Confidence · Spirit · truth

Year 32

Photo by: Corey Rives Visual Art

Year 32… I’m looking at you.

But seriously… The other day I was zipping through Manhattan, watching the buildings pass me by and that’s when God began to remind me of a time… A time when I was 22 yrs old, on a plane, headed somewhere beachy.

As I looked out the plane window, I saw everything below me and I heard Him say, “Take it. Everything can be yours because I’ve given you power, authority and dominion over it. You just have to take it.”

That phrase… What He said to me 10 years ago… It struck me so hard on my subway ride the other day.

Actually, it struck me so hard that I could actually feel this new sense of confidence rise up inside of me. Almost like my human spirit was about to bust out of the seams of my body and take over the world in an effort to spread the most enormous amount of life and love to everyone I encounter. Almost like… Almost like I’d be insane to believe what He told me could ever be a fib.

And in that moment… In that moment I decided, “Okay God, all my cards are on the table again. You lead. I follow. And as always, I don’t know where we’re going, what we’re specifically doing or how we’re going to do it; however, as long as I’ve got You, Jesus and Holy Spirit with me, I know we can conquer everything.” 🌱 #cultivatelife

Spirit · truth

The Thrill of Peace

You might oppose me when saying this… But there’s something so thrilling about darkness. Yes, it’s uncomfortable and intolerable. Of course it can feel like a constant circus of chaos and a cave of deep despair. However, in the midst of the darkness, I’ve learned that it is COMPLETELY possible to be fixated on peace and immense joy.

You see I’ve learned surrendering our current darkness to God in exchange for His peace is possibly one of the most powerful things we can do.

We’re literally saying, “Hey God, I am not smart enough, wise enough or understanding enough to carry or solve what I’m experiencing… So I’m gonna give it to you. I’m gonna leave my current circumstances in Your hands. And every time I think of them, I’m going to remind myself that I’ve given You the reins to craft up a solution.”

And sure… Sure sometimes His solutions take many moments to become tangible and complete; however, His solutions always offer up abundant life, light and immense amounts of joy.

And it’s also so comforting to lean into the truth that a being far greater than us loves us, cares about us and is willing to stand up for us when life is caving in at every corner.

So, if you are or have ever experienced darkness so black that you can’t see your hand in front of your face, then be encouraged. Be encouraged because you’re not alone. Many people have walked this road before, and I’ll bet that the ones who’ve trusted in God’s ability to provide solutions have found peace and immense amounts of joy in the midst of the chaos. 🌱 #cultivatelife

Confidence · soul · Spirit · truth

Two Trees

I left social media. I didn’t deactivate my accounts, but I left… Promising myself I would return when I felt I could consume without being burdened by pride, hate, bitterness, anger, jealousy, grief and shame.

That’s what social media does to me. I pick it up with the idea of “connecting” to “share” my world and the truth I’ve experienced while following God, but then I usually leave feeling worse than when I entered.

You see over the past decade I’ve learned how to connect to God. And… through this single, significant connection I’ve allowed Him to lead me as I’ve learned how to cultivate life.

Actually, He’s emptied me of the dying, decrepit life I was living, restored my broken pieces and parts and then filled me up with grace, love, peace, patience and endless joy.

So… when I sit down and begin to eat the fruit of social media, well my seemingly healthy vessel becomes completely overwhelmed. My insides begin to fill with endless, sometimes useless knowledge of good and evil. And, a lot of the time, what I consume begins to pull my human spirit and soul down as it leads me astray. It begins to probe at my heart, in an effort to cause unneeded division, confusion, jealousy, anger and death in me and with those I choose to share it with. Also… somehow, I become like God because I begin to feel the need to shoulder up the burdens of my world…. As if I even have the understanding and wisdom to solve anything outside of what He’s given me.

It’s not supposed to be like that though. God didn’t create us to carry death and decay. He created us to connect to Him through His Son Jesus, and then point others to that same connection so that they might be made well and new too!

Because… You see when we connect to God and Him alone our souls don’t feel burdened anymore. He gives us exactly what we need when we need it, rather than us pridefully, greedily and selfishly taking from other sources. When we humble ourselves and meet with Him on a moment-by-moment basis, He hands us life-giving skills in increments because He never wants to overwhelm our refinement, development, maturity and growth. 🌱#cultivatelife

soul · Spirit · truth

Demonic Occupancy

Remember the anger and disappointment I told you about in my last writing? Oh you know… The anger and disappointment that were consuming 10% of my heart? Well… Once I fully acknowledged them and began to pursue more of God’s love, my heart began to hurt…. Like PHYSICALLY hurt.

