glory · goodness of god · kingdom · Manifestation · stillness

Summer of Stillness

If you followed my writings over the past summer, then you know I shared about stillness and the glory of God a lot. At one point, I mentioned that Holy Spirit said, “How are people going to know that I am truly with you, if you won’t let My stillness rest upon you? It’s okay to be still. It’s okay to not have any movement going on in you. That doesn’t mean things aren’t moving. Instead, it means you’re cultivating a space to carry the weight of My glory, which you’ve never truly carried before. And sure, sure it’s cumbersome. Sure, being still is not your favorite thing because you want to be doing, but I have called you to a life of stillness: spirit, soul, heart and body right now. A life of stillness that mediates on My goodness constantly.”

And so, when I wasn’t working, you could find me sitting in silence without any distractions (phone, TV, computer), commanding my soul to step back and inviting my spirit to come forward so I could engage with the stillness. And, in those moments of stillness, my mind was mostly quiet. I didn’t hear Holy Spirit speaking too often, but I did feel a very significant amount of His presence and glory growing and surrounding me as I mediated on His goodness.

Below are three stories (from the summer) that demonstrate the growing manifestation of His presence.

The Smoke

On June 17, at 2 am I woke up to the smell of thick, thick smoke. The smell was so strong that I was convinced something was on fire. I woke my sister (who is usually awake at 2am) up. She could smell it too. We both firmly agreed something was on fire. So, we hurried towards the windows in back of the apartment. Bridget said, “I don’t smell anything outside of the windows. It’s not coming from over here.” Then she turned on the lights and the room looked kind of hazy, like smoke was definitely in the room. Next, she checked the radiator pipes that run through the apartment for the heat in winter. Again, nothing. I checked the windows in my room. Nothing. We checked the hallway. Nothing. So, it was evident that the smoky smell and haze was isolated to our apartment unit only.

We both kind of laughed about it and confidently decided to go back to sleep. Convinced it was occurring within the spirit realm surrounding us. 

When I woke up the next morning, I consulted Holy Spirit. He led me to Isaiah 4:5. It says, “Then the Lord will create over all of Mount Zion and over those who assemble there a cloud of smoke by day and a glow of flaming fire by night; over everything the glory will be a canopy.” Again, I kind of laughed because both of our spirits knew that’s what we had experienced. But, before I could confirm for sure, I called my mom. I told her the story and she said, “You know Amanda, last night I had a dream y’all were in a fire in NYC, but you were okay. When I woke up, I felt a little panicked, but I knew y’all were fine.” 

Why did God reveal Himself to us like this? I still don’t have all of the answers; however, I am confident that we were so confident in the manifested demonstration of His presence that we went back to sleep without a worry or a doubt.

The Tears

During the month of June, my sister was working on a painting of her spirit. She said, “Amanda, there’s water on the floor in front of the painting, but I don’t have a clue where it came from.” I walked over to the painting, and, sure enough, there were several droplets on the floor that resembled tears. We both backtracked the past hour and decided there was no way either one of us was responsible for the water. So again, we knew they manifested from the spirit realm surrounding us. But why? 

Over the next few days, the Father made it clear that He was very overwhelmed with what my sister was bringing to life. It moved Him to tears to see that she was so interested in putting paint to canvas to watch the truth surrounding her spirit come to life.

The Diamond

In mid-July, I had been sitting on the living room couch all day working on my computer. After several hours, I got up and went to my room to sit with Holy Spirit and focus in on being still. After I had been sitting for a while, my sister rushed in my room to tell me Britney Spears was testifying in court and we could listen to the stream on Twitter. So, we both sat on the end of my bed and listened. When it was over, we both gleefully left my room (research the case if you want to know why) and went back to the living room. She sat down on the couch where I had been sitting all day and said, “Amanda, what is this?” In her hand she was holding what looked like a tiny rhinestone. She said, “Did this fall off of a piece of clothing?” We both thought through all of the clothing we own and decided it didn’t. Then she said, “Actually, I don’t think it’s a rhinestone. I think it’s a diamond!” So, she rushed over to her phone and pulled up a YouTube video to verify a diamond. The video said we needed to drop it in a glass of water. If it sank, it was surely a diamond. So, she filled up a clear glass, took it into the bathroom and I dropped the tiny stone into the water. Sure enough, the diamond went straight to the bottom. 

