soul · Spirit · truth

Come Up Here

”Gosh… It’s so beautiful up here. Up here above the chaos below.” That’s what I said to God as I peered out the window from the airplane. It was flying high above what looked like Heaven below.

And He’s been saying, “Come higher with Me.” And I’ve been arguing back, “No. No. NO! Because I don’t know what’s up there. And I have to let go of SO much more of what I want in life. This isn’t fair!”

God’s will… His view of what my life should continue to look like… It’s so freaking complex and misunderstood by my human mind. And… Honestly, it really takes me living through my spirit, rather than my soul and mind to continue to follow Holy Spirit where He’s leading.

But, through the deep struggle in my soul, I push through and relentlessly follow.

And now… Now I can begin to see what He’s been talking about… The reasons why He’s been asking me to, “come higher” and “cultivate life from a state of Heaven.”

And I know it sounds a little strange, but this place we just climbed to has more peace than I ever fathomed could be cultivated within myself. It’s just this constant, weightless feeling that I can’t describe with any single word but “Heavenly.”

Nothing really bothers me up here. My eyes are focused on Him and His will and I’m not overtaken with fear, stress, anxiety and worry. It’s just so still… Even though I have no clue what “next” is.

And I don’t know if this is where you are today. I don’t know what your relationship and path with God look like; however, I just want to speak from a place of encouragement and experience when saying this… Keep following Him. I know He’s frustrating and sees things in such a different WAY than we do, but when we truly trust and follow through wholeheartedly, I believe the destination is so incredibly rewarding. And no, no it doesn’t ever consist of a destination of power, fame or fortune. But it does consist of what we need for basic living… Which are the tools to continue to LIVE and cultivate a healthy lifestyle with Him 🌱 #cultivatelife

Confidence · Spirit · truth

“Help. Me.”

“Help. Me.” is what I quietly screamed at my sister across the gym yesterday. The weight I tried to load onto my shoulders for lunges was entirely too heavy for me to lift.

Of course she quickly looked at me like, “What am I supposed to do Amanda?! You think I can help you lift 80 pounds?!”

But she did. My sister helped me pick up the weight and then together we placed it on it’s stand.

And that’s what this entire journey has been… A constant series of two sisters helping each other move forward right when the other seems like she might crumble.

Those are the things no one sees though… The moments where we both want to give up because God’s system for living isn’t working the way we imagined it would.

You see it seemed so simple when He showed me a picture of the outcome. But then I didn’t consider that my choices would lead me to a place that would look like this for so long. I didn’t realize there would be years and years and years of refusing to cave.

And I also didn’t realize my response would consistently be… “Well, I consulted God and He said, ‘No. No, don’t do that. Don’t sell out. Don’t go that route. Don’t buy into what’s cheap, fake and entirely insecure. Keep following me. It will all come together in My timing Amanda. You have to keep trusting Me.”

And so I do… We both do. Actually we all three do. Mom included. Even with the soul-ripping, sudden loss of dad. We have chosen to band tighter to God and go even higher with Him and His ways.

And sure… Sure it hasn’t been easy. But I can promise you this… My choice to trust God and take risks with Him and His ways have been the best choices I’ve ever made because they’ve made me confident, secure, whole, complete and at peace with the out-of-control world around me. And no, no He doesn’t always make sense. And yes, yes spirituality is almost always terrifying because it means we have to let go and trust in things we might not believe are real. But I just want to encourage you to trust that He’s there. Trust that He’s waiting to lift the 80 pounds you cannot lift alone off of your shoulders. And trust that He will guide you after the weight is gone so you can #cultivatelife 🌱

Spirit · truth

The Fortress

If I take you and shake you, will you break? Will you crack under the pressure of things that are out of your control?

If I ask you, “what defines you?” and then searched for that truth would your truth and that truth be synonymous?

Now… When you’re shaken, I hope you don’t move. I hope you’re a fortress. One that’s founded in and surrounded by the glory of God. And, when things are out of your control, I hope you don’t crack under pressure because of fear, stress, worry and anxiety.

Also, when your truth reveals itself to be different than the actual truth hidden in your foundation, I hope you’re humble, brave and honest enough to grasp what’s truly there.

Because to be a fortress, we can let things in but we can’t allow them to rule and reign over our hearts and minds. They can’t become the defining, motivating factors that propel us forward.

So… if being a fortress means we must trust in God, His Kingdom, His system, His Son and His Spirit over the money, power, fame and material success the world offers… Then I do believe we are on a path of righteousness. 🌱 #cultivatelife

Confidence · Spirit · truth

Sharp Objects

I had a dream about a month ago… I was standing in my living room and from the kitchen a dark figure was standing at my counter throwing knives, swords and other sharp objects at me. In the moment I didn’t know what to do…. So I reached my hand out and surprising caught each one of them by the handle on the other end.

