faith · heart · keep moving forward

My Word is: Faith

Corey Rives Visual Art
For the past several days I’ve been searching for the best word to describe my experience with 2020… And as I’ve fumbled through the list in my head and heart, the one that’s continued to pop up is “faith.” And if you’re anything like me, faith might sound so simple. However, it’s my faith and belief in God that’s helped me truly rise above all of the continued uncertainty and chaos of 2020. And… If I’m 100% honest, I’d have to say I’ve had more peace inside of my heart this year than all years past.  And while that may sound odd to you, it’s not for me… Why? Well you see my very being is completely adamant about living a lifestyle of faith. And it’s not a stagnant word, lying dormant in my heart. Instead it’s a key that’s perpetual, living, active and divinely present in my daily life. My choice to place things I can’t control in God’s hands has taken so much pressure and burden off of my own shoulders. Pressure and burden He never created me to carry… For I am not strong enough… Only He is. And I see 2021 heading down an increasingly cataclysmic path… One where we must use the ultimate amount of faith that’s rooted deep within our spirits, hearts and souls in order to move forward. You see I believe more things will feel out of our control than ever before; however, when we choose to constantly engage in relationship with Father God, Jesus and Holy Spirit… When we choose to activate our spirits and then live a lifestyle of constant and continual faith… Then and only then will we find ourselves in a place of peace and harmony. And the peace… The peace will rise straight from the ashes of our deepest fears decreeing and declaring, “My God is stronger than this, and His Kingdom is more equip than all that I am facing. So I WILL march forth… I WILL place all of my worries, fears, doubts and cares on Him… And HE WILL show me how to consistently and systematically use the power, dominion and authority He has equip me with to fight forces of darkness and all that’s of evil nature.” 🌱⚔️🛡 #cultivatelife 
follow · keep moving forward · process

One More Step

“One more step”… That’s what I keep hearing. That’s what Holy Spirit keeps saying as I move forward into the unknown with some pretty heavy ideas, content and material.

He just keeps encouraging me with that one idea… This one concept of taking one more step with Him.

And… Even if it’s an unknown and somewhat insecure step… It is one more step with Him. One more choice to be consistent in following through.

And I believe that’s the culture we truly need today. One that will take one more step with Him… Regardless of what is said or not said by others. A culture that doesn’t live in selfishness, self-righteousness, pride or insecurity. One that just boldly lives, loves and cultivates life to the VERY fullest.

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 🌱

Mind · soul

Opt Out?.. Ok, no…

I’ve complained a lot over the last few weeks… Really days…

Confused about what I’m doing… Why I choose to follow the Holy Spirit… Why life doesn’t seem to be adding up to make sense in my small mind…

And then He reminds me this is part of the follow…

Part of what it means to just go where I’ve been directed in the moment…

And I do get mad at times… It seems like I’ve had frustrated moments everyday this week…
Moments where my impatience seems to be shining through too much… Where being a human is completely visible and all I want to do is scream…

I feel like a 5 year old in those moments… Wanting to just whine and complain for the sake of it…

Of course… It never gets me anywhere…

And then through the course of that moment, well I find myself thinking, “I could just opt out. Abandon ship. Say no. Choose another option. Yeah, option B has a map, checklist and a lot of people on the path”…

But… Well then I know… I know deep down in the the deepest parts of me that all of those “opting out” thoughts… Well they will never lead me to a life of ultimate satisfaction…

And…That I’ll never be completely happy and full of joy if I don’t choose to keep following what doesn’t make a bit of sense right now…

So then I have to step back and calmly reasses the situation… Life…

Which usually follows with asking those in my temper-tantrum path for an apology…

And I truly hope I can grasp what God is teaching me through this…

Because let’s be honest… I’m young… I’ll have seasons like this again… And acting like a child is just miserable for me…

So hopefully I can choose to just breathe, just be and just follow…

Mind

Genuine Decisions 

It’s funny to me… How I’m so wired to think I’ll find where I’m supposed to be based on what I know…. Based on where I’ve been before…

