I finished a fourth round of revisions on my book this week. I feel good about how it’s coming together, but I naively thought that since it was my fourth round of revisions, I could forego the whole crying part.
But no matter which way you cut it or how many times you return to the page, writing from the depths is emotional work.
I waded through the whole gamut of feelings in just a few short days: tears over the harder parts of my story, elation that I made it to the end, satisfaction of a job well done, then an unexpected emptiness. Much of my book includes my mom’s cancer journey. Spoiler alert: She dies in the end. And as nice as it feels to be at this point in the publishing process, I would always rather have my mom here than a book with my name on it.
I spent the better part of my day wishing this was not my story. Wanting her back. Wanting to give the book contract back in exchange for my mom.
But that’s not the lot I’ve been given.
This is my story. This is my song. And it’s my job to steward it to the best of my ability so that God gets all the glory.
And while I may not be able to foresee how God might use these feeble, humble words that have been written and re-written and prayed and cried over, I know He has used them to shape and refine me. And His purpose is always perfect.
“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
** ONLY 24 SPOTS AVAILABLE **
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!
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! 😉
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’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!
With 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!