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

Current Chapter

I don’t know where the excitement in my relationship with God has gone. I don’t know where the thrill of following Him went. It was there for years, but now I feel like it’s lost or something.

It’s just… Well our relationship seems to be somewhat stale. And while I talk to Him everyday and He talks back, I just feel like everything is so mundane and routine. And though He’s healed so much of my broken life and brought me through some very challenging seasons of life, well I just don’t understand where the thrill of pursuing Him went.

Sometimes I find myself really frustrated and angry with this too. I love Him so much and I don’t ever want to live life without Him, yet I’m struggling with where our relationship is headed next.

But I guess that means the relationship is real you know? It’s alive because it has highs and lows. I don’t always love the relationship I’m in with Him, but I do love Him.

So then how? How do I move forward? How do I continue to pursue a relationship that kind of feels routine and sometimes like it’s not enough? How do I stay focused on Him and not allow myself to turn and look at the very appealing world around me?… The world that is screaming for me to follow it.

These are the questions my heart constantly faces as I continue to follow. And I don’t have an answer for myself. And it’s tough to turn to others and glean their thoughts and opinions because my relationship with God isn’t the same as someone else’s. We are all on our own journey with Him in life.

However, at this point in my life I feel like I need to fight to stay in my relationship with Him. I need to fight to stand firm and secure. I don’t need to look around and become moved by the world that is constantly setting goals and sprinting past me. I need to walk and remain devoted to Him.

And I know what I’m saying sounds very much like a physical relationship, but it’s the truth. Just like God promises to never leave or forsake me in life, I need to do the same. I need to remain true and pure to Him and Him alone.

You see I believe when we get to these places in our relationship with Him… Places that seem boring and uneventful… We need to stay true. We don’t need to hobbies, Netflix, social media or any other thing to distract us from following. No, we need to keep our eyes focused on Him. We need to keep following, regardless of what we do or do not feel in the relationship. ♥️ #cultivatelife

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

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…

Going Up… Again…

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Do you ever have those moments in life where God asks you to trust him for something… And you think “I am trusting you…”

But in reality you know you aren’t… Because in reality… Well you’ve never had to entrust him with certain areas of life before…

That’s where I find myself… Right now… In this moment of life… Where I feel so unsure in areas…

I guess that’s part of life though… We think we know how to trust… And we do… But then there are times we have to trust for things we’ve never had to trust for before…

So past the knowing… We find ourselves in an area of just doing…

I know that’s where my mom finds herself… Trusting God in hundreds of different areas that she’s never had to think about before… And then hoping the entire time she’s doing things the “right way”…

And so it’s good for me to look to her a an example…

But I still wonder… I still question… I still find myself searching for a “how will this ever even happen?”…

And I use this analogy so many times for myself… But I am again reminded of a mountain…

I think we climb several mountains in life… And not just in life… But in areas of life…

And to me… Well to me… Once we’ve mastered the art of climbing… Well there will always be the challenge of coming across a new mountain… I believe life always presents us with challenge upon challenge… Nothing hard or burdensome… But things that we can tackle… Things that cause us to grow and mature…

And I always like to call those things mountains… The one thing that I look at and think “dear God this is going to take work… Patience.. Lots and lots of patience… And I’m going to have a moment or maybe many where I want to quit… Where I want out… But I’ll keep climbing until I reach the top… Because I’ve been to the top so many times… And I know what it feels like… I know that it’s worth it… It’s worth the moments where I don’t feel like I can do it… It’s worth the moments where I don’t always trust the next ledge in front of me… It’s worth it so much that I’ll choose to keep moving forward… Upward and onward…”

Yep… That’s what I think… It’s how I tackle what’s in front of me…

And so right now… In all honesty… I guess my response to God is the same as it was last night… “I’ll just trust you… I’ll just keep living every day to the fullest… To the best of my ability… And I’ll continue to hope the ledge in front of me is designed to help me move up and not send me crashing downward…”

Maturity Moment…

In the last year or so life has become a place where I just live… I live in the moment…  For the moment…

And sometimes I don’t like the moment I’m in… But it’s ok because soon that moment will be over and there will be another one to experience…

But yesterday I was reminded of a recent success… And for the first time… Well success felt different than it has before…

Usually I’m very proud… Boasting about what I’ve achieved and accomplished… Thinking too highly of myself… Going on and on about a particular moment when it’s long gone…

But yesterday… Well I found myself pausing to celebrate… And then I casually moved forward… Like it was just another moment… Another day… Another thing that I’ve accomplished on my to do list in life…

But now I am curious… Why didn’t I boast about this moment?… Why didn’t I shout it from a roof top for everyone I know to hear?… Have I matured?… Has humility become more of a lifestyle than ever before?…

And… If so… Is this a good thing?…

Because I really don’t know… But I do see that for the first time I consciously looked into my past and just shook my head in a good way and moved forward… Onward with my day and my life…

And I feel like that’s a good thing… A good place for me to be in… A good note to finish out May and enter into June with…

And so… Right now… In this moment… Well… I’m so ok with that…