Monday, October 21, 2013

Testimony Tuesday: Amanda

Thanks for stopping in for Testimony Tuesday! I'm already encouraged and excited about how God will use some of these ladies in my life and hopefully yours.  

Meet Amanda...

She's the roommate and friend and sister ... I give her a hard time, but she's a patient one.

I don't know about you but often I've questioned "God, have you removed your hand from me and turned me over to the worship of myself"? If I'm the only one that's questioned that then ok. When I read stories in scripture where God turns people over to the worship of their own sin, it is terrifying to me. It's stories like this that have always roped me back into the gate and kept me on the straight and narrow.

Now, if you know me at all you probably feel like you know two versions of me, "pre-China" and "post-China". I left for China March 3, 2011. I've repeatedly been tempted to think that my going to China was selfishly motivated but I distinctively remember God's call for me to go back to China. It was July 2010, I was in China with a team of 6 to teach a two week summer English camp. At that time I'd been to China 3 times and to this particular university twice. I was sitting my room late one night writing in my journal about the darkness that is imminent in China. I was totally heart broken for the people in that place. The next night we were playing cards at my friend Erin Li's apartment and I started sobbing in the middle of the game over the people there. When we loaded the bus for the airport I was positive that I'd be back and it wouldn't be for just two weeks. Everything after that fell right into place and some months later I boarded a plane for what turned out to be the darkest time that my life had ever seen. I was only there for 6 months but honestly it felt like a lifetime. It has been two years now and I'm still unable to completely articulate exactly what and where it went to the bad. I left America confident of what God had asked of me and returned questioning everything about who He is. I came home guarded and void of emotion. I'm still that way but those walls are very slowly being peeled away. I still cannot believe I let my mind go to the point where I was actually questioning God. Many times I thought that I was going crazy because how could I, a seminary graduate, question the existence of God? Even the demons believe. How could I have questioned a God that had brought me so far? I thought for sure he had removed his hand from me. I do have to say that even in the darkest pit of my soul the holy spirit was at work. I was consistently reminded of the story of Job (not that my story was similar to his in any fashion) when God comes in and just lays everyone out from questioning and doubt. No, I wasn't there when He spoke the earth into it's being. No, I wasn't there when He laid out the interweaving of the earth and its creatures. The truth: God is God alone, and I am not God. Simple but sobering truth. I've often wondered if my faith will ever be what it was before China. That's a question I still don't have an answer to. I think my faith won't be ever the same and it's not meant to stay the same. I trust there was purpose in the darkness.

I always grew up in church and knew what was "right" but wasn't really attracted to go about my own way until China. I was a rule follower but the rebellious side of me wanted to see how far I could push the limit. China allowed me to completely see what wickedness my heart was capable of and rather than running from darkness I embraced it. I understand a little bit about the evil that's in the world and in the hearts of people that otherwise I might not have experienced. I always wondered why did God ask me to go to China knowing that it was going to turn out like it did? I questioned his purpose in sending me. I understand now that his purposes clearly weren't the outcome that I had expected. I really thought that God had just turned his back and washed his hands of me. I was reminded of sweet truth last week. I was listening to sermon while driving to my parents home by JD Greer at the Summit Church. JD was talking God's love for us and how he bought us with a price. Something we've hopefully all heard before. JD said we are so special to our creator and that the price on our lives was the blood of his son. Now, if we weren't loved or uniquely cared for, God wouldn't have sacrificed his son nor would he continue to look over us. He's invested, he paid a huge price for us, he will protect that investment. With a stake like that he's not going to just leave it to itself, he's going to see it through.

I don't know if you're in a dark season of life but be reminded that even in the darkness He is there, regardless if you want him there or not. He hasn't left you. He is protecting you. He's invested and caring for you even when you don't see it. He's walking alongside you. 

Amanda currently lives in Raleigh and graduated from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary with an MA in Biblical Counseling.  She likes to travel (alot!), spend time with her family, run, and still has a love/hate relationship with China.  Though I say, it's most love! She also cries in the closet... But that is another story for another time.

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful post Amanda! Thank you for sharing!!!