challenge · restore · value & worth

My Valuable Past

Have you ever been in a moment in life where you’ve had to put something valuable to rest? It may be a person, a place or a thing… But the reality is that you have to let go of it with the idea that you may never cross paths with it again.

You see a few years ago I had to do this… I had to let go of some valuable people in my life. I had to completely empty my hands so I could pick up my next assignment.

And honestly, it wasn’t very easy to let go of these people because they helped shape my life in such a pivotal way. But… God asked me to let go of them. So, I did. I walked away with a grateful heart and my head held high, knowing I had completed His task and grown in ways I never imagined.

So it feels kind of strange to be in this moment today. A moment where someone I held dear has been placed back into my life.

And I don’t know what the purpose behind all of it is. God doesn’t always include me in the details… but I do know that life has changed and here I am with this person in my life again.

And, well I just feel grateful and encouraged. Grateful that my past has reconnected with my present, and encouraged to live a lifestyle of letting go of valuable things God says to let go of.

So if you’re in this place where you need to let go of something… Then please, please be encouraged to let go of the valuable things in your hands. It might feel challenging, and you might wonder how you’ll move forward next… But I promise He has a plan and a way. And… you never know, that valuable person, place or thing could make it’s way back into you one day. ☺️💃🏻 #cultivatelife

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

brokenness · deposit · disappointment · gemstone · mature · value & worth

Needy Necklace…

When I turned 16 all I wanted was a digital camera for my birthday… They were new… They were exciting… Plus no one I knew really had one yet…

So when I went to open my gifts on my birthday I was convinced my parents bought me one…

As I prepared to open the last gift, I kept thinking, “The packaging is too small for a camera. Maybe it’s just super small and sleek.”

But the more I tore back the paper the more and more I was disappointed to find a small, black jewelry box…

On inside was the most beautiful necklace I’ve ever received… A heart with alternating diamonds and sapphires… It was a stunning piece… Something my parents wanted me to have as a sign of maturity since I was turning 16…

But there I sat… Trying to be as “excited” as I could be… But then on the inside I was full of disappointment because I didn’t receive what I wanted at all…

Now it’s taken me a few years and a lot of maturity to realize that that necklace is something I appreciate dearly… It’s so precious to my heart and soul… Especially now that my dad is gone…

But something that makes it even more valuable are the lessons it’s taught me throughout the years…

To me it is a symbol of identity because it’s filled with sapphires fitting for my birthday month of September… But then it’s also come to help me accept deeper revelation God has taught me about who I am in Him… Who He’s created me to be and sees me as in His eyes…

Now today I sit in life… Completely disappointed with what God keeps handing me… I want adventure… I want to live… In so many ways, I keep expecting to unwrap a digital camera type of life from Him… Something that let’s me go free from this chapter I am in…

But upon opening everything He’s given me I seem to discover something that’s actually very different… Something that resembles my diamond and sapphire necklace… Something filled with precious value and meaning and identity… Something that He has decided I am mature enough for…

Now my heart is touched by His constant gift of shaping me and molding me into who He needs me to be… But then my soul is severely disappointed because I wanted what was cool, hip and ever evolving…

So I’m left with these questions in mind… What happens when you don’t get what you so desperately want in life, but you do get what you so apparently need? How do you respond to it? How do I continue to make sense of this time in life where I feel somewhat angry and disappointed because I want God to give me what I want, not what I need? How can I be at peace with the fact that He is providing me with what’s of value, not what is easy to come by because it’s part of our current culture? And… How do I actually embrace, “If God sees me mature enough for these gifts, I must be. Even though I don’t feel it or see it or clearly see it at all?”

addiction · darkness · healing · pain · value & worth

Unwanted Soul…

There’s something incrediblely fascinating to me about feeling alone…

I think it’s the reality that sometimes our experiences cause us to feel separated from others… Like we don’t belong because life happened and now we feel less than unwanted and undesirable…

Like we have to put up a shield of protection every time we enter a room… Because, if people see how alone we feel, well we’ll be judged and marked as a flawed person…

So, rather than show people how alone we feel, we do things to cover that pain… We turn to things that cause death and destruction in our lives… And those substances, they produce more darkness, more pain and more trouble for us…

For years I turned to food… Because food gave me a sense of being wanted… I felt comforted to a degree…
And I thought once I began to eat healthy and exercise some of this feeling of being alone would fall away… That I would lose weight, become more attractive and then the sense of feeling alone would leave…

But it didn’t…

It only got worse…

And from that spiraled the addiction I had to sugar… And that addiction made me feel out of control… Out of sorts… Even more flawed, undesirable and unwanted…

And the aloneness I felt increased and multiplied…

I was driving myself, my family and close friends crazy… Because I constantly obsessed about not being able to conquer this addiction to sugar…

Of course I left out the feelings I had of being alone… It was unimportant to share all of that in detail…

I mean, who really wants to say, “I feel alone! I constantly feel alone and unwanted at my core… and it’s killing me!!!”

