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

It’s Fixed!

It’s fixed.

My heart… it’s fixed.

How do I know it’s fixed? I know it’s fixed because I moved forward in life. I spoke to the fear that was trying to convince me to not move forward. I told it to sit down and shut up. I told it that it no longer has power in my life. I told it that I am a whole and complete person without the idols and lies of my past. I told it that I don’t need nor welcome it’s company anymore.

And then I did something… I stepped out again. I stepped out and stepped forward into a completely unknown and unfamiliar arena of life.

You see over the past several months I’ve been allowing God to heal my heart of some deep and delicate pain. Pain that I wasn’t really aware was there. I thought it was gone. I thought I’d dealt with my past.

But you know… Allowing God to work with me and help me process the past has really opened me up to my present and my future. I’ve never felt so capable of thriving like I do in this moment.

And I’m sure there will be moments when my past fears try to break in and lurk around in the depth of my heart. But then I’m even more certain that my healthy heart has the ability to really gain strength now. Strength that will tell my past to stay… Well in the past. 🌱 #cultivatelife

Thanks Death

I’m not one to wallow and get down about life and what I’ve lost, but lately I’ve found myself missing my dad more than I can explain. It’s sometimes unsettling the way he’s constantly on my mind, and then I’m forced to think about my reality. My mind begins to remind me that death happened, but that life has continued to go on around me.

And though it is so challenging to understand why he died so young. And though I miss him and the life my family had before he was taken from this earth… Well I am still so grateful to have experienced death.

You see there’s just something so motivating to me about death. I believe death is a being, and I believe anytime we experience him we must respect him even though he’s been so seemingly disrespectful to us.

You see death left an imprint on my life. He left an imprint so wide and so deep that it sometimes felt unbearable to breathe again.

However, since my dad’s death I’ve been thrusted into this place of living. A place that’s forced me to stare down death and decide that I will not allow my experience with him to define me in a negative way, but in a positive one.

Because of death I live freer. I love harder. I think more in-depth. I take risks. I consider others. And though he’s helped toss my world upside down, I give more. I’ve gained more. I stop and think of others and where they might be in life because there is a compassion inside of me that wasn’t there before I met him.

And… Although it’s so challenging to not become angry and bitter with God, I’ve found myself more connected to Him than ever before. He’s shown me what true love is. And within that true love I never feel truly broken or without.

And though I don’t know where you stand today, what you’ve lost or how utterly broken you may feel… Please know this. I believe it’s very healthy to feel every ounce of death. But then I also believe it’s so healthy to live life to it’s very fullest. To love with every part of our hearts we can love with. And though it’s challenging to forgive and not become angry with God, I’ve found that He will fill in the broken and battered pieces when we’re ready to let Him in again.

Authority

Do you know what I think about a lot? I think about healing… I think about health. I think about the reality that Jesus gave all who believe the power and authority to heal the sick and speak life into the dead.

And then I think about us… I think about me. I think, “Amanda you’ve seen people dying filled with life again. You’ve seen cancer dry up in so many bodies. You’ve watched people in wheel chairs get up and walk again.” But then I also think, “You know Amanda, you also watched your dad die of cancer. You believed in healing and wholeness. And then he was just gone.”

So what’s the point of my thoughts? Well, authority. I believe having an understanding on our authority through Jesus Christ is the point. And I still don’t understand why my dad died. And it doesn’t really bother me at all… But authority. I just hope we’re using our authority.

That’s all. 🌷 #cultivatelife

All That Matters Now

My path has been different. I’ve never really understood it. I don’t know if I ever truly will. Regardless of it all following God with my entire heart has produced my reality… And my reality is, I’ve gotten to fully become myself.

I’ve been thinking about what it means to fully become yourself… No strings attached… Very little responsibilities outside of what you need. And honestly, becoming your true, whole self is an incredible feeling.

I do realize that I’ll always be broken in some areas. This is a broken world; however, for the past 12 years I’ve chosen to go deeper and deeper into this “follow” with the Holy Spirit… And I’ve come out with a very whole Amanda.

So I want to share what turning 30 in this world means to me….

I look around and see so much brokenness, but I’ve experienced so much healing from God and I just want to help others find the same… I want to extend what I’ve learned, what I’ve gleaned, what He has given to me… I want to share it with the world around me.

Turning 30 also makes me feel like a real adult… Funny thing is I still feel young. Maybe it’s because I don’t have a house, a husband and kids… I don’t know. But I do know that I feel very young and alive.

30 also feels like a launching pad of some sort. A place where I’ll look back and think, “That’s when I was actually ready. That’s when it finally came together.”

