Happy weekend, friends!

Welcome to Five Minute Friday! We have some really exciting news to share this week, so I’m thrilled that you’re here (as always)!

If you’re new to Five Minute Friday, learn all about it by clicking here!


Before we get started, our very own Susan Chamberlain Shipe (who compiled the Five Minute Friday book) has a brand new book of her own available to help readers during Lent.

It’s called 40 Days of Lent: The People, Places, and Events Surrounding the Passion. Lent begins on March 1st this year, so be sure to grab your copy now. Apparently there is a quote in the book by the faithful FMF participant Andrew Budek-Schmeisser!

Here’s the introduction of the book:

“This devotion-journal for Lent has been stirring in my heart for several years. Having never practiced Lent growing up, in fact, not until 2006 did I even understand it. I always thought it was a time to give up some food item; I have come to learn it is so much more.

In the effort to prepare your heart for the celebration of Resurrection Day we will be taking a look at Jesus’  final months of ministry beginning Winter A.D. 29. We will cover events, people, and places.

For forty days, minus Sundays, we will meet on the pages of this devotional; remembering Jesus’ final days on earth and celebrating His victory over life and death!

Much heart work has gone into this book and it is my desire your Lenten Season will be enriched by the words contained herein.”


And now … a BIG ANNOUNCEMENT about the Five Minute Friday Retreat!

Yes, you read that correctly! It’s really happening!

We have a DATE *and* a VENUE! (Who’s excited?!)

Drum roll, please …


More info will be coming in the weeks ahead, but in the meantime, here are the basics:

July 21-23, 2017

Kansas City, MO

20 minutes from Kansas City airport

Ticket Price: $185

Tickets go on sale Thursday, February 23rd at 10pm EST


Ticket price includes two nights of hotel-style accommodation (4pm Friday until 10am Sunday) plus all meals except Saturday dinner. While we love and appreciate the men who participate in Five Minute Friday, the retreat is open to women only. Sorry, guys!



While we’re on this excitement high, let’s use that extra energy to WRITE!

This week’s Five Minute Friday prompt is:





He’s been laying in bed for the past seven days straight. This fever has sapped him. No smiles, no appetite. Just languishing in bed, waiting for it to pass.

Doctor says influenza. Highly contagious. I can’t even hold him or lean in close the way I want to, for fear of catching the same bug.

I hate seeing him so weak, so lethargic.

And yet every day I find myself praying, “Lord, thank you that it’s not worse than this. Thank you that we know it’s going to pass, if that’s your will. Thank you that as far as we can see, this is only temporary and he’ll be back to normal soon.”

I think about the times that I’ve been sick and how impatient I become. But it’s in those still hours in bed that I am so desperately aware of my dependence on God. So keenly aware that my weakness opens the door for His strength.

For when I am weak, He is strong.



Thanks again for being here! Let me know if you have any questions about the retreat! Feel free to email me at kate<at>katemotaung<dot>com and I’ll do my best to answer! 😉


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It’s the morning after Valentine’s Day, and some single women and even couples are waking up with the lingering hangover of disappointment, crumpled tissues littering the floor next to the bed and swollen eye bags greeting them in the bathroom mirror.

But it’s not only the single ladies waking up to a clouded dawn of disappointment. A handful of wives threw away all hopes of a romantic evening with the middle-of-the-night dirty diaper.

Three years ago was my tenth married Valentine’s Day, and per my request, I opted to spend it at home with a few single girls from church. My husband was laboring late into the night, and would only get home after the kids had to be tucked into bed.

As we sat around the table laughing and playing games, my attention kept shifting to my watch, as the minutes ticked later and later into the darkness. Eventually I picked up the phone to call my husband, as I expected him to be home much sooner from work. Much to my surprise, he was at the store, looking for the toilet paper I had asked him to buy.




Husbands who love their wives like Christ loves the Church might take their brides out for a candlelight dinner. But they might show the extent of their love by scouring the aisles of the grocery store for the right brand of toilet paper after working late on a Friday night in the middle of a freezing cold winter.

The world will tell us that love looks like chocolate and roses. God says that husbands ought to love their wives as Christ loved the Church. Christ didn’t show His love for His bride with chocolate and scattered rose petals. He demonstrated His love through the ultimate sacrifice — Himself.

Men who love Christ and seek to imitate Him will go beyond the champagne and candles. They will show their love by imitating their Master, who laid down His life for His bride.

