Stepping into Breakthrough

This weekend was…well it’s still resonating in my Spirit. Last week was a HARD week. I was tired and my own agitation was attempting to get the best of me. I’ve always been a working mom and so when I suddenly became a stay at home (and single) mom in this time of rest after getting laid off…well it took me a few weeks into May and almost June to realize that this was the time of rest that God spoke to me about back in March of 2015. I had to step back from some things that I’d committed to. Things that were good, but were not conducive to the things that the Lord was trying to do in me.

So, it’s me and the kids at home (and sometimes the water park) and the summer is wearing on all of us. Kids have this uncanny ability to trash a perfectly clean house in a very short amount of time. Contrary to what people think, Stay at Home Mom’s have much less time to keep things clean and in order. Sometimes we are reactive- let’s face it, kids make messes, and sometimes we are proactive. At any given time I have so much going on in my mind with dreams and Bible verses and things that have happened; like a web browser with 111 tabs open. Being proactive is much less of an occurrence in my house. Throw in laundry and lunch and snacks and dinner (the hardest question I ask myself daily and my kids are no help, they always answer PBJ…and I am not a super fan…Peanut Butter is not on my list of things I love) and you have a recipe for…hard.

Anyhow, last week was a HARD week. The summer is coming to a close and the kids will start school. So last Sunday we left the water park inside an hour of arriving because they refused to get in line and surrender their blue mats for the “magic carpet” water slide. They cut and were robbing some little girls of their awaited turn on the slide. So I walked away and said we were leaving. My kids hit me and spanked me and pulled down my bathing suit and tore things from my hands all the way out of the park. Not embarrassed, mortified. This is not how they typically behave and so I knew something was up. It was time to anoint my home again and pray over them…except my son dumped my anointing oil down the sink.

Monday we were grounded. All of us. The arguing and fighting commenced. The tattling and the whining and not listening. Enter in Tuesday. Tuesday August 1st. The first day of the month of New Beginnings, the hopeful month that I’ve been anticipating the obtaining of some promises of God and on the very first day I get some devastating news. My Aunty J has died from Bladder Cancer. I got the news later in the afternoon. I had just talked to her the week before and she sounded okay, a little slurred in speech, she said she was still caring for herself, but she had been given a hospice care worker…which meant she had 6 months or less. But 3 weeks? But her death…more like the pictures and her last words to me when I saw her last November have helped me grow.

She said “Be careful what you put into your body. And drink a LOT of water.” But I’ve always hated my adult body. I’ve struggled with my size for a long time especially since I was a little thinner when I was younger, but still larger than most of my tiny friends. I have always struggled and I have realized that it’s because there’s  this unrealistic standard put on women. So going to the water park a lot and her death have really opened my eyes. There are so many women who are insecure…and men too. Why? Because society says we have to be or look a certain way to be attractive? No way. Time to be happy with who I am. I’m eating healthy, I’m still flexible and I’m finally appreciating me. I was looking at my aunts picture that was a few days shy of a month before her death and you could see that her neck had lost some thickness but her face was still round. She was struggling to eat and keep things down and yet she was still a full figured woman. This helped me realize that this is just who I am. These are my genes and it’s far more about who I am anyway. This is the last little bit of my identity that I have struggled to take hold of, but after this weekend I think I’ve got it now.

Friday I had an interview. It didn’t feel so awesome. But God is good.  It’s up to Him if I get it or not. But dang it was 2 hours long! The dress I was going to wear had a spot on the front and the leggings I would have worn were dirty. I grabbed a different dress, threw on some leggings underneath and was off. It was also my free weekend so later on after I had dropped my kids off at their dads house, I went to my favorite thrift store. I think I may live at Deseret Industries. But while I was there an employee stopped me and complimented me on my outfit. And not a passing “oh you look cute” or “I love your outfit” but she stopped me and said, “Wow you look amazing! Your outfit is really stylish, I love this combination you have going here.”  Then we had Saturday. I went to a wedding and things with my favorite dress were not going as planned. I kept stepping on it and tearing the gathered stitches and having to take it off and restitch. I did it again getting out of the car and had to restitch with black thread on a white dress. But I felt good and I could feel the presence of God over me. I, for once felt beautiful inside AND out. I know, I know, there are some of you who will say, “Amanda, you ARE beautiful” or “How did you not see this before” but when you have lived a lifetime of rejection…it makes it hard to see. But I was finally seeing it, I am seeing it, but not only that I can finally feel it. Deep down, it’s a knowing.

So I was at this wedding and it was simple and beautiful. I walked by the man of my dreams (quite literally) and my heart skipped a beat or two as I approached a table where I would sit, alone. I’m used to sitting alone, it’s been a part of my growth enjoying my own company and dating my Poppa God when I could. But to my surprise I was invited to sit at a table with some awesome people from church. I had an amazing time and I got to help my good friend cut cake. The Lord spoke to me there and He said to me “The one who is the greatest is the servant of all” and so I began helping where I saw a need. It was a rather fulfilling day for me, but the Lord would have more for me that day.

