Tuesday, September 15, 2015

First Grace

50/50. Those were the survival odds the doctor gave me and my mom. After three days of labor, seventy-two hours of agonizing pain, three days of a doctor insisting my mom could have a "natural" birth despite so little progression, the odds weren't good. When a new doctor arrived and rushed us into emergency surgery, he wasn't sure either of us would make it. 

I came into the world a perfectly healthy bundle of eight pounds, covered already in God's grace from my first breath. From even before. I had no damage from our ordeal, not a single health problem.

But I didn't have a name. 

I did, but it didn't work. In the days before ultrasounds, it was all guesswork, but I was supposed to be Jeremy Wayne. The revelation that their only child was wrapped in pink, not blue, left my parents scrambling for a new name. My mom chose Christy Lynn, but my dad had a last minute change of heart. He chose Amanda Michelle.

I don't believe for a second that my name was an accident. My parents didn't know the meaning of it. They didn't have time to research it, like my husband and I did before our boys were born. They just liked it. It wasn't until middle school that I learned the meaning:

Amanda - worthy of love
Michelle - who is like God

Worthy of love. Growing up, I felt anything but worthy of love. I was the skinny, painfully shy, clumsy kid, the one who never quite fit in. Not talented. Not pretty. Not anything special. Just a misfit.

But from the beginning, God saw something else. He saw a little girl with a broken heart and dreams bigger than herself. He knew me.

I wonder sometimes - when did He first think of me? 

He knew me when He spoke the earth into existence, before Adam took his first breath. 

When Jesus went to the cross, when He walked up the hill to Golgotha to be tortured and killed, He knew me - and He knew I would need grace. He gave His life so He could inscribe me on His hands forever.

Before my parents met, before they were born, before their parents were born, He knew me. He knew that from a tangled mess of sinners and praying parents and changed lives would come a little girl who was supposed to be Jeremy Wayne.

He knew me, the little girl who would put her life into His hands. He knew I would mess up over and over, running back to Him for more grace. He knew I would battle fear, taking trembling steps forward, sometimes moving ahead and sometimes cowering in terror. He knew the feelings I would have - that I was worthless, unwanted, unloved. So He gave me a name that would remind me every day that I am loved - Amanda, worthy of love. 

Grace from the first breath. From even before. Grace I can't even begin to wrap my heart around.

It's all grace. Every moment, every breath, every heartbeat is grace. From the first to the last.


  1. Lovely post! I love how your parents picked a perfect name for you so quickly. I was obsessed with name meanings for a while--I think they're very special. Thanks for sharing!

  2. What a beautiful reminder that we were knit together in our mother's womb and are infinitely special to our Creator--no matter what.

  3. I love the endings of stories--getting to see the way God worked the details that were unclear in the beginning and this was that. It also made me want to punch that doctor in the face. I love that your name fits you so well and how it shows God's planning in the details. :)

  4. This is really beautiful, Amanda Michelle, as are you! Thank you for your beautiful thoughts!

  5. Isn't it just like God to make things so personal- knowing the name that would remind you of the very thing you needed to hear?!! Love this!

  6. This is really beautiful and so true - God is in the details from beginning to end, and it is all about grace. Thank you for this good reminder tonight!

  7. shelmail@usa.comJuly 20, 2014 at 1:01 PM

    Amanda, I knew you were a good writer. I just never knew how good. I wept from the last to the last, being so strongly affected by the wonder of God's grace so powerfully communicated.

  8. shelmail@usa.comJuly 20, 2014 at 1:07 PM

    Amanda, I knew you were a good writer. I just never knew how good. I wept from the first line to the last, being so strongly affected by the wonder of God's grace so powerfully communicated.


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