How are you doing, really? That’s always on my heart when I connect with you. But now, more than ever, I wish I could look you in the eye and hang on your every word. I care about you!
As a mom and ministry leader, I’ve faced a number of storms over the years. But nothing compares to the powerful, life-threatening storm called COVID-19. Would you agree? So what do we do? How do we successfully navigate this ministry storm and emerge from this challenging season with greater resilience and resolve?
Thankfully God doesn’t leave us guessing what to do. Please turn to God’s Word with me in a new message I recently shared for ministry leaders called, “Navigating Life in a Storm.”
As we walk through the continued spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and see its impact on the world and our own lives, please know that I’m praying for you. I’m praying His protection and strength of mind, body, and heart. Though our world is shaking, our God, His Kingdom, and promises are unshakeable.
Here are some unshakeable ABC Truths about Who God is that we can remind one another, and ourselves!
Almighty. He sees, knows, and responds to the prayers of His children. (Luke 12:24)
Burden-Bearer. He is bigger than our burdens and invites us to cast ALL of them on Him because He cares for us. (1 Peter 5:7)
Comforter. He is the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort who sees our fears, and counts and dries our tears. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
He is our Deliverer, Emmanuel, Faithful, Good, and our Hope and Help in times of trouble. And there are more! List His names and His attributes from A to Z. Tell the next generation. I’ll do the same!
Friend, may He give you eyes to see that though our circumstances are stormy, our Storm-Calmer is with us, for us, and will bring us through! You are not alone, and so very LOVED.
Hey Friends —
Happy New Year! I hope your holiday season was filled with much love, joy, peace and celebration!
My past few weeks have been a whirlwind of fun activities and amazing family time—as well as intense work deadlines, journeying with good friends through grief, deep hurts resurfacing, big decisions for our kiddos, plus saying good-bye to my firstborn Jake as he heads back home to Phoenix, AZ, again. (insert sad mama tears after only a 4 day visit. Boo.)
Anyone else going through a season of both the bitter and the sweet?
I had hoped to fill you in how I
survived thrived during our messy Christmas,
but instead, John is home with a stomach ache, my house is a complete disaster, and my mom thinks an animal may be living in our basement (something dumped over all of our Christmas bins while she was house-sitting for us. eeks!) —so the new post will have to wait. Bummer.
In the mean time, please know, you’ve been on my heart and mind so much, my dear friend. I couldn’t wait any longer to share two very important things I need you to remember.
1. Please know that you matter.
2. Please know that you are loved.
In the hustle and bustle of enjoying a new year, with our exciting resolutions, fresh goals and dreams, healthy challenges, de-cluttering and the joy of a clean calendar and pure slate—
I want to remind you that you—yes, YOU!—are dearly and lavishly loved…just the way that you are.
- there’s extra holiday “padding” around your waist
- Christmas decorations are still scattered everywhere
- your words haven’t been as encouraging as you’d like
- you don’t have the energy for Keto, Whole 30, WW, or (fill in the blank)
- overall your Christmas season was exhausting and you are so glad it is finally over.
Know that you matter, and know that you are loved.
Now please don’t get me wrong.
I too have a long list of healthy aspirations for 2019, and eagerly look forward to new life-giving habits.
I’m so thankful for fresh starts and do-overs.
But, whether we lose 5 or 10 or 50 pounds, organize all of our cupboards, play hours of board games, start the new job, drink the shake, eat the bacon, or commit to reading the Bible and journaling every single day—
It doesn’t increase our worth.
It doesn’t enhance our “love-ability.”
Our value doesn’t suddenly shoot up two points.
Know that you matter, and know that you are loved.
Can I be honest with you?
My feelings were hurt over the holidays, and I had some pretty sad days.
I had to remind myself of this transformational Truth over and over. Now sometimes I feel like a weirdo saying to myself, “Cindy, know that you matter, know that you are loved.”
