Spirit · truth

J Man

This is J Man… Most know Him as Jesus.

He was created a year ago by my ever-so gifted and talented sister Bridget. (The stories on how He was created and why would blow your mind- Maybe I’ll share them one day)

You know… He’s moved with us all over NYC. Yep, each borough we’ve lived in, He’s been with us!

At first it seemed absurd to carry this 5ft canvas with us everywhere we’ve lived, but 6 moves later we’re just grateful that He’s finally in His new home in Queens.

You know… The past 3 weeks have been full of failure upon failure. And there have definitely been moments when I’ve wanted to throw in the towel and tell God, “I’m out ✌🏻.” But then this morning, while I was praying, I looked up and saw J Man… J Man and His big ole bobble head floating above me. And instead of feeling discouraged, doubtful and in disbelief, I was reminded that He’s literally been on this journey with us the entire time. Through all of the moments we’ve wondered if we’d “make it” or if we’re still on the “path,” He’s been a friendly reminder to keep moving forward.

And you know… I don’t know where you are in life today. I don’t know how many failures and disappointments you’ve experienced; however, I do know J Man is real. He’s real and He’s alive when we let Him, Father God and Holy Spirit take the lead in our lives. And I know that’s challenging almost all the time, but I’ve learned every failure is an open door to the next opportunity He wants to lead us too. And even when we make mistakes (like the BIG spiritual one I recently made) He’s ALWAYS there to reroute the path and make up for what was lost.

So where ever you are, and how ever the divine presents Himself to you, please always be willing to follow! It’s 100% worth every step you take! 🌱♥️ #cultivatelife #justlive #bridgetwinderart #jman

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

Spirit · truth

The Best Way

About 7 years ago I was in college, working on something God had me put my entire self into. The idea He gave me seemed simple; however, I never realized how often I would think about the words He gave me to live by.

“Amanda, the journey you’re about to go on will be very challenging. You can move forward or backward, and you can walk away with what you’ve gained at anytime. However, the goal is to keep moving forward… You must keep moving forward so you can master this ancient way of life. It is the best way.”

In the moment He gave me this wisdom I thought, “This is going to be SO cool and SO much fun! Why would I ever want to quit and walk away? Why would I ever want to move backward?”

It’s funny though… Here I am 7 years later and I have so many moments when I want to just quit and walk away with everything God has given me. I want to take these precious stones of wisdom and just go live my own life. I mean… I’ve gained so much intangible wealth from Him… So do I really need to keep moving forward?!

But then I know the task He gave was to master the lifestyle so then I can give it away to others. Which is why I always stay on the path… I always keep moving forward because I haven’t reached the place where I can fully give what my heart desires to give.

And I don’t know if I’m making any sense; however, what I’m trying to say is this… Living a Spirit led life is the utmost challenging way of life. So many other lifestyles constantly pull at us on a daily basis, reminding us why we should or could stop following the Spirit. But then… Well if we do stop, well I believe our spirit will become stagnant and dull. I believe it will be overcome with soulish comments, questions and concerns. And most importantly, I believe we will begin to die. Maybe not a physical death, but a spiritual one for sure.

So please, be encouraged to always keep pursuing the Holy Spirit and His ways. 🌱🌷 #cultivatelife

soul · Spirit · truth

Selfless Madness

I’m convinced the most challenging part of being selfless is the reality that you gain virtually nothing from it. Sure there’s some type of intangible lesson learned… But as far as tangible gain, it’s not there.

And that’s where I am right now… Wrestling with God over this idea… Over this lifestyle of being selfless. He told me He’d bring me to this place, a place where I’d be left with nothing more than Him and His wants and needs for my life and others… And so, here I am.

However, He didn’t tell me what came after this place of selflessness. He didn’t tell me I’d have to pitch a tent and live here and that my soul would constantly feel at war. He didn’t tell me that I’d have to grow and adapt and fully embrace every inch of this. He didn’t tell me it would seem confusing, or that I would be frustrated with my reality.

Instead… He just made selflessness sound so good and appealing. He sold me the idea because He knew I’d follow through like I always do.

And so this morning I sat and said, “But what about me?! Don’t I get some kind of something? A reward? Anything?” He said, “No… That’s the point. There’s no reward to being selfless. You have no personal gain. You’re doing this for the gain of others and my Kingdom. It’s not about you. It’s about Me.”

And so… As angry as I wanted to be with Him… I picked myself up and just embraced what He said. I mean He was and always is telling the truth.

