death · Spirit · truth

A Promise is A Promise

Six-and-a-half years ago my dad unexpectedly died. A month before he passed my parents had just celebrated their milestone 30th wedding anniversary. To celebrate, they planned to take a trip to Hawaii, but… Well obviously, that didn’t happen.

Last week my mom turned 60-years-old. So, in true Winder Sister form and fashion, Bridget and I decided to honor my parents plans by taking her to Hawaii to celebrate.

Now if I’m honest, I was excited the entire time! However, as we zipped up, down and around the island for the week, I never really thought about Dad much. I never truly let myself experience the weight of what it means to honor my parents by fulfilling a promise that was made within the covenant of their marriage.

And so, it wasn’t until we were actually headed to the airport that the heaviness of it all began to hit me. 

You see… Sickness, disease and death sought to destroy the Winder Women by completely robbing us of life and dragging us down a long and sometimes dark path of brokenness, heartache and pain. However, that’s what’s so magnificent about restoration! It’s this beautiful, systematic process where God promises too deeply and divinely heal us from the darkness that has torn us apart: spirit, soul, heart and body.

And… Somewhere along the way, the healing becomes a fulfilled process in certain areas… And you’re able to look at the life (like we have with this trip) and confidently say, “Yeah, dad’s not here… Yes, life has been an emotional, painful, uncertain climb we sometimes didn’t believe we’d make it through; however, we are holding God to His promises. And His promises say, “He WILL vindicate us and bring life to every place the kingdom of darkness has stolen.” His promises say, “He WILL redeem, restore and then supply us with endless joy!” His promises say, “He WILL cultivate the grounds of our brokenness so that they can be made whole, and then we can walk in the maturity of His confidence, security and love.”

And so you see… It is completely healthy to walk through fire and then emerge refined, restored and redeemed. It’s completely healthy to emerge without an ounce of bitterness, anger, hate, heartache and insecurity. It’s completely healthy to emerge more equipped with a heavier, holier suit of armor than when you walked in. 

Because when you do… When you actually surrender your pain, heartache and brokenness to God, then He can come in with His great love and swallow up what the kingdom of darkness has stolen. And then… Then you can move forward to the other side with a healthy, whole and aligned spirit, soul, heart and body. And that side… That realm… That promised land is overflowing with an increase of LIFE…. Life that is beaming and vibrating with a higher frequency of honor, respect, love and gratitude towards God than you ever imagined possible. And it perpetually echos out, “A promise is a promise!” 🌱 #cultivatelife #winderwomen

 

soul · Spirit · truth

True Satisfaction

I’m still focused in on the concept of satisfaction and how I am to truly cultivate a lifestyle of it. 

And, in all of my mediation over the past few weeks, this is what’s becoming evidentiary clear to my heart and soul…

A satisfied life is not a settled life. It’s not a life where you throw in the towel and hunker in with the mindset of following the culture. Instead… A satisfied life means you’ve fully surrendered (in joy) to the reality that God will provide you with the next piece of the puzzle when He knows you’re ready…. And, until then, you will work diligently with what He’s given you

And I wish I grasped this so long ago… Honestly, I do…. Because it would’ve saved me from so many set backs and sleepless nights where I tried to “figure it all out” with my soul’s rational thinking.

However, I am learning that I must live from a place where I am satisfied in ALL aspects of life… Which includes where He’s leading my sister and me with Cultivate Life & Bridget Winder Art.

You see for years we’ve chosen to let Him lead us in making decisions that are big and small. And though His lead doesn’t usually make logical, 3D sense, my spirit knows and understands it to be the best choice because it is the most fulfilling one.

You see His choices offer a clean and sturdy foundation where fear of money, fear of man, jealousy, pride, envy and bitterness cannot exist. His path makes sure I don’t sew seeds of manipulation and deception into the fertile soil of all He is aiming to cultivate.

