faith · heart · love of god · Spirit

Containment

I’ve tried to write what’s on my heart so many times. I’ve deleted what I’ve said because of the fear of sounding “harsh.” But… You know what? I have to say what’s jumbling around inside.

Do you ever stop and think, “What’s in God’s heart? How does He see our world? What are His solutions? What kind of life-giving, spirit-driven solution can He provide us with in this moment of time?”

If so, do you ever get an answer? If you do get an answer, do you keep following the narrow path of that answer with more questions? And if you’re still on that path of seeking answers with questions, have the answers produced a life-giving harvest around you and those close to you?

You see I’m asking because I’ve made a commitment to seek what’s contained in His heart in all circumstances. And though it’s challenging… And though I do fail a lot… I’ve promised myself I’ll move forward with my spirit, heart and soul fixated on faithfully following through with His desires. Truly living from each unprecedented milestone to the next.

So, you can then maybe understand why my heart feels grieved when I look around and see that my generation and our culture is completely overrun with materialism, self-centeredness and the goal of becoming a mini-god of sorts.

Y’all… We are missing it. A relationship with God isn’t an “add-on” at the end of the menu. He isn’t a side dish that we consume with the rest of our meals. He’s not our meaningful thought to “feel better” for a moment. And He’s most certainly not intended to revolve around our self-centered nature. 

What happened to relationship with Him? Where did the truth that Jesus heals go? Where is our passion for seeking His glory as a solvent in all situations? Where is our devotion for and submission to following Holy Spirit’s lead, no matter how uncertain it seems? Where is our faith for believing Him for the next step no matter the sacrifice? Where is our trust in believing He will provide us with the strength necessary to carry the weight of what He’s asking us to do? 

It is grieving to see a nation filled with problems He can and will solve, if only we will let Him lead and stop intruding our soulish thoughts and emotions into His processes. 

And again, maybe I am harsh in what I’m saying; however, following Him has never been a disappointment. He has always, always provided a way. He has always provided more than enough finances to meet my every need. And He’s always given the next step, chapter and season when He knows it’s time.

And so, I’m writing this to remind you… Lay down the materialism. Let go of the self-centeredness. Give up the idea of becoming a mini-god. It’s not worth it. As enchanting and illusive as it all seems, it’s not of spiritual value. 

What’s of spiritual value can’t be added up in the tangible. It can’t be purchased with views, likes and comments. What’s of spiritual value is an eternal connection contained inside of a very real, very loving, very vulnerable and very humble God. 🌱

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. 🌱

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

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

disappointment · healing · lies, deception & manipulation · love of god · redeem · refine · restore

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

heart · love of god

What’s In Your Heart?

“What’s in the depth of your heart Amanda?”

That’s what Father God seems to be searching for right now.

Since November started, I have had pivotal moments where I can sense Father God weighing my heart.

It all started with Him checking for idol worship. He gave me a task to do and I waited 24+ hours to follow through. Somehow the idol’s voice still seemed to carry a little bit of weight in my heart. But… Well… I pushed through and followed what Holy Spirit asked.

And, you know… I really don’t have to share any of this with you. What happens in my heart and yours is very personal. Especially what’s between us and God.

However, I believe we’ve all entered a time where God is beginning to weigh all of our hearts. I believe He’s searching for a remnant of people who have allowed Him to be at the very center of his or her life. A group that is separate unto Him… One that doesn’t allow self, religion, entertainment, fame or fortune to dictate his/her moves. A group that says, “I will do your will regardless of what he/she does, says or thinks… I will follow you regardless of what money says I can or cannot do.”

And so I hope, I really truly hope when He comes to weigh your heart, He finds a spotless one… One full of the real, true Jesus, Holy Spirit and Father God… And not the false, counterfeit “lights” that seem to be multiplying as they deceive and manipulate the masses.

A heart that’s patiently waiting to be used for the real, true Kingdom of God. ♥️🌱 #cultivatelife #justlive

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

develop · grow · love of god

Ever-Growing

What’s real? What’s true? What’s eternally lovely and ever-growing? That… That is love.

However… It’s not human love. For human love is too faulty. Too futile. It’s too fatal.

You see this love, this love is pure. This love is whole and complete because it’s structured for one place and one place only.

What’s that place you may ask? That place is the heart.

Deep beneath the surface of the skin… Beneath the layers of the ill-beaten soul lies the heart. And it… It is THE prime real estate of the spirit. A place so deep and intimate I’m convinced no man or woman can fully know it.

You see I believe our hearts are created to contain a love that’s so powerful, so magnificent, so great that we cannot help but constantly be overrun with the joy of the Lord when we are consumed with it.

For this love… His love… It brings healing. It brings peace. It brings restoration. It stops anxiety and depression and calamity of all sorts in its tracks. It can stand on every single battlefield and win the war when darkness seems to overshadow life.

It’s the love of Father God. It’s the love that Jesus walked this earth in. It’s what I feel coming off of Holy Spirit when I’m in His presence. It’s the sweetest, most beautiful thing I’ve ever known. And it’s made… It crafted for me and for YOU! ♥️🌱 #cultivatelife #cultivatelove

challenge · glory · goodness of god · love of god · pride

The Leak Factor

I watched honey run down the side of my breakfast this morning and I immediately thought of a phrase I’ve coined… “The Leak Factor.”

I guess it’s been at least 6 years now since I’ve been using it… And no I didn’t create it, an old friend did.

You see he once said, “Amanda, you have to stay aware of what’s leaking out of you and onto others. Because what’s inside of you will eventually come out. And you want that stuff to be good! You want it to lift people up, not tear them down.”

Now honestly, in the moment I was kind of irritated because I knew he was pointing at the pride, jealousy and insecurity that was “leaking” out of me onto others.

But today… Today I’m really fond of the leak factor. I almost always think of it before I open my mouth or share anything in a social media setting… Because, well, I believe there’s enough hate, brokenness, bitterness, wickedness and insecurity leaking out of people into this world.

And so… I constantly challenge myself to cultivate a heart that’s full of peace, joy and, most importantly, the love found in the heart of Father God.

And I don’t know where you are today? I don’t know what you’re leaking onto others… Hopefully it’s good… Hopefully it’s lovely… Hopefully it promotes life! However, I do challenge you to ask yourself, “What’s leaking out of me and onto others?” 🧐🌱 #cultivatelife