death · Spirit · truth

A Promise is A Promise

Six-and-a-half years ago my dad unexpectedly died. A month before he passed my parents had just celebrated their milestone 30th wedding anniversary. To celebrate, they planned to take a trip to Hawaii, but… Well obviously, that didn’t happen.

Last week my mom turned 60-years-old. So, in true Winder Sister form and fashion, Bridget and I decided to honor my parents plans by taking her to Hawaii to celebrate.

Now if I’m honest, I was excited the entire time! However, as we zipped up, down and around the island for the week, I never really thought about Dad much. I never truly let myself experience the weight of what it means to honor my parents by fulfilling a promise that was made within the covenant of their marriage.

And so, it wasn’t until we were actually headed to the airport that the heaviness of it all began to hit me. 

You see… Sickness, disease and death sought to destroy the Winder Women by completely robbing us of life and dragging us down a long and sometimes dark path of brokenness, heartache and pain. However, that’s what’s so magnificent about restoration! It’s this beautiful, systematic process where God promises too deeply and divinely heal us from the darkness that has torn us apart: spirit, soul, heart and body.

And… Somewhere along the way, the healing becomes a fulfilled process in certain areas… And you’re able to look at the life (like we have with this trip) and confidently say, “Yeah, dad’s not here… Yes, life has been an emotional, painful, uncertain climb we sometimes didn’t believe we’d make it through; however, we are holding God to His promises. And His promises say, “He WILL vindicate us and bring life to every place the kingdom of darkness has stolen.” His promises say, “He WILL redeem, restore and then supply us with endless joy!” His promises say, “He WILL cultivate the grounds of our brokenness so that they can be made whole, and then we can walk in the maturity of His confidence, security and love.”

And so you see… It is completely healthy to walk through fire and then emerge refined, restored and redeemed. It’s completely healthy to emerge without an ounce of bitterness, anger, hate, heartache and insecurity. It’s completely healthy to emerge more equipped with a heavier, holier suit of armor than when you walked in. 

Because when you do… When you actually surrender your pain, heartache and brokenness to God, then He can come in with His great love and swallow up what the kingdom of darkness has stolen. And then… Then you can move forward to the other side with a healthy, whole and aligned spirit, soul, heart and body. And that side… That realm… That promised land is overflowing with an increase of LIFE…. Life that is beaming and vibrating with a higher frequency of honor, respect, love and gratitude towards God than you ever imagined possible. And it perpetually echos out, “A promise is a promise!” 🌱 #cultivatelife #winderwomen

 

Confidence · heart · soul · Spirit · truth

Strength… Without Asking

I heard God so clearly a few days ago…

“I am giving you a new level of strength today Amanda. You’ll need it for the next season you’re headed into after the new year. You will need Me in a greater way than ever before. You will need to place all of who you are… Who I have molded you into… Into My hands. You must rely on Me and My strength to lift you up and hold you tight.” He said.

Of course just hearing His words caused my heart to swell with gratitude.

Why? Well, I didn’t exactly ask for more strength. Instead, He saw my impending need for it in my next season of life. And, because I entirely trust Him, I willingly accepted His gift of strength.

You see I’m sharing this because I want to encourage you to lean heavily into a relationship with Him… One that truly causes you to develop, mature and grow. And I also want to encourage you to listen, believe and follow through with where He’s leading you: spirit, heart and soul.

Because… If I’m honest, I know I wouldn’t have made it through this chaotic year without the strength He’s been actively cultivating inside of my spirit, heart and soul for years.

Because of Him… Because I’ve chosen to place my life in His hands, I’ve had so much peace as the storms of 2020 have swirled around all of us.

And that’s what I hope and pray for you. I hope you have the faith, courage and humility to say, “I see that our world is a constant mess. I hear the billions of voices and vices screaming for my attention of the regular… Which is why, I really need to lean into You for strength. I need You to survive so that I may thrive in the Kingdom of God.” 🌱⚔️🛡 #cultivatelife

Body · Confidence · soul · Spirit · truth · Uncategorized

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

Mind · soul · Spirit · truth

Painless Days

Remember a few months ago when I said I was doing a lot ofoff road following with God?.. Well, guess what?… We’re still “off road” and I honestly have no idea where I’m going…

Plus, to make things a little bit riskier, my “New Year’s resolution” is to not plan… To not think ahead of today… To just be in the now… To let life and God surprise me… To get really up close and personal with the unknown and unfamiliar…

