A strong-willed child. When was the last time you heard a parent say they have a strong-willed child, and were happy about it? This phrase usually has negative connotations and thoughts that fill our minds. But what if it didn’t? What if upon discovering we had a strong-willed child, we rejoiced, and knew that we had the tools to teach and guide that child well, and had great hope for the kind of force and strong-willed adult they could one day be for the Lord.
Cynthia Tobias was a strong-willed child, and is now a strong-willed adult, a humble force impacting our world for God’s kingdom. In her story you will hear the deep impact her loving Father and upbringing made on her life, and how the Lord she has trusted in from youth, has shaped who she is and how she ministers now, with her dear husband of 14 years, Jack Talley, in Bonney Lake, Washington.
Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
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A Peek at Cynthia’s New Book: What Is A Strong Willed Woman
A STRONG-WILLED CHILD, BELOVED BY HER FATHER
Nazarene holiness preacher dad
Admiring and watching her parents
Pastoring in Reno and Vegas
At 16, she spoke at the rescue mission
Strong-willed child, beloved
Church pianist, organist and janitor
Learned to work hard and meet the need
My father modeled for me as a strong-willed child how I could one day be, as a
strong-willed godly adult
Putting Chic Tracts on the desks in middle school
Working at the Christian Supply Center Las Vegas Nevada
PREPARATION TO SPEAK TO A ROUGHER AUDIENCE
Teaching high school
Becoming a female cop
Working with first responders and military
High School drug bust undercover agent
BECOMING A STRONG-WILLED MOM
Twins with vastly different personalities
Focus on the Family reached out to her
Authored 14 books
How she helped her strong-willed and her compliant twin boys
Bonus Tips: FIVE THINGS THAT DON’T WORK WITH STRONG-WILLED CHILDREN
Around min 40(Trigger phrases that will cause us to both go down in flames)
UNEXPECTED DIVORCE, BROKENNESS & REMARRIAGE
Lies and a crumbling foundation
Blindsided and completely unanticipated
Counseling and great effort to save her marriage
Struggling single Mom raising 12 year old twins
Never closer to her Abba Father
Working with Focus on The Family, Kings Schools, Family Life Today
Varying ministry responses to her divorce
Overall she was supported
Always speaking well of her ex
After 4 years, began dating
Dating and marrying Jack Tally, a wonderful Christian man, now 14 years married
Apple Street Business and Ministry, growth and provision
An international ministry
- Cynthia answers these questions and more:
How can we see revival in our churches in America?
- What would you say to Christians who are struggling with motivation post-
- What can you say to people that are going through the most difficult time of their
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- “In the city of sin, I was surrounded and grounded, and focused on Christ. The
Jesus music coming in, the ‘honk if you love Jesus’, The Way, The Living Bible, all
the music groups that came through, I got in on that part. It would have been so
easy to fall away into the secular part God had a plan, and that is where he kept
me, in the hollow of his hand, right there at Christian Supply Center, Las Vegas,
- “I heard them pray out loud for us every day. Morning and night they had
devotions, on their own, as well as with us. My dad would very quickly if we had an
issue or a problem he would say, ‘let’s pray about this. Let’s find out what God
wants us to do.” I grew up believing that’s what you did, that if you didn’t have any
idea what to do, you always went to God. My dad reflected that constantly. You
cannot underestimate the power of your parents, especially your dad, and the
power of example.”
- “I found out that you get hired for all of the things you get in trouble for at school.
That was eye opening. Employers are looking for someone with high energy level,
good social skills, critical thinking, all of the things we are trying to discourage in
school. So I was able to come back and put my lessons and what I was teaching
them in context.”
- “I learned that you just don’t give ultimatums to strong-willed children. If you use
them, you both go down in flames.”
- “My favorite speakers are those, that if I walk away, I don’t remember what they
wore, or exactly a lot about them, I just remember the message. And that’s what I
strive to be.”
- “The harder you are persecuted, the closer you come to Christ or the further you
walk away. There is really not much in between.”
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Cynthia Tobias: He modeled for me, as a strong-willed child, how to be a strong-willed adult, in a godly way. And that’s so important. You know, even when I talk to my parents of strong-willed kids today, I try to emphasize and say, you know what, you are the example. The strong-willed child is watching you. You don’t realize it, but we’re watching you at a very young age seeing, oh, so that’s how an adult settles conflicts. Oh, that’s how much an adult goes to church. I’ve watched, and I modeled, and I learned that this is how you use your strong will. And if we had had an unhealthy relationship or done a lot of clashing, or he had done a lot of, you know, just put me under his thumb, I know it wouldn’t have turned out that way. But that’s not how he did it.
Narrator: And now for the next episode of letters from home, sending encouragement to your doorstep by capturing the heartbeat of God’s people, one story at a time,
Meg Glessner: Hello, this is Meg Glessner your host. A strong-willed child. When was the last time you heard a parent say they have a strong-willed child and were just so happy about it? This phrase usually has negative connotations and thoughts that fill our minds. But what if it didn’t? What if upon discovering we had a strong-willed child, we rejoiced and knew that we had the tools to teach, and guide that child well, and had great hope for the kind of force and strong-willed adult they could one day be for the Lord. Today’s guest was a strong-willed child and is now that strong-willed adult. A humble force impacting our world for God’s kingdom. In her story, you will hear the deep impact her loving father and upbringing made on her life, and how the Lord she has trusted in from youth, has shaped who she is and how she ministers today.
Here is the everyday extraordinary Cynthia Tobias. Cynthia, thank you so much for being on the podcast today. You came and shared at Alderwood community church when I was helping out as a mentor, mom. And I went to your Sunday school class that you taught on parenting a strong-willed child. And being a mother of eight, I have read so many parenting books and I was sitting there with just only two kids left of eight, and I heard what you shared, and it impacted me so much. I just thought, why, why didn’t I get to hear, hear this before, when I was just getting going, but I have to say some of the wisdom and nuggets that I learned on that day, and through what you shared at our MOPS group, really has stuck with me and I use it with my college kids or with myself, just so many things. And I just have wanted to have you on the podcast for a long time, because I know part of what you shared, isn’t just about parenting, but you have a story of what God’s done in your life. And I’m just grateful that you’re here and willing to share that today.
Cynthia Tobias: Oh, thanks Meg. I’m always humbled to find out how God uses, obviously, what is his.
Meg Glessner: To God be the glory that anything that we share when God’s leading us sticks with people. And I know at the MOPS group and my friends, so many things have stuck with them that you shared. So I know you live up in Bonnie Lake, you and Jack. And you’ve been through many things in your life, and let’s just start right at the beginning. So what, what was it like to grow up in your home? You know, what was it like to be young Cynthia?
Cynthia Tobias: Well, my dad was a, a Nazare preacher, and so we moved every few years, but he was a wonderful evangelical pastor. When I was in fifth grade, at probably we were in Reno, Nevada, and he came home one day and he, he had just gone to this symposium on positive thinking and he said, “Okay, from now on, we will be positive thinkers in this family.” We looked at each other and, whatever, what does that mean now? What has he got now? And he said, “Here’s the jar, every negative thing you say you’re gonna put a dime in the jar.” Well, we only, didn’t get much of an allowance. Right? So, we were broke in no time. I mean, my sister and I, she’s five years younger and we did fight like sisters do. And so pretty soon we had to adapt, adapt it and say, okay, for every negative thing you say, you have to say three positive things. And pretty soon when we’d start to say a negative thing, I’d go, never mind, because I don’t wanna say three positives. And then, and he would say, “You know, if you, if you ask me in the negative, I’m not gonna, I’m not gonna grant it.” So, I mean, I would say, “I don’t suppose you’d let me go to…”, and he would say, “No.” I’d say, “How can you say no right away?” He said, “Because if you ask me in the negative, it’s automatically gonna be no.”
