Confidence · Spirit · truth

Are You Ready for It?

When I write, I try to give the most accurate view of what’s happening in my heart in that given moment. I mean… That is the goal of this blog. To stay as vulnerable as possible with the ups and downs of my life as I follow Father God, Jesus and Holy Spirit’s lead.

So today… Well today my heart as been focused on how grateful I am for 2020.

And I know a lot of people might disagree; however, this year has been a good one because my strength to withstand the waves is found in Him.

You see the past 7 years of my life have felt like a constant and at times violent push from God. He’s single handily walked me up and down mountains and valleys of life and into a place where I can’t rely on anything but Him for everything. Which means my life, my family, my career, my ministry, my finances, my entire world has landed in His hands for protection and provision.

He’s actually allowed the past 7 years to become a place where the waves of life have knocked me down, drug me under and forced me to learn how to get up and stand firm and strong in the face of death, darkness, turmoil, chaos, adversity and division.

And because of this… Because of His training, molding and refinement… Well I’ve been able to truly and heart-fully say, “God is at my right hand. I will not be shaken or fear anything dark that comes into my spiritual realm and dimension of space and time.”

Because you see I believe the shaking and transition that’s happening is good. I believe, beneath all of the politics and opinions, God has a plan to bring repentance, restoration and healing to our broken nation and world. And as people begin to wake up and focus their attention on Him… Not on political parties, disasters that have overtaken us or arguments that divide us… I believe we will begin to truly see a new world that reveals the Kingdom of God and the glory of His Kingdom on this earth.

And so… The question is, “Are you ready for it?!”🌱 #cultivatelife

soul · Spirit · truth

Keep The Peace

Keep the peace…. Even when life’s circumstances push you to the limit, remember why you have it… Remember to stay focused on the One that can’t be shaken, moved or truly manipulated.

Keep the peace. Keep it down in you. Hold on to it tight and don’t let it go. I know things can get crazy, hazy and confusing as hell at times, but I hope and pray peace keeps you anchored, grounded and completely secure.

Oh and don’t forget…. You know… The One… The One that holds the peace. Don’t forget about Him.

Always, always, always keep your entire self: spirit, soul and body focused on Him.

You know I never understood that when I was younger… I never understood how my mother, mentors and grandmothers seemed so sure of God. But now… Now that I have a more developed relationship with Father God, Jesus and Holy Spirit I more so get it. I get what it means to feel fear and choose peace. I see why it’s vital to trust the words of Holy Spirit over what millions upon billions of restless, insecure sources spew out.

And I know our world (and maybe even your own personal world) seems to be spinning into a chaotic mess… A mess that we cannot afford to control… But… Well… Keep the peace 🌱#cultivatelife

Confidence · Spirit · truth

Square Peg, Round Hole

“Fit in… just fit in Amanda. Figure out how to fit in and then you’ll be happy and confident and secure and complete!!”

This has been a narrative I constantly play out in my head. It’s been a narrative that’s taken possession of every season and chapter of life I’ve ever entered and lived through… This longing, this desire and want to just fit in and fit in well with those around me that are popular and leading the so called “pack” of life.

The funny thing is… It’s never worked.

Fitting in for me has never happened. Ever.

Sure I have dreams of fitting in with the world around me, but then I am left very disappointed when it just doesn’t happen. And then I’m left even more disappointed when I feel like an outsider and a loner because I can’t fit.

After my grandmother was healed she said she always felt like a square peg trying to fit into a round hole. And while I’m not trying to take the words from her mouth, this is kind of what it feels like for me.

Funny thing is all of this trying to “fit” has produced A LOT of self-centeredness in my heart and soul…. Because, rather than being confident and secure in the way God has created me… Rather than standing firm in who I am as Amanda, well I find myself doing everything in my power to fit into that round hole.

So now, well I find myself having to set aside this deep want to fit. I find myself having to let go of the source of my insecurity. Because the insecurity has led me down a very unsatisfying road… One filled with endless thoughts in my mind that cause me to feel small and inadequate and unworthy.

