My name is Amanda and I am the daughter of the King.
My life started rough.
I started out knowing only evil, seeing things and experiencing things that nobody, especially a child, should go through. As far back as I can remember I only knew what I thought was “normal” – an addicted mother and absent father, an abusive uncle, and a very distant and sad childhood. I was sexually abused and there was no one to save me but me. At age 4 I spoke up against my molester and turned him into the authorities. I remember this quite well because he was hurting other children and I had to go speak to “big” people in suits in a big building. Later I would recognize this as a courthouse.
After he went to prison, my mother would move from one town to another, from one abusive man to another; still using drugs and alcohol, still neglecting me emotionally and spiritually.
Growing up like this, I swore up and down I would never end up like my mom. I would never turn to alcohol as an escape – a way to abandon my feelings and cover up my hurt and loneliness. And I was right! I didn’t turn to alcohol.
At 15, I went to a party. I was new in town and wanted to fit in. I wanted to feel accepted for the first time in my life - to feel loved and not forgotten. I sat in the circle around a bonfire and I looked to my left as a pot pipe was handed to me.
Without hesitation, I put it to my lips while my “friend” lit it for me. That was the beginning. I started that night going to a party where I felt like I was intruding, to ending the night feeling like it was my party and look how special I was that all these people came to it! I felt loved, accepted, pretty, 10 feet tall, and bullet proof.
I quickly realized my mom and I had something in common, something we could connect on some level with, no matter how morbid or immoral it was. Maybe now my mom would love and accept me enough to slow down and be a mom. I figured if I can’t beat her, I might as well join her.
I went on like this for many years until I ended up pregnant and alone at 20. I stopped everything. I was going to be a better mom than my mom was, or so I thought.
When I was 24 and my son was 4, I met a man that would later introduce me to the hustling game. I call it evil, others call it meth. That was also the same year that one of my mom’s boyfriends killed her. She would never know the freedom from her addiction. She would die in pain and suffering. I quickly fell for this man. I think it felt safe because that is all I knew my whole life. It was normal for me. I started smoking weed again and putting all my time and energy into a man that was incapable of loving me or my son.
On Easter 2000, while we were lying in bed, our door got kicked in by DEA & FBI. My son and I both woke up with a gun to our heads. I didn’t know what to think or do or what was happening. I would find out later that my boyfriend got arrested for conspiring to manufacture meth. I got let go because I had no knowledge.
After he was bailed out, he was using heavily and started ignoring me. I just wanted him to love and accept me; I didn’t want another person to abandon me. So I met up with him and asked him to teach me about it. I was addicted right away. He went to prison and I was still addicted and started selling to support my habit. In 2003, I found out that my step-dad, the only dad I had, was dying of cancer and I started spiraling out of control.
After he died, I put myself in treatment. After graduating treatment and a halfway house in St Cloud, I started my own NA meeting. Narcotics Anonymous was a huge part of my life for many years. In 2005, I met my husband Brent. We got married in 2008 and had two more children. After our wedding, we both got complacent in our program. There was always something missing. I didn’t know what it was; there was still that hole in my heart that never got filled. We ended up relapsing together. We spent a couple years using.
In 2012 my world came crashing down. My husband and I separated and I had just got arrested on my first drug charge. While I was in jail, my kids went to foster care. I lost my house and everything in it to thieves and it felt like my soul was being torn from my body.
Then one night I was awakened by God. He told me that he had always been here. I was never alone and I need to surrender to him and submit to him. He would show me the way. Up until then I was staying in bed. I wouldn’t eat, drink, or talk. I just laid there and cried. That day I got up and went to a program that was offered by a Pastor that came in to jails to help people. I broke down to her and she handed me her card and told me to call her when I was released.
The very day I was released, I did just that and drove out to her house. My husband had met me there and she had talked to both of us. I decided to go to Elk River with him.
I was hurting and longing for my children. I felt like the worst mother alive! I had turned into my mother! I was in such a deep depression all I could do was cry.
One night, my husband Brent told me to get up and get dressed, we were going to church. I thought to myself, “No way! I’m too depressed. I don’t deserve to go anywhere.” But I reluctantly went. We walked into this huge church where people were hugging and they seemed to be happy. But I just kept thinking, these people are fake – they aren’t really that happy. I sat on an outside row towards the back of the church, an easy escape!
As the Pastor was preaching, I got up and hightailed it out the back door and ran to my car, not knowing I was being chased by the security and welcome team. It was pouring down rain and these “crazy” people were coming after me! For what?
Suddenly there was a knock at my window and my passenger door was opened. I have never seen such a kind and caring face. She asked me if she could pray for me. I didn’t know what to think. Why would this person care? What does she want? With tears in my eyes, I said yes. I proceeded to tell her my story and she kept praying.
An hour and a half later, I walked back in with her and she introduced me to Pastor Bruce, the Crossing Church recovery pastor. He told me about Crossing Recovery and invited me to come. So the following Thursday we went to Crossing Recovery, my very first faith based recovery meeting. I was in the first step meeting and I was angry and hurt. But I quickly realized that something was different. She didn’t look down on me. She smiled and treated me with grace. I wanted what she had. But how? After the meeting was over, I asked her to be my sponsor. She graciously accepted.
I worked hard and worked my steps. I started to get plugged into service work. That hole in my heart started to fill up. I know what I was missing. It was Jesus. I realized that my burdens weren’t mine to carry. I didn’t have to hold on to them anymore. I could let go of that control. I realized that all these years I said I worshipped God, I really didn’t. I was worshipping the pain and hurt that was engulfing my whole being. I was happy for the first time. I didn’t feel alone. I was never alone. Jesus has always been by my side, holding my hand, no matter how hard I pushed Him away. He was the one constant being in my life.
In my life I had changed my addiction, friends, and location, but I never changed me. I never let go so God could heal my hurts, habits and hang-ups. Jesus already died for my sins so in God’s eyes, I have always been the perfect daughter.
Working step 12 I have realized four things: 1) my story is important because it led me to Jesus 2) my story is important because it led me to Crossing Recovery 3) my story is important because I use it to help other people 4) God took the evil out of my life and helped me to turn it to good to help others. I will use my story to bring Him glory!
My name is Amanda and I am the daughter of the King!