And, and so we learned from a very positive, and he was a holiness pastor. He really emphasized, you know, the purity of heart and the purity of life. And I watched my dad be the very same in the pulpit as he was at home. And that impressed me. And at an early age, I came to know Christ. It’s, it has been solid. My mom and my dad, we had devotions every night after dinner, we fought over who got to do the Bible reading, versus who got to be doing the prayer and, and who got to read the devotion.
So it was, I wouldn’t say idyllic because obviously there aren’t, we, my dad had, you know, he was on a call 24 hours a day. We ended up in Las Vegas. Reno and Las Vegas were probably the two most difficult places to pastor, ever. But I, but I got a lot of spiritual field trips. I watched what God could do in broken, horrible, traumatic situations. I watched my dad be threatened by death two or three times and miraculously survive, knife attacks, or a gun threat.
Meg Glessner: What was the reason do you know?
Cynthia Tobias: Well, he, he would get calls and he would go out and try to help, like the addicts. Or we had people in our church even that were, you know, they would gamble and spend all their money and, and have to be rescued. And so, and then he had me speaking when I was just 16. He said, “Why don’t you go down and speak to the, let’s go down to the rescue mission where I speak.” And he said, “You, you can practice speaking.” And I went, “But I don’t have, what am I gonna do at the rescue mission?” He said, “Well, they have to listen to the preacher, they have to listen to the sermon before they can eat. So they won’t be inattentive. They have to listen to you in order to eat.” So that was, you know,
Meg Glessner: Active audience.
Cynthia Tobias: Yeah. And you know, I’m a, I’m a real strong-willed kid. My dad was real strong-willed, but he got my respect really early on. We, we were so close, right to the day he died when he was almost 92, just back in 2018. He died just about a year and a half after my mom passed away. And so it was, I, I just have an absolutely wonderful family legacy. I couldn’t have asked for better parents. I miss them every day, but it, in many ways, I’m glad they’re not here to have to go through what we’ve had to go through the last couple of years. My mom had some dementia, and it would’ve just been too, so devastating to them to go through 2020 and 2021.
Meg Glessner: Yeah. I, I hear you on that.
Cynthia Tobias: Yeah. And I’m just, it’s, I really had some amazing experiences through the ministry. I had to do everything as a preacher’s kid. Well, there, if in case there’s no one to play the piano, you have to take piano lessons. “I don’t wanna take piano lessons.” It doesn’t matter, we need a Wednesday night pianist. And so, my mom and I would have arguments, but I took piano lessons. And then when we moved, then we needed an organist and I thought, how hard could that be? I could just learn the foot pedals. So, I was church organist for my dad for 20 years, church janitor, if nobody showed up. Teach every single Sunday school class of any age. I was really uncomfortable with toddlers, so that was my least favorite at the time. But it’s, you know, you just, when you’re pressed into service, and I didn’t appreciate it at the time, but I look back now and think how diverse and how much experience I got, even as a child to figure out, what do you need to do to meet the need? And, and God put me in so many places that later I look back at the tapestry woven through my life that makes me able to reach so many different types of people.
Meg Glessner: What was it about your parents that gained your trust, being a strong-willed child, and being also like, oh, you need to do this, you need to do this. What was it that broke through your, your strong will?
Cynthia Tobias: Well, I knew my dad loved me. I, of course my mom, she was a pushover because of she, of course she loved me, and you know how there’s always one parent that’s kind of the pushover, but I couldn’t bully my dad. I could not. And you know, even at a very young age, I learned that he spoke the truth in love. He was very firm, and we watched Bonanza every night, every Sunday night. It was nine o’clock, our bedtime was 9:30 and we had to stop it halfway through the episode. So I would beg, cajole, demand. And it was always he’d point to that watch and go, bedtime. But, nope, 9:30.
And he had that voice of authority. And I was punished, you know, early on a little bit. Not, not rough, not, not physic horribly, physically, but I knew who was boss. And I knew he loved me, and he did it because he loved me and I’ve never, you know, we were just, I don’t have any complaints at all. He modeled for me as a strong-willed child, how to be a strong-willed adult in a godly way.
And that’s so important. You know, even when I talk to my parents of strong-willed kids today, I try to emphasize and say, you know what? You are the example, the strong will child is watching you. You don’t realize it, but we’re watching you at a very young age, seeing, oh, so that’s, that’s how you, that’s how an, an adult settles conflicts. Oh, that’s how much an adult goes to church. I mean, it, I’ve watched and I modeled and I learned that this is how you use your strong will. And if we had had an unhealthy relationship or done a lot of clashing, or he had done a lot of, you know, just put me under his thumb, I know it wouldn’t have turned out that way. But that’s not how he did it.
Meg Glessner: I remember that you said that at the MOPS time when you shared is, as soon as you start wagging your finger, like you don’t/ shouldn’t do this, or why did you do this? And you, you go more direct with the strong-willed child, that doesn’t work, cuz they will fight you to the death every time.
Cynthia Tobias: Right. Plus, we will mimic you. If you think about it, if you’re gonna come at me with a bony finger and saying, why didn’t you do this, and you know, better than that, then I’m thinking in my strong-willed head, even as a small kid: oh, okay. That’s, so that’s how you argue, and when you’re upset with somebody, that’s how you talk to them. So you just, if you hear a, a strong-willed child saying things like that, you can usually be pretty assured that that’s what they’ve been hearing from the adults in their life.
Meg Glessner: Does your sister feel the same way about your parents?
Cynthia Tobias: Absolutely. She was the more compliant one, right? She was, she didn’t cause any trouble at all. You just look at her crooked and she would be, you know, punished, punished, and she would want to go to her room and read her book. And she, you know, people will say, didn’t you feel a little overpowered by your strong will older sister? She’d say, oh, no, I liked it because every time anybody caused trouble, they always knew it was her, not me she said. I just, so I was five years ahead. So I started kindergarten when she was still just a toddler, but when I came home from school every day in kindergarten and first grade, I would teach her exactly what I learned at school. And so by the time she got to school, she skipped the first grade entirely so we have a good relationship now.
Meg Glessner: That’s great. So being raised in such, you know, of course imperfect, but great childhood and strong in faith. What did that look like for you as far as your teen years and college years? Did you have any kind of testing or ownership of your faith?
Cynthia Tobias: Well, boy, well, you know, every, I mean, seventh grade is rough for everybody, and my dad was really into tracks, you know, the chick tracks that you,
Meg Glessner: I remember those. This was your life. My favorite.
