death · heart · love of god · power

Receiver

I walked 16.8 miles last Wednesday, June 2. At the top of my walk, I stumbled on a bed of pink peonies and my heart was immediately elated. I squealed with excitement and joy when I saw them because they are my favorite flower. Everything about them is absolutely lovely. And so, I decided to pick one… But then one didn’t seem like enough, so I picked four more. Of course, I knew I would be walking at least 14 miles, so it seemed silly to pick them. But I didn’t care. I wanted to carry them. I wanted to hold them close to my heart. They were a gift. A gift I knew Father God led me to in a moment when I needed it the most.

Now June 2 is unique to me because it’s the day my life changed forever… It’s the day I lost my dad, but it’s also the day I was thrust into a life of deeper intimacy with God.

You see I had to learn how to rely on Him more than ever before. I had to learn how to be a good receiver of His unconditional love and grace.

And though it was somewhat challenging at first, I’ve learned that it’s far greater to receive than to give. Yes, giving is vital; however, how can we give if we haven’t received from God first? I mean, isn’t the entire gospel a gift within itself for mankind? Something we could never actually afford, but must humbly and graciously receive.

And so, you see, my entire life and relationship with Father God is based around me being a good receiver of Christ first and foremost. Receiving the truth that my entire self: spirit, soul, heart and body was (and in some places still is) languishing, broken and dead until I receive/received the fullness of Christ on a trans-dimensional level. Receiving the truth that my human spirit is now alive, active and capable of kicking ass because she’s been given power, dominion and authority to rule and reign over the heavens and the earth. Receiving the truth that my entire being will forever be in a place of refinement, development, maturity and growth as I cultivate life with Holy Spirit leading me.

And you know, I love that. I love that God, in His absolute nature, is good. So good that He eternally gives just hoping we will eventually receive. 

Because, when we do… When we finally receive enough of Him to refine, restore and redeem all of our brokenness and death, then we can do like I did at the end of my 16.8-mile walk… I tossed my flowers into the Hudson River. I let go of them with the understanding that they had fulfilled their purpose, and now needed to be freely given for someone/something else to freely receive. 🌱

authority & dominion · darkness · death · demonic · iniquity · power

The Languishing Leviathan

It’s been a full decade since I was awakened to real, true evil and darkness…

As I leaned over the hospital bed to pray for my frail grandmother a thick, firm voice snapped back at me, “I raised you!” All in one moment it hit me, the voice coming from the bed wasn’t my grandmother’s. I could just tell by the strong and distinctly strange inflection in her tone and the dark, spine-chilling look in her typically piercing, crystal-blue eyes. Very quickly I responded, “You’re right. My grandmother raised me and YOU raised me too.” Then from the bed came a wicked laughter I’d never heard before and a very prideful response, “You’re right Amanda. I DID RAISE YOU.” I couldn’t believe my ears in that moment. For the first time in my life, I was awakened to the truth that I was spiritually staring back at some type of dark, demented and deeply twisted Leviathan who was bent on suppressing my life, my relationship with God and my purpose.

And, then to realize someone I idolized was entangled with something so dark and twisted. Gosh, it made my head spin and my heart hurt. And then to consider that “it” helped raise me… All I could do in that moment was begin to desperately cry from the depth of my spirit in hopes that my grandmother would be awakened to the truth too.

So, I left the hospital that day filled with a great deal of grief and confusion, yet I was clearly awakened to the reality that there was more going on in the supernatural realms of life. And, for the first time, I had personally experienced it. No one was sharing their experiences. The truth was right in front of me.

You see this specific experience began a long and some-what challenging journey I didn’t feel I was prepared to go on. Let’s just say I wanted to pretend that my family and I were completely free of the demonic because we believed in Christ, operated in authority and knew so much about the spirit realm; however, that was a terrible lie from the languishing Leviathan who helped secretly raise me.

Now, over time I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter how close we believe we are to God and His Kingdom or how much we think we know about Him because demonic influence can be present and fully operating in our lives. And, 100% of the time, the demonic is there without us even realizing it because generational iniquity is passed down in the supernatural and then given access to our lives.

So, what are we supposed to do? Well, if it weren’t for my expressed belief in Jesus, Leviathan would have continued to suppress my spiritual gifts and prevented me from flourishing and thriving on a spiritual plane of life. I mean he was definitely trying to. However, his opportunity was squashed the moment I realized I needed to fully exercise my authority purchased through Jesus. So, through a Holy Spirit led process I began to work with the Godhead to gain freedom and take back all that the demonic had stolen.