And sometimes that looks a lot like buying toilet paper.


It’s my pleasure to welcome author and speaker Cindy Bultema to the blog today, with a special guest post and giveaway!

I’ve had the privilege of meeting Cindy at two writing conferences. She served as a keynote speaker on one occasion, and I was so moved by her powerful testimony. Cindy has a bubbly, contagious joy and is a dynamic speaker and Bible teacher.

Cindy BultemaCindy’s newest Bible study, Live Full Walk Free: Set Apart in a Sin-Soaked World released in December as part of the Inscribed Series at Thomas Nelson. In this journey through 1 Corinthians, Cindy equips women to live a set-apart life for Christ in our sin-soaked world.

Here’s Cindy with a sneak peek at Chapter 5 of Live Full Walk Free:


You Are Not the Only One

I was talking with my friend Jamie recently after she’d had a long, disappointing Monday.

Everywhere she turned she was pelted with lies, frustration, and discouragement.

Jamie was lamenting that at the end of her long day, in the midst of trying to bake cookies for a sick friend—and burning half of them—she caved in and inhaled a huge handful of half-burned cookies.

Easy comfort, right? Except every woman knows what happened next: After eating those cookies, Jamie carried guilt and shame on top of everything else that had gone wrong in her life on that horrible, rotten, no good day.

I have so been there. My guess is: you have too.

One more cookie story, because in this life we will have cookie temptations.

Once, when my kids were ages one, two, three and ten, I came up with the brilliant idea to invite all the 4th grade moms from my son’s school over for coffee, conversation, and homemade chocolate chip cookies.

It seemed like a good idea at the time, but my plan to win friends and influence people through chocolate quickly went bust. In the midst of trying to keep my kiddos busy, roll store-bought dough onto cookie sheets, and frantically hide all our clutter – I gave in and ate (more like “sucked down”) four ooey, gooey warm and chewy cookies.

Later that week, when I sunk down into my therapist’s couch, I cried and told her that I was disgusted with myself. I was filled with self-loathing, and shame. Why? Because of the cookies. I told her that I had been striving to pretend I had it all together – when the reality was I was hanging on by a thread (a thin thread, at that).

And then, longing for connection and acceptance from these other moms, I had tried to numb my feelings with homemade cookies. And afterward, what did I do? I let the enemy flood me with lies and guilt and shame.

My therapist listened and nodded. “Cindy, do you think you are the only woman who has eaten some of her homemade cookies?”

“But I ate four cookies. Not one, not two, but four.” I said loudly, as if she spoke a foreign language and couldn’t understand the meaning of the number four.

“Cindy, do you think you are the only woman who has eaten FOUR of her homemade cookies?” my therapist replied.

“Um, yeah, probably not”.

So recently, when I listened to my friend Jamie describe her discouragement and self-loathing over eating her chocolate chip cookies, I recycled my therapist’s question.

“Jamie, do you think you are the only woman who has eaten some of her homemade cookies? Because, friend, you are not the only one.”

The words I gave Jamie are the words I want to give to you: You are not the only one.

  • You are not the only one who deviated from your healthy eating plan.
  • You are not the only one who feels disappointed, discouraged, or overwhelmed.
  • You are not the only one who wonders if you’re “not enough” compared to air brushed perfection.

And, sweet friend, you are not meant to live under harsh judgment, condemnation, and self-loathing.

Thankfully God’s Word speaks realistically to you, to me, and to cookie lovers everywhere about how to live full, free lives—even in the midst of our most disappointing and discouraging of days.

We can start by choosing to extend the same grace we would share with a girlfriend to ourselves.

We would never say to a friend who indulged on fresh-baked cookies, “You stink. You have no self-control, everyone thinks you are fat, and no one likes you anyway.”

You would never say that, right?

So why do we let the enemy put such horrible, garbage thoughts in our head?!

Let’s choose grace over guilt.

Let’s choose freedom over frustration.

Let’s choose kindness over constant criticism and comparisons.

Let’s choose life…life to the full, more than enough, super abundance, full, free life! (John 10:10)

May the God who made you, knows you, loves you, and desires to fill your days with satisfying, life-giving moments remind you afresh that you are accepted, loved and enough—cookie crumbs and all!


Cindy’s latest Bible study, Live Full Walk Free: Set Apart in a Sin-Soaked World released in December 2016 as part of the Inscribed Series at Thomas Nelson.

