My Story | Amanda Chapman

November 10, 2016

When I meet new people and they see me with my kids, usually the first thing they say is, "You don’t look old enough…" -- my answer is usually an awkward "Yeah, I'm not…"

 

You see, I had Ethan when I was only 17 years old. It's a long story full of sin and grace. I used to feel ashamed and embarrassed... But now I embrace the fact that this beautiful kid is a living testimony of redemption. When he was 10, we shared our story with him... It's his story, too. I asked him, "Can God use anything for good?" And he said, "Yes, definitely!" And I said, "Can God use sin for good?" He thought about it for a minute and said, "Yeah, He's God!" to which I said, "Well, your dad and I sinned. But you are the good that He has worked out of it!" 

 

I had all five of my kids by the time I was 25. 

 

 

Pretty insane, right? Life was full… and hard… and loud! Marriage was hard. We were just babies… and having babies… and feeling overwhelmed in the process… yet we wouldn’t change a thing. God was so faithful to surround us with people to speak truth and encourage us to keep fighting for our family. We have basically gotten to “grow up” together and our marriage has never been stronger.

 

At the beginning of 2014, God clearly and specifically called me to RUN. Hebrews 12:1-2 became my anthem: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith…”

 

Just a few months later, I was diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer. I was so confused!! I felt so certain that the Lord had told me to RUN! Why was He benching me??

 

I was not only frustrated, but full of FEAR. Not only was I facing the “c” word, I was possibly losing my favorite tool for worshiping God… my VOICE! I couldn’t decide if this was a test from God or an attack from the enemy.

 

All I knew was it was messing up my race.

 

 

Through a series of scriptures, my faithful Father showed me His plan. His plan is for HIS glory. Again, you’d think I’d learned that, considering that was the drum I’d been beating… but His glory didn’t “look right” in my life!! I thought I was going to have this cute, little race…

 

I walked through the whole process, continually having to surrender my fear and anxious thoughts to a God whom I believed to be sovereign over all and working for my good. I got to see His beautiful mercy and fingerprints along the way. If you’ve ever been through a trial, even the smallest story of God moving is enough to sustain you...

 

1 Peter 1:6-7 - “In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by FIRE—may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”

 

I felt God saying to me, “This FIRE is not something meant to destroy you, but the very thing I will use for My GLORY. Are you willing to lose it ALL for my glory? Everything? Even if it doesn't make sense? Even the things you value as ministry? The things you hold most dear?"

 

I finally surrendered.

He showed me a new level of dependence.

He showed me that my identity is found in HIM and not His gifts.

 

So, that brings us to today. Today is a weird mix of celebration and trial. My 2-year post-cancer scans found some thyroid tissue in my neck. We aren’t sure what it is... old tissue or cancer? Decisions for my health are being made at the exact same time as we launch our first full-length album. It’s almost surreal.

 

He's had the word "ABIDE" on repeat. In scripture... Facebook posts... The Holy Spirit... Abide, abide, abide...

 

"Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing."

- John 15:4-5 

 

I had this image of abiding that was passive... resting... surrendering... He has been showing me ACTIVE & INTENTIONAL SURRENDER... Pressing into Him & seeking His face. He's shown me that His plan for me to abide isn't just protection or a chore.

 

His plan for us to abide is TO BEAR MUCH FRUIT. 

 

Funny story… in June of 2014, when I was lying in bed in isolation after having Radioactive Iodine treatment, I started writing a song called “Run.” It just so happens to be on our new album… (God’s timing is SO PERFECT!)

 

Run

© 2014 Amanda Chapman, Chrissy Howard

 

You have called me to run, so I will run , yes I will run

You have called me to love, so I will love, yes I will love

Lord I will love

 

By Your Sovereign Hand, You reveal Your plan

I will run, I will run after You

By Your mighty grace, Oh, this heart You’ve changed

I will run, I will run after You

I will run, I will run after You

 

Following Your steps, I run

Learning from Your heart, I love

Trusting in Your plan, I live

All for You, all for you

 

Where You lead me I will follow

Every step is all for You

In the trial, in the triumph

Every step is all for You

 

“Vol. II: The Story” is proving even more fitting for a title. We keep seeing God’s story in our lives. I want to be a part of telling it—don’t you?? Let's abide.  Let’s RUN.

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