Dear God, Forgive Us

Dear God,

How do I describe America other than saying, “She’s like a teenager… Young… Wildly curious… Created with a divine purpose by You and You alone… But so desensitized, distracted, drugged up and desperate for real, true belonging, love and attention.”

She’s been mishandled by people seeking their own selfish, satanic agendas. People who would rather put themselves above the hearts and souls that inhabit her land.

And I’m asking You to forgive her. Forgive her for being misled, mismanaged and misguided. Forgive her for the pride, wickedness, hate and bitterness burning in her heart. Transform all that she is so she will become healthy, whole and wonderfully new and complete.

Open the eyes of her people… The ones standing at the bottom of this trick-like, phony, pyramid pony we’ve been deceived into serving. Open our eyes, humble our hearts and bring freedom, restoration and healing to our country.

I call all of the hearts and souls that love You and love You with his or her entire heart out of hiding and into the streets… Lord let them fill the streets of this broken nation in such a mighty way that healing spills from Your heart, to theirs and into the lives of the lost, sick and hurting.

God forgive us. Forgive us and do not let us be distracted or disengaged by the enemy and his plans any longer, but let us move forward as the war wages and battles are won for Your Kingdom and Your glory alone! 🌱👑 #cultivatelife

Year Five

Five years ago today I watched my dad take his last breath. All in one moment the reality of death made his appearance in my life.

You see it was evidently clear that I was starring at my dad, but then at the same time I wasn’t.

Every part of him (the smile, the jokes, the instigation I couldn’t stand, the love, the brilliant gifting that made him unique)… It was gone. His essence… His soul… His spirit… The aura that filled his body was gone. And so he was gone.

And so that was the moment… The moment I realized life… Life really, truly is temporal. And our bodies…. Our bodies really are nothing more than the vessel we use to travel in while we’re here on earth.

So now you might be thinking, “Amanda, why are you sharing this?” Well… To be completely honest with you, I just really care about the health of people. Actually, let me rephrase that…. I care about the inner health of people. I care that we are alive on the inside. I care that we thrive on the inside. I care that we find grace, love, forgiveness and healing; and then that we maintain that healing long after our moment of transformation.

You see in today’s culture I believe it’s so easy to get caught up in our outer appearance, race, sexual orientation, religion and political background… But don’t forget, before any of that can matter, we are all intangible on the inside first and foremost. We’re all created with some type of God-spark that makes us eternal and immortal.

And so I guess that’s why I’m writing this…. Because I want to remind you and encourage you to look past the surface of what you can see and shift your focus to what you can spiritually feel. Because the health of that “thing” inside of you, that “thing” we all so casually overlook, is what is truly alive in life. 🌱 #cultivatelife

Jaded Heart?

Unfortunately, it’s been quite a challenge to accept God’s love lately. I’ve just been so caught up in pain, anger, bitterness and sorrow. And, for a brief moment, I almost let them talk me into hardening my heart.

You see… I could feel this wave of emotion and constant thought trying to push their way into my heart so that they could completely own it. I knew the feelings and thoughts weren’t my own though. In my heart I knew they belonged to an outside threat. Something wickedly supernatural that was begging me to follow it over the love of God.

And I do suppose the pain, anger, bitterness and sorrow are a direct result of loss. Sometimes I just feel like I’ve lost so much that I focus on my losses far more than my gains. I look at the past and how painful things have been, rather than focusing my attention to the present where love is.

However, I’m happy to report that my heart hasn’t been overtaken by these dark forces. Instead, I’ve chosen to place my constant focus on forgiveness, grace and love.

And… Honestly, that route has been a challenge too because life and death keep giving me reasons to become angry, bitter and somewhat jaded. But, well I just can’t stand the feeling of their presence anymore.

