I remember when I first met you.
You came bounding through the parking lot to try out CrossFit for the first time. I was standing outside trying to string my double unders together. You came right up to me, like I was the new one – not you. You smiled big at me and said, “Oh girl, what are you trying to do with that rope. That just ain’t happening.”
And I instantly liked you.
You didn’t seem much concerned about being the new girl to CrossFit. You went up to everyone introducing yourself joking around about what you might have gotten yourself into. I was captivated by how you instantly loved people and drew them in. Like you didn’t see any physical attributes. Like when you looked at someone all you saw was one big heart. And you were going to get to know all those hearts.
I think your brother said it right and well when he said at your funeral back in April, that you could step into any room and flash that big smile and those beautiful blue eyes and people would instantly gather around you.
How could any of us have known that the Lord would take you at thirty-two? That life on this earth with your littles would be wrapped up when they were ages eight, six, four, and two? That you would leave behind the legacy of such a beautiful marriage to such a God-fearing man only nine years in? But, God. His ways, right?
Did you know you taught me a lot about hospitality? Even though most of our interactions happened in that 9:15am CrossFit class.
I used to think that hospitality had a lot to do with the home. Inviting people in – inviting people to eat. Bringing people into my comfortable space. But you taught that the best space we could invite someone into is our own hearts. And none of this whitewashed heart business. You had this rawness to you. Everyone knew what they were going to get when they interacted with Amanda Peake Glover. It was going to be real and bold.
You showed me that hospitality comes with us wherever we go. That we can make others feel welcome and loved anywhere, even if we’re the new girl. Even if we’re entering something as intimidating as CrossFit for the first time. According to you, that just doesn’t matter. Love people. Everywhere. Every time.
You showed me that hospitality isn’t tidy. You were this unbound open heart. While most of us in this world are trying to make sure that we look like we have it all together or that we can do it all without so much as a bead of sweat, you taught me that true hospitality is inviting people into the messy even more so than the glamorous.
One day we were talking and I said something about a picture you posted of your family. And you said, “You know what? I love posting pictures of my family, but I think people are getting the wrong idea about my life. Like it’s perfect or something. It’s not. Lord knows we’ve got our own problems.” You were always real like that.
We talked about everything, and I instantly felt like I could share anything with you. You showed me, without even saying anything, that sometimes I put up borders on my own life when it comes to inviting people in. Like I am some kind of rigid border control. Like when anyone starts to cross a line into my life that I think is too messy or too raw I flash some kind of big orange glow stick and say, “Hold it right there. Gonna need you to turn around. This space is off limits.”
I think you knew that hospitality without borders truly just meant more people you could love on. I think you knew it meant the more people you could share the love of Christ with.
And that’s exactly what you did. Because on the day of your memorial people stood for hours to pay their last respects. That line was wrapped around the building and through the parking lot. And on the day of your funeral? We got there an hour early and the church was already full. They had to set up two overflow rooms. You sure did invite a lot of people into your life. You sure did love them big.
You know what else? The gospel got shared twice at your funeral. Your brother shared it because he knew that is what you wanted. This is why God breathed life in you to begin with. And then the pastor shared the gospel because he said your husband might kick him out of the church if he didn’t.
That Sunday at church I watched as so many of our fellow CrossFitters came for some comfort. My eyes grew wide as I looked around at these people you loved so much. Some of them who know God, some of them who didn’t and usually didn’t go to church. I whispered to God as I looked at all the filled rows, “I can’t believe it took Amanda’s life for this to happen.” And it wasn’t about rows in a church being filled. It was about so many people that might not have otherwise, gathering to hear about God. And you know what God said to me, “Dear girl, it always takes a life.” And that right there reminded me of what Jesus did for us.
It always takes a life.
And since then we’ve watched as people have come to know Christ because of what He did through your life and now your death.
Amanda, I pray for your children all the time. Your four littles. Most of all, I pray that they will love like you did. That they see people, every single person, the way I suspect you did, an image of Jesus. Nothing more and nothing less.
It was an honor and a gift to do some of this life with you. I will forever remember what it looks like for God to use a life up to its fullest. Without borders.