Sitting at one of my favorite coffee shops in Franklin, TN, I anticipated the arrival of my new friend, Amber. I got to know her on a recent trip to Malawi, Africa and one thing stood out to me about Amber: her blinding love for Jesus. Over the past few months I have gotten to know her, mostly through her social media platforms, and I continue to see the credit she gives to God day in and day out.
Amber Fuller was born and raised in central Minnesota. She is one of eleven children- holy moly! The first few years of her childhood were surrounded with alcoholism. Both of her parents were alcoholics. While she can’t remember many details about those years, she has been told by family members how rough they were. Words like chaotic and unpredictable have been used to describe those years. When Amber was four her father became sober. His brothers held an intervention and told him that if he didn’t get his act together, they were going to take his children. Well it was definitely a wakeup call. Her father became sober and shortly after her mother did, too. After that her childhood was “normal.” Playing in the park, going fishing, sledding in the winter, family activities, and happy times are the memories Amber used to describe her childhood.
I asked Amber to describe some things that impacted the childhood she remembers. She told me of her Sunday School teacher at 5 years old and how she used felt boards with moveable pieces to show how a white heart that is forgiven goes to Heaven and a black heart that is full of sin can’t make it to Heaven without Jesus. Amber also told me about a close family friend named, Arlys. Arlys had polio and would use Amber to help with various tasks around the church that she couldn’t complete on her own due to her physical limitations. From working on sanctuary displays to cutting out felt, Amber would be Alrys’ hands when she couldn’t cut things. “She empowered me as a young girl to know that if I had something to offer, if I could just bring what I could do, if I followed her instruction to do that, it could turn into something beautiful for God’s kingdom.” Along with church tasks, Arlys also recruited Amber to be a small group leader when she was in 8th grade. Because Arlys invested in Amber, she learned the importance of empowerment and value.
Throughout her teenage years, Amber struggled with not having what others had. Her family was not driven by money, but being a teenager impacted by the world’s standards, not having brand name clothes or a fancy haircut was hard for a teenage girl to navigate. Amber recognized this struggle later when she chose to marry someone who would provide financially for her. She knows now that it became an idol. She was looking for value in physical things as opposed to eternal value.
Amber’s marriage ended after 21 years due to infidelity. “I was hurt, betrayed, and panicked.” Amber and her husband were separated for 3 years until the marriage ultimately ended in divorce. Amber says she is most surprised by her life right now. “Never did I expect to be a single mom (of 2). Never did I expect to get divorced. Never would I have expected to have a heart of love for my ex-husband. Releasing bitterness, anger, resentment, and having a true heart of compassion and respect for him… only God can do that. His love goes beyond hardship, hurt, betrayal, and anger. Releasing all of those issues to Him has allowed me to love in a way that has surprised me and it has been a beautiful thing and its helped me to love other people better, too. To love myself better.”
Amber says God tells her, “Amber I want you to receive more of my love.” She describes herself as an overcomer and a recovering perfectionist. Her favorite quote is, “Life doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.” She sees beauty in every aspect of her life, especially when she keeps God close. “I really believe that I’m a path finder, that I’m to help people find that one more, next step in Him and that’s my heart’s desire… to be there to point them to their next step on their path to the Lord. (My online platform) FirstMostBest was started as a thought process for myself when I came out of my difficult time of separation and divorce. It was the knowledge that I needed to put God first, that I needed to seek Him most, and that I needed to love Him best. it’s a philosophy that I hold onto with both hands. A thirsty man in the desert is desperate for water. The first, most, best important thing he has to do is get water. It isn’t about performance or a box to check, It’s when you’re desperately thirsty and you’ve discovered the source of water, that’s your first priority.”
Many dreams have already come true for Amber. She recently went to Malawi, Africa on a mission trip. She’s on staff at a church. She’s a mom and she leadsa single parent ministry at her church (Solo Parent Society Life Groups http://www.soloparentsociety.com/). But she says overall, her biggest dream that has come true is knowing God on a deep level… and she says that never would have happened had she not gone through such a dark season of separation. “Walking through that time with God became a rich time… time when I clung to the Father… I needed to stay close to him just to breathe. He used it for me to know Him better than before.”
I asked her what her future dreams are. She replied, “One day at a time, but leaving my “yes” to God on the table. Knowing Him informs every single part of who I am and how I live. It’s imperfect and often inadequate but it defines how I interact with the world. It’s a privilege, a joy, a challenge, it does not come without trials but the ability He’s given me to be comforted, to be whole again, to feel joy, I feel like those are lessons He wants me to show others… when they ask, “How did you get through it? How can you be joyful? I’m mandated to share with them! The hope that God gave me. Jesus just wants your participation. He doesn’t need you but He wants you to be available and for your benefit! The boy with the loaves and fish… he was in close proximity to hear what was needed and he offered what he had and Jesus multiplied it. He got to witness a miracle and be part of it… and that story is now being told everywhere. We know he was just a little boy giving what he had but God used it to meet the needs of multitudes. God keeps speaking that to my heart. I don’t have big gifts to bring, but what I have I can offer.”
Amber went on to describe her two mentors. One whom she’s never met, Corrie ten Boom, who lived during the Holocaust. She hid people, obeyed God during a dark time, and continuously brought Him what she could offer. The other, Cindy Cole, who taught Amber to keep taking the next step of obedience. “Look for just enough light to go one step further.”
Amber continues to be a light for all who interact with her. I hope you have the pleasure of meeting Amber Fuller one day.
Amber as a Catalyst Woman:
- No matter the circumstance, issue, or problem, Amber continues to find the hope that only God can offer.
- Though her husband was unfaithful, she chooses to honor God through how she talks and thinks about her ex-husband.
- Amber is not perfect and doesn’t pretend to be. She is intentional not to express her worries or stresses as complaints but rather as opportunities to know God better and deeper.
- She is open to how God leads.
Though her friend Arlys was talking about physical things such as cutting or decorating, Amber now sees how ANY gifts or talents we make available to the Father, He will use for the Kingdom. Wow. ANYTHING, y’all. Romans 12:6-8 reminds us that whatever gifts we have, we are to use! Don’t let the enemy make you believe you are inadequate or useless. Maybe your gift is woodwork or sewing. Maybe its drawing or running. Maybe its mathematical or scientific. Whatever it is, God specifically gave it to you so that you could be apart of something amazing! That little boy gave the five loaves of bread and two fish… did he think Jesus would feed over 4,000 people? Probably not, but it didn’t matter. He knew he had something and he gave it to God. You have something that can be used for the Kingdom.
You are a Catalyst Woman.