I had a vision this morning… I saw glass and shards of metal coming at my heart… Trying to really penetrate and tear apart this whole and complete substance God’s placed inside of me.

When the vision began, I immediately thought of the dream… So I asked Holy Spirit about both of them. He said, “Amanda, the dream was a foretelling of you handling the shards and metal in the vision. For too many years you’ve allowed manipulation, deception, fear, lies and toxic behavior to tear you down and penetrate your heart. But that’s over now. Now it’s time to stand firm and confidently and courageously catch every sharp tool darkness throws your way. It’s time to be the fortress, in this area of your life, I’ve created you to be.”

And with that… Well I just felt peace. Peace that showed me this chapter is coming to an end because I will no longer be stunned with pain, rejection, fear and confusion of the past.

And I don’t know why I’m sharing this… This is kind of deep and very personal to me on several levels of life. However, I do want you to know, we weren’t created to live in darkness, pain, fear and rejection. Yeah…. Sure we can become so familiar with the darkness that it seems like we should lie down and embrace it as home. But I believe what’s stronger than the darkness that incases us is the light that comes out of us when Jesus truly steps into our story, heals our pain and restores us to full capacity.

And I don’t know about you…. But who wouldn’t want that? 🌱 #cultivatelife

soul · Spirit · truth

“She Gambles with God”

“Does trusting the Lord and not worrying mean we’re coping out?”

“No Bill. It just means we’re doing what God told us to do.”

That… That was a conversation my grandparents had several years ago as they continued to follow Holy Spirit wherever He led them.

And… You know, thisThis is exactly how I feel right now. My lack of worry almost makes me feel like I’m doing something wrong. Like I’m “coping out” on life.

Because, normally, when we say we “trust God,” we still secretly harbor anxiety and worry in our hearts. And then we just keep that “smile” on our faces… You know, the one that says, “I’m good! I’m fine!! I’m trusting God!!!”

However, faith… Faith truly is a lifestyle for me. It’s a real walk that requires so much risk… So much risk that I feel like my forehead constantly reads, “She gambles with God!”

And I guess I’m saying all of this because I want to remind myself and you that it’s okay to wholeheartedly trust God. Actually, it’s 1000% healthy and normal to embrace that initial wave of fear we all feel when we step into the unknown, but then it’s also so healthy to have so much of God within us… So much of Him that we ride over that wave of fear with so much confidence, courage and strength in our hearts… Enough to say, “I will not carry the fear I feel… This fear that would like to collide with my heart and drown me.” 🌱 #cultivatelife

 

 

soul · Spirit · truth

That’s Grotesque

Do you honestly want to know where I’ve been lately and what I’ve been doing?

I’ve been studying… No actually I’ve been deep sea diving for treasure… Treasure God’s been pulling my heart toward.

You know I haven’t wanted to pursue it though. For more than a month I was afraid to go “there,” because going “there” meant I’d have to follow the footsteps of the past. And those footsteps… well they’ve seemed very heavy and almost grotesque to step into.

But… Well I chose to cast my fear aside. I chose to cast it aside and obey God. And when I did He showed me that following the footsteps I was convinced I should follow wasn’t the best choice for me. He showed me that the footsteps would keep me bound to religious, boxed in, manmade ideals of the past. He showed me that His footsteps for me to follow are much freer, endless and boundless.

So… So I’ve been following them. I’ve been stepping into what He says is “simplistic, eternal and yet consistently patient.”

And I can’t really reveal the glory He’s given me yet; however, I do want to encourage you. I want to encourage you to examine your spiritual life… To look at it and really ask yourself who and what is calling the shots. Who and what is dictating your moves? Is it voices of those that have gone before you? Is it words that might be mistranslated and skewed for a time and place? Or is it just Holy Spirit?… You know that inner voice or nudge we all hear/feel to some degree… The one that leads us to higher levels of freedom and love through Jesus Christ. The one that I believe we’re all destined to connect to because He allows us to cultivate life to the best of our ability.

And then… Then when you answer these questions,  please be encouraged to step out. To leave the past, religion and all other voices aside. Because His lead is the best lead we’ll ever encounter. 🌱 #cultivatelife

Spirit · truth

Foggy Backroad

On Jan 1, 2020 I found myself on a winding, Louisiana backroad. In route to the gym, all I could think was, “Gosh the fog is SO thick this morning. I can barely see what’s in front of me.”

And… You know, that’s how 2020 has appeared to me in real life. It’s foggy. It’s unclear. It’s a winding, twisting, twirling backroad waiting for me to drive down so I can discover what “next” is.