I met a girl 2 years ago by now, maybe slightly less. But I was at Kona Grill for happy hour, happy to eat alone and listen to worship music and read my Bible. These two women who clearly had been drinking asked me to sit with them. I was reluctant to, but they were very convincing and wouldn’t take no. We were “Facebook” friends from that day forward, but seldom engaging each other outside of a “like” here or there.  But recently a dramatic change had happened and I noticed and began engaging more to encourage this new thing I was seeing. She was asking for prayers, speaking about God and I was so happy to see it.  I hung out with her after this wedding and man, she blessed my socks off. She made an amazing dinner and we had an awesome conversation and we got pretty deep for being the first time truly hanging out and I got the sense that she was going to be a friend for many years to come. But she told me that when she first met me I was dowdy and looked depressed but now she said that I looked beautiful and that I was glowing. My friend Shawnee said the same when I sent her a picture. So at nearly 2 am, I found my way home and my heart was just soaring over what God was doing in me and around me. I took the long way home, windows down and just sang my heart out to Him and went to bed tired and filled to the brim with His presence.

Sunday morning I woke up and though I should have been exhausted I wasn’t. I got up and got dressed in record time and I look at myself in the mirror and I’m finally seeing what He sees. I’m finally seeing what God has turned me into and I love it, I love who I have become in Him because Him in me is truly beautiful. Fast forward to church, my favorite preacher steps on the stage. I love listening to him as he often confirms things that the Lord has been speaking to me. He jumps around a lot when he preaches but I can easily follow him because my mind does the same. It’s hard when you have so many amazing things to share and you want to go deep, deeper than people are used to. You want to spill your guts and be raw but you know people aren’t ready for deep and raw. We sat at tables still set up from the wedding the night before and as he stepped up to preach he said something like, “We’re still set up for it, anyone ready to get married, have an impromptu wedding?”  God elbow nudged me all through service.  You know, when I first met this man that the Lord told me to ask for, I recall hearing his heart and I said wow Lord,  men like this still exist?? When you send me a husband, please send me one with a heart like this! And audibly He said NO. Not “a” man, this man. I laughed (because 1. I didn’t even know him and 2. I was in no way attracted to him but God fixed that) but I was nervous. Was I making this up, too tired? losing it? I literally said “Okay God, I’ll call your bluff. Grant me this man.” The following words out of his mouth (as I was listening to a preaching that was a few years old) were “God says ‘You do not have because you do not ask. Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and the door will be opened.” And as he stood in the congregation listening to people give testimonies and Mark 11:24 was given to him on a card.

“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

At some point I asked the Lord to get him to look at me. Moments later his eyes shifted his gaze my direction. His eyes have always been startling to me. One of my favorite colors. But after the verse was read, I felt it. The unction to share testimony. The Lord nudged me that someone needed to know/have hope that their prodigal child was coming home…despite the testimonies were supposed to be about healing. As I raised my hand I heard “sweet” as he made his way over. There was a..small struggle. Because of things that have happened in the past and the fact that I have told him who he is to me, I tried to give him an opportunity to not be so close to me, to back up from the woman who is in love with him, who has heard from God about him, but maybe not the other way around yet. And if only one side has heard, then it’s not to be. Confirmation is needed in a case like this, especially since he has been waiting so long, I would expect him to be certain I am the one. He stood next to me and he was so close and it made me nervous. How did he feel about being that close to me in that moment.  I couldn’t think, let alone tell my story without struggling to not miss the point. I tried to grab the microphone so he could back up and he wouldn’t let go. I paused and asked for the microphone and he told me that it was okay. So he stood next to me holding the microphone. I realized afterwards that he was trying to be a gentleman as he held it for the next woman too. The Lord recently said to me that it’s time for women to do women things and men to do men things so trying to step back and allow a man to be a gentleman to me and not trying to do it myself…foreign concept. I’m a very capable woman, but I may need some training.

I have had nearly 2 years to process and pray into this, into him. It’s been a labor of love for sure. I’m still waiting for him to come to me. Ladies don’t pursue, I know that now.

I’m waiting for you oh man of God. I asked for you and I believe.

~Amanda

 

 

 

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Traditions of Men

I wrote on this the other day and just didn’t feel that the Lord was done with what He wanted me to say.

This has been on my heart and bothering me…a lot…and here I find myself at a loss of how to start.

God is doing a new thing. New. Completely new. Granted Proverbs says “There’s nothing new under the Sun” and our God does work in patterns and repeats…but to us (just like how fashion seems to cycle around every 10-20 years or so) it’s going to appear new to us because we as a Body have been so set in our ways we have trailed off the path set before us by the original Apostles and the words of Jesus in red…

Mark 16:15
He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.

He said GO. How is it that we have gotten so comfortable with our Sunday feast, being fed one day a week for 2 hours? That when someone is called by God to be a pastor (or a deacon or a bishop or, or, or) they possibly picture a nice church and salary. What if it’s not like that? What if it’s no longer going to be like that? What if the plans God has for you are grander (and more exciting) than that? I believe that God is calling us to let go of our preconceived ideas of what our futures look like. He’s giving us clues, but are we catching them? Are we hearing Him properly? Or at all because we are stuck on an idea that’s not His heart? What if obtaining these traditions of men causes us to forfeit His future for us. What if we have to choose between two things we have desired for a very long time? What if we truly let go of it all and asked of Him what He would give us back? Would it surprise us? Have we not released ALL to Him in fear of losing it? But…would holding onto an incorrect promise cause us to truly lose it? Losing it all because of fear and pride is too high of a price to pay.

There’s so many people who are out there hurting who would never step foot into a church, so many hearts that just need love. They need us to come to them. There’s a new wave of pastors being birthed in this season that will be known outside of the church.
In this season, God is doing a new thing, look not to the moves of God in the past, for the cloud has moved. House churches will rise up and families will be birthed out of His heart, communion and worship will be as He intended, intimate and true, stories of miracles will burn like wild-fire through our cities as we embrace the original call of Jesus to go out and tell the world of His love. They will know His love because of OUR love. Families will be taken care of because the church will rise up and her love offering will be given to those truly in need, the widows, the hurting and afflicted, the hungry and those in need. It’s time to throw down the ways of old and take up the new! It’s time to let the Spirit have it’s way! To sing worship songs for 2 hours and read a single verse should that be what the Spirit desires.

