14. Lost without you

June 7, 2014

After work, the day after my grandma passed away, I decided that I did not want to deal with all the huge changes in my life, but to party instead. And when we leave God and begin to knowingly sin, not having a care in the world, we come to find out that it is a vicious spiral down.

I left work the morning of June 7th and didn’t open up a devotional until June 13th.

My ex-boyfriend was working to bring us back together and I wanted no part of it, my grandma was gone and I was moving across the country for full time graduate school. All of the things I thought were going to happen, the things I planned were simply just gone. No wedding, no engagement, no Arizona CRNA school, and no Arizona house. God was taking me somewhere else. A glass of wine quickly turned in to a bottle, which turned into a party…

June 13, 2014: My journal entry

Lord,

“Wow. I cannot believe I let a week go by without spending time with you. As you know I have sinned greatly. Lord, I need you and only you. I desire to get to know you better and continue growing our relationship. What do you want for my life? Is Damien the one, my husband? Am I making a big mistake? Only you know and only your Word matters Lord. How I’ve missed you even though I know you’ve heard all my prayers and cries. Thank you for bringing my grandma peace. God you are so good. I trust you with my life. Lead me Lord, Keep me the course. I need your grace. In Jesus name, Amen.” 

June 14, 2014: 

I continued my studying of the word of God ready to get back into my daily patterns and to focus more on actually opening my Bible.

James 4: 13-14: “Now listen, you who say, “‘today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.'” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” Hmmm…The Lord speaks.

Ever feel like you are in a holding pattern? A time of waiting with undetermined outcomes and nebulous timelines…

I sure did but God reminded me that our true character is revealed when prayers seem unanswered and God seems far away. This testing of our faith stretches our endurance. My holding pattern and yours is part of a great story. He will always, always come through.

Trust His plan.

It is in our imperfections, our falls, our sin, our sadness, & our confusion when we come to realize that when there’s nowhere else to go, and no one to turn to, we have God. It is Him and only Him, that can turn all circumstances and mistakes for good. Are you willing to get back up?

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for your forgiveness and love. Thank you for your presence, your Word of truth and of life. Thank you for your continued protection, power and grace over our lives and for never leaving us as you found us. Help us to be patient, to be still and to wait for you. How blessed we are that the whole world is in your hands. May our faith continue to stand strong when washed in adverse waters and may our hope in you never fade when hit with stormy weather. Thank you for our lives and thank you for giving us a purpose on your earth. I love you Father. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

13. Take me to the King

So now I am single, moving to Rhode Island for nurse anesthetist school and my good friend Kirstyn had been the answer to my prayers as she had found us an apartment. School was starting July 1st and I had much to do to prepare for the move from Arizona to the east coast.

My grandma, still suffering from Alzheimer disease, was being cared for by my parents and home hospice in Kentucky. For days now my grandma had been agitated, attempting to get out of bed, uncomfortable and screaming, “God what is taking you so long!?” She was ready to go home.

My mother at this point is emotionally exhausted, sleep-deprived, and at her wits end struggling with feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. I prayed daily for God’s peace to permeate my mother and my grandmother’s life.

I passed on Smokie Norful’s I understand song to my mom:

“He knows just how much you can bear
And in the time of trouble He promised
He would always be there
Oh, I am the Lord, I see you, and, yes, I understand

He says, I am the Lord and I changeth not
And I won’t forget nor have I forgot
And everything works according to My plan
I am God, trust Me, I got the whole world in My hands”

Because just when we think we can’t bear another day, God steps in, right on time, just as He promises….

June 6, 2014

90 degrees of heat warmed me immediately, as I stepped out of the cold hospital walls and into the 4:00 a.m. desert air. I felt my phone vibrating in my pocket and thought I must have forgotten something at work and went to turn back when I saw that it was my mom.

“Hello,” I said.

“Hey Amanda, it’s mom. Umm grandma seems really uncomfortable and I don’t know what to do for her.”

I asked my mom to explain to me what was going on. “Well,” my mom said, “she has been really quiet and sleeping since about yesterday (HUGE change). Her breathing is quick and she sounds a little gurgly. I’m worried she may be in pain…”

As my mom continued to describe her observations of my grandma I knew immediately that the time of her death was drawing near. I interrupted my mom and gently said, “Mom, it sounds to me like she is entering her final stage of life. From here it could be hours, maybe a day. Are you going to be ok?”

