“I knew who Jesus was. But, I didn’t know what it meant to follow Jesus.”
As a child, Amber Veith attended church regularly with her mom and her brother. She remembers enjoying listening to the sermons. She remembers the Bible that her grandmother gave her. She also remembers that Jesus stayed at church. Her family didn’t talk about Jesus at home.
When Amber was twelve, her parents divorced and, soon after, she stopped going to church. She watched her parents date other people, and a new normal settled in. “They both had live-in boyfriends and girlfriends,” says Amber. “Obviously, my parents cared for us, but I don’t know that they thought about how their dating would impact us. I know it definitely twisted my view on marriage and relationships.”
Amber grew up and got married. For her, marriage was the means to happiness—the next step to a full life—but, things soon started to fall apart. “It was an unhealthy marriage. Co-dependent,” says Amber. “I don’t know that I even had a real understanding of what I wanted. Of what he wanted.”
Amber’s husband was not a believer. He did not believe in God or Jesus, or even the concept of a sovereign power in your life. Amber still felt a desire to know Jesus, and she wanted that for her daughter as well. She remembers sitting on the floor of their living room, pregnant with their daughter, and asking him what it would look like to talk to their child about God and about Jesus.
“I always felt the Lord’s protection in my life, but I knew that I didn’t have a real relationship with Jesus—I didn’t even know what that looked like,” says Amber. It was something that she and her husband did not agree on.
Ultimately, when their daughter, Drew, was three, Amber walked away from the marriage. “It was definitely me,” she said. “I did everything that I could to sabotage the marriage, because I wanted out so badly.”
Shortly before she and her husband divorced, Amber visited an aunt who “always spoke Jesus to her.” Amber didn’t share anything about what was going on in her marriage but asked her aunt a lot of questions about Jesus. She remembers her aunt gently and lovingly answering her questions, yet the one answer that really stuck out to Amber was when her aunt told her, “Just ask God. Ask God to show you who He is.” Amber went home and began praying two words: “Show me.”
During the first few months after her divorce, Amber went through some dark times. She wasn’t taking great care of herself or grieving the loss of her family unit in a healthy way. The Lord continued to place people in Amber’s life who kept her determined to know who He was. It was nearly two years later that she met Coy and they began dating. Coy was raised to be a Jesus Follower, so the couple began looking for a church to attend together and found Austin Ridge. Amber remembers listening to those first sermons and finally beginning to understand who Jesus was, what He did for her, and what it means to follow Him.
“The Lord completely blew my world apart,” she said. “I believe that He had prepared my heart in the two years leading up to that moment, so I was ready to receive Him almost instantly when I heard His Word being preached. I knew it was truth. I understood that Jesus was my Savior, and it was then that I decided to follow Him. I remember thinking, “This changes everything,” Amber recalls.
When Coy and Amber started talking about marriage, Coy told her that he wanted to have a biblical relationship and that they needed to change a few things. Amber remembers feeling very offended. “After growing up with a very warped view of relationships and marriage, I felt so much shame when he said those words,” she said. “I felt that everything I had been doing up to that point was wrong, so I was pretty upset with him for about two weeks.”
Amber went to the Lord with her anger, and the Lord softened her heart. “The Lord told me to trust Him,” she said. “I came to realize that this was the first time in my life that a man was treating me with respect. This is what it’s supposed to feel like when Christ is the center of your relationship.” Amber began to understand God’s design for marriage, and how He created us differently to complement, love, and serve one another.
With her marriage to Coy, Amber felt she was also given an opportunity to turn the tide for her daughter, Drew. “Marriage is a gift that can bring glory to God. What an opportunity to model love, partnership, healthy conflict, and pursuing Jesus as a legacy for your children,” says Amber.
“I don’t know that I’ll ever get over the fact that God knew the path of destruction that was my life before, and yet still chose me to be a part of His Kingdom,” Amber said. “This just blows me away. I prayed, ‘Show me,’ and He showed me who He is and just how powerful His love is.”