Cynthia Tobias: Yes. And, and so he put them everywhere. And when we moved to Reno, it was just before seventh grade, I was dog ugly. I was shy. I was, you know, just awkward, awkward at that age, but I, I figured that I would do what my dad did. And before homeroom one day, I, when every, before everybody came into class, I put a track down on everybody’s desk. And I got in huge trouble. They called my dad. They were gonna expel me for, for doing that. And I was just shocked. I, I mean, we had come from Denver Midwest, which was not anything like that, but this was rough territory. And so I was painfully shy, painfully. I felt ugly. It was just, I felt completely inferior for, that seventh and eighth grade was probably the toughest ever, just trying to adjust to slot machines in the bathrooms. Of restaurants and everything else on top of wondering what the world’s happening to me. I didn’t question my faith, but I sure questioned myself. I, I didn’t have any self-esteem at all other than at home, but, but you outgrow it.
And you know what saved me in my high school years, we moved to Las Vegas. Kind of go from, from Sodom to Gomorrah. And we moved right before my junior year of high school. Las Vegas was even rougher than Reno in many ways and very tough for Christians, but. I loved the Christian bookstore there. And I went and, and as soon as we moved there, I spent as much time as I could at the Christian bookstore. And one day Mrs. Shine, the owner, as I was checking out, she goes, you really love this place. I said, I do! Here, I’m 16, right? And she goes, would you like to work here? And I went, are you kidding? I would love to work here. So, I worked at the Christian bookstore half a day during my senior year, and then every vacation coming back from college.
And I spent most of my paycheck on the new stuff that came in. But, you know, it was the way that God kept me grounded and totally surrounded in the city of sin. I was surrounded and grounded and focused on Christ, you know. The Jesus music in, coming in, the bump if you a, honk if you love Jesus, The Way, The Living Bible, all the things, all the music groups that came through. I got in on that part, instead of, it would’ve been so easy to fall away into the secular part. But God had a plan and that’s where he kept me in the hollow of his hand, right there at Christian Supply Center, Las Vegas, Nevada.
Meg Glessner: Wow. What a blessing to hear, hear how he preserved you and just give your heart and mind something to do, probably answering the prayers of your parents to keep you, you know, that job was probably an answer to many of their prayers.
Cynthia Tobias: Yes, they prayed. Yes. And, and, you know, that’s the other thing he taught me about prayers. You know, I heard them pray out loud for us every day, morning, and night. They had devotions on their own as well as with us. And my dad would, very quickly if we had an issue or a problem, he’s like, you know, let’s just, let’s pray about this. Let’s find out what God wants us to do. And so that’s, I grew up believing that’s what you did. That, that if you didn’t have any idea what to do, you always went to God. My dad, you know, he reflected that it constantly, and I’ll always be grateful for that. There’s, you cannot underestimate the power of your parents, especially your dad and the power of example, watching them pray.
Even now my prayer is, when dad in his older years, as I’m taking him places and stuff, he’d be kind of whispering. And he was kind of constantly talking and I realized he’s praying, he’s constantly praying. He’s got this constant conversation with God, you know. Passing this accident scene and he’d say, oh Lord, please bless those people in that scene and cover them with your hand. And so I thought what a great way to pray to, to have God so close as a friend that you could just be talking to him instantly and go, oh Lord, I just don’t, I don’t know about this. I hope you guide me this I, this, this is what I wanna do. And, and just to, that was just a, an ama, an amazing gift of my parents.
Meg Glessner: Absolutely. And it’s something I’ve thought about so much just through the pandemic and beyond with everyone being so isolated and not being around people, the visual impact, you know, the parenting that happens when we’re not saying anything. When I’m sitting in the living room this morning with my Bible, having our family devotions, and my 16-year-old before he heads at school, like runs down and gets dressed, comes, and I’m still sitting there with my Bible, the impact. Of what people see is even greater now because people are so isolated and alone, and there’s so much that happens that we feel like you, you know, sometimes as a mom, you think your, your impact, isn’t making a difference. Or I look at my husband who’s not one of those showy people. I don’t think I’ve ever heard him talk negative about any family member ever. That I just look at my husband’s faith and it, I just think, Lord, you’re gonna bring them all around. How can you not? And I know each one of ’em will probably have the family devotions like we’ve had.
Cynthia Tobias: And even if they don’t right away, the Lord has promised his word will not return void. At some point, you know, they go through their phases, and sometimes rebellion, and sometimes misdirection. But I really believe that the word will not return void.
Meg Glessner: Amen. And I’m sure many of, you know, the impression your parents left on you really help shape you as a parent. And I know you have two sons and you got married. Your first marriage at some point. So how did that come about?
Cynthia Tobias: Well, I was single for quite a while. I, I was a police officer for a few years, and as I taught high school,
Meg Glessner: You’re a police officer while you were teaching high school?
Cynthia Tobias: I was, I was teaching high school and I, and always from the time I started teaching in Idaho with high school, I thought, I just wanna make sure that I’m really preparing these kids for the, for the real world for what it is. So every summer, instead of taking summers off, I would go work at a temporary job, so that I got back in the corporate world to find out, you know, are, are they learning what they need to learn? So, one summer I took a ride along with a, a Christian friend who was a Normandy Park police officer. And it just was like, somebody, I just was like, it was in my bloodstream. I thought, oh my goodness, I have to do this for a while. I wanna be a cop.
And so I applied for it, and they told me quite frankly, thanks anyway, we just don’t want a woman. And I said, well, I’m not, I don’t want you to hire me cuz I’m a woman. I just think I could be a good cop. I mean, I’m not asking for any favors of any kind. I don’t want you to, I just, I think I could do the job. And one of the sergeants there that was talking to me, he, he said aren’t you, did you grow up in kind of a goody two shoes sort of background? I said, well, my dad’s a preacher, why? He goes, really? So, do you swear? I said, no, no, I don’t use profanity. He said, well, can you? I said, why do you ask? And he said, cuz you, you can’t be a cop and not swear. You use profanity. And I said, well, I, I, I think I, he said, could you, are you willing to try? I went, I don’t think I could do it. No. My greatest gift was sarcasm. You know, which as a kid, they don’t call it a gift. They call it all kinds of smart alec, back talk. But I found as a police officer, cuz they did hire me. I found that for me, sarcasm worked better than profanity.
And I worked six years as a cop and never did have to swear. Although I got in trouble for two smart a mouth, occasionally because the sarcasm saved me, you know? And and plus I was, I was doing full-time summer police work and part-time during the school year. So I would do evenings and weekends a lot of times while I was teaching. And then when I would get back in the classroom, I, man I could have done an altar call once in a while because I, I got to talk to them about, you know, “What did you do, Miss Ulrich? What’d you do this weekend?” And, you know, tell ’em about the prom date that ended so tragically because they decided to drink and not go.
And, you know, so I was, again, then later in life in my job as an author and speaker, of course. I’ve been a police officer for six years, so I get the opportunity to work with first responders and military. And, and because I’ve been there and because I’ve walked the walk, the Lord knew that that would make me more credible to reach an audience that’s very difficult for many people to reach or, or actually be considered credible to.
Meg Glessner: Can you share maybe just one story, one of your police stories that just really impacted you personally.
