brokenness · death · family · healing · love of god · redeem · restore

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

brokenness · death · healing · heart · love of god · refine

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

brokenness · challenge · Fullness of Jesus · kingdom · process · relationship · strength

The Fortress

If I take you and shake you, will you break? Will you crack under the pressure of things that are out of your control?

If I ask you, “what defines you?” and then searched for that truth would your truth and that truth be synonymous?

Now… When you’re shaken, I hope you don’t move. I hope you’re a fortress. One that’s founded in and surrounded by the glory of God. And, when things are out of your control, I hope you don’t crack under pressure because of fear, stress, worry and anxiety.

Also, when your truth reveals itself to be different than the actual truth hidden in your foundation, I hope you’re humble, brave and honest enough to grasp what’s truly there.

Because to be a fortress, we can let things in but we can’t allow them to rule and reign over our hearts and minds. They can’t become the defining, motivating factors that propel us forward.

So… if being a fortress means we must trust in God, His Kingdom, His system, His Son and His Spirit over the money, power, fame and material success the world offers… Then I do believe we are on a path of righteousness. 🌱 #cultivatelife

brokenness · freedom · healing · heart · love of god · refine · warfare

Stopped… In the Name of Love

I’ve had this awkward sensation in my left side for about 4 months now. At first it concerned me because it was so strange, but then I heard Holy Spirit say, “It’s supernatural.”

So, I’ve gone on with life… Knowing that He’ll make sense of it all in His timing.

Well a few nights ago I let go of this desire I had inside of me… It was this desire my heart had to belong. But it’s wasn’t a healthy kind of belonging. It was a twisted, territorial desire to belong to man-made love. Man-made love that is sick and polluted with insecurity, jealousy and envy and all that’s foundationally wrong in this fallen world.

So I let go of it.

And when I did, the sensation in my side stopped in its tracks. It completely halted. And I haven’t felt it since.

And then… Then I felt this love… This love from the heart of God. A part of His love I’ve never truly felt before. And it was the most incredible sense of belonging I’ve ever felt. And it wasn’t something structured from self-love or man-made love. It was something much higher… Something so rare and pure, yet so innately humble. A form of love that comes from realizing that there’s something much grander than me… And this grander being is obsessed with every piece and part of me. And it gave me this confidence… This confidence to fully step forward into my destiny that’s unfolding in front of me right now.

And I don’t know… I don’t know if you know Father God’s love. But I do hope, I hope that you fully step forward in faith into it. Because His love is so deep… It’s so concrete… It’s so wild and mysterious. It’s something far greater than we could ever give to one another because it has this insane ability to heal every part of the heart that sickness and disease has cultivated inside of us. And it’s available. It’s readily available to every single person on this planet. And it grows… When it’s cultivated properly, it will grow into the most beautiful thing you and I will ever truly experience 🌱♥️ #cultivatelife #justlive

brokenness · darkness · death · grief · healing · Spirit

Year Five

Five years ago today I watched my dad take his last breath. All in one moment the reality of death made his appearance in my life.

You see it was evidently clear that I was starring at my dad, but then at the same time I wasn’t.

Every part of him (the smile, the jokes, the instigation I couldn’t stand, the love, the brilliant gifting that made him unique)… It was gone. His essence… His soul… His spirit… The aura that filled his body was gone. And so he was gone.

And so that was the moment… The moment I realized life… Life really, truly is temporal. And our bodies…. Our bodies really are nothing more than the vessel we use to travel in while we’re here on earth.

So now you might be thinking, “Amanda, why are you sharing this?” Well… To be completely honest with you, I just really care about the health of people. Actually, let me rephrase that…. I care about the inner health of people. I care that we are alive on the inside. I care that we thrive on the inside. I care that we find grace, love, forgiveness and healing; and then that we maintain that healing long after our moment of transformation.

You see in today’s culture I believe it’s so easy to get caught up in our outer appearance, race, sexual orientation, religion and political background… But don’t forget, before any of that can matter, we are all intangible on the inside first and foremost. We’re all created with some type of God-spark that makes us eternal and immortal.

And so I guess that’s why I’m writing this…. Because I want to remind you and encourage you to look past the surface of what you can see and shift your focus to what you can spiritually feel. Because the health of that “thing” inside of you, that “thing” we all so casually overlook, is what is truly alive in life. 🌱 #cultivatelife

brokenness · healing · heart · keep moving forward · lies, deception & manipulation

It’s Fixed!

It’s fixed.

My heart… it’s fixed.

How do I know it’s fixed? I know it’s fixed because I moved forward in life. I spoke to the fear that was trying to convince me to not move forward. I told it to sit down and shut up. I told it that it no longer has power in my life. I told it that I am a whole and complete person without the idols and lies of my past. I told it that I don’t need nor welcome it’s company anymore.

And then I did something… I stepped out again. I stepped out and stepped forward into a completely unknown and unfamiliar arena of life.

You see over the past several months I’ve been allowing God to heal my heart of some deep and delicate pain. Pain that I wasn’t really aware was there. I thought it was gone. I thought I’d dealt with my past.