For the last few weeks I’ve been trying to make connections with people…

And though I’ve had enough of church and the things that it’s taught me… Well I still try and make connections there… Because… Well because it’s the only outlet where I’m around a huge pool of potential friends…

And so when I found out I wouldn’t be able to attend a brunch again for the third week in a row… A brunch that I know will include people I don’t know and possible friends… A brunch that will also include scripture and Jesus talk… And the things I’ve just had enough of…

Well you’d think I’d be frustrated to know I wouldn’t be able to go… That once again I’d be missing out on the opportunity to make friends….

But I didn’t freak out at all… Instead I said, “sure. Sure I’ll miss it again and travel with the family I work for to San Fransico for the day”…

And I realized in that moment… That moment where I made a decision… I realized that once again God isn’t what he used to be in my life… He still continues to be what I see and what I learn and that I am able to give away…

I can’t seem to find him in Bible studies or church or conversations that include religion anymore…

Instead… I continue to find him in the beauty of the earth and everything that makes it wonderful and marvelous….

And then I see him in children that are growing and accepting love in an unloving environment…

And as much as I want to be disappointed that I didn’t get to go to a Bible study and meet a bunch of new people… Well I’m not…

I don’t know where or when friends will enter my life… I know I should make some living out here… So far away from everything and everyone… But my efforts are always shut out… And then I find myself choosing to do things that satisfy my soul… Things that bring me joy and peace…

And I don’t know where all of this is taking me… But honestly I’m so glad that I’ve chosen to be right where I am… Right here in this moment… Riding on a plane back from San Fransico… I’m glad I’ve chosen this over that… It’s made me so much fuller…

And I’m ok with that…

refine

All of Me

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This city is so big… so full of energy and life… and I find myself in a completely different world living here. I even feel a different kind of intimidation in a way.

Last night I felt intimidated and I don’t even know why. I felt so small… well I am so small. And it’s a good thing that I feel small and that I’m reminded constantly that I’m just another human being, but at the same time I felt intimidated.

But then I found myself telling myself that there’s not reason to fear…. No reason to be afraid and intimidated. I walked a way from my life in January to come here and create a new life… so I’ve lost myself. And now I’ve lost the person that meant the most to me in life…. so why should I be intimidated by anything? Why should I allow people to make me feel interior? I have nothing to loose.

You see I’ve already lost the most important things to me…. myself and my dad… so being rejected by a group of people shouldn’t make me feel like I’ve lost anything else at all. If anything, loosing these things causes me to want to try harder and strive for more.

I honestly don’t know where I’m going out here. I don’t have a focus… other than to become myself and find value in me….. which is a lot.

I guess I feel like I should be wanting more… Focused on more and needing to have better. The world we live in has kind of fooled my mind and told me it’s not enough to not want to chase money signs and my dreams….. Which I don’t even know what my dreams are anymore. I’d like to just figure out who I am. To me that is a success right now.

Because so many of us walk around wearing a mask…. pretending to be people we really aren’t…. pretending that we love things that we really don’t… and wanting to copy what we see around us. But…. if it’s not true to us, if it’s not part of our being, and if we feel better for fitting the mold… then why do it? Why pretend and why try so hard to fit in?

Is it better to live a life surrounded by things and people that aren’t genuine to us and who we are? Or is it better to live a life searching for things and people who are genuine to us and match up with our identity?

And I know what the answer is…. because at the end of the day it’s better to live life true to self… I mean life is so short. It’s over so fast and I want to make the most of it…. But there are always questions…. questions that cause me to wonder if I am messing up… if I am making a mistake.

Then again, mistakes are healthy. They help us grow and shouldn’t be feared, but it is nice to make wise decisions so we don’t have to live through a mistake. But then how would we ever truly learn.

So I guess right now…. a long with feeling the loss of my father so deeply… I am also feeling this need to just find me. All of me. Because if I don’t have that at the end of the day… then really, what else is there?