complain · grow · heart · mature · soul

This is Who I Am

I sat down to pout. I sat down to sulk. I sat down to complain about how frustrated I felt. And then… All in one moment… I stopped myself. I stopped myself and said, “Amanda, you don’t do this anymore. You’ve outgrown this place where you get upset over things that are out of your control. You’ve moved past feeling overwhelmed with “the follow” and where He’s leading you. You no longer contain the capacity to roll your eyes and then sarcastically walk down a somewhat fearful, self-paved road screaming, “What’s next?!?!” You’ve reached a place of maturity and you MUST continually live in it!!!”

Yeah…. That was the inner dialogue between my spirit, heart and soul. My spirit reminding my heart and soul that we don’t sulk around anymore about where God is taking us. Instead, we suit up, take hold of His ever-evolving assignments and move forward like the Warrior Queen He’s been cultivating.

And I don’t know if this resonates with you at all; however, I’m learning that maturity is one of the most attractive virtues to possess because of its steadfastness. It’s just this grand assurance and unwavering confidence, rooted so deeply within that it billows out, “This is who I am!”

And sure, sure maturity seems as though it takes eons to cultivate; however, once we’ve entered that place… Once we’ve come into that promised land, well it’s as if the fruit is everlasting because we have the capacity to stop ourselves when parts of us want to act childish, self-centered or unruly. We can stop ourselves and say, “I’ve been down this road before and it doesn’t produce any good fruit, so I mustn’t go forward.” 🌱 #cultivatelife

cultivation · develop · healing · heart · refine

The Vault

I was in the spirit yesterday morning, praying and talking to God like normal… All of a sudden I saw a large brownish/maroonish/whiteish marbled wall that spanned down a hallway. I didn’t know where I was, so I asked Holy Spirit. He said, “You’re in your Heavenly mansion, and I want to show you something that’s locked inside of the vault of your heart.” 

“Cool!!” I thought. “I wonder what this is all about.”

The next thing I knew I found myself in a very large home my dad built and my family lived in in the early 2000s. As I walked around throughout the house, memories of that season came rushing into my mind. Suddenly, I was overwhelmed with the past. The way it felt. The way it sounded. The way it smelt. All of it was actively present and alive in front of me. 

As I walked around I began to wonder, “Okay, what’s this all about? Why am I here? God, why did you bring me to my Heavenly mansion to unlock the vault of my heart? And what does this season of my life have to do with what’s hidden inside of the vault?”


Then, He very carefully began to explain Himself. He showed me a huge truth I’d kept hidden from myself… An area where I chose to believe a lie, and then never stopped believing it. And, although, I’ve known the truth for years, I’ve chosen to push it further and further away from me. He said, “Amanda, you’ve allowed this lie to define who you are in this moment, but it cannot define you anymore. I want you to let it go. I want you to repent and renounce for cultivating it within the grounds of your heart. And then, then I want you to pick up the truth, plant it on this refined ground and then walk away from here covered in My boldness, confidence, humility and security.”

And so… So that’s what I did. I repented for holding onto the lie for so long. I renounced any stronghold or demonic entanglement I might be caught up in because of it. And then… Then I planted the seed of truth on the grounds of my heart.

And I tell you this story because I hope it encourages you to continue to follow Holy Spirit into hidden parts of yourself so that He may inspect the depths of your heart. Because, even after years of life-giving cultivation, there are STILL areas of our lives He can and will dig up so that we can flourish. And, I know a lot of the time we don’t want to follow Him into the past because it requires reliving things that are uncomfortable; however, the powerful thing about moving forward with Him is the truth that we will thrive on the other side. 🌱 #cultivatelife

heart

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

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

faith · follow · grow · heart · keep moving forward · refine

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

faith · heart · keep moving forward

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 
faith · heart · love of god · power · strength

Strength… Without Asking

I heard God so clearly a few days ago…

“I am giving you a new level of strength today Amanda. You’ll need it for the next season you’re headed into after the new year. You will need Me in a greater way than ever before. You will need to place all of who you are… Who I have molded you into… Into My hands. You must rely on Me and My strength to lift you up and hold you tight.” He said.

Of course just hearing His words caused my heart to swell with gratitude.

