly say that every single time I drive into Hamburg, Arkansas no matter how long I’ve been gone, it feels like a warm blanket has been draped over my shoulders.  There is truly no place like home, and Arkansas is kind of a wonderful place to call home!!

Welcome to my world… it’s pretty great around here!!

Amanda

Who am I?? – Mother

I am a mother… to many…

*I have been a mother to 13 different children… Read on!!

Being a mother has been my dream since I was a little kid.  I was a tomboy, for sure, growing up.  My only sibling, a brother, is 6 years older than me and I followed him around everywhere.  I wanted to do anything he did, and firmly believed I could do anything too.  He put up with me for the most part, but definitely got tired of his little sister following him around… I’m sure there will be more stories involving him as we go along with this thing, but this one is about being a mother.

When I wasn’t following after my brother and his friends and playing whatever sport they would let me join in on, I was carrying around a baby doll.  I didn’t have many barbies, because I didn’t like them.  I didn’t want to play with an adult doll… or even a teenager… I wanted the babies.  I had a cabbage patch kid (as did every child in the 80’s), but my favorite was a doll called a “Real Baby”.  I tried to search for this to show you what it looked like or even see if they still make them, and I couldn’t find anything about my baby.  What I did find was baby dolls that look so real it was scary.  So… just picture a doll that looked like about a 3 month old baby.  I had a boy, of course, because I didn’t want baby girls.  Anyway, I carried this baby with me everywhere.  I’m sure I threw him down somewhere when it was time to play sports of some kind, but mostly I took great care of him.  I even named him AJ (Andrew Joshua)… The story behind the name may be revealed in a story one day too!

When Ron and I got married, many years after AJ had gone away, we both had some pretty cemented thoughts about children.  I wanted to have 4, he wanted 2.  That was the only thing we disagreed about.  He wanted them to be able to do whatever they wanted with their hair because “it might not be there long” (his hair started falling out when he was 16.. this was particularly devastating to his hair-band-loving self).  I didn’t have an opinion about hair, so that one was okay (I was just praying their hair wouldn’t be as kinky, curly as mine).  I wanted to adopt children.  I didn’t care where we adopted them from, but I knew I wanted to adopt.  He didn’t seem to have an opinion about this at all.

We were married in July of 1999, and in May of that year I had gone to the gynecologist for the first time and gotten on birth control pills.  (We wanted to wait at least a year before having a baby, but not really any longer than a year).

I took those pills for exactly one year, and then I stopped.  I assumed that I would just get pregnant.  I didn’t occur to me that it wouldn’t happen.  That my dream might not happen just as I had planned it.  We were living in a parsonage with 3 bedrooms, a huge formal living and dining room, and it was just too much room for us.  I wanted to fill those rooms with babies.  Instead, it was just us… the whole time.

In 2003, after fertility treatments, I got pregnant the first time.  Our son was born March 15, 2004.  We decided since we had so much trouble the first time, we wouldn’t worry with birth control and I’d probably just get pregnant again soon.

In 2006, after more fertility treatments, I got pregnant again.  Our second son was born on November 28, 2006.  That was the end of the fertility treatments for me.

I decided that I was done with all of the mess that went along with those things.  Infertility posts will definitely be coming because that defined the first years of our marriage, and even longer in my heart.

We became foster parents and have fostered 8 children.  I know each of their birthdays and have a tiny celebration inside each time one of them rolls around, but I only get to see pictures of 3 of them.  We would’ve adopted every one of them, but that’s not exactly the way the system works, so they all ended up somewhere else.  Not with me physically, but with me in every other way.

In 2015, we finally got our girl! 🙂  We didn’t adopt her, but we do have custody of her, so I claim her every chance I get.  She was 16 when she came to live with us, and we had known her since birth, so it wasn’t as hard as if we had taken someone from foster care whom we’d never met.  Not that this isn’t still one of our goals, but I know it’ll be different from what this is.

In 2015, I got pregnant again.  This time I didn’t even know it.  My body, at least the reproductive parts of it, had been messed up for so long at this point that I just thought maybe I was going through menapause early.  I had just turned 38, so maybe I was just early.  I didn’t take a pregnancy test because I didn’t think I was pregnant, and after so many years of taking test after test, month after month and really feeling like I was pregnant, and test after test, month after month seeing a negative test wasn’t something I wanted to repeat again.  So, I just didn’t do it.

When I was 12 weeks pregnant, the baby died.  No one knows why, and no one even knows exactly when.  On November 28, 2015, I started to bleed.  I was in a store (near the hospital, thankfully) and blood just started running down my legs.  I knew something was wrong, but there was no pain.  My first thought was miscarriage, but I didn’t think that could be true because I didn’t think it was possible for me to even be pregnant.