Cynthia Tobias: That’s a long story, but I’ll tell you what it really impacted me. They had a summer job that they really needed an undercover cop for. Just across the street in the retirement home, kind of old folks’ home, to me. There’s the dining room supervisor is try, is selling drugs to Mount Rainer high school kids who are working there. She’s their supervisor, and her boyfriend is the drug dealer. And she’s actually not giving good schedules to anybody who doesn’t buy drugs from her. So, we need somebody to go in, get hired, work with her, you know, make your way into her life so that she’ll trust you and then lead her to her drug dealer, boyfriend. And, and they said, we need to, it needs to be a woman, and you’re the only woman. And I went, I can’t do that. I know how this works, cuz I’ve been a cop for a year. I know that if you’re gonna try to get in undercover drugs, you have to use the language. You have to swear, you have to talk the language. And even if I’m willing to, I, I don’t think I could. I, I would never be convincing. He said, well, you’re a drama teacher. You, you know, you’ll figure out something.
Well, wait, wait, there’s another problem. One thing I know about drugs, first of all, you have to sample them, and you have to go out for drinks, right? So, you gotta go out for drinks. I’ve never had an alcoholic beverage in my life. I said, even if I were willing to drink alcohol, one drink and she would know, they’re gonna bust me. They’re gonna, and I’m gonna be in trouble and they’ll probably kill me, cuz we have no way of knowing you know, how bad this drug dealer guy is. Mm-hmm. And, and they said, well, we really, it’s, it’s okay. You know, you’ll figure it out. We really need you. And so, they, they sent me home with a whole stack of high times magazine, right. To study cause I knew nothing about marijuana and all the, you know, the BC and the bud and all that stuff. So, I had to really, I did my homework, took on a, a assumed identity. They suggested my sister’s because that way I would answer to the name. I, I got glasses, which I didn’t wear at the time I wore contacts that just were, were playing glasses.
And I wore clothing a little bit too tight. And, and I went by Sandy instead of my real name. And so we get, get, we get ready and I have to go in and actually do the interview and get hired. Nobody’s gonna know who I am over there. Nobody. I don’t have a weapon. I don’t have any idea as a police officer. So she, she loved me right away where she gave me the tour of the place. She goes, you know, here’s the pantry and any, you know, anytime you wanna, if you wanna bake chocolate chip cookies in a home or whatever, just take stuff outta here. Cuz these are old people, they’re never gonna notice. And downstairs, she showed me the storage where all the elderly people had their stuff. She goes, we take stuff from here all the time, they’re never gonna miss it. If, if you see something you like. So anyway, as we’re talking the next couple days and, and she said something about, she said, so, hey, my boyfriend, Doug, he had come, and he had dropped off some baggies or something. And I had, I said, oh, that’s kind of interesting. She goes, yeah, my boyfriend Doug, you know, he brings by some marijuana, sometimes a little more for, for my friends. And I go, oh, that’s interesting. I said, you know, my boyfriend, Mike and I, we just moved here,
Meg Glessner: My husband’s name.
From Idaho, and he still hasn’t, you know, he kind of got me hooked on this stuff, but we really haven’t found a good supplier here. She goes, oh, no problem. She goes, my, my Doug will set you up. And she goes, I tell you what, today Ray the dishwasher, he, you know, we toke up all the time after we’ve served the old people lunch, and so we just go out and toke up in the garden out there and then we, you know, take peppermints and they never even suspect a thing. Well, today after lunch, you can just come out with us and and try it, and if you like it. So, my mind is racing. And I, I said, well, you know, I, I got, I gotta tell you, Mike, he’s a little bit, I mean, it’s not like he’s real abusive, but since he’s the one that first hooked me, he just, he would be insanely jealous if he found out I did it without him with me. And I’m in my head, I’m thinking she’s not gonna buy it, she’s not gonna buy that. She goes, that’s the weirdest thing. She goes, Doug is the same way. He would be really unhappy if he knew that we did that.
She goes, I’ll tell you what, let’s just go out, you and I will go out for, we’ll go out after work and for drinks. And I said, that’s great, sure. I’d enjoy that. And I’m thinking, or she said, I gotta tell you one thing though. She said, I got so drunk on Jack Daniels last weekend that I’m off the booze for a couple weeks. I’m just drinking diet Coke. And I went, you know, I, I appreciate that. I’ll do that too, because I’m on a diet anyway, and it’s good for me not to drink. And so I’m washing down tables and stuff. And one of the other employees comes up and he says, you’re not a cop, are you? And I, I look, and I and go, do I look like a cop? I just had to check, he said, you know, cause there was something about me that didn’t want to like outright lie, even though I’m going by an assumed name and I’m thinking, Lord, you have to just help me through this, give me the words.
Cynthia Tobias: And so, anyway, so over the next few days, you know, her boyfriend would deliver this stuff. I would buy it from her. I would get in my car, drive around and around and around. Get back to my apartment, call the cop shop. They would send a police car over. I would crawl into the back seat, outta sight. They would drive me into the garage of the, of the police station, and I would make all my reports and turn in all my evidence and stuff. Well, after, you know probably two weeks of this, Mary said, Hey I tell you what your you and your boyfriend ducks just got this big shipment coming in of cocaine. If you want, he’ll hook you guys up big time, if you want. And what, and I said, that would be great.
She said, tell you what we’ll we’ll meet Saturday. Come get us and the four of us will go out we’ll party a little, and then we’ll toke up and then we’ll get you hooked up. So, I said, yeah, that’d be great. So that night going to the cop shop. I, my Sergeant, I went, okay, listen, I have been able to get by with everything so far because you weren’t there.
He was the one that I was pretending was my boyfriend. I said, this time, you’re going to be there. There will be the four of us. We will be there. There will be no excuse for me not to smoke, to drink, to toke up. He said, well, he said, here’s what we could do. We could, we could just pretend that we had a big party the night before, and that you’re sick.
I’m like, I’m not gonna have to pretend to be sick because I can tell you right now, I’m already sick, just thinking about this. We didn’t, we didn’t even, we didn’t even know how bad this guy is, right? And so, he said, don’t worry, we’ll just, we’ll just wing it. And I’m thinking, this is the end. I’m gonna get shot. We’re gonna get killed because they’re gonna make who we are.
Meg Glessner: Bye mom and dad. You’ve been great.
Cynthia Tobias: Yeah, and so we went to the apartment that Saturday morning, Mary came out the door alone and she got in the car and we said, where’s Doug? And she goes, it’s the weirdest thing. She goes, we’re on our way out the door.
And he, all of a sudden, he starts puking like crazy. She goes he’s, I don’t know he’s sick or whatever. He is just puking up his guts. She goes, we’ll just have to do it in another day. But I hear I’ve got all the information for you and we’ll, we’ll set up another time to actually meet. Later that, actually that Monday, we had to go ahead and make the arrest because I had to get back in uniform and all these other things.
So, we, we made the arrest. She went, she was in the holding cell, of course make choice words for me. And I felt bad. I really did. I never wanted to do that again, you know, to pretend I, she thought I was a friend to pretend it was just, was not me, the undercover thing. So, anyway, we’re back and I’m in the sergeant’s office and he’s looking out the window, cuz her, the Doug, her boyfriend has come to make bail, they haven’t really arrested him yet. And he says to me, Hey, Hey, that guy right there, is that her boyfriend? And I said, yeah, that’s Doug. He goes, oh man, if he’d have showed up Saturday, he would’ve made me in a minute. We went to school together. He knows I’m a cop. Oh, wow. Okay. it was, it was like one of the most, that was one of those miraculous things, step after step after step. Totally improbable that I could pull this off. That it had to be God. You, one of those stories. So, I mean, that’s the long story.
Meg Glessner: But that’s, that’s incredible.
