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

Humble Faith

“Humble yourself Amanda.”

That’s what I hear God saying in this moment.

“Humble yourself so you can move forward with Me.”

And I’m not always the best at being humble. It’s honestly something I find myself making a mental note to pursue everyday.

However when I discovered the area that needed humility.. I thought, “This is strange… Strange but interesting.”

You see, my faith needs humility. My belief system and very way of taking a risk with God needs to be brought low.

Because I’m learning that I still operate off of a belief that I have to keep working really hard in my giftings in order for God to bless what He’s given me.

For some reason I don’t want to just embrace the gifts of God. I keep pushing them away with this attitude that says, “I got this God. Let me work. I’ll give you the glory and the credit, but let me work myself into the ground until I’m exhausted. But then don’t forget I deserve something in return too!!”

It’s really twisted.

And in this moment I don’t know what to do about it all. However, I’m pretty confident that the solution is Jesus. It’s simply believing that all that God has given and all that He continues to give is wrapped up in the lifestyle I pursue with Jesus. Because I don’t deserve the freedom and giftings I have, but then in the same breathe I do. I do because He made it possible for me to cultivate this lifestyle! 🌱 #cultivatelife #justlive

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

Lovely Perception

Can I be honest for a moment? I honestly see no real need for Valentine’s Day. I mean if you want to spend a day wasting more time, money and energy on those you love to prove you love them… Then go ahead and add pink and red hearts to your narrative. But, you see it’s all really a little much for me.

However, since we’re talking about love, I believe it’s important to mention something I’ve been going through lately.

You see I have this place inside of me that constantly feels like there’s no one there to take care of me. Since I’m unmarried, without a boyfriend and my dad’s dead… Well I constantly feel like no one has my back at all.

Now, I always feel protected by God and the supernatural… But when it comes to feeling like someone cares about my emotional needs and thoughts, well I just feel unsupported.

And I know I’m supposed to gain all of this from Father God, but lately I’ve been really angry with Him about life… So then it’s hard to think that He really cares.

However, the other night some things that could’ve been a complete failure equated to success. And… Well… Honestly, the success had everything to do with God having my back. He was in my corner in a moment when I needed Him the most by making sure everything was seemingly seamless.

So now I find myself in this place…. A place that’s forcing me to admit that I’ve misperceived God and His love for me.

And… Well, I don’t want to do that anymore. I need better perception. 🌱🌷 #cultivatelife

Would You Risk It?

You know… As a girl raised in America I’ve had just about everything I could ever really need or ask for. I watched my parents struggle as they successfully created the business my father owned and operated. And then I sat back and wondered how we went from living in a very small house to a house bigger then we ever needed. It seemed as I got older we were just able to afford more and so we constantly did more. I mean that is the “American Dream” right?

However, when my father died life got really challenging for my family to manage. From my perspective, it seemed like God needed us to completely abandon this love, adoration and comfort we’d all attained for money and things so that we would focus on Him and Him alone.

Now I know what you’re thinking, “Oh Amanda, I know what loving money is and I don’t care for it that much.” The crazy thing is, most of us rely on and have faith in our jobs, bank accounts and savings accounts more than God.

You see I believe the majority of us live such a comfortable life. We have everything we truly need, but then we’ve bought a lie that we don’t have enough. We believe we’re doing something wrong so we consume more. It’s a constant vicious cycle that none of us are really brave enough to end because we’re all too afraid.

However, over the past five years I’ve learned (and continue to learn) that I only really need faith in God to live, survive and thrive. I don’t need all of these things society tells me I need. I am content with learning and growing and attaining spiritual wealth. I believe it’s what we’re truly designed for.

And I don’t know why I am sharing this. This area of my life is something I keep very private; however, if we really truly have faith in God… Then can we take the risk and cultivate a lifestyle based on our needs rather than our constant desire for what we want? 🌱🌷 #cultivatelife

The Giant is Dead

“Amanda, we slayed that giant in your life. Don’t you remember? Why are you stepping back into the fight with it again? Leave it alone. It’s dead in your life.”

Over the past 24 hours I’ve heard nothing but that type of conversation from the Holy Spirit… A constant reminder that my past was fought and won on the battlefield of life… A constant note that going backwards would be a huge mistake.

Now, I’ll have to admit, hearing the truth does make sense… The war of my past was powerful and extremely challenging. So much so that I sometimes wondered if I’d ever make it out alive.

So I get what He’s saying. Which is why I’m choosing to move forward. However, there is a part of me that thinks, “My past makes sense. My past is comfortable. My past can be manipulated, exaggerated, stretched and understood. My past can’t be that dangerous…. Right?”

But then I know the truth. The truth is that I have to move forward with the Holy Spirit. The truth is that I have to use faith as I step forward and take on a riskier way of life. The truth is that I can’t get trapped in comfortability, manipulation or danger of that magnitude again. The truth is that the giant is dead, and I don’t need to resurrect him at all. ⚔️💃🏻 #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