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

The Embarrassing Truth

This might sound silly, but… do you walk with God?

Of course I don’t mean physical walking. I mean spiritual walking. Are you spiritually walking with God on a daily basis?

You know if I’m completely honest, I’m embarrassed to say I’ve spent most of my life walking with God. I feel embarrassed because the life of a “walker” is constant and consistent, BUT it’s also very slow. It requires patience. It requires self-control. It requires me to listen more and talk less.

And I guess the height of my embarrassment comes when I start comparing my walk to the way other people are running. And wow… Life is surrounded with hundreds of millions of “fast” runners. Runners that make me feel so small for choosing to walk.

But that’s not me. It never has been. Never will be.

And so if you understand where I’m coming from, I hope you’re encouraged to cultivate confidence in the area of walking with God. Don’t look to the left or the right where our culture pulls us to posses everything around us. Instead, just walk with confidence and courage into the life He’s continues to provide you with. 🌱 #cultivatelife

What Gives God?

How can I confidently stand firm on God and His words and His promises when I have days like yesterday? Moments where I feel impatient and start to flip flop about the promises.

And what about the “bloom?!” God promised I’d see a bloom in my life, but now I feel like He meant the trees around me!!

What gives God? Where are your promises? What’s your delay? What’s the delay? And why do I still have to be still?

In the stillness there’s still growth though… There’s still constant and consistent movement and life.

And even though my soul flips back and forth everyday… I still have hope. I still have joy. I still believe cultivating LIFE in the Kingdom of God is the best way we can choose to live life! 🌱 #cultivatelife #justlive

Stand Still Amanda

I keep hearing God say, “Stand still. Stand firm. Stand secure in Me. We’ve come so far. Don’t waiver to the left or to the right. Don’t get forced forward into the hustle of life. Don’t let the past pull you backwards to its prison. Just stay firm in Me. I am your bedrock.”

But… Can I be honest?

This is a challenge for me. Maybe not as great of a challenge as things of the past, but it’s still a challenge.

And in standing still I feel the enemy of my soul throwing every single thing he can at me… You know, the things he knows would normally move me.

But then I feel this even greater presence inside of me. And the presence says, “Cut the head off of your enemy every single time he approaches you. Don’t even let him breathe around you. He has no power. The only power to be had is My power living inside of you!”

So, I stand still. I stand still and chop off every head of my enemy that comes my way. 🌱 #cultivatelife #justlive

Expansion

I told my mom what God told me about blooming. She, who is always wiser than me, said, “Amanda, I know you’re excited, but remember this is going to be a PROCESS. Just like all of the growth you’ve experienced, blooming will take time. A bud doesn’t open overnight. It takes time to expand as it reveals the colorful world inside.”

You know… She’s absolutely right!

While most growth is painful, blooming is not. BUT it does require expansion. Which, like my mom said, takes TIME.

And if you know me, I get caught up with the time things take to get to where they need to be. Sure, I’ve gotten better over the years, but for the most part I still want things to happen faster than they do.

Blame it on our culture that’s centered on instant gratification I guess.

But in really, I’m not up for playing the blame game. I’m more into learning about the expansion process of the bloom!

It’s interesting too. It seems like all of a sudden timing is right. Timing is good. Timing is in season. So many pieces and parts I’ve hoped and prayed would come together are TRULY coming together.

And though there’s a place in me that’s nervous all the pieces coming together might separate again, I’m choosing to stay uplifted. I’m choosing to be strong in my mind, in my heart and in spirit. Because I believe it’s enough as life continues to expand and bloom.

It’s Fixed!

It’s fixed.

My heart… it’s fixed.

How do I know it’s fixed? I know it’s fixed because I moved forward in life. I spoke to the fear that was trying to convince me to not move forward. I told it to sit down and shut up. I told it that it no longer has power in my life. I told it that I am a whole and complete person without the idols and lies of my past. I told it that I don’t need nor welcome it’s company anymore.

And then I did something… I stepped out again. I stepped out and stepped forward into a completely unknown and unfamiliar arena of life.

You see over the past several months I’ve been allowing God to heal my heart of some deep and delicate pain. Pain that I wasn’t really aware was there. I thought it was gone. I thought I’d dealt with my past.

But you know… Allowing God to work with me and help me process the past has really opened me up to my present and my future. I’ve never felt so capable of thriving like I do in this moment.

And I’m sure there will be moments when my past fears try to break in and lurk around in the depth of my heart. But then I’m even more certain that my healthy heart has the ability to really gain strength now. Strength that will tell my past to stay… Well in the past. 🌱 #cultivatelife

Without the Idol

I discovered a fear embedded deep within me. I discovered a fear embedded deep within me and it has to go.

It has to go because I need to be free so I can move forward in life.

You see I used to be very good about idolizing people. I used to place all of my faith and myself into humans that didn’t ever deserve that kind of affection and desire because they are HUMAN.

The downfall to all of this is the reality of my fear. Deep within me, I feel that I can’t move forward because the idol is gone but then I’m still convinced I need the idol to be successful.

My soul is lying to me though. And I’m certain I see the truth. I’m certain that I need to move forward without this fear. But a huge piece of me believes I will fail if I move forward without the idol.

But yesterday I made myself sit down and make a list of everything I’ve done in life without the idol. And guess what? The list was long. The list was strong. The list made me realize that I’ve been successfully moving forward without the idol and I need to continue to do so.

And I don’t know if this makes sense to you, but if you’ve ever placed someone on a pedestal in your life then you’ll understand how challenging it can be to move forward without the words they’ve spoken dictating your actions and choices. And so, I hope… I truly hope you can find it within yourself to allow faith and hope in God to become a stronger guide than any human can ever be. And then I hope you move forward and amaze yourself with the things you can accomplish… Freed from every idol that ever held you captive by fear and lies. 🌱 #cultivatelife