Alone and Lied To…

Since the age of 6, I’ve struggled with one core thing…

The fear of being alone…

Deep within the core of me, I began to believe a lie… And that lie told me, “Because of the weight I continued to gain, I would never be enough… I would never be pretty enough… I would never be small enough… I would never be desirable in any way”…

And I believed this lie of my soul… I believed it for 21 years of my life…

And the lie took on mutiple forms…

For at least 13 years I hid behind a veil of physical weight, scared of life outside of the shell…

And then the shell started to break, I lost the weight and gained confidence in the body I worked so hard to cultivate…

But then, well there still wasn’t rest in my soul…

Because I still felt like I’d always be alone and unwanted…

And it didn’t matter what my family, friends, mentors and even the Holy Spirit himself told me… Because I believed this one lie…

And so, the lie encouraged a binge eating disorder inside of me… I would binge on sweets when I felt out of control, alone and undesirable…

It was a constant, brutal cycle to my spirit, soul and body for 10 years… And I was afraid it would never leave…

But then… Then something happened… Because God, He took my situation… He took the children that I nannied and taught be about His love for me… He taught me how to love them unconditionally… Even when they might’ve hurt me… Even when they had a hard time… I loved them…

And then, after He taught me how to love them, Father God showed me how much He loves me…

Over the course of 10 months in Los Angeles… A time where I believed I was doing nothing at all, He was working within me…

Not the Holy Spirit… Not Jesus… But Father God Himself…

It’s like He came down and spent time with me everyday… Showing me how valuable I am to His heart, and that there’s no reason to allow my circumstances to cause me to feel alone… That there’s no reason to binge on sweets to feel a void in my heart… A void that only He could and can fill…

Because, as much as I’ve want to be married and have a family, I now believe gaining those things wouldn’t have filled the void I felt in my heart…

Because that void could and will always only be filled by Him and Him alone…

And so, I hope, this story… This piece of my story and who I am will encourage anyone that fills alone to seek out the very heart of Father God… Because, when we are filled to the brim with His love, from His heart… Well the realness of being alone, it completely falls away…

My Story of Scoliosis… 

It was somewhere around two years ago… I was standing in the kitchen of my employer’s home in Beverly Hills… As the eldest child of my employer passed by me she causually said, “I think you have scoliosis”…

Since this was news to me, I quickly responded with, “No I don’t. I don’t have scoliosis at all”…

She continued by pointing out the place in my upper back where the scoliosis was… And then took me upstairs so I could bend over in front of the mirror and see the imbalance in my back…

“See,” she said… “Look at your back… It isn’t straight at all.. This side sticks out farther than that side… You definitely have scoliosis”…

There was no denying what she saw… Something really was off… And I completely believed this 14 year old beauty knew what she was talking about… She’s suffered from scoliosis her entire life… Having to undergo surgery last summer to correct it…

But she had known for years that she had this imbalance in her body… For me… For me, this was news… Something that bothered me deep down…

Because I strive to cultivate a lifestyle of balance, order and health… And knowing the muscles around my back were weak enough in areas to cause my spine to curve really bothered me…

Later that day, I showed my sister… We researched it… And again, my back definitely looked like a case of minor scoliosis…

I really didn’t like the knowledge of this at all… The reality of an imbalance in my body…

Over the course of 7 years I had worked so much to stand up straighter… But apparently it didn’t matter how straight I stood… The curve was still there… Still real… Still apparent…

It made me kind of angry too…

So, in so many ways I ignored it… Knowing it was there, but not wanting to acknowledge the reality of it all…

Over the course of the next 6 months I would consciously sit and stand straighter… And when running I would make sure my back was very straight and that I was running very properly…

Well… Time passed… Life continued to go on… And I put it on the “back-burner” in my mind…

About 6 months ago I felt this pain… It was around the top of my back… Like I was carrying a heavy, heavy weight or something…

I mentioned to a friend and he encouraged me to talk to God about it…

As I began to talk to Him, I realized, in so many ways He hadn’t been able to communicate what it means to be a father to me… I had pushed Him away in that area…

One reason being, I had a good father… And though he wasn’t perfect and complete Father God, he was still good… So I didn’t really see a need to cultivate a relationship with Father God…

But after his death, well I was minus that love… That relationship… And so I cultivated a deeper one with God the Father…

In the midst of discussing the pain in my upper back, a lot of forgiveness took place… And almost instantly the pain and weight left…

A few days later, my sister said, “Your back is so straight… What happened?? I think your scoliosis is gone”…

I almost laughed because I realized, in God’s timing… With His patience in my life, He had removed the pain and weight in my upper back when I gained a closer relationship with Him as my Father…

