Five years ago today I watched my dad take his last breath. All in one moment the reality of death made his appearance in my life.
You see it was evidently clear that I was starring at my dad, but then at the same time I wasn’t.
Every part of him (the smile, the jokes, the instigation I couldn’t stand, the love, the brilliant gifting that made him unique)… It was gone. His essence… His soul… His spirit… The aura that filled his body was gone. And so he was gone.
And so that was the moment… The moment I realized life… Life really, truly is temporal. And our bodies…. Our bodies really are nothing more than the vessel we use to travel in while we’re here on earth.
So now you might be thinking, “Amanda, why are you sharing this?” Well… To be completely honest with you, I just really care about the health of people. Actually, let me rephrase that…. I care about the inner health of people. I care that we are alive on the inside. I care that we thrive on the inside. I care that we find grace, love, forgiveness and healing; and then that we maintain that healing long after our moment of transformation.
You see in today’s culture I believe it’s so easy to get caught up in our outer appearance, race, sexual orientation, religion and political background… But don’t forget, before any of that can matter, we are all intangible on the inside first and foremost. We’re all created with some type of God-spark that makes us eternal and immortal.
And so I guess that’s why I’m writing this…. Because I want to remind you and encourage you to look past the surface of what you can see and shift your focus to what you can spiritually feel. Because the health of that “thing” inside of you, that “thing” we all so casually overlook, is what is truly alive in life. 🌱 #cultivatelife
You know.. Anyone that follows what I write should know by now that I talk about the cultivation of life and following the Spirit. I want it to be known that just living the life He designed for us, filled with passion and purpose, is what’s best.
And of course I love to celebrate life’s victories. And I find joy in plowing through the work God has set before me. But… well sometimes the journey is flat out frustrating! Some days I would like to just curl up in a ball and say, “I’m done. I don’t want to follow anymore. I’m frustrated beyond belief with God and His guidance. I opt out!”
And I get that this the life I’ve chosen… And I see that I am going to continue to learn, develop, mature and grow… But today, today the journey isn’t on my favorite list at all. 🌷💃🏻 #cultivatelife #justlive
(Fuller thoughts in video below)
Last night I found myself in the midst of deep internal conflict. Why? Well, I was wrestling with God’s will verses my will… this happens frequently.
Well, in the middle of expressing my internal struggle my sister just happened to be watching “The Crown” on Netflix. All of a sudden she said, “Shhhh! Listen to what she (the lead characters grandmother) is saying. I think it will help you.”
So I got quiet and listened. And here’s what she said:
“I have seen three great monarchies brought down through their failure to separate personal indulgences from duty. You must not allow yourself to make similar mistakes. And while you mourn your father, you must also mourn someone else. Elizabeth Mountbatten. For she has now been replaced with another person, Elizabeth Regina. The two Elizabeths will frequently be in conflict with one another. The fact is, the crown must win. It must always win.”
You see after I heard that statement, I just kind of sat back and breathed…. Because I understood, yet again, what I should do.
I believe when we come into the Kingdom of God we are asked to leave our old self at the door and place a crown of royalty upon our head. And because we wear this crown we must represent everything it stands for.
And I’m not going to lie, it’s a challenge to continue to allow the crown to win. Because as we do we let go of more of our selfishness, self-centeredness and human desire to live the life we want verses the life He wants for us.
And I get it, not everyone is going to surrender their entire self to the plans, purposes and desires of God… But I am. And I hope to continue to do it to such a level that others will eventually follow…. That they’ll follow me as I follow God into His Kingdom.
My heart cries for a clear foundation of freedom and wholeness for people. My passion and purpose propel me to move forward as I follow the Holy Spirit’s lead every moment of every day. And while I might not be the best at following through with every detail, I’m learning that the follow is the way of life for us as believers.
You see the battle between good and evil is at an all time high in this world. The war over our minds and souls is being pressed like never before. And I believe it’s time for us to rise up and cut out the bullshit. We don’t have time to be lazy believers in Christ anymore. We don’t have time to be people who are poor in spirit. God needs and army that marches to the beat of one word, and that word is Jesus.
Because I believe as a society we don’t really realize what life will be like if we don’t cut out the crap and pursue Him with our whole hearts.
So please, please hear the cry of my heart and soul that is so pressed towards freedom and wholeness through Jesus Christ. He is the ONLY way to the Father and eternal life. All the other ways are a smoke and mirror show, created by the enemy of our souls. And I say this again, with every pure intention in my heart, do not be deceived… Press into the Holy Spirit… Pursue freedom and wholeness at all cost… And never stop cultivating a healthy lifestyle through the Kingdom of God.
