A Decade in the Making

Okay… Today, I hit the decade mark of losing 100 lbs! So… What does it mean to me to look at the girl on the left, the young woman on the right and the woman in the middle? Well… To me the three make up a cultivated lifestyle of restoration and freedom.

When I finished losing the weight, I didn’t realize I’d spend the next 10 years allowing Jesus to refine, develop, mature and grow me as a whole.

So when I look at these three photos I don’t see me… Instead I see Him… I see what He’s done in me.

You see, He’s taken a girl who was incredibly insecure, fearful, anxious, prideful, selfish, jealous and bitter… And He’s transformed her into a woman that’s confident, secure, courageous, at peace with the unknown, humble (I still struggle), selfless, grateful and full of joy towards others and myself!

When I started this journey I thought I knew Jesus. I thought I knew Father God. I thought I knew the Holy Spirit. I grew up believing in them, but life and death have taught me that I didn’t know them at all because I hadn’t experienced them on a personal level.

So today I can confidently say they are my foundation and source of life. Together, they constantly keep me strong, healthy and secure. While the past versions of me desperately searched for identity and security, today I believe I stand still on the truth that I can’t be shaken, tossed or turned. My life and all that I am is in Him.

And while the world around me continues to try to show me why I’m not thin enough, thick enough, tan enough, flawless enough, beautiful enough, smart enough, successful enough or even “godly” enough… Well guess what? His opinion of me is all that matters. And He says, “You’re more than enough Amanda because I’ve helped you become a new creation and given you new life through Christ.” 🌱 #cultivatelife

What Gives God?

How can I confidently stand firm on God and His words and His promises when I have days like yesterday? Moments where I feel impatient and start to flip flop about the promises.

And what about the “bloom?!” God promised I’d see a bloom in my life, but now I feel like He meant the trees around me!!

What gives God? Where are your promises? What’s your delay? What’s the delay? And why do I still have to be still?

In the stillness there’s still growth though… There’s still constant and consistent movement and life.

And even though my soul flips back and forth everyday… I still have hope. I still have joy. I still believe cultivating LIFE in the Kingdom of God is the best way we can choose to live life! 🌱 #cultivatelife #justlive

How Did I Become Her?

The unpaved path is rough. It’s lined with more obstacles, transition, pain, sacrifice and cultivation than I ever signed up for.

I remember being a kid. I remember what I wanted in my heart. Then I remember the promises God gave me as I got older. I remember the words He spoke directly to my heart and soul. I was attentive. I was aware. I didn’t miss the call He gave me.

I also remember being 17 years old, 235lbs and the most insecure, intimidated person I’d ever known. I remember thinking, “How will I ever become HER?! How will I ever grow into the woman God sees me as?”

I followed the unpaved path. I’ve followed it for years as I’ve listened to His voice. And there have been so many times I wanted to turn around and go “back.” There have been so many times I’ve convinced myself God lied to me about the promise. There have been so many times I said, “Forget the process! His process is too challenging! He’s asked too much of me! I’ve lost too much!”

But I’ve continued to move forward.

And now… Now I find myself hearing random people say, “You’re so intimidating. You’re so secure. The presence you carry with you is intense, but also so beautiful.”

I kind of laugh when I hear these things. I laugh because I know it’s not me they sense. I know it’s HIM! I know He’s consumed so much of my heart that He’s leaking onto each person I come in contact with.

And then sometimes I cry when I hear these things. I cry because I realize I don’t have a male covering or protection in my life anymore. It’s just me… Me and God. Me and Jesus. Me and the Holy Spirit. They’re more than enough you know?

And I think what I’m trying to say is this… I’ve journeyed all this way to become confident, courageous and humble. I’ve climbed mountains, walked through valleys and forged streams just to become a whole person. I’ve listened and followed when it didn’t make sense just to be in a moment where I can stand on my own two feet and think, “Wow, I can’t be moved. I’m solid as a fortress in Him and Him alone.”

And though I don’t know what lies ahead… I do know that all that He’s done in me has helped me truly cultivate LIFE! 🌱 #cultivatelife

Dressed in Lies?

I got on the train this morning and couldn’t help but find myself staring at the young man across from me…. Dressed from head to toe in some of the “best” brands and jewelry around. You could just tell he felt “cool” and “complete” because that’s what those clothing brands stand for. But then I looked into his eyes and I saw some of the deepest pain I’ve ever seen. It really took me a moment to stop staring too because his brokenness was so strong it reached out and touched me.

You see I believe we buy so many lies about what causes us to feel complete in life. Like we honestly believe having more “stuff” will do something for us. However, when I looked into this young man’s eyes, I didn’t see gain… I saw loss. I saw death. I saw brokenness, heartbreak, sadness and lack of security. I saw someone who puts on a fashion facade everyday because that’s what our culture says we should do.

And I don’t mean to sound so honest, but I just wish we would wake up. I wish we could see that we’ve been lied too over and over again. I wish we could see that no amount of tangible possession will ever make us feel whole, complete and loved on the inside.

