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5 Ways to Support a Friend Who’s Going Through a Hard Time {Meet Sarah Forgrave}

Hey Friends!

Happy October! I hope you’re off to a great start to fall!

Today I’m super excited to introduce you to my friend Sarah Forgrave. Woot woot!

Sarah and I met this summer at the Speak Up Conference, and from the minute I met her, I was drawn to Sarah’s sweet, compassionate spirit.

Sarah is a wife, mom, author and wellness coach. She worked in corporate America for eight years before health complications from pregnancy changed the course of her life forever. Sarah loves inspiring others toward their full potential. 

Enjoy her guest post today!

5 Ways to Support a Friend Who’s Going Through a Hard Time by Sarah Forgrave

Several years ago, I faced one of the darkest times of my life. I’d given birth to my son and dealt with medical complications that stayed with me for a year and a half. I was unable to work or care for my newborn since I was in and out of surgeries.

When I look back, I’m filled with memories of friends who stepped in to help. If you have a friend going through a hard time, you may feel helpless to know how to best support her. Here are some specific ways that come to mind.

1. Pray right now.

So many times I’ve said, “I’ll pray for you,” but then later forgotten. Whether you’re with your friend in person or not, pause and pray immediately when the words, “I’ll pray for you,” are on the tip of your tongue.

If circumstances aren’t right to pray with her immediately, let her know you’ll pray, and then schedule a reminder on your phone. When you pray later, follow up with a brief message to encourage your friend and let her know you were thinking of her.

2. Buy a thoughtful gift.

If your friend isn’t feeling well, think of creative gifts that will soothe and help her. Here are some ideas:

  • Coloring book and gel pens
  • Heated eye mask or neck pillow
  • Uplifting book or devotional

If you visit her at the hospital, you might stop by the gift shop first and buy a healthy, portable snack she can keep by her side. Examples include nut mixes or dried apple chips. (For more hospital gift ideas, check out this post.)

3. Sit and listen. 

Pay attention to the location or posture of your friend and do your best to meet her on her level. Some of my favorite doctors have been the ones who sit on the edge of the hospital bed next to me, rather than standing at a distance “talking down” to me. Where is your friend sitting? Can you get close by and let her know you’re in this with her simply through your presence?

As you talk, remember the age-old advice, “You have two ears and one mouth for a reason.” Sometimes when we’re not sure what to say, we dominate the conversation to avoid awkwardness. Be willing to step outside your comfort zone. Ask your friend how she’s doing and then truly listen. Try not to jump in with your story, but let her do the talking.

4. Show up and help.

Asking how you can help may create more stress for your friend. The best thing might be to show up with a plan in mind. If you know she hasn’t been able to clean the house for months, show up with a bucket of cleaning supplies and get to work. It might feel awkward at first, but I guarantee she’ll appreciate it.

If she’s struggling to put meals on the table, show up with a pre-prepped freezer meal she can reheat later. Ideas include broth-based soups or stir-fry.

5. Do what you can. 

If time is tight and your life is busy, do what you can. Send a quick text with a prayer typed out or a simple note that says, “I’m thinking about you today.” If you can’t deliver a meal, you could mail a gift card for carryout or delivery.

Bottom line: Don’t underestimate the power of any gesture, small or big. Your friend is likely facing lonely hours each day. Your message or gift could make a world of difference in reminding her she’s not alone.

*********

Wow, thanks, Sarah!

And good news!

Sarah just released a book this week called Prayers for Hope and Healing (Harvest House, October 2017). You will want to check it out!

I’d also encourage you to visit Sarah at www.sarahforgrave.com, or at the following sites:

 

Here are some finally words from Sarah…

No matter the road ahead, you don’t have to face it alone. Even in the depths of your worst emotional and physical pain, God is right there beside you, offering His comfort, love, and peace…. Above all, know that you are never, ever alone.

Amen?! Amen!

Thanks for stopping by *She Sparkles*, sweet friend! I’d love to hear from you!

Leave a comment letting me know the kindest thing someone did for you in the midst of one of your hard seasons. I’ll pick one winner from the comments and send you a copy of Sarah’s new book!

God’s richest blessings to you—

 

 

 

Empty.