My mom quickly said, “Yes, I just want her to be comfortable.”

For the next couple hours I coached my mom on how to comfort her mother in her final hours including instilling medicine along her gum line, how to comfortably position my grandmother, how to provide oral care and wash her with a warm wash rag. I also told her to talk to my grandmother, as hearing is the final sense that departs our bodies. As soon as my mom felt my grandma was comfortable she climbed into the bed next to her, held her and sang her her favorite songs.

When I got off the phone with my mom at around 6:00 a.m. I knew that when I would wake up later that afternoon my grandmother would be gone. It was then I went to YouTube and put on Tasha Cobbs rendition of “Break every chain” and I fell to my knees singing the lyrics over and over again: “there is power in the name of Jesus.”

Immediately the presence of God filled the room and I felt such a powerful uplifting of His peace, strength, and love. I played the song over and over again, raised my hands to the sky and sang and prayed to God with no shame, no fear, just the raw emotion I felt in my soul. When I brought my hands down I knocked my Bible on the floor and it fell open to

Psalm 23:

“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” NIV translation, The Daily Walk Bible.

I read the Psalm over and over again, still on my knees, singing and praising God until I eventually fell asleep. I woke up around 1:30 pm that afternoon and called my mom knowing what she would say. My beautiful grandma was gone, but she had died PEACEFULLY, in my mom’s arms, in her own home. GOD IS GOOD.

She was home now, in a place where she would no longer suffer, lying in plush green pastures, with a well of refreshing water at her feet, the sunlight on her face, beside the Father.

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for sending us Jesus, our chain breaker. Thank you for working miracles in our lives today. Remind us that if a door is closed, that we should humble ourselves and praise You in the hallway. When the storms rage, may we be renewed by Your strength and praise You through it. I know you will see us through our trials. Your timing is perfect, Your ways flawless, and Your love enduring. I trust you, Jesus, I love you, I receive you, and I thank you for the enormous impact you have made in my life and those around me. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

12. Messages & Phone Calls cont…

My mom continues to care for my grandma who is declining with Alzheimer’s disease and I just found out I was accepted to CRNA school!! Unfortunately though I just ended my 10 year relationship to the man I had planned to marry last month. Slightly overwhelmed but still I continued daily prayers and devotionals with and to God.

June 4, 2014:

One of my good friends, Kirstyn, whom I had met back in Baltimore was already in the CRNA program I had applied to. She was the one who referred me to the program and helped me out with the interview process. I still remember her screams of excitement when I called her and told her I was accepted.

This evening I had just finished reading and writing in my journal and God immediately spoke to me and told me to call her. She didn’t answer so I texted her because I really wanted her to receive my message:

“Hey girl! I was just sitting here praying and thinking….do you remember where we were 1 year ago? We were sitting in Baltimore, working our butts off, unhappy, broke, living in a studio apartment together trying to find direction, peace and happiness. I was super sick and on steroids and you were barely holding it together working nights and working to get into CRNA school. Now here we are, you have a year in to school already under your belt and I just got in. Wow. how things can change in just a year…”

A few hours later she called me back agreeing with all I said, excited for what’s to come and she said: “The energy and excitement you feel right now. Hold on to it. There will come a time in this program where you will feel tired, and defeated and you will have to know why you are doing this. Right now I want you to get out a piece of paper and write down everything you feel in this moment so when it gets tough you can always look at it. And, I am so happy you are moving here. I have been praying to God for a friend and I’m so happy he sent me you.”

That week she had found us a 2 bedroom apartment, paid the fees and we both signed the lease. She also referred me to her staffing agency. God was already checking things off my list: I had housing and a possible job. I was to stay in her 1 bedroom for a couple weeks and then we would move across the parking lot to a newly, refurbished 2 bedroom. God IS GOOD!

As I sat to write, I had my gospel music on and one of my favorite songs began playing, I Understand by Smokie Norful: “When you can’t hear my voice then trust my plan. One more day, one more step, I’m preparing you for myself…”

My Entry after the phone call:

9:39pm. In this moment I am standing outside on my balcony, my dog in my arms, the desert heat at my back, and my face to the light of the sky. So far I’ve come, looking out to the sky, watching planes land safely and learning to never doubt God’s plan for me.