And I guess what I’m trying to say is this… God’s plans and purposes for leading me in business are much larger than I ever anticipated because they exist in realms and dimensions far deeper, wider and thorougher than I ever fathomed. And, although I’ve been learning I need to be satisfied with the things of Him, I never considered how that satisfaction would need to echo into every aspect of my life…. So much so that my spirit would be required to transcribe that satisfaction onto a scroll for my soul to pick up, read and follow.

And with that… Well I firmly see that being satisfied must leak into my professional life… I must become satisfied with the way in which He’s taught me to do business and build companies for His Kingdom. I must rest on the truth that He’s provided me with everything I need in this present moment… And when more is needed, in all facets, He will supply.🌱 #cultivatelife 

Spirit · truth

Satisfied?

Last week I shared how vital it’s been for me to “capacitate in life.

But… You know… I was kind of vague when speaking about capacity because I didn’t really delve into the areas inside of me that are being pressed to the limit.

So here we go…

Being specific about where I’m growing with God right now seems slightly chaotic. I mean… He is stretching me in so many different areas. However, the place that feels most pressing to share with you is an area I am aiming to master.

You see it’s a challenge for me to be satisfied with the things of God.

And, because I feel challenged in this area, I’ve asked Him to help me. Which usually entails a breakdown… I need some understanding and application from Him about HOW I am to be satisfied with Him and only Him.

And guess what He told me?… He said, “Amanda, I just need your entire focus. I give you what you need daily. Every Single Day I provide you with what you need to live in peace and harmony, but you choose… You choose to allow your heart and soul to gaze on other things. To become consumed with things that have nothing to truly do with where I am leading you. And so, you struggle in your heart and soul. You flip back and forth. Questioning me. And why? I have given you what you need. You have leaned into your inheritance in Me and I have provided for you. So why… Why are you looking at things that are less than what I’ve given you?”

Now I know what you might be thinking… “Well He really told you.” And, you’re right… He did. He does. That’s how my relationship with Him is. He’s the father and friend that drops the hammer and pushes me back into line so I can develop, mature and grow properly.

He’s the one that says, “Umm, I’ve healed you from the inside out and set you free of demons, darkness, death and decay. I’ve refined you and matured you. I’ve opened up entire realms and dimensions of life for you as you’ve pursued Me and My ways. So why… Why do you allow yourself to become focused on material, insignificant matters of life? Why don’t you keep yourself: spirit, soul, heart and body directly focused on Me and My Kingdom? Because when you do, you will continue to find yourself satisfied with all that you’ll ever need in life.”

And He’s right. He’s 100% honest in what He’s saying. And I can’t think of an excuse that’s good enough to object Him.

And, because I can’t find anything worthy enough to object Him, I have to also accept the rest of what He’s said. Which is, “Amanda, you are acutely aware of the nonsense that plays out in society. You see how your culture buys into every selfish want and desire, in an aim to fulfill their souls inward need to feel like they are achieving ‘life.’ But that satisfaction of ‘life’ can only really truly be found within Me and my Kingdom. You must keep choosing it. Time and time again.”

And so I will. I am. I am making a conscious effort to keep my soul quiet as my spirit aims to expand and focus intently on where He’s leading. And I hope, I truly hope you will also become fully satisfied in Him. That you will see life through the eyes of your spirit, and really delve into all that there is to be satisfied with. 🌱 ♥️ #cultivatelife

 

 

heart · Spirit · truth

Capacitate

Yesterday, I caught myself looking very intently at old photos…. And they gripped me in such a way that I thought, “I don’t even see myself in these photos anymore. The person I see in these photos is just an image… A mirage… A shell of me in a once lived life. A girl who was searching very deeply for identity, security and belonging. A young woman who needed to be completely stripped down and cleansed of her brokenness, confusion, selfishness and deep-rooted pride.”

And now I do realize we don’t all look at our past selves, only in an effort to compare it to our present selves. However, well… I do because I love to track my growth rate.

