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  • Writer's pictureAmber Daniel

Every Superhero has an origin story … but so do villains

Hmmm… Oh well… either way, here’s my story.

I was raised in a Christian home. While it wasn’t a perfect home, I knew that my parents loved God, loved each other, and loved me and my siblings. When I was 8 years old, I asked Jesus to be Lord over my life, I prayed with my parents and my preacher to receive the holy spirit and chose to live my life for God’s will. I was taught the bible in Southern Baptist Churches throughout my childhood until the completion of High school.

When I became a teenager, although I was going through all of the motions, I knew all of the right answers, and I was doing all of the right things; there was a shift in my spirit. I chose less frequently to surrender to the Holy Spirit’s guidance and chose more often to give in to the desires of my flesh. Although it was a subtle shift, it fully manifested as I gained independence from my family and moved away to college.I went to college at Western Carolina University to earn a teaching degree and a prodigal testimony apparently.

For the most part, I continued to “play the part” of a Christian, being an active participant at FCU and a leader at the Baptist Student Union, all the while, my choices and behavior were far from Christ-honoring.

Of all the sins that entangled me at the time, I struggled the most to let go of my pride and self-righteous heart. One Sunday morning, I woke up alone but not well enough to go to the local church gathering and I chose to stay in my dorm room by myself. I picked up a Beth Moore book that my mom had mailed to me at some point in the past year only for it to hold the window open enough to allow a breeze into the room. I read the first page and it was as if all the soundproofing I had built up in my

heart to silence the voice of the Holy spirit, all dissipated at once. God’s love overwhelmed me in that dorm room and the sound of His voice calling me back to Him was all I could hear, I had no other option but to respond in complete surrender.

Although I received salvation at the age of 8, it wasn’t until I was 18 that I realized my great need for it. It’s not been a perfect journey since then but it’s been a sanctifying one and I’m forever grateful for God’s continual pursuit of my wayward heart.

I met my husband in college, we got married when I was 20, I started teaching Middle School math and English in North Carolina upon graduation and started having children pretty much immediately after that. 3 years into teaching and 2 babies later, My husband’s job moved us to Johnson City, TN. The 4.5 years that we lived in TN made a HUGE impact on our life. Adding two more children while we lived there, our family grew in more ways than just one. Our marriage, our individual spiritual growth, our discipleship, and the trajectory of our entire family is forever changed because of our time there and our involvement in the local church body. We experienced great joy and great loss in that season of life and we know God deeper and more personally because of it. We would have lived in those beautiful mountains for the rest of our lives if it would have been up to us.

BUT - in February 2019, we were very suddenly moved to Greensboro, NC with my husband’s company and while we were sad to leave, we knew God had gone before us and we trusted His purpose completely for our family. During our first year here, we have experienced sweet fellowship in getting to know our church family here and we have also bonded closer as a family unit just by nature of being in a new place, or as my kids would say, on a new adventure together!

We lived in an apartment first (to get to know the area, pay off debt, and find a house) then we moved into our home, which needed lots of TLC and we’re still in the middle of a lot of fun projects you’ll get to see as we go. It has been a jam packed-full year. Just as we were slowly but surely getting more involved with our community, meeting up with friends, and finding a rhythm in our new place, a bizarre/global/medical crisis has sent us back into a season of isolation.

I am very social, I love interaction with other people, and I love to be busy. I would never choose isolation. Due to specific life seasons, transitions, or moves, I’ve been thrown into a season of “social isolation” multiple times and each time, I have felt God in a closer, more intimate way.

That’s because we serve a God who is WITH US! We were created by God who KNOWS us and longs for us to know Him. Being present with His people, is not just something that God does, it is WHO He is.

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” - Deuteronomy 31:8

Sometimes it is ONLY during these seasons of life when everything and everyone else is stripped away that we are fully aware of God’s presence in our lives. Every minute, every day. He is with us. The characters on this page can’t rightfully describe the presence of God in my life, in ALL seasons. He is SO faithful and always has been, even in the seasons that I was far from Him. Even in the seasons that I strayed, or was distracted, or my heart was elsewhere, He was with me.

Are you in a season of closeness and intimacy with the Lord? Or have you struggled to hear his voice lately? Take a minute to reflect on the story of your life.

Thank God for the times that He has been faithful and present even if you weren’t aware at the time. Share in the comments a testimony of God's faithfulness in your life.

If your heart has strayed from enjoying the presence of God in this season, confess that to Him. Jump back into studying God’s word and ask Him to reveal Himself to you. I promise He will … but even better, HE promises it!

For your viewing pleasure: I've included some of my "best" pictures through the years. You should know, There were braces, adventurous haircuts, over-waxed eyebrows, and loose art glitter applied to eyelids with hair gel. #Jesustakethewheel

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