And the removal of that pain and weight also meant that that my spine no longer revealed a sign of scoliosis… It just revealed an aligned and balanced spine…

There are so many reasons I am telling this story…

And I believe the biggest is, we can run around looking for physical healing all the time… Begging God to give it to us… But I’ve found it increasingly more effective to simply gain a closer relationship with God the Father and the Holy Spirit… And to live those lives boldly through the power of Jesus’ blood and sacrifice…

So many times I feel like we go to church and try to get closer to God because it’s what’s expected of us… It’s what gives us faith, love and joy…

But more than anything, I believe our spirit and soul needs this connection… That without it we are completely poor on the inside… Imbalanced… Lacking wholeness and genuine connection…

Connection that can only truly be found in Father God… Because our own parents, spouses, siblings and friends will continue to fail us… There will continue to be imbalance in those relationships… But with God we can continue to remain complete, whole and balanced as we just cultivate life…

Quality of Life…

The day after my grandmother died, a comment was made to my sister… “Well, you know Bridget, it’s really about the quality of life”…

If you knew my grandmother’s story, you know that she was healed 41 years ago in August… But before that day, her quality of life wasn’t that great… In a body cast and neck brace for 19 ½ years, she just wanted to die… Simple… Right?…

But that night, well her quality of life, it increased…

Because she was given a completely restored body…

Some say, her healing was the greatest healing of the 20th century…. And I don’t disagree…

But aside from her physical healing was what she intangibly gained that night…

To me… Physical healing is kind of a smoke and mirrors show… Like God’s way of getting our attention… So that then we can learn what’s truly invaluable and important…

So, she spent her life focused on the Holy Spirit… Focused on how His influence and individual, intimate relationship in each of our lives brings on a greater quality of life… And how, because of the grace of God through Jesus, well we can all gain that relationship… We can all walk with Him on a day-to-day basis…

I believe, so often, we are drawn to God because of a message on eternity, Heaven, life after death…

But what about life on earth?…

My grandmother lived for 89 years…

Was she healthy?… Was she whole?… What does that even mean?…

To me, to me it means that our spirit, soul and body are in health… Of course we aren’t going to be perfect… No one is… But we can keep them balanced…

So, do we have a relationship with Father God?… What about the Holy Spirit?… And do we know who’s blood is responsible for our ability to have these relationships so freely?…

And what about an identity?… Before this year, well my identity was founded in people, places, things, ministries, organizations… Things that can and have failed me… Things that are fragile, here one moment and gone the next…

So, are we firmly rooted in the things of God, so that when tragedy hits we will not be shaken or moved?…

And what about our thought lives?… Our emotions?… Do we try to stay positive under pressure?… Or do we crack and become a sea of emotion?…

And then there’s our physical body… The vehicle or vessel we live in?… How do we treat it?… Do we eat really unhealthy?… Or do we fill it with things that encourage our spirit and soul to perform better?…

I say all of this because to me… To me, this is life in a nutshell… Because health, spirit, soul and body, is the foundation of life… So that we can pursue what God has given us to it’s very fullest…

And it’s not always easy… Sometimes life happens and we get bitter and angry… Sometimes we think about things that we shouldn’t… Sometimes we eat the whole bag of cookies…

But the reality is, I believe, God is about our quality of life… And that He sent Jesus so that we could have that quality of life… And then He sent the Holy Spirit to help us maintain the quality, and then increase life beyond our wildest dreams…

Of course it doesn’t happen over night… It takes time and effort… Because… Well… Life is a journey… A process… A continual climbing of mountains and walks through valleys, with a lot of highs and lows…

But… The good news is, we all have the capability to cultivate the best quality of life possible…

Walking with Healing…

The environment I grew up in was one where healing was a common thing…. Probably from the age of two, I was taught that healing is real… And that it’s meant for our world…

Because of my grandmother’s story, I was encouraged to learn all that I could from her about the power of healing…

And over the years I’ve seen lives transformed externally as well as internally…

Well… Three weeks ago I hurt my foot… Unsure of how it happened, I ran on it for 3 days anyway (I am very hardheaded)… Of course the pain was there… And it increased every time I put pressure on it… But I just kept hoping it would go away… Thinking, “oh this won’t last forever”…

By the third day, wearing heels wasn’t even an option… So I settled for sandals and went to church…

Before church even started I heard God start in on me, “Tonight Amanda. I need you to do this tonight”… And by the tone in His voice, I could already tell it wasn’t something I particularly wanted to do…

As the service went on, I knew what He needed and I argued with Him… Back and forth we went over it all… I finally came to a place in my heart and said, “Ok, God… If this is what you want, then you give me your peace and boldness to do it”…