But you know… Allowing God to work with me and help me process the past has really opened me up to my present and my future. I’ve never felt so capable of thriving like I do in this moment.

And I’m sure there will be moments when my past fears try to break in and lurk around in the depth of my heart. But then I’m even more certain that my healthy heart has the ability to really gain strength now. Strength that will tell my past to stay… Well in the past. 🌱 #cultivatelife

brokenness · fear · healing · idols · keep moving forward · lies, deception & manipulation

Without the Idol

I discovered a fear embedded deep within me. I discovered a fear embedded deep within me and it has to go.

It has to go because I need to be free so I can move forward in life.

You see I used to be very good about idolizing people. I used to place all of my faith and myself into humans that didn’t ever deserve that kind of affection and desire because they are HUMAN.

The downfall to all of this is the reality of my fear. Deep within me, I feel that I can’t move forward because the idol is gone but then I’m still convinced I need the idol to be successful.

My soul is lying to me though. And I’m certain I see the truth. I’m certain that I need to move forward without this fear. But a huge piece of me believes I will fail if I move forward without the idol.

But yesterday I made myself sit down and make a list of everything I’ve done in life without the idol. And guess what? The list was long. The list was strong. The list made me realize that I’ve been successfully moving forward without the idol and I need to continue to do so.

And I don’t know if this makes sense to you, but if you’ve ever placed someone on a pedestal in your life then you’ll understand how challenging it can be to move forward without the words they’ve spoken dictating your actions and choices. And so, I hope… I truly hope you can find it within yourself to allow faith and hope in God to become a stronger guide than any human can ever be. And then I hope you move forward and amaze yourself with the things you can accomplish… Freed from every idol that ever held you captive by fear and lies. 🌱 #cultivatelife

brokenness · healing · heart · love of god · pain · refine · relationship

Is It Fixed Yet?

I promised myself I’d pursue more of God’s love … I promised myself I’d pursue more of His love so the brokenness inside of me would mend and I could be made whole.

But I haven’t known where to start.

And then He spoke to me. He spoke to me and gave me a simple solution for my healing.

He told me, “Amanda, I may be able to read your heart and mind, but what’s greater is when you choose to become vulnerable with Me– that’s a special, intimate bonding moment because then I’m not probing around like an intruder… No you’ve given Me direct access to your heart.”

And so I’ve been doing this for a few days now. I’ve really been focusing my attention on what He’s spoken. And guess what?.. I feel lighter. I feel stronger. I feel healthier in my heart than I ever have before. I also feel like the broken areas are being filled with Him and His love.

So if you feel like I’ve felt for a while now, then please know there’s a simple solution for your heart. You need to intentionally express yourself to God. Don’t just assume He knows because He’s God and He “knows the desires of your heart and your every thought.” No, go further than that. Actually lay it all out there for Him. Lay it out there for Him and watch how He responds and fixes what needs mending. ♥️🌱 #cultivatelife

brokenness · heart · love of god · strength

Broken?

It might be a simple truth… But broken things can be moved. Broken things can be shaken, tossed and turned in several different directions at once.

Which is why I believe the only way to take something broken and make it immovable and unshakable is to let God heal it. His perfect love contains the power to heal the most broken of hearts.

You see I thought my brokenness was gone. I’d given so much of it up. So much to the point that I was convinced that I was so whole in Him. But then… Then an intruder came in and shook me around a little. And, rather than staying secure in Him, I let my guard down. I let it down and discovered there was brokenness deep, deep inside of my heart. Brokenness that God’s been trying to heal.

It’s a challenge to let Him heal it though. Sometimes we can live with pain for so long… So long that we become reliant on the pain because it gives us a false sense of life and security.

But I can’t keep holding onto all of this brokenness anymore. It’s hurting me. It’s causing me to stay weak in others and the past, rather than strong in Him.

So I guess I am to pursue more love. More love than I’ve ever known. He keeps telling me to pursue love. That love will fix what hurts so badly. 🌷🌱 #cultivatelife

brokenness · death · family · grief · healing · love of god · pain · restore · strength

I Cry

I laid in bed the night before last and wanted to cry because I felt so weak… So emotional… So caught in the chaos and frustration of life.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Life is good. Life is very, very good. But… Sometimes I just want to cry. Sometimes I do cry. I cry about the loss of life my family has experienced. I cry about how God is going to seemingly continue to restore everything and make sense of the pain I feel. I cry because I am weak, and only made strong and stable through Him alone.

It’s funny, people say to me all the time, “Amanda, you’re so strong. You’ve encountered so much and been through so much adversity. You handle it so well. You’re just so strong.”

And as true as my strength appears, none of it… not a single ounce… is found within myself. God literally allowed my world to shake so hard, to the point that there was nothing left to hold onto but Him.

And so when life reminds me of loss… When it reminds me of pain… When I’m left in a constant haze of “why” followed by streams of tears down my face… Well I remember that He’s there. I remember that God is sitting with me while I sit in my closet and cry, hoping for a solution to this madness called life. I remember that my pursuit of Him is the only solution I’ll ever need because He is the only One that keeps me consistently full, at peace and alive! 💃🏻⚔️🎄 #cultivatelife