Grace… My Story…

img_0596-1In truth… I want to be able to continue to balance this life God has given me… I want to become a woman of balance for life… And I believe that’s part of cultivation… This ability of a sense… That allows you to see who you are… Where you’ve been… And where you might go next… And that’s me…

I grew up in religion… I’ve never fully accepted grace… Because I believed it was for everyone else… What I was supposed to give away… Not for me to keep…

And then I’ve been through consecutive years in my life… Years where I choose to work my way out of religion… Years where I wanted it all settled… I needed it straight…

And those years, well they produced harshness inside of me… I was afraid of letting God reach out to me…
Sure, I could allow the Holy Spirit to lead me… But God… Jesus… Grace… Mercy… I was tired of hearing about it…

So I shelved it in a way… All of the words… I placed them to the side… I had never accepted them fully…

And I didn’t want to hear them at all… Which made me sick… I was going insane…

Trying to work my way out of religion.. It’s just not possible… We have to have grace to get out.. We can’t work to get out at all…

Then I found myself here… In Cali…

Dazed… Confused… Despressed… Sick… And just hurt…

Hurt by myself for working to make things a giant mess.. And so I stopped…

I stopped learning… I stopped trying… I stopped carrying burdens of self and others…

And somewhere… Somewhere over the course of two years… Well I actually gained an identity… An identity based in grace…

Because God, in all of His grace brought me here… And whether it may have been through the encouragement of others… His grace and goodness has been my story while I’ve just lived for two years…

Even through my dad’s death… That could’ve been awful…

But God’s grace and love for me has been so strong… So much so that I’ve been able to be stronger than ever…

And now… Now as I’ve been choosing to come to a place where I just accept my role as a daughter in His Kingdom… Well I am finding that it’s so simple… I don’t have to read my Bible (I never do)… I don’t have to pray like the religious… I don’t have to study like I’m insane and need an “answer”…

I just have to accept grace and love and peace… And within that… Well I don’t care to try and fit in to become secure in who I am… Sure I might want to sometimes… But for the most part, I’ve learned to love me… To give my problems and the ones of others to God… And to stop trying to figure it all out…

And I believe everyone is different… The religious… The non-religious… But we all want better in some capacity…

And honestly… Grace is the only thing I’ve found and accepted… The only thing I’ve learned as a “parent”… The only thing that truly allows us to become good and better in life…

Because if I didn’t choose grace with the kids I nannied… Well… I might’ve gone crazy… But somewhere in there, I learned that they are learning… That they aren’t perfect… That I’m not perfect… And that they deserve patience, love and grace…

Because within it, it builds respect and trust…

And now, looking back… Well… I believe I can continue to allow God to just simply continue to give me grace in the midst of every day life situations…

And that, within itself, produces a huge Kingdom/lifestyle of pure, authentic grace…

Enough for me to just live…

Caught… Like a Fish…

If you’ve ever been fishing before you know the work it takes to catch a fish…The baiting… The waiting… The hooking… And then, of course, reeling it in…

As a kid, at my grandmothers, we always sat on the river and caught fish… But like most kids… Well we didn’t want to eat them… We just wanted to catch the fish and then stick them in an ice chest…

And so… Well to me this vision I have makes sense…

I see God… He’s sitting on the dock fishing… He knows exactly where to cast His reel to find me… To catch me…

He also knows the type of bait needed to get my attention and reel me in…

So, over the past few months… I can see how He’s been baiting me… He’s been trying to reel me in… Closer to the dock…

But He really hooked me in the last month of my life… He really used bait that He knew I would love…

And now… Well now he’s reeled me in…

And I feel like I’m sitting in an ice chest of water on the dock next to Him…

I’m sitting waiting patiently (like I’m sure most of the fish did when I was a kid)…

I’m waiting for him to toss me back out into the water so that I can move onto the next chapter of my life…

But He keeps looking at me in this ice chest… He keeps looking and saying, “Just relax. Relax long enough for us me discuss where I should throw you next”…

So I’ve been relaxing… And in the midst of it… Well I’m beginning to see that He’s removed me from the “lake” water… Where predators are… I’m no longer surrounded by the anxiety, fear and stress of others…

Because… Well it’s just me in this ice chest… And I have everything I need until I’ve relaxed enough to be still and realize God just simply wants what I want… He wants to place me where I want to be next…

And for me… Well for me it should seem like such a kind thing for Him to do… But then I have these moments where I feel restless… Moments where I want to jump out of the chest, back into the lake…

And I think that’s when I have to remind myself… Fishing is a quiet sport… It doesn’t require commotion or anxiety… It simply requires stillness… And in the stillness… Well that’s where the conversation comes…

And conversation with God… Well that’s what I need now… I need to be able to just become still enough… Still enough for Him to look over and start to converse with me…

And in that… I believe I’ll understand how to just live within the next chapter of  my life…

If I Was a Rich Girl…

About 5 years ago a friend made comment….

We were walking through a shopping mall on Spring Break… And for some reason we were singing “If I Were a Rich Girl”… (Clearly it had been a long 9 hour car ride)…

After lots of laughter… She looked at me and said, “you really are gonna be a rich girl Amanda. One day I think you’re gonna have it all”…

I laughed and said “whatever”… To me it was silly at the time… I mean I was 21, in Bible College… And I had no idea what I was doing with my life….

