follow · keep moving forward · relationship · teamwork

THIS Mountain

I’m climbing THIS mountain in front of me.

Actually… WE are climbing THIS mountain in front of US.

My sister and I have climbed lots of mountains before… Separately and together. But… THIS… THIS mountain is unique because we must take all that He has deposited inside of us (separately and together), multiply it with a new deposit of His gifts and then produce a finished product.

Funny thing… Neither of us have a clue what the finished product will look like! Oh sure… We kind of know what it might feel like. And we definitely know what ideas need to be incorporated into the whole.

However… the final outcome is a mystery.

And… To be completely honest with you… I like it that way because it reveals how much trust is rooted inside of our relationships with God and with each other.

After all… “It’s not always our business to know why God has asked us to do certain things. But it is ALWAYS our business to follow.”

So… If you’re reading this and you truly believe in the Godhead… If they are really the foundation and bedrock of your life: spirit, soul and body, then you MUST FULLY FOLLOW the Holy Spirit’s lead. And… I’ve learned that He doesn’t normally give a 2-step plan, a 5-step plan or a 10-step plan. He more or less says, “Here’s the next step… Now take it.” 🌱 #cultivatelife #bridgetwinderart #windersisters

challenge · family · keep moving forward · teamwork

“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 🌱

darkness · death · family · healing · life · pain · peace · teamwork

Maintaining Life, with the Lows…

What happens when you continue to feel your world, life as you once knew it, shaken?… Shaking… 

Because that’s exactly what mine continues to do… All year long… Over and over and over again… But then something deep inside of me reminds me that I have to stay strong for my mother and sister… That I must maintain balance, order and peace…

But it’s not my balance, order and peace I’m aiming to maintain… I honestly don’t have any of that without God… All of the equilibrium I need to maintain is a direct reflection of His love, nurturing, mentorship and guidance in my everyday life… 

Honestly, He is the only one that can truly get us through this time… This season…

And it doesn’t always seem fair and just… But I promise it’s very alive and real…

More than anything I believe it’s just life… And life, in so many ways, amounts to the way in which we choose to navigate through it all…Because hard times are real… And they don’t always make sense… And becoming angry with someone you love for being in a season is dumb, exhausting and all together not accomplishing much of anything…

I’m not angry with my mother at all because I don’t believe she placed herself here… Life did that… Cancer, sickness, disease, old age, reality, death, depression, grief… It’s all a part of life… 

And I believe so many times we aren’t taught how to manage the grief, the bad times, the heartache and the reality of death… The reality that people, people we care deeply about will and do leave us everyday because it’s a part of the grand scheme of how this place called earth and this thing called life work…

But how do we manage it all? 

Sure we can read our Bibles, talk to others and keep believing it’s going to “work-out”… But then what happens when life keeps coming?… How do we continue to navigate through the muck and mire of the present?… Do we know how to balance and maintain it all?…

Because I don’t believe we can carry it… It’s far too heavy a load… But we must be aware of it and use wisdom to solve it all…

And that’s pretty much how I feel right now… I can’t carry the load of my family home being for sale, money being low, helping mom get back into life, or the fact that I have no idea what’s next in my own world… But then I can navigate through it with the help of the Holy Spirit… I can use His wisdom to solve these problems… 

And when they still seem unsolvable, well I can hope and believe and pray for the very best… I can believe that soon we’ll all four (the Holy Spirit included) be on top of this mountain together…

anger · brokenness · death · family · pain · teamwork

Valley of Life…

What happens when you find someone in a valley of life?… 

And not only are they in a valley, they’ve decided to sit down and stay awhile because the climb to the top of the next peak is intimidating… 

Intimidating because of it’s vastness… Because of its newness… Because of the fact that that person is afraid to climb it alone…

That’s where I see my mom right now…

Over the past 2 1/2 years life has shifted and changed drastically…  

First she sped down a mountainside with the death of my father… And now it seems as though the valley she’s been in has “extended stay” stamped on it…

I don’t believe she wants to stay here… but this is where she is in this moment of life…

And it hasn’t been easy living so far away from it all… So moving back to the South, without a clear plan for my own life has truly been an adventure… 

But then, well now I’ve chosen to help climb this mountain with my mother… 
And a lot of the time I feel like I’m carrying her on my back… 
But in reality I believe God is truly moving the entire thing a long… 