I have been accepted into CRNA school and I just got off the phone with my good friend Kirstyn–I hope she knows she has lightened my load.

Though much remains uncertain and undone at this point–goodbyes, the move, work, money, my grandma–I remain strong in my faith and trust in the Lord. I know He understands.

My career as an RN I hope to think was everything I wanted it to be. I got to lightly touch every goal I had made. Began my leadership journey and was able to guide, teach, and help the sick, wounded, confused and scared. Now I stand at the cusp of a brand new career ready and prepared as I take God’s strength into new territory. 

God put a dream of becoming a nurse in my heart from day 1, I followed Him, I lost Him, I found Him and now God has whispered in my ear to help others reach their dreams, their full potential. And it starts with discovering and living my own. 

To whom much has been given, much is expected. I must act on all knowledge given to me by God.

My reasons for becoming a CRNA go far beyond touching patient’s lives, it goes deep to believing in God and who I can help along the way. What would God have me do today? When I’m tired, will I give up or will I stand? God has given me great responsibility over people’s lives which I do not take lightly. He has blessed me far beyond my mind can even comprehend and He also loves me. He will see me through desert wastelands to restorative and transforming sanctuaries. By His mercy and grace I will not fail. I may be in the heat of the battle but I’m a warrior of God.

Nothing will and shall keep me from my God-given dreams. To act prudent and responsibly with the lives of others, to speak only good, to serve and honor others, to communicate effectively and consciously and to place God first above all else.

I want all of this because God wants this for me. Because He has a greater plan for me far beyond my comprehension. Because to whom much is given much is expected. Because I was made to produce much, much, much more fruit. 

I sit at the right hand of the Father and He fills my cup. I will go on. STAY THE COURSE!

Amen!

Grab a notebook. If you’re not comfortable talking to God, write to him… That’s what I did and continue to do. Every knee shall bow,but you gotta start the conversation… He is ready and willing and so wants to hear from you. Seek Him, Call out His name, write down what’s on your heart and be prepared for His answer and be willing to receive His love.

 

 

11. Messages & Phone calls

As my relationship hung in the balance while waiting to hear about CRNA school, my grandma was suffering from Alzheimer’s and was entering the end stages of the disease. As I prepared myself for my dreams, my mom was preparing and helping my Grandma transition from her final earthly days to home into God’s arms and to be with her beloved husband, my grandfather, after 64 years of marriage.

June 2, 2014:

Tossing back and forth on my friends couch I decided I would just sleep through the morning as a way to waste time waiting for “the phone call” I had been waiting on for the last few weeks. The one that would decide where I would live and may be the deciding factor of my relationship.

Finally I glanced at my phone, missed call and voicemail from Providence, RI. Oh no!! I missed the call!! How could I let that happen?? Without thinking I went immediately to voicemail and put the phone to my ear: “This message is for Amanda Krueger, this is the program director of St. Joseph’s CRNA program and I’m calling to notify you of your acceptance into our program……” WHOOOOOOO!!! Thank you God!! I then woke up my friends and proceeded to call my family and pretty much anyone on my cell phone list I thought would care! Amidst all the excitement I then got sick to my stomach with the realization that I had to call my boyfriend. Oh no…. it seemed the future of our relationship hung on my acceptance into school or not. I was moving to Rhode Island.

As I drove home to get ready for work, I knew I had to call him. Our conversation was awkward and when we got off the phone he texted me saying: “I’m not going to Rhode Island.” And as I looked back at this moment months later, I realized this was the moment when I was finally just done. After 10 years of a friendship, a relationship of ups and downs, a long distance relationship at that, struggles, tears, disappointments, love, support, happiness, I ended it. We had been drifting apart ever since I applied to school and while we both took turns over the last 10 years fighting for the relationships, I couldn’t fight anymore. He was my last phone call when he should’ve been the first (well, after my mom) and not only did I call him last I was sick about it. Shouldn’t he be my biggest fan and support? The person to ride with me to my dreams?

I stepped out of my car on this bright, hot, sunny 109 degree Arizona day and as I walked up the stairs to my apartment, I saw another feather. God is great! The dream giver remains! I must stay the course.

My journal entry that day:

Lord,

I trust you to get me to RI. To let go of what’s not needed, to hold on to the precious things and run quickly and steadfastly into your arms.