Over the past 5 years my life has gone through so many transitions…. A lot has gone into making me the woman I am still becoming…

But… Recently my sister said, “you’re the richest  person I know”….

And then I was reminded of what my friend told me…

Now I don’t make millions of dollars… And I don’t live in an expensive home… Or even drive an expensive car…

I have nice thing… I like expensive things… But that’s not what makes my life rich…

What makes my life rich… What makes me rich… Well it’s the amount of truth… The amount of knowledge and wisdom I’ve spent so many years working for…

And… Honestly… The truth… The knowledge… The wisdom…. Well it’s way more worth having than any dollar in the bank…

Because with it I am able to live a fully satisfying life…. Filled with joy, peace and genuine love for myself and others…

And I’ve learned that these things… The things I have in my spiritual bank account… Well they’re far more rewarding… Because they make my life good… They’ve caused it to become a prosperous place…

And I also realize that… Within this truth about myself… Well I have to share my riches… Because if I can’t give away what I’ve learned… If I see someone poor in spirit and health and can’t give them truth… Well then what’s the purpose of having any of my riches at all?…

And so… As I move with life… Moment by moment… Well I hope to continue to learn how to give these things in a greater way than I currently know…

Because to me… Well it’s part of just living…

The Woman I Want to Be….

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Being honest with myself is a treasure… Sometimes I fear that I’m not honest enough… That I hide things from myself in order to protect me from reality…

Other times I think I’m too honest with myself… Too hard on me… Too real with the person that I am… And not focused enough on the person that I’ve become through the process of life…

But lately I’ve had these thoughts… And that’s what they are right now… Just thoughts… Thoughts about the woman I want to be…

But the way I’ve chosen to think this over doesn’t involve criticism… It more involves curiosity and hope…

Because as I see myself getting older… Growing up more and more… I have to admit… I’m not some college aged kid anymore… But I don’t feel like an adult either… Sure I do adult things like working a full-time, nonstop job, paying bills and constantly cleaning house… But I still don’t feel like an adult…

And I’m not sure what point in life decides that we are adults… Maybe when I’m thirty I’ll realize that I’m finally an adult… But today… Today in this moment… Well I am searching some for the woman I want to be…

So in all honesty… As I look at women I admire… Well I see them as very strong, spiritual backbones and pillars of their homes… And I don’t mean the churchy, preachy, scripture reading woman I grew up around… I mean legit women who aren’t all that afraid of anything… Women that are vulnerable and honest… That have experience to draw from… And that are full of wisdom… Not knowledge and understanding…

Because one day I hope to be able to provide my family and children with practical advice that works and that can make their lives easier to manage and sail through…

It’s funny to think how my life has evolved and come to this point… Because through the decisions I’ve made it’s at a place where it could and can go absolutely anywhere…

And I don’t know where it will go… Where I might end up next… But I do see my next direction…. And it’s simply based upon the woman that I want to become… The woman that I want to grow into… The truth of myself that I want to leave behind in the lives of others…

And for me… Right now… Well I think it’s exactly where I need to be….

Just for Me…

IMG_3059Aside from maybe one other person… I am generally the hardest on myself… But that isn’t how it is for everyone?…

I give myself such a hard time… Basically I’ve become a good bully towards myself… Even when I’m having a good day and in such a good mood… Well deep down I am still bullying me… And I suppose I’ve always been this way… And I know I’ve gotten progressively meaner towards myself with time… So when it comes to one area of my life… Well I pick on myself more…

I feel like I am terrible at making friends… Actually… I’m not terrible… I’ve just never really had to do it before… I’ve always been surrounded by a ground of people to choose from… Making it generally easy on me…

But being so far from home and everything else… Well I’ve found it feels next to impossible… Plus… I am learning so much about me… And as I do that it causes me to wonder what types of people I want in my life… And then I feel overwhelmed all together and I find myself wanting to just stay in a small little bubble of comfort… I mean that’s a good way to live life… Right?…

So since I’ve moved here I’ve bullied me… And then I’ve taken my inner bullying to the streets and bullied my sister… Which is stupid and childish and insecure… But I’ve done it… And she’s put up with it… And I go in a circle determining who I am becoming… Why I am becoming her… And determining if people I meet are the type of people I want in my life…

But in the midst of trying… Trying to find friends… And at times feeling like I’d exhausted my resources… In the midst of all the bullying… Well I realized I made a friend… I wasn’t even trying… It just happened… And so maybe that’s how friendship is supposed to work… Maybe it’s supposed to be an organic thing… One that happens as you are just doing life and going with the flow…

And more than anything… It’s so nice to know that I did it on my own… There are so very few things I’ve done in life on my own… But the more I live my life from afar.. The more that I am separated from all that I know… All that raised me… Well the more I find myself… And the more I find myself doing things on my own… On my own and just for me… And it is such a good feeling….

A feeling of genuine accomplishment and one of real confidence and security… Followed by peace…

And I can’t promise myself that I won’t stop bullying me… But at least I’ve discovered that I can do something that I thought I couldn’t…