Amanda’s Open House Letter

Dear Straight Street Supporter:

Let me first start by saying, Thank you. As I started to write this evening there played a song in the back ground called “What Love Really Means” by JJ Heller. It is a favorite of mine especially when thinking of how I spent a lot of my teen years wondering “what love really means”. I may have never found the answer if I had not found Straight Street (or should I say, had Straight Street not found ME). I remember sitting on the curb at the old Luck Avenue building dying inside. I just wanted to tell someone. I wanted someone to help me out of my dark world. I sat there beside Keith trying to tell something that had been torturing me on the inside for many years. It seemed like it took forever to put into words what I needed to say. But Keith never pushed. It was as if I had all the time in the world. It was my time.

I had been sexually abused for 13 yrs. Home? Well, dysfunction would be sugar coating it. After so many nights of crying myself to sleep, I grew up thinking that crying does no good and that there is no one out there interested in helping me. Besides, we all have problems, right? Straight Street showed me that not only people, but God cared, and what was going on was not normal and certainly not my fault. They offered help numerous times that I refused. I had dealt with it for so long that I could hold it in for a life time. I could forget it and move on.

I ended up going to Liberty University on a full scholarship from the company that introduced me to Straight Street. I was finally moving on with life and at college I could be a different person! I could be anyone I wanted….as long as it wasn’t me. That worked for about a semester than things started building up from my past. One night, I got in my car and drove to the Straight Street Parking Lot where they were having a meeting inside. I called Keith on his cell phone and asked if he could come out whenever he had a free minute. He was out in the parking lot within seconds. I gave up. I gave up trying to handle my past on my own. It had consumed my every thought. He gave me an option to seeking help from Total Life Counseling. An offer that had been there many years but I had refused. I finally gave in.

After a few years in counseling and in regular contact with Straight Street, I began to find myself. I began to find that I, too, was a child of God. I was worth more than rubies and loved by a Father that never intended for me to be hurt those many years, but who had always been calling me to Him. Straight Street became my home, my family, my sanctuary.

Today, I am married to a God fearing husband that puts God first in his life and me second. I have never been so proud to be second best! We have 3 beautiful children. A six year old daughter that loves the Lord and often reminds me that He is ALWAYS in control. We have a 2 year old daughter that, I believe, is on mission to give me a heart attack before I am 32. God felt I didn’t have enough excitement in my life. 😉 She is always in the middle of some exciting adventure!

We also have a 5 year old son. He spends his days in the presence of the Lord. And I can’t wait to hold him in my arms again one day. Our premature son died at 2 days old. I praise our Father above that I was able to hold him in my arms as he went back to the arms of Jesus.

Even though I had mover over an hour away, and had been over a year without going into a Straight Street building, they were still there for me. The loss of our son was very hard to say the least, but those long hours on the phone talking to Heather, Keith’s wife, were priceless. We weren’t alone in our loss. Heather may never know how in debt I am to her for listening to me talk and having her, along with her husband, praying for our family.

Because of Straight Street, I am a better person, but most of all my family has a wife and a mother that can love them without fear or limits. Straight Street showed me a Love bigger than any pain. Tonight, I will tuck my girls in bed after our bed time prayers and give them hugs and kisses. And when they are fast asleep, my husband and I will pray together for our marriage and our daughters. I will rise before the sun in the morning and keep my divine appointment with God. Christ is the center of our life. I say that, not to brag, but to show that my life is different that my past. I am not repeating past mistakes and pain. If I hadn’t seen Christ at the center of the Straight Street Ministry, not only would my life be VERY different, but the lives of my daughters and husband would have suffered.

Thank you, Straight Street, for showing me “What Love Really Means”.