And I know there are so many clothing brands, lifestyle brands, movements, societies and groups of thought that want to make us feel validated, valuable, worthy and connected. But then every time I look at these things I wonder, “Why can’t we all just see that we, as a culture, are lacking foundational stability and security in God? Why do we keep tip-toeing around the obvious; and why can’t we start opening our eyes to the reality that this entire universe operates off of the intangible, spiritual ways first and foremost?” And, “When will we ever learn that our brokenness, heartache, sadness and insecurity cannot be healed because we decided to buy a new top that supports a positive mindset?”

And I don’t know when we will see the truth; however, I do believe movements, mindsets and brands don’t really stand a chance to the supernatural way of life. If we want to truly feel free, alive, connected, healthy and whole… Then we must be healed in the spiritual, supernatural ways of life first! 🌱 #cultivatelife

Brave at Heart?

Life is wearisome and burdensome a lot of the time. I’ve come to believe it’s only truly embraced and fully lived by the brave at heart… Those who are constantly willing to lay down all that they have to grow, evolve and change… Those who will not sub-come to the pressures of normality, but will set the tone for new ways of a fuller life.

That’s where I constantly rest in life… Choosing to follow the Holy Spirit and pave this way so I may find more wholeness and freedom through Jesus Christ.

Am I tired of it? Yeah. Is it a constant battle and fight from within? Honestly, yes. It’s constantly a fight for me to let go of my ways of life so I can pursue God and life in a higher way.

However, if I don’t do it… If I don’t practice this lifestyle of laying down and picking up… Well how will I ever reach all that He needs me to be? How will the dreams, visions and realities of life He’s given me ever come to fruition if I don’t keep moving forward?

And I don’t know what version of God you place your faith in today. I don’t know the areas of life He has and hasn’t freed you of; however, I do believe that it’s important that we take a risk with the God that brings us every ounce of freedom and life that we deserve. I believe that it’s vital that we grow in the ways of the Spirit… Not in the ways of the church, religion, social standing or pop culture… But in the ways of the Spirit of God. 🌷🌱 #cultivatelife

Risky Business

I used to think I knew faith. I used to think it was simply believing in what I couldn’t see and the impossible.

However, over the past year of life I’ve really realized faith is a lifestyle of risks. It’s choosing to step out into uncertain, unknown and uncommon territory. It’s choosing to simply follow the Holy Spirit with boldness and a heart full of confidence and courage.

To me, that’s what Jesus meant when He said, “You only need faith as small as a mustard seed.” We only need to step out of our comfort zone and do the tiniest thing… The thing that’s different from the way we usually live life.

And it’s not always easy because taking risks asks that we literally leave our old lifestyle behind and pursue something greater and more fulfilling.

But… Well if we don’t step out… If we don’t jump off of the edge of the cliff, then why even believe in life and the divine at all? Why even consider God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit in the tiniest bit if we don’t have the courage to step forward and move with their lead? 🏔🌷 #cultivatelife

All That Matters Now

My path has been different. I’ve never really understood it. I don’t know if I ever truly will. Regardless of it all following God with my entire heart has produced my reality… And my reality is, I’ve gotten to fully become myself.

I’ve been thinking about what it means to fully become yourself… No strings attached… Very little responsibilities outside of what you need. And honestly, becoming your true, whole self is an incredible feeling.

I do realize that I’ll always be broken in some areas. This is a broken world; however, for the past 12 years I’ve chosen to go deeper and deeper into this “follow” with the Holy Spirit… And I’ve come out with a very whole Amanda.

So I want to share what turning 30 in this world means to me….

I look around and see so much brokenness, but I’ve experienced so much healing from God and I just want to help others find the same… I want to extend what I’ve learned, what I’ve gleaned, what He has given to me… I want to share it with the world around me.

Turning 30 also makes me feel like a real adult… Funny thing is I still feel young. Maybe it’s because I don’t have a house, a husband and kids… I don’t know. But I do know that I feel very young and alive.

30 also feels like a launching pad of some sort. A place where I’ll look back and think, “That’s when I was actually ready. That’s when it finally came together.”

Because when I think back over my twenties and all of the choices I made and journeys I went on… When I think about the girl I’ve been… Well I just see this girl longing for the confidence, security and the humility to say, “God, I need help with my entire self. I can’t do life on my own.” But then as I see myself in this moment, I see a woman who has stepped into herself and is very excited about what it will bring.

It’s almost like God Himself led me to this place of identity and womanhood when He said it was time. He orchestrated it all, and I was chill enough to follow… Even when it didn’t make sense. So I almost feel like stepping into womanhood is a right of passage God is allowing me to have from His own hand. Not the hand of the world and the earth or their systems… But God Himself.

And I don’t know how I feel about this. But I do believe, if He believes I am ready. I AM READY! And that’s all that matters from here. 💃🏻 #cultivatelife #justlive