However, God keeps telling me to just “stand firm. Stand firm in who I’ve created you to be Amanda and you will stand out as yourself.” And I don’t know if anyone else feels like that right now, in this place where you keep trying to fit to finally feel complete, but I just want you to know it doesn’t work. It’s exhausting and time consuming and ironically very self-centered from the way in which God would like us to be. Because instead, He needs us to stand firm and be secure in who we are in Him. He needs us to be all that HE needs us to be, and not what we see by viewing someone else’s projected life. And yeah, it does feel a little bit uncomfortable at first to let go of this way of life; however, once we’ve done it… Well we’ll find ourselves in more peace and satisfaction than before. Plus, not fitting in might actually cause us to stand out.

Spirit · truth

Timing of the Trees

I’ve been coming to my grandmother’s house on Cane River my entire life. It’s a place that is 100% country, yet southern.

While sitting on her porch yesterday I found myself very confused about a patch of trees. “Where did they come from? Did they grow over night? Why was I just now noticing them?” This is all I could think… So I asked my grandmother.

And she replied, “Oh they’ve been there for quite a while. Really small things. But you know, just in the last two years they’ve shot up like that and now you can’t see the road or field on the other side of them.”

I just kind of sat there and thought for a moment… To me it was kind of interesting that they’d been growing so long without any notice; however, now they’re tall enough to block the field view and I really notice!

I tell this story because the trees remind me of God’s timing.

You see I believe when we live a life that follows God’s ways we must also follow His timing… And for me, well I’ve always struggled with staying on God’s time table. I want what He’s planted in my life to grow up big and tall right NOW! I don’t like to wait for His process because it seems so long and drawn out at times.

But in reality He needs the time to cultivate and nourish these things inside of me. His ways require that we become strong and sturdy and capable of withstanding a lot. And like those trees it takes many years for this to occur.

But then, at the right time… Well I believe you have a moment like I did yesterday. One where you look over and think, “Where did they come from? They’re so big and tall and full of life that they distract and puzzle my mind.”

And I don’t know what God’s planted in your life in different seasons, but if you just continue to allow Him to cultivate it… If you just allow Him to strength you, give you an identity in Him and make you whole and complete… Well one day I believe you’ll look over and see that all of that time wasn’t a waste because something great did come forth. And now the things planted are taller than you and you can go places with them that you never fathomed.

Spirit · truth

Sky’s the Limit… Right?

Over the past week or so something has been troubling my heart. Nothing bad has happened, but all of a sudden I feel very distant from God…

You see for almost a decade I feel as though I’ve been climbing this very, very tall, but bumpy mountain range. Now when I began my journey I had thoughts about what life would be like when I reached the top where the sky rested. I just knew in my heart it would equate to an authentic relationship with God, something to cherish and hold close to my heart. Something that reflected closeness and reality.

And, as I’ve climbed, I’ve definitely felt close to Him. At times I’ve looked parts of the sky straight in the eye and thought, “Gosh, I’m finally here. I’ve finally cultivated a relationship with God in this area of my life.”

However, at this place in my life… Well, I’m coming to what seems to be the highest point of the range I’ve been climbing. And, for some reason… Well I don’t feel the way I thought I would.

You see instead of feeling close to God, I look out at the journey below and look up at the sky above and I realize that there’s so much about God that I don’t know at all. In a way, the sky intimidates me because I know in my heart it stretches so far upward and sideways. And all of those thoughts and feelings about reaching the top and being close to God have somewhat disappeared because I realize that I am so very distant from who He really is.

Now, in this moment, well I feel two distinct things. Half of me is in awe that there is still so much to learn about Him (I mean, I’ve been at this concentrated journey for a decade. That’s a long time). But then the other half of me feels a little lost and a little confused because I don’t know where to go from here in my relationship with Him. It’s all very puzzling to me.

And, sure eventually the Holy Spirit will point the way. But right now I can’t help but sit here amazed, yet questioning God and who He actually is.

soul · Spirit · truth

Year Four

From the window of mom’s new house I sit in my bed and watch the river flow as the sun rises every morning. Some days it flows left. Other days it flows right. But then there are days when it’s peaceful and still, reflecting the life around it.

