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My daughter, Dana, turned 22 recently. DanaDisneyCollegeShe’s at the beginning of a life journey that I am more than half-way through. She has so much of life ahead of her. So many great adventures to still experience.

I started thinking today about what I wish I knew when I was a  young 22-year-old.  And I realized it isn’t too late for you and me to apply Moses’ instruction in Psalm 90:12 to “number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” 

These are the 10 things I wish I knew at age 22 (and the 10 things I want my daughter to know now so she can live wisely and well):

1. People will come and go in our lives, but the One who loves us most will never leave. Therefore, His opinion matters more than anyone else’s.

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JoyI recently posted a devotional on the Proverbs 31 Ministries site and received about 900 comments from women, most of them with heartbreaking stories.

Just when I think I’ve heard it all, another woman will break my heart with what she has gone through in her marriage, as a parent, or as a woman who has experienced physical or emotional pain. Hurt will never go out of style. And I remember thinking, as I read through those stories, that as long as I’m writing for hurting hearts, there will, sadly, always be an audience for my books.

It’s sad, but it’s a reality of the broken world we live in.

And yet…I’m thinking you could use a little joy about now. Well, I’ve got good news for you: Experiencing joy is easier than you think.

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faceboobanner1My readers often ask me where I get the inspiration to write my books.

Truth be told, God has to deal with me in certain areas of my life and then He has me write what I have learned as a way of cementing those truths into my heart. In other words, He keeps teaching me about Himself, where I’ve messed up, and what I still need to grasp in order to follow Him more closely.

So, I want to give you, in 10 simple statements, the most impacting truths He’s taught me in the past 15 years, which also represent 10 of the 14 books I’ve written.

Pay attention to the key words in boldface. The first person to respond in the comment section with the titles of the books these statements have inspired will receive a free book of their choice. Keep reading, there will be another way to win a book at the end of this list, too.

The Top 10 Things God Has Taught Me in the Past 15 Years:

1. God is the Only One who can satisfy our heart’s hunger and meet our primary emotional needs.

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I remember the days when I felt completely worthless as a mom.Momfacebookad

It was during my daughter’s teenage years when I was still trying to figure out how to instill healthy values in her, how to not escalate an argument with her by how I responded, and how to not be a legalist when it came to her preferences that were different than mine.

So many times I found myself apologizing to her with the words “I’m still trying to figure this out. I’ve never been a mom to a teenager before.”

I’m such a loser, I would tell myself. Oh, how I wish I knew back then what I know now:

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My 40th birthday with my daughter, Dana — 9 years ago!

I celebrated my 49th birthday this week.

Notice I said “celebrated”– not “shrugged at.”

Ok, originally, my thought was that 49 doesn’t have quite the ring to it that 29 had…or even 42! But then I remembered something I heard years ago as I approached 30: “If you don’t like getting older, consider the alternative.”

Women younger than me are dying every day due to some kind of cancer. So I am truly blessed to have another year of life. By complaining of my age, I’m complaining about a privilege …being allowed to live another year and enjoy life. That kind of complaint doesn’t make sense to me. And so, instead of complaining about the inevitable effects of aging (like more body aches and pains, diminishing eyesight, and the 1- to 2-pound weight gain that the average woman experiences yearly after age 35!), I thought I would focus on what I am thankful for as I grow older.

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Are you in a place where you are second-guessing God?God's Whispers to a Woman's Heart

How often we go to the Creator and Sustainer of Life and ask, “Why now?” “Why this?” “Why me?”

And His answer reminds us of Who is in control:

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,

Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,

so are My ways higher than your ways,

and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9).

God knows what He is doing — in your life and mine. He has a reason far above our own because He is God and we are not. And we are asked to simply trust:

  • that He is a God who “causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
  • that “there is an appointed time for everything” (Ecclesiastes 3:1) and that means He didn’t get the timing wrong in the slightest.
  • that “His works are perfect….” (Deuteronomy 32:4) and He is a God who never makes mistakes, regardless of what we might think.
  • that He is a God who neither slumbers, nor sleeps (Psalm 121:3-4), meaning nothing takes Him by surprise.

Can you pray this with me this morning?

Lord, I will trust You even when it seems like my world is turning upside down. I know You are in  control and – because You are loving and good — You wouldn’t have things any other way.

(From God’s Whispers to a Woman’s Heart. Start your day listening for His whispers.)

 

Wouldn’t it be nice if life consisted only of pleasant surprises, not the disappointing ones?

The other day I received news that was gravely disappointing. I wasn’t woman-prayingprepared for it in the least. I was shocked, actually.

