The Road Less Traveled

“The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost
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Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

About 6 years ago, in the Fall of 2009, I asked Jesus Christ to come into my life, forgive me of my sins, and teach me how to live and to love. As a result, I made the decision to trust God in the area of romantic relationships. I had dated before but I realized that my choices hadn’t been the most mature and beneficial to all parties involved, so I let God have control–hoping He would write my “Happily Ever After.”

Now, if you would have told me then, at the spritely age of 19 years, that at 25 I’d still be single, chances are I might have run away or socked you in the nose.
My sweet Sarah and I when I was 19

Me at 19 with Sarah, a sweet friend

If you would have told me that not only would I be single at 25 but that I’d be absolutely happy about it, I’d have rolled my eyes and dismissed you as a loony tune.
 But it is completely, 100% true.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve had my share of difficulties.
Being in a close relationship with the opposite sex is a desire most human beings have, and I am no different. I have felt loneliness.  I have watched my good friends get married and wondered why God hadn’t brought me a special person yet. I have taken walks and seen sights that I wish I could share. I have experienced the longing to reveal my heart and thoughts and hopes and fears with a significant other.
My dear friend's wedding this past year where I was Maid of Honor.

My dear friend Doris’ wedding this past year where I was Maid of Honor.

Not to mention that my top love language is physical affection. (For more on love languages, go here.) I mean, seriously! I feel loved by being touched and I haven’t had a beau to hold my hand, rub my shoulders, or give me tight, squeezy hugs. I have let God know how unfair that was…but then I realized I had amazing friends and family who consistently went out of their way to give me a hug or let me sit SUPER-CLOSE to them while in church or watching a movie.

My friend, and Pastor's wife, Jenn, always goes out of her way to love on me!

My friend, and Pastor’s wife, Jenn, always goes out of her way to love on me!


But after 6 years of singleness, I’m looking back and realizing how thankful I am that I didn’t rush to get married.
 Here are some of the reasons:
  • The past 6 or so years, I’ve gotten to travel to more places than in the previous 19 combined! I’ve visited at least 8 states, not including Indiana, plus visiting Israel in 2013. It’s been an adventure! I could have missed God speaking to my heart on the Sea of Galilee, saying, “Amanda, I see you, and I hear you.” What healing that brought to my life!

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    Photographic Evidence: Dome of the Rock in Israel

  • I have realized a bigger purpose for my life. God has allowed me to work at a local preschool for the past 6 1/2 years and has stirred up a fiery passion and deep love for children. I am involved in children’s ministry at my church and I am finishing up a degree in Elementary Education. God has given me gifts of teaching, loving children, and helping, and I have had plenty of time to use those gifts to serve Him and to serve others.

    These are two of the three boys I live with, and I love them with all my heart!

    These are two of the three boys I live with, and I love them with all my heart!

  • Mandy Hale, author of The Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass, defined singleness in a way I have found so true–“‘Single’ means you are brave enough to face the glorious unknown of the unaccompanied journey.” As a Christian, I know I’m never alone because I have a Best Friend named Jesus, but its also different than having a flesh-and-bone person walking right beside you. There have been times I’ve gotten to face my fears, relinquish my insecurities, and know Jesus in a deeper way through prayer, Bible reading and study, and through how He shows up in my everyday life. There are times when the only person who really “gets me” and sees the depth of my heart is Jesus.

    Getting grounded in the Word

    Getting grounded in the Word

  • As a single woman, I’ve had many opportunities to expand my horizons and get to know many different people! Had I been tied to another person or schedule, I couldn’t have taken advantage of those opportunities in the same way! One such opportunity included going to West Virginia and helping with a Girl’s Only Purity event. Another phenomenal opportunity came this past July when I traveled to New York City with an organization called Spread Truth in order to share God’s Story. Just those two trips alone greatly impacted me and have led to a deepening love for people and a greater understanding of God.

    I was in the

    I was in the “Streets & Parks” track, so one day I was at a Prayer Station in the Bronx!

  • I have learned so much in the past 6 years. I’ve had time to focus on me and Jesus–that’s it. Some things you many not see on the outside, but inside I’ve learned so much how to love people and how to love myself. I’m developing into the woman God created me to be!

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    OK, so truth be told I haven’t picked up my guitar since I started the Teacher Ed Program at Indiana University, but I plan on going back to it!

  • I’ve gotten to nurture my relationships with my family! How great is that!!! The past several years my Mom has moved a couple of times, and my Dad and Step-mom now live about 45 minutes from Louisville, Kentucky on a beautiful plot of land. My twinny lives about an hour and a half south of me, too. So, because I’m not tightly tied to a person or schedule, I can go visit my family at the drop of the hat. If I’m feeling a need for vacation, I go for it!
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    My Momma and I

    My Daddy and I

    Me and Poppa

    A good chunk of the Hedrick family

    A good chunk of the Hedrick family

    My twin sister, Allison, and I

    My twin sister, Allison, and I.

