Amber, a West Michigan Mom and Wife, is up for the title of, “Ms. Heath and Fitness 2024”. Well, the first round has come to an end, and SHE MADE IT THROUGH! I had to find out more from Amber, and get her thoughts about this process. I asked, “Tell me more about your emotions leading up to the first round?”

I was nervous for the competition to start. I honestly wasn’t sure if it was “legit” or not and didn’t truly think I had a chance. Until I started sharing….then I saw the amazing support of all of my friends and family. I felt like my story caught fire and I felt overwhelmed with love and gratitude!

So, once I saw that Amber made it to round 2, I had to ask, “What was your reaction?”

I was so excited to see I made it to round 2! I started thinking “maybe I CAN do this!” And I was filled with a drive to keep this fire burning and sharing my story with others!

So, how is Amber feeling about round 2?

I’m feeling good about round 2! I’ve held my 1st place position all the way through. I get a bit nervous that the new will wear off and people will forget about it and stop voting. So I’ve been trying to keep posting daily as a reminder and to keep the excitement alive!!

But life is more than making it to the next round of Ms. Health and Fitness 2024. For Amber, she has a higher calling as a Hospice Nurse.

In nursing school, the focus of care was always on saving the person at all costs and I feel like that’s the goal in medicine as a whole in our society. What we fail to realize sometimes is that everyone dies. There is a 100% mortality rate in life, and no matter how hard we try or what measures we go to to save someone, if it’s their time to go, it’s their time to go. We cling so tightly to this life and often forget that this is on a blip on the radar of what God promises is to come. So, coming out of nursing school and working in the hospital, I found myself with a lot of anxiety. There was so much pressure to make sure we were doing everything we could to make people better or to save their life. A lot of times I found myself going to extreme measures to try to save someone even though I knew deep down that what they had was incurable. Death is generally viewed as “tragic”, or as a “failure” in the world of medicine. But the fact of the matter is, people die every day, and not one person makes it out of this life “alive.” This all became personal in February 2014 when I sat by the hospital bed of my grandfather who had been fighting stage IV lung cancer. He was admitted to the ICU after having a heart attack and deciding not to receive treatment. He was struggling so hard to breathe and was placed on BiPap (one level below a ventilator). We kept trying to bribe him to drink his ensure, or to eat “just a little more” so he could regain his strength. Our entire family was there in support of him. Deep down I knew that we weren’t going to save him. Thankfully, my grandfather had a deep love for Jesus that he instilled in all of his children and grandchildren. When the time came, I got to be the one to ask him “do you want to go on the ventilator for a few days to see if your lungs can get rested? Or do you want to go home and be with Jesus?” His answer was immediate and clear as day “I want to go home.” Of course we weren’t ready to say goodbye, but we were able to bring in his dog from home so he could pet her one last time and we were all there holding his hand and talking to him as he took his last breath here and opened his eyes at heaven’s gate. This was the first major loss I have experienced in my life and it shook me to my core. My best friend and hero was gone. It took me a few years, but I felt God tugging at my heart to pursue a career in hospice. I found an opening for a position and decided to apply and leave the rest in God’s hands. 30 minutes later, I received a call and scheduled an interview at 8am the next morning. Within 2 days I had been offered and accepted a position as a hospice nurse. I was so nervous. It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with my role as a hospice nurse. I realized these families and patients rely heavily on the knowledge and support of their hospice team. I was finally able to work in a job that allowed me to pray with my patients, openly discuss my faith, and journey with folks at the end of life. Death really can be a “beautiful” thing. People often say “I don’t know how you can do it.” And honestly, if it weren’t for my faith that this life isn’t “it” and the extra strength I receive daily from God, I wouldn’t be able to. Some situations are just downright unfair. but, God doesn’t promise us a “fair” life without hardships. He promises that he will walk with us through whatever comes our way. When we shift our eyes to heaven, the things of this life grow dim. I did step away from hospice for a couple years during the pandemic, but never found the same satisfaction I got from being a hospice nurse. I returned to hospice this February and my cup is full. I can’t imagine doing anything else as a nurse, as being a hospice nurse is the greatest honor of my life.

If that doesn’t convince you that Amber is more than just a “fitness lover”, I’m not sure what else will.

I’m continuing to cast my vote for Amber for Ms. Health and Fitness 2024. Will you join me in voting?

Life is more than fitness. Go make a difference. Always run by faith.