God had been on a roll with blessings in my life. I guess I’d gotten a little comfortable. And this disappointing news couldn’t have come at a worse time — a week before Christmas, just days after celebrating my daughter’s college graduation, and just a week prior to my husband’s transition into a new season of life that carried with it a lot of financial uncertainty.

My family was daily looking for the little assurances that God had our back and we were constantly praising Him for all the times He came through. And now, it looked like the door to my golden opportunity and financial stability had slammed shut. My first reaction, spoken aloud, was “God, this is so out of character for You.”

And then I suddenly realized something.

God doesn’t do anything out of character.

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Are you ready to hear God’s whispers on your heart? Chances are He is already whispering. You and I just need to get quiet enough to listen.

You, my readers, have asked for it and it’s finally here: A new devotional with daily inspirational readings to help you recognize God’s whispers, reflect on His character, and respond to His heart.

And here are 5 Reasons to order my new devotional: God's Whispers to a Woman's Heart

  • One devotional per page, each based on Scripture, makes it an easy-to-read yet meaningful daily devotional.
  • This soft-padded format with a ribbon to mark your page makes it a wonderful keepsake and gift book.
  • It’s the perfect “stocking stuffer” or gift for your mother, daughters, sisters and friends.
  •  It’s a practical gift for the women on your leadership team or in your small-group study.
  •  Something to look forward to in the new year because you — and those you love — have always wanted to discern God’s loving voice.

Let these devotions fill your days with confidence, hope, and peace that only God can give. Read a sample devotional from the book.

Order your copy for only $9.99 plus shipping. To order 5 or more and receive free shipping, email Cindi@StrengthForTheSoul.com.

(Order by Dec. 12 to ensure Christmas delivery.)

 

confused womanMy husband and I were reflecting recently about the ways people can let us down and even the way we let each other down, at times. It was then that Hugh started a running list of statements or responses that God would never say. It became fun to talk about these, but as I look over this list, it means the world to me that I have a God who will never disappoint.

I want to share this list with you this morning to hopefully put a smile on your face and remind you of how perfect the Living God is…and how extraordinary it is that He wants to have a relationship with you and me.

Some Things You’ll Never Hear God Say:

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Hugh and I recently spent an afternoon with Dr. James Dobson. Dobson Interview-p188iv3idt9t1cv91vpo84k13n0He had invited us to his Family Talk offices and radio studio in  Colorado Springs last month to tape a couple segments on the topic of my book, When a Woman Inspires Her Husband.

As we waited in the small lobby of Family Talk to meet the founder and former president of Focus on the Family, I scanned the walls lined with pictures of Dr. Dobson and his wife, Shirley, with former Presidents Bush (both of them), the Rev. Billy Graham, Chuck Colson, and many others. A large commendation from former President Ronald Reagan and a picture of the two of them, looking like good friends, was front and center on the wall. Dr. Dobson had become friends with presidents as he followed God’s call  on his life and helped America focus on the family.

Dr. Dobson graciously invited us into his office which resembled more of a cozy mountain cabin. As huge of an influence as this man has had on the institution of the family for the past few decades, he was as humble of a man as we’ll ever meet. As he extended his hand to shake mine, I leaned in to give him a hug and he laughed, warmly, and said to my husband, “Is that alright with you, Hugh?”

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At the conclusion of nearly every radio interview I’ve done thus far on the topic of my newest book, When a Mom Inspires Her Daughter, I am asked this question: What about the Mom who feels like she’s done a lousy job?

feeling-like-a-failureWe all feel like we’ve blown it at times — as moms, as wives, as daughters, as employees, as friends. In fact, I believe nearly all of us carry guilt on our  shoulders in some area of life, feeling that we have failed to measure up to others’ standards…or our own.

I will be the first to tell you that I’ve failed more times than I’d like to count. In fact, my latest book lists more of my failures as a mom than my victories.  That’s because we can learn through our mistakes. We can be shaped by our mistakes. And we can become more humble and extend more grace toward others when we are able to recognize the areas in which we have needed God’s grace, wisdom and correction.

If you are feeling that you are not measuring up, wherever you are in life, let me assure you with this:

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woman-and-aweDo you ever have one of those moments when a truth  stops you dead in your tracks and makes you think Wow….I didn’t realize what I have!? 

I’m wondering this morning how much I’ve been affected by what Author Byron Forrest Yawn calls “Suburbianity.” In his book by the same title, he says our life in the American suburbs greatly affects how we perceive and relate to the gospel. He says we are so wrapped up in our own story — our own trivial pursuits — that  the real story –what Christ did for us centuries ago “is gagged and bound by our self absorption.”

In a very convicting paragraph, Byron stirred my soul, when he said “We shove our need for personal value down the Bible’s throat. Nearly every passage we touch somehow magically turns to us. This is such a shame. The real story is so amazing.”

I got to thinking of the real story….

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