Ever-Growing

What’s real? What’s true? What’s eternally lovely and ever-growing? That… That is love.

However… It’s not human love. For human love is too faulty. Too futile. It’s too fatal.

You see this love, this love is pure. This love is whole and complete because it’s structured for one place and one place only.

What’s that place you may ask? That place is the heart.

Deep beneath the surface of the skin… Beneath the layers of the ill-beaten soul lies the heart. And it… It is THE prime real estate of the spirit. A place so deep and intimate I’m convinced no man or woman can fully know it.

You see I believe our hearts are created to contain a love that’s so powerful, so magnificent, so great that we cannot help but constantly be overrun with the joy of the Lord when we are consumed with it.

For this love… His love… It brings healing. It brings peace. It brings restoration. It stops anxiety and depression and calamity of all sorts in its tracks. It can stand on every single battlefield and win the war when darkness seems to overshadow life.

It’s the love of Father God. It’s the love that Jesus walked this earth in. It’s what I feel coming off of Holy Spirit when I’m in His presence. It’s the sweetest, most beautiful thing I’ve ever known. And it’s made… It crafted for me and for YOU! ♥️🌱 #cultivatelife #cultivatelove

New Assignment

For about a year now it seems as though God’s been emptying me of more… More fear. More idolatry. More selfishness. More hurt and pain. More of me.

And to be completely honest with you, it’s been a challenge for me to let go of more without an understanding of “why?”

I just keep questioning the need for the empty space inside of me, “Why does He need me to be so empty on the inside? Why does He need so much space? What’s your purpose in all of this God?”

Well two weeks ago He began to reveal some things to me… Things I never saw coming. The reason He emptied me of lies, manipulation, idol worship, fear and pain.

You see the new assignment He’s given me is a big responsibility. And so I guess I get it. I get why it was so important to stay focused on the path in front of me. I get why He said, “Don’t look to the right or to the left. Just follow Me. It will all make sense and come together in time. You’ll understand eventually.”

And so I just want to encourage you… Where ever you are in life… Where ever Holy Spirit might be leading you… Just keep following. Even when the process seems challenging, long-winded and misunderstood, He knows what He’s doing.

And what He’s doing will always create and promote the capacity for new life! 🌱 #cultivatelife #justlive

Kingdom of Lies

Lies… Deception… Manipulation… Layers upon layers rest upon my soul. And so my soul feels confused.

But then, my soul doesn’t want a fragment of falseness. My soul wants truth. My heart and spirit crave truth too. But then my mind fears the truth because the lies sound so good and feel so powerful and strong. The lies have been given so much weight and support with my thoughts and my words. I’ve helped cultivate this kingdom of lies.

But the fruit… It isn’t good. The fruit just causes more pain, heartache and disappointment. And even when I try to believe the pain is for a purpose, I find myself more manipulated and deceived than I was before. Constantly pacing in mental hell as I scream, “Why?!!!”

But I hear God. I hear Him clearly when He says, “Why would I lead you down a path of deception and manipulation? Why would I bring pain and confusion to your soul? I want you healthy and whole. So let go.”

And so… I let go. 🌱 #cultivatelife #justlive

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

Expansion

I told my mom what God told me about blooming. She, who is always wiser than me, said, “Amanda, I know you’re excited, but remember this is going to be a PROCESS. Just like all of the growth you’ve experienced, blooming will take time. A bud doesn’t open overnight. It takes time to expand as it reveals the colorful world inside.”

You know… She’s absolutely right!

While most growth is painful, blooming is not. BUT it does require expansion. Which, like my mom said, takes TIME.

And if you know me, I get caught up with the time things take to get to where they need to be. Sure, I’ve gotten better over the years, but for the most part I still want things to happen faster than they do.

Blame it on our culture that’s centered on instant gratification I guess.

But in really, I’m not up for playing the blame game. I’m more into learning about the expansion process of the bloom!

It’s interesting too. It seems like all of a sudden timing is right. Timing is good. Timing is in season. So many pieces and parts I’ve hoped and prayed would come together are TRULY coming together.

And though there’s a place in me that’s nervous all the pieces coming together might separate again, I’m choosing to stay uplifted. I’m choosing to be strong in my mind, in my heart and in spirit. Because I believe it’s enough as life continues to expand and bloom.

How Did I Become Her?

The unpaved path is rough. It’s lined with more obstacles, transition, pain, sacrifice and cultivation than I ever signed up for.

I remember being a kid. I remember what I wanted in my heart. Then I remember the promises God gave me as I got older. I remember the words He spoke directly to my heart and soul. I was attentive. I was aware. I didn’t miss the call He gave me.

I also remember being 17 years old, 235lbs and the most insecure, intimidated person I’d ever known. I remember thinking, “How will I ever become HER?! How will I ever grow into the woman God sees me as?”

I followed the unpaved path. I’ve followed it for years as I’ve listened to His voice. And there have been so many times I wanted to turn around and go “back.” There have been so many times I’ve convinced myself God lied to me about the promise. There have been so many times I said, “Forget the process! His process is too challenging! He’s asked too much of me! I’ve lost too much!”

But I’ve continued to move forward.

And now… Now I find myself hearing random people say, “You’re so intimidating. You’re so secure. The presence you carry with you is intense, but also so beautiful.”

I kind of laugh when I hear these things. I laugh because I know it’s not me they sense. I know it’s HIM! I know He’s consumed so much of my heart that He’s leaking onto each person I come in contact with.

And then sometimes I cry when I hear these things. I cry because I realize I don’t have a male covering or protection in my life anymore. It’s just me… Me and God. Me and Jesus. Me and the Holy Spirit. They’re more than enough you know?

And I think what I’m trying to say is this… I’ve journeyed all this way to become confident, courageous and humble. I’ve climbed mountains, walked through valleys and forged streams just to become a whole person. I’ve listened and followed when it didn’t make sense just to be in a moment where I can stand on my own two feet and think, “Wow, I can’t be moved. I’m solid as a fortress in Him and Him alone.”

And though I don’t know what lies ahead… I do know that all that He’s done in me has helped me truly cultivate LIFE! 🌱 #cultivatelife

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