You see I enjoy feeling the love of God and then giving it back to others way more than I enjoy sulking around like the plague. And so I hope, I genuinely hope the pursuit of forgiveness, grace and love I am focused towards takes me places I never imagined to go. I hope they open avenues, windows and doors I never dreamed of walking through . And… most importantly, I hope they remain my constant way of life. ♥️ #cultivatelife

My Story of Scoliosis… 

It was somewhere around two years ago… I was standing in the kitchen of my employer’s home in Beverly Hills… As the eldest child of my employer passed by me she causually said, “I think you have scoliosis”…

Since this was news to me, I quickly responded with, “No I don’t. I don’t have scoliosis at all”…

She continued by pointing out the place in my upper back where the scoliosis was… And then took me upstairs so I could bend over in front of the mirror and see the imbalance in my back…

“See,” she said… “Look at your back… It isn’t straight at all.. This side sticks out farther than that side… You definitely have scoliosis”…

There was no denying what she saw… Something really was off… And I completely believed this 14 year old beauty knew what she was talking about… She’s suffered from scoliosis her entire life… Having to undergo surgery last summer to correct it…

But she had known for years that she had this imbalance in her body… For me… For me, this was news… Something that bothered me deep down…

Because I strive to cultivate a lifestyle of balance, order and health… And knowing the muscles around my back were weak enough in areas to cause my spine to curve really bothered me…

Later that day, I showed my sister… We researched it… And again, my back definitely looked like a case of minor scoliosis…

I really didn’t like the knowledge of this at all… The reality of an imbalance in my body…

Over the course of 7 years I had worked so much to stand up straighter… But apparently it didn’t matter how straight I stood… The curve was still there… Still real… Still apparent…

It made me kind of angry too…

So, in so many ways I ignored it… Knowing it was there, but not wanting to acknowledge the reality of it all…

Over the course of the next 6 months I would consciously sit and stand straighter… And when running I would make sure my back was very straight and that I was running very properly…

Well… Time passed… Life continued to go on… And I put it on the “back-burner” in my mind…

About 6 months ago I felt this pain… It was around the top of my back… Like I was carrying a heavy, heavy weight or something…

I mentioned to a friend and he encouraged me to talk to God about it…

As I began to talk to Him, I realized, in so many ways He hadn’t been able to communicate what it means to be a father to me… I had pushed Him away in that area…

One reason being, I had a good father… And though he wasn’t perfect and complete Father God, he was still good… So I didn’t really see a need to cultivate a relationship with Father God…

But after his death, well I was minus that love… That relationship… And so I cultivated a deeper one with God the Father…

In the midst of discussing the pain in my upper back, a lot of forgiveness took place… And almost instantly the pain and weight left…

A few days later, my sister said, “Your back is so straight… What happened?? I think your scoliosis is gone”…

I almost laughed because I realized, in God’s timing… With His patience in my life, He had removed the pain and weight in my upper back when I gained a closer relationship with Him as my Father…

And the removal of that pain and weight also meant that that my spine no longer revealed a sign of scoliosis… It just revealed an aligned and balanced spine…

There are so many reasons I am telling this story…

And I believe the biggest is, we can run around looking for physical healing all the time… Begging God to give it to us… But I’ve found it increasingly more effective to simply gain a closer relationship with God the Father and the Holy Spirit… And to live those lives boldly through the power of Jesus’ blood and sacrifice…

So many times I feel like we go to church and try to get closer to God because it’s what’s expected of us… It’s what gives us faith, love and joy…

But more than anything, I believe our spirit and soul needs this connection… That without it we are completely poor on the inside… Imbalanced… Lacking wholeness and genuine connection…

Connection that can only truly be found in Father God… Because our own parents, spouses, siblings and friends will continue to fail us… There will continue to be imbalance in those relationships… But with God we can continue to remain complete, whole and balanced as we just cultivate life…

Grace… Covers a Multitude…

Over the years my grandmother has taught me a lot of things…
Aside from all of the things about God… Well my favorite would have to be baking…

From an early age she taught me how to bake… I don’t remember why… But I do know that I grew to love almost everything about it…
One day, after baking a cake, the cake split right down the middle… I was a little panicked because the cake was a gift…

That’s when my grandmother laughed and said, “Icing covers a multitude of sins”…

Then she instructed me on how to ice the cake just right so no one would see the ugly crack down the middle… So it would be covered forever…

It’s funny… I’ve referenced that story so many times…

But right now… Right now in my life… The place that I’m waiting in… Well I find God saying the same thing to me…

That grace… Just like that icing… Covers a multitude of sin…

And I have to admit… He showing me so many areas… Practically every area… Where I don’t apply grace… Where I’m unkind and graceless towards myself… Areas where I don’t choose to let grace be for me too…