Then we checked every piece of jewelry. Nothing missing. We asked our friends that had been over. They weren’t missing anything. We asked my mom. She wasn’t missing anything. So, again, we laughed. Surely, this did not fall from the spirit realm surrounding us? Or did it? And if so, what was God’s plan for it? To show that the very presence of Heaven is surrounding us at all times? To encourage us to keep engaging Heaven? To demonstrate the realness of the realm of Heaven, that often feels like a caricature of sorts?

And while I don’t have too many answers, I am sure of this… Engagement with our human spirit, paired with stillness and meditation on the goodness of God can bring about some very unique manifested experiences. And while we haven’t stumbled upon another diamond yet, we have had many more experiences with hazy smoke and tears. They just seem to appear in places where we’ve been mediating on the goodness of God, while paving a road for angelic assistance and operating in the gifts, purposes and trading routes Holy Spirit is constantly laying before us.

So if you’re reading this, I want to encourage you to take the time to cultivate a relationship with your human spirit, Holy Spirit and stillness. Take many undistracted moments (moments without technology) to just mediate on areas of your life where you know He provided for, protected, healed, delivered, connected with and loved you. And then see where that takes you. Look around for the growth of His manifested presence within your life. I promise you, you won’t just feel it, you may just see it too! And the best part is, mediating on the goodness of God will become a part of your lifestyle and you will consistently see His glory revealed. 🌱

capacity · grow · healing · keep moving forward · refine

Capacitate

Yesterday, I caught myself looking very intently at old photos…. And they gripped me in such a way that I thought, “I don’t even see myself in these photos anymore. The person I see in these photos is just an image… A mirage… A shell of me in a once lived life. A girl who was searching very deeply for identity, security and belonging. A young woman who needed to be completely stripped down and cleansed of her brokenness, confusion, selfishness and deep-rooted pride.”

And now I do realize we don’t all look at our past selves, only in an effort to compare it to our present selves. However, well… I do because I love to track my growth rate.

Which is why sometimes… Sometimes I wish I could travel to the past and tell that girl, “Hey you, you’re gonna go through a lot of challenging processes, but they will refine you. They will develop and mature you. They WILL cause you to grow. Actually they will propel you to grow in such a way that you’ll feel isolated A LOT. And you’ll feel misunderstood even more. However, your capacity…. Amanda, your capacity to move forward with the plans and the will of God… Wow! It will grow! You will be able to take on more than you ever imagined… More than you ever schemed up in all of those phone calls… Yeah, the capacity God’s going to instill and install inside of you will be so voluminous. So don’t stop. Don’t ever stop growing!”

And you know… I say all of this in this moment because I am wrestling deeply with capacity. I’ve been asking God for months to grow it… To give me a greater understanding of how it works… And He’s been very reliable in answering. But the feeling of growth… The amount of pressure it takes for one to reach the maximum amount one can contain or produce… Gosh it is a challenging process.

However, I do believe… I truly, truly believe it is so very healthy to outgrow who we were years ago, months ago or even a few weeks ago. Because if we’re ever going to truly thrive the way God intended us to, then we MUST be willing to capacitate. We must be willing to stare ourselves down in the mirror and say, “I don’t know who you’re becoming or how you’re going to get there, but you will move forward. You will grow. And you will do it with Holy Spirit leading the way!” 🌱 #cultivatelife #keepmovingforward

faith · follow · grow · heart · keep moving forward · refine

Following Growth

Growth… Growth & I have a love/hate relationship.

Wait… Let me rephrase that. Growth, as amazing as it is, feels like a antagonist in my life sometimes. Do I crave it? Sure I do! I crave growth and the results that come from following through with where I’m being led to develop and mature in life. I crave the feeling of becoming a healthier vessel from the inside out!

And, over the years, I’ve read so many books… You know the ones that encourage you to “Think and Grow Rich.” The ones that encourage you to focus on self-love, manifestations and such… And while those methods for growth have worked in my life, none of them have been as powerful or as long-lasting as following the Holy Spirit and His supernatural growth track.