Cynthia Tobias: That’s one of my favorites.
Meg Glessner: That’s, that’s pretty amazing how the Lord kept you. And so, did that kind of, you, you worked for the police for six years and you taught the same amount. And then…
Cynthia Tobias: I taught the first three years in Idaho, and then five years up here. And then, so at the end of, actually before I finished teaching, I need, I was look working on my master’s degree and I was trying to do all these things at once. And so, I decided I needed a job for a couple years that wasn’t teaching so that I would have, not have to be constantly thinking and grading papers and planning.
So, for the last two years before I got married, I was a paralegal for an attorney in downtown Seattle. And then I would get off. I would start work at six, get off at two, go up to Seattle Pacific university, take my classes, do the homework, come back and still try to work some evenings and weekends as a police officer.
Meg Glessner: And I know you have two wonderful sons and twin boys.
Cynthia Tobias: Twin boys, twin boys. They just turned 31.
Meg Glessner: Well, Yeah, my oldest is 31 also. So, what was, what was marriage and motherhood like for you?
Cynthia Tobias: It was, practice what you preach, Cindy, the Lord said. Because I thought, you know, I went in for the ultrasound the first, when we got pregnant and she said, oh, is this your first child? And we said, yes, she goes, how many do you want to have altogether? We said two. She goes, well, congratulations. You’ve got ’em. And I’m thinking, oh my goodness. And trying to prepare with twins. And it’s like, God sent me my own in-home laboratory, right. Of no two alike. They look like Pete in repeat even now really, but they’re totally opposite in learning style.
One is very strong-willed. One’s very compliant. You know, they were so different. Still, I was working. I retired from teaching, so to speak, quit teaching and started my own business, doing internship through Seattle Pacific and with parents and teachers. And so, now I opened my own business and began to, to work.
And on the 1992, I think it was, I got a phone call from Focus on the Family, the boys were like one and a half years old, and they said, we’ve seen some of your handouts and some of your seminars on strong-willed child and learning styles. And especially the learning styles we’re interested in. Wonder, would you be interested in writing a book for us?
and I said, let me think about it. Yes. And so, my very first book, the way they learn has a lot of illustrations about the twins, the boys. I mean, because here I had them, I’d lived with them, not only high school kids that I’d taught, but now I had babies, toddlers, all through the years. And so, it was again, God saying, oh, you like the, on the job training, here you go.
Meg Glessner: And you have so many great books, 14 books, and they’re all on Amazon and also on cynthiatobias.com. Yeah. You can link out to all of her books there. And she also has some really incredible resources. Lot of great free resources. So cynthiatobias.com. But if, but if you go on Amazon, Then you should look up Cynthia Ulrich, U L R I C H Tobias. And that’s where you’ll find it. But also, it’s really cool is that, you know, you have the audio books as well. So for someone who’s on the go with strong-willed kids, you know, you can get the audible books.
Cynthia Tobias: And we, I have an author page also on Facebook, which put up kind of fun memes and occasional videos. And, but that’s under Cynthia Ulrich Tobias on Facebook.
Meg Glessner: You know, it’s when you were parenting your kids, was it did you find it tougher to put some of your principles into practice being a strong-willed parent?
Cynthia Tobias: No, I got on, on the job training with that, it’s like what goes around, comes around. Right? I found out the hard way as a parent strong-willed mom, I would say things that I knew in a million years, I’d never. But I have no reverse gear, right? Strong will you have no reverse risk gear. So, I learned the hard way in many ways, how to deal with Mike. And one of the real rewards with Mike, my strong will child, not only did I get to try out a lot of things on him, find out what worked, but we’re very close even now. And the first you can’t make me, but I can be persuaded, came out in 1999. And Mike by then was eight or nine years old. The revised edition, and my favorite edition so far came out in 2012, when he was actually 20 or 21. He was doing camp counselor and some of those things and he came home at one, one summer and he said, oh mom, those kids are driving me crazy. Especially the strong, old ones are really driving me crazy. And he said, I got so frustrated. I finally decided I better read one of your books. And I thought, oh, which one did you read, mike? He goes, you can’t make me.
I said, really? So, what’d you think? He goes, mom, it’s really good. I really learned a lot. And he said, I, so it, that he’s actually the forward part of the forward of the, of the current edition of you can’t make me his story. And that’s the best endorsement I could ever ask for is a strong-willed kid who looks back and says, yeah, you know, this is what works.
Meg Glessner: What was one of your big, biggest battles with Mike?
Cynthia Tobias: Well, early on, I, I learned for instance, when he was four years old, you know, his toys strewn all over the floor and I would tell him and tell him and tell him to pick him up. Finally, one day I said, Mike, if you don’t pick up these toys, I’m gonna give them to other kids.
And in his four-year-old stature, he stood full up and looked at me and said, give them to other kids. Well, I, those are some of my favorite toys. They’re expensive toys, but you know, a deal’s a deal. So, I collected them. I put them in a garbage bag and took him to compassionate ministries at church, and Mike he’s 31 now and he still hasn’t asked me where they went. He never asked to have ’em replaced. He never, he knew full well what the price would be. Stood up and paid him. And that’s, you know, I got several of those kind of wake up calls, thinking, whoa, I am up against something, that’s strong as me, if not stronger. And then, you know, even through his teenage years, the, okay, that magic word was, was so effective compared to I learned that you just don’t give ultimatum.
And when he came home once and got, you know, a detention for something he’d done, instead of saying, I can’t believe you did this, Mike. You knew better than this? What were you thinking? I, I asked him, I said, is this what you were going for? He goes, no, it did not turn out at all like I thought it would turn out.
I said really? So, what were you think, what were you thinking that would turn out like? And we were talking, and I said, well, you know, you probably already thought about how you’re gonna make it right. He goes, yeah, I know. I gotta go back. And you know, so we, we had this relationship where I was more careful not to point a finger or to, in fact, I made a list this morning, cuz I’m, I’m speaking at an event, not too long from now about strong-willed, adults and kids.
And you know, there are certain trigger phrases that if you use it, we will both go down in flames.
Meg Glessner: We would love to hear those.
Cynthia Tobias: No one will win. I’ll give you just a few and this, this is for kids or adults. So, the first one is calm down. You just need to calm down. Things are gonna get worse. That’s just not gonna happen.
Oh, really? Right. Well, I see you just have to have everything your own way, because I said, so that’s why that’s just, that never works. You better and if you don’t and, or else, anytime you have, you better do it or else, because my immediate reaction as a strong-willed person is gonna be, or else what? Cuz I’m measuring in my head might be worth it, whatever the consequence is. Must be nice to know it all, you know, don’t be so sensitive. That’s for then that with adults, those are phrases that I’m not gonna work with you very well if, if you talk to me like that. Or some, even something like hurry up, right, you better clean, you better clean this mess up. Who died and made you my God. Oh God. Or parent or whatever. Yeah. So, it’s, it’s, you know, learning to ask more questions instead of just bark out the orders. It’s not authority that strong-willed kids of any age have problems with. It’s how it’s communicated. And if you come across like you’re the big boss, I beg to differ. You are not the big boss of me, cuz I could choose to die. If I want to. I know we’re both dead, but I get to go first, and you can’t make me do what you think you want me to do. So, it’s been a real experience.
Meg Glessner: What are just a couple of quick ways where we could ask more questions?
