Body · cultivation · freedom · healing · just live · love of god · restore · soul · Spirit

A Decade in the Making

Okay… Today, I hit the decade mark of losing 100 lbs! So… What does it mean to me to look at the girl on the left, the young woman on the right and the woman in the middle? Well… To me the three make up a cultivated lifestyle of restoration and freedom.

When I finished losing the weight, I didn’t realize I’d spend the next 10 years allowing Jesus to refine, develop, mature and grow me as a whole.

So when I look at these three photos I don’t see me… Instead I see Him… I see what He’s done in me.

You see, He’s taken a girl who was incredibly insecure, fearful, anxious, prideful, selfish, jealous and bitter… And He’s transformed her into a woman that’s confident, secure, courageous, at peace with the unknown, humble (I still struggle), selfless, grateful and full of joy towards others and myself!

When I started this journey I thought I knew Jesus. I thought I knew Father God. I thought I knew the Holy Spirit. I grew up believing in them, but life and death have taught me that I didn’t know them at all because I hadn’t experienced them on a personal level.

So today I can confidently say they are my foundation and source of life. Together, they constantly keep me strong, healthy and secure. While the past versions of me desperately searched for identity and security, today I believe I stand still on the truth that I can’t be shaken, tossed or turned. My life and all that I am is in Him.

And while the world around me continues to try to show me why I’m not thin enough, thick enough, tan enough, flawless enough, beautiful enough, smart enough, successful enough or even “godly” enough… Well guess what? His opinion of me is all that matters. And He says, “You’re more than enough Amanda because I’ve helped you become a new creation and given you new life through Christ.” 🌱 #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

love of god · strength

Lovely Perception

Can I be honest for a moment? I honestly see no real need for Valentine’s Day. I mean if you want to spend a day wasting more time, money and energy on those you love to prove you love them… Then go ahead and add pink and red hearts to your narrative. But, you see it’s all really a little much for me.

However, since we’re talking about love, I believe it’s important to mention something I’ve been going through lately.

You see I have this place inside of me that constantly feels like there’s no one there to take care of me. Since I’m unmarried, without a boyfriend and my dad’s dead… Well I constantly feel like no one has my back at all.

Now, I always feel protected by God and the supernatural… But when it comes to feeling like someone cares about my emotional needs and thoughts, well I just feel unsupported.

And I know I’m supposed to gain all of this from Father God, but lately I’ve been really angry with Him about life… So then it’s hard to think that He really cares.

However, the other night some things that could’ve been a complete failure equated to success. And… Well… Honestly, the success had everything to do with God having my back. He was in my corner in a moment when I needed Him the most by making sure everything was seemingly seamless.

So now I find myself in this place…. A place that’s forcing me to admit that I’ve misperceived God and His love for me.

And… Well, I don’t want to do that anymore. I need better perception. 🌱🌷 #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

brokenness · healing · love of god · strength

She Can’t Be Moved

Everything with God feels like a challenge lately. Every part of following His plan for my life continues to come with unscalable walls that I can’t seem to bust through without His help.

And the past two weeks… The past two weeks have had my spirit and soul deeply wondering what I’m truly doing and what’s next.

I also knew I needed to break through something. And… He did tell me a breakthrough was coming; however, I didn’t understand what it was or what would bring it.

And then in the middle of my Monday it appeared. This heavy conversation tried to tear at my heart and soul apart… It tried its hardest to make me feel like I made a mistake, but it was unable to actually succeed.

Instead I found myself resting on truth. I found myself holding onto the reality that God is the only true love I will ever need. Nothing and no one can fill me up like He can. I will only find wholeness and completeness in Him.

And for so long I’ve wanted to believe the opposite is true. I’ve wanted to fill my life with someone that would solve my problem of feeling alone… I’ve wanted someone to just take care of me.

But then how can broken people actually make broken people whole and complete? They cannot. Only a whole and complete God can.

And so… Despite the pain and insecurity that tried their hardest to tear my heart apart, I’m happy to report that I’m standing firm on the only structure and source I know will always keep me safe, protected and truly loved.

brokenness · darkness · death · freedom · grief · healing · love of god

Thanks Death

I’m not one to wallow and get down about life and what I’ve lost, but lately I’ve found myself missing my dad more than I can explain. It’s sometimes unsettling the way he’s constantly on my mind, and then I’m forced to think about my reality. My mind begins to remind me that death happened, but that life has continued to go on around me.

And though it is so challenging to understand why he died so young. And though I miss him and the life my family had before he was taken from this earth… Well I am still so grateful to have experienced death.

You see there’s just something so motivating to me about death. I believe death is a being, and I believe anytime we experience him we must respect him even though he’s been so seemingly disrespectful to us.

You see death left an imprint on my life. He left an imprint so wide and so deep that it sometimes felt unbearable to breathe again.

However, since my dad’s death I’ve been thrusted into this place of living. A place that’s forced me to stare down death and decide that I will not allow my experience with him to define me in a negative way, but in a positive one.

