Deposit Here Please

I once had a mentor say, “Amanda, I know what you are going through is rough and quite challenging, but I also believe God is depositing something deep within you through it all.”

Now, I’m going to be completely honest… I kind of hated what she said. I mean, I really wanted her to say something like, “It’ll all be over soon. Here’s why this is happening.” I wanted a quick solution to make the challenge go away. But… she just didn’t provide that.

Instead she provided me with a word… And that word has been one of the most helpful words for my personal growth in life.

You see… When I think of the word deposit I always think of a seed being dropped into fertile soil in the ground. And then I think… “Gosh that little seed has to face some giant changes with many challenges a long the way. I mean… It has to grow. It has to develop. It has to mature into the plant or tree God designed it to be. What a journey it’s on!!”

But ya know?.. I think that’s how we are when we chose to cultivate life!

Which is why… When I’m in a situation I can’t seem to find my way out of I almost always think, “What is God depositing inside of my heart? What is He giving me that I can turn around and use for good to help someone else in the future?”

And I know it’s not always easy… And I know we don’t all like to think of the positive side of life… However, I do believe it’s very healthy to discover what He’s depositing inside of you. Because what He’s left in you is viable and good for LIFE! 🌷🌱 #cultivatelife #justlive

Simply Alive

Being alive… What a thought… I mean, you are alive right?!?

I hope you’re always growing: spirit, soul and body. I hope you’re always open to development, maturity and growth from the inside out.

Because it’s a challenge to do that today ya know? Our world is filled with technology. And while it’s good in some respects, it really has stripped the world of it’s natural process to just be alive and thrive from a spiritual perspective.

You see being alive to me has always meant that we are connected to a source… We have to bring our failures and mistakes to God. We have to rely on Him to help us get through the lowest of the lows. And then we also must allow Him to supply us with everything we need, day in and out.

And I know it seems like a funny way to be… A strange way to live. And I’m sure I sound strange to some… But it’s just because I’ve chosen to live differently. I’ve chosen to keep my heart and mind open to the things of God, rather than the things of the world and the church.

Because I believe there’s a time coming (it might even be here now) where we’ll need to have an authentic, real and unaltered connection to the divine. Something that is stable and secure… Something that the world and the church didn’t build for us, but that we worked with God in relationship to structure.

And I don’t know if I’m making sense, but I hope that you’re growing spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically. I hope you’re not on autopilot just waiting for your next instruction from some higher up social figure. I hope that you are simply alive! 🌷🌱 #cultivatelife #justlive

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Process: Seasonal

How many times have you heard, “God works in seasons?” Because I’ve heard it for as long as I can remember. And though I don’t fully understand why He created the world to experience seasons…. I do see that our existence as humans is very similar.

Now, the catch is to stay moving with the seasons… To not become stagnant, but to keep moving forward as the Spirit leads.

So then what does it mean to move with His process? Well I believe we have to embrace what He’s given us within each moment.

You see if you’re anything like me then you’re constantly anticipating the future. I live in the future most of the time…. Hoping and creating something much more exciting than my present. However, we can’t get to the future God has for us if we can’t complete the season He’s placed us in in the present.

And I get it… It’s a challenge to be in certain seasons of life He’s placed us in because the growth is challenging and uncomfortable. But you know?… I’ve also learned that if we just choose to submit to where He has us then we will learn the lesson and then be able to move forward to the next season quickly.

Yeah… That’s right. I believe if we can just embrace the healing, restoration, growth and maturity that needs to take place inside of us, then He’ll move us forward to the next thing.

And I know it’s not always a walk in the park. Some seasons of life are like Summer… They’re warm, bright and very friendly… But then others are like Winter… Dark, depressing and oh so cold.

But if we can just live in them fully, we will get to the next destination of our journey with life and God. 🌷 #cultivatelife #justlive

Grown Up

“Ok… So here’s the plan: we’re gonna come home, help mom, sell the house and move on with our lives. This will take three months tops!” I firmly believe God laughed at my plan that day. To think, after everything my family had been through, that it would only take us three months to help mom. I was ridiculous to think such a thought.

You see over the last year and a half, I’ve had to grow up. There’s no other way to explain what I’ve experienced. Has it been painful? Yeah, parts of it have been extremely painful, confusing and altogether frustrating. Has it been fun? Sure it’s been fun! I mean have you met my sister before? She is THE entertainment.

But you know, I wouldn’t trade this time of growth for anything. Because in this time God has truthfully taken so many broken areas of my life and my family’s life and healed them. And He’s also pushed me really, really hard to be where I am today.

Now, I didn’t really appreciate the dark moments. I didn’t really prefer the moments when I thought money was going to run out and we were going to have to file bankruptcy. But, gosh I wouldn’t trade those experiences for the world. Because in the midst of them I learned how to truly rely on God for everything… I learned how to trust Jesus for restoration in areas I didn’t believe could be fixed… And I had to follow the Holy Spirit, even when I couldn’t see.

So where do I go from here now that the house is sold and mom is settled? Well in this moment, I just choose to believe, listen and follow where ever He leads me… Stay tuned to see 😉!

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.

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.

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.