Now, I’m not sure what the river is going to teach me about life yet. I still have about a month to spend with it before heading into my next adventure; however, the peacefulness of the river has definitely caught my attention.

You see when looking into a flowing river you can’t really see what’s being reflected very clearly. The current it moving too fast to get a clear perspective, and so it’s easy to believe things are a chaotic mess. But when the current slows down to a pace of nothing, all of a sudden this beautiful image pops back at you.

In so many ways and for so many reasons this is how I feel about the last four years for my family. The river of life has been a constant, yet messy ebb and flow. Some days the wind would move it violently to the right, and then other days it would quickly changes courses and snap it to the left. But then in moment’s like this, when it’s still, well the reflection reveals how beautiful life truly is. It’s at a calm state of being. There’s no wind to tell it which way to go or who to be in that moment. Instead you can sit back and breathe, while taking in the view of God’s goodness.

You see there were times over the last four years that the chaotic wind and current caused me to question if we’d ever make it through. I would sometimes frantically and fearfully wonder, “Will mom would be ok? Where will finances come from? Will we ever stand in the goodness of God as a family again?”

But now, now that the wind has died down I can see that it was imperative that it blew violently and harshly. I can see that it was necessary that we felt the hard struggle of the moving current below. And I can also see that God knew, in time, we would all be starring at a calm and peaceful river of life that reflects only the goodness He ordained and created within the chaos of the flow.

Confidence · Spirit · truth

Going Down

If you’ve ever hiked a mountain before then you know the feeling that comes when you finally reach the top. In an instant all of the work it took to get there means nothing because you feel like you’re on top of the world. And, in a lot of cases, you can see for miles below.

Well over the last few days I had the opportunity to take a short trip to LA and hike my favorite mountain. On day one, our hike was essentially perfect. I was trilled to be in my element; however, day two was completely different. When we got to the top it was almost impossible to see what was below because a deep fog and rain had set in. And though I knew there was a buzzing city below, all I could see was the ledge in front of me.

As I starred off into the unseen distance, thoughts began to tumble through my mind. In that moment I knew we wouldn’t stay at the top for very long, but that we would have to make our way back down to the bottom. However, the hike down would most definitely be different than the hike up. Because on the way down we would be moving faster. The opposition of the climb wouldn’t be there, and we would be free to relax some and have fun.

For so many reasons that’s how I feel about life right now. The months of climbing have been painfully long and at times terrifying. I’ve wondered on many occasions, “When will this be over? When will we finally reach the top?” And, now that we’re at the top I can confidently see the goodness of God for miles.

However, like day two’s hike, there’s somewhat of a mystery to our journey down because a fog and rain have settled in. Meaning, I know in my heart there is so much of life waiting for me at the bottom, but I can’t see it. So, again it’s really going to take faith to put one foot in front of the other and walk down this mountain side.

And sure the journey down will be a lot faster, but it will be filled with things I might not be prepared for because I can’t see what’s in front of me. And yeah, that could create intimation and fear; however I’ve just got to climb down to be a part of whatever is happening at the bottom.

Mind · soul · Spirit

When It’s Finally Over

In the past few months I’ve heard it said at least 20 times now, “Well, hindsight is 20/20.”

And though I do believe that statement is true, I’ve grown to love the confusion and uncertainty built into life. Now, don’t get me wrong… I don’t like to be confused and uncertain; however, without the confusion and uncertainty of tomorrow, how would we ever grow? How would we ever learn? How would we ever become more than what we already are today?

Because I believe that the struggle and the fight and wrestling have made me who I am. And though I dont ever like the confusion and uncertainty of the moment or the season, I would truly be utterly lost without them.

It’s almost like God let’s you feel a little bit of confusion for a moment… Almost like He knows that confusion and uncertainty is not His way, but He knows that you feeling that way will end eventually because if you hold to His ways you will come out on the other side with clarity and peace and prosperity.

In my heart, I hope my family never has to walk through what we have ever again. I pray that these past four years, especially this past year and a half are over for good, but gosh I am grateful for every moment of them.

