Cindy Bultema never thought she’d be a public speaker, stand in front of a camera, write a book or, perhaps, even be alive. But this smiling, vibrant mother of four is decidedly alive and has done things she never dreamed of.
“God rescued me,” said Bultema. “I said to him, ‘OK, this is your story. I’ll share any time, with anyone and wherever you lead.’ I never thought I’d be speaking, but if God asks me to go, I’ll go.”
Bultema is founder of She Sparkles, a ministry to and for women that invites them into community, Bible study, and knowing God better. Bultema’s She Sparkles blog was voted one of the Top 10 Christian Blogs in 2010. “She Sparkles is a welcoming, safe and fun place where I can point women to Truth,” said Bultema. “Women crave authenticity; blog responses go through the roof when I talk about real things.”
Bultema’s authentic approach to life—which draws women to her through her blog, website, and speaking—wasn’t always so easy. As a child she battled self esteem and weight issues, always feeling less than those around her. One memory stayed with her for years: she discovered “Cindy Stille is a fat red cow” written on the school bathroom wall. The spiral downward began.
She tried food, men, alcohol, shopping—only to discover they didn’t help and in fact lead her into even more guilt, emptiness and loneliness. Soon after graduating from from college, she found out she was pregnant.
As a working single mother, Cindy sought help yet again from the wrong places. She became addicted to cocaine, which gave her energy and took off the weight, but which put her in this hospital with a near-fatal overdose. That was when she knew she needed help. She called the mother of a friend who gave her the truth: “You need Jesus, Cindy.”
Accepting Christ in 1996 changed Cindy Bultema’s life. She turned her life around, met David Timmer, and became engaged to him on Thanksgiving weekend 1998. But on Dec. 10, 1998, Timmer was killed in a freak work accident. Cindy and her son were alone again, wracked by grief and unsure whether they could move forward.
But move forward they did when Cindy began working for the brand new Mars Hill Bible Church in 1999. She met John Bultema there, whom she married in Aug. 2000, and added three more children to her family: Benj, now 12, Amanda, 10, and Sarah, 9. Jake, her oldest, is now a sophomore at Aquinas College.
“My heart goes out to broken, frazzled, downtrodden women. The beauty of my story is that when women hear it, they don’t feel alone and know that there is hope for them,” said Bultema. “When I say that they don’t have to live in shame and listen to lies, my story brings them hope.”
These days Cindy is managing her busy household, teaching a Bible study, attending sports events, and is active in their home church, Ada Bible Church. Her latest project is a video-driven Bible study titled “Red Hot Faith” with RBC Ministries. The video was filmed in Turkey on the site of ancient Laodicea and will come out later this year. The DVD “He Loves Me—A Woman’s Journey to Peace” tells Cindy’s story and ran on RBC Ministries’ Day of Discovery television program on Mother’s Day 2012 and again that fall.
“When RBC asked to film my story I was saying no but when I prayed God would say yes,” she said. “I decided I’d rather do it afraid that be disobedient.”
Name: Cindy Bultema
Title: Wife, mom, speaker, founder of She Sparkles
Statue: Married, four children
Hobbies: Walking, studying the Bible
Video-driven Bible study: Red Hot Faith—Lessons from a Luke Warm Faith (Participant Guide, DVD, Leader’s Guide available 8-15-2013)
Learn more: www.dhp.org