But Are You Loyal?

Have you ever loved someone so much you’d practically do anything for them…. Even when you don’t want too because the thing you’ve been asked to do requires more of you than you’d really like to give?

I have.

Actually that’s where my relationship with God constantly stands. You see it’s become this place where I listen and I follow, even when it’s NOT what I WANT TO DO.

Because I remember being 17 years old. I remember my grandmother speaking into my life. I remember her saying, “Amanda I see where you’re headed in life. I see you on a path. You will stay very close to God. Your feet will never get off of His path.”

His path to life is an interesting one though. I spend more time with Him than anyone realizes… And I feel like in this time He takes all that I am that’s ugly and makes it beautiful. He completely uproots the negative, leaving love, peace and joy inside of me. You know, enough to leak out and share with others.

And I guess I’m sharing this because I want you to know that being loyal to your relationship with God is very fruitful. Yeah, it’s a constant choice of staying true to what He’s asked… But it’s also filled with more life and love than I ever imagined I’d encounter.

So if you know Him… If you’ve spent time in His presence and can hear His voice, than please be encouraged to keep cultivating that relationship. It will produce more fruit in you than you can fathom. And He’ll most likely ask you to do things you never saw yourself doing before. 🌱 #cultivatelife #justlive

How Did I Become Her?

The unpaved path is rough. It’s lined with more obstacles, transition, pain, sacrifice and cultivation than I ever signed up for.

I remember being a kid. I remember what I wanted in my heart. Then I remember the promises God gave me as I got older. I remember the words He spoke directly to my heart and soul. I was attentive. I was aware. I didn’t miss the call He gave me.

I also remember being 17 years old, 235lbs and the most insecure, intimidated person I’d ever known. I remember thinking, “How will I ever become HER?! How will I ever grow into the woman God sees me as?”

I followed the unpaved path. I’ve followed it for years as I’ve listened to His voice. And there have been so many times I wanted to turn around and go “back.” There have been so many times I’ve convinced myself God lied to me about the promise. There have been so many times I said, “Forget the process! His process is too challenging! He’s asked too much of me! I’ve lost too much!”

But I’ve continued to move forward.

And now… Now I find myself hearing random people say, “You’re so intimidating. You’re so secure. The presence you carry with you is intense, but also so beautiful.”

I kind of laugh when I hear these things. I laugh because I know it’s not me they sense. I know it’s HIM! I know He’s consumed so much of my heart that He’s leaking onto each person I come in contact with.

And then sometimes I cry when I hear these things. I cry because I realize I don’t have a male covering or protection in my life anymore. It’s just me… Me and God. Me and Jesus. Me and the Holy Spirit. They’re more than enough you know?

And I think what I’m trying to say is this… I’ve journeyed all this way to become confident, courageous and humble. I’ve climbed mountains, walked through valleys and forged streams just to become a whole person. I’ve listened and followed when it didn’t make sense just to be in a moment where I can stand on my own two feet and think, “Wow, I can’t be moved. I’m solid as a fortress in Him and Him alone.”

And though I don’t know what lies ahead… I do know that all that He’s done in me has helped me truly cultivate LIFE! 🌱 #cultivatelife

Caution: Story in Motion

My life… It feels like a movie set right now. The film is rolling and the story line is moving, but I don’t exactly know how the plot is going to develop yet… I mean it’s clearly developing in front of my eyes. But… what is it going to become? What will my life become as everything continues to advance?!

Am I nervous? You know, I’m less nervous today than I was yesterday. The Holy Spirit seems to keep providing me with peace for the process.

So then what am I learning about this process? Well… It’s a lot easier when I don’t over plan, overthink or over complicate the story. It’s a lot simpler when I just stick with His plan on the narrow path.

You see my path is actually so narrow that sometimes it’s felt unbelievably challenging to keep walking down. And then other times it’s felt like a dark journey to nowhere.

But for some reason… Well I believe I’ve stepped onto a place on the path where I can finally see pieces of the plot of my story falling into place. And though I’m somewhat skeptical, I feel like the journey is about to become less of a mystery and more of a masterpiece.

Being You… Complex?

What’s the biggest challenge of being you? Is it accepting yourself? Loving yourself? Or possibly just being confident in who you are?

What happens when the biggest challenge within you is interchangeable with the person you are at your core? The very essence of you?

