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

The Color Process

Pain is temporary if we’re open to healing. Pressure is good if we allow it to shape us in a life-giving way. Growth…. Growth is challenging. And a lifestyle of all three seems to be the challenge of all challenges.

I told you God told me that all of my refinement, development, maturity and growth has led to a bloom. I told you that He said the pain and pressure were about to come full circle and produce something beautiful.

The other day He told me, “Amanda, blooming isn’t painful like growth. To bloom, you have to be in season and ready to go. You have to be ready to open up and show the world your colors. Show them who you are and why you’re this way. A bloom is the prettiest of the process. When a bloom happens everyone sees the beauty that took place during the pain and pressure of growth. People almost believe that the growth period might’ve been easy because the bloom is so beautiful. No one saw the pain, the darkness or the pressure.”

“When you see a plant or a tree, you don’t think, ‘Gosh that plant underwent so much pain and pressure to get to this point.’ No you just look at the beauty and ease of the bloom.. or the fruit. You see what’s coming off of the plant or tree and feel at ease with what you see. You feel peaceful. That’s a bloom Amanda. A constant, yet sweet seasonal reminder of the growth period. Enjoy it!”

And you know… I truly believe what He’s said is truth because I feel so healthy, whole and complete on the inside. It’s almost like the darkness has been completely stripped off of me through His processes so what’s left can be seen in its fullness. And what’s left is light. It’s beauty. It’s incredible, life-giving truth, inspiration and encouragement to keep following His path and plan. To follow even when it’s painfully annoying. To follow even when it’s aggravating and burdensome.

Because the end result… Well it’s just so sweet and beautiful! 🌱 #cultivatelife

Bloom

Refine. Develop. Mature. Grow…

Refine. Develop. Mature. Grow.

This has been the constant flow of my life a decade or more now.

It’s just been this constant reverberation from God to keep moving forward. To keep allowing Him to refine me. Develop me. Mature me. And grow me in all the areas He sees best for my present and future.

But you know what? Last week He said something to me I’d never heard Him say before. He said, “Amanda, it’s time for things to BLOOM. You’ve never really experienced a bloom before, but it’s time!”

BLOOM?!? What?! This has me really excited deep down.

And now I still don’t understand what He entirely means. And I’m certainly not going to go creating scenarios in my head only to be let down by my own expectations. However, BLOOM is such a positive word! It’s full of so much life and color! It’s such a beautiful by-product of what’s been growing for so long under so much pressure and pain.

So if you’ve been following what I write for sometime now, please know that I intend to share all the ends and outs of this spiritual BLOOM! And I’m hoping it will blow my mind in ways I never saw possible! 🌱🌸 #cultivatelife

 

Deposit Here Please

I once had a mentor say, “Amanda, I know what you are going through is rough and quite challenging, but I also believe God is depositing something deep within you through it all.”

Now, I’m going to be completely honest… I kind of hated what she said. I mean, I really wanted her to say something like, “It’ll all be over soon. Here’s why this is happening.” I wanted a quick solution to make the challenge go away. But… she just didn’t provide that.

Instead she provided me with a word… And that word has been one of the most helpful words for my personal growth in life.

You see… When I think of the word deposit I always think of a seed being dropped into fertile soil in the ground. And then I think… “Gosh that little seed has to face some giant changes with many challenges a long the way. I mean… It has to grow. It has to develop. It has to mature into the plant or tree God designed it to be. What a journey it’s on!!”

But ya know?.. I think that’s how we are when we chose to cultivate life!

Which is why… When I’m in a situation I can’t seem to find my way out of I almost always think, “What is God depositing inside of my heart? What is He giving me that I can turn around and use for good to help someone else in the future?”

And I know it’s not always easy… And I know we don’t all like to think of the positive side of life… However, I do believe it’s very healthy to discover what He’s depositing inside of you. Because what He’s left in you is viable and good for LIFE! 🌷🌱 #cultivatelife #justlive