The most amazing love story since Romeo and Juliet haha

Archive for the month “April, 2015”

Amanda’s Ramblings on Life, Death, and the Pursuit at the Close of One Fine Spring Day

**Fair warning: this post is a bit scattered with my thoughts written simply as they occur to me. If you choose to read, please bear with me ūüôā

6 months from today (almost to the day), I will be 25 years old. A quarter century of my life will be gone, just like that. It’s amazing how the days, weeks and even years are passing faster and faster all the time. As May approaches, another school year is gone, another summer approaches, followed by Fall, Winter and Spring again, and again, and again- an endless cycle of time. But, it is honestly scary to think about the end–to realize that there can be nothing but an end to my time here on Earth. When will that time be? Only Jesus knows, but He clearly tells us in His Word, that our lives are nothing but a mist that appears for a while and vanishes. He is very clear that death will come, and that one day, He too will come for us, “like a thief in the night.” None of us knows when that time may be. I know that I, for one, am not prepared, at least according to my human definition of preparedness. And that,in my admittedly limited understanding, terrifies me on the rare occasions when I allow my thoughts to venture in that direction.

Luke has a 12-mile ruck march dark and early, so he is already asleep, and as I sit here alone in a rare moment of silence and solitude, I cannot help but wonder about my life. As morbid as it may sound, I’ve been extremely aware of death in the last few days; it bombards me in the news, in social media. Five Georgia Southern University students were killed this week in a tragic car crash; their lives ended just like that. Whatever legacy they were meant to leave simply is; there is no more time to do more, to do less, to take back harsh words or to provide encouragement to someone in need. A famous artist died this week, an ESPN Sportscaster, a friend’s cousin, another friend’s grandparent; heck, I just had to turn off Steel Magnolias, a movie I love, on the rare occasion that I get the TV all to myself, because I simply cannot stand the thought of more death at the moment!

With death seemingly all around, I could not help but feel so sad for those families who lost loved ones this week (especially the family of my Alpha Omicron Pi sorority sister), along with a strange, seemingly wrong mix of relief that I am still here (at least for now), along with the fear and realization that my time could also come just as unexpectedly. I may not have as long as we think based on my age, general good health, etc.It really hits close to home in my heart when anyone dies, but most especially those who die young, their light simply snuffed out seemingly before their time.

Death is an interesting beast in that it does not discriminate; young, old, rich, poor, educated or ignorant, the same fate ultimately befalls us all. And, there is nothing anyone can do to stop it; when it is your time, you simply go. There is a wealthy physician I am acquainted with who recently lost his daughter (also a physician), in an unexpected, rapid bout of cancer; despite all of their combined learning, education and success, despite all of the treatments they tried, the woman died at age 32, leaving behind 2 young children and a bereft husband. The idea of death is as scary as it is real; there is even a name for the “phobia” or fear of death– thanatophobia. Psychologists say we all experience this to some extent; it is natural or normal even as long as it is not crippling or interfering with the activities of normal life. But, I would venture to say it is abnormal not to ponder on death or the afterlife at least at some point.

My first and only near death experience thus far was when an EF-4 tornado hit Tuscaloosa in April of 2011 (almost 4 years ago to date). At that time, while I was huddled in a closet with my roommate and several other people, 2 college students died within a couple hundred yards of me. With the storm bearing down and the glass shattering in our apartment complex, I felt an absolutely soul-crushing, physically paralyzing fear of death. It seemed unavoidable in that moment; there was no time for goodbyes, no time for anything–my fingers were simply frozen on the keyboard of my cellphone where I had been frantically texting my Mom and Luke; time seemed frozen in one horrible moment–the end. And, then, time resumed, for me. We slowly ventured outside to our mangled cars, to the trees lying in the parking lot, to witness the entire ghastly scene that transformed 15th Street–a thriving metropolitan area only hours earlier now shrouded in an eerie silence–nothing was left unscathed that day. Although restoration and rebuilding stages in Tuscaloosa have long since completed, that experience is indelibly etched in my memory. I remember all of the vivid details of that day like it was yesterday, including the mingling of guilt and relief that I survived the ordeal while those my age and younger, only a few yards away, did not. All I remember thinking at that time was that I was so grateful, as I was not ready to die.