  • In the King James Version of the Bible, James 1:4 says, “But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” That verse sucker punched me a couple years back; it was then I realized patience was a beneficial, positive force! I understood afresh that though patience can make one perfect and whole, lacking nothing, one has to LET it. The past 6 years have taught me a lot about patience and trusting God. It’s easy to say that God is big and powerful and that He loves me, but its another thing when I want something that He hasn’t given me yet. I have had an abundance of opportunities to exercise my patience and trust muscles! I’ve gotten to lean on the Word of God, going by faith in what I cannot see. I don’t know if I’ll be married, when I’ll be married, or to whom, but I know that God has plans for good and not for evil for my life. Plans to give me hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). And that’s enough for me.Flag-8
  • Lastly, Nancy Leigh DeMoss, head of the Revive Our Hearts Women’s Ministry, often says, “Anything that makes me need God is a blessing.” Sometimes that is not an easy statement to agree with because we live in a fallen world with fallen people. But can I just tell you that I have “tasted and seen that the Lord is good” and that “His mercy endures forever?” There have been days and nights where I have offered my desire for marriage up to God as an offering (reference to the Old Testament Jewish Sacrificial System). Those offerings cost me something–mostly control–but when the human soul reaches a place of emptiness or grief or quietness in response to its Maker, there is a peace and joy that comes that can’t be felt anywhere or any way else.11011778_1445367232445535_9085519961068726767_n

    Not many young adults stay single very long. I’m sure you’d agree. Believe me, if I hadn’t made a commitment to God, I wouldn’t have either. It has taken 6 years for me to be sincerely thankful for my singleness, and now I’m finally able to enjoy the adventure of every day.

I took the road less traveled by…and that has made all the difference.

Musings on the Abortion Issue

“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.  If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13: 1-3

Allow me to restate the spirit of these verses:

“If I stand against abortion, hold picket signs, and give speeches and money, but have not love, I’ve missed the point.”

Today marks the 40-something year anniversary of the famous court case Roe v. Wade. It’s the day that abortion was deemed constitutional because a woman should have the right to terminate her own pregnancy.

Since that Supreme Court decision, it is estimated that 50 million babies have been aborted, averaging about 3,000 a day. This is a serious injustice we are witnessing in our world today, and I would be first in line to declare that abortions are nothing more than legalized murder, and that no person has the right to take another person’s life.

However, that is not my focus here. My goal is to get us, as individuals who comprise the Church, to move past the declaration of a problem and become part of the solution.

Recently, I heard a podcast from Revive Our Hearts where a woman, Jennifer Smith, shared her story of being raised in church, turning to alcohol and promiscuity, being date raped and impregnated, having an abortion, and how Jesus has set her free (listen for yourself: “Finding True Life after Abortion, with Jennifer Smith”). Something Jennifer said inspired me to look at abortion from another angle:

“I remember crying in my car, thinking, If somebody would just take me out of this set of circumstances, sit with me in a house and just care for me, that would be the only way that I could do this. If one person would just grab me, take me away, and live this out with me step by step, then I could do it. But I would have to have a really long-term commitment from that person. That thought did enter my mind, but I didn’t find that person.

Some women have very challenging life circumstances and cannot see any other way out but to have an abortion, so I started asking questions. What if instead of carrying signs of gruesome pictures and poignant truth, we Christians camped outside of Planned Parenthood, instead offering our help to the women in practical ways? What if we became that person Jennifer talked about, that would just “grab [these women], take [them] away, and live this [pregnancy] our with [them] step by step”? What if we gave our money, time, or a space in our homes and ourhearts?

The Bible says, in James 2:15-16,

Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food.  If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

And in 1 John 3:16-18,

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?  Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”

So, today, as we mourn the lives of the many people that have not been given the chance of life, and have not been able to carry out the plans and purposes God had for them, let us also consider the deep love of Jesus towards us, and be willing to lay down our lives as God opens doors for us to be a solution to a desperate problem. We can’t all help everyone, but we all can sure help someone.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away...And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13: 8, 13

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ducks in a Row

How many of you feel like you have your ducks in a row?

Because I. really. don’t. Like, at all.

It’s really only this past year that this realization came to me, as ridiculous as that may sound. The Lord kept bringing trial after trial into my life, on many different fronts, and the only thing they had in common was that I was utterly overwhelmed and unable to handle them. If what I could handle was a 10, these trial felt like 30’s. And what made it even more frustrating is that I felt like I SHOULD have been able to handle it.

