develop · grow · keep moving forward · refine

Uncertain Growth

The length of the season I’m in seems shorter than ever now. I do realize my path will eventually change course and evolve into something else. I don’t know when. I don’t know how. But I am certain.

Now, in the midst of the certainty, there is great uncertainty.

You see I am certain of God. I am certain of His character, His love, His fellowship and His grace. I am certain of Jesus and His power that propels us into a greater, fuller, freer, healthier life. And I am most definitely certain of Holy Spirit and His ability to be constantly and consistently present. However, the uncertainty… The uncertainty grows.

Actually, this is uncertain growth. It’s a level of spiritual maturity I wasn’t prepared to encounter and embrace. It’s a paradigm shifting moment where Holy Spirit is saying, “Okay, you’ve followed Me for more than a decade. You’ve followed Me in the midst of your brokenness, insecurities, disappointments, pride and pain. And now, now that you’ve walked through all of that, you are standing in a place of glory. You are standing in a position of holiness that is asking you to leave the past behind and let go of your fear of your future. Follow Me in the fullness of that healing and restoration now.”

And so, you see I can’t consider past pain or future failures anymore. This season of stillness has brought me into a place of inner stillness that promises I will move forward, but my soul will stay still. It will not dig up the past in an attempt to interrogate it on end, and it will not leap forward into a hypothetical future. Instead, I will remain still, steadfast, moving ever so forward.

And I believe there is so much to be gained when we view Holy Spirit through this lens. Because, honestly, He cannot be fully understood or quantified. His integrative power is too focused on moving forward with the Father’s plan to restore and fulfill. 

And I guess what I am trying to say is this… Cultivating a deep-rooted relationship with Holy Spirit takes time. It takes time for us to learn how to trust Him. It takes time for Him to know that He can trust us. And it takes time for His intricate process of restoration and redemption to be worked out inside of us. However, after many seasons of following His process of refinement, we will find ourselves in a place of maturity where He says, “Okay, now follow the uncertain, unexplainable, significant nature of My presence, My glory and My heart. Follow it. Trust it. And know, that no matter how fast or slow it might be moving, it is spectacular and full of life!” 🌱

develop · grow · heart · mature · refine · vulnerability

Delighted

I cried myself to sleep last night. And there’s nothing wrong with me in the least bit. Really and truly, I am healthy and seeking more inner refinement, development, maturity and growth daily. All of my needs are being met. I have more than enough and I feel very satisfied with where God is leading me; however, at the very same time, I hear Him asking me to step out in more faith… To follow Him down the jagged path of uncertainty a little bit farther. 

And so, that’s where I find myself. My spirit, who is always eager to blaze a trail forward, says, “Let’s do this! Let’s walk forward! I am ready!!” But then my soul… my soul is definitely a dramatic whiner. I’ve definitely conditioned it to complain about the process of cultivation.

So they have this little duel which starts with me crying, but then ends with me thanking God for His goodness and His intricate way of working things out in me.

Now… You might be wondering what He’s asking of me, and while I do intend to tell you, first I want to remind you of something I shared a few months ago. The writing was entitled “The Vault,” and it focused on Holy Spirit removing a deep-seated lie inside of my heart. A lie I cultivated very, very, very well and then allowed to define me. 

Well, since digging up that deep-seated lie and planting truth on the grounds of my heart, I’ve felt significantly better; however, I still haven’t had the foggiest idea what “truth” was planted. He never really said. He just said, “Plant truth.” So, I picked up a bag marked “truth” and placed the seed in the ground of my heart.

Now it should come as no surprise that the seed is beginning to spring forth…. And I see it. Oh boy do I see it! So, what is it? It’s a truth that’s begging that I only delight in God. 

I hear it saying, “You aren’t here to impress anyone or anything but God. So, stop looking to the left and to the right for approval. Instead, keep your eyes focused on Him. Focus on the projects, businesses and ventures He’s assigned you to. Your life’s goal is to bring delight to Him in all you do. And, that delight, it needs to echo from the frequency of your heart. It needs to etch itself into the very fabric of your soul. It needs to become the very culture you communicate to the world around you.”