Over the years I’ve talked very openly about following the Holy Spirit, and how important it is to be led by Him regardless of what I’m feeling.
Now… Truthfully, following Him is a challenge. And just when I think I’ve got the hang of it, He takes a turn down a path I never saw coming.
And well, I guess I say it’s a challenge because allowing Him to lead my life opposes my human will. You see there’s a constant battle on the inside of me, one that requires me to choose His will for my life over my own.
Before this year began I would’ve told you I was very good at following the will of God because I thought that I had completely given all I had to Him. However, I’ve learned that as long as I’m full of myself and the ways of the world around me, I’m not completely sold out to the follow and the journey He has for me.
You see to completely follow the will of God for our lives means we have to become empty on the inside. Someone very wise once said, “If you have a glass filled with water, emptying the water doesn’t empty the glass. The glass actually becomes full of air. It’s only emptied of the unneeded.”
I find this statement very true. Because, I constantly find my life full of trash. I fill myself with too much social media, gossip and judgement the Spirit has clearly asked me to not be a part of. Instead, He’s asked that I stay empty. That I only fill myself with the things of Him. Because, in doing so, the follow is much easier. Life is much simpler. And my head and heart are a lot clearer to hear His voice and follow His plan for my life.
And I get it… It’s a challenge to live a lifestyle that promotes peace and the purposes of God; however, if we aren’t willing to empty ourselves to follow Him (even if it’s the smallest bit), are we truly cultivating a life?
“Ok… So here’s the plan: we’re gonna come home, help mom, sell the house and move on with our lives. This will take three months tops!” I firmly believe God laughed at my plan that day. To think, after everything my family had been through, that it would only take us three months to help mom. I was ridiculous to think such a thought.
You see over the last year and a half, I’ve had to grow up. There’s no other way to explain what I’ve experienced. Has it been painful? Yeah, parts of it have been extremely painful, confusing and altogether frustrating. Has it been fun? Sure it’s been fun! I mean have you met my sister before? She is THE entertainment.
But you know, I wouldn’t trade this time of growth for anything. Because in this time God has truthfully taken so many broken areas of my life and my family’s life and healed them. And He’s also pushed me really, really hard to be where I am today.
Now, I didn’t really appreciate the dark moments. I didn’t really prefer the moments when I thought money was going to run out and we were going to have to file bankruptcy. But, gosh I wouldn’t trade those experiences for the world. Because in the midst of them I learned how to truly rely on God for everything… I learned how to trust Jesus for restoration in areas I didn’t believe could be fixed… And I had to follow the Holy Spirit, even when I couldn’t see.
So where do I go from here now that the house is sold and mom is settled? Well in this moment, I just choose to believe, listen and follow where ever He leads me… Stay tuned to see 😉!
What happens when you realize you’re wrong? How do you move forward when you see that the picture… The truth… The reality was upside down from what you imagined it to be?
That’s where I stand… Again realizing that my ideals and opinions have been upside down in so many ways…
You see for close to three months God’s been telling me, “Let go of your opinions Amanda. Let go of them and then you will move forward with me.” Funny thing is it’s a challenge to let go of my opinions in an opinionated culture. But I’ve tried, really I have…
And then yesterday something hit me like a school bus going a million miles an hour. Because I realized that I’ve been viewing Him all wrong. You see I set out on this quest to gain a clear and pure perspective of God, but then my ideas of Him are that He’s high and I am low because He is a King on a throne in Heaven somewhere. And, using the world’s ideas of monarchy, well they are high society. So reaching the heights there kingdom is nearly impossible. However, I’m realizing that God isn’t the kind of King we see in movies and on thrones around the world. No, instead He is a King that stands at the foundation of the mountain, or the entrance of His Kingdom’s gates. He’s not on some lofty hillside making Himself incredibly difficult for us to reach.
Now, His knowledge, understanding and wisdom is definitely more sophisticated and complex, but His heart for us is simple. It’s to the point. It’s almost one dimensional in a way because it’s right in front of our face at all times. He loves us and there’s nothing less to that. There’s no judgement or hate or condemnation or spite or even confusion. He just loves and cares for the condition of our heart.
And I know in my heart there’s so much more to discover from this point! However, this is an understanding I’ve needed because the wiring in my brain was off. My opinion led me to believe I’d get to this place in following Him where I’d discover the “top.” But really, what I’ve discovered is that the “top” is relational. And that He isn’t a King waiting for me to climb high and come into His throne room… No instead He is a King that is humble enough to stand at the foundation of His kingdom and say, “I’m right here Amanda. Come as you are into my Kingdom so that we may cultivate life together .”