Too many churches are stifling the Spirit, stopping it from flowing freely and God will no longer be stifled. He will open His mouth and they will have no choice but to hear what He will say.

There are people and things that are holding us hostage. Preventing us from moving forward into our destinies and we MUST let go or we find ourselves in a place of sabotaging our own future. There are seasons for all things, and this is a NEW season and it’s time to let go so we can move forward.

So much more my heart wants to say…and be more specific but I can’t. I have done my part, I have done that which He asked me to…but now it’s your turn. It’s your turn to act. My stoicism is an act, a face I have gotten good at wearing because I was afraid of messing up, ruining something (as if I have that much power lol), but really I’m a mess inside when you walk by.

SoS 8:6
Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame.

I hold a promise inside my heart. I’ve let it go over and over again and He keeps giving it back to me. I’ve had over 30+ dreams of you and I can see that there’s something you are chasing after, something that is preventing your forward movement. You are stuck and don’t know how to be un-stuck. It’s like a hand in a cookie jar, grabbing too many cookies and you can’t pull your hand out. You have to let go to be free. You get one cookie. But, when you are done receiving that one, you can go back for more. God is going to redeem the time you feel you have lost. I know the wait has been long and bitterness has stepped in and out but know that time is indeed short and you have not been forgotten.

I refuse to give up on you. I will not forfeit the promise.

But how many out there are chasing after traditions of men…and are going to miss this next move of God? Man doesn’t give you a title, God does and it’s not something that can be taken away. Trust that if it was given to you, it was given with good reason. Shepherd of a flock, sometimes we have to go out and recover the lost ones.

Praying for you daily,

Amanda

Women, Jesus and traditions of men

I wrote something on Facebook recently that sparked debate on my page. A few years ago I found myself debating on Facebook with some Calvinists and God gently called me away and told me that what I was seeing was man’s pride over His word, which is why the debates were so heated…and unloving.  God never intended this, and so when the debates began…I attempted to defend myself and found that the point I had been making was being missed overall.

Women through time, have been pinned as the original sinner, untrustworthy, the weak one and back in Jesus day, women were second class citizens generally. Their testimony was untrustworthy and inadmissible in court, but I’ve noticed how God purposely used women repeatedly through time in incredibly important ways. There was Deborah the Judge, there was Rahab and Mary and Mary Magdalene, the woman with the issue of blood (who was REALLY bold to break law and tradition by touching Jesus), there was Ruth and Esther…and so many more. Traditions of man have kept women in a lesser place, I feel because they needed a scapegoat for falling into sin through Adam. I believe that Eve is still blamed through women even today. So, in my readings yesterday and the day before, the Lord began downloading something to me through reading John 20 and Luke 24. So…here goes.

In the garden, God cursed Eve and all women with pain in  child birth. Then He prophesied to her and said that her desire would be only for her husband. But this has a two-fold representation. A woman in the world would have a desire only for her earthly husband and it would never be enough to fulfill her, it also caused women to step into accepting abuse…because well the Bible says so…so we should just shut up and accept it. Right?!

Yeah, no. But if a woman is living in the Spirit of God, her desire would be only for her Husband, which I believe is a representation of something deeply Spiritual. A woman in spiritual labor, travails over her promises and it IS painful, but our hearts and our pain are fully vested in our God and we desire Him! Jesus! It’s a representation of the Bride before Jesus, desiring nothing but Him.  This was the first part of what I got from Him.

The second part was, because of man’s view of women in those days, men didn’t believe women. Their testimony wasn’t accepted in court, and generally they were meant to keep quiet and have babies (it was their redeeming quality)- which is why it was such a risk for Esther to go before the king. So Mary sees that the tomb has been opened and the body is gone. She runs back to the disciples and tells them and John and Peter RUN. They don’t believe the women’s testimony but they believed the body was gone, enough for them to run. Why? I believe it is because it was something they had been expecting to happen. They were expecting something hinky to happy with Jesus body, so it was easy for them to believe only that part of what Mary said when she came running to tell them the body was missing, but couldn’t believe the testimony past that.

They were telling the truth…why couldn’t they believe the women?

Traditions of men. They left because they had a preconceived belief that something would happen, but past that they couldn’t believe or actually understand what the women were saying because the traditions of men had hardened their hearts and it prevented them from hearing what God was saying through these women.

But the beautiful thing is, the Lord never let them down. He didn’t discount their testimony, he witnessed to it.

Luke 24:

19-24 He said, “What has happened?”

They said, “The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene. He was a man of God, a prophet, dynamic in work and word, blessed by both God and all the people. Then our high priests and leaders betrayed him, got him sentenced to death, and crucified him. And we had our hopes up that he was the One, the One about to deliver Israel. And it is now the third day since it happened. But now some of our women have completely confused us. Early this morning they were at the tomb and couldn’t find his body. They came back with the story that they had seen a vision of angels who said he was alive. Some of our friends went off to the tomb to check and found it empty just as the women said, but they didn’t see Jesus.”

