Hi, friends! My name is Amanda Wells. I am married to my best friend, Randy, and have two beautiful little girls. Mackenzie is two and Savannah is 7 months old. I have a teaching degree and have taught preschool, first grade, and third grade. I am currently a stay at home mom to my little girls. I just very recently began fulfilling a long time dream and passion of blogging. I love writing and sharing and connecting with others in that special way.
I grew up in church and a Christian school and always knew the right answers and all the verses. However at 12 years old at church camp, God showed me that I was not in an intimate, active relationship with Him. I was then saved and baptized the next day.
Throughout my teenage years and early adulthood, God has been so faithful and taught me so many things. Life has been good and I have been abundantly blessed. However, a couple of months ago, I faced a struggle unlike anything I have ever really dealt with before.
I have been struggling with migraines for a few years, but a few months ago I began having them nonstop. This was really difficult while trying to keep up with my little girls! There was a week when I had a migraine for 5 days in a row with no relief and ended up in the ER. Thankfully everything was clear and they couldn’t find a particular reason for the headaches. I soon began a couple of different medications to see if they would help. About a week or so later, I began struggling with pretty bad depression. It snuck in, so that I didn’t realize it at first. I was just feeling kind of “blah” and sad and thought I was having an emotional day. Well, an emotional day turned into weeks. I was sad and anxious all the time. I couldn’t enjoy anything. I just had this constant, obsessive thought that nothing really mattered and thought about the brevity of life a lot. It sounds crazy if you’ve never been through it, but it is very real and very scary. The thought of getting up and facing each day terrified me and seemed impossible. The constant sadness, anger and anxiety began affecting my marriage and my time with my girls. I honestly didn’t know how I could go on like this. The only thing that got me through was my girls and clinging to the fact that God was in this. I called out to Him more than I ever have. I knew this had to be happening for a greater reason and that God could use it. As I began to come off the medications and “detox” my body in hopes that I would begin to feel better, things very slowly began improving. I would have ok days and bad days. I am finally to a point where I am enjoying life again and feeling back to myself. I am a person that LOVES life and enjoys the little things, so it has been great to feel this way again. There were days, though, that I was angry and wished all the time I had never started the medication we believe caused all this. I wondered why I had to go through this and feel this way. I wanted to use what I went through to encourage others and show them that they are not alone in their struggles. If I didn’t use the hard times I had been through, what good was it? So, this encouraged me, with the help of my husband, to put my dream of blogging into motion. I used my first blog to share my story and exactly what God taught me through it and I wanted to share it with you:
Beauty Despite the Storm:
“I’ve often heard the statement “You’re either going into a storm, in the middle of a storm, or coming out of a storm.” This quote has honestly always scared me a little because who WANTS to go through a storm?
Well, the past couple of months I faced what I consider a storm in my life. I had been struggling nonstop with headaches all while try to keep up with two littles around the clock. Shortly after, I began a couple of different medications. Within a week or so, I began struggling with pretty bad depression. I have not shared this with many people at all, but for weeks on end I lost my ability to enjoy life. I cried a lot, was angry a lot, and always felt zoned out. I felt like my body was present, but my mind wasn’t. I had this overwhelming, constant thought that nothing really mattered. Getting up and facing each day almost felt like I had cinderblocks on my feet. And life was ok. Life was great. I was just sad…and anxious…all the time. This was really hard for me; because my favorite thing about myself has always been my ability to enjoy the little things in life. I have felt almost silly that this was such a storm, because I have sat and watched people struggle with SUCH bigger things. Also, I saw a glimpse of a disease that people struggle with for YEARS. I cannot even imagine. But the thing is, it mattered to God. And big or small, He wanted to use it.
The only thing that got me through was know God had a plan for this. He HAD to. During this time, I called out to God more than I have in a long time. I found comfort in His word more than I have in a long time (if not ever). When you struggle finding happiness in earthly things, you have no choice but to find JOY in Jesus, and rest in His promises. I don’t want that storm to be wasted. God doesn’t intend for us to waste our storms. I feel like if I can help or encourage one person, it’s worth it. When we face hardships, we have two choices: We can lie down and let it defeat us, or we can stand up, cling to God, and let Him make it beautiful. You can become bitter or better. I refused to give up let the devil get his way. Genesis 50:20 says, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good, to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” We don’t usually know why we are going through things, but we have to cling to the fact that God is up to something awesome. God can and will use your story for such beauty. You never know whose life you could change or literally save with your story.
This little tree sits in my front yard. Oh, how I love this little tree. It means so much to me. A couple of years ago it was split in half during a tornado. My husband was convinced it was dead and wanted to just cut it down. I begged him to leave it and give it a chance. I took this picture last spring, a year after the storms. Look how beautifully it blooms. We actually refer to it as the “picture tree” now (named by my two year old) because we take so many pictures in front of it. It still bears the scars of the storm, having a funny shape. But it is still so beautiful. The storm struck it, but did not cast it down or cause it death. To many, it’s just a scrawny little tree, but to me, it is such a beautiful reminder of God’s grace and the beauty He can bring despite the storm.
I say all that to say this: Whatever storm you are going through, own it! You are there for a reason. God wants to lead you through it, pick you up, dust you off, and make you so beautiful. He will turn your test into a testimony. One of my favorite old songs says,
“Hallelujah, I hear the voice of the Lord. Joy’s gonna come in the morning.The sun’s gonna shine, it’s just about time. Joy’s gonna come in the morning.The devil has lost this battle. He can’t hold back the dawning. Weeping may endure for the night, but joy’s gonna come in the morning!”
Press on through the night. Morning will come, my friend. And it will be a beautiful one, if you let it.”
Please feel free to follow me at http://www.mygraceandjoy.com. I am just getting started but there is so much more to come!