For me, following the Holy Spirit has always had its ups and downs… Always… With Him life doesn’t make complete sense, but He always, always leads me to good…

And so, well that’s what I’m hoping for here… That the three of us, my sister included, can walk up this mountainside together… 

And, with the Lord’s help… With His strength, security, love, joy and peace that we can walk up that mountain swiftly…

Because I believe this is a part of life… That this moment we are in… This year is altogether considered a “bad time,” but a bad time He will make good as we climb to the top… 

Because I believe once we get mom to the top of this mountain, well the view is going to be incredible and altogether wonderful…

follow · relationship · teamwork · will of God

Working with God…

img_7890Often times, for me, life doesn’t make sense…

Of course, when I look back, it makes sense… I can see all of the dots connected, and I think, “well I guess it was good that I followed the Holy Spirit in that moment… Even when I was unsure about life”…

And that’s how I feel right now… Unsure… Unsure about so many different things about life… Unsure about my family’s and friends’s lives…

Sure of God and all of His promises, but then so unsure about how His promises will play out exactly…

I’ve come to believe that God and His promises are two different things entirely… Because my mind loves to try and figure out, piece together the “how”… How it will all come about…

And honestly, following the Holy Spirit isn’t always easy… Actually it is flat out frustrating at times… Especially when I still want to fix everything… And when I don’t want to be a team player…

Because for so many reasons I believe we can fix ourselves… That we hold the keys to fixing it all… But then, for so many reasons, well we don’t have that kind of power and authority on our own… But with God’s help through Jesus, I believe we do…

So then, for a moment, I rest in the reality of what I choose to believe so strongly… Because it’s what I’ve believed since I was a child, but then wrestled with for about 5-7 years, only to come back to all of it and realize “this is all real”… And that God never took away any of His words or promises at all… And that He is loyal, true… Through and through…

I believe that’s what we forget so often…. Or actually might not realize about the Father… He is as loyal as they come… Always, always, always there… No matter the party we vote for… Or what we believe as an individual… He loves each and everyone of us and sees the good in all of us… Why can’t that be a take home message that we all live our lives by?…

The truth that we are all loved by a creator… That since He created everything, meaning we are created in His image, that that automatically means He is the very foundation of life… The core of everything… The constant that can’t and won’t ever, ever be shaken… But will always be love… And will always love… He’s like a mountain… He never moves from who He is, which means we can rest in the fact that we will always have a identity and security…

And I believe, I believe that it’s really easy right now to throw a lot of hate… A lot of shame… A lot of opinion around…

But the reality, to me… Well, we all have a belief system… How we believe God views things.. And the truth is, I believe we are each holding a piece of the puzzle… All sides… All ethnicities… All religions… All sexual orientations… We all have a piece of the pie… And a lot of the time, we all believe our piece is “it”… The absolute answer…

But what if it’s just a piece?… What if working together is the only true way we all make it at the end of the day?… What if we have to take the outcomes of things like elections and choose to love each other regardless?…

And more than anything… What if part of working together means working with God?… Because I know for a fact that He tries His very, very best to always work with us… So that we can become better versions… So that we can have a greater quality of life…

So instead of sub-coming to fear of our future… Instead of making a big scene over what’s taken place… Why can’t we just come to a place where we realize there are people out there that are in fear… That need love… That need their story to be heard and shared… So that we, with the help of God, can stand together, bridge the gap and actually come through stronger than ever before…

teamwork

Teamwork

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Someone said to me once that “teamwork makes the dream work”…..

And until that day…. I’d never thought about teamwork much… I’d never truly considered how much we all need each other to get the job done…

Even in day-to-day life activities we need each other…. people realizing that without one another the world couldn’t go round..

But instead I continue to discover life out here… in Cali, or at least L.A. isn’t very team oriented… People are, well too focused on themselves…

And it’s clear and pretty evident that that’s truth when you watch people give less than 100% because they are ready to go home, tend to their lives outside of work, or just be a lazy American…

I just don’t understand why we can’t work together and give 100%…..

And I say all of this because I wasn’t a team player a year ago…. I was so selfish and put myself first… never thinking about others or the importance of why we should work together… or how it makes life run more effectively and efficiently….

