soul · Spirit · truth

But Are You Loyal?

Have you ever loved someone so much you’d practically do anything for them…. Even when you don’t want too because the thing you’ve been asked to do requires more of you than you’d really like to give?

I have.

Actually that’s where my relationship with God constantly stands. You see it’s become this place where I listen and I follow, even when it’s NOT what I WANT TO DO.

Because I remember being 17 years old. I remember my grandmother speaking into my life. I remember her saying, “Amanda I see where you’re headed in life. I see you on a path. You will stay very close to God. Your feet will never get off of His path.”

His path to life is an interesting one though. I spend more time with Him than anyone realizes… And I feel like in this time He takes all that I am that’s ugly and makes it beautiful. He completely uproots the negative, leaving love, peace and joy inside of me. You know, enough to leak out and share with others.

And I guess I’m sharing this because I want you to know that being loyal to your relationship with God is very fruitful. Yeah, it’s a constant choice of staying true to what He’s asked… But it’s also filled with more life and love than I ever imagined I’d encounter.

So if you know Him… If you’ve spent time in His presence and can hear His voice, than please be encouraged to keep cultivating that relationship. It will produce more fruit in you than you can fathom. And He’ll most likely ask you to do things you never saw yourself doing before. 🌱 #cultivatelife #justlive

soul · Spirit

Is It Fixed Yet?

I promised myself I’d pursue more of God’s love … I promised myself I’d pursue more of His love so the brokenness inside of me would mend and I could be made whole.

But I haven’t known where to start.

And then He spoke to me. He spoke to me and gave me a simple solution for my healing.

He told me, “Amanda, I may be able to read your heart and mind, but what’s greater is when you choose to become vulnerable with Me– that’s a special, intimate bonding moment because then I’m not probing around like an intruder… No you’ve given Me direct access to your heart.”

And so I’ve been doing this for a few days now. I’ve really been focusing my attention on what He’s spoken. And guess what?.. I feel lighter. I feel stronger. I feel healthier in my heart than I ever have before. I also feel like the broken areas are being filled with Him and His love.

So if you feel like I’ve felt for a while now, then please know there’s a simple solution for your heart. You need to intentionally express yourself to God. Don’t just assume He knows because He’s God and He “knows the desires of your heart and your every thought.” No, go further than that. Actually lay it all out there for Him. Lay it out there for Him and watch how He responds and fixes what needs mending. ♥️🌱 #cultivatelife

soul · Spirit · truth

Broken?

It might be a simple truth… But broken things can be moved. Broken things can be shaken, tossed and turned in several different directions at once.

Which is why I believe the only way to take something broken and make it immovable and unshakable is to let God heal it. His perfect love contains the power to heal the most broken of hearts.

You see I thought my brokenness was gone. I’d given so much of it up. So much to the point that I was convinced that I was so whole in Him. But then… Then an intruder came in and shook me around a little. And, rather than staying secure in Him, I let my guard down. I let it down and discovered there was brokenness deep, deep inside of my heart. Brokenness that God’s been trying to heal.

It’s a challenge to let Him heal it though. Sometimes we can live with pain for so long… So long that we become reliant on the pain because it gives us a false sense of life and security.

But I can’t keep holding onto all of this brokenness anymore. It’s hurting me. It’s causing me to stay weak in others and the past, rather than strong in Him.

So I guess I am to pursue more love. More love than I’ve ever known. He keeps telling me to pursue love. That love will fix what hurts so badly. 🌷🌱 #cultivatelife

Spirit · truth

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

Confidence · Spirit · truth

Square Peg, Round Hole

“Fit in… just fit in Amanda. Figure out how to fit in and then you’ll be happy and confident and secure and complete!!”

This has been a narrative I constantly play out in my head. It’s been a narrative that’s taken possession of every season and chapter of life I’ve ever entered and lived through… This longing, this desire and want to just fit in and fit in well with those around me that are popular and leading the so called “pack” of life.

The funny thing is… It’s never worked.

Fitting in for me has never happened. Ever.

Sure I have dreams of fitting in with the world around me, but then I am left very disappointed when it just doesn’t happen. And then I’m left even more disappointed when I feel like an outsider and a loner because I can’t fit.

After my grandmother was healed she said she always felt like a square peg trying to fit into a round hole. And while I’m not trying to take the words from her mouth, this is kind of what it feels like for me.

Funny thing is all of this trying to “fit” has produced A LOT of self-centeredness in my heart and soul…. Because, rather than being confident and secure in the way God has created me… Rather than standing firm in who I am as Amanda, well I find myself doing everything in my power to fit into that round hole.

So now, well I find myself having to set aside this deep want to fit. I find myself having to let go of the source of my insecurity. Because the insecurity has led me down a very unsatisfying road… One filled with endless thoughts in my mind that cause me to feel small and inadequate and unworthy.

