“Chip’s books and a Bible. Side by side.” These are Amanda’s lifelines. She turns to them daily, grateful to have these beacons of light in her life after experiencing so much darkness.
Years ago, the single mother of two relocated to a new city in hopes of finding better medical care for her terminally ill mother. But she never could have anticipated the challenges that would follow. Amanda struggled to find affordable housing and keep up with the mounting medical bills. Then she received the devastating news that her employer was downsizing. With no income and no place to live, the family packed what little possessions they had and moved into a homeless shelter.
“We couldn’t find housing, finances ended, and I found myself homeless and scared with two kids and my sick mother,” she says.
But her trial was just beginning. Amanda did her best to establish some form of normalcy for her family – keeping the children in school and maintaining her mother’s medical appointments. And then she received the call no one ever wants to receive.
“My mother had gone in for a routine appointment but became septic. I got a call saying she was on a breathing tube and not waking up,” Amanda recalls. “She never came home. I lost my best friend.”
The grief was overwhelming. The fear unsettling. The darkness consuming. This led to insomnia, and after countless sleepless nights, Amanda turned to alcohol. A trusted friend suggested she was experiencing spiritual warfare, so she searched the internet for resources.
“That’s when I came across Chip Ingram and The Invisible War. I read the book in two days,” she says. “After reading it, I remember having a breakthrough. For a long time, I had asked God why He didn’t speak to me. I allowed negative and evil thoughts to confine me until I picked up Chip’s book.”
After finishing The Invisible War, Amanda reached out to Living on the Edge to find more resources. The response she received was far beyond what she expected.
“I emailed to ask, ‘What’s the next book I can read?’ One of the staff responded, answered my questions, and told me she would pray for me,” says Amanda. “She genuinely cared, and I was able to be honest with her. I didn’t have the money, so she sent me a copy of Finding God When You Need Him the Most.” For Amanda, that’s when “things began to click.”
“I didn’t feel alone when I was reading Chip’s books, and I wanted to go to the Bible and read. Before I knew it, it was my nightly ritual,” she says.
Since then, Amanda has been on a journey to strengthen her faith. She listens to Chip’s podcast as part of her morning routine, checks the Chip Ingram app on her lunch break, and reads his books before bed. She says some people have a sweet tooth for chocolate, but Living on the Edge has led her “to a sweet tooth for the Bible.” And she is quick to share what she is learning with others.
“Chip’s ministry has blessed me so much that I want others to experience the change I have in my life. As I read each book, I then pass it on to whomever God’s spirit tells me to,” she says.
Amanda’s journey has been paved with heartbreak, yet today she lives with hope. “Living on the Edge is how I’ve been able to cope and really live,” she says. “I will always be grateful to Chip for helping me see myself through Christ’s eyes – to know His love for me.”
Merritt has served for nearly a decade in numerous capacities with Living on the Edge, including storyteller and blog managing editor. She and her husband make their home in Brenham, TX, where they are currently raising three rambunctious children and a renegade dachshund.More Articles by Merritt