25-27 Then he said to them, “So thick-headed! So slow-hearted! Why can’t you simply believe all that the prophets said? Don’t you see that these things had to happen, that the Messiah had to suffer and only then enter into his glory?” Then he started at the beginning, with the Books of Moses, and went on through all the Prophets, pointing out everything in the Scriptures that referred to him.

See:
But now some of our women have completely confused us. Early this morning they were at the tomb and couldn’t find his body. They came back with the story that they had seen a vision of angels who said he was alive. Some of our friends went off to the tomb to check and found it empty just as the women said, but they didn’t see Jesus.

And Jesus says they are thick-headed and slow-hearted. The only reason the women confused them, is because there was some “societal norm” that prevented them subconsciously from believing the women. What they said wasn’t confusing. But the ways of man had stunted their ability to hear what God was saying, because of the delivery system.

In addition, I do believe that the “women’s rights” movement is a counterfeit to what the Lord is doing. The Lord is currently raising up women to lead and share His heart, but because of the Women’s Rights movement, it will cause people to turn up their nose and not hear what the Lord has to say through them because a lot of this movement has put a bad taste in people’s mouths. God is and always has used women contrary to how man feels. They have been in pivotal roles in changing the tide of situations that would otherwise be the demise of the people, be it physically or spiritually. We have been shut in’s for so long, carrying the guilt of Eve, when it’s not ours to carry.

Be free!

Amanda

 

 

A word from the Lord

I wrote this back on 9/27/2016, and as I go through one of my journals to record hand-written dreams, this one feels like it needs to be spoken out.

Rise, rise from the ashes from where you have fallen. Let them fall off you like a Phoenix in rebirth! It is a time to step forward and shake off all that has hindered you before. Arise and Shine my Bride! The time has come for you to take your place on the world stage. The world thinks they can shut me down, silence my prophets but it is THEY who will be silenced. Though buildings crash down around them not one of them will fall, not one of them will fail. My beloved, you now run on strength that is not your own. You are strong in me, continue choosing me, continue giving me your YES and I WILL give you the desires of your heart. Seek me, your first love and we will soar together on Eagles wings! We will soar over all the earth and all will see us and marvel for our love will be strong and unstoppable. Nothing will block your path! They cannot shut you down for the doors that are open for you now cannot be close by man. Move forward with faith and security. You will be provided for like the Israelites in the desert. I will give you all you need. We are one my love, I have come in YOU on earth, as it is in Heaven has begun. Let the world see your heart filled with my glory.

 

Amanda

A Psalm to the Lord

Your Word is so beautiful, my Jesus You are STRIKING!
You capture my heart at every turn, your scent it lingers in my presence long after you have departed.
I long for you, long to hear your voice, long to see your face.
I desire to sit on your lap and lay my head on your shoulder and breathe in your comfort and peace, to drink of your love and eat of your sacrifice.
I desire to rest in your arms like a child taking a nap after playing carefree in your gardens.
Clothe me in your splendor, bathe me in your righteousness, may your scent become my own.
Let it soak into every fabric of my being so you will run off and leak our onto every person I encounter.
Make me your most beautiful maiden, wrap me in your garments, drape me in your jewels so the world sees nothing but your sparkle.
Allow me, your child, to be joined to the mate you chose for me from the foundations of the earth. Let us come together as one and seek you in your courts as a single heart bound by you and for you. May we live and be all that you need us to be and let us leave no thing of our inheritance on the table, oh my God and my King.
Whisper to us sweetly and lead us in your way everlasting.

 

9/27/2016

 

Amanda

Friendship

Proverbs 18:24
One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

You know, growing up I always struggled with friends. When I was in Jr High and I could still remember, I counted how many schools I went to before high school. 13…Including high school. This also included summer schools, but as I remember one summer school in particular, I recall running around with a white cast on my left arm. During the school year in second grade a girl was chasing me just after lunch and I was essentially being ganged up on. I slipped on the monkey bars and fell straight down and broke my arm. The girl who had been chasing me suddenly pretended like she was my best friend as she walked me all the way to the office. In summer school, when my arm was supposed to be healing, I remember going across the monkey bars…though I wasn’t supposed to. In 5th grade, I have another similar memory with girls as I was off playing by myself on the pull up bars. Girls had broken my heart from the get go. I just wanted to be accepted.

Jr. High, same. I had a crush on our head football player and my “friend” pretended to tell him and “set me up” with him. I was naive and clueless. I went around telling people my secret, only to be confronted by his girlfriend. I honestly didn’t know. She tried to fight me during lunch, pushing and shoving me until I turned and walked away.  During 6th grade Science Camp…more of the same. Isolation, and a new nickname…”Tinklebell.” Claims that I wet the bed spread quickly, and then claims that I kissed a girl spread even faster. High school was a little better, but the girl who was my best friend abandoned me after 3 years of being practically attached at the hip. Once I graduated, she left our group of 5 and I was no longer cool enough for her. So I started my early 20’s with my 10 year old sister which was awesome. I had people who were acquaintances and boyfriends but I was never good enough for anyone. So, let’s fast forward 10 years.

Single mom, in a place that is nowhere near family and I don’t know anyone and have no friends.  Well at least locally, but God has redeemed friendship to me. It’s such a beautiful thing to me, I don’t even know where to start. I never thought I could love the heart of a woman, the way I love my friend Shawn. Last night I had a dream about her, first one ever actually, where I saw myself reclining on her. I was reading John and in chapter 13 verse 23 night before last and it says in a few versions that the one whom Jesus loved was reclining ON him.