Because when I think back over my twenties and all of the choices I made and journeys I went on… When I think about the girl I’ve been… Well I just see this girl longing for the confidence, security and the humility to say, “God, I need help with my entire self. I can’t do life on my own.” But then as I see myself in this moment, I see a woman who has stepped into herself and is very excited about what it will bring.

It’s almost like God Himself led me to this place of identity and womanhood when He said it was time. He orchestrated it all, and I was chill enough to follow… Even when it didn’t make sense. So I almost feel like stepping into womanhood is a right of passage God is allowing me to have from His own hand. Not the hand of the world and the earth or their systems… But God Himself.

And I don’t know how I feel about this. But I do believe, if He believes I am ready. I AM READY! And that’s all that matters from here. 💃🏻 #cultivatelife #justlive

Figure or Follow?

Living from a place where I don’t try to figure it all out… What a way of life!

That’s where I feel like I need to be right now. Having the discernment to see the truth, but trusting deeply that all of the pieces of the puzzle are coming together as I watch them move.

Because I feel like the wind of God has started to blow in my life in a more violent way than ever before. And when the wind blows you cannot stop it… Because the wind is very about you following It’s own path, not It following you. And I very much agree that it’s time for me to stop breaking things down and figuring out how He’s blowing and why He’s blowing, and instead just be moved. I mean… that’s what Jesus did… Right?

Now I’m not saying, “Don’t seek out His will.” Because we do need to have some type of understanding on how to make decisions. However, trying to solve a puzzle God has designed is extremely complicated, exhausting and time consuming. Plus, doing so causes us to get distracted and miss out on the journey!

So if you’re anything like me, slow down on the inside and just follow where you’re led! And even if it gets dark and depressing for a moment, keep following until the light of His wind pushes you forth. It’s worth it! I promise!

Quality of Life…

The day after my grandmother died, a comment was made to my sister… “Well, you know Bridget, it’s really about the quality of life”…

If you knew my grandmother’s story, you know that she was healed 41 years ago in August… But before that day, her quality of life wasn’t that great… In a body cast and neck brace for 19 ½ years, she just wanted to die… Simple… Right?…

But that night, well her quality of life, it increased…

Because she was given a completely restored body…

Some say, her healing was the greatest healing of the 20th century…. And I don’t disagree…

But aside from her physical healing was what she intangibly gained that night…

To me… Physical healing is kind of a smoke and mirrors show… Like God’s way of getting our attention… So that then we can learn what’s truly invaluable and important…

So, she spent her life focused on the Holy Spirit… Focused on how His influence and individual, intimate relationship in each of our lives brings on a greater quality of life… And how, because of the grace of God through Jesus, well we can all gain that relationship… We can all walk with Him on a day-to-day basis…

I believe, so often, we are drawn to God because of a message on eternity, Heaven, life after death…

But what about life on earth?…

My grandmother lived for 89 years…

Was she healthy?… Was she whole?… What does that even mean?…

To me, to me it means that our spirit, soul and body are in health… Of course we aren’t going to be perfect… No one is… But we can keep them balanced…

So, do we have a relationship with Father God?… What about the Holy Spirit?… And do we know who’s blood is responsible for our ability to have these relationships so freely?…

And what about an identity?… Before this year, well my identity was founded in people, places, things, ministries, organizations… Things that can and have failed me… Things that are fragile, here one moment and gone the next…

So, are we firmly rooted in the things of God, so that when tragedy hits we will not be shaken or moved?…

And what about our thought lives?… Our emotions?… Do we try to stay positive under pressure?… Or do we crack and become a sea of emotion?…

And then there’s our physical body… The vehicle or vessel we live in?… How do we treat it?… Do we eat really unhealthy?… Or do we fill it with things that encourage our spirit and soul to perform better?…

I say all of this because to me… To me, this is life in a nutshell… Because health, spirit, soul and body, is the foundation of life… So that we can pursue what God has given us to it’s very fullest…

And it’s not always easy… Sometimes life happens and we get bitter and angry… Sometimes we think about things that we shouldn’t… Sometimes we eat the whole bag of cookies…

But the reality is, I believe, God is about our quality of life… And that He sent Jesus so that we could have that quality of life… And then He sent the Holy Spirit to help us maintain the quality, and then increase life beyond our wildest dreams…

Of course it doesn’t happen over night… It takes time and effort… Because… Well… Life is a journey… A process… A continual climbing of mountains and walks through valleys, with a lot of highs and lows…

But… The good news is, we all have the capability to cultivate the best quality of life possible…