Interestingly, I was reading about a research study on more than 1,000 elderly people–those who are statistically nearer to death’s door than any of the rest of us. Surprisingly, none of those studied reported feeling the panicky feeling of fear, a dread of death, a desire to run from the inevitable. Some even described that panicky feeling as one reserved for the young with the perception of so much life left before them–and I think they must be right.

Right now, I am terrified to die. I have no problem admitting that; not because I do not know where I am going, but because there is SO MUCH I want to do in this life first. I want to have 50+ years with Luke, have children, travel the world together, write books, become a professor… I want to make some marked difference in the world, something that will leave a real impact–my legacy for Jesus. So far, with a quarter of a century gone, I have not accomplished everything I had planned. I am not where I thought I would be at almost-25. In many ways, I am in a better place than I ever dreamed. For instance, I never pictured marrying an Army officer, or moving to yet another part of Alabama, or managing a medical office. Those opportunities were given to me only by the grace of God.

Our lives are nothing if not unpredictable; Luke’s military service doubly ensures that for our family. We are here just as long as God–and the Army– wills it. And, then, our life will change again, and we will move and start over in a new place. With that comes, fear. I fear never living in the same place long enough to make any real impact; I fear growing apart from my friends and family who make up so much of my life here. I fear change; thus, I fear death–the one real change I know that I will someday face, all on my own. It may seem strange for me to admit this, with my “whole life ahead of me,” but it is how I am feeling. I do not feel anxious about this all the time, but here and there, once every few months I will see an obituary or a Facebook post about a loved one who has passed away; I am then reminded that life is a precious gift meant to be treasured. But, the idea of death again disappears from my cognizance, and I go back to becoming comfortable with the idea that mediocrity is OK; there is so much time left, after all.

And then, I am reminded again: what am I, but a slowly vanishing mist? Here today; forgotten tomorrow. Time stops for no one and nothing. I am not to squander a single hour, a single minute. There are so many songs about living like you are dying, the idea that time goes by faster than you think, and that today could be your last day. Yet, most of my days appear rather unremarkable to me, at least on the surface–one blurring into another, going to work, helping patients, inputting documents, supervising employees, coming home, fixing dinner, doing homework, going to sleep. Some days it all seems as futile as a goldfish’s journey around the bowl, round and round as one day becomes the next. And yet, some days, I know I am impacting SOMEONE, even just a little bit. I have learned to appreciate the small things, to find joy and purpose in those small remarkable moments in an otherwise unremarkable day.

For example, a couple of days ago, a patient bit my head off over something innocuous. No matter how much I tried to help her, she was rude, nasty and sarcastic in return. She gave me a really hard time over a simple policy. I was just trying to do my job. I was kind to her throughout the whole interaction, but when I went back to my office, I almost burst into tears at her rudeness. It seemed so unfair. I bit my lip and put it behind me after a couple of moments, determined to go back to my pleasant morning. But then, half an hour later, I got a phone call from our receptionist. I was told a patient’s parent wanted to speak with me–the exact same person. Every part of me dreaded going up there; I briefly considered asking my colleague to go instead of me, or to at least go with me for moral support. But, finally, I said a quick prayer and headed up there, with a smile on my face. I walked over to this lady, and was rewarded with (miracle of all miracles!) a hug and an apology for her behavior! She thanked me for my help. That made my day, in that it was so unexpected. If I live to be 100, I do not think I will ever forget that interaction. Apparently my grace and kindness made some sort of impact, enough to change this person’s behavior for the better. I want to believe that this is why we are all here after all–to love and honor others, even when they least deserve it, just as God honors us.

In the end, I would imagine my purpose and journey in this lifetime is nowhere near as grand as my childhood idealizations of “success.” And, that is OK. Whatever God wills for my life, I will happily do. He is the potter; I am simply the clay.

Sometimes, my mere human mind wants to rush everything–hit all the big milestones as quickly as possible– just to be sure I “get the chance” to do everything I ever imagined. YOLO; that sort of thing.