I was only thinking of well me… and in a years time I see how off I was…. how out of focus my view and perspective on life was…. And even the idea of working as a team was like sending a negative message to my brain… the message just wasn’t clear… it didn’t make sense…

And now… well now I find myself in an environment where people don’t want to work together for the better of the entire household…. they say they do…. just like I said I did… but they don’t…

And maybe it’s a little bit of karma catching up with me to have to pull the weight of those that don’t do their part…. But it’s definitely another life lesson… Another wake up call for me to do well and pay attention to life around me…. to be considerate of others and to try and help where I see that help is needed….

Because at the end of the day I believe we are here for each other…. I believe we need each other to help make life work.. I mean, isn’t that why God created woman? So man would have a helper? Someone to do life with and make things move better? And if so, well…. there are billions of us now… so shouldn’t we be even more encouraged to work together… as a team… as one…

Because on Saturdays I watch Alabama take the field as one…. understanding they need one another to make every single play… and that no one’s greater than the other…. that each one is equal and each role is vital…. But then on Sunday I watch the Cowboys and they play like most of the world…. selfishly and with “look at me and what I can do” on their minds….

Of course I had to throw a little football in their because it helps me understand the bigger picture some more…. to realize that there is a great example out there to help us understand life more… and to help us see that when we are playing with things like love, acceptance, peace and joy…. well then we can spot negative opponents like bitterness, anger and jealousy much easier…

We can route our way around them and really make touchdowns in life and celebrate together…. And I feel like I’m just rambling now, but I feel very strongly about continuing to learn about teamwork and work like a team….

Who knows…. maybe one day all of the hype of care, money and houses will go away and we will be focused on helping the person next to us…. rather than getting the paycheck to buy the newest toy…

complain · selflessness · teamwork · will of God

Give to Gain

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Why do we complain so much? Why do we willingly choose to be irritated and annoyed when life doesn’t go are way or when… God forbid… We’re “put out.”

Since living in Cali I’ve been working on my selfishness and quite honestly it’s helped me realize how entitled I actually am.

My entitlement has come from several different things, but overall… I believe Americans are entitled. We think we deserve so much and we love the ideas of life and luxury… Of relaxation.

I say all of this because I’m sitting at the spa right now. No, I’m not here for myself. I’m here with the 12 year old girl I nanny for… It’s her birthday and so a 5 hour… Yes 5 hour spa day was part of her gift.

So I sit and wait…. And people keep saying, “I’m so sorry you have to sit and wait.”

But honestly, this is my job and I’m tired of hearing how obnoxious and annoying it must be to sit here and wait.

I mean, what else would I be doing? And I’m in a spa on a Saturday for goodness sake…. But I think that’s part of the American mindset… Constantly thinking of ourselves… Putting self over others…. Wanting everything to work out smoothly in our little world.

But honestly, that’s selfish. It would be selfish and very entitled of me to sit here and complain because I have to wait on another. It’s not like I’m bleeding or dying.

I think that’s something death has taught me. My dad had a reason to complain. He was in pain and he was bleeding and dying. But he wasn’t complaining. He was just living.

And now I get super annoyed with myself and others when I hear whining over petty little things. Over getting paid to sit and watch children or getting called into work and no one being there…. It’s ok people.

Life goes on and honestly, I believe, we should look more into serving others and giving to others than to ourselves. It’s not about us.

And maybe I’m maturing and maybe I’m wrong in all of this….. But I just wish we would all strive a little more to think outside of ourselves for once.

When I took this job, as a nanny, I knew it would teach me a lot and help me out of situations I was in…. However, I didn’t see myself wanting to help, serve and give to others at the capacity that I am now.

I never saw that in helping me, I would be taking me out of the equation….

But in a way, isn’t that a goal of life?

That we all work together for a common goal so that we can see others changed? So that the world becomes a little bit brighter with what we choose to leave behind?

If so, I hope I’m doing just that…. Leaving the light from the inside of me behind… Letting it touch the hearts and souls of those around me so they can become a little brighter too…. Sharing my wealth…

Because at the end of this day, the smile on the birthday girl’s face will say it all. Her happiness and knowledge that I truly care will make her world a little brighter…. Which in return will make my life a little brighter…. And I’m ok with that.