I’m ready for the next steps of the journey. I know you’ll get me to RI and get my grandma home and provide my mom peace.

Lead me with the wisdom to keep pressing forward and deliver me from evil. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven Forevermore.

YOU ARE KING! I LOVE YOU! I THANK YOU. I am ready for desert wastelands and hopeful sanctuaries! Take me on the journey. This time Lord I’m going with you!

AMEN!

I picked up a piece of paper and began making one of my famous to-do lists of everything that needed to get done as school was starting July 1st! I had less than 4 weeks to move across country and find an apartment. Now that I wasn’t getting married anymore and living with him, I had to do some serious re-arranging. As I became anxious looking at my list I tore it up and threw it away and made a new one:

1. Get to RI safely

2. Grandma home to God peacefully

3. Have all basic needs met during the move: food, shelter and clothing.

4. Find job & an apartment

What do you want from God? What are you asking Him for in your prayers.

Be very careful what you pray for and what you ask God for… He is listening and your life WILL change when you faithfully walk by His side.

 

10. The Unfolding

Grab a piece of paper and title it “My Unfolding” and write down in order of occurrence, some of the most pivotal moments of your life, good and bad. For ex.- adopting a child, your first job, graduating college, your first broken heart, marriage, birth, death, moving, friendships…

Look over it and take a deep breath and say “it all counts.” Wherever you are in your faith and relationship with God, EVERYTHING that has happened to you counts for something. His timing is perfect, ours is not. It’s your choice whether to view all of those things you wrote down as a stepping stone to your true calling, whether you understand it or see it or not. Faith. Trust that God is good and works everything for your good. Your list is your preparation. The best is yet to come.

May 14, 2014

My Unfolding:

  • Adoption
  • Becoming a nurse
  • Minnesota
  • Travel nursing, Jobs, Friendships through my travels
  • Meeting my birth parents
  • Mary Kay, Leadership track
  • Relationship with Damien
  • Baltimore
  • Phoenix 2014
  • …………………

So badly did I yearn to know the rest. Will I get into CRNA school? Will my relationship last? Will I be happy? Where will I live if I don’t get into school, what will I do? Can I really continue being an ER nurse?

TRUST.

God knows every piece of our unfolding and until then my only job is to continue building my faith and relationship with Him and live the moments with a grateful heart, rising above my circumstances. Staying the course.

Are you truly making your days count amid struggle and the unknown?

Journal entry, May 23, 2014:

I think a lot of us have dreams to help people, that’s why we’ve chosen the jobs or careers we do. To make a difference. Then we get in these jobs, green, excited, naive and somewhere down the line something changes and somehow we become the very people we despised when we started because they just complained. We allow negativity to seep in, we may become uncomfortable, we get lost. Question is: How do we respond? What kind of person do we want to be? Can we still have and create the ‘make a difference’ life we always wanted and pay the bills? 

We may even try something different and change lives in a better way. But more often than not, we always end up in the same pit. Not happy, fed up, complainers who may just settle for an unfulfilled life journey. But I choose to find Jesus and ask Him what He saw and intended for my life rather than focus on me, me, me and what I wanted.”

And then the words of Jesus poured from my pen: “Patience child. I’ll prepare you but you must slow down. Enjoy your moments, look for treasures, share blessings, do good, be my friend, live in peace, and walk blindly yet full of strong enduring faith. For my dreams for you are bigger and stronger than anything you could ever imagine for yourself. Follow me. Trust me. For I love you. You are valuable and precious to me. Allow me to work through you all the seconds of your life to produce an abundance of fruit for me.”

Below is another great message paraphrased from Anna Quindler, a journalist, who gave this speech to college graduates,

“Get a life. Not a manic pursuit of the next promotion, a bigger paycheck or a larger house. Get a life in which you are generous. Work hard on crafting your spirit and character more than crafting your resume. What you are, will always be more important than what you do.

Everyone wants to do well but if you don’t do good, doing well will never be enough.”

Lord,

Thank you for your message today and all days. I relinquish all control to you. I’m in the dark and the only way out is following your light. Thank you for the opportunities to always seek you. Amen.