And so it will. 🌱 #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

capacity · grow · healing · keep moving forward · refine

Capacitate

Yesterday, I caught myself looking very intently at old photos…. And they gripped me in such a way that I thought, “I don’t even see myself in these photos anymore. The person I see in these photos is just an image… A mirage… A shell of me in a once lived life. A girl who was searching very deeply for identity, security and belonging. A young woman who needed to be completely stripped down and cleansed of her brokenness, confusion, selfishness and deep-rooted pride.”

And now I do realize we don’t all look at our past selves, only in an effort to compare it to our present selves. However, well… I do because I love to track my growth rate.

Which is why sometimes… Sometimes I wish I could travel to the past and tell that girl, “Hey you, you’re gonna go through a lot of challenging processes, but they will refine you. They will develop and mature you. They WILL cause you to grow. Actually they will propel you to grow in such a way that you’ll feel isolated A LOT. And you’ll feel misunderstood even more. However, your capacity…. Amanda, your capacity to move forward with the plans and the will of God… Wow! It will grow! You will be able to take on more than you ever imagined… More than you ever schemed up in all of those phone calls… Yeah, the capacity God’s going to instill and install inside of you will be so voluminous. So don’t stop. Don’t ever stop growing!”

And you know… I say all of this in this moment because I am wrestling deeply with capacity. I’ve been asking God for months to grow it… To give me a greater understanding of how it works… And He’s been very reliable in answering. But the feeling of growth… The amount of pressure it takes for one to reach the maximum amount one can contain or produce… Gosh it is a challenging process.

However, I do believe… I truly, truly believe it is so very healthy to outgrow who we were years ago, months ago or even a few weeks ago. Because if we’re ever going to truly thrive the way God intended us to, then we MUST be willing to capacitate. We must be willing to stare ourselves down in the mirror and say, “I don’t know who you’re becoming or how you’re going to get there, but you will move forward. You will grow. And you will do it with Holy Spirit leading the way!” 🌱 #cultivatelife #keepmovingforward

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

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

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

bitterness · heart · refine

Bitter-fully Good

Have you ever faced off with bitterness before?

If so, then you’ll understand the constant, alienating feeling of being “wronged.”

But, what happens when the bitterness you’re experiencing is aimed at God?

You see… I’ve been asking myself this question for two weeks now because He’s called me to a higher level of obedience and trust in Him.

However, my selfish ways want things that oppose His ways. The selfish pieces of my heart keep reminding me of how unjust and unfair I believe He’s being towards me.

And… In all honesty, I’m blinded. Blinded by my self. Blinded by my will. Blinded by my desires and ways.

But… I’m also tired. I’m tired of being hostile with my best friend. I don’t like feeling like He’s wronged me when, deep down, my heart knows He’s truly good.

Actually… His goodness is the very reason I keep giving Him my will and selfish ways and desires. His goodness is what keeps leading pieces of my selfish heart to a place of repentance and peace.

And so… Well that’s why I am sharing this. To remind you, wherever you are, to stay focused on Him at all times. And to choose His will over every other thing that’s presented before you. Because He… He is ALWAYS good! 🌱 #cultivatelife

develop · follow · grow · keep moving forward · refine

Fully Grasp It

Do you wanna know what moving forward with Holy Spirit looks like for me right now?

It’s choosing to FULLY trust in everything He’s cultivated inside of me.

Yep… I feel challenged deep in my spirit to believe… To FULLY believe in the LIFE He’s helped me refine, develop, nurture, mature and grow.

And, honestly the challenge I feel feels… Well It feels large.

Actually… It’s like there’s a giant tree standing in front of me. A tree that’s blossoming and blooming fruit, flowers and shades of life and glory I never realized existed until I encountered them.

And I’m having to FULLY grasp the truth that everything I see is going on inside of me at this very moment!

And I don’t know where you are right now. My greatest hope is that you’re filled with so much life it’s flowing out of you and touching the lives of those you encounter. However, if you do feel like me, if you’re having trouble believing in what you see… Then PLEASE be encouraged to ask Holy Spirit to reveal truth to you. Please ask Him to fully reveal the LIFE He’s cultivated inside of your heart. And, if you realize there are areas that are languishing and dying, PLEASE be encouraged to ask Jesus to restore them… To restore them totally and completely 🌱 #cultivatelife