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Overcoming Addiction – Part 2 & Vlog

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Hey Friends -

Do you know someone who is struggling with addiction?

Or perhaps you’ve been entrapped by the intense cravings and obsession addiction can bring to one’s life.

I get it. I’ve been there too.

Addiction is not a topic I share in detail about regularly, but most recently I’ve been asked a number of times to share how God set me free from my serious drug and alcohol addiction. (Recap here)

I’d much rather talk about Jesus, confetti, living fat talk free — anything but this. However, I’ve prayed all along if my story could help anyone, I would be willing to share it.

So here comes the truth, friend. Nothing but the truth.

For question # 2 — Did you ever use drugs or alcohol again — I need to answer those questions separately.

Rather than typing out my whole story, here is a quick video answering the question,

“Did I ever use cocaine again after my near fatal overdose?”

Disclaimer:  My daughter Amanda filmed this for me in one take. Please forgive the raw, rough footage, and the end of day make-up and hair. Manda said, “You look much better in real life, Mom — but it should be fine.” Thanks, Manda?!

 

Sweet friend,  I’m not sure where my story finds you today, but please be reminded our God is a God of redemption and new beginnings.

No matter where you have been.

No matter what you have done.

No matter what has been done to you.

Our God is a God of new mercies, fresh starts, forgiveness, unconditional love and oodles of grace.

If you are caught in the trap of addiction  — whether it’s food, alcohol, need for approval, porn, or shopping — may today be the day you declare “No More!”

Please cry out to God, then call a friend and share the whole truth. You do not have to journey alone.

You were created for so much more than the destruction and defeat addiction brings.

Sweet friend, you need Jesus. Please don’t wait another day.

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P.S. In my next post I’ll address the question  – did I ever use alcohol again? The answer may surprise you!

 

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Overcoming Addiction

imagesLLFF8GKQHey Friend –

Who do you know who has been ensnared by the allure of addiction?

I’ve been recently reflecting on my personal journey from struggling with an intense drug and alcohol addiction – and nearly losing my life – to a place of great freedom, peace, and joy. (My story recap here)

To be honest, my drug and alcohol addiction is not a subject I enjoy discussing.

Can you blame me?

Who wants to admit vomiting in their mom’s sink?

Or overdosing on cocaine as a young single mom?

The older I become (and as my kids age) — the more the enemy would love to heap shame and guilt on my already fragile soul.

The good news: my poor choices don’t have to define me, but instead God can use them to refine me, making me strong, useful, and effective for Him. (And the same is true for you too, friend!)

I’ve promised God I’ll share the truth of my journey anytime and in anyway He wanted me to. Recently I’ve been asked over and over two important questions:

1. Did you go to rehab, Cindy? How did you get clean?  2. Did you ever use drugs or alcohol again?

I sense it’s time to share with you. my dear bloggy friend, the whole story.

For today , let’s start with question #1.

Did you go to rehab, Cindy? How did you get clean?

In 1996, in the midst of my mess, I tried many times to stop the drugs and alcohol use on my own. I knew I desperately needed help, and I quickly learned willpower alone is not enough to overcome the allure of addiction.

My accidental cocaine overdose became my “bottom.”

Out of desperation and a determination to survive, I asked a friend’s mom for help.  This dear woman shared with me four words – simple words, but words that have changed my life –

“Cindy, you need Jesus.”

And on that day, July 26, 1996, freshly discharged from the hospital after my overdose, I cried out to Jesus and asked Him to enter into my addiction and help me.

Willpower alone is not enough to overcome the allure of addiction – but Jesus is.

Jesus alone can rescue, redeem, save, deliver, restore, and open up those prison gates and set any captive free.

There is no one too far gone from His redemptive reach. No one.

Now I wish I could share it’s been an easy, carefree journey of sobriety and freedom.

Not so much.

Although Jesus delivered me from my pit of despair and destruction, I’ve also had to do my part, including:

• Pursuing an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. Surrendering every area of my life to Christ, and inviting Him to be the Lord of my life.

• Renewing my mind with the Truth of God’s Word. My life has been transformed because my mind has been transformed, and that’s come by meditating on and memorizing God’s Word.