One of the disciples, the one Jesus loved dearly, was reclining against him, his head on his shoulder. (MSG)

And I didn’t understand how a man could recline on another man. Culture has ruined our ability to be close with one another and have genuine community but last night, my dream put it into context. I wasn’t sitting in her lap in my dream but I was right at her side, our hair blowing in the wind together, our heads together over God’s Word and we began to pray together this powerful prayer of declaration. I don’t know that I have ever loved another woman the way I love her. She’s my David to the Jonathan, and I realize that this knitting of souls happens outside of man and woman, husband and wife and it is displayed in the Bible, though many miss it. Ruth and Naomi, David and Jonathan, Jesus and John and there are probably others. To love another human being of the same gender with that kind of love, you desire an intimacy with them – don’t mistake my use of the word intimacy as I do believe that word covers a lot more than our modern world has handicapped it to mean. Intimacy is vastly more than relations between a husband and wife, it’s the result of a soul tie, be it male or female.

Shawn and I met on Facebook. Ours is a long distance friendship and we have just crossed over a year of being friends. I quite literally talk to her daily, we pray over each other and each other’s families, we pray for breakthrough, interpret dreams, discuss deep ideas and I never tire of her…ever. Her heart is a heart of deep love and beauty, a Proverbs 31 woman that has her identity rooted and grounded in our Savior…no matter her circumstances. A stay at home home-schooling mom that spends her days teaching her boys about the Lord, trips to the library and Taekwondo. We celebrate each others victories and we encourage each other in our failures…and pray over each other in the betrayals we both have faced in our circumstances.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-11

Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone?

As we sat near each other in my dream, there was a love, a bond there that couldn’t be broken and it seemed that it was our first meeting as she had come for a visit. She has lifted me up more times than I can count in the last year, we send each other care packages and letters (and just ask my grandma…I’m not a letter writer…) and I stand astounded at my God and Savior that would see fit to bless me with such a woman as my friend.  She has been with me through my own Promises of God (and I hers) as we both walk out this pre-ordained journey and never once has she doubted me, never once has she told me I was wrong. It’s one thing to personally stand on a promise and not let go, it’s wholly another for someone else to stand with you…even when you feel unqualified for the post the Lord has told you is yours. Too this or too that…blah, whatever, but despite the insecurities that pop up, I know whose I am and my worth and that I must also stand by.

So, as I look back on the past and all that I went through as a child and adult in this arena, I’m glad…no overjoyed to have Shawn as a part of my family. God is doing stuff in us and we are both unfinished but I am deeply grateful to have her along for the ride.

John 15:13

Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.

Laying down our lives doesn’t meant to die for them (though I probably would), but to let our lives be interrupted on behalf of our friends. To stop our plans, to be inconvenienced in order to cater to the needs of our friends. Here’s to a year + of friendship Shawn…and God will have His way and we will have many many more. I’m holding God to this dream…we will finally meet, you and I have both seen it now.

Here’s lookin at you kid…

All my love ❤

Amanda

Point of Discovery {Part 1}

I’m finding that I’m in this funky “in-between” place right now.  I look back on where I began and see where I am now and I wonder and marvel at who God has made me into…in a very short amount of time. This time last year, I was wavering…unsteady and uncertainly unclear on the identity of which I stood. Cause that’s what this journey is about isn’t it? Discovering who we are and WHOSE we are, and what we are meant to be and do? And getting closer and closer to Him in our journey across the great unknown.

Seems like earlier this year, potentially the tail end of last year I was finally in a place where I could stand firmly on God’s promises, but it took a shaking…a rocking of the boat if you will, to help me get my “sea legs.”  Adversity has a way of making you stronger, enabling you to stand a little bit taller too. When we come to accept who God is, and what He is truly capable of doing and then realize that we are standing in His shadow, no weapon formed against us can stand, no word, no action, no plot or plan. To stand in someone’s shadow means that you are very close to them in proximity, you are in an area of protection. But when this epiphany hits, you stand a little taller, you feel a little stronger and the things that once swayed you no longer do.

It also means that He is trustworthy. Mighty to save. God is true to His promises. Let me repeat…God IS TRUE to HIS PROMISES. If it’s a promise He made, it is a promise He will keep. If you are unsure it’s a promise from Him…ask him for confirmation. Ask again and again and again. But sometimes we are in a place where no matter how much confirmation we get, we still struggle to believe…and yet He still provides the confirmation because He wants you to trust Him. He wants you to rely on Him wholeheartedly and KNOW that He is not a liar. He can’t be. It’s not His nature.

I’m going to share my testimony. It’s…incomplete still…I’m missing a someone in my life but don’t worry…I’ll be sure to plaster our first selfie on Facebook real soon so you all can share in my joy. This is a hard story to share…And I’m going to do my best to remain respectful to those involved while still sharing the truth.

It starts before the place I am beginning my story, but know that things happened that shattered my heart in 2008. I had hope that my husband at the time had truly found God…because I had. Despite growing up in a family that was very diverse in it’s choices of religion, ranging from Catholicism to non-practicing Judaism and Christianity. I grew up in the church, I had memorized the books of the Old Testament as a kid (please don’t ask me now…I just can’t) and knew that Jesus loved me. I even taught Sunday school in high school. But I lacked that connection. I walked away for a lot of years…not fully. I still prayed here and there when I needed something until one day at work I met Letty. It’s funny how the Bible says that we are carriers of His light (Matt 5:14-16) and I didn’t know what that meant until I met her. She was a light. She had something different than anyone who I’d ever known who claimed to be a Christian and I loved her. But though we stay connected, our friendship was only for a season.  God woke me up with a suddenly, a dream in the night and I woke up knowing what He was saying.