9. The Dream Giver is Here

April 24, 2014:

28 years and 7 days after my birth I figured out the answer to how I can finally do what I was born to do:

  • HONOR MY HEAVENLY FATHER by giving him back my dreams and giving Him my life plans so that He can give them back to me for a bigger and better purpose.
  • Your dreams cannot be done on your terms… They are done on His.
  • If we learn to let go of our plans and lists and this idea of perfection we allow to run us, peace will reign over our lives.
  • It’s not all about me. AAAAH GASP!!!! It’s not??!!
  • The only way to greatness is by serving the Lord.

Once my open mind allowed this realization to sink in I could barely breathe. I needed to start expecting miracles from God and become one. THE WORLD NEEDS TO SEE GOD WORKING IN YOUR LIFE. This is how we honor Him. All the things I was trying to do my whole life I was trying to do them alone….you don’t win battles on your own. The big picture we all so desperately try to see is already known by God, His work is finished, so let him work in and on you.

I went out to walk my dog feeling lighter and allowing my brain to rest from all this new information and during our walk, a feather was in my path. Hallelujah!

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My journal entry that day:

I received my feather today and it’s going to lead me straight to a miracle.

The Dream Giver is here.

                         I was never truly happy living and chasing my dreams because I forgot to include God.

                         We fall apart when we forget God. But I’ve woken up just in time for an era of blessings and miracles.

                         I am craning my neck, turning my head to see what God is doing.

                                                            Faith. Trust. Believe.

                         I honor you Father, I win over the devil. I’m prepared to watch blessings fall around and in me.

                         I love you Jesus.

Where are you right now with your dreams and your walk of faith? Are you exhausted yet?

Pray this prayer below if you are ready to begin the journey of faith and trust to your God-Given Destiny. If you’re tired of being the commander of your life without any answers or road map on how to do it. Moses didn’t live out God’s dream for him until he was extremely old! It’s never too late to find God and ask for the right directions!

Lord,

I thank you this day and all days of my life for continuing to seek me even though I may always turn away from you. I am ready today Lord to live out my life the way you have prepared for me. I’m ready to live your dreams for me. I ask for blessings, larger borders and the power to go with them. I’m ready to thrive and fill my vine with abundance: much more fruit! I understand you’ll prepare me for and with great obstacles opportunities that will come in a predictable sequence for a promising reason. Help me stay the course. My hand is in yours and together we walk. Bless my journey.

Amen.

When you begin to follow God and let Him lead: Expect Miracles.

 

 

 

8. Start of Something Good

  August 27, 2014

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I was BAPTIZED tonight, at the age of 28, as I announced in front of a large congregation with over 89 people who also were baptized, teens and adults, “I believe that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior, my priority and my best friend!”

Four months earlier… April 23, 2014

Recap:

  • My relationships is not in a good place leaving me confused especially since we were planning on getting married this year.
  • I started reading devotionals daily and praying, working on becoming a better nurse & person with the new principles of God I was learning.
  • Got drunk off that alcohol…tempted and sinned, was feeling bad but found forgiveness in the Lord.

Determined to not give up on my faith after a weekend of drunk debauchery, I pulled a new book off the shelf that my good friend, and wife of a Pastor, Cherrie Howard, recommended to me. After finishing the book Secrets of the Vine and having somewhat of a foundation of what God wanted from me, I finally felt prepared to read The Dream Giver also by Bruce Wilkinson. Cherrie warned me that after reading this book, my life would never be the same.

Since I was young I always kept a list with me of aaaallllll the things I would achieve in my life figuring out along the way I wanted to be a leader, someway and somehow. Thus far, I had pretty much achieved most of what I wanted and then some, diving into other random opportunities along the way. I could not be stopped and was going to make money and be successful no matter what anyone said.

There was one problem: Yes I had gotten a lot checked off my list but I had also run myself into the ground and simply felt unfulfilled both at work and home. All this work, time and energy and I found myself really no where, alone in Arizona, not happy and my bank account looking the same. I was getting by just fine but wasn’t there more? Checking off boxes on a piece of paper just wasn’t cutting it anymore. So I opened my book…

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  • First chapter:
    • I had a choice to make: Comfort vs. Dream? But the kicker is, when it gets uncomfortable, when obstacles stand in my way, I had God to help me find the opportunity in the obstacle. I vowed to take the word “obstacle/challenge” out of my vocabulary and instead say OPPORTUNITY. When I look up to the sky and picture heaven, what discomfort here on earth truly matters?

The Lord can have my dreams, He can even have my life…I trust in His plan. Do you?