Because of death I live freer. I love harder. I think more in-depth. I take risks. I consider others. And though he’s helped toss my world upside down, I give more. I’ve gained more. I stop and think of others and where they might be in life because there is a compassion inside of me that wasn’t there before I met him.

And… Although it’s so challenging to not become angry and bitter with God, I’ve found myself more connected to Him than ever before. He’s shown me what true love is. And within that true love I never feel truly broken or without.

And though I don’t know where you stand today, what you’ve lost or how utterly broken you may feel… Please know this. I believe it’s very healthy to feel every ounce of death. But then I also believe it’s so healthy to live life to it’s very fullest. To love with every part of our hearts we can love with. And though it’s challenging to forgive and not become angry with God, I’ve found that He will fill in the broken and battered pieces when we’re ready to let Him in again.

love of god · refine · soul · vulnerability

Undesirable?..

Why is it so challenging to admit how we really feel on the inside? Why does it feel like a battle to express that we don’t like who we are in this present moment of life?

You see, for the most part, I love who I’ve become as I cultivate life with God… But then there’s this deep part of me that deeply struggles with feeling unwanted and undesirable. Honestly, it’s a root in my life that’s was planted a long time ago… And it’s grown into this awful creature that tries its best to dictate and control a portion of my life.

But you know what? I’m tired of it. I’m tired of feeling this way. I’m ready to feel the opposite of how I’m feeling now.

And I get it… God has to restore this part of my life so that He can fill me with more of His love and then make me healthy and whole on the inside, but then I do wonder… What will I be like on the other side of this? What will I have to surrender to Him so that I can be whole in this area once and for all? And will the surrender be a challenge for me at all?

And honestly, I believe it’s been a challenge to surrender this. I mean I’ve known this area and allowed in to define me for at least 24 years. However, if I don’t let it go… Well then I can never truly become all that God has created me to be. And I also will never fully know what it means to live a life where you feel wanted and desired. So I guess… Well I guess it’s time to let it go to the wind.

courage · Fullness of Jesus · love of god · value & worth

Worthy Queen?

Yesterday I shared about how I’ve been facing this deep feeling of unworthiness lately. Then this morning I came across the image below and thought, “Wow, this image truly captures how I feel right now.”

You see in areas of my life I can only seem to focus on the places where I don’t seem to add up and make sense. But, right now, I’m so deeply pushed by the Holy Spirit to press past this place of unworthiness. Because I believe when I get past this place I’ll realize that the things I feel about value and worth will actually help me understand a deeper level of Jesus and His love for me.

So much of the time it’s easy to get caught up in the idea that we are flawed and full of holes… But you know, if we didn’t look like the photo above then there’d be no real reason for Jesus and eternal life. Because even if the reasons I feel unworthy never go away… Well I believe He can still bring beauty and life to the places that appear to be lacking and filled with shame and unworthiness.

And I don’t know if what I’m saying makes any sense at all. I’m really just a human that feels deeply frustrated that I’ve put so much value into the way one person has viewed me in the past. And I just want to let it all go now… So that the way God and Jesus view me and see me is the only thing I hold value and worth in as I continue to cultivate life. #cultivatelife #justlive #value #worth

Fullness of Jesus · love of god · relationship

Cake Box Love…

 Love… What is it?… We all crave it… We all innately need it in the core of our very being… Spirit, soul and body, we are longing for love…

But not the love that we are so earnest to spread right now… The type of love we are so eager to spread right now is cheap… It’s surface… It’s not nourishing us on a spiritual level…

Think about this…

When we bake and then eat a box cake (you know like Betty Crocker or Duncan Hines), we are mainly baking it and eating it because it is simple… It’s easy to for us to whip up, throw in the oven and then eat… But the downside is, box cake is addicting… It’s filled with refined sugar and white flour… It might be really appealing and pleasant in the moment, but it really has no nourishing effect on our body…

But… When we take the time to bake a cake from scratch, using all natural ingredients… Our experience is different… Because the time we take to use natural ingredients ensures that our bodies will be nourished…

And… This… This is how I think of love…

Right now, we stand at a time where we are purchasing “cake box” love… Cheap, addictive love… Love that doesn’t truly nourish us on the inside… This love seems like a good thing… It’s cheap to make, cheap to consume, cheap to give and cheap to the soul…

However, there is a love out there, a love that surpasses this instant, cheap and ever addicting “cake box” love we are creating, consuming and passing around…

This love is truly authentic…

It hasn’t been changed by man… It hasn’t been wrecked by religion… It is clean… It is nourishing and uplifting to our soul… It is good… It takes time to cultivate… It, in it’s very essence, is from the very heart of God…

And I don’t mean to be the one shinning a light on this “cake box” love… But it has got to go…

We now need, more than ever, to find a way to create, consume and give away authentic, long-lasting love… Because this cheap “cake box” love will never truly be enough…

And, so if you see at all what I mean by this, I genuinely hope a spirit of authentic love comes into your life and that you feel inspired and motivated to give it away to those you come in contact with… Because this love… This love is always good… It is constantly consistent to our soul…