However, God keeps telling me to just “stand firm. Stand firm in who I’ve created you to be Amanda and you will stand out as yourself.” And I don’t know if anyone else feels like that right now, in this place where you keep trying to fit to finally feel complete, but I just want you to know it doesn’t work. It’s exhausting and time consuming and ironically very self-centered from the way in which God would like us to be. Because instead, He needs us to stand firm and be secure in who we are in Him. He needs us to be all that HE needs us to be, and not what we see by viewing someone else’s projected life. And yeah, it does feel a little bit uncomfortable at first to let go of this way of life; however, once we’ve done it… Well we’ll find ourselves in more peace and satisfaction than before. Plus, not fitting in might actually cause us to stand out.

Spirit · truth

Timing of the Trees

I’ve been coming to my grandmother’s house on Cane River my entire life. It’s a place that is 100% country, yet southern.

While sitting on her porch yesterday I found myself very confused about a patch of trees. “Where did they come from? Did they grow over night? Why was I just now noticing them?” This is all I could think… So I asked my grandmother.

And she replied, “Oh they’ve been there for quite a while. Really small things. But you know, just in the last two years they’ve shot up like that and now you can’t see the road or field on the other side of them.”

I just kind of sat there and thought for a moment… To me it was kind of interesting that they’d been growing so long without any notice; however, now they’re tall enough to block the field view and I really notice!

I tell this story because the trees remind me of God’s timing.

You see I believe when we live a life that follows God’s ways we must also follow His timing… And for me, well I’ve always struggled with staying on God’s time table. I want what He’s planted in my life to grow up big and tall right NOW! I don’t like to wait for His process because it seems so long and drawn out at times.

But in reality He needs the time to cultivate and nourish these things inside of me. His ways require that we become strong and sturdy and capable of withstanding a lot. And like those trees it takes many years for this to occur.

But then, at the right time… Well I believe you have a moment like I did yesterday. One where you look over and think, “Where did they come from? They’re so big and tall and full of life that they distract and puzzle my mind.”

And I don’t know what God’s planted in your life in different seasons, but if you just continue to allow Him to cultivate it… If you just allow Him to strength you, give you an identity in Him and make you whole and complete… Well one day I believe you’ll look over and see that all of that time wasn’t a waste because something great did come forth. And now the things planted are taller than you and you can go places with them that you never fathomed.

Spirit · truth

Sky’s the Limit… Right?

Over the past week or so something has been troubling my heart. Nothing bad has happened, but all of a sudden I feel very distant from God…

You see for almost a decade I feel as though I’ve been climbing this very, very tall, but bumpy mountain range. Now when I began my journey I had thoughts about what life would be like when I reached the top where the sky rested. I just knew in my heart it would equate to an authentic relationship with God, something to cherish and hold close to my heart. Something that reflected closeness and reality.

And, as I’ve climbed, I’ve definitely felt close to Him. At times I’ve looked parts of the sky straight in the eye and thought, “Gosh, I’m finally here. I’ve finally cultivated a relationship with God in this area of my life.”

However, at this place in my life… Well, I’m coming to what seems to be the highest point of the range I’ve been climbing. And, for some reason… Well I don’t feel the way I thought I would.

You see instead of feeling close to God, I look out at the journey below and look up at the sky above and I realize that there’s so much about God that I don’t know at all. In a way, the sky intimidates me because I know in my heart it stretches so far upward and sideways. And all of those thoughts and feelings about reaching the top and being close to God have somewhat disappeared because I realize that I am so very distant from who He really is.

Now, in this moment, well I feel two distinct things. Half of me is in awe that there is still so much to learn about Him (I mean, I’ve been at this concentrated journey for a decade. That’s a long time). But then the other half of me feels a little lost and a little confused because I don’t know where to go from here in my relationship with Him. It’s all very puzzling to me.

And, sure eventually the Holy Spirit will point the way. But right now I can’t help but sit here amazed, yet questioning God and who He actually is.

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.

Mind · soul · Spirit

When It’s Finally Over

In the past few months I’ve heard it said at least 20 times now, “Well, hindsight is 20/20.”

And though I do believe that statement is true, I’ve grown to love the confusion and uncertainty built into life. Now, don’t get me wrong… I don’t like to be confused and uncertain; however, without the confusion and uncertainty of tomorrow, how would we ever grow? How would we ever learn? How would we ever become more than what we already are today?

Because I believe that the struggle and the fight and wrestling have made me who I am. And though I dont ever like the confusion and uncertainty of the moment or the season, I would truly be utterly lost without them.

It’s almost like God let’s you feel a little bit of confusion for a moment… Almost like He knows that confusion and uncertainty is not His way, but He knows that you feeling that way will end eventually because if you hold to His ways you will come out on the other side with clarity and peace and prosperity.

In my heart, I hope my family never has to walk through what we have ever again. I pray that these past four years, especially this past year and a half are over for good, but gosh I am grateful for every moment of them.

Grateful because they were filled with moments that helped uproot my weaknesses and insecurities. And now that they’ve all wilted away and died down, I can see that what I hated created a beautiful masterpiece of work. Something that I still can’t fully comprehend or wrap my mind around. But something that is good and viable and was extremely worth my time and tears. Because in this time God helped me grow up and truly mature into a woman who cannot and will not be ransacked, shaken or blown away by the realities that are found within the lows of life.

And you know what? I’m ok with it.