• Leaving behind the “old” life, involving: quitting my job, letting go of any alcohol/drug related friendships, and avoiding any environments where temptations would be high.

• Stopping secrets and lies, and exposing all areas of my life to His Light.

• Getting to the “root” of the problem. What was I trying to numb? Why? Through Godly counselors, we were able to identify the true source of my pain, allowing inner healing to come.

• Asking for accountability. For many months I met daily with a recovered drug user. The times I didn’t want to meet, she’d find me and make me stay longer. Day-to-day accountability and support made a huge difference in my journey to freedom.

• Starting new healthy habits. As I left behind the “old,” I needed to replace my behaviors with healthy, life-giving choices. I began reading the Bible daily, attending church and a weekly Bible study, making new friends, finding new ways to have fun.

• Praying! I asked God daily to protect me from temptation, replace my destructive cravings with His satisfaction and peace, to surround me with women to build me up and encourage me, and to fill my heart and mind with His Truth.

The good news? This year I celebrated 18 years of sobriety. Yay, God!

Please know I’m not a trained therapist, addiction expert or licensed counselor – just an ordinary girl transformed by an extraordinary God.

There isn’t one single day I don’t invite Jesus to be Lord and do His powerful work in my life. I’m desperate for Him! But I show up to do my part as well. Life’s worth it. Jesus is worth it!

How about you, friend?

Who do you know who has been ensnared by the allure of addiction?

How has addiction impacted your life?

If you’ve been searching for something to fill the emptiness and find yourself ensnared by the lure of addiction, please remember, willpower alone is not enough to set you free.

Sweet friend, you need Jesus. Please don’t wait another day.

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P.S. In my next post I’ll address questions #2 – did I ever use drugs or alcohol again? The answer may surprise you!

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Top 5 All-Time Favorite Bible Studies

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Hey Friends -

Do you have an all-time favorite Bible study?

If you were going to recommend a study to a friend, which resource would you select?

I recently received the following message from a beautiful red-hot friend –

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I’ve spent the weekend thinking, reflecting, and praying,  and (drum roll please)…

Here are my Top 5 All-Time Favorite Bible Studies

Disclaimer: I really love all Bible studies, and it was tough to limit myself to five. I also have many friends who write Bible studies, and I love all their work too. But after much prayer, here is my list. I know I’ve leaving off some amazing resources.  Also, all titles are live links to sites to learn more about the studies.  

0050355001. No Other Gods by Kelly Minter

Without a doubt, my all-time favorite Bible Study is No Other Gods by Kelly Minter. I’m not sure how I even first learned about it (maybe Beth Moore?), but I’m so glad I came across it back in 2008. If you’ve not ever gone through it, I would HIGHLY recommend it.

All of Kelly’s studies are fabulous, but I still use quotes and themes and ideas from No Other Gods in my daily life. Often! In fact, here’s one of my favorites –

Satan will tell us what’s true, but he never tells us the TRUTH.

Good, huh?!

Note: Kelly does not have videos to go with this study. When I first used this with a group, I wrote weekly teachings to go along with the member book. I’d also recommend the study guide over the trade book.

2f6e9c95-99d5-4d4d-a223-0344a3fc01892. Breaking Free by Beth Moore

I couldn’t have a favorite Bible study list without including Beth Moore.  Could you?

I’ll never forget the first time I opened Breaking Free.

I was a twenty-nine year old recovering addict/single mom. I’d never been in a Women’s Bible study, was brand new to the faith, and really had no idea what the Bible was all about.

I was invited to participate in a workplace Bible study, and since I was in a leadership position, I didn’t think it would be a good idea to decline. I signed up having no clue about the transformation which would soon take place in my heart and mind.

Friends, I could not get enough of Bible study. I was completely hooked.

I would stay up late into the night digging deep into God’s Word. I loved every minute of it. I couldn’t believe how exciting, powerful, encouraging, convicting, challenging, and empowering the Bible was. Many nights I’d sit at my black laminate table thinking, “How come no one ever told me the Bible was so awesome?! How come I never knew?!”

