Year Five

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

Inception

One of my favorite movies is about a man hired to use a dream machine to plant an idea into the mind of another man… It’s called Inception.

In one scene you find Leonardo DiCaprio (he’s the one hired to plant the idea) and his colleagues in a room full of sleeping people who are using the dream machine. One of the men looks at the sleepers, turns to the other men and says, “They come here every day to sleep?” Another man replies, “No. They come to be woken up. The dream has become their reality.”

“The dream has become their reality”… Ironic as it sounds, as I look around at our sleepy culture, I can’t help but think about that line.

You see I believe we, as a whole, are becoming more and more like the sleepers in that room. We’ve convinced ourselves we need the internet and devices to survive. It’s not enough anymore to go through life just being. We’ve found a way to convince ourselves that we need to live in an altered, artificial reality. I can’t share a photo anymore without thinking, “Do I look good enough?” Because I know there are at least a million other women my age using an artificial app to make them look “thinner, thicker, tanner, toner, younger and more flawlessly perfect” than they truly are.

We are living in a dream state. It’s constantly before us every time we pick up these devices to be “social.” And it’s growing to the point that people feel so down on the way their lives really are that they’re physically altering their appearances.

Okay, so I’m not here to talk down on society, but I am here to be honest. I’m here to say we need to WAKE UP! Life… You know, real, actual life is around us. It’s flawed and full of chaos and it might seem unworthy, but it’s REAL and meant to be experienced without the box we all carry in our hands.

And though I don’t know how to help our society wake up and see the truth… I do hope we can find the self-discipline and willpower to put down our mind-altering devices, connect to the supernatural and just live life the way it was originally intended to be. 🌱 #cultivatelife #justlive

(Side note: These photos are what I actually look like. No editing in the posting 🙃)

When the War Wages

Do you ever feel like your mind… that your soul is being completely assaulted?

Yeah… That’s where I’ve been for at least three weeks now. In this on and off war, and what (at times) feels like a complete assassination of my being.

It’s not fun. It’s ugly. It’s torturous at times. But mostly, it’s spiritual warfare.

I keep fighting back with truth…. The truth of Christ, but the war still manages to wage on.

And my enemy… You know the one of my soul, he continues to attack three particular areas.

First and foremost, he always goes for my body image…. Or the way I physically view myself. I think he knows attempting to destroy me in this area will ultimately destroy me in the other areas because I’ve build up so much false security here in the past.

However, if he can’t get me here… Well then he reminds me that I don’t operate off of the world’s system for attaining provision, wealth and financial security. He shows me that I could have more if I would simply hustle my way to the top of his kingdom.

And if he still cannot get me to crack… Well then he probes at my identity, Cultivate Life and all that God has promised for it. And then he proceeds to remind me how much of a failure he believes I am for trusting in God and His plans, rather than following the world and it’s schemes for getting ahead.

This is always a deep blow.

And… so I am usually left in a puddle on the floor. A complete puddle of frustration and tears. You see I can usually handle him in one or two areas, but when he comes after all three I seem to crack.

I don’t like it at all. It’s cruel and unjust to who I am at my core as a child of God.

So… How do I overcome it? Well, though I’m not the best… I simply remind the enemy of my soul of truth. If he comes after my body image, I remind him that I don’t place value in my body, but in God and His undying love and acceptance of me. If he attempts to remind me that I can make more money and attain more through his system, then I remind him that God has always done far better… And that I need more than what money can provide. I need faith, peace, love and joy. And then… if he tries to assassinate my identity and Cultivate Life, well by that point I’m so tired, frustrated and done with him that I usually demand and command that he leaves in Jesus name.

And then he leaves… And I’m exhausted. But… a battle within the war is won through the name of Jesus ⚔️ #cultivatelife

Spiritual Warfare

When I was a kid I always thought spiritual warfare was this thing that was over when the war was won. And while that’s true, I never really considered how many wars and battles could go on at one time. I also never considered that spiritual warfare is a lifestyle. It’s not a fad we pick up for a moment and then toss to the side when the war has been won or (God forbid) we’re tired because we’ve been praying for days on end.

You see there is a constant war between dark and light/good and evil going on around us. And although most of us can’t see it, it’s very real and extremely intense.