For me… As Amanda Nicole…. My biggest challenge of being me is being confident in who I am… And yeah, it’s been an evolution of sorts… But when I dig deep, I know in truth that I’m still not the confident woman I so hope to be…

Now, the person I am at my core is well… To me the person I am, the One I hope to reflect the most is God… His heart… The deepest part of who He is… The purest part of who He is… A place so deep that it takes a walk through fire to truly obtain it in its fullness…

So, my biggest challenge is not just being confident in me, it’s deeper.. Much more complex… It’s being confident in God… In the ways of God… In the ways of His heart…

And it sounds kind of simple… Trust in God… Follow Him… Believe in Him…

But what happens when your heart cries out for more? What happens when the God in you wants more? When He’s asking you to go deeper… To just walk a little bit closer to that fire… To really experience the refine of that burn?

For me… This is my continued challenge at hand… To allow God to keep refining me… To refine me until I am all of myself, but then myself looks nothing like me and everything like Him…

It’s not an easy walk… It’s a challenge that takes days… Weeks… Months… It’s taken years… Heartbreak, loss and severe failure…

But I need this walk… I need it just as much as it needs me… And I don’t know what I’ll “do” with it all, but I do believe it is so rewarding… So meaningful… So purposeful… And it’s allowing me to be confident in Him and ALL of His ways…

Not According to My Plan…

A lot of the time… Well… Most of the time… In the midst of the unraveling of the moment… Of the next moment… Of the now…Well I find myself wanting to be somewhere else…

I find the moment I’m in isn’t good enough… And I always want more… I always want better…

And then sometimes life isn’t like I planned it to be…

Because things happen off of my schedule… When I believe they should and shouldn’t happen…

And then comes the terrific thing I have called my imagination… And you’d think by now I’d just use it for good… To build things that are worthwhile… Things that won’t disappoint me…

But I don’t…

So I find myself frustrated and angry about situations that never existed in the first place (maybe I should’ve been a fiction writer)…

And then God has to come in and remind me over and over again that life is fine… That I just need to keep living and doing what He’s asked of me right now…

But that doesn’t stop the feeling I get of being flat out disappointed…

And I believe this is when I should just continue to realize that life doesn’t go according to my plans…

It doesn’t follow the signs “Amanda’s Way, Turn Left Here”…

And I believe… Deep down… If it did… Well I wouldn’t be the person I am today… And life might be way more stressful and confusing…

Because… As much as I think I know myself… Well I don’t… And that’s when I’m so glad God knows me better… That He knows what I need and what will make me truly happy…

So I just have to continue to believe following His Spirit is the best plan for me… And that He won’t let me down…

Even when I might think what I’ve planned is better…

Follow Your Arrow

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Follow your arrow where ever it points….

That’s basically how my best friend sent me off to L.A…. my side of the apartment empty… my car loaded… lunch at one of the best places to eat in Dallas…. and then this song…. a song I had never heard before…. encouraging me to stay alert and just follow my own arrow…

Now I’ve been here 8 months… I don’t include dad’s death as time spent here… so 8 months in SoCal… and you know what… I’ve been following my arrow….

Yesterday I found myself sitting in an orientation for Make-A-Wish…. and I don’t really know where my arrow is guiding me…. I just know that I want to give more of myself to others… I want to help people in my own way…. so volunteering seemed like a good fit for now….

And as I sat down in my seat to listen to the speaker… all I could think was “follow your arrow”…. and I don’t really know how you do that…. I think you just kind of begin to figure yourself out…. what you do and don’t want…. struggle with the major issues holding you back… or the ones causing you to feel like you have to fit in with society….

Then as you work through the details…. well it’s almost like answers begin to fall out…. and I found myself missing work for a few hours yesterday just to make this orientation…

Of course if you know me really well… then you know missing 3 hours of work would send me into a tailspin because then I won’t make as much money in my pay check… which triggers my fear of money…

But that didn’t happen at all…. I actually didn’t even consider the fear of money until after I asked my boss if I could go and come into work late…. and you know what…. I was actually proud again in that moment…. another little moment of victory….

So if I hadn’t followed my arrow here and gotten rid of my fear of money…. I might not have been able to follow it to the next point… which I guess it going through with becoming a Make-A-Wish volunteer…

And so here I am…. and life doesn’t always feel up…. it doesn’t always feel positive… it’s not always easy to follow your arrow… and I feel most challenged now to follow my arrow into the area of riding myself of drama and control….

For some reason it feels like it’s going to be a challenge… like a big one…. but then again…. maybe it won’t be at all… Maybe it will be easy…. maybe I just need to practice a little every day….

So following my arrow seems to be a good plan… even when it feels like it isn’t…. even when the road seems a little curvy and bumpy…. because it those moments… the curves and the bumps…. i guess those are the moments we truly grow and come a little closer to what we are mean tot be and do….