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

Spirit · truth

The Thrill of Peace

You might oppose me when saying this… But there’s something so thrilling about darkness. Yes, it’s uncomfortable and intolerable. Of course it can feel like a constant circus of chaos and a cave of deep despair. However, in the midst of the darkness, I’ve learned that it is COMPLETELY possible to be fixated on peace and immense joy.

You see I’ve learned surrendering our current darkness to God in exchange for His peace is possibly one of the most powerful things we can do.

We’re literally saying, “Hey God, I am not smart enough, wise enough or understanding enough to carry or solve what I’m experiencing… So I’m gonna give it to you. I’m gonna leave my current circumstances in Your hands. And every time I think of them, I’m going to remind myself that I’ve given You the reins to craft up a solution.”

And sure… Sure sometimes His solutions take many moments to become tangible and complete; however, His solutions always offer up abundant life, light and immense amounts of joy.

And it’s also so comforting to lean into the truth that a being far greater than us loves us, cares about us and is willing to stand up for us when life is caving in at every corner.

So, if you are or have ever experienced darkness so black that you can’t see your hand in front of your face, then be encouraged. Be encouraged because you’re not alone. Many people have walked this road before, and I’ll bet that the ones who’ve trusted in God’s ability to provide solutions have found peace and immense amounts of joy in the midst of the chaos. 🌱 #cultivatelife

Confidence · soul · Spirit · truth

Two Trees

I left social media. I didn’t deactivate my accounts, but I left… Promising myself I would return when I felt I could consume without being burdened by pride, hate, bitterness, anger, jealousy, grief and shame.

That’s what social media does to me. I pick it up with the idea of “connecting” to “share” my world and the truth I’ve experienced while following God, but then I usually leave feeling worse than when I entered.

You see over the past decade I’ve learned how to connect to God. And… through this single, significant connection I’ve allowed Him to lead me as I’ve learned how to cultivate life.

Actually, He’s emptied me of the dying, decrepit life I was living, restored my broken pieces and parts and then filled me up with grace, love, peace, patience and endless joy.

So… when I sit down and begin to eat the fruit of social media, well my seemingly healthy vessel becomes completely overwhelmed. My insides begin to fill with endless, sometimes useless knowledge of good and evil. And, a lot of the time, what I consume begins to pull my human spirit and soul down as it leads me astray. It begins to probe at my heart, in an effort to cause unneeded division, confusion, jealousy, anger and death in me and with those I choose to share it with. Also… somehow, I become like God because I begin to feel the need to shoulder up the burdens of my world…. As if I even have the understanding and wisdom to solve anything outside of what He’s given me.

It’s not supposed to be like that though. God didn’t create us to carry death and decay. He created us to connect to Him through His Son Jesus, and then point others to that same connection so that they might be made well and new too!

Because… You see when we connect to God and Him alone our souls don’t feel burdened anymore. He gives us exactly what we need when we need it, rather than us pridefully, greedily and selfishly taking from other sources. When we humble ourselves and meet with Him on a moment-by-moment basis, He hands us life-giving skills in increments because He never wants to overwhelm our refinement, development, maturity and growth. 🌱#cultivatelife

Confidence · Spirit · truth

Sharp Objects

I had a dream about a month ago… I was standing in my living room and from the kitchen a dark figure was standing at my counter throwing knives, swords and other sharp objects at me. In the moment I didn’t know what to do…. So I reached my hand out and surprising caught each one of them by the handle on the other end.

I had a vision this morning… I saw glass and shards of metal coming at my heart… Trying to really penetrate and tear apart this whole and complete substance God’s placed inside of me.

When the vision began, I immediately thought of the dream… So I asked Holy Spirit about both of them. He said, “Amanda, the dream was a foretelling of you handling the shards and metal in the vision. For too many years you’ve allowed manipulation, deception, fear, lies and toxic behavior to tear you down and penetrate your heart. But that’s over now. Now it’s time to stand firm and confidently and courageously catch every sharp tool darkness throws your way. It’s time to be the fortress, in this area of your life, I’ve created you to be.”

And with that… Well I just felt peace. Peace that showed me this chapter is coming to an end because I will no longer be stunned with pain, rejection, fear and confusion of the past.

And I don’t know why I’m sharing this… This is kind of deep and very personal to me on several levels of life. However, I do want you to know, we weren’t created to live in darkness, pain, fear and rejection. Yeah…. Sure we can become so familiar with the darkness that it seems like we should lie down and embrace it as home. But I believe what’s stronger than the darkness that incases us is the light that comes out of us when Jesus truly steps into our story, heals our pain and restores us to full capacity.

And I don’t know about you…. But who wouldn’t want that? 🌱 #cultivatelife

soul · Spirit · truth

Holiness?

To struggle inwardly and not know or understand it’s true purpose leaves one feeling emotionally exhausted and completely overwhelmed.

And I know there’s a purpose to the struggle I’ve been experiencing for the past few weeks. But… Honestly… Honestly, I can’t begin to tell you what it is. And God seems to be so mysteriously greedy with the details of it all. “Just keep moving forward and trusting me. Be holy as I am holy.” He says.

Holiness… All of this for holiness God?! Really now?!?!