And, although it might sound ridiculous, I’m quickly learning that life is much better like this… There are less things to stress and worry about and more things to enjoy… Because if I’m being completely honest with myself, stress and worry only create unnecessary pain in my life…

And… I don’t really need anymore pain… It’s taken far too long to get rid of the pain of the past… Creating more is just, well it’s exhausting…

But this idea of living one day at a time… Not thinking about tomorrow… Not stressing about next week… Not wondering where I’ll be when this house sells…

This idea is giving me life…

It’s providing me with what seems like more time to rest and relax in the truth that God is going to continue to meet right where I am… That I don’t have to make anything happen any faster than it’s supposed to happen… And, that if I can just continue to stay diligent and disciplined to Him and His ways, well we will continue to make a great team that moves forward in life…

And honestly it’s taken me a long time to be at a place where I can let go of my control… In my mind, my control somehow guarantees I won’t lose in life… Somehow I’ve convinced myself that pain and problems won’t happen if I can predict tomorrow…

But, you know what? Letting go of tomorrow has actually given me the energy to be in today… And if a problem does arise, it’s so much easier to find a solution without the worries of tomorrow and next week getting in my way… My soul feels lighter too, and I can actually think without impending emotions getting in my way…

So, I know it goes against the curve and culture of today, but I’m just fine with just living in the present… I mean, we only have now anyway… Right?

Confidence · Mind · soul · Spirit · truth

Sassy and Entitled

When I was 14 years old all I wanted was a pink iPod mini… I mean, Apple had just really started to become cool and I “needed” one…

However, my parents didn’t just buy us whatever we wanted when we wanted it… We’d almost always have to wait until a birthday or Christmas… So I knew this was going to take some great convincing on my end…

For days I went round and round explaining to dad why I needed this new gadget… Finally, he decided if I helped him clean up his job site he would give me the money for the iPod mini…

So I agreed… And, for two weeks, in the heat of a Louisiana summer I cleaned up sheetrock inside of a 3-story house he was completing…

Of course, there were days  that I would whine and complain and get super sassy… I mean, “Come on, can’t dad just give me the money now” is all I would think…

But he was persistent that I finish the job and finish it well…

Now, don’t get me wrong… I don’t mind getting dirty or working hard today, but in that moment I was not about having to walk 3 houses down from my house everyday to be the clean up crew… I mean, I was super entitled

Entitlement… It’s a interesting word… An interesting word that I keep bumping into in the most random places… I’ve actually come face-to-face with it so many times lately that I decided to really search myself out… Asking God to reveal how entitled my heart is…

And, you know what I found?… I’ve discovered that deep in my heart is a place that believes I deserve all of the goodness around me… Somewhere in there my mind is convinced that life should stay on the rise, without falter…

I honestly believe I’ve taken complete and total advantage of the blessings I have too…

For example, this house we live in right now… All I can seem to focus on is the fact that it won’t sell and that we are losing money because of it… I can’t seem to see that I should be grateful to have the opportunity to even live in a house like this… I mean, I didn’t work hard to make the money to afford it… That’s what my parents did…

I also didn’t work hard for the finances that are paying the bulk of the bills to be here… Again, my parents did that… But I am so sassy all of the time about how much it sucks that we are in this situation…

I keep forgetting that I need to continue to cultivate a lifestyle of gratefulness... My heart and soul keep tip-toeing around the truth that the life I live is free from a lot of baggage, but that other people (and God) worked really hard so that I can live this way…

It wasn’t free for some… I had to watch my parents overcome a lot of adversity to build what my mom has today… It wasn’t a walk in the park for them…

And I don’t want to be entitled… Quite honestly I can’t stand to be around it when I see it in others… But then, well I reject it so harshly inside of myself…

You see, I guess what I am trying to express is that I need God to really help me become grateful for the things I don’t deserve but have been given… I really need Him to help me cultivate another level of humility…. A level that is willing to stay small because my identity and faith is in Him and Him alone… A mindset that is fixed on the truth that His Son gave me the freedom to live a lifestyle free from pain… And that, when I encounter pain, He will use what I don’t really deserve to rebuild and restore an area of my heart and soul… An area that is a little darker and eviler than it should be… An area that is longing to be filled with so much grace and gratitude…