Which is why sometimes… Sometimes I wish I could travel to the past and tell that girl, “Hey you, you’re gonna go through a lot of challenging processes, but they will refine you. They will develop and mature you. They WILL cause you to grow. Actually they will propel you to grow in such a way that you’ll feel isolated A LOT. And you’ll feel misunderstood even more. However, your capacity…. Amanda, your capacity to move forward with the plans and the will of God… Wow! It will grow! You will be able to take on more than you ever imagined… More than you ever schemed up in all of those phone calls… Yeah, the capacity God’s going to instill and install inside of you will be so voluminous. So don’t stop. Don’t ever stop growing!”

And you know… I say all of this in this moment because I am wrestling deeply with capacity. I’ve been asking God for months to grow it… To give me a greater understanding of how it works… And He’s been very reliable in answering. But the feeling of growth… The amount of pressure it takes for one to reach the maximum amount one can contain or produce… Gosh it is a challenging process.

However, I do believe… I truly, truly believe it is so very healthy to outgrow who we were years ago, months ago or even a few weeks ago. Because if we’re ever going to truly thrive the way God intended us to, then we MUST be willing to capacitate. We must be willing to stare ourselves down in the mirror and say, “I don’t know who you’re becoming or how you’re going to get there, but you will move forward. You will grow. And you will do it with Holy Spirit leading the way!” 🌱 #cultivatelife #keepmovingforward

heart · truth

Look for Him!

“You talk about God too much.”

It’s a statement I’ve heard a lot lately. And… If I’m 100% honest, it doesn’t bother me.

Why? Well because He’s very much a part of my life and my world… He’s sewn very deeply into the fabric of who I am.

So… So why wouldn’t I talk about Him. I mean… Most of us talk about things that are important to us right? 

We talk about our relationships, our kids, our jobs, our future aspirations… We talk about our current realities and how they ebb and flow.

So, it’s normal for me to discuss Him.

But now you might be thinking, “Okay, then show me where He’s ‘etched’ into your life?” And so I will.

I find Him… I find Him in EVERYTHING. I find Him when I sit and listen to friends and family talk. He’s there, showing the wide range of gifts and talents He’s deposited into each one of them. 

I find Him woven into moments that are dark, decrepit and unbearably difficult to handle. You know, the moments where you want to give up? Yeah, I find Him there ready and able to offer a strong, sturdy and secure branch to lean against.

You know where else I find Him? In moments that are completely still… Moments that are motionless. The ones that make you feel like, “Gosh, everything feels as it should be!” Yeah,  He’s right there.

However, I do believe my favorite place to find Him is that “place.” You know the “place” between where you are and where you’re trying to get too. The “place” that makes you acutely aware to look for every clue He might be leaving and how it might significantly connect to the current destination you’re seeking. Yeah, I love finding Him in all of those “places.” It’s just so pure… So divine… Almost like magic! 

So, before I leave you… Before I sign off and begin to get caught up in my reality of communing with and talking to God again… Let me leave you with this… Look for Him. Even if you don’t know Him, or only know a few things about Him. Become a seeker of life, beauty and grace. Open yourself up to the possibility that God might be WAY more than what He is to you in this present moment… I mean I believe He’s WAY more than He is to me in this present moment.

And then, then when you do discover Him in a new way. Lean into all of it. Become submerged in every ounce of goodness, fellowship and awe that you find! I know I will! 🌱 #cultivatelife

Confidence · Mind · Spirit · truth

The Persevered Life

Perseverance. Oh gosh, I hate perseverance. Actually, that’s not true. I hate the initial feelings of perseverance. You know… The feelings that make you think, “I’ve come so very far. I am so very weary. And… I’ve still got miles upon miles to go.”

And, if I’m completely honest, choosing to persevere can be completely overwhelming and, at times, all consuming for the heart and soul. However, I’ve learned that there is a way to successfully press through without running yourself empty while doing so. 

Perseverance takes peace. Meaning we must be in divine alignment with the Holy Spirit and His will for our lives. Our entire being: spirit, soul, heart & body, must be completely about His love, joy and peace. We must be fixated on Him satisfying our every need.

Perseverance takes patience. I know… I know… Patience is one of my least favorite things because I am a person who loves to cut corners and take things into her own hands; however, I’ve learned that a lifestyle of patience follows a lifestyle of peace. Meaning, it’s a lot simpler to get where we’re going when we have peace undergirding our ability to wait.