But that’s how I felt… That’s how I felt for years…

And the truth is, it’s no ones fault… It’s not my parents, grandparents, friends or sisters fault…

No one is to blame…

We live in a flawed world…

Seeking acceptance, that I believe, can only truly come from one source…

And I’ve said it before, but I believed that souce is Father God… He is the only source I can go to and feel whole and complete…

And, when I spend enough time in His presence… I can then live my day with a loved, wanted and accepted feeling…

Because the inside of me no longer feels the need to be intangibly loved by my family, friends and peers…

The love I am receiving goes beyond what they can provide for my soul… And so I feel good… I no longer need an addiction to cause me to “feel” better… I just need the love flowing from His heart, and His heart alone…

So if you’re going through a hard time… If you feel alone, unwanted, undesirable and out of control with an addiction… Please be encouraged to know, Father God and His love are the power that will bring you out and away from what you’re experiencing…

Because everything else, our relationships with people, our things, what we do, say and think… To me they are a facade… Seeming to make us feel loved, accepted and wanted… But intangibly, in the depth of our soul, never actually giving us what we truly need… Which is just basic love from and connection to Father God…

brokenness · healing · love of god · refine · restore · value & worth

My Story of Scoliosis… 

It was somewhere around two years ago… I was standing in the kitchen of my employer’s home in Beverly Hills… As the eldest child of my employer passed by me she causually said, “I think you have scoliosis”…

Since this was news to me, I quickly responded with, “No I don’t. I don’t have scoliosis at all”…

She continued by pointing out the place in my upper back where the scoliosis was… And then took me upstairs so I could bend over in front of the mirror and see the imbalance in my back…

“See,” she said… “Look at your back… It isn’t straight at all.. This side sticks out farther than that side… You definitely have scoliosis”…

There was no denying what she saw… Something really was off… And I completely believed this 14 year old beauty knew what she was talking about… She’s suffered from scoliosis her entire life… Having to undergo surgery last summer to correct it…

But she had known for years that she had this imbalance in her body… For me… For me, this was news… Something that bothered me deep down…

Because I strive to cultivate a lifestyle of balance, order and health… And knowing the muscles around my back were weak enough in areas to cause my spine to curve really bothered me…

Later that day, I showed my sister… We researched it… And again, my back definitely looked like a case of minor scoliosis…

I really didn’t like the knowledge of this at all… The reality of an imbalance in my body…

Over the course of 7 years I had worked so much to stand up straighter… But apparently it didn’t matter how straight I stood… The curve was still there… Still real… Still apparent…

It made me kind of angry too…

So, in so many ways I ignored it… Knowing it was there, but not wanting to acknowledge the reality of it all…

Over the course of the next 6 months I would consciously sit and stand straighter… And when running I would make sure my back was very straight and that I was running very properly…

Well… Time passed… Life continued to go on… And I put it on the “back-burner” in my mind…

About 6 months ago I felt this pain… It was around the top of my back… Like I was carrying a heavy, heavy weight or something…

I mentioned to a friend and he encouraged me to talk to God about it…

As I began to talk to Him, I realized, in so many ways He hadn’t been able to communicate what it means to be a father to me… I had pushed Him away in that area…

One reason being, I had a good father… And though he wasn’t perfect and complete Father God, he was still good… So I didn’t really see a need to cultivate a relationship with Father God…

But after his death, well I was minus that love… That relationship… And so I cultivated a deeper one with God the Father…

In the midst of discussing the pain in my upper back, a lot of forgiveness took place… And almost instantly the pain and weight left…

A few days later, my sister said, “Your back is so straight… What happened?? I think your scoliosis is gone”…

I almost laughed because I realized, in God’s timing… With His patience in my life, He had removed the pain and weight in my upper back when I gained a closer relationship with Him as my Father…