So now some of you might be thinking, “Does this mean someone that has a relationship with Jesus can also be suppressed and oppressed by the demonic? How is that possible when He’s around? Amanda, there’s no way. You’ve got to be kidding me!” And I’m here to tell you, with all that I have learned and experienced over the past decade, someone that has a relationship with Jesus can definitely have several relationships with demonic entities and not even realize it.

You see, if we aren’t accessing the fullness of Jesus and His power properly, then yes… Yes, we WILL walk under the influence of darkness, death and decay from the inside out because we are made: spirit, soul, heart and body. And, if we do not take responsibility of our spiritual lives by fully leaning into them and then allowing Jesus to free us from all of our spiritual entanglements (yes, even the generational ones), then yes, we will absolutely be entangled with the demonic.

And I’m not sharing this to stir anyone up or cause grief. I’m sharing this because I have spent an entire decade walking in more freedom, joy, love and life than I ever imagined was possible. Plus, my relationship with the Godhead and my connection to the supernatural is so much more powerful and stronger since I dropped my pride and fear and just allowed Holy Spirit to lead me into the fullness of the finished work of Jesus. 🌱 #cultivatelife

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

darkness · death · heart · pride · process · refine

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

darkness · death · demonic · freedom · Fullness of Jesus · healing

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

death · flourishing · heart · languishing

If Truth Called, Would You Answer?

If truth called, would you answer?

Could you tell her what’s happening inside of you right now?

Could you explain to her what you believe in, who you believe in and why you believe?

Would you be able to examine your life and explain who/what placed these beliefs in your mind and why?

And what about your spirit and soul? If you opened up to truth would she find death, decay and a life that’s languishing? Or would she find a glorious, pure and flourishing life that’s capable of giving more life to those around him/her?

And… Most importantly, if truth called, would you be able to boldly say, “My beliefs drive me closer to human connection and the divine rather than farther away?”

I ask all of these questions because I believe having an honest, transparent answer to each one is vital. I also believe truth… Truth is searching for individuals that are confident enough to answer her call with a bold heart ♥️🌱 #cultivatelife

 

death · freedom · Mind · refine · soul

Kingdom of Lies

Lies… Deception… Manipulation… Layers upon layers rest upon my soul. And so my soul feels confused.

But then, my soul doesn’t want a fragment of falseness. My soul wants truth. My heart and spirit crave truth too. But then my mind fears the truth because the lies sound so good and feel so powerful and strong. The lies have been given so much weight and support with my thoughts and my words. I’ve helped cultivate this kingdom of lies.

But the fruit… It isn’t good. The fruit just causes more pain, heartache and disappointment. And even when I try to believe the pain is for a purpose, I find myself more manipulated and deceived than I was before. Constantly pacing in mental hell as I scream, “Why?!!!”

But I hear God. I hear Him clearly when He says, “Why would I lead you down a path of deception and manipulation? Why would I bring pain and confusion to your soul? I want you healthy and whole. So let go.”

And so… I let go. 🌱 #cultivatelife #justlive

darkness · death · just live · vulnerability

One Present Moment

Can I be honest?… I think about life and death A LOT!

Seriously though… I think about the reality of mortality and what it means to be fully alive on the inside constantly.

Now, recently the Holy Spirit said, “Just live this summer Amanda. Take the next three months and really focus your attention on living.” Of course I needed to know what He meant… So I asked, and this is what He said…

“When you focus your attention on the past, you’re focusing on death. When you focus your attention on the future, you’re too focused on life. I’m asking you to focus your attention… To focus all of who you are on living. And to focus yourself on living is to focus on just being. I know it’s a lot to ask… Especially with your culture, and the anticipation it has to be in tomorrow. But I just need you to do this. I need you to continue to cultivate this habit until it becomes your lifestyle.”

And I don’t really know how this will shift who I am; however; I’ve already begun to realize how stupid I am for ignoring the present.

You see if you’re anything like me then you’ll understand what it feels like to be miserably obsessed with getting to tomorrow. It’s a constant state of not allowing today to be enough because we’ve been taught to fear being content with the present. It’s almost like it’s taboo to say, “I’m choosing to be fully present today.”

But you know… If I can’t get my mind off of tomorrow and I’m constantly thinking about what it will produce, well then I think I’ll wake up one day in my 70s and realize I’ve wasted my life away by being too concerned about tomorrow. I’ll miss the opportunity life gave me to just live and be fully alive from the inside out.

And I’m not saying choosing to just live means I’m going to become lazy or inactive… But what I am saying is I’m trying to make a better attempt at fully leaving the past in the past and allowing the future to unfold one present moment at a time. 🌱 #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