I guess that is where trust and faith come in. I have to trust in the Lord’s has plans for me, which is why I am still here. When He no longer has plans for me, I will go home, to Heaven. Heaven is so abstract and mysterious (exactly as it is meant to be), and I cannot begin to fathom the concept. This sounds infantile, but I don’t want to be anywhere without Luke, without my mom and Dad and brother and friends. I don’t want to leave behind life as I know it because I am so incredibly blessed, just the way it is. Right now, with my amazing husband, I am in my own version of heaven, or rather the best of life I have ever known. Thus, I cannot imagine what could be better. Heaven is simply beyond my comprehension. Thus, I am scared to know that all of this will end one day. I don’t want to think of the years¬†of my marriage rushing by, just as the first one did, to picture myself or Luke exactly as our grandparents all ultimately ended up–one without the other, the shoe without its mate.

And yet, who can stop it? The Bible clearly tells us that by worrying we cannot add a single hour to our lives. So for tonight, I suppose I am done meditating on life and its meaning. I am nowhere closer to figuring it all out than I was when I started, but perhaps through prayer and a good night’s sleep I will have a more youthful outlook on the morrow–after all it is Friday!

If you are reading this, God bless you and yours!






Easter Reflections; My God Is….ALIVE!


This is a blog that mostly centers around love (human love between a husband and wife), and our life together as we know it. But, as Easter approaches, it is a fantastic opportunity to consider our First Love, our Maker and Savior, in all of His glory and power. It amazes me that he created each of us, his unique Sons and Daughters, and all of the beauty that surrounds us in the worldРevery treetop, every river, every canyon is the work of His Hands.

Not only did He create each of us us in His own image, but He offered¬†the ultimate gift for all of us though none is deserving–Eternal Life with Him in Heaven. I do not have a child yet, but I truly could not fathom sending my one and only Son to sacrifice His life to bear the brunt of the world’s sins just so that others¬†could have a chance to live forever in¬†the Kingdom of Heaven. What incredible love God has for all of us; it is absolutely incomprehensible to mere human intelligence.

This post is about God, and the things He has done in my life lately and in the lives of others (things I have personally witnessed and felt in my heart). I am not a great theologian or preacher but rather a young wife, daughter, Daughter, sister, employee and friend trying to find my way in the world. I will tell you right now I could not do any of it without the Love of my Savior and Lord.

God opens doors that seem permanently closed; He paves a pathway through what appears to be the thickest of forests and around each bend and curve, His perfect plans are revealed, one by one.

Have you ever been in a situation that seemed impossible–like nothing or no one could possibly do anything to change it for the better? Have you felt beaten down, discouraged and hopeless? A worthless sinner who is not making any real impact in the world around you? When I feel this way, I have learned to take it straight to God, who fills my heart with the most perfect peace; my worries are not His worries. His ways are not my ways. I, a weak human, can take my worries to the Almighty, who loves me enough to carry my burden, the One who knows the number of hairs on my head and the number of days, hours and minutes in my life.

From personal experience, I know that Nothing is too small¬†or too burdensome for Him. It’s true:¬†Jesus Christ¬†wants a personal relationship with you, to walk with you and talk with you through all of life’s mountains and valleys!

Less than a month¬†ago, the Lord took hold of¬†one of mine and Luke’s greatest trials and transformed our lives remarkably. Where one door had forever closed to us, Jesus opened a window instead, providing us with a brand new start, a chance at redemption. This opportunity was God’s grace personified. How great is our God to provide such a chance, such an opportunity, even in a circumstance when we felt so lost and uncertain and hopeless?

Our faith was again strengthened. We were in a far better place than before, and we consciously praised Him and worshiped Him vehemently for his graciousness. But, a few days later, the daily grind took over again, and our prayer lives went back to the status quo–while we always loved Jesus, we didn’t celebrate with Him¬†daily.

However, today, the God of Miracles showed me His strength and goodness yet again, and I cannot stop rejoicing in both my thoughts and my words. I immediately called my husband and two friends to share with them my Good News. Let me correct that–God’s Good News. And now, when I want to shout it from the rooftops, I find myself here to share with you, too.