Visit Cindy’s blog to watch the study trailer and download FREE resources!


Cindy Bultema



Cindy BultemaWith nearly 20 years of ministry experience, Cindy is a popular women’s speaker, author, and Bible teacher. But don’t let her cheerful smile fool you—Cindy has endured single parenting, overcome bondage to addiction, and survived tragic loss. Cindy lives in Michigan with her husband and their four kids. Most days you can find Cindy walking her beagle Rocky, attending one of her boys’ hockey games, or serving hot lunch at her kids’ school.



And now it’s time for a giveaway!

Cindy is generously offering a copy of her Bible study to one winner!

Enter to win below!

Cindy Bultema


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Hey there!

It’s time for another round of Five Minute Friday!

If you’re new, welcome! We’re passing the chocolate … 😉

We’re the crew who set a timer for five minutes and type furiously every week — and we’d *love* to have you join us!

Learn more about Five Minute Friday here.

By the way, we’re getting SUPER CLOSE to having news to share about the next Five Minute Friday RETREAT!

Who’s excited?!




Hopefully by next week I’ll be able to spill the beans with a date and a venue announcement.

Can’t wait!


This week’s Five Minute Friday prompt is:




Ready? Setting my timer for five minutes, and … GO.


As I thought about the word, SAFE, this week, a certain quote kept coming to mind.

Do you know this one, from C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe?

“Aslan is a lion — the Lion, the great Lion.”

“Ooh,” said Susan. “I thought he was a man. Is he — quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.”

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver. “Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

I think about current affairs and the tense political climate and the hoards of people around the globe living in fear day in and day out. I look around my house and realize it’s been a while since I have felt unsafe. In fact, I wonder how many middle class Americans in suburbia have ever felt unsafe.

And have I ever really considered God to be unsafe? Am I too comfortable in His presence? Not reverent enough?

What does it mean to fear Him and hide in Him at the same time?




The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. ~ Psalm 18:2



Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me,
    for in you my soul takes refuge;
in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge,
    till the storms of destruction pass by.
 I cry out to God Most High,
    to God who fulfills his purpose for me. ~ Psalm 57:1-2


Now it’s your turn! Share your own five minutes of free writing below, then leave a comment on the blog linked up before yours. And don’t forget to have fun!


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Over a year ago, I attended my first Christian writers conference. It was a big deal, taking a wobbly step of faith toward the belief that God wanted me to pursue this writing thing.

As I drove home after a glorious three days of extremely helpful insights and inspiration from experts in the field, I asked the Lord why He led me to that conference.

Immediately the song, “Where I Belong” by Building 429 came onto the radio.

The chorus precisely spelled out the main premise of a memoir I had been working on for a while:

All I know is I’m not home yet
This is not where I belong
Take this world and give me Jesus
This is not where I belong

It felt like a confirmation that God wanted me to keep going with the message I wanted to write.

Just after the song ended, the next one began: Storyteller, by Morgan Harper Nichols.

The mountain where I climbed
The valley where I fell
You were there all along
That’s the story I’ll tell

You brought the pieces together
Made me this storyteller
Now I know it is well, it is well
That’s the story I’ll tell

I pulled my car into an empty parking lot and grabbed a notebook and pen. I had to capture the moment. The timing of those two songs couldn’t have been more perfect.

Has that ever happened to you?

This past week, it happened again. I was so surprised to find an excerpt from my chapter of Craving Connection in the new Illustrated Faith devotional kit from DaySpring.


Photo credit: incourage.me


Given the recent news headlines, it was no small coincidence to have words that I wrote several months ago appear at such a time as this:

“How can we love beyond the gate? How can we love beyond the gates of racial differences, of country borders, of economic brackets?”


craving connection


After feeling discouraged about the state of affairs in our country and the world, God gave me this reminder in my mailbox that He is bigger than all of it. He’s bigger, and He’s in control, and He’s using His people to be His hands and feet in this dark and broken place.

He’s using the gifts and creative expression of His children to bring hope and color and truth through His Word.


The Illustrated Faith kit is a great way to express the creativity He has given you and connect it to the power of Scripture.

Grab your own Craving Connection Illustrated Faith Kit here!


Photo credit: Illustrated Faith

This post was sponsored by DaySpring and contains affiliate links.


How has God’s perfect timing shown up in your life?

How has He used words to encourage and bless you?

How can you use your creative gifts to express your devotion to Him and grow in His Word!

Share your story in the comments!