Here’s an entry from my journal, reflecting on the trials:

I can’t hardly make sense of the last 6 months or so, but I can see how before all these trials, I had been prideful and arrogant…I thought I had things “all together.” That was an ILLUSION. I was under the illusion I could handle a lot of things: college coursework, finances, work, Christian disciplines. I was doing the majority of them, most of the time, in my own strength. Really, it was inevitable that I would crash and burn…

In Deuteronomy 8:3-7, the Bible describes how the Lord allowed certain trials to humble and prove the Israelites in the wilderness: hunger, for example. But this passage also illustrates God’s care in the midst of and deliverance from trails.

“And He humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that He might make thee know that man doth not live by bread alone, but by every word that procedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live.” (Deut 8:3)

There was a purpose in suffering, a lesson God wanted to teach. And yet, He also delivered the Israelites from hunger by providing manna. I’ll continue with my journal entry:

…In the same way, God has used these last 6 months to teach me and strip me of every self-confidence and self-reliance I’ve had, in order to give me confidence in Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 3:11-13 became evident in my life: “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now, if any man build upon this foundation gold, and silver, and precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by the fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.” My self-reliant work has been revealed by the fire…and I’ve been left with nothing by the option to put myself completely in the hands of Jesus, asking Him to help me rebuild using gold, silver, and precious stones.

About a month or two after this revelation, God revealed deep-seated sin in my life. I had NEVER seen my sinfulness to that degree. I had to humble myself and confess a lot, and when it was needed, I made things right. I repented sincerely.

Now, as I’ve been walking in repentance, I still see the sin that is so tangles and mars my heart. It’s ugly, and its still there. I am keenly aware of fears that are irrational and hard to shake. I gag on the temptation to control circumstances instead of trusting my Father. Attitudes that are so un-Christ-like, horrifying and despairing.

But. BUT THE GOSPEL. Jesus Christ, fully man and fully God, “assumed human flesh, lived a perfect life, was executed on a Roman cross, rose from the dead, and then ascended to heaven” (Because He Loves Me, p. 23-24, Elyse Fitzpatrick).

I’ve realized that the gospel isn’t just for coming to God through Christ, but that it’s the gospel that enables me to live a transformed, holy life. It’s because of Jesus! I’ve been reading a couple books by Elyse Fitzpatrick on this very concept. She says,

“True Christianity is not a program of self-improvement; it’s an acknowledgment that something more than self-improvement is needed.” (Because He Loves Me)

This to me was revolutionary! You mean, I’m not supposed to put myself together, get my own ducks in a row? Elyse Fitzpatrick says,

“Our utter inability to save ourselves or even to maintain our salvation once it’s been granted to us brings great glory to the Son: it exalts His power, His purity, His grace, and His mercy. He didn’t save people who had a case of the spiritual sniffles. No, He saved the wretched, leprous, lame, poor, captive, adulterous, murdering, vile scum of the earth (Luke 4:18-19). He saved the proud, moral, religious, and self-righteous too (once He demolished their self-trust so that they could see themselves for who they really were).” (Comforts from the Cross, page 68).

That is the best news. I CANNOT be good enough. But Jesus Christ came to seek and to save those who are lost, and I qualify. Scriptures like “He Who began a work in you will be faithful to complete it,” and Jesus being the “Author and Finisher” of my faith have much more depth and tenderness and meaning to me now.

I am not the same person I was in the Fall of 2009 because Jesus has freed me from the wages of sin, and I won’t be the same in years to come because He is cleansing me and transforming me into the best possible version of who He created me to be, for His glory. That, my friends, brings great comfort to my soul.

Here is a song that I have been listening to a lot lately that has encouraged me to see God’s grace with fresh, grateful eyes. It centers on the woman caught in adultery in John 8 and the grace that Jesus extended to her.

The Gospel matters every single day, and I’m learning to lean into the breast of my heavenly Father and accept the radical love He has for me. Will you do the same?

Hello. My name is…

My name is Amanda Hedrick. In the Fall of 2009, I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior, and my life has never been the same since. I started attending a little in number, but mighty in faith church called Kokomo Christian Fellowship at that time, and a sweet French lady there would pull me aside over and over again and remind me:

“Don’t be a bad imitation of a rose. If God has you to be a poppy, be a poppy!”

Her words, dripping with love, sank into my heart; it is my prayer that I can live a purposeful life that finds and honors Jesus in everything…in wintertime walks and sizzling sunsets and dingy dishes. In the triumphs and trials that come from living in a sin-sick world. My prayer is that I will passionately love my Savior with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength, and that I will love my neighbor as myself. I hope that through my life Jesus will show how strong and good He is.

I hope you will be encouraged each time you visit my blog!

I leave you with this:

“My soul finds rest in God alone. My salvation comes from Him alone; He alone is my Rock and my Salvation. He is my Fortress. I will never be shaken.”

Psalm 62:1-2