So we fast forward and it’s October of 2008. The market crashed and my husband had lost his job, I had lost my position and we were losing money hand over fist. Unemployment had taken such a huge wave of people that it was almost a month before we got money from that. I was still working but losing almost $800 a month and they wanted to transfer me to a store that was a 2 hour drive away in traffic. No. Way. But I’d had a “God nudge” in regards to moving. Idaho. But God, my husband says he would NEVER leave California. “Idaho” said the whispers…but I had only been there once for a few days. Fear crept in so I put off the conversation. “Idaho”, YES! I know, Idaho, Idaho. You want me to go to Idaho. I’d gotten tired of hearing it which overpowered my fear and so I had the discussion I was fearing.  It went something like this…

“So…how do you feel about moving to another state?”
“I don’t know, where are you thinking?”
“………Idaho.”
“Idaho, what’s in Idaho?”
“I….have a cousin there?”
“Okay, where else could we go?”
“Um, Texas? Denver? New Mexico?”
“Okay, no on Texas. No place that has any hurricanes, earthquakes or tornadoes.”
“You realize that leaves a VERY small corner of the US right?”
“Yep”
“Okay, so Idaho.”
“Before we pick where, why don’t you go online and see if your job has any openings you can transfer into, maybe that have the position you just lost open somewhere else”

I get online at work the next day and the very position I had lost due to no fault of my own had only two openings in the ENTIRE COUNTRY.

Wanna take a guess where BOTH of them were located??
Yes, Idaho.
So, to Idaho we went. It was a fast move. Things just worked and where we were losing our tushies financially, within 6 months of being in Idaho, we bought our first home. Things weren’t right. I was an enabler, but before that I was an insufferable know it all.  I don’t need to go into details here, but in my quest to grow in the Lord…very slowly, I attempted to become less so my husband could step up and be a husband. In 2010, I was pregnant with my son and my job was not going well at all. My boss did not like me…which was strange because usually I was liked by everyone. I couldn’t work under him anymore and I attempted to step down but he had manipulated the system and wrote me up for things I never did and in my fight to prove myself innocent, my opportunity to move into a lesser role disappeared.  I wanted out so bad. I started an in home daycare and went on maternity leave. I was cheated out of the money I was owed for services rendered and so I had to go back to work after just 4 months home with my Jeremiah. I was crushed, but found a job…actually, a job I never applied for, rather quickly and there I worked for 2 years. The next job I got, I also never applied for, they called me. And there I worked for 3 years…and the following job, I never applied for when they called me…they had my resume still from 2 years previously when I had interviewed.

Anyway, during that time I was pregnant, in May of 2010, I had been having dreams and was writing them down in a journal. It was a dream of a promise God was making me, one I didn’t understand, and wouldn’t understand until many years later.

To be continued…

Amanda

Passover

So many celebrated the Jewish New Year back in early October during Rosh Hashanna. The year 5777; Clashing Swords.

But really… the New Year according to Exodus 12 started back on March 28th…The month of Nissan.  There’s an interesting thing with the Jewish calendar. There’s a “civil year” and a “sacred year.” The civil year starts in the month of Tishri which is during Rosh Hashana and the sacred year starts in the month of Nisan.

I had a dream recently about being driven in a car by a woman named Angie which means “Messenger” or “Angel” and she was driving a Nissan. I began looking into the name Nissan when I started to see among the results on a Google search the words Nisan and the Jewish calendar. It immediately piqued my interest and I began looking into it.

Nisan is referred to as the month of miracles, the month of spring, newness and the month of redemption to name a few.  This really excited me since I have been waiting on a promise from the Lord, but I began to see a picture as my friend Shawn and I began discussing what this month means for God’s people. Then Sarah came in and stated that she was seeing a LOT of 7’s and they seemed to be in pairs which brought us three to Exodus 14:14:

“The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still.”

Which caused us to bust out our Bibles and do some digging. It was fitting. So VERY fitting based on the dreams we each were having. I couldn’t understand and I was in the car driving Jeremiah to school when he suddenly said, “Mom, the Angel of Death is coming, you know?”  Uh…um….why you say that?  “Because it’s coming for the first born boy in every family,” which caused me to respond with the Passover story and told him that it was an image of what Jesus did to save us and not to worry, the Angel of Death wasn’t coming for him. But it caused a few light bulbs to click for me in regards to my dreams. God was showing me the Exodus.

What is so incredibly beautiful about the Exodus is what it represents to me, to you, to so many of us. We are running away from our past and everything that held us down and yet there’s this moment in time where He asks us to SIT IN THE GARBAGE OF LIFE that is causing us upset and panic and anxiety and WATCH HIM do His thing. We aren’t allowed to leave. We just have to stay and in this staying we have to learn to trust that God is going to get us out and that on our way out He is going to lift us up beyond our wildest dreams.

You see, in my dream I was running and it seemed like everywhere I turned it wasn’t good enough and so I had to keep going. By the end I was walking into a water park with my family and was still being followed by a dark man and yet he had to check in with his officer about the height of the water because he was concerned. I kept walking, and the dark figure stayed behind. How grateful were those people. How grateful and amazed were those people who walked through the middle of the sea and even when it seemed that an open door for the Israelites was also an open door for their enemy, God slammed that door closed where the chariots of Pharaoh’s army still lay at the bottom of the Red Sea.

Let’s fast forward to Jesus’ time.