Hey Friends –

Let’s just state the obvious — I am not the poster child for experiencing a balanced, peaceful, rest-filled life.

Ginger & Rocky

As a busy wife and mom with four kids, a full-time job, and two crazy dogs—my pace is not perfect.

We all know that.

But God in His amazing sovereignty — and unique sense of humor — keeps providing opportunities for me to teach on the rest and refreshment of God. (I think He knows how to best get through my thick skull.)

The more I study the rhythm and rest of God, the more I want it in my life. Like right now.

How about for you?

Anybody weary? Or feeling dangerously close to empty today?

Thankfully Jesus offers rest for our weary souls, and we don’t have to pretend we have it all together.

Especially when we don’t.

Christ offers a better, rest-filled, life-giving way.

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.]Matthew 11:28 AMP

I don’t know about you, but I want to accept Christ’s offer to ease, relieve and refresh my soul.

For the past few months I’ve been extremely intentional about living a pace of purpose, and experiencing the rest and rhythm of God. Whereas I’m definitely still learning, the peace and joy I’ve encountered has been amazing. Thank You, God.

If you are in need of a “fill up” today, here’s what I would encourage you to do:

1. STOP

Pay attention to the symptoms —weariness, short temperedness, frazzledness, intense cravings, etc..— and just stop. We can’t pour out and get filled up at the same time, right?

Now this may mean you need to let something go, that’s ok. Sometimes you just need to admit you need a break.

Note: by “something,” I’m not referring to letting your husband or children. :/

I’m suggesting maybe you buy the cookies instead of bake them, serve PB&J for dinner (throw down a blanket and announce it’s an “indoor picnic day”) or save sweeping for tomorrow. The dust will still be there. Promise.

2. Spend time with Jesus

We know it’s the right thing to do, right??…

My "chair"

View from my “chair”

But how do we carve out time with Jesus in the midst of our everyday, full lives?

  • This morning I took the day off of work, and stayed in my jammies and “chair” until 11:30 AM. I didn’t get much work done, but it’s what my weary soul needed. I was a new woman by the time my kids came home from school.
  • Sometimes when my husband John comes home, I literally run out the door with my Bible and make a beeline for the local bookstore.
  • Or sometimes I break my “screen-free school day” rules and let the kids watch Youtube while I immerse myself in God’s Word. Just being honest here….sorry.
  • One summer (when I had 3 kids in diapers) I set my stove timer to beep every hour. Everytime my stove beeped, I’d beg God for strength and grace for the day. Desperate times call for desperate measures – but it worked!

To fill back up when our tank is empty, we must spend time with Jesus in prayer, digging into the Word….and yes, sometimes it takes creativity!

3. Examine Your Schedule/Priorities/To-Do List

Typcially when I hit empty, I’ve allowed my schedule —and my email inbox— to control me, rather than for me to take control of my schedule and responsibilities.

I now ask myself questions such as…

  • Am I using my new favorite word “or,” or have I overextended myself?
  • Are my priorities in order?
  • Does something need to go from my schedule?
  • Is it time for my phone/iPad/computer to be powered off?

I’ve been practicing the art of saying “no” to good things, so I can say “yes” to God’s best for me.

4. Pay attention to Self Care

How do you take care of YOU, friend?

When I’m nearing “empty,” I ask myself —

  • Am I eating well?
  • Going to be on time?
  • Drinking water?
  • Getting exercise?
  • Playing?

I am learning that self care is crucial —and not selfish—but critical to living as the rest-full, joy-filled woman God has created me to be.

Say this aloud with me: Self-care is not selfish. Self-care is not selfish.

So how about for you, friend?

How do you fill up when you are starting to feel empty? Weary? Discouraged from life’s demands? How do you incorporate self-care into your routine. I’d love to hear from you!

May we learn from one another and have tips & techniques ready for when our “tank” starts heading towards “low fuel!”

Run down does not need to be our routine!

Thanks for stopping by *She Sparkles*! God’s richest, fullest blessings to you!

 

 

P.S. If you have a moment, allow this Kari Jobe song to minister to you!

#SpeakUp2017 Conference Recap & Blog Hop

Carol doing her thing!

Carol doing her thing!