There was a situation that my husband and I had been jointly discussing and praying over for several days now; despite all of our pondering, it just seemed hopeless. We considered every possible angle that we could fathom to offer our assistance and possibly transform this situation, but there was no way out–literally nothing we could do but stand by and wait for the inevitable to come crashing down. I wept for the person who would be impacted the most, a person I barely even know but still have¬†extreme mercy and compassion for. I had no power to alleviate or change the circumstances though, and so I did the only thing I could feasibly do–bow my head, close my eyes, and beg God for a solution, a change, a chance. If I am really honest though, in my heart of hearts, I still did not see any possible way for a change. I was “going through the motions,” begging God for something that I (in my limited understanding), deemed impossible. But then, God showed up.

The situation turned 180 degrees at the last possible moment, and with it an opportunity to shine my light and make a difference, a God-given chance for me, Amanda Bradshaw, to make an impact, even for just a short while. None of us is guaranteed tomorrow, so I am taking this opportunity for what it is and will do my absolute best to create real, lasting change for this individual. I have the chance to Love, and Love I will, for the greatest commandments in the Bible require of us only this: first to Love the Lord your God, with all your heart, all your mind and all your soul, and secondly to Love Your Neighbor as Yourself.

If you ever hunted Easter eggs as a child, you may remember that excited, frantic dash to find the golden egg–the one that contains a better prize than all the others. Sometimes, it was right in front of your face, but you simply missed it in your excitement. Jesus is our Golden Egg, the seemingly elusive Miracle Worker that has been there all along but it sometimes hard to see when we focus on our thoughts, our desires and our solutions rather than His, on our Path instead of His and on our own understanding versus trusting His.

It is easy to get wrapped up in the things of the world and forget that He is the transformer of hearts, the Light that overshadows the Darkness, the Lord of both the Heavens and the Earth.¬†Today, I was again reminded of this Truth, and I feel renewed and joyous. I want to shine my light so that people will see the love of Jesus in my heart and glorify Him. Every bit of love or grace I am able to share with those around me comes straight from Him–the King of Kings who has the compassion and mercy to forgive me, even during those times when I least deserve it. He is the One who makes a Way when there is no visible Way and the Answerer of Prayers.

I could not wait another moment to spread this word today….My God is Alive. He is here, waiting for anyone who is willing to trust in Him and choose eternal life over a life of darkness and damnation. All you have to do is ask, and turn away from a You-centered life and instead choose a Christ-centered life. He Lives, so that we can face tomorrow.

 My God is a God of change, a God of transformation, a God of Hope. He can make your marriage loving, your friendships strong and meaningful, your employment worthwhile and your own personal contentment level at an all-time high. It is not that He always changes your negative circumstances into positive; sometimes He lets us endure trials of many kinds so that we can learn through them and draw closer to Him in the process. This is a tough one, but again, our understanding is not His understanding, and our ways are not His ways. Through the flames, iron is forged.

In so many ways, I find my life unremarkable, and in actuality it is, according to the Truth found in the Bible. I am merely a mist, that like the thick fog on a damp morning, appears for but a moment before vanishing. I am a seashell, waiting on the beach for the tide of Death to sweep me up at any moment and whisk me away without warning. This may seem morbid, but I was reminded multiple times this week that Time is precious, and while I have no great power or influence, I have one great calling in this world that I know of, and that is to write.  I write in my profession and in my graduate studies. I write in diaries and journals and on the beginnings of novels, but I have not often written publicly about my love affair with Jesus. But, in actuality, that is the only writing that matters, the only writing that will last and transcend the text on the page to initiate change; this writing is a matter of the heart rather than of the mind. It is fact rather than fiction and can serve as a hope to the hopeless, if God so wills it.

I hope to use this forum to touch as many people as I can for as long as I can in hopes that someone will read this blog and see Jesus, our Creator and Savior, through my less-than-eloquent words. I am the vessel for the God who is Risen, the God who is here to love you, too, with an unparalleled, unconditional, unwavering love.

I have chosen to forever worship Him, to have Everlasting Life with Him, when the ultimate victory is won. Have you? If you have not, He is there, waiting for you, calling for you, His Son or Daughter whom He loves with singular purpose. You simply have to Ask.

John 3:16 

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

Romans 10:9-10

That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.

Revelation 22:17

17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.

If you are reading this and would like more information on Salvation, please provide your email address in the comments below. I will be happy to help in any way that I can. If you do not have a Bible and would like a copy of the Word of God, I will mail one to you, wherever you are, if you simply provide me with your mailing address via email at:

Best wishes for a Happy Easter!


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