And the removal of that pain and weight also meant that that my spine no longer revealed a sign of scoliosis… It just revealed an aligned and balanced spine…

There are so many reasons I am telling this story…

And I believe the biggest is, we can run around looking for physical healing all the time… Begging God to give it to us… But I’ve found it increasingly more effective to simply gain a closer relationship with God the Father and the Holy Spirit… And to live those lives boldly through the power of Jesus’ blood and sacrifice…

So many times I feel like we go to church and try to get closer to God because it’s what’s expected of us… It’s what gives us faith, love and joy…

But more than anything, I believe our spirit and soul needs this connection… That without it we are completely poor on the inside… Imbalanced… Lacking wholeness and genuine connection…

Connection that can only truly be found in Father God… Because our own parents, spouses, siblings and friends will continue to fail us… There will continue to be imbalance in those relationships… But with God we can continue to remain complete, whole and balanced as we just cultivate life…

grace · love of god · relationship · value & worth

Worthy of Love…

Worthy of love…

It’s what “Amanda” means…

Though most of the time I find myself very unaccepting of love… Almost shying away from the love God wants to share with me…

To me… It’s seems so simple to have this bosom friendship with the Holy Spirit… Because in all honesty I love guidance, direction and counsel on life… I enjoy curiosity, mystery and the thrill of the friendship with the Holy Spirit…

But then… Well when it comes to actually allowing God… God the Father to love me… I am so good at ignoring it… Almost forgetting it’s there…

But… Now… Now as I seem to have come to a certain place… Well I see that, in this moment, my relationship with the Holy Spirit doesn’t matter…

It shouldn’t come first…

And God is beginning to unfold to me what it means to be worthy of love… That even in the midst of the run around my mind and soul have done… Well He says things like, “I don’t care… I don’t care about the runaround… About the time you think you might’ve lost… I don’t care…”

And in that… Well… It’s just grace… It’s just being so worthy of something that I feel so undeserving of…

Grace and worthiness that says, “It doesn’t matter where you are… Where you’re going… Or why you are doing those things… Just be still, relax and allow me to love you…”

And in so many ways I am unsure of where my life is going… Where the path in front of me seems to be leading…

But… For a moment… How ever long it lasts… I’m going to stop, relax and just allow myself to experience the worthiness of God’s love…

value & worth

Just Let It Go

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What happens when you begin to realize your worth?… when you begin to realize it’s not mature of you to be so irritated and bitter with someone when you know so much?… what happens when you feel this need to value yourself more and in that need you discover that it’s stupid… no ridiculous to hold onto something and be mad at someone?… what happens when you realize you’re being dramatic in holding bitterness towards someone?… just so you have a good story to tell someone else?…
That’s where I am right now… holding onto something so tight because it’s all I really have… but in reality… well in reality it’s very foolish and dumb… because as I begin to find value and worth in myself… well I begin to wonder why I would even hold something like that… why would I take the bitterness that’s in my heart and peg it on anyone?…
And I guess maybe it’s another way I’m learning how to discover my worth… another way to really truly become me…
Because at the end of the year I don’t want to find myself bitter with someone just because I can tell a story from it… or just because it’s one thing I have… the one and probanly only thing keeping me from being at peace…
And so it’s important to me… to my self-value, self-worth and present that I let it all go…
And it’s strange though… in letting this go… well usually the Lord would have me talk to the person… tell them I am sorry… ask for their forgiveness.. but in this situation he says to just deal with it from within… just let it go right here fair and sqaure… and not even involve anyone else or anything else…
So I guess that’s what I’ve chosen to do… and in doing so… well I hope to live with a little more peace from within…
perspective · value & worth

Valuable Perceptions

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I had a conversation two days ago that hasn’t left my mind…. My boss was telling me that someone broke into the neighbors house and ransacked it… obviously they were looking for “things”…

And then I said “well, that makes me nervous to walk to my car alone at night now.” and her response, “oh Amanda, they don’t want you. They want your stuff and you don’t have anything.”

Funny…. people wanting stuff… and the thought that because I don’t have anything of true monetary value…. well it means I don’t have anything….

It’s funny because our world is so skewed… we value what’s in our home over what’s in our heart….

And living in L.A. makes that truth more of a reality…. this city has misperceived the value of things so much….