Grateful because they were filled with moments that helped uproot my weaknesses and insecurities. And now that they’ve all wilted away and died down, I can see that what I hated created a beautiful masterpiece of work. Something that I still can’t fully comprehend or wrap my mind around. But something that is good and viable and was extremely worth my time and tears. Because in this time God helped me grow up and truly mature into a woman who cannot and will not be ransacked, shaken or blown away by the realities that are found within the lows of life.

And you know what? I’m ok with it.

Mind · soul

Outrun by Fear?…

Why do we fear?… Why do we so casually choose to cultivate a heart of fear, rather than choose to cultivate a heart of love?…

I do this often… I fear things…

Sometimes fear leads me to fear money or the lack of money… Other times fear leads me to fear the future… And, on occasion, fear leads me to fear what others might think or not think of me…

Honestly, fear is something I deal with on a moment by moment basis…

And as much as I’d like to say I’ve overcome fear… Well I haven’t… Because it’s still a part of my lifestyle…

But….. My relationship with it has gotten much better…

Because I’ve begun to realize I fear because my security isn’t completely in an intangible, loving source… God…

Yes, in several areas I do choose to place my security in Him… I do trust and have complete confidence in the work he’s doing inside of my friends and family and even the world… But then, when it comes to my own heart… Well I let fear outrun and overpower me a lot…

I so often forget that I believe in and trust a God who is a reflection of love… And because he is that reflection of love, placing my security in him means I should be cultivating a heart of love…

So then, how do I remind myself of this intangible God and his love when I feel fear?…

Well, I have to remind myself that this loving, intangible God I believe in looks at my heart… I believe when He sees my heart, he sees only the good… That he believes in me, cheers for me and hopes the best for my life…

Because, to me, this intangible God is like the greatest father of all time… Always aiming to bring me high when I might feel low… Encouraging me through others… And providing me with my intangible needs every step of my day…

And I know that might seem a little far fetched to some… And, honestly… Well it used to seem far fetched to me… But then I started to just accept that something greater then mankind loves me, adores me and will take care of my every need… And in that acceptance, I found this powerful love that does outrun and overpower every ounce of fear we all might have…

Mind · soul · Spirit

Reacting to the Noise…

If the journey of life is really, truly about the process… About the ups and downs we feel emotionally, then I am right on time…

Because my soul feels down… Like it’s dragging around in the tangibleness of life…

I am an emotional being… I get overwhelmed when life doesn’t work out the handful of ways I believed it would… I get angry with God over expectations I create around things He’s placed and spoken in my life… I explain, “You put me on this path… Why isn’t it working?!”

And then I am quickly reminded that I steered the path in my mind the direction I wanted it to go…

And when this happens, I loose quality of life…Because I become overwhelmed, overworked and feisty…

My sister said the wisest thing to me yesterday… “Amanda I think you need to learn to react to situations better… To not overreact or underreact, but just maintain a lifestyle of grace and peace… To just be…”

And I believe this is vital for me… For the health of my soul… Because my spirit constantly longs to be in God’s presence, to just connect and stay connected… To never leave Him… But then my soul longs for all sorts of things… It gets pulled whereever I lead it in that moment… Which causes it to become overwhelmed by the world, my life and the lives of others…

There’s so much noise… Too much noise…

And my reaction to the noise of life is poor… I look at the tangible and it overwhelms me… Because it is continuing to crumble very quickly… My dad, my aunt, my grandmother, my grandfather (has been moved to Texas), their homes, our home…

Where do we go?.. What do we do?.. It’s all still changing quickly…

And though I know my identity cannot lie in anything tangible, I find myself clinging to it- All of it… It’s my childhood… My youth… All that I know… It feels like it’s coming to an end… A quick end, and I have absolutely no control over it at all…

Plus, I’m starting a business, meaning. I don’t have the funds to “save” all of these “things”…

And this is where I believe my ability to react comes in… Because in God’s presence, my soul becomes quite enough to just be

So my reactions must become a series of being… A constant stance in the midst of our shaking world… A tree firmly planted, unmovable on the foundation of God…

Because I believe being firmly planted in God and His presence is where I am made healthy and completely whole: spirit, soul and body…