His system… His ways… His ability to lead me in the best direction, customized and centered around what I need to grow is the most powerful and pure thing I’ve ever encountered.

And sure… Sure it’s filled with a lot of walks through valleys and continual climbing of mountains with a lot of highs and lows… However, the greatest part… The most amazing piece about following the Holy Spirit is the relationship that’s birthed within the process of following. It’s a feeling that’s greater than any self-love or love from another because it meets me at the very core of my spirit, heart and soul. It’s God’s love. His perpetual love makes the growth process worth every inch of the journey.

And I don’t know who I’m speaking to when saying this, but God (in His very essence) is completely interested in growing with US. He needs us as much as we need Him. And if we (I’m mainly speaking to myself) can just continue to follow with a pure and steady heart… A heart that wants to be free from all of the darkness, sickness, depression, fear and anxiety we’re feeling… Then I believe He will continue to help us grow into the most beautiful trees of LIFE… Trees of LIFE firmly planted within His garden of LIFE! 🌱 #cultivatelife #keepmovingforward

capacity · focus · heart · process

Heaven’s Pace

Last week I told you that God was examining my heart again…

Of course, in the moment I didn’t really understand what the examination was all about. I mean… He does inspect it quite often, but this time… This time felt different. 

So, in true “Amanda form,” I questioned Him about it.

His response, “I’m checking out your capacity. You’ve been asking me for two months to increase your capacity, and I’m ready to do it. So, here I am inspecting the middle ground of your being to make sure it’s prepared to handle the increase of responsibilities I’m sending your way.”

Okay… When I heard this, I was truly excited!

You see over the years I’ve learned that God will not give us more than we contain. Sure, the world’s system has a way of offering us piles of things we aren’t prepared for, but God… God is unique in the fact that He never wants to overwhelm our refinement, development, maturity and growth. Meaning, we can incessantly ask for things, but He’s probably not going to hand them over until we’ve matured into the version of self that He needs us to be.

His process is holy you know?.. It offers us the grace to go at Heaven’s pace. And sure… Sure it takes times to get where we’re going; however, when we do get there, we are able to contain the weight of the responsibilities He’s entrusted us with because we have the capacity to hold it.

And I don’t know if I’m making perfect sense when explaining this; however, I do hope and pray you are inspired to remain focused with where He has you right now. I hope you don’t settle and begin to chase after systems that will ultimately lead to death and destruction of your spirit, soul and heart. Because, I believe, the refinement, development maturity and growth He’s taking you through will provide you with the capacity you need to move forward in every aspect of life. 🌱 #cultivatelife

develop · follow · grow · keep moving forward · refine

Fully Grasp It

Do you wanna know what moving forward with Holy Spirit looks like for me right now?

It’s choosing to FULLY trust in everything He’s cultivated inside of me.

Yep… I feel challenged deep in my spirit to believe… To FULLY believe in the LIFE He’s helped me refine, develop, nurture, mature and grow.

And, honestly the challenge I feel feels… Well It feels large.

Actually… It’s like there’s a giant tree standing in front of me. A tree that’s blossoming and blooming fruit, flowers and shades of life and glory I never realized existed until I encountered them.

And I’m having to FULLY grasp the truth that everything I see is going on inside of me at this very moment!

And I don’t know where you are right now. My greatest hope is that you’re filled with so much life it’s flowing out of you and touching the lives of those you encounter. However, if you do feel like me, if you’re having trouble believing in what you see… Then PLEASE be encouraged to ask Holy Spirit to reveal truth to you. Please ask Him to fully reveal the LIFE He’s cultivated inside of your heart. And, if you realize there are areas that are languishing and dying, PLEASE be encouraged to ask Jesus to restore them… To restore them totally and completely 🌱 #cultivatelife

Body · cultivation · freedom · healing · just live · love of god · restore · soul · Spirit

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

capacity · cultivation · expansion · pain · process · refine

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

cultivation · expansion · grow · healing · refine

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

 

cultivation · deposit · develop · grow

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