A hunger, a fire, a deep love for God’s Word was birthed over the pages of Breaking Free — and my life has never been the same.

I’ve enjoyed every study from Beth Moore, but if you’ve not gone through Breaking Free, please do!

Which Beth Moore study has been your favorite?

3. Me, Myself, & Lies by Jennifer Rothschild

005179845If you ever wrestle with stinkin’ thinkin’, I’d highly recommend this study.

Me, Myself, and Lies encourages women to clean out the junk in their minds and replace hidden negative thoughts with positive truths from God’s word.  And I don’t know about you, but I had/have some junk in my mind that needs to go!

Although videos are included, I think you can easily do this study without the video teachings. I always recommend doing studies in community, but if your thought life is an area you would like to grow, grab this study on your own and begin asap.

Fun note: I love the format of Jennifer’s studies so much, I gave a copy to my editor as we were working on Red Hot Faith. I loved the clean pages, boxes to write in, bright colors. I think you will too. :)

97814158366204. Discerning the Voice of God by Priscilla Shirer

Priscilla Shirer is another author/Bible study teacher I’d highly recommend if you are looking for a new study.

Over the years, I’ve had the chance to go through all of her studies, and they are all fabulous. I had a hard time narrowing it down to one, but I’d say Discerning the Voice of God would be my top recommendation. It’s designed to help you know the voice of God: His language, character, and tone of voice. If you ever have a hard time knowing what God is saying versus what others are saying, be sure to check it out!

And don’t miss her video teachings to go along with this study. Priscilla is an extremely gifted communicator and Bible teacher, and the videos are outstanding!

1untitled5.  When God’s Spirit Moves by Jim Cymbala

Years ago I was introduced to Jim Cymbala and his passion for prayer.  Wow! What an amazing, gifted teacher!

My friend Julie and I enjoyed watching his video teachings as we began to dream and pray about a video resource for our   “Magnificent Monday’s” Bible study gathering. And then a few years ago, Julie and her husband Nick hosted a couple’s small group. Imagine my delight when Julie and Nick selected a Jim Cymbala study to go through together. Yippee!

If you’d like to learn more about what happens when the Holy Spirit moves powerfully within a church, I’d highly recommend this study. Our couple’s group LOVED it! You’ll also learn how to listen for the voice of the Spirit in prayer, how to apply God’s Word to your life, and how the Spirit can bring healing to your body, your emotions, and your relationships. Powerful stuff!

So there’s my list, friends! Boy is it hard to narrow down to 5 — but I hope this helps if you are on the lookout for a new Fall study?

Of course, please don’t forget about Red Hot Faith. :)

My hope and prayer is God will use Red Hot Faith to ignite fresh passion and purpose in every woman’s life — just like these Bible studies have done for me!

Now it’s your turn, friend!

Do you have an all-time favorite Bible study? If you were going to recommend a study to a friend, which resource would you select? Which studies did I leave off of my list?

Thanks so much for stopping by *She Sparkles*! God’s richest blessings to you!

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Winner Winner Chicken Dinner! (& new Red-Hot Giveaway)

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Hey Friends -

Just to warn you — my mind is one ginormous pile of mush.

Our home. Lovely.

Our home. Lovely.

You may remember, we are in the midst of a home remodel (i.e. completely gutted kitchen).

I’ll spare you the messy details, but imagine: no refrigerator, no sink, no dishwasher, no kitchen floor, nothing. Instead: nails, screws, loud saws and workers showing up at 7:30 AM, plus boxes and boxes of randomness everywhere.

Where is my checkbook? I don’t know.

Where is our phone charger? I don’t know.

Where is (insert anything)? I just don’t know. Ugh.

My little Sarah said earlier this week — as she ate a lukewarm blueberry poptart on a paper plate (don’t judge) – “Wow, Mom, I feel like we’re camping.”

Yep, we’re camping over here folks.  It’s lovely.

And then there’s my bedroom.

After our recent anniversary trip to Boston, three days later, I headed out to the Logos Women’s Ministry Summit in Dallas, Texas. Did you catch that: three days later.

I literally turned my suitcase over, dumped everything left from Boston on my bedroom floor, and repacked for Dallas.