Because for some reason I’ve allowed myself to stay in this religious trap of thinking my way through things… I’ve allowed myself to mentally work really, really hard to “figure out” how to solve the situation of the moment…

But that’s where I am realizing I’ve been so wrong… Because I see this trend of doing rather than being… Of doing work rather than allowing grace to cover it all…

And honestly… Honestly being graceful isn’t difficult at all… To me, it can be so simple…

And I guess that’s why I feel so encouraged… Encouraged just to step back from life’s situations… From the areas where I feel like I may be short… And just allow grace to cover it all…

Finding Forgiveness…

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The memory that continues to flood my mind this morning is one that involved hope… Leaving dad in the hospital… After spending the entire night there… The entire night after flying home and going straight to the hospital… And the next morning Bridget and I waking up so hungry… So we walked to ihop across the street to get something to eat… Mom was at home trying to get a good night’s rest… And we stayed just to be there…
And in that moment… Well I didn’t take death that seriously at all… I didn’t see that those last 36 hours would be the last my dad had with us… and us with him… I was still just so hopeful…
We walked to walmart to get a balloon too… And some tea… Because obviously, to me, no one cared that coffee is acidic and it was only instigating the cancer… Causing it to grow… We also got dad a dvd… Something to watch other than tv… So he wouldn’t be bored while getting better in the hospital…
But we were all wrong… We were all so wrong… We all hoped for the best… But isn’t that basically expected when you’ve never experienced death before?… That the person is going to spring back to life?… That they are going to take a turn for the good?…
And then there was the moment on the way back from breakfast… When dad told us to find him a wheelchair so he could get up and walk around some… That night he and bridge had a conversation that encouraged him to get up and start walking and stop laying there in the bed…
And in that moment we were both so hopeful… So focused on finding the first chair with four wheels that we saw… But it wasn’t enough you know?… The hope we had… It just wasn’t enough when death was going to be the final decision the next day….
And it’s good to look back and know… To realize that we had hope… That we were genuinely wanting a better outcome… And that dad saw that and somehow mustered up some hope for himself…
But then there’s the truth within it all… That life was taken just a few hours later… And that my life… My entire families life will forever be changed by a disease that went undetected….
And I think sometimes… Well I think that’s what hurts more than anything… The fact that he was sick for so long… And we all ignored it…
And maybe that’s why I am a little depressed… Maybe that’s why I am a little bit angry on the inside… Because I knew he was sick for years… But I cared more about myself… And what was going on in my own world… I was too focused on me to see that dad needed care… And that he needed it in that very moment…
And when I finally did care… When I did finally realize “Oh shit this is cancer. He’s going to die. My dad is going to die.”…. Well it was too late… I missed my chance…
And I think this is something I need to work through… Forgiving myself for not caring when I needed to care… Forgiving myself for being selfish… Forgiving myself for having my attention zoned in on me and only me…
Because at the end of the day… Well I know I could’ve done more… So much more… But now I’m left with a heavy heart… And a need to forgive me…

Just Let It Go

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What happens when you begin to realize your worth?… when you begin to realize it’s not mature of you to be so irritated and bitter with someone when you know so much?… what happens when you feel this need to value yourself more and in that need you discover that it’s stupid… no ridiculous to hold onto something and be mad at someone?… what happens when you realize you’re being dramatic in holding bitterness towards someone?… just so you have a good story to tell someone else?…
That’s where I am right now… holding onto something so tight because it’s all I really have… but in reality… well in reality it’s very foolish and dumb… because as I begin to find value and worth in myself… well I begin to wonder why I would even hold something like that… why would I take the bitterness that’s in my heart and peg it on anyone?…
And I guess maybe it’s another way I’m learning how to discover my worth… another way to really truly become me…
Because at the end of the year I don’t want to find myself bitter with someone just because I can tell a story from it… or just because it’s one thing I have… the one and probanly only thing keeping me from being at peace…
And so it’s important to me… to my self-value, self-worth and present that I let it all go…
And it’s strange though… in letting this go… well usually the Lord would have me talk to the person… tell them I am sorry… ask for their forgiveness.. but in this situation he says to just deal with it from within… just let it go right here fair and sqaure… and not even involve anyone else or anything else…
So I guess that’s what I’ve chosen to do… and in doing so… well I hope to live with a little more peace from within…