Hello! I’m Amanda, and I’m delighted to join the blogging team of the Treasure Chest Ministries. You’ll be hearing from me in the upcoming months, so I’d like to give a brief introduction. Here’s the basic get to know me facts: I’m a stay-at-home mom to 2-year-old twin girls. I’ve been married seven years to an awesome guy named Brent, and the best marriage advice we ever got was to work toward a THRIVING marriage, not just a surviving one. We’ve done that, and I’m so grateful for his partnership.
I grew up on a farm in Iowa, and we now live in city of Chicago in the neighborhood of Little Village. I love my little church where I’m a worship leader, on the leadership team, and do various other odd jobs.
Most importantly, I’m a follower of Jesus. Knowing and being known by Jesus is the best possible thing.
Living with two 2-year-olds is an interesting adventure, and I’d like to tell you my favorite part about having twins. Since the day they were born, they have been two very different little girls. And because we get to raise them both through the same stages at the same time, I have been able to “know” my daughters in a unique and special way. When at 5 days old, Mari was most comforted by being held upright and bounced (at 2 am), that wasn’t just a baby-thing, it was a MARI thing. Thia wanted to be snuggled as close as possible, and that was a THIA thing. I pray and hope that I won’t compare them too much to their detriment. To be able to recognize their blossoming personalities from day one has been such a gift.
It’s a peculiarly delightful thing to know and be known. There’s that feeling when you are experiencing something monumental and you long to share it with a friend – specifically because you know just exactly how that friend would respond. “Oh she would love this,” or, “she would be trying so hard not to laugh right now.” Part of the joy of wanting their presence is already knowing a piece of what their presence would bring.
Something about the way that we’re wired longs to be understood and seen. Dale Carnegie said, “A person’s name is to that person, the sweetest, most important sound in any language.” For some reason, at souvenir shops I always want to find the pen or whatever with “Amanda” on it, even if I have no intention of buying it. There’s something about one’s own name. (By the way, I have cursed my daughters with never being able to find the souvenir with their name on it. Bethia (the oldest by one minute) means daughter or worshipper of God; we call her Thia. Amaris means gift from God; we call her Mari.)
In C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia, the kids’ interactions with Aslan the Lion is a beautiful allegory of our relationship with God. In Voyage of the Dawntreader,” Lewis points to a deeply reassuring truth:
”’But who is AsIan? Do you know him?” [asked Eustace.) “Well- he knows me,” said Edmund. “He is the great Lion, the son of the Emperor-beyond-the-Sea, who saved me and saved Narnia.”’
Edmund’s first response here is so simply beautiful (especially considering his role in earlier books as a betrayer.) Knowing Aslan, or God, is an infinite process. This is a joy that we will spend all of eternity pursuing. Yet we are already fully known by God, and that is a defining factor of our relationship. We are fully known, and fully loved. A recent favorite worship song by Steffany Gretzinger says these words: “Nothing is hidden from Your sight, wherever I go you find me. You know every detail of my life, ‘cause you are God and you don’t miss a thing.” I find so much comfort in this. I am seen. On those days where I feel like I’m just falling apart, He has seen, and known, and loved. When I feed my kids peanut butter sandwiches every single day for lunch, he has seen and only loved. He has not condemned, like I so often condemn myself, but He only gives more grace. And when I’m absolutely at my best, He loves me no more or less than when I’m at my worst.
We were designed for relationship with this infinite God, and He is already all in. He already knows me even better than I know myself, and loves me better than I can love myself. This is the best possible friendship I can imagine.
As the gracious God that He is, He also gives us to one another, to learn and grow, to sharpen, to encourage. In the upcoming months, I’ll be talking about stuff that I’m learning, and you’ll get to know me a bit beyond the basics of introduction. I would love to get to know you, too! Feel free to comment and let me know about your journey. Thanks for reading!