The day before Passover, Jesus walks through town and the people are praising him. First let me tell you about Passover. 4 days before Passover, the Israelites were to pick a flawless male goat or sheep and they were to bring it into their house…like a pet. To play with it, love on it, feed it…and 4 days later to slaughter it in remembrance of the night the Angel of Death made it’s way through Egypt and spared the Israelites. The point was to feel the price that was paid at the expense of another for the rescue and redemption of the people. And the Disciples understood Jesus when He said in Matthew 26:26-28:

26 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”
27 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you.
28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

They knew that He was replacing the Passover Lamb. Passover- the consumption of the Pure Lamb that was to be roasted over fire (an alluding to Jesus conquering Hades and death). They knew that from that point forward, they were celebrating a new kind of Passover because there was a sacrifice and death that was made that was more than mere remembrance. That night on the hill of Calvary…Jesus died…the Angel of Death had made his rounds once again but for only one man. Our Savior.

But lately God has been using the Exodus to speak to His people. The time for being removed from captivity is now. The time for miracles and the parting of your proverbial Red Sea is now, the time for your healing, the time for your promise, the time for you to step into your promised land has arrived!! It’s time to praise God for what He has done, is doing and will do. This is the time, the NOW time for God to show up and do all that He said He would do. But it will require obedience, listening, praise and worship, and stillness because when He says it’s time to travel…GET UP AND GO!

 

Happy Easter everyone,

Amanda

Shared Hope

Dawning hours break and a tired voice calls out in the hallway, “Mommy? I had a dream…”  and the tired body of my little boy comes crawling up into my bed as I grab my phone and begin asking him questions and jotting it down.

There was a train on the nightstand that was a toy but he thought it was a real train. It was moving with a red light on it. The red light made him afraid. The train came out of the books on the table. There were princess carriages going down the books. Jeremiah says the train scared him and he pushed it off the dresser and it broke. It wasn’t his train. Says he was on the ground sitting and holding his knees. There was a big crack on the ground to his right side. I was sitting on the left side of him and I was petting him and he thought I was someone else like a stranger.

I pondered this dream in my mommy heart through the morning and recognized some symbols from my own dreams. The train represents the new daddy my children asked the Lord for on July 4th of 2016.

Now, I’m following along with my own dreams, I know where I am at in the state of things and I’m praying into this daily so I’m not worried- despite what things look like in the natural…and let me tell you…it’s a little grim. But I’ve been expecting this point in time…for a year and almost 3 months and I’m excited. Now don’t get me wrong, the Lord warned me that this was going to hurt, but it didn’t define me…and hurt it did. Briefly. Actually as it was happening I had this brief deer-in-headlights moment where I felt like an atom bomb was dropped on my heart but as things progressed and I was messaging a friend through it all, I realized that I had been warned, multiple times…and the time had arrived. I had done what the Lord asked me to do, I had been obedient…but the sting of rejection…still stings whether you’re expecting it or not.  But bless the Lord…he told me just the other day, “Lovely boy thy Shepherd found” and I knew who He was talking about.

Anyway…

So I’m tra-la-la’ing along in my head and heart and somehow stupidly have forgotten that my children don’t hear God like I do, yet. Jeremiah is getting there. He will do great things, I’m certain. But I began to poke through the symbols of his dream, allowing God to insert His thoughts and I realized that I had dropped the ball.

He is waiting too. So is my daughter. Granted they have a dad and another mom that they love close by, but their mommy is missing hers. They know their new daddy has been promised. So in the car on the way to an appointment this morning I asked Jeremiah if he was afraid if his new daddy wasn’t going to like him. He said no, but he was afraid that he was never going to come and his head bowed down and his face sunk. “When is he going to come?”

I don’t know baby boy…soon. It’s all I’ve got…and I’ve been saying it for 8 months (oh…insert epiphany here…).

After talking with him and sitting down again with it, I realized that Jeremiah’s dream was reiterating what he told me in the car. He didn’t believe that train was coming, the red light was his fear that it had been stopped and wasn’t coming. The princess carriages were his perception of how he saw me and how he was anticipating things, like a prince and princess coming together. But the prince wasn’t there and it made him upset so he hit the train and it broke feeling like it was never going to come…this train wasn’t his…he must have been mistaken. He held his knees, upset and in mourning over what he thought would come quickly, a giant crack on the ground on his right, where his new daddy should be and me as a stranger because he feels like he has been lied to. The crack represents barren ground…But the Lord says:

Isaiah 54:1

“Shout for joy, O barren one, you who have borne no child; Break forth into joyful shouting and cry aloud, you who have not travailed; For the sons of the desolate one will be more numerous Than the sons of the married woman,” says the LORD.

And repeated by the Apostle Paul in Galatians 4:27

I thought I bore this burden alone (with the help of a few friends). I thought I was protecting them from the wait, but really all I gave them was hope deferred. I need to gather them in, allow them to step into God’s labor and delivery room with me and be a part of birthing this promise. They too need to see God moving in their lives, this is as much a part of their lives as it is mine.

Lord, I can’t help but sing
Faithful you are
All your promises are yes and amen

 

~Amanda

Evidence

Some days I wonder, “Lord, what fruit do I have?” This morning was one of those such mornings. I sat there getting ready for work, thinking about a dream I had about 4-5 months ago, wondering what this fruit looked like that the Lord said I had.

This morning, He was kind enough to show me.