But here’s what I’m learning, friends—
Even if others around us don’t always get it:
We are loved.
And when we finally embrace this Truth and allow it to sink into the deepest parts of our inner being, we really can live differently.
We can live free.
Take it from someone who spent nearly 40+ years trying to earn love. Always trying to work harder, lose the weight, dress the right way, have the trendy decorations or bake the right bread…it is freeing to finally rest in the Truth of what God says about us.
You matter, friend.
A whole stinkin’ lot.
You are loved.
Lavishly. Deeply. Unconditionally.
Not when you _____________ (lose the weight, have the right job, clean up the house)—but lavishly loved. Period.
Is it just me? Or do you too wrestle with allowing these Truths to shape your heart, mind, and actions? Do you live loved? I’d love to hear from you!
Sweet friend, how I pray your 2019 is a year filled with much hope, joy, fullness, and freedom.
Remember: You don’t have to earn His love.
Receive it, rest in it, and then reflect it to everyone else around you.
You’ve been set free to live free. It’s time, friend. It’s time.
Happy New Year!
P.S. Do you know someone who needs a Truth-filled reminder? Why not send him/her some personalized Truth cards today. You can download them free here.
(Note: the PDF is blank, so fill them in with words of Truth before passing them out. Or make some for yourself and hang them where you most need the reminder.)
Have you ever experienced a life-changing moment when you knew you’d never again be the same?!
That’s exactly what happened to me when I had the chance to distribute Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes many years ago.
In 2003, I was invited to serve at a church in overseas. For the safety of of missionaries currently serving there, I can only tell you in was in an undisclosed country.
One of the many highlights of the trip was being able to pass out Samaritan’s Purse shoeboxes to the children living there.
Here I am (on the left) being escorted to the area where the children were waiting. And yes, that’s raw sewage running down the middle of the street.
When we arrived in the church and I saw all of the beautiful children, I was quickly moved to tears.
I asked one of our interpreters, “How do you say ‘Jesus loves you’ in Arabic?”
She responded “Jesus be hebec” (my spelling…not sure how you really spell it….)
And that afternoon, as I knelt in the dirt in 110 degree heat in a sweaty room jam-packed with kids (I should mention I was 4 1/2 months pregnant) and passed out the OCC shoeboxes…. I shared with each and every beautiful, precious child “Jesus be hebec, Jesus be hebec”
With tears streaming down my face, I knew at that moment that this was what I was created for!
I would surrender my life to share with anyone and everyone, no matter where God would take me, all about Jesus and His great love.
It is a defining moment in my life I will never forget.
In the picture below, I am helping show the children what to do with the various items from the shoebox (sometimes challenging when we could only use our actions, and not words because of the language barrier). This little girl was given powder, but had no idea what to do with it.
In both instances, I experienced first hand the impact that these simple, inexpensives shoeboxes have on children —and their families— around the world.
And as I’ve journeyed with Christ followers who call these undisclosed countries home, they tell me how they see the shoeboxes as God’s provision and answered prayer to help build relationships with others in their communities with whom they would not normally have access.
This holiday season, the Bultema’s will be once again be packing OCC shoeboxes. I’ve found this one way to put our faith in action, while teaching compassion, kindness, and generosity.
Not only that, but we’re also packing boxes through GEMS Girls’ Clubs!
GEMS has set a goal of 6,000 boxes in honor of our 60th birthday.
Learn how you can join us here. We’d love your support!
Every box has the opportunity to impact the life of a child for the Gospel. Woot woot!
I’m super excited to pack our shoeboxes, and hope you and your family will join us too.
It’s not too late.
You can pick up your plastic shoeboxes and shoebox gifts at your local Hobby Lobby just in time for National Collection Week on November 12-19!
For more shoebox packing ideas and to find your closest drop-off location, visit here.
What’s your favorite thing to put in a shoebox?
If you could distribute shoeboxes in any location, where would you like to travel, and why? I’d love to hear from you!