I’m going to tell you a story. I’ve actually told you this story in bits and pieces before. But now I’ve got an ending. Ready?
My whole life all I wanted to do was to serve Jesus. I loved working at our local church. My days were filled with puppet performances, Sunday morning skits for kids, missions trips with Youth Groups, dramas and oh yeah, cleaning up! When I went to college, I was involved with theatre, Big Sister programs and other weekly ministry. I always said I had no other skills but to work in the church with kids and families!
When I graduated from college (with a degree in Christian Ministries), my husband and I went on the road. We didn’t own a house. We just lived in hotels, our truck and with our parents when we were back in town. We traveled from church to church, camp to camp and performed. We did puppet shows, magic tricks and concerts. We were using our talents to teach kids about Jesus.
Soon we were invited to start a church in Celebration, FL. In light of my Disney Moms Panel-ness, you can imagine how awesome this was for me. I was serving Jesus in the sunniest, most magical place on earth! But when sin hit our leadership team, my husband and I had to leave. And it hurt. It still hurts.
We went home to lick our wounds and look for a new place to serve. We lived in a duplex that was the size of our current bedroom. In a few short months, we found a new job in Birmingham. It was at a mega church that desperately needed some love in the Children’s department. Maybe we were dazzled by the potential there and didn’t see the glaring red flags. But within two weeks we knew we were in the wrong place. We stayed for almost 3 years. We wanted to show that church what God’s heart was concerning kids. We wanted to help kids grow to love Jesus. We wanted to bring the life-change we experienced as kids to another generation. But it wouldn’t work there. So, we had to leave. And that one hurt worse than the first. It still hurts.
We moved back to Atlanta and were offered a rent-free home in the same neighborhood as my brother and one of my sisterchicks. It was a comfortable cocoon for us–we were able to rest, heal and just be a family.
Our first day in that house was Lydia’s 1st birthday party. And a couple of weeks later, I started ohAmanda.com. I remember the day. I was sitting in our pink room at our Ikea desk looking out at our neighbor’s house because I was hijacking their internet and I wrote a little post that got the whole thing started.
Those first few months of ohAmanda, I wrote about how weird it was to go from full-time in charge of over 600 kids to beyond-full-time of just one. I felt like I was missing God’s call on my life. I thought I was wasting my talents and maybe even displeasing the Lord. And then one day God spoke to me. I still get tears in my eyes reading that post. God showed me that where I was is where He wanted. That somehow, even outside of the big plans I had made and prepared for, I was still doing something God wanted. And his plans could still be accomplished.