Many of you follow us on our Facebook Page and, this month, we wanted to give you a peak into the life of our main contributor to that Page.  She is indeed a Beautiful Bricklayers herself: Amanda Pinedo.Amanda Pinedo headshot

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am 24 and living in Huntington Beach, where I am finishing up my Masters in Social Work at USC. I have a passion for helping people and am so excited to be able to finally start my career as a medical social worker soon!  I am a pretty simple girl who loves good music, warm drinks, and good conversation with friends.  God has really blessed my life even with its ups and downs, and I am so thankful for his patience and love for me.

Being that this month’s theme is “Falling in Love” how did you first fall in love with Jesus?

Growing up attending Christian school since I was 5 years old made it easy to learn about Jesus and accept Him into my heart at a very young age.  However, when I was in high school, I finally began to understand what loving Jesus really looked like.  It was then that I was baptized and really tried to learn how to be a better follower of Him.  My undergrad at Vanguard University also really blessed me with an environment to be poured into and challenged in my faith.  It was at Rock Harbor Church in Costa Mesa that God really stole my heart.  Because of my upbringing and experiences of instability and chaos growing up, it has been a process for me to learn how God could love someone like me and to understand that someone could take care of me.  Falling in love with Jesus is something I believe we never stop doing and knowing that He loves us through it all, is something I believe is the perfect model of what kind of love God wants for us.

You are currently in a dating relationship.  Would you share more about how you met and what made you want to start dating your boyfriend?

Even though it sounds cliche, Max and I met at a mutual friends wedding when we first noticed one another across the room. However, it was not until almost half a year later that we met at Rock Harbor after Max had returned from Ireland where he was helping to start a church.  The “dating” phase of our relationship was unlike anything I had ever experienced in my life.  I had been use to guys leading relationships in a very quick pace or not leading the relationship at all.

The way that Max led our relationship was nerve-racking but so refreshing to experience.  He prayerfully spent time asking God about our next steps, he took the time to really get to know me, and when the time was right expressed his intentions for moving our relationship forward.  His love for God, his passion for others, and his character are some of the biggest reasons I found for wanting to open my heart to him.  I honestly did not think guys like him existed.  I always figured that I would have to settle in my love life, but God had more for his daughter: a love bigger than I could imagine.  Max is pretty funny too… always a plus. 🙂

What are some helpful boundaries, physical and emotional, that you two have established for a healthy, God-honoring relationship?

Since the beginning of our relationship, Max and I have communicated our intentions for the physical boundaries we wanted to stay strong in and the beautiful things we wanted to look forward to in a potential marriage one day.  We knew that although kissing is fun, we had to be careful that we did not fall into the slippery slope of passion.  We also knew that sleeping in the same bed overnight would be another boundary we would never want to compromise in our relationship.  And although these boundaries have been hard and many friends and family have not understood them, we continue to believe in our hearts that it’s what God wants for us in our relationship.  Emotionally, we have continued to have open communication with our past experiences in relationships and have had discussions with each other about our families and upbringings.  So much of your past will follow you into your present and future.  We knew that if we didn’t stay honest, we couldn’t move forward and build a relationship with a strong spiritual and emotional foundation.

When friends or acquaintances think you are being “too strict” what do you tell them?  Do you have any stories to share?

A lot of our friends have not understood our physical boundaries at times, especially when we have planned trips with other couples.  I honestly think we have even been left out of trips because of friends not wanting to have to plan around the boundaries we have. However, we never compromised our intentions and even with family have had to make conscious decisions to stay true to what we believe.

How has dating helped you to grow as a woman and in your relationship with God and others?

Dating Max has honestly pushed me to newer levels in my relationship with God.  I had dated guys before Max that never pushed me to be a better woman of God.  They were Christian but they weren’t walking with God the way I believe He calls us to be.  I have grown in so many ways in dating Max and seeing His love for God makes me want to love him and God more in so many ways.  God’s Word states that His two most important commandments are to love God and to love one another, and in my relationship with Max I have felt we are able to experience those commandments together.  Through reading our Bibles daily, praying together, doing a devotional together, serving together, tithing together, and more, God has pushed my heart for Him to a whole new level.

If you could list out a few practical tips to help the Beautiful Bricklayers community in their pre-dating and dating seasons, what would you share?

If I could give any advice to those praying for Mr. Bricklayer, there are a few things I would encourage:
1) Never settle for a man that is not in LOVE with God
2) Seek God in your love life always, be patient, and trust that He wants the best for you
3) Be open in your communication with a potential partner (Be honest with who you are and what you need in a partner)
4) Take the time to do some inner work in you before you start dating. If you don’t know God and yourself and love God and yourself, how can you love someone else.

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