Hey Friends!

When was the last time you attended a life changing conference?

I spent last week at Carol Kent’s Speak Up Conference, and it was ah-mazing!

I’ve shared many times before how God has used this powerful conference to significantly teach and encourage me over the past ten years, and this year did not disappoint.

Once again, my heart is FULL!

My mouth is actually still sore from smiling so much!

It was such an amazing, anointed, God inspired three days! Yippee!

If I had to sum up my time at Speak Up with 3 quick, personal highlights, they would include…

1. Meeting so many wonderful men and women and hearing their personal stories.

Me & my new friend Nancy

I met tons of women—and a few amazing men!

All had one thing in common: a beautiful heart for God, and a sacrificial desire to serve Him with excellence. I wish I could have enjoyed a cup of coffee with every single one of them!

I also loved every moment of seeing old friends, meeting new ones, hearing amazing God stories, and cheering another women on their personal faith journey. #mysweetspot

2. Teaching a devotion, 3 different workshops, plus coaching the speakers groups.

It is always a huge joy and humble privilege to teach at the Speak Up Conference. I love sharing what I have learned over the years with others! (Did you know you can access all my workshop hand-outs on-line? Check them out HERE)

My favorite moment was sharing a devotion with a message from 1 Corinthians. It’s a message that’s super near and fear to my heart. I love that we are all on the same Team! {High five your neighbor!}

If you’d like to see a review, you can watch a similar teaching from my new Bible study on Youtube here.

Jen F. Lenae, Me

3. My Roommates

Another huge highlight included having three very dear friends (Jen Ferguson, Lenae Bulthuis, & Jenn Hand) attend the Speak Up Conference and stay at my home—otherwise known as the Bultema B & B.

Jenn Hand, our new GEMS leader. Woot!

Although our time went WAY too fast, it was a huge JOY to start each morning praying with them, and end every night reflecting on the day’s bright spots. And bless Carol and Gene Kent for stocking up the B & B with oodles of snacks!

Overall, it was a HUGE joy and privilege to serve at the Speak Up Conference! You can check out more of my photo recap here!

(Want to be FB friends while you are there? If you follow me, I’ll follow you right back. I’d love to keep in touch!)

_________________________________

Want to read more encouraging stories about the Speak Up Conference 2017? Check out the amazing blog posts linked up below!

Mark your calendars! Next year’s Speak Up Conference dates are June 28-30, 2018. We would love to see you there!

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Cindy_Headshot I’m Cindy—wife, mom, GEMS ED, speaker, author & overcomer. I love coffee, celebrations, & all things sparkly, and believe being real is the only way to live. Once upon a time I was a hopeless addict, but God... {Read More}

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Cindy Bultema is a breath of fresh air!

"Cindy Bultema is a breath of fresh air! With vulnerable openness, gut-level honesty, down-home humor, and timeless biblical truth, her spoken and written words will inspire you to take an action step toward fresh faith and renewed hope.

Cindy ministers on and off the platform with personal warmth and genuine compassion. As a speaker, author, and mentor to many, Cindy has my highest recommendation!"

 

Carol Kent, Speaker and Author
President, Speak Up Ministries

5.0
2015-03-04T13:50:57+00:00

Carol Kent, Speaker and Author
President, Speak Up Ministries

"Cindy Bultema is a breath of fresh air! With vulnerable openness, gut-level honesty, down-home humor, and timeless biblical truth, her spoken and written words will inspire you to take an action step toward fresh faith and renewed hope. Cindy ministers on and off the platform with personal warmth and genuine compassion. As a speaker, author, and mentor to many, Cindy has my highest recommendation!"  

Cindy mentioned each woman at least once by name throughout her sessions.

"As women's ministry leaders know, finding a speaker who is Right AND Relevant is quite a task.

God led us to Cindy last spring as a speaker for our fall retreat at Mackinac Island. Even then, I did not realize what a gifted messenger she would be.

With almost 70 women present, Cindy mentioned each woman at least once by name throughout her sessions. She did not shrink back from telling her testimony, as difficult as it must have been. And she opened the book of Revelation to our ladies with insight and application like few women I have ever heard.

