Amber, when was the first time you heard the Gospel, and what was your initial reaction to that message?
I think my mom’s parents have gone to church for all of their lives, but it wasn’t something that my family did growing up. By the time I left home at sixteen, I harbored so much pain that I couldn’t imagine a God who cared, much less who wanted to be intimately involved in my life.
What were you searching for before coming to know Christ?
Traveling around, I purposely tried to stay away from anyone that wanted to really get to know me, yet sometimes I would see a family interacting and know that I was missing out. I really wanted to belong somewhere, to be loved for who I was, for someone to care when I came home.
What was the key problem, emotion, situation or attitude you were dealing with?
I was dealing with quite a lot. Fear was huge, and shame. I was also very angry, although I don’t think I recognized that at the time. I think part of me had given up hope that life could be different, which is probably why I was so affected by the Yager family.
What caused you to begin considering opening yourself up to God? What prompted you to want to know more about Jesus?
Frank, Faye, and Peter were so different than the people I typically met. I watched them reach out time and time again to love on people, going out of their way to make sure people were cared for. I thought once I’d been around for a couple weeks I’d begin to see them talking bad about these people or regretting the offers to help. But I didn’t. Instead, I heard them talking about if they should do more.
When the whole Yager clan came for Thanksgiving dinner, I was totally accepted by everyone. No one singled me out or made me feel unwanted. They all allowed me to ask any question that came to mind and gave me the best answers they had at the time, giving me the space to make decisions on my own. I’ll never forget when I asked Frank and Faye how they knew that God had blessed their logging company instead of it just being their hard work. Faye told me that nothing she could say would necessarily convince me one way or the other. I just had to look at all the evidence I saw and decide for myself.
What motivated you to actually come to God for forgiveness and to accept Christ as Lord of your life? Who or what influenced your decision the most?
One Sunday after the family had left for church, I decided to read the Bible. I’d been reading a fiction book, and the character in it had started with the Gospel of Luke, so I pulled a Bible off of Faye’s bookshelf, found Luke and started reading. The story that finally pierced my heart was the woman Jesus healed in chapter 8, the one who had been bleeding for twelve years. Jesus treated her like she was the most important moment of His day, and it was then I knew that He wanted to love me like that too.
How have your thoughts, attitudes and emotions changed?
As I’ve faced many of my fears, I’ve learned that God’s love runs deep ~ deeper than I can even imagine. He loves me too much to leave me, and too much to let fear have any place in me. I can’t say that all my fears and shame are gone, but I know that they do not have to control me or my actions. God is the one in control, and I can trust His plan.
Do you have a favorite verse or Bible passage which is important in explaining your Faith Story?
Psalm 54:7 comes to mind.
It says, "God has delivered me from all my troubles, and my eyes have looked in triumph on my foes."
I can’t think of a more beautiful way to summarize the last few years of my life.