And I think her statement to me is even more important since I’ve been working on valuing myself… it just sticks out… and it continues to remind me that it’s so important to value what’s in me and what’s in the people around… it reminds me not to truly value what sparkles and shines on the outside… but to focus on the inside…

Because at the end of the day… well it’s all just stuff… the stuff we accumulate here and now… for a time… until something better is created… or until we feel like what we have isn’t good enough anymore… or of course until “they” tell us we need more… something else to place on our finger or in our garage…

And in reality it’s so useless….

I had another thought that supported this conversation last night… one of the girls was listening to a song…. and the song said “I was raised by a television”… and that line stuck with me… because I began to think “it’s so true”…. a TV did raise me… or helped raise me…

And the reason I have a miscued perception is because of what I’ve been taught through what I’ve seen on TV…. because I was taught to value the tangible over the intangible…

And things like this really bother me… they bother me because I know I need to value me more… I need to place what’s inside of me over what I see… but it’s still a challenge at times… to care more about the intangible…

And then when I think about dad being gone… and how I miss him… his love, his kindness, his jokes… just his entire personality…. the things that were gone the moment he stopped breathing… well it helps me remember it really is just stuff…

Of course then it makes me want to tell my boss “you know… it’s a shame no one would want to steal me… because what’s on the inside of me is more valuable than what’s in that house”…

And I think what I’m trying to tell myself is I should value myself enough to think “what’s inside of me is worth stealing…. it’s worth taking… it’s that valuable… but then it’s also so valuable that only those who know true value are looking”…..

And I guess realizing that people that know true value attract and look for others with true value is good for me to think on…. Because it might just be my next step to becoming and staying focused on what’s truly important… And that’s ok with me…

freedom · just live · value & worth

Invaluable

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Today I’ve really taken time to think about what I’m learning… and I’ve come to the conclusion that everything that’s truly valuable to me in life…. well, it’s cost me something.

When I’ve wanted confidence, it cost me my insecurities. The want for confidence asked me to do things that I deeply feared. Like just speaking up and learning to not care what others thought so much… or having the confidence to wear a two-piece, flawed/scared body and all.

And then when I wanted free from religion and control, it cost me religion and some relationships. The want for freedom asked me to question my foundation, the way I was raised and what I believed in. It forced me to really wrestle with major topics that aren’t that fun to think through…. especially if that’s all you know and you’re afraid to think otherwise. And in that want for freedom, well I became free and learned that people are entitled to believe and think the way they want.

Of course… my want to see a city changed cost my time, energy and mind… and in the grand scheme of things the life of my father. And that want for change, well I know it still feels fresh and hard to think about… but deep down I know it was worth it. It was worth spending all of that time and energy and…. as heartless as it might sound, but as real as it is… is was worth the life of my dad to see relationships restored and change.

And things continue to flood my mind…. things that I’ve paid for that’ve cost me a lot. And they never cost me money ever. But I care so much about money…. or worry so much about not having it. So it’s strange that I’m willing to have a want to do things that seem so crazy in the moment, but I don’t have the want to pay for things with money.

I mean, I’d watch my whole family die if it meant the world would come together in love, peace and harmony. Yeah, it would be painful and hard…. but I’d pay for it.

And I guess I’m realizing more and more that the world we live in is so strange. Because we care more about upgrading our phones, cars, houses and wardrobes than about upgrading who we are as a person. We care more about what watch we are wearing and how big our engagement rings are more than the amount of confidence that we carry around and display. We also care more about how good we look when we do finally become a success and the amount of money we have, rather than the amount of confidence, love and genuine compassion we have.

Of course, I’m equally guilty of caring. I’m equally guilty of wanting to fit societies pictures of “right and wrong” and what I “should and shouldn’t” have… but what if at the end of the day we looked at the amount of compassion we extended to others in their time of need and how much we’ve grown? Or what if we looked at the amount of confidence we use when we feel afraid and little? What if at the end of every year we took account for the things we gained that have made us a better person, a better lover of the world and things in the world?

How amazing would it be? I think and feel like it would be pretty great because we’d no longer be focused on money and the things money buys us.

My sister is pretty phenomenal. She doesn’t care about money. To her, it’s just a thing she gains for the work she does. To her she’d rather give away art and her time for nothing, than make a profit. Because in her mind, giving it away is making a profit because she is blessing someone.

And I think that’s beautiful. I think it’s beautiful to look at the invaluable things in life and take them for all they are worth. Because… at the end of the day, everything that means something to me in life…. well, it never cost me a cent.