capacity · courage · cultivation · humility · keep moving forward · mature · overcome · Perseverance

The Gumption to Overcome

For the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking about the topic of overcoming. I’ve been mulling over it in my spirit and soul, aiming to connect to truth to help me move forward. After much thought and consideration, I sat down with Holy Spirit and asked Him. I said, “Will you teach me how to be better at overcoming? I am struggling in my soul with pressing past this moment of maturity.” 

Holy Spirit responded back, “Remember last Saturday when you were absolutely ready to quit? You walked around in tearful circles all day, feeling weighted down by what your soul sees and thinks, verses what your spirit sees and believes. And then, then at 10:30 pm your human spirit said, ‘No, we will keep pushing the boundaries of this soul. We will keep going because we have the capacity and the capability to keep going.’

So, you see overcoming is more for the soul, than the spirit. Human spirits (like yours) that are developing, growing and maturing with Me are actually very good at overcoming. They aren’t operating from a place of immaturity so they will eventually overcome through the strength of their maturity. They see the wealth Heaven has and they are prepared to take that next step in faith and watch the path appear. But so often here, the soul struggles. The soul gazes at the world around it and thinks, ‘I’ve come this far. I don’t want to go any further because it will be difficult.’ The soul wrestles with stepping out into faith because the soul will be required to grow more, to evolve and change. There is always much more ahead for the soul in terms of catching the new wave that’s coming from the spirit.

Overcoming is the ability to keep going, to endure, to persevere up until the last push where you move up and over that hill, mountain or obstacle in front of you. It requires a certain measure of fortitude and gumption from the spirit and the soul. They must work in tandem with each other and with the needs of Heaven. Those who overcome are like a rock that can’t be moved. They are a pillar in the kingdom that is sturdy and steady and ready for whatever might come around the corner and try to push them over. Actually, overcomers can’t be pushed over. They’ve summitted the mountain and now they have the knowledge, understanding, wisdom and revelation to go forward. 

Overcomers defy logic because they are faithful in believing in the unseen realms of life. They are truly part of My plan to move the heavens and the earth. To bring heaven into the earth realm. An overcomer is a special type of person, Amanda. Lots of people toss the word overcomer around, but they are few and far between because so much fortitude is needed to cultivate into one.” 

I asked, “What does an overcomer look like in the spirit?” He said, “Oh, they are majestic in the way that their spirit glitters and glistens. They have a stamina and aura about them that is concentrated in My glory. They know that it is because of Heaven and the faithfulness of the Lord that they’ve made it to the place of finishing… To the place of overcoming. They also speak differently than most. They have a sound that comes from their mouths that radiates the frequency of life and of courage. I see them as someone I can immensely trust with the things of My kingdom. I have a strong affiliation for them.”

Then I asked, “What level of humility is required in overcoming? I feel that it is a bedrock for the overcomer.” He said, “Good question. Very good question. Humility is such a special language of the overcomer. Knowing when and when not to speak is so vital. They must not multiply and sow seeds of slander, death, unbelief, confusion, doubt or anger.

Humility is the bedrock of the overcomer because they have the capacity to rise again the next day. They have the agility within them that says, ‘I am not there yet, but I will get there. I must just keep going.’ They are very used to failure upon failure. They are used to trying it a million and one times until they get it right. They aren’t afraid of failing or the process one takes to reach any given destination. They’ve pretty much sold out to waking up every day with the gumption to go.”

Then I left the conversation. I mediated on overcoming more and found myself thinking about my significant weight loss of 100-pounds 14 years ago. Choosing to keep moving forward was challenging for me in that season. I didn’t want to keep going. There were moments when I wanted to give up and just throw in the towel. But you know I always felt this overwhelming feeling deep down inside of me. I remember being 20-years-old, laying on the floor next to the treadmill in my parent’s house. As I laid there in pools of sweat, my soul overwhelmed with getting “there,” I felt my spirit move deep down inside of me. She believed I had what it took to keep going. So, I did.

In the midst of these thoughts, I heard Holy Spirit say, “Amanda, do you see? You can overcome your present obstacles because you have a track record with overcoming. You’ve risen above the desires of your soul and finished the race so many times. Overcoming isn’t new to you. It’s more so different now because of the expanse and growth of your spirit. Greater responsibilities are being asked of you, so your soul must expand to meet them. Your human spirit, is capable of the expanse though. It is capable of expanding far past the outer reaches of what it knows. 

Jesus was the ultimate overcomer. He not only went to the cross, but He did it after He was in the garden of Gethsemane taking on the sin, iniquity and transgression of mankind. He did that and THEN He had the gumption to go to the cross. He had the strength, capability and capacity to do an extremely challenging thing and then cross paths with the next one, which was the cross.