And I get it… Holiness sounds SUPER religious and outdated. So, for just a brief moment, let’s think about it like this…. When I choose to let God empty me of more darkness, it brings more light right? And with that light, I have more space for Holy Spirit right? Okay, so if there’s more Holy Spirit in me because darkness has been let out, then I am holy as He is holy. Right?

Seems simple. Feels… Well the process is a damn struggle on the inside.

But ya know… If darkness never comes out to fight, then how will it ever be conquered by light? And… How can what’s inside of me ever be transformed into true holiness if I’m not willing to surrender and just allow the light to incase the challenge that I feel? 🌱🧐 #cultivatelife #justlive

death · soul · Spirit · truth

Thanks Death

I’m not one to wallow and get down about life and what I’ve lost, but lately I’ve found myself missing my dad more than I can explain. It’s sometimes unsettling the way he’s constantly on my mind, and then I’m forced to think about my reality. My mind begins to remind me that death happened, but that life has continued to go on around me.

And though it is so challenging to understand why he died so young. And though I miss him and the life my family had before he was taken from this earth… Well I am still so grateful to have experienced death.

You see there’s just something so motivating to me about death. I believe death is a being, and I believe anytime we experience him we must respect him even though he’s been so seemingly disrespectful to us.

You see death left an imprint on my life. He left an imprint so wide and so deep that it sometimes felt unbearable to breathe again.

However, since my dad’s death I’ve been thrusted into this place of living. A place that’s forced me to stare down death and decide that I will not allow my experience with him to define me in a negative way, but in a positive one.

Because of death I live freer. I love harder. I think more in-depth. I take risks. I consider others. And though he’s helped toss my world upside down, I give more. I’ve gained more. I stop and think of others and where they might be in life because there is a compassion inside of me that wasn’t there before I met him.

And… Although it’s so challenging to not become angry and bitter with God, I’ve found myself more connected to Him than ever before. He’s shown me what true love is. And within that true love I never feel truly broken or without.

And though I don’t know where you stand today, what you’ve lost or how utterly broken you may feel… Please know this. I believe it’s very healthy to feel every ounce of death. But then I also believe it’s so healthy to live life to it’s very fullest. To love with every part of our hearts we can love with. And though it’s challenging to forgive and not become angry with God, I’ve found that He will fill in the broken and battered pieces when we’re ready to let Him in again.

Confidence · Spirit · truth

Just a Prince

Yesterday I was on the train heading uptown to SoHo… My stop, “Prince Street.”

Right before the train came to a stop, a new thought jumped on board… “If Satan is just a prince of this world, then why are we letting him reign over it?”

Immediately my mind started to ponder the reality.

You see I believe when we accept Jesus Christ we are invited into the Kingdom of God to cultivate life… Funny thing, the life around us (or the world) is ruled by an insecure, yet very crafty prince of darkness. But then God asks us to take on our royalty and to reign over this prince.

Because I believe God’s view of us is higher than the view He has of Satan. It’s kind of like the monarchy in England. Harry and William are both princes. Both respect their grandmother. They do not try to overthrow her. And they also realize William will be given the power and authority to reign over the people after his grandmother and father pass away. And then Harry knows and understands, and hopefully respects his brother’s anointing and given authority too. He would never overstep it or overthrow it.

So then my question is, “Why do we allow Satan (who is just a prince) to overstep our God-given power, anointing and authority? Why do we casually sit back and allow him to reign over our lives and decide what rules and reigns in the world? Why have believers in Christ become insecure, pathetic losers who just sit in a corner and cry, when we could just take back what’s rightfully ours?”

As a body of people who are supposed to represent Christ… I believe we are lame. I believe we are trying too hard to be relevant and hip with the culture of Satan when God says, “UMMM, Hello! I called you to stand out and be different and actually make a freaking impact because you have been given the power and authority.”

You see I believe our power, authority and anointing through Christ should actually set us apart. Not the way we dress or the things we have or the messages we preach… But the glory of God we walk in through the Spirit in every moment.

So if you half-way see what I am saying… Then please, wake up and take back your God-given power and authority back right now.

Confidence · Spirit · truth

Grown Up

“Ok… So here’s the plan: we’re gonna come home, help mom, sell the house and move on with our lives. This will take three months tops!” I firmly believe God laughed at my plan that day. To think, after everything my family had been through, that it would only take us three months to help mom. I was ridiculous to think such a thought.

You see over the last year and a half, I’ve had to grow up. There’s no other way to explain what I’ve experienced. Has it been painful? Yeah, parts of it have been extremely painful, confusing and altogether frustrating. Has it been fun? Sure it’s been fun! I mean have you met my sister before? She is THE entertainment.

But you know, I wouldn’t trade this time of growth for anything. Because in this time God has truthfully taken so many broken areas of my life and my family’s life and healed them. And He’s also pushed me really, really hard to be where I am today.

Now, I didn’t really appreciate the dark moments. I didn’t really prefer the moments when I thought money was going to run out and we were going to have to file bankruptcy. But, gosh I wouldn’t trade those experiences for the world. Because in the midst of them I learned how to truly rely on God for everything… I learned how to trust Jesus for restoration in areas I didn’t believe could be fixed… And I had to follow the Holy Spirit, even when I couldn’t see.

So where do I go from here now that the house is sold and mom is settled? Well in this moment, I just choose to believe, listen and follow where ever He leads me… Stay tuned to see 😉!

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.