The baby died months before my body decided it needed to get it out.  The doctor thinks that the baby was dead for two months before my body let me know.  It’s rare, but it does happen that the body just hangs on.  I have the ultrasound picture of my third baby, but that’s it.  Not with me physically again… and not even a mental picture to go with a birth day.  I could figure out about when the baby would’ve been born (at least around the month), but I’m not sure I can handle it right now.  It’s been 6 weeks and I’ve not even begun to know how I feel about it.  On one hand, it seems like madness to miss something I didn’t even know I had.  On the other hand, I feel like I’ve missed something wonderful and magnificent by not knowing this baby.  There are a million what-ifs, but none of them really matter.  Nothing brings that baby back, and nothing gives me more than an ultrasound photo.  We just keep walking forward… that’s what this is about… my journey forward!

and still I say….
Welcome to my world… it’s pretty great around here!!

Amanda

 

Who Am I?? – Wife

How I met my man…

** Warning… this may not be suitable for all ages!!  Preview it before letting children read it… though I’m not sure why a child would want to read about my being a wife! 🙂

 

I met my husband at a bible study.  That’s probably some kind of Christian cliché, but it’s still true.  The only catch in our story was that I was at the bible study with my boyfriend.  Uh oh!  I was dating someone who, while a pretty nice guy, wasn’t going to be my forever, and we both knew it.  Up to this point, I’ve had rather bad luck with guys.  In my mind, and maybe the truth was that I wouldn’t have sex with them so they broke up with me.  That might not be the real reason, but I had dated four or five guys over the last two years, including one I thought I would marry until he called to tell me that he had… yeah… with someone and they were “dating”.  Okay… so anyway, that’s my theory and I’m sticking with it.  So I’m dating this guy and we go to bible study.  He knows that I think bald guys are hot (not old men! 😉  Just young, bald guys!!  He also thinks it’s funny to randomly walk up to bald guys and tell them that I “like” bald guys (with goatees)… I have a type… I’m not apologizing for this.  Anyway, he thought it would be funny to introduce me to this new guy at bible study who was bald with a goatee.  I was embarrassed, of course, but couldn’t really stop looking at him that night, and certainly couldn’t stop thinking about him.  I talked to him a little that night, but I had a boyfriend, so I did my best to just stop thinking about him.

Halloween, the boyfriend had already broken up with me, again for another girl who I assume… you know… so I was with my cousin for the annual Trunk or Treat.  We would all dress up and go around to houses collecting canned goods to be given to a local food pantry.  My cousin and I show up dressed as matching M&M’s… one plain, one peanut… we were (and still are) awesome!  Guess who else was there… in all of his bald glory… dressed as… Stone Cold Steve Austin… a wrestler… I was not a fan of the costume, but the head and the goatee were still as fabulous as ever, so I was determined to talk to him more that night.

My cousin and I lived in a trailer near the university, and we always had people over for movies or just to hang out.  So I invited him.  He said yes, but later admitted that he mostly said yes because he thought my other roommate was “cute”… whatever… we will ignore this from this point forward!!

We talked on the phone a few times before the movie at my house… we watched the movie together, I walked him out to his car (he was the last one to leave), and he kissed me.  It was adorable and sweet and mostly just awesome!!  He even told me he was going to kiss me before he did.  I’m sure I was super breazy as I told him bye and he left.  I then did a huge girl freakout and ran back in the house running from room to room letting everyone know that he had kissed me!! There was much screaming happening… Hey… I was 20… 🙂

He took me to meet his parents for our second date… Talk about pressure!! He proposed to me on Easter Sunday morning… We were married on July 10, 1999.  From Halloween to marriage was 8 months and 1 week.  It’ll be 17 years this summer, and we are still riding this roller coaster… I’ll post more about our marriage and some of our dates as I go along, but this is the story of us… our beginning!

Welcome to my world… it’s pretty great around here!!

Amanda

Who am I?? – Christian

The beginning of my journey…

Maybe this won’t be a long post.  This area of my life is certainly long, but hopefully it won’t take me very long to tell about it.  (Keep your fingers crossed!)

As a child (and even a baby, but I don’t remember that part), I attended the local southern baptist church in my hometown. (Really, the only choice was baptist or methodist, and after I got older there was a catholic church in the area and a non-denominational one started, but my parents and their parents before them attended this church, so there was really no choice!)  It’s a great church, and my parents still attend.  I went every Sunday morning and most Sunday evenings (until Youth Group, and then it was every Sunday evening… because they fed us! )  We didn’t do very many Wednesday night services, but sometimes we did.  When I was 8 years old, I did the whole go-down-front-and-tell-the-preacher-that-you-want-to-be-saved thing, and I felt better.  I had been worried that I wouldn’t get to “live forever” like the preacher said people who were saved got to do.  I was worried that my parents would live forever and I’d die and we wouldn’t be together anymore.  I was worried that I might even go to hell, and that place seemed awful.  So let’s just say I went to the preacher because… well… I was worried.

