brokenness · death · family · healing · love of god · redeem · restore

A Promise is A Promise

Six-and-a-half years ago my dad unexpectedly died. A month before he passed my parents had just celebrated their milestone 30th wedding anniversary. To celebrate, they planned to take a trip to Hawaii, but… Well obviously, that didn’t happen.

Last week my mom turned 60-years-old. So, in true Winder Sister form and fashion, Bridget and I decided to honor my parents plans by taking her to Hawaii to celebrate.

Now if I’m honest, I was excited the entire time! However, as we zipped up, down and around the island for the week, I never really thought about Dad much. I never truly let myself experience the weight of what it means to honor my parents by fulfilling a promise that was made within the covenant of their marriage.

And so, it wasn’t until we were actually headed to the airport that the heaviness of it all began to hit me. 

You see… Sickness, disease and death sought to destroy the Winder Women by completely robbing us of life and dragging us down a long and sometimes dark path of brokenness, heartache and pain. However, that’s what’s so magnificent about restoration! It’s this beautiful, systematic process where God promises too deeply and divinely heal us from the darkness that has torn us apart: spirit, soul, heart and body.

And… Somewhere along the way, the healing becomes a fulfilled process in certain areas… And you’re able to look at the life (like we have with this trip) and confidently say, “Yeah, dad’s not here… Yes, life has been an emotional, painful, uncertain climb we sometimes didn’t believe we’d make it through; however, we are holding God to His promises. And His promises say, “He WILL vindicate us and bring life to every place the kingdom of darkness has stolen.” His promises say, “He WILL redeem, restore and then supply us with endless joy!” His promises say, “He WILL cultivate the grounds of our brokenness so that they can be made whole, and then we can walk in the maturity of His confidence, security and love.”

And so you see… It is completely healthy to walk through fire and then emerge refined, restored and redeemed. It’s completely healthy to emerge without an ounce of bitterness, anger, hate, heartache and insecurity. It’s completely healthy to emerge more equipped with a heavier, holier suit of armor than when you walked in. 

Because when you do… When you actually surrender your pain, heartache and brokenness to God, then He can come in with His great love and swallow up what the kingdom of darkness has stolen. And then… Then you can move forward to the other side with a healthy, whole and aligned spirit, soul, heart and body. And that side… That realm… That promised land is overflowing with an increase of LIFE…. Life that is beaming and vibrating with a higher frequency of honor, respect, love and gratitude towards God than you ever imagined possible. And it perpetually echos out, “A promise is a promise!” 🌱 #cultivatelife #winderwomen

challenge · glory · goodness of god · love of god · pride

The Leak Factor

I watched honey run down the side of my breakfast this morning and I immediately thought of a phrase I’ve coined… “The Leak Factor.”

I guess it’s been at least 6 years now since I’ve been using it… And no I didn’t create it, an old friend did.

You see he once said, “Amanda, you have to stay aware of what’s leaking out of you and onto others. Because what’s inside of you will eventually come out. And you want that stuff to be good! You want it to lift people up, not tear them down.”

Now honestly, in the moment I was kind of irritated because I knew he was pointing at the pride, jealousy and insecurity that was “leaking” out of me onto others.

But today… Today I’m really fond of the leak factor. I almost always think of it before I open my mouth or share anything in a social media setting… Because, well, I believe there’s enough hate, brokenness, bitterness, wickedness and insecurity leaking out of people into this world.

And so… I constantly challenge myself to cultivate a heart that’s full of peace, joy and, most importantly, the love found in the heart of Father God.

And I don’t know where you are today? I don’t know what you’re leaking onto others… Hopefully it’s good… Hopefully it’s lovely… Hopefully it promotes life! However, I do challenge you to ask yourself, “What’s leaking out of me and onto others?” 🧐🌱 #cultivatelife

Body · darkness · just live · lies, deception & manipulation · refine · soul · Spirit

Inception

One of my favorite movies is about a man hired to use a dream machine to plant an idea into the mind of another man… It’s called Inception.

In one scene you find Leonardo DiCaprio (he’s the one hired to plant the idea) and his colleagues in a room full of sleeping people who are using the dream machine. One of the men looks at the sleepers, turns to the other men and says, “They come here every day to sleep?” Another man replies, “No. They come to be woken up. The dream has become their reality.”

“The dream has become their reality”… Ironic as it sounds, as I look around at our sleepy culture, I can’t help but think about that line.

You see I believe we, as a whole, are becoming more and more like the sleepers in that room. We’ve convinced ourselves we need the internet and devices to survive. It’s not enough anymore to go through life just being. We’ve found a way to convince ourselves that we need to live in an altered, artificial reality. I can’t share a photo anymore without thinking, “Do I look good enough?” Because I know there are at least a million other women my age using an artificial app to make them look “thinner, thicker, tanner, toner, younger and more flawlessly perfect” than they truly are.

We are living in a dream state. It’s constantly before us every time we pick up these devices to be “social.” And it’s growing to the point that people feel so down on the way their lives really are that they’re physically altering their appearances.

Okay, so I’m not here to talk down on society, but I am here to be honest. I’m here to say we need to WAKE UP! Life… You know, real, actual life is around us. It’s flawed and full of chaos and it might seem unworthy, but it’s REAL and meant to be experienced without the box we all carry in our hands.

And though I don’t know how to help our society wake up and see the truth… I do hope we can find the self-discipline and willpower to put down our mind-altering devices, connect to the supernatural and just live life the way it was originally intended to be. 🌱 #cultivatelife #justlive

(Side note: These photos are what I actually look like. No editing in the posting 🙃)

capacity · expansion · freedom · Fullness of Jesus · higher way · humility · kingdom · process · righteousness

Upside Down Kingdom

What happens when you realize you’re wrong? How do you move forward when you see that the picture… The truth… The reality was upside down from what you imagined it to be?

That’s where I stand… Again realizing that my ideals and opinions have been upside down in so many ways…

You see for close to three months God’s been telling me, “Let go of your opinions Amanda. Let go of them and then you will move forward with me.” Funny thing is it’s a challenge to let go of my opinions in an opinionated culture. But I’ve tried, really I have…

And then yesterday something hit me like a school bus going a million miles an hour. Because I realized that I’ve been viewing Him all wrong. You see I set out on this quest to gain a clear and pure perspective of God, but then my ideas of Him are that He’s high and I am low because He is a King on a throne in Heaven somewhere. And, using the world’s ideas of monarchy, well they are high society. So reaching the heights there kingdom is nearly impossible. However, I’m realizing that God isn’t the kind of King we see in movies and on thrones around the world. No, instead He is a King that stands at the foundation of the mountain, or the entrance of His Kingdom’s gates. He’s not on some lofty hillside making Himself incredibly difficult for us to reach.

Now, His knowledge, understanding and wisdom is definitely more sophisticated and complex, but His heart for us is simple. It’s to the point. It’s almost one dimensional in a way because it’s right in front of our face at all times. He loves us and there’s nothing less to that. There’s no judgement or hate or condemnation or spite or even confusion. He just loves and cares for the condition of our heart.

And I know in my heart there’s so much more to discover from this point! However, this is an understanding I’ve needed because the wiring in my brain was off. My opinion led me to believe I’d get to this place in following Him where I’d discover the “top.” But really, what I’ve discovered is that the “top” is relational. And that He isn’t a King waiting for me to climb high and come into His throne room… No instead He is a King that is humble enough to stand at the foundation of His kingdom and say, “I’m right here Amanda. Come as you are into my Kingdom so that we may cultivate life together .”