And I don’t know if you feel this way at all; however, if you do… If you don’t know what next is because it’s shrouded in foggy mystery… Well I want to encourage you to move forward. To take one step, one inch or one mile at a time.

And I know our culture promotes knowing what’s next because it helps us attain “success;” however, I believe not knowing what comes next is very humbling and powerful. I believe following the foggy road demonstrates faith because we’re willing to take a risk even when we can’t see ahead.

So, if you do feel like me, have faith, take the risk and be encouraged… Because the foggy road will lead you somewhere 😉🌱 #cultivatelife

Spirit · truth

Isolation: The Reality

This is it. This is a cultivated life. It’s a tree, firmly planted… Growing in isolation from the rest of the forest… One that’s nurtured well, develops, matures and grows properly in due season.

Is the isolation enjoyable? Well of course. It’s nice to live in peace. Is it frustrating? Only when I allow it to be.

But I do believe living in isolation is healthy because it promotes so much time with God…. Time that would otherwise be spent distracted by the noise, nonsense, chaos and division that goes on in this world.

But can I tell you what mainly frustrates me about living in isolation? The reality… The reality that I cannot seem to escape the will of God. It’s just there. It’s constantly there looming over my head. And I know I cannot completely move forward until I follow through with the next step.

But you know… Sometimes I don’t want to take the next step because I feel like it’s leading me absolutely nowhere. It’s like I’m walking down a dark pathway that leads to a wall… And I think “Oh great… Now what?” And then the wall opens up as a passageway to the next step… But then I fear to take the step because I just don’t understand where all of the following is leading. I just can’t seem to wrap my mind around what it’s all about.

However, if I don’t… If WE don’t keep following, well then we shut Holy Spirit out. We limit Him. We place Him in a box that says, “Do not touch.” And when we do not touch the things of Him anymore we become very stagnant, much like the chaotic world around us and so disconnected from the spirit that lies deep within.

And I don’t know about you… But I’d rather live in isolation with God all the days of my life then become completely disconnected from Him and the things of Him. 🌱 #cultivatelife

Spirit · truth

The Isolated Life

Isolation. Oh gosh, I hate isolation. Actually, I hate the initial feeling of isolation. Have you ever felt it before? It’s this blatant reality that no one completely gets you, who you are or what you’re going through. And it’s deeper than feeling alone because when we’re isolated we aren’t actually “alone”.

You see… When we meet Jesus and begin to follow Holy Spirit, we jump onto an unpaved path scored with separation. It’s just this raw understanding that no one and nothing will understand us the way He does. I mean… There’s just so much intimacy born inside of the truth that no one will ever fully get me. Because, to get me, well… You’d have to be inside of my head and my heart. And I only know one dude that can fully and completely do that… God.

But you see, real, true freedom is the reality that our old self is dead, and now we are only surrounded and protected by God’s Holy Spirit. Jesus cut and will continue to cut us free from all darkness, sickness, disease, bondage and brokenness that we’ve ever experienced. And as He cuts us free, we begin to become more and more separated from who we used to be and what we used to know.

But the freedom… The feeling of living without darkness, decay and death, it’s just so… So good. It’s so good that we MUST embrace the unpaved path of isolation or we will become bound by insecurity and fear of the unknown.

And the isolation isn’t always so raw. As we develop, mature and grow in our relationship with Father God, Jesus and Holy Spirit we become really chill with being free. It becomes second nature to just sit with Him and be.

And I don’t know if you’re fully grasping where I’m coming from. You see I spend so much time in the undistracted presence of God that He’s captivated my whole heart. And in taking my entire heart I’ve been emptied of all the chaos and calamity that go on in my mind and heart and in our world. So much emptiness has happened that I’m truly free. And it’s the best feeling… A feeling I hope everyone I encounter will experience and receive. 🌱 #cultivatelife #justlive

Spirit · truth

Wait-y

Patience… Patience is really, really, really challenging for me.

You see I’ve learned how to be patient with people and situations that are out of my control… But patience with God, myself and my own life…. Well that’s a completely different story.

You see I just don’t like to wait. Waiting… Well waiting seems SO boring and uneventful sometimes. And it doesn’t matter how many times God tells me to “wait” or “just be patient Amanda,” I still find myself complaining to Him like a small child who wants what I want NOW!

But I suppose I’m learning something while I wait. Because I see patience… I see the time that surrounds her is vital and good… And I guess… I guess it’s not so boring and uneventful if I seize this time to focus on other things while I wait.

Because one day… One day the waiting will be over. The waiting will be over and I just don’t want to look back and see that I wasted so much time complaining… Complaining rather than embracing what I have that’s so GOOD right NOW! 🌱 #cultivatelife #justlive