Perseverance takes endurance. We have to be able to get up and go!! We have to answer the call no matter the challenge at hand! And sometimes the task at hand is extremely challenging, and so we’d rather cut a corner or skip it. And other times the task is extremely weighty… Meaning we must have a great capacity to carry it. Which is why it’s so important to be prepared to get up and go at all times, in all seasons of life.

Perseverance takes focus. Listen… If we are truly living life in the will of God, then we MUST keep our eyes on the page He’s given us. And… If He’s spoken something to us, we must hold on to what He’s said and not let it out of our sight. 

You see I say all of these things in this moment because I feel somewhat weary about things I’m choosing to continue to believe for… And, I feel slightly overwhelmed about the miles upon miles that I have left before I reach my destination.

So I need… Actually I have to remind myself of these things… Of these truths. I have to speak to my heart & soul and remind them that I need to pursue peace, remain patient, endure whatever is ahead and continue to stay locked in on the plans set before me… And, even if those plans shift course, I have to remain steadfast to them.

Why? Well because when it’s all said and done it will be worth it to finish. It will be worth it to reach the destination He’s pushing me towards.🌱🛡⚔️ #cultivatelife #keepmovingforward 

Mind · Spirit · truth

The Jig is Up!

I’ve never told this story on a public platform before…. Three years ago, mom, Bridget and I were sitting in Shreveport, La waiting for our house to sell.

Art… Art wasn’t selling. Our finances were nonexistent. And, we had sold everything of significant financial gain to pay bills on time.

Meaning, life… Life was dark. And, our future… Our future was bankruptcy.

Of course we all three went through a wide range of emotions during that time. And… God was silent for the most part, but He promised me we would not file for bankruptcy. So… I held Him to His word EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Once we sold our last piece of gold and paid our mortgage on time, the jig felt like it was up! So we surrendered the future to God. The miracle we needed was in His hands. There was no more we could do. He would have to uphold the promise He made.

And then, about a week later, we received our first and only offer on the house. It came in the number 5, signifying God’s grace. We were in complete awe and so grateful God made a way. He took us to our ends… To a place where we had to completely and totally rely on Him to see His promises fulfilled.

But the story doesn’t end there… You see we still didn’t have the finances to pay the mortgage until we moved. So AGAIN, we held God to His promises.

And then out of NOWHERE, someone contacted my sister wanting to commission a 5 foot painting of Jesus (again signifying Gods grace). He said, “Name a price.” And so we did, and the finances completely covered us, paid for mom’s move and moved us to NYC.

The best part… We NEVER filed for bankruptcy. God held true to His PROMISES. The miracle came when we least expected it, but when we were most prepared for it in our hearts because we had completely surrendered everything to Him. No man or woman could fix our situation. He had to do it.

And I don’t know who this resonates with right now. However, I want you to know, God is NOT short in finishing what He started. If He made a PROMISE, He will fulfill it in His timing. And… He might just fulfill it in such away that even nonbelievers will see that Jesus is King and God is sovereign. 🌱⚔️🛡#cultivatelife 

death · Spirit · truth

Reliability

Corey Rives Visual Arts

After I lost my dad, one of my biggest challenges was the reality that I felt like there wasn’t anyone there to take care of “me” anymore.

For 25 years he was ALWAYS there… In my corner… Watching out for me… Protecting me from potential harm.

So it was challenging to say the least to lose him. And then to lose my grandparents. And then mom was in a serious healing phase, so at times it felt like she couldn’t be there for me either because she had to be there for herself.

And you know, those feelings… They were dark. So dark that I’d sit and cry a lot! I’d cry about my loss. I’d cry about my lack. And more than anything I’d cry about HOW in the world I’d ever feel like someone was looking out for me again.

And I knew in my heart it was possible to fully rely on God, His love and His kingdom for protection and support. I knew in my heart that He was the One that was always designated to fulfill that role inside of me; however, I didn’t believe it because I didn’t “need” it.