Cynthia Tobias: Well, instead of saying, get in the van, now we are late. You could say, Hey, you got ready to go? Yeah, no, I need to drink water first. Okay. Then, then we’ll leave in a minute, okay? Even just saying something when they say something outrageous and you go, nice try. That’s not gonna happen. Right. And, and you always smile, right? Because there’s something weird about, even when you tell ’em something they don’t wanna hear, and even if your smile’s not that genuine, if you smile at the end of it, they laugh or smile and they hate themselves for doing it. So, just asking the question, instead of saying, what were you thinking? Why did you do that? Say, there had to be a good reason you did that, right? So that it doesn’t, it, it comes in the back door just a little bit.
You go to bed right now. It’s past your bedtime. You get in bed right now. Hey, you ready to go to bed? No, I don’t wanna go to bed. Okay. What do you, a drink? What do you need right before you go to bed? and then you ju you might negotiate a little or not, but you start with the question and the benefit of the doubt and a choice, right.
In a way, I mean, well, I need you, you know, you have to get that garbage taken out by eight tonight. Yeah. Okay. By eight tonight. And then it’s almost eight it’s time. Take the garbage out instead of saying it’s eight o’clock. I told you to do it. You say, Hey, were you, were you gonna take that garbage out by eight? Oh yeah. I’m sorry. I forgot. That’s a lot of times, if you just gimme the benefit of the doubt instead of the bony finger, I’m gonna respond and work with you.
Meg Glessner: Because what what’s easy to do is with a strong will try to think. They just don’t wanna do anything I say they don’t, but they actually do.
Cynthia Tobias: We do. We just don’t, we don’t wanna do it if it means that I have to capitulate because you’re the big boss. You’re if you’re my dictator and you say, listen, let me just tell you how it’s gonna be. Okay. Mm-hmm this is what you’re gonna do. This is what needs to be done. And you need to get doing it right. Well, now we’re gonna fight because I was on my way to do it, I actually was, but now I can’t do it because if I do it, that would mean that you get by with your dictatorial, authoritarian orders and commands, instead of treating me like a person. So, even at a young age, I figured that out, right? That, that I want to be talked to, just talk to me like, you want me to talk to you, that’s a real big key. I’m watching you for examples. Talk to me the way you would wanna be talked to. You wouldn’t say to your, your best friend who comes in, Hey, close the door behind you. I can’t believe you keep that door open every time you wouldn’t say that to your friend. They wouldn’t wanna hang around with you.
So, try to talk to your child more like, whoa, I need you to close the door. Even if you just say that, oh, sorry. I’m gonna do it right. How many times do I have to tell you to close the door? That’s not gonna work. Went, ah, did you forget to close the door again? Oh yeah. Sorry. I forgot to. I mean, you make it as no big deal.
Now, one thing to remember though, it’s, it’s never escape from consequences if you don’t do what you’re supposed to do, there will be accountability and consequences. So, you know, you’re, you, you don’t wanna ever be pleading or, you know, please, I just, I really just need you to do this okay? Well, that’s weakness.
If you’re weak and tentative with me, I have to fight my instinct to kill you. Right. This destroys you, I’m going to run over you if I can. So just say it firmly and kindly and, and then follow through. If I, if I still say no, I’m not gonna do it. Say you understand the consequences are this, right? I don’t wanna, I’m not gonna do it. Okay. Then here we go. And. Just keep your, just remember that those who anger, you control you so that if you end up yelling or screaming, then you’ve just lost control of that situation, and you’re never gonna get it back. So, just keep your, your voice steady and even, and like a, like a broken record sometimes.
Hey, we’re gonna get ice cream as soon as you clean up your bedroom, I’m not gonna clean up my bedroom. It’s not there. You can’t make me clean up my bedroom. I don’t want to, well, we we’re gonna get ice cream as soon as you finish cleaning your bedroom. Okay. I told you I’m not gonna clean my bedroom. I don’t, I don’t know.
Okay. But as soon as the bedroom’s clean, we go and get the ice cream. I mean, you say that over and over and pretty soon, ah, fine. Just stop talking. Just shut up. Don’t talk to me anymore. I’ll clean my stupid room, right? So, but it’s you, they eat more even, you can keep your voice, the more calm you can keep your voice, regardless of the fact they’re screaming at you, the more you have control of that situation. And at some point, you can say, you know what? I think we’re too upset to go on with this. I think we need a break and then we’ll, we’ll continue this in a few minutes. I can’t, I can’t talk to you in this tone of voice. I. I’ll see it in a few minutes.
Meg Glessner: I remember somebody saying to me, and this helped me keep my cool, when you lose it, now, all they see is, oh, mommy just turned into a monster and they’re no longer listening to what you’re saying, right.
Cynthia Tobias: Not only that for the, with their siblings, the, the next thing you know, they’re in there yelling and screaming at their brother or sister, cuz they figured that’s how it’s done.
Meg Glessner: Thank you for sharing that. And I, I know that. As you went along, I mean you, the Lord was just growing your, your ministry in so many books and speaking engagements and with Focus on the Family. And you shared with me that while all that was going on, Things were a little more difficult at home.
Cynthia Tobias: Yeah, it was, it was interesting because my husband, my first husband was working at kind of a business manager and working to do, you know, to book me. He’d lost several jobs in a row over 18 months, and so, we were just working together and then we were in San Francisco, I was working for a thing for Kaiser Permanente, and we were at a, a dinner afterwards and they, and we were, I don’t dance very well, but they were having this dance. And so I, we were, we were at the kind of moving around the floor and I said, we had a little argument about something.
And I said, well, do you want me to lie about that? And he goes, yeah, I’ve lied to you thousands of times. And it was like, yeah, it was like, the world stood still for a second. And he must have seen the expression on my face because he said, well, I, I don’t really call it. It’s not really lying. It’s just, you know, telling you what I know you want to hear.
And that began after 17 years of marriage, the whole foundation sort of slipped out, right. Because then some other jarring discoveries came out. I, there was, it was, you know, we went through counseling because there was no way I would, when would I ever consider divorce? That was just unheard of unthinkable. The evidence that, and the things that came out were just there, there was, it didn’t appear that he was willing. When things, and I won’t go into detail, but when the boys actually became sort of in danger, not from him, but from some of his actions, then I, I knew, with the biblical grounds that he had demonstrated that the marriage was gonna end.
And I, I was just, I was, I was really, you know, I’ve never had such brokenness and I was just, it blindsided me. And so, it was a very ugly, contentious. It’s nothing I can even describe because it was so foreign. I, I had never, ever anticipated this. The boys were 12 years old, so, for the next, after the divorce, I was for the next four years, I was a single mom with junior high boys.
My parents were right next door. It was very helpful. They got me through it too. I had a very supportive family. But it was a real time of brokenness, from going to this very self-sufficient and competent and, you know, financially stable person to losing a lot of, of money and some reputation and some, I mean, some of the things I just, that everything that I had built felt like it was gonna collapse.
And the Lord said, and I remember listening to a radio show when I was trying to keep things together, and I, one night on my way back from the airport and I heard a pastor saying, God doesn’t come to fix your kingdom. He comes to give you his kingdom, a new kingdom. And that was a turning point for me to realize I have to surrender, truly surrender everything, and be willing to lose everything in order to really become who I’m supposed to become. So, I I’ve never been through anything like that. And it was, the brokenness was complete. The self-sufficiency was gone and it was one of the most devastating and exhilarating times of my life. I’ve never been closer to my Abba father. I watched how God kept me and protected me against all odds.
