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

The Color Process

Pain is temporary if we’re open to healing. Pressure is good if we allow it to shape us in a life-giving way. Growth…. Growth is challenging. And a lifestyle of all three seems to be the challenge of all challenges.

I told you God told me that all of my refinement, development, maturity and growth has led to a bloom. I told you that He said the pain and pressure were about to come full circle and produce something beautiful.

The other day He told me, “Amanda, blooming isn’t painful like growth. To bloom, you have to be in season and ready to go. You have to be ready to open up and show the world your colors. Show them who you are and why you’re this way. A bloom is the prettiest of the process. When a bloom happens everyone sees the beauty that took place during the pain and pressure of growth. People almost believe that the growth period might’ve been easy because the bloom is so beautiful. No one saw the pain, the darkness or the pressure.”

“When you see a plant or a tree, you don’t think, ‘Gosh that plant underwent so much pain and pressure to get to this point.’ No you just look at the beauty and ease of the bloom.. or the fruit. You see what’s coming off of the plant or tree and feel at ease with what you see. You feel peaceful. That’s a bloom Amanda. A constant, yet sweet seasonal reminder of the growth period. Enjoy it!”

And you know… I truly believe what He’s said is truth because I feel so healthy, whole and complete on the inside. It’s almost like the darkness has been completely stripped off of me through His processes so what’s left can be seen in its fullness. And what’s left is light. It’s beauty. It’s incredible, life-giving truth, inspiration and encouragement to keep following His path and plan. To follow even when it’s painfully annoying. To follow even when it’s aggravating and burdensome.

Because the end result… Well it’s just so sweet and beautiful! 🌱 #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

 

Growing Up… 

Throughout childhood, we’re constantly asked the question, “what do you want to be when you grow up?”…

For so many reasons I’ve never felt like I had an answer…

Sure… At times I may have responded with something that sounds like an answer… But deep down I’ve never had an answer…

And then I’ve had years were I was convinced “this is what I will do with my life”…

But then, through a series of events, I realized “maybe I don’t want to do this”…

And so I’ve found myself in Cali… I’ve actually discovered who I am here… And the reasons why it’s ok to just be me…

And sometimes just being me really bothered me… A lot…

Because I was insecure… Because I was lost and out of touch with reality… Because I didn’t like the person everyone and everything had helped me become…

Deep down I felt like I didn’t have a voice at all… And then when I knew I had something to say… Well I was too deceived to speak what I thought…

So now I find myself with myself… I’ve actually discovered who I am…

And within it all… Well I’ve become much more than confident… Because I’ve become bold…

And honestly it’s through following the Holy Spirit that’s brought me this far…

But this morning I had this thought… I’m grown… I’m 27… And what am I?… What have I become as I’ve grown up?…

Because I’m not a teacher, a doctor, a mother, a wife or a slew of other titles I could be…

And I guess the answer is found in the simplicity of… I’m just me… I’m just a girl, from Louisiana… Who went to Bible school and hated it… Who graduated from Alabama… With a degree I was able to create, but that sparked my interests at the time… A girl who decided I despised religion… But love relationship with God…

A girl who felt so lost when moving to LA… But a girl who has transitioned into a woman… A woman that simply does life every single day… Regardless of the ups and downs… I strive to stay present and love the bad times with the good times…
And I sit here grateful… Grateful that I’ve never really known “what” I wanted to be when I grew up… Because I believe my perception about life at the time would’ve confused the process…

And I was already confused enough…

And as different as it may sound… Well I’m glad I can’t always see what’s coming next… Because the surprise of living my life with the Holy Spirit’s guidance, direction and friendship is so much better than “this is what I want to be when I grow up”….

Maturing… For Life…

In the quest for who we are… I believe… If we step back long enough… Examine the mountains that we’ve climbed.. Well we might just see what made us…

And somewhere… Somewhere in the midst of all of it we find self…

And that’s where I find myself right now… In this monent…

For I no longer consider myself the person I was before… This younger 20 year old in search for life…

Now I see myself maturing into more… Because in the next 3 years of life… Well I’ll mature into a 30 year old woman…

And I believe that once I’m 30… Well those things.. The truth… The way I choose to live my life… The experiences that have molded me… Well they will actually be me… And I will be them…

So I find it very very important in life right now to actually continue to go through the process and down the trail life and God have placed in front of me…

And along the way I continue to see that things I was forced to do as a kid… As a teenager… Even as a young adult… Well they’ve become something that I initially hated but now I see that I need them…

Because… Well they truly are important to life… To the quality of life… To my happiness in life… For the sake of my future and the future of my future family…

And no… No not everyone is going to experience what I’m in the midst of… Because we’re all different… But I do believe at some point… At some point the things we’ve all struggled with… The things that make us who we are…

Well I do believe… As we age… They are cemented to us… They become us.. They become our DNA… Who we are and what we do…

So… As I see this so much clearer every single day… I feel encouraged to keep moving forward… To cling to the things that are for me… And to do away with the things I do not want to become…

And then… Somewhere in the midst… Well… To just live…