And as seemingly frustrated as I feel about where God continues to lead me as I follow, I’m convinced that there has to be some kind of method and outcome to His madness. There just has to be.🌸🌱 #cultivatelife

Spirit · truth

No Plan

Why do we have to have a plan? Why is that a credential to move forward in this world?

Because I don’t remember God ever telling me to have a plan. In fact… Every time I create a plan (even the most masterful and brilliant), He comes in and destroys it and then replaces it with something else.

And sometimes the something else is what I want. And other times the something else is what I need. Either way, He always has my best interest at heart.

And so in a world, where we are consumed with planning to prevent future “surprises” and failure… What if we just took a step back and said, “Ok God. You keep leading. I’ll keep following. Tomorrow belongs to you just like today.”?? 🌷 #justlive #cultivatelife

Confidence · Spirit

Prep Mode

What happens when stepping out with God doesn’t feel like it’s enough? How do you manage the reality of, “Well I’m doing everything He said to do. What else is there? Shouldn’t I feel whole and complete and ready?!?!”

Because I feel like I’m always in prep mode. Like I’m always aiming to prepare for this game that He says is going to be eventually played out.

But then there’s so much practice. And within the practice and preparation He expects me to bring everything I have and all that I am to the table.

So I keep my head down and listen. I share my world and my thoughts because He says, “Share them.” I don’t do it for others. I do it for Him.

Because I know He’s watching every movement as I continue to practice. And I believe every movement will continue to create a beautiful work of art for His glory alone.

The only hang up is me. Me and what I see. You see… I want to see myself transformed into the best version of me He can bring me to. And I want to keep sharing who I am with all of my faults, twists, turns and victories.

And while I won’t always get it right or do it the best way. Sharing the journey and the moment I’m in is all I really have right now… 🌷🌿 #cultivatelife #justlive

Confidence · Spirit · truth

Remember When?

Remember when you were a kid and your parent said, “We’re not there yet. Sit back and enjoy the ride.”?… But then you, without understanding the concept of waiting, became overly frustrated and tired of riding…

That’s where I am in life right now. I am tired of this journey I’m on with God. I can’t explain it, but I’m just worn out with the bread crumb trail He keeps leading me down.

And I know the weariness of it all won’t last very long, but my question is, “What do I do until then? How do I stay content with my reality?”

You see I don’t understand how Jesus followed the Holy Spirit so well. There were moments when He seemed to wrestle with where He was being led, but for the most part He was so obedient to His Father in Heaven.

And I don’t know if you ever feel the way I do right now. But I do know that following God’s plan is a constant. It seems like just as we arrive at one destination He’s giving us the plan for the next journey. And if He’s not giving us the plan, then He’s asking us to wait on it until it’s fully developed.

And so I guess I want to encourage anyone that feels out of sorts with God right now to be patient. Be patient and be kind to yourself. I mean… You’ve come this far with Him right?! I believe in all of your travels He didn’t bring you this far to just leave you weary and tired from the journey. Instead, I believe He wants to lift you up and give you new strength for what ever is ahead.

death · truth

Resurrected Life

You know 5 years ago this fall I decided Cultivate Life and I weren’t for each other. I was filled with utter confusion and deep pain as I found myself in the darkest season of my life. I promised myself I’d never allow anything to hurt me like that again because the pain I felt as I watched my hopes and dreams die was heart wrenching.

And then I set sail on a new journey in Cali… Making new a new life and choosing to forget about what I felt was my destiny and purpose. The funny thing is, God had an adventure waiting for me in L.A. that would bring me full circle with Cultivate Life.

He picked me up and put me back together in the craziest environment I’d ever experienced. And the, after He glued my heart back together and saw that I was a whole person, He chose to drop Cultivate Life back into my life again. He resurrected it all.

You see I’ve learned that God is power. I’ve learned that living a life with Him but without His resurrection power is not living at all. I don’t ever want to go another day where I don’t see His Holy Spirit activated and moving in my life. And I realize we don’t always get to this place of power over night… But what I’m trying to say is… If you feel like your life is duller than it should be… If you feel like you’re missing something large and grand and powerful… Then please be encouraged to lean into the life-giving resurrection power of God. Because He alone can take what was dead and buried in the ground and restore it again. He alone can cause parts of your life to become fresh and whole again like never before. And… it all starts as we choose to cultivate life in the Kingdom of God.

Confidence · Spirit · truth

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.

Spirit · truth

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.