Why? Well, I didn’t exactly ask for more strength. Instead, He saw my impending need for it in my next season of life. And, because I entirely trust Him, I willingly accepted His gift of strength.

You see I’m sharing this because I want to encourage you to lean heavily into a relationship with Him… One that truly causes you to develop, mature and grow. And I also want to encourage you to listen, believe and follow through with where He’s leading you: spirit, heart and soul.

Because… If I’m honest, I know I wouldn’t have made it through this chaotic year without the strength He’s been actively cultivating inside of my spirit, heart and soul for years.

Because of Him… Because I’ve chosen to place my life in His hands, I’ve had so much peace as the storms of 2020 have swirled around all of us.

And that’s what I hope and pray for you. I hope you have the faith, courage and humility to say, “I see that our world is a constant mess. I hear the billions of voices and vices screaming for my attention of the regular… Which is why, I really need to lean into You for strength. I need You to survive so that I may thrive in the Kingdom of God.” 🌱⚔️🛡 #cultivatelife

capacity · focus · heart · process

Heaven’s Pace

Last week I told you that God was examining my heart again…

Of course, in the moment I didn’t really understand what the examination was all about. I mean… He does inspect it quite often, but this time… This time felt different. 

So, in true “Amanda form,” I questioned Him about it.

His response, “I’m checking out your capacity. You’ve been asking me for two months to increase your capacity, and I’m ready to do it. So, here I am inspecting the middle ground of your being to make sure it’s prepared to handle the increase of responsibilities I’m sending your way.”

Okay… When I heard this, I was truly excited!

You see over the years I’ve learned that God will not give us more than we contain. Sure, the world’s system has a way of offering us piles of things we aren’t prepared for, but God… God is unique in the fact that He never wants to overwhelm our refinement, development, maturity and growth. Meaning, we can incessantly ask for things, but He’s probably not going to hand them over until we’ve matured into the version of self that He needs us to be.

His process is holy you know?.. It offers us the grace to go at Heaven’s pace. And sure… Sure it takes times to get where we’re going; however, when we do get there, we are able to contain the weight of the responsibilities He’s entrusted us with because we have the capacity to hold it.

And I don’t know if I’m making perfect sense when explaining this; however, I do hope and pray you are inspired to remain focused with where He has you right now. I hope you don’t settle and begin to chase after systems that will ultimately lead to death and destruction of your spirit, soul and heart. Because, I believe, the refinement, development maturity and growth He’s taking you through will provide you with the capacity you need to move forward in every aspect of life. 🌱 #cultivatelife

capacity · focus · grow · heart · process

“Bettering” My Heart

Oh boy… I hear it again, “What’s in your heart Amanda? I’m searching your innermost parts to see what’s planted there and what kind of ground it’s growing on. Are you going to let me have the things that are languishing? Are you going to surrender the fear that’s keeping you from moving forward? And what about the healthy roots that have been established on good ground? Are you going to focus on them and the life they’re giving, or are you going to disregard them because you desire growth in other areas you aren’t ready for yet? Tell me what’s happening inside of you.”

Yes, it’s true. God examines my heart a lot. He inspects the middle ground of my spirit, soul and body more times than I’d like; however, His inspection is always for good measure. He’s always looking to refine areas in me that are broken, afraid and seemingly a little lost. And then He’s constantly prepared to show me other areas that have grown beyond my wildest comprehension.

And, to be quite honest, it’s challenging to listen to God’s plan for “bettering” my heart. But it’s also so good. So good that I have to say, “Okay God, let’s do this! Bring inner healing and deliverance to these areas. Oh, and please teach me how to increase here. I want to thrive at a higher frequency so that I may cultivate a greater capacity for life.

You see I’m sharing this because I hope you have a similar relationship with Him. I hope you live and operate from a real, true spiritual reality, rather than the false reality that’s marketed to us on the regular.

Because living through the lens of God’s reality means that we are constantly and consistently willing to lean into the Kingdom of God and all it has to offer us. It means we meet every challenge He presents us with with gladness in our hearts. Because, when we do… When we truly begin to live from His perspective, well I believe we will cultivate lives (spirit, soul, heart and body) beyond our wildest dreams. 🌱♥️ #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