Thank you, Cindy for marking this retreat as a milestone in women's ministries at Woodside Bible Church. Praying we will never be the same."

 

Shari Hulcy, Women's Ministries Director
Woodside Bible Church, White Lake, MI

5.0
2015-03-04T15:14:15+00:00

Shari Hulcy, Women's Ministries Director
Woodside Bible Church, White Lake, MI

"As women's ministry leaders know, finding a speaker who is Right AND Relevant is quite a task. God led us to Cindy last spring as a speaker for our fall retreat at Mackinac Island. Even then, I did not realize what a gifted messenger she would be. With almost 70 women present, Cindy mentioned each woman at least once by name throughout her sessions. She did not shrink back from telling her testimony, as difficult as it must have been. And she opened the book of Revelation to our ladies with insight and application like few women I have ever heard. Thank you, Cindy for marking this retreat as a milestone in women's ministries at Woodside Bible Church. Praying we will never be the same."  

Experiencing Cindy speak will awaken you…

"Experiencing Cindy speak will awaken you to timeless truths of scripture made relevant to your life today.

Her amazing story of transformation, coupled with her solid biblical teaching -- not to mention her contagious smile -- will find you walking away in love with her perfect Savior."

 

Karen Ehman, Director of Speakers for Proverbs 31 Ministries; Author

5.0
2015-03-04T15:15:47+00:00

Karen Ehman, Director of Speakers for Proverbs 31 Ministries; Author

"Experiencing Cindy speak will awaken you to timeless truths of scripture made relevant to your life today. Her amazing story of transformation, coupled with her solid biblical teaching -- not to mention her contagious smile -- will find you walking away in love with her perfect Savior."  

Cindy’s enthusiasm for the Lord is contagious…

"You will find no one more highly motivated to see lives changed by God’s love and grace than Cindy. Cindy’s enthusiasm for the Lord is contagious and many women have testified that she has ministered to them from the message she delivered.

Cindy’s personal testimony has been one of transformation for God’s Glory. She continues be used by God through her testimony for the many women who have had similar life circumstances and for others who can see what God can do!"

 

Suzanne Reinink, Director of Adult Ministries
Sunshine Community Church, Grand Rapids, MI

5.0
2015-03-04T15:18:34+00:00

Suzanne Reinink, Director of Adult Ministries
Sunshine Community Church, Grand Rapids, MI

"You will find no one more highly motivated to see lives changed by God’s love and grace than Cindy. Cindy’s enthusiasm for the Lord is contagious and many women have testified that she has ministered to them from the message she delivered. Cindy’s personal testimony has been one of transformation for God’s Glory. She continues be used by God through her testimony for the many women who have had similar life circumstances and for others who can see what God can do!"  

Several attendees have continued to comment on how great she was months after the event.

"Cindy came to Texas and lead three sessions during our overnight Fall Women’s Retreat. Each Biblically based session was well thought out and touched each of us as she dove into finding balance in our unbalanced world. She made sure to tailor the message to our audience of multi-generational women in all stages and phases of life. However, it was in the ‘down time’ that Cindy deeply connected to several of the ladies who were so moved by her messages that they later were able to share private tears together. It was lovely to see God’s hand of healing being brought to the ladies of our church through Cindy’s powerful words and gentle spirit. Several attendees have continued to comment on how great she was months after the event. Cindy will be a great addition to your event/retreat too."

Andrea Sellers, Director Women’s Ministry, Redeemer Lutheran Church, Austin, TX

5.0
2015-03-04T15:23:46+00:00

Andrea Sellers, Director Women’s Ministry, Redeemer Lutheran Church, Austin, TX

"Cindy came to Texas and lead three sessions during our overnight Fall Women’s Retreat. Each Biblically based session was well thought out and touched each of us as she dove into finding balance in our unbalanced world. She made sure to tailor the message to our audience of multi-generational women in all stages and phases of life. However, it was in the ‘down time’ that Cindy deeply connected to several of the ladies who were so moved by her messages that they later were able to share private tears together. It was lovely to see God’s hand of healing being brought to the ladies of our church through Cindy’s powerful words and gentle spirit. Several attendees have continued to comment on how great she was months after the event. Cindy will be a great addition to your event/retreat too."
5.0
5
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