Now, obviously when pain strikes my heart I immediately think, “heartburn.” But then when it persisted at random moments for days on end, I began to think, “MY GOD… AM I OKAY?!?”

Fortunately, I heard God’s voice on every painful occasion say, “You are fine Amanda. This is a spiritual matter. There is a demonic entity tied to your soul. It’s has been given claim and territory over your heart. And… Until you relinquish your hold and fully give it to Me, you will feel this pain.”

“Wow… Okay… Great God.” Is what I immediately/sarcastically/gratefully thought… Then I proceeded to ask Him how we would work together with Jesus to rid my soul of the entity.

And so the process of freedom and refinement began.

You see in the past I haven’t wanted to give Him the soul tie. (For those who don’t know, a soul tie happens when you take on someone else’s entities: demons, spirits, etc. Basically, I was deeply wounded by someone else’s demons, but then I also formed a relationship with those demons because I was really close to this person.) And, because I didn’t want to relinquish the soul tie to Jesus, the demon has had territory over my heart. Territory that should belong to God and God alone!

You see I have consistently allowed Holy Spirit to lead me to a place of forgiveness and grace over the years in this area; however, the last piece of my freedom came down to me truly embracing the fact that I had a demon occupying space within, and it had to go.

And… Now that it’s gone, well… I can freely move forward. My heart can actually be whole and express what it means to have Holy Spirit taking up more occupancy than He’s ever had before! 🌱 #cultivatelife

Confidence · soul · Spirit · truth

For the Love of God

“But the disappointment God… It’s SO heavy. I don’t want to feel it anymore. I don’t want to carry it anymore. Plus… Paired with the anger… The anger that’s still consuming 10% of my heart… Well the anger really makes the disappointment feel all consuming at times.”

This is me. This is me working through more brokenness with God. And… Well… You’d think, at this point, my healing would be complete in this area. But… it’s just SO deep. All of it. The brokenness touches every layer of my essence… From my human spirit, to my soul and then impacts my body in ways that it shouldn’t.

And I’ve forgiven. I’ve forgiven and chosen to move past a lot of the pain and heartache. But sometimes… Gosh sometimes I feel like the disappointment will never go away. And then I can’t seem to quite understand “why?” Why did it have to play out like this?

Actually… I’m not stupid. I understand “why,” but then I’d rather live in the deception of the past. The deception and manipulation was just so fanatical and illusive… Almost like I was living in a dream I’d never wake up from and have to take responsibility for.

But… Then… Well, I woke up from that dream several years ago and was forced to enter a world of truth and disappointment. And, some days (though they are few and far between) I still feel like I’m still waking up to an undiscovered layer of truth and disappointment.

So… what am I to do with layers upon layers of continued disappointment? Well that’s what I’ve been asking God.

And… Do you know what He keeps showing me?

Love.

Of course, it’s been way too simple for me to process at once. But everyday I hear Him say, “My love for you woke you up from the fanatical, illusive dream. My love for you drove out the lies, deception and manipulation you both created. My love protected you. It empowered you. It’s given you the ability to constantly move forward, one whole and complete step at a time. And maybe you still feel angry and disappointed. I don’t blame you. The deception was deep; however, keep focusing on My love. Keep your eyes anchored to My heart. For inside of it you will discover the healing your heart is seeking.” 🌱 #cultivatelife

Confidence · Spirit · truth

THIS Mountain

I’m climbing THIS mountain in front of me.

Actually… WE are climbing THIS mountain in front of US.

My sister and I have climbed lots of mountains before… Separately and together. But… THIS… THIS mountain is unique because we must take all that He has deposited inside of us (separately and together), multiply it with a new deposit of His gifts and then produce a finished product.

Funny thing… Neither of us have a clue what the finished product will look like! Oh sure… We kind of know what it might feel like. And we definitely know what ideas need to be incorporated into the whole.

However… the final outcome is a mystery.

And… To be completely honest with you… I like it that way because it reveals how much trust is rooted inside of our relationships with God and with each other.

After all… “It’s not always our business to know why God has asked us to do certain things. But it is ALWAYS our business to follow.”

So… If you’re reading this and you truly believe in the Godhead… If they are really the foundation and bedrock of your life: spirit, soul and body, then you MUST FULLY FOLLOW the Holy Spirit’s lead. And… I’ve learned that He doesn’t normally give a 2-step plan, a 5-step plan or a 10-step plan. He more or less says, “Here’s the next step… Now take it.” 🌱 #cultivatelife #bridgetwinderart #windersisters

Body · Confidence · Mind · Spirit · truth

This is My Body

This is my body. It’s the only one I’ve been given. It’s the only vessel (that I know of) my spirit and soul will ever live inside of. And… I don’t ever intend on altering it with plastic surgery to make myself feel a false sense of confidence in my outer appearance.