Meg Glessner: I know divorce is, you know, can be a tough topic. How did it impact your ministry?
Cynthia Tobias: From the very beginning? I wanted to be very transparent. I had, I had booked the women’s conference and I was an author for Focus on the Family. I was working with King’s schools and CRISTA, so I called each of those places, family life today, and others to let them know what the situation was. That I had gone through as much reconciliation and counseling to try to save this marriage that I could. That it didn’t appear he wanted it saved. And so, only the, the women’s conference that was that weekend they told me immediately that, well, we don’t, we don’t let divorce people talk to us. So, they had, they canceled the 250 women, and that was hard.
But I said, I understand, you know, I just, I wouldn’t have wanted to go and had ’em find out later and think that I had some way tried to betray them. CRISTA ministries and, and king schools, Jim Gwen was the president at the time, he was wonderful. Of course, Focus on the Family was very supportive.
I really, overall, I don’t think my business suffered. The Lord had been very clear with me during the divorce; take the high road. Always take the high road. You do not speak against their dad, to their dad, to the boys. Each time, each time there was a court appearance, my parents and I would meet prayer beforehand.
We never prayed for victory. We prayed for the truth to be revealed. And if, if there was any way that this could change, that we wanted. So, so we tried, we, we, we kept Christ in the center, even when it was painful, we kept him in the center. And in the end, I know that God honored that. I lost a lot, but I gained so much.
At the end of four years after being divorced, the Lord brought me quite unexpectedly, this man that I’m married to now, Jack Tally. He’s a wonderful Christian man. He actually told me on our first date, cuz I said on the first date, you know, my life is kind of chaotic. I’ve got boys that are juniors in high school. They’re gonna be going into their senior year. I’m worth more dead than alive financially, right now. I’m struggling to keep my business alive. I am not the kind of burden that I would put on anybody. I need to get this straightened out.
Meg Glessner: What a great first date.
Cynthia Tobias: And so, you know, it was real nice, but at the end I said, so I releasing you, cuz we’d had a lot of conversations on the phone and you know, a month or two of correspondence. But I said, I just really can’t, I can’t do this to anybody. And I really appreciate you. And he reached over, and he took my hand and he said, I believe God sent me to you. And we talked about that since then, because he said, that’s not the way I talk. And I heard myself say that. And I never say that. He said, I would never have said that. He said, but it was true.
And the Lord just, and that was the only thing he could have said that that resonated with me, right? Because I felt that not only through the touch of the hand, but as soon as he said, I believe the Lord sent me to you. I knew that it was true. I felt it. I felt the Lord say, this is a man after God’s own heart. I have sent him to you. And so, he, it, I mean, it turned out we compliment. He had been severely hurt emotionally through a divorce. He was looking for a strong Christian. A good Christian woman. A church girl, which boy I said, boy, you’re getting to get that in. Spade’s a good Christian Church girl. So, so, it was truly a match made in heaven. I’m not saying everything idyllic, but it only could, it could only be God, the way that we got together, the way that we… and he had been looking for a small ministry to support because he wanted to kind of do that on the side. I said, I actually have a small ministry that could use some support, apple street.
And he loved what I did. He loved what the ministry was about. He loved the company, and he’s just, he brought his business manager acumen to the ministry, and it’s just been amazing to watch how God blessed us. When I look back the last 14 years that I’ve been married to Jack, and I think about all the audiences that I got to talk to, I’m just incredibly humbled because I know that God had a message. I know that he needed me to deliver a message to different places. I, everywhere I go, before I speak, I pray, you know? May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable. in thy sight, oh Lord, my strength and my Redeemer. I do this for him. I, I do this for him, and it’s not me. It’s him. It’s not me. I couldn’t have done any of this without him. He gives the words. He gives the opportunities. He makes the way. And I never cease to be amazed and awed by what he’s doing. I’ll do it as long as he wants me to. And I’ve done work all over the world.
I was able to do some training for China and the Asia Pacific last year. Christians in China are just an amazing, blessed group under persecution. When we were there in 2015, they told us, you know, we pray for you in America, that you would be persecuted more so that you could come closer to Christ. Wow. And I said, wow, don’t I don’t pray that too much. we laughed about that a little bit. But you know, if you look the, the, the… the harder you’re persecuted, the closer you come to Christ, or the further you walk away. There’s really not much in between. For this road trip that we’re doing, I’m ending up doing the Focus on the Family, employee, chapel.
We’re doing it on, on, you know, how to have healthy conflict in adults, because sometimes it’s the adult strong-willed adults that are right driving you crazy. and I just love the people so much that focus, my friends and publishers and, and what they do is also such a wonderful ministry because I watch the sacrifice. I watch, how much is put into God’s work with no expectation of self-aggrandizement. No expectation of self-elevation, but only truly, and purely, how do I get the message that God wants me to get?
How do I get it out there? And how will I know that they got it? Well, sometimes I won’t. Oswald Chambers says that one of the greatest privileges of being a Christian is that you are, God lets us be answers to other people’s prayers. Sometimes prayed centuries ago. And if we just follow him, sometimes we were just a tiny little answer, right?
Just a little cog, a little way on the, you know, a little thing on the way a blip on the way. But we have an, I don’t wanna call it an obligation, a privilege of being used by God, in ways that we have no idea of. If we just stay walk with him, stay right in that light that he’s given us. It’s amazing. I’m, I’m more in love with the Lord than I’ve ever been in my life. And it’s getting deeper every day.
Meg Glessner: Praise the Lord. And would you say Cynthia, is there a verse that, you know, just means a lot to your sums up your story? I
Cynthia Tobias: would say Proverbs 3:5-6. I write it and autograph it in every book. It’s been that way since my very first book. And that is trust in the Lord with all your heart, obviously we wanna do that, and then lean not unto your own understanding and all your ways acknowledge him. And he shall direct your paths. All your ways. We’re so different in so many ways. We serve him in different ways.
We think in different ways, we learn in different ways, but in all our ways, the bottom line is we acknowledge God. And he cannot bless us, he, he will bless us, inside that, and cannot bless us outside that. As much, but it’s been a, it’s been a lifer, something he’s proven over and over and over again. Sometimes in obvious miracles. Sometimes in small ways, but he has never failed, and he never will. I’m his for life.
Meg Glessner: Before we seal up the envelope on this letter of encouragement, we have prepared little treat for you that we like to call the PS. So you can see more of the heart and personality of our guests. Here is your PS.
All right. Are you ready for some bonus questions?
Cynthia Tobias: I’m ready.
Meg Glessner: Do you have any party tricks?
Cynthia Tobias: My husband has a party trick. He doesn’t consider a trick. If you go on YouTube and you enter Jack tally shows you how to eat a cupcake, that’s a pretty good party trick.
Meg Glessner: Okay. I’m sure people are downloading that, like, while they’re listening to the end, I mean, why wouldn’t they? It’s short and quite revealing.
I I’m in, you know, my sons or they did they’re big, you know, football players. So, they did like lineman cooking channel. So, I’ve got my, you know, 200 pounds, one of my sons, a six, four and a half, you know, like nether one’s playing, but you know, you watching them make breakfast burritos. I’m like, you know what?