By the end of the service, I decided, “Well, I guess I’ll do it”… So I got up, walked over to the person and spoke exactly what the Holy Spirit put on my heart for the man…

Like that it was done… No more words were spoken, just an in and out type of job…

On the walk back to the car, Bridge and I discussed how happy we were that I finally did this (God put it on my heart 9 months ago)… So I was just happy it was over…

As I sat down in the car, I stretched out my legs and realized… My foot, the pain… It was gone… I rolled my foot around, searching for pain… But nothing was there…

Just a perfectly healthy foot… That ironically was made well, 41 years to the night my grandmother went searching for an answer for my father… But then found herself miraculously healed…

Of course Bridge and I laughed about it all… Especially the irony…

But really, in truth… Well I realized so much that night…

Most importantly, somewhere in the midst of that hour and a half, I let go of a piece of myself… I set my own goals aside for a moment and just followed through with God’s… My thoughts that are always focused on my agenda were laid to the side long enough for me to actually deliver a message for God…

And, in response, my foot was healthy and whole again… Like nothing ever happened before…

And I guess this moment inspires me… Because it’s caused me to look inside of myself and wonder, “Why is my selfish agenda so important?… Why do I constantly need to fulfill what I want?… And how can I create and live a lifestyle that is about fulfilling what God needs?… Also, how can what God needs become what I need too?”…

Like the Ocean’s Tide…

So it’s been a full week of what I consider serious revelation… Of what feels to be an almost purging of my soul…

And then I had a dream last night… In the dream, at certain periods of the night, water would flood in through cracks in my walls… The water height in the room wasn’t a lot at first… And it drained out like the ocean tide after rushing in…

But as it drained… It would drag things stored under the bed with it…

The floods became multiple… And then big boxes under the bed started to disintegrate…

It’s like I would lay there, hear the water flood in and then watch it rush out as it took things stored underneath with it…

At one point, the water came up to the top of my bed and rushed over the surface…

It tried to pull my journals away… But I grabbed them quickly… Unfortunately the ink on the inside was smeared everywhere… So I had no idea what they said anymore… No idea what my mind was thinking in those moments of life… Or even how I felt…

And I feel like that’s where I am right now spiritually… That this belief system I’m comfortably laying on is going through some serious changes…

That a tide-like thing is washing away what doesn’t need to be there…

And as parts of my belief system disintegrate, they quickly become nothing more than piles of trash, junk…

And then my thoughts that pair with my beliefs… Things I value so much and hold dear… Well it feels like it doesn’t matter how hard I hold onto them… Because, like in the dream, once the water has touched them… They don’t make clear sense anymore…

And this of course makes me somewhat nervous… Because in the midst of it all… Well I feel very detached… Like I’m floating around… And I’m unsure of what is actually solid and stable still…

Under the Tent…

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I was raised under a tent… A tent that brings life… A tent that brings comfort… A tent that showed me who my best friend would be for the rest of my life and how he would never leave me… And I would never leave him…

The tent I am referring to is one that contained and still contains the spirit of the most high God…

As children, we don’t always necessarily understand the environment we’re raised in… Because, to us… Well it’s all we know…

And for years I listened… I watched… I knew the Spirit of God was a he and not an it… For to call him an it means “you don’t know him”….

And then there were the years… Few… But impactful… That I spited and loathed the environment that poured and produced religion in my life and the lives of others…

But as all should, I’ve matured… And now I stand at a place where I feel overwhelmingly grateful for the tent I was raised in… Because… Again… It’s all my foundation knows it needs to make it firm and complete…

And now… Now more than ever… I feel encouraged to share what I learned under this tent…

It taught me that it’s not Jesus that lives in my heart… It’s the Spirit of God…. He’s the one that dwells inside of me… That speaks to me… That gives me power to pair with the authority given through the blood of Jesus…

And he’s so tired… Irritated because he’s been forgotten… Frustrated because he’s been mistaken and overlooked… Because it’s his will to lead and direct us in life… Not Jesus and not God… But the Holy Spirit…

So why?… Why do we choose to overlook him so?… Why can’t we simply put down our religion and listen?… Listen to what he gives us everyday…. Because he… He is as real as anything I’ve ever known… And he’s never steered me wrong… Even when I think “this was a mistake”… He’s always been there saying “just trust me”…

So… Today… I hope… I hope all begin to recognize him in his fullness… For he is about to be unleashed from the tent I was raised in… And he’s about to show himself in a powerful way…

And as all best friends should do… I feel grateful and blessed enough to encourage and help him make his works a reality…