Friday, March 24th, 1978, a hopeful dreamer was born. From a young age she was out to conquer the world. Her name Amanda, meaning beloved, suited her well, for she loved deeply and passionately. Her compassion for others was evident in the warmth of her earnest words. God gave her a voice that could touch souls even deeper than spoken words did. From the moment she learned this she was determined to be a singer. She knew little about God’s call on her life, and less of the obstacles she would have to overcome to become the woman God made her to be.

Amanda had a storybook childhood with immense, powerful love poured upon her from her mother. Her father showed his love in his own way by being the strong provider of the family. She had a good life and felt loved up until she entered school.
Once in school Amanda felt the cruelty of the world she lived in. She was bullied daily. Kids called her fat, ugly, stupid, bucktooth, and many other things that worked like daggers cutting joy from her heart. She didn’t understand what was wrong with her. Why were they hurting her so deeply when she did nothing to hurt them? Home life was getting more challenging as well. While her mother continually reassured her and doused her with love it wasn’t enough. Amanda sought the love of her father. Instead, she got verbally abused by him. He reiterated what her classmates said and played on her insecurities and her tendency to be gullible. Amanda continued to love him and seek his love and approval.

Amanda had a trusting nature and believed the best of everyone. Her trust was broken when some boys in her neighborhood decided to abuse the friendship they had with her. They tricked her by using friendship as a pretext to take her innocence away. There were other girls they did this to in the neighborhood also. Somehow one of the parents became informed of the events. A group meeting was held with all who were involved. It was humiliating to have all the dirty things spoken for all to hear. Amanda felt small, unclean, guilty, lost, ashamed, misunderstood, and broken. Nothing was ever done to bring justice or healing to all involved. Amanda begged her parents to bring her to a therapist to get help. They refused, claiming that all therapists are quacks. This was the beginning of the downward spiral into hopelessness, depression, and later on a lifestyle of alcohol, drugs, and seeking out the love she yearned for from her father, as a child, only to end up time and time again with men who treated her like trash.

Despite all Amanda had been through, she persevered in life with a smile on her face and a hope in her heart of being a singer. She continued her schooling using her lifeline of choir and theater to motivate her. When she performed she could escape the deep-seated trauma tucked away where nobody could find it except for God. She struggled with self-esteem, self-worth, depression, and anxiety. She thrived in vocal music, winning many awards and honors for her performances. Her dream was to attend college and get her bachelor’s degree in vocal music performance. That dream was daunted by the discouragement of her parents’ low income coupled with her father’s disbelief in her abilities.

Amanda graduated from high school. She worked in the restaurant industry while pursuing an opera singing career. She took private voice lessons, had a vocal coach, and auditioned for everything vocal performance related. She managed to perform in a few operettas with an opera company in St. Paul and sang with the Minnesota Chorale for a few years. She was well on her way to attaining her dream. That’s when her dream became crushed.

Amanda auditioned for the Metropolitan Opera Company. Her audition went well with praises from the judges on her voice. The only criticism received was about her German and Italian diction. She felt she had failed. To exacerbate matters, she had a physically abusive boyfriend who was jealous of her time spent in rehearsals and performances for the Minnesota Chorale. Her fear of losing him, coupled with her sense of rejection following the audition, convinced her to quit singing. She chose her boyfriend, who kept her liquored and drugged up, over a promising career, because she didn’t know her worth. She was afraid of being alone.

She finally got the courage to leave only to enter another poisonous relationship shortly thereafter. She thought she had found her future husband. She was six months pregnant with his baby when tragedy came. She lost her mother to cancer. She was devastated. She was in a relationship with an adulterous, alcoholic, abusive man while trying to grieve her mother and take care of a newborn baby. That is when she sought the Lord. She had hit rock bottom. She felt alone and ill-equipped to raise her daughter. She felt robbed of any hope for anything. She was empty.

It was at that moment of brokenness that God swooped in with a messenger. A woman in her apartment building invited her to Alpha at her church. Amanda was desperate for anything so she accompanied her to Alpha. This was where her walk with God began and the hope of finding meaning in her life.

Amanda was delivered from all her fears through several years of learning, growing, healing, and surrender. God made her a new creation when she accepted his love into her heart, called him her Savior, and was baptized. She no longer walked with her face covered in shame. God’s radiance shone within her. God awakened the dreamer to pursue her heart’s dream and His calling on her life. The singer has returned using her voice in the Worship Ministry at church and is currently realizing her once impossible dream of pursuing a college degree.

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