In my head, that role was rightfully filled by dad.

But gosh… I was wrong. You see I learned through experience that I needed God’s reliability more than I ever needed dad’s. Sure dad’s was superb, but God’s is unmatched!

And so this is where I stand today… My entire world has shifted. I no longer feel the innate need for a human being to be there for me because my heart believes in and relies on God’s ability to always be there for me. Over the past 6 1/2 years, He’s stepped in and showed me that I can constantly  rely on Him for ALL that I need. And honestly, I wouldn’t want it any other way. Would you? 🌱⚔️🛡 #cultivatelife

heart · Spirit · truth

Following Growth

Growth… Growth & I have a love/hate relationship.

Wait… Let me rephrase that. Growth, as amazing as it is, feels like a antagonist in my life sometimes. Do I crave it? Sure I do! I crave growth and the results that come from following through with where I’m being led to develop and mature in life. I crave the feeling of becoming a healthier vessel from the inside out!

And, over the years, I’ve read so many books… You know the ones that encourage you to “Think and Grow Rich.” The ones that encourage you to focus on self-love, manifestations and such… And while those methods for growth have worked in my life, none of them have been as powerful or as long-lasting as following the Holy Spirit and His supernatural growth track.

His system… His ways… His ability to lead me in the best direction, customized and centered around what I need to grow is the most powerful and pure thing I’ve ever encountered.

And sure… Sure it’s filled with a lot of walks through valleys and continual climbing of mountains with a lot of highs and lows… However, the greatest part… The most amazing piece about following the Holy Spirit is the relationship that’s birthed within the process of following. It’s a feeling that’s greater than any self-love or love from another because it meets me at the very core of my spirit, heart and soul. It’s God’s love. His perpetual love makes the growth process worth every inch of the journey.

And I don’t know who I’m speaking to when saying this, but God (in His very essence) is completely interested in growing with US. He needs us as much as we need Him. And if we (I’m mainly speaking to myself) can just continue to follow with a pure and steady heart… A heart that wants to be free from all of the darkness, sickness, depression, fear and anxiety we’re feeling… Then I believe He will continue to help us grow into the most beautiful trees of LIFE… Trees of LIFE firmly planted within His garden of LIFE! 🌱 #cultivatelife #keepmovingforward

Confidence · dominion · heart · power · Spirit

My Word is: Faith

Corey Rives Visual Art

For the past several days I’ve been searching for the best word to describe my experience with 2020… And as I’ve fumbled through the list in my head and heart, the one that’s continued to pop up is “faith.”

And if you’re anything like me, faith might sound so simple. However, it’s my faith and belief in God that’s helped me truly rise above all of the continued uncertainty and chaos of 2020.

And… If I’m 100% honest, I’d have to say I’ve had more peace inside of my heart this year than all years past. 

And while that may sound odd to you, it’s not for me…

Why? Well you see my very being is completely adamant about living a lifestyle of faith. And it’s not a stagnant word, lying dormant in my heart. Instead it’s a key that’s perpetual, living, active and divinely present in my daily life.

My choice to place things I can’t control in God’s hands has taken so much pressure and burden off of my own shoulders. Pressure and burden He never created me to carry… For I am not strong enough… Only He is.

And I see 2021 heading down an increasingly cataclysmic path… One where we must use the ultimate amount of faith that’s rooted deep within our spirits, hearts and souls in order to move forward.

You see I believe more things will feel out of our control than ever before; however, when we choose to constantly engage in relationship with Father God, Jesus and Holy Spirit… When we choose to activate our spirits and then live a lifestyle of constant and continual faith… Then and only then will we find ourselves in a place of peace and harmony.

And the peace… The peace will rise straight from the ashes of our deepest fears decreeing and declaring, “My God is stronger than this, and His Kingdom is more equip than all that I am facing. So I WILL march forth… I WILL place all of my worries, fears, doubts and cares on Him… And HE WILL show me how to consistently and systematically use the power, dominion and authority He has equip me with to fight forces of darkness and all that’s of evil nature.” 🌱⚔️🛡 #cultivatelife