The pile of leftover flip flops and maps and toiletries still rests in a heap on my bedroom floor.

Sorry, friends, just keepin’ it real.

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Logos Women in Ministry Summit 2014

The good news: I had an awesome time in Dallas! Logos Bible Software is the best, and I had a super fun time meeting many passionate communicators, authors, Bible teachers, and the amazing, generous Logos team. So super fun! (Photo recap here)

All of this to say, that’s why this post is so unbelievably random.

So let’s talk winners, friends!

It’s time to announce the Red Hot Faith winners from my Launch Week festivities! Woo Hoo!

Leader's Pack

Leader’s Pack

Thanks to my publisher, I’m thrilled to give away a complete Red Hot Faith Leader Pack (valued at $32.99) to these 5 winners –

1. Debbie Collins

2. Kathy Dalton

3. Bonnie Phebus

4. Patti Cory

5. Sara Collins

photo123Here are the 10 winners of the A to Z “Truth Tellers” (which you will love, by the way — I sure do!)

1. Jenny C.

2. Sherri McDermitt

3. Amanda Jones

4. Jasmine Henderson

5. Jen Scheuneman

6. Terry Caplinger

7. Sarah Beckham

8. Christina Juntunen

9. Karen Powell

10. Jean Sprouse

All winners, will you please send your mailing address to my assistant Heather at cindy.bultema@gmail.com? We’ll get your red-hot package in the mail asap.

Let’s do it again, friends!

I love giveaways! Maybe the paint is getting to me (LOL!) — but I want to share more red-hot faith resources with you! Yippee!

I’m excited to share I’ll be giving away 5 more Red Hot Faith Leader’s Packs & 10 more A to Z Truth Tellers!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If your email address is not connected to your ID, please leave your email address with your comment or email it to me at cindy.bultema@gmail.com with the subject “Giveaway”.

Thanks for stopping by *She Sparkles.* Have a Truth-filled rest of your week!


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Marriage Monday: Our Anniversary Getaway

Our Wedding Day – August 5, 2000

Hey Friends :)

As you may remember, John and I celebrated our 14th Anniversary last week. Woo Hoo!

Years ago, our wonderful marriage mentors suggested that John and I take time away once each season to reconnect, enjoy each other’s company, have fun, and relax.

We’ve graciously accepted the challenge!

And whereas we’ve not been perfect at getting away once a season, John and I have been intentional about going on “mini-moons” as often as we can ~ especially to celebrate our Anniversaries!

So this past weekend, we enjoyed a special Anniversary “mini moon” to….(any guesses?)

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….Boston, Massachusetts!

After a long, hard marriage season, it was time for us to getaway. We had airline miles and Marriott points to cash in, so I asked John, “If you could go anywhere, where would you like to go?”

I was picturing LA or Hawaii or Texas, but I didn’t realize John had never been to Boston. I knew he likes boats, water, relaxing, etc, and I like fancy hotels, fun adventures, and Starbucks. Boston was a great compromise :).

Here are a few snapshots…

Goodbye, Grand Rapids!

Goodbye, Grand Rapids!

Hello, Boston! (It was a rainy day so John bought a new hat. LOL!)

Hello, Boston! (It was a rainy day so John bought a new hat. LOL!)

Couldn't visit Boston without having some Boston Cream Pie!

Couldn’t visit Boston without having some Boston Cream Pie!

My guy. Love him.

My guy. Love him.

John and I have both enjoyed our mini-moons over the past 14 years of marriage! A special thank you to our marriage mentors, Doug and Judie Childress, for giving us the challenge many years ago!

And a HUGE thanks to my parents for watching the 3 kids all weekend (Jake is still in Colorado for the summer), and my inlaws for keeping our crazy dog Rocky ~ bless you!!!!)

What about for you?? What’s the best nuggest of marriage wisdom you’ve received?? I’d love to hear from you!!

Thanks for stopping by *She Sparkles*. Have a wonderful, joy-filled day!!

P.S. I’m linking up today with Jen and friends at the Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood. Be sure to check out this amazing sisterhood of women!

 

 

 

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