They were listening. They, they wash their hands. I’m like, okay, I guess they’re getting managed, but I love that. I’m definitely gonna look up the cupcake channel. Is there a name that is special to you?
Cynthia Tobias: Well, I, I think it would be the name of my dad. Robert Ulrich. And the reason that all of my books have Cynthia Ulrich Tobias is he never had a son, and he was so proud of me. He, at 91, he was, he was promoting my middle school book. Right. saying everybody needs this book. He was such a champion and prayer warrior, and I wanted to honor him by always having his name with mine in every single book. His 90th birthday I asked him, and I’ve got this on video, I said, dad, you have anything left on your bucket list? He goes, oh yes. He said, I wanna win one more soul. Now that’s my dad. Every time you talk to him. And he would everywhere, he went he into the department licensing, how are you this, how are you this morning, Mr. Ulrich? I’m great. And you know why? Cuz Jesus is my savior.
Do you know Jesus? And I, with them going, dad, dad, you sit down in the VA waiting room and he turn to the guy next to him and say, you know how important it is to go to heaven don’t you? And the guy said, well, yeah. I think he, he was unashamed. And he was said toward, toward the end of his life, he said, oh man, I, I just don’t feel like I’ve won that one more soul.
I said, dad, are you kidding me? Everywhere you go, you plant the seeds. You talk about Jesus. You’re an ambassador for God everywhere. You have no way of knowing how many souls have been won. He said, boy, I sure hope so.
Meg Glessner: Amen. Wish I could meet him actually.
Cynthia Tobias: Yeah. In heaven. We’ll meet him in heaven. That’s for sure.
Meg Glessner: You talked about revival, and I know part of what you’re doing, sharing in your ministry, just hoping God really does a great movement. How could we see revival in our churches in America?
Cynthia Tobias: Kind of, you know, I’ve been a trustee for my university the last five years and made some jarring discoveries there. One of, one of the things that the Lords really led me into, not just my university, but universities in general, Christian universities, as well as Christian churches and denominations to, to see the shift, to see the drift away from Orthodox, biblical holiness perspective. To watch the slippery slope of some of the wokeism and some of the progressive Christianity has been, I think it’s, it’s been devastating.
And one of the things that, that God has led me down, the path that I’m working on now is, is working to see about how we can right the ship, if there is any writing of the ship. And it’s, it’s true of our churches and our Christian universities, we have to be careful. The progressive shift that says, it’s not so important that the Bible is truly true, you know, is just kind of a guide, you know, Jesus, he, he doesn’t ever, We we’re gonna skip the part about obey my commandments and just look at the love part. And we’re gonna accept a lot of things that we wouldn’t normally accept. And what are we gonna teach our children? One of my defining moments was one of the theologians that did a quick video and said, I believe that God never gives up. And that even after you die, he still works with you. And so, I mean, essentially you don’t have to worry if you’re not right with God before you die. Well, that was galvanizing to me because we’re talking about eternity. We’re talking about eternal souls. And Oswald chambers, again, he says, you know, most Christians, they’re not tempted to sin. Christians aren’t tempted to sin their sin. Isn’t, you know, lying and cheating and stealing it’s, it’s getting their eyes and their focus off of Jesus. And as soon as your focus begins to shift, from that solid biblical standard, all kinds of things can happen. And what worries me is, and especially in today’s climate, what we’re doing with our children, when we’re talking about their eternal souls.
So, I feel very strongly about that. Trusting the Lord. That’s the kind of revival that we need is not squishy. The revival that says we get back to alignment with God withhold it, the holy spirit with the Lord, with Jesus Christ as our savior, there are all these ideas that, you know, was there really in its own meant.
And is it really necessary? And it’s, stay true. Stay true. True north. That’s what I’m praying for and working on.
Meg Glessner: Yeah. Oh, that’s really good. I’m sure you’ve heard of the phrase, the great resignation people have left jobs in droves and are just moving or just working, working at home. I, I guess what would you say to Christians who are struggling with a lack of motivation, post pandemic?
Cynthia Tobias: Well, one of the biggest anecdotes for depression is to go out and do something for someone else. That’s just that doesn’t cost anything. It doesn’t need a prescription. That’s one of the, the biggest things. And one of the things, I’ll tell you, Meg, that I’ve noticed, and I’ve had several talk to me about… the children after this pandemic, the kids from kindergarten to second grade, are having a hard time adjusting coming back into the classrooms.
The isolation was devastating. The masks were devastating. They didn’t, they’re afraid of, they’ve grown up with masks. That’s all they haven’t seen people’s faces. They don’t know how to make an expression. They don’t know how to communicate through their facial expression, as well as their words. They’re, and the isolation has been devastating.
Teachers are, are quitting, working remotely is so tempting. Right? So tempting. And yet for many people, it’s just the worst thing in the world. We need contact. We need to be in church. We need the fellowship with each other. We need to have human contact, not just digital contact. And I think it’s, it’s a real challenge. And it’s gonna, it’s gonna take a lot for us to get back on an even keel with that.
Meg Glessner: Yeah. And I think also, Cynthia, so many people that I’ve talked to are just going through hard, hard times. Big issues, several deaths in families, kids being diagnosed with special needs, violence in the home… all kinds of big things happening in their lives and brokenness. And what, what can you say to people that are going through the most difficult time of their lives?
Cynthia Tobias: Go to the rock. The one hope of our salvation. The one hope of our eternal soul. That, that this isn’t, this isn’t as good as it gets. This isn’t all there is. And the anecdote for depression, for discouragement, for isolation is to go to the rock. Jesus is our rock. He hides our soul in the cleft of the rock. We’re in the hollow of his hand. If you don’t deepen your faith vertically in Jesus Christ, ground your relationship with him before you go out horizontally, you’ll be suffering, and you won’t… find a fellowship. Find a mentor, be part of a Christian fellowship, because if you’re trying to do it on your own or trust the secular world to feed what you need in your soul, it isn’t there.
The word of God, the fellowship of Christians, that’s where you’re going to get your hope. There is no eternal hope part from that. What are you going to believe in? Believe in something that will never change. The same Jesus Christ the same yesterday today, forever. You can go through all, all amounts of brokenness and lose everything else, but on Christ, the solid rock I stand. And I know I have a hope. I know I have a future. They can’t steal your soul. They can steal your body. Your body might die, but your soul does not have. We have to hold onto that. And we have to communicate that to our kids, especially. This is our one great hope is in Jesus Christ.
Meg Glessner: I trust you are encouraged by Cynthia’s story and wisdom. So many great takeaways. I love how her father loved her, and all the examples that she shared of him just quietly lovingly, consistently, firmly, being that presence in her childhood, and really in her life. And just wrapping our minds around having a strong-willed child, what a blessing that could be. And I’m praying for us today that whoever that person is in our life that seems maybe five times harder than the next, that we are just believing God for great things. If you would like a bonus peak into the Letters From Home happenings, sign up for our newsletter. We won’t clutter your inbox, promise. Just one splashy email per month.
Narrator: Links from our guests will be in the show notes. For more everyday extraordinary faith stories, go to our website Letters From Home podcast.com and click subscriber follow, in whatever platform you’re listening to. Second Corinthians 3:3. And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us. Written, not with ink, but with the spirit of the living. God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts. Until next time, go in peace.