You see… For years I spoiled my body. I constantly fed it things it wasn’t designed to consume because I was broken, insecure and lost. And then… For years I starved it. I didn’t feed it enough of what it needed because I was STILL broken, insecure and lost.

And though I was certain I’d figure out “how” to live in my own version of a “perfect” body… I never did.

You see I couldn’t grasp hold of true confidence in who I was until I accepted that my spirit and soul were both sick and dying and in need of a healer. They were begging for real love and in dire need of true value and worth. (The kind we won’t find down the rabbit-hole of social media or through “self-love”).

My spirit and soul (the two things that matter MORE than my body) needed God. They needed the Holy Spirit. They needed me to fully lean into the fullness of Jesus Christ and His ability to constantly make me well from the inside out.

And I don’t know where you stand with body image and health; however, I do speak from experience when saying this… Let God heal you. Allow Him to transform you into a new spiritual being. And I know Jesus can be a sensitive subject (I’ve had my own personal journey)… But just try and lean into Him and His Holy Spirit.

You see… The Godhead doesn’t need a building to operate inside of. They need something WAY simpler, a bit more complex and incredibility unique… They need us. They need our hurt, our pain and our brokenness, so that they may take it and turn it into pure love, joy and light. And then… Then once they’ve done that, they need us to continue to pursue them with a heart that ONLY craves to follow the path of a cultivated LIFE! 🌱 #cultivatelife

Confidence · Mind · truth

Circling the Bottom

I don’t want to climb the mountain.
I don’t want to climb the mountain.

Yes I have the strength, the endurance and the capability… But I just don’t want to climb it.

And, so… Rather than climb the mountain, I’ve been circling the bottom for weeks. I’ve been circling it with hopes that He will change His mind.

But He hasn’t. He hasn’t… And so, through all of my whining and complaining, I know I must climb THIS mountain.

I must let go of more selfishness and stubbornness in order to follow Him up.

And I don’t know if you’ve ever truly followed Him before. In today’s culture, a true follow is challenging. We have 72 billion+ reasons to get distracted and misled. However, when we’re willing to go a little bit further with Him, He does open us up to more grace… More wisdom… More peace… And more treasure hidden inside of His heart and His Kingdom alone.

So… Up we go. 🌱 #cultivatelife

soul · Spirit · truth

Sometimes No

Following the Holy Spirit can be simple…

Following the Holy Spirit can be fun…

Following the Holy Spirit can be a life-changing/life-altering adventure of sorts.

But…. Well, what about when He says, “no?” Why is it so challenging to repeatedly move forward when He says, “No. No. No. That’s not it. Keep moving forward. Keep focusing on Me and my ways. I know what I am doing. You must continue to trust me in EVERY area Amanda.”

And honestly… Honestly I HATE when His response doesn’t make sense at all. I hate when I can’t wrap my head around Him and His thoughts and ways. I hate when He can see ahead of me, but then won’t let me in on the design and details because it will stunt my refinement, development, maturity and growth.

But that’s true submission you know?

The ability to keep moving forward with Him, regardless of fully knowing or understanding the “why.”

And I don’t know where you are in your walk and follow with Him right now; however, I do believe following through with the “no” is just as vital as following through with the “yes.” Because, even though the “no” contradicts the souls wants, it also pulls us into a tighter, more intimate relationship with God. It shows that we will trust His ways… And then have peace within that trust no matter the outcome.

And… I don’t know about you, but who wouldn’t want to be closer to Him? 🌱 #cultivatelife

 

Spirit · truth

Bitter-fully Good

Have you ever faced off with bitterness before?

If so, then you’ll understand the constant, alienating feeling of being “wronged.”

But, what happens when the bitterness you’re experiencing is aimed at God?

You see… I’ve been asking myself this question for two weeks now because He’s called me to a higher level of obedience and trust in Him.

However, my selfish ways want things that oppose His ways. The selfish pieces of my heart keep reminding me of how unjust and unfair I believe He’s being towards me.

And… In all honesty, I’m blinded. Blinded by my self. Blinded by my will. Blinded by my desires and ways.

But… I’m also tired. I’m tired of being hostile with my best friend. I don’t like feeling like He’s wronged me when, deep down, my heart knows He’s truly good.

Actually… His goodness is the very reason I keep giving Him my will and selfish ways and desires. His goodness is what keeps leading pieces of my selfish heart to a place of repentance and peace.

And so… Well that’s why I am sharing this. To remind you, wherever you are, to stay focused on Him at all times. And to choose His will over every other thing that’s presented before you. Because He… He is ALWAYS good! 🌱 #cultivatelife