Which is why overcoming should be a lifestyle of the maturing child of God. It is a marker of maturity. A marker that says, ‘I am now stepping into the next thing because I am overcoming.” 🌱

doubt · faith · fear · keep moving forward

Doubtful Disbelief

“Stop what you’re doing!”… That’s what doubt and disbelief scream at me. “Stop what you’re doing and don’t move forward because you’re a fool and this is ridiculous.”

And it’s like that every time I step out in faith… I feel great at first. I feel like, I can “take on the world.” I feel like the hand of cards I placed on the table is being played nicely.

And then… Then huge waves of doubt and disbelief come. And they remind me of the past. They remind me how disappointed I’ve felt at times for excepting one thing and receiving another. They remind me how long the journey has been without the promises fulfilled. They remind me of the isolation I feel for following Holy Spirit instead of listening to man-made systems and structures. They remind me of the death, pain and sacrifice I’ve been through to get today… The people and places I’ve lost and the relationships that went sour. They remind me that I don’t know what I’m actually doing in life, nor do I have any control at all.

I hate doubt and disbelief.

But… Well, without them… Would taking the risk even be a thing? If my past, present and future weren’t all on the table ready to be gambled at my own free-will, then would I even be in God’s will?

And so I step back… I step back with humility, and I remember how much I develop, mature and grow every time I’m faithful. I remind myself that God’s never EVER left my side… If anything we’ve grown closer. I also remind myself how good it feels to flourish on the inside when I’m faced with challenge and adversity that are larger than me. And then… Then I step forward with a positive attitude and a clean, yet faithful heart. 🌱 #cultivatelife #justlive

Body · cultivation · freedom · healing · just live · love of god · restore · soul · Spirit

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

peace · rest

Just Float

I’m not very good at resting.

I don’t struggle with eating nutritiously, working out and connecting to God on a daily basis… But rest… WHY do I need to rest?! I love being “busy!” I love having a list with 100 things to tackle!

And I’ve gone through seasons before where God’s said things like, “Okay Amanda it’s time to rest!” I’ve also gone through seasons where He’s flat out driven me into a place of rest whether I like it or not.

And although I know the truth… that rest is essential to a cultivated lifestyle… I struggle in this area deeply.

Somewhere in my mind I’m driven with the thought that I need to constantly move with my own power and might to make sure everything “happens.” I try to do it all. I don’t want to step back and let God do that difficult stuff. I want to do it. I love the impossible challenge!

Lately though everything has kind of come to a halt. I’ve found myself in one of those seasons where God has practically forced me into a lifestyle of rest.

And honestly it’s uncomfortable. I don’t like to stand back and say, “Everything you’ve led me to belongs to you God. So I’m just gonna stand still and rest because there’s nothing else I can do to move this forward. I’m completely stumped. So… It’s on you!”

And as humbling as it is to let go and embrace the reality that I can’t do the impossible, there’s also something so beautiful about it. It’s like a true test of faith and humility to say, “I’ve done enough. I’ve followed the flow as far as it would go. So now I’m just gonna sit back and float!” 🌱 #cultivatelife #justlive

faith · Fullness of Jesus · humility

Humble Faith

“Humble yourself Amanda.”

That’s what I hear God saying in this moment.

“Humble yourself so you can move forward with Me.”

And I’m not always the best at being humble. It’s honestly something I find myself making a mental note to pursue everyday.

However when I discovered the area that needed humility.. I thought, “This is strange… Strange but interesting.”

You see, my faith needs humility. My belief system and very way of taking a risk with God needs to be brought low.

Because I’m learning that I still operate off of a belief that I have to keep working really hard in my giftings in order for God to bless what He’s given me.

For some reason I don’t want to just embrace the gifts of God. I keep pushing them away with this attitude that says, “I got this God. Let me work. I’ll give you the glory and the credit, but let me work myself into the ground until I’m exhausted. But then don’t forget I deserve something in return too!!”

It’s really twisted.

And in this moment I don’t know what to do about it all. However, I’m pretty confident that the solution is Jesus. It’s simply believing that all that God has given and all that He continues to give is wrapped up in the lifestyle I pursue with Jesus. Because I don’t deserve the freedom and giftings I have, but then in the same breathe I do. I do because He made it possible for me to cultivate this lifestyle! 🌱 #cultivatelife #justlive

capacity · forerunner · isolation

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.

cultivation · develop · expansion · flourishing · grow · mature · refine

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.

assignment · challenge · courage · discipline · faith · fear

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.

death · faith · family · peace · stillness · will of God

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.

capacity · faith · keep moving forward · patient

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.