So… how do we fight in this war? Well when you believe in Jesus Christ that means you’re filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. His power is actually stronger than the powers of darkness and evil. However, we can’t use His power unless we are willing to speak in the name of Jesus.

Jesus’s name is basically like the sword we fight with in the war.

So next time you feel overwhelmed in your mind… Next time you know you’re up against something a human being alone cannot solve… Then speak to the darkness that surrounds you. Tell the evil it can’t come any further because you have a relationship with Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit lives inside of you. And then please be encouraged to make this your lifestyle ⚔️💃🏻 #cultivatelife

(Video below for more)

Walk

Walking… Walking has produced more life and goodness in my life than I ever thought possible.

Now I don’t mean physical walking; although it’s great too.

I mean spiritual walking.

I mean the walk of life.

You see I believe the cultivation of life is a process that takes time, and it’s also a process that asks us to just walk. Not to run. Not to sprint. Not to become overly stressed, anxious and afraid that we’re moving too slow because the world around us is moving so fast… But to just walk. To just take in the reality that we are created to be and to take one step forward (no matter how big or small) at a time.

So if you feel overwhelmed… If you feel like you aren’t doing enough… If you feel like you’re missing out on peace and harmony… Then just know God’s only ever asked us to walk.

*See video for more about the walking journey of life!

Should I Stop?

Over the past few days I’ve been back and forth about whether I should keep sharing what God’s giving me to write…

You see I feel like there aren’t too many people who care about Him and His design for life. I believe people aren’t truly trying to cultivate a relationship with Him… But are just interested in fame, power, money, comfortably and false security.

It’s discouraging you know?.. To see mankind so consumed with hate, jealousy, judgement, immorality and insecurity. It’s just sad.

So… In this moment I’m not going to stop sharing what I write because if I stop then I believe I’m allowing evil to win in my life.

But then I do wonder… Why can’t we, as humans, just wake up and realize we are all in troubled place without security in God? Why can’t we stop instigating the evil and promote life instead? Why can’t we see that Jesus isn’t a religion but a relationship that comes with freedom and abundant life? Why are we so deaf, dumb, dead and ignorant?!

And I might seem a little passionate… But I’m just so sick of the distractions we’ve all fallen for. I’m so sick of the war we’re all losing because we aren’t equipped to fight.

So if you hear what I’m saying… Wake up. Pursue God. Accept your forgiveness through Christ. And then cultivate a lifestyle of security in Him and His principles for life… Because not doing so will inevitably cost you your soul.

Just a Prince

Yesterday I was on the train heading uptown to SoHo… My stop, “Prince Street.”

Right before the train came to a stop, a new thought jumped on board… “If Satan is just a prince of this world, then why are we letting him reign over it?”

Immediately my mind started to ponder the reality.

You see I believe when we accept Jesus Christ we are invited into the Kingdom of God to cultivate life… Funny thing, the life around us (or the world) is ruled by an insecure, yet very crafty prince of darkness. But then God asks us to take on our royalty and to reign over this prince.

Because I believe God’s view of us is higher than the view He has of Satan. It’s kind of like the monarchy in England. Harry and William are both princes. Both respect their grandmother. They do not try to overthrow her. And they also realize William will be given the power and authority to reign over the people after his grandmother and father pass away. And then Harry knows and understands, and hopefully respects his brother’s anointing and given authority too. He would never overstep it or overthrow it.

So then my question is, “Why do we allow Satan (who is just a prince) to overstep our God-given power, anointing and authority? Why do we casually sit back and allow him to reign over our lives and decide what rules and reigns in the world? Why have believers in Christ become insecure, pathetic losers who just sit in a corner and cry, when we could just take back what’s rightfully ours?”

As a body of people who are supposed to represent Christ… I believe we are lame. I believe we are trying too hard to be relevant and hip with the culture of Satan when God says, “UMMM, Hello! I called you to stand out and be different and actually make a freaking impact because you have been given the power and authority.”

You see I believe our power, authority and anointing through Christ should actually set us apart. Not the way we dress or the things we have or the messages we preach… But the glory of God we walk in through the Spirit in every moment.

So if you half-way see what I am saying… Then please, wake up and take back your God-given power and authority back right now.