I’m a pay it forward sort of person. It’s something I like to do rather than give money to an institution. I like to be the church and so there’s a couple Moxie Java places that I do this at…every Tuesday and on the days that I desperately need coffee…like today. I was asking the Lord to show me what He saw vs what I saw…because His vision of us is always vastly different than our vision of us.

So I pull into the drive through behind this giant red truck and I’m craning my neck out the window, ordering my coffee and I lean back in and close my eyes and sing. The truck pulls away and I pull forward and the girl (who knows me) looks at me and says “Oh YAY! I’m so glad it’s you!!! The truck in front of you just paid for your coffee! And look there’s no one behind you for you to pay for!”

Folks…this stuff never happens to me. I’m not the lucky person who gets free stuff. I never win anything and that’s okay. I sat and marveled for a moment and she looked at my car and said…this is not the car you are usually in. Did you get a new car!! And so I explained my car. My ex husband has the same car…they match. I didn’t choose that car it was chosen for me and while I had an amazing payment and a super low interest rate…his name was still on all of it. I went into my history a little…and she went into hers. Common ground we found there and yet she said to me…

“I just have to say, that you are amazing. You clearly have not let life squash who you are and make you bitter. You overcame. That’s awesome.”

I refrained from crying and said thank you, gave her a high five and went on my way.

In that moment, I marveled at the mercy of the Lord. Guys…I wish I could impress upon your heart just how much He TRULY loves you. Ladies, you are the most beautiful thing He has set His eyes on, Gentlemen, you make His eyes sparkle with how proud of you He is, seeing you grow to be more like Him. Even if you doubt yourself. Even if you have come to the end of you and there’s nothing you can do, you’ve run out of resources, you’ve run out of ideas and actions and everything feels like it’s a mess and falling apart is the moment when God says YES! Finally! Let me handle this for you, I see that you cannot do it on your own and I want to bless your life on MY STRENGTH and steer you in the direction of MY WILL. Will you surrender your striving to make things better? To smooth things over? Will you let go of your perfectionism? Your ideals? Come to ME YOU WHO ARE WEARY…and I will give you rest.

Are you weary? Let Him carry you to the place of rest, where striving ceases and comfort surrounds and abounds. He can do it for you. You just have to let Him.

I’ve realized lately that life feels overwhelming. I can’t seem to get a handle on things that I can usually handle and it’s all minor stuff…but it began to pile up on my heart and didn’t realize it…That is until yesterday when I began getting ready for work and a Simple Partial Seizure came like a sickening wave over me. Usually when I get one, typically I know at least 2 more will follow throughout the day. They leave me tired, weak and not fully remembering the days events in detail…like trying to remember what you did on any random day last week…it feels distant and disconnected. So as I stood at my bathroom sink brushing my teeth, another wave came over me. Halo in affect, hearing muffled, stomach clenched and the action of repeatedly swallowing, though nothing is there. At least my left arm doesn’t lock up like it used to. They happen once a year typically, during high stress times in my life. It wasn’t until later that evening after I read an article my friend sent me that I, like Moses and Elijah before me, had run out of myself. Moses was 40 years old before he reached this point in his life where he was at the end of his own capabilities. That’s when God stepped in. Moses was a Prince! He was fully capable! And he had come to a point where he said to God…who am I? I can’t even talk right!  He presented his faults to God and God was like…dude…I don’t care, that makes you PERFECT for what I want to do. Emptied of self so you can’t muck up what I want to do.

I feel pretty emptied. I know, based on my dreams that the husband God has for me is within my line of sight. Not somewhere over the rainbow, but the time is here and now and any day He will bring us together and I’m like AAAAAAAHHHHHHHH! Yes Lord I’m ready and I want it! But…I’m not functioning properly right now, will he want me? Things I used to be able to do, I can’t seem to do. Surviving on stress and 6 hours of sleep I can’t do…It’s like it’s all catching up and I need 9+ hours and even then getting up in the morning is a struggle. I make it…I do it, but the way I feel about the finesse in which I accomplish these things feels a little deflated.

Now, of course he will want me. He’s been waiting a long time for me and he’s not going to pass up or walk away from what God has deemed His best for him… do I feel like God’s best…yeah…hahah, but does he feel like God’s best? Do we ever feel like God’s best? In 2 Corinthians 5:7 we are called to walk by faith and not by sight and so most likely both of us feel the same (I kinda have some insider information in this area…) about ourselves. But again, the way God sees us is so different from the way we see us. We list off our insecurities and think that just because we feel this way about ourselves it makes us unqualified and other people also feel this way about these same things on us and we take on the thought that everyone thinks we are unqualified. But the truth is, they are too busy being concerned about their own insecurities to notice yours. And the very things that you feel make you unqualified may be the very things that they love most about you. We have to lighten up on ourselves and attempt to see us the way God sees us. We have to lay these things down before the throne so we can be emptied and take on His vision for us. My struggles do not make me unqualified. It’s in my weakness that the Lord can move mountains, it’s in my weakness that the Lord finds me beautifully qualified. And yet we are so quick to put ourselves down. We can’t speak ill of the Lord’s anointed…and yes, that’s you. And me. And him.

We have to look in the mirror and say I am beautiful and loved and I can do all things through Christ…not through Amanda. Clearly not through Amanda. And what’s funny…that’s where the fruit is. God does the thing through us…and give us the reward. Isn’t that crazy?

So no more doubting yourself. Stop doubting who you are and let His love flow into your heart because you are His amazing creation and He loves you to the moon and back.

~Amanda

PS…Since writing this post, I have been bought lunch today…and someone bought me two pink roses as well. ❤