Fast forward to when I was 13… We were having a revival… a hell-fire and brimstone revival.  13 is a pretty… umm… volatile age, we’ll say.  Probably not the best time to make a life decision… or maybe it is.  Who knows?  Anyway, the revival preacher said these words “If you aren’t 100% sure that you’re saved, then you are 100% lost!”  I sat in that seat for 3 nights in a row wondering if I was 100% saved… then… on night four he said the words that sealed the deal for me.  “If you are only 99% sure, then you are 100% lost!”  Okay… so it was a weird math lesson, and I can see his point now, however, all I knew at 13 was that I wasn’t 100% sure.  So down to the front I went again.  I told him that maybe the first time didn’t take… or that I was just too young and didn’t really know what I was doing.  But I was sure this time! 100%!  I even talked them into baptizing me again.  I’m really not sure whose idea that was, but in any case, I was baptize again at age 13.

Now… I’m an 18 yr old freshman at college.  I had a full-ride academic scholarship to a state university, my plan to major in psychology firmly rooted in my mind, and completely naive about the way the world worked outside of my hometown.  I had applied and gotten accepted into the Honor’s program at the school, and I was excited that I wouldn’t have the take the regular old Comp classes because my honor’s class would take the place of that.  Until the first day of class.  The professor (a lutheran minister) began the year with an overview of philosophy.  To say that I knew nothing about philosophy would’ve been an understatement.  He began with existentialism, and by the second day of class I was so depressed that I didn’t know what to do.  He taught these philosophies as though they were completely correct.  As if he WANTED us to believe them.  So one week we were existentialist and the very next week we were onto something else.  I completely had my mind blown.  That’s not even an accurate description of what happened, but I was altered… and back to doubting.  During this same time period (the beginning of my freshman year), my mother was diagnosed with an acoustic neuroma.  It’s basically a non-cancerous brain tumor.  Also, I was away from home (nearly 3 hours away) for the first time, and NOT playing sports, so I was gaining weight just as fast as I could.  The first time in my life I had to do some real soul-searching.

I’m not sure how to shorten this other than to say… I eventually came home to visit my parents (after brain surgery), and I really talked to them about the doubts I was having and the craziness that was my brain.  I wasn’t telling them everything, of course, but most of it.  I never went crazy, or did illegal things (I guess I did drink alcohol before I was 21), but thankfully that didn’t lead to anything or cause any issues.  So throughout that year, I withdrew from everything.  I stopped going to classes because they were early in the morning and I didn’t like them.  I ironically, passed both semesters of the Honor’s class, and college algebra (I love math!), but the science stuff (I hate!) and psychology went away quietly.  I came home that summer and my parents helped me a lot with the doubting.  I still wasn’t really doing the “christian” things… like reading my bible, or probably even praying.  But I still felt like I was searching for the truth.  I was disheartened because most of the people I knew (except my parents) claimed to be Christians, but didn’t really live their lives with the same values they shared at church.

I transferred to the state university near my home and moved back in with my parents.  I lost my scholarship and had to get a student loan.  I had to get a job (the third job I’d ever had).  I had a couple of hours in between classes for that semester, and I used to go to my car and just sleep.  I’ve never been big about sleeping at night.  I’d rather my 8 hours of sleep come from 2am-10am, but the world doesn’t agree with me, so I would go to my morning class (with a honey-bun and a dr pepper) then to the car for a nap before lunch and then my afternoon classes.  One day someone in my class asked if I wanted to go to the MBSF for lunch because they were grilling burgers.  I thought about the crappy sandwich that I was going to have and said yes.  We walked over after class to hang out before lunch and I met Rob.  He was, and still is as of 2016, the director of the MBSF (Missionary Baptist Student Fellowship) on campus.  I didn’t know it at the time, but this man (and his wife and kids) would restore my faith…. in just about everything.  When I think back on this period of how lost inside my own mind I was and how depressed I was without even knowing it.  I can’t help but cry and be so thankful for Rob and the countless number of lives he has touched.  I ate lunch there that day, and nearly everyday after that.  By my junior year (still with no career goals in mind, but a did have a major!), I was the president of the MBSF and there all the time.  I was in a bible study in 1998 when a hot, bald dude showed up for the study.  We were married about 8 months later, and the rest is history!

I would love for the revival preacher to come back and ask me again if I’m 100% sure that I’m “saved”.  I’d tell him yes, but I still have a TON of questions.  I plan to ask some of those here.  Knowing that there is no way they will ever be answered to my satisfaction.  And still… with all the unanswerable questions… I’d still stand up and say yes… I am a Christian!

Welcome to my world… it’s pretty great around here!!

Amanda