Say Goodbye to Justify

Proverbs 16:9 “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.”

For a long time I went about life as though love was conditional, based on my performance, even for my own family. I had to be smarter, prettier, you name it I had to be it in order for the people around me to love me – or so I thought. It has been only of recent (as of last year) that I truly realised; that as I love the people around me, including their flaws, they indeed loved me back. But old habits die hard. Writing a new default setting takes work. Replacing old ways of life (love is conditional) with new (I am lovable just as I am) takes time.

I am challenging myself to let go of the need to justify every aspect of my life to everyone including myself. Below are three areas of my life where I have felt the need to justify myself. My actions. My choices.

No paid work: This is a classic one that whenever I am asked about work I feel like I am having a panic attack. That I have failed the society norm. Most of the time I end up listing EVERYTHING I am doing, basically giving them a minute by minute schedule.

Still single: Every time this one gets brought up it is hard not to remind myself of every flaw I have and compare myself to my sister or the entire female race, for that matter, all the while wondering ‘what’s wrong with me?’

Living at home: This one always comes with a long list of reasons and explanations that by the end of the extensive list they either understand or drop subject.

I no longer want certain topics to be off limits because they hit a raw nerve, I have found it is actually quite freeing sharing experiences and struggles with people. Furthermore, by my sharing they too share their life with me emphasising connectedness rather than loneliness. On reflection it is not the areas of my life that cause me to feel as though I need to explain myself; it is a deeply entrenched feeling of not being enough, of being afraid of being unlovable.

My counsellor gave me a sticky note in one of our first sessions with the affirmation I am lovable just because I am me regardless of my performance.

It is so true. It doesn’t matter whether we study for ten degrees, become fluent in five different languages or not, we are still lovable just the way we are. Love isn’t based on performance, it just is. So do yourself a favour say goodbye to justifying your life, to others and yourself. Let go so you can enjoy what is. It doesn’t mean you stop dreaming and hoping (I do both) it just means you give yourself the freedom to enjoy life in its present moment with no guilt and with no regrets.

I guess I am writing it down as a way to remain accountable to myself that I am releasing the seemingly endless need to justify me and my life. So if we run into each other I hope we can share about life in all its rawness and beauty.

Love,

Cathryn

Light in the Darkness

Psalm 18:16 – 17 “He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me.”

I am in a darkened room like an old warehouse with only a few overhead lights. The rest of the room is in darkness. I stand under one of the lights. A small dragon like creature is in front of me with spikes all over its body, its claws long and sharp, its face looks hungry and mean showing no mercy but rather looking to maim and kill. The creature starts circling me, growling and baring its teeth. It launches itself at me digging its claw deep into the flesh of my arm. I cry out to Jesus to help me. Jesus comes out of the darkness and touches my arm, it heals instantly then Jesus moves back into the darkness. The creature starts circling angrier than before. I tremble under its watchfulness. I yell to Jesus, needing Him very much right now. Jesus comes out of the shadowy darkness just in time to shield me from the creature’s fiery breath. I began to cry, Jesus lifted me up into His arms and said to the ugly creature “stay away from my darling” and the creature fled. Jesus held me as I continued to cry speaking lovingly to me “it is alright my darling I am here”… Jesus carries me to a hilly, grassy paddock; it is a clear night, we can see so many stars. Jesus lies down with me in His arms and I fall asleep at His reassurance “sleep now my darling.”

I journaled this picture Jesus gave me recently when I was feeling particularly bruised by life. Through it Jesus whispered His reassurances that are meant for you too:

No matter what I face in life Jesus will hold me close

Jesus has my back and will help me fight

Jesus loves me very much

Despite the darkness (whatever that may be) light always shines bright

Jesus will carry me through to a new season

Jesus cares for me

I don’t know what you are going through right now but I know that Jesus will never let you go. It’s ok to admit it hurts and to let the tears fall. I want to encourage you to not lose hope despite your current circumstances.

Ecclesiastes 3:4 “a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.”

The stormy season you are in may be rough, raw and stingingly close to your heart. Hold on, in the darkest of nights the stars still shine and after a storm comes a rainbow.

Love,

Cathryn

If Only

Psalm 139:15 -16 “My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”

On Tuesday I had my first National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) planning meeting. It was basically an information gathering session for them to ensure the supports put in place suit me, my lifestyle and my goals. In order to do this they had to find out in, detail, things like my current situation and going back into my past to see what I participated in during High School. NDIS, although it sounds good in theory, won’t be able to give me the wings I need to soar. For instance if I was to travel in Australia the scheme would pay for when a support worker has to help me but it won’t cover their flights, accommodation, food etc. This means I will need to pay for these expenses on their behalf and it leave me out of pocket. The meeting did give me some hope; I will be able to move interstate and I won’t have to get reassessed to prove I have a disability – yay! But mostly it left me with the sinking feeling of ‘if only’.

I have constantly struggled with ‘if only’ especially in relation to my disability and difficult events that have shaped my life.

If only I didn’t have Cerebral Palsy, life would be so much easier.

If only I didn’t have Chronic Fatigue, then I could enjoy more of life.

If only I didn’t have to have all those surgeries and medical appointments, then I wouldn’t have a silly fear of needles and aversion to the medical/health profession.

If only I hadn’t been bullied in High School which lead to paralysing anxiety and low self-esteem causing me to miss all those opportunities.

If only I had sort internships sooner and applied for more jobs, then I would be working rather than studying.

Let’s stop the list there before we all get depressed if we aren’t already! The thing with ‘if only’ it makes us dwell on the regrets and what could have been. None of us can go back and change our past – I for one wouldn’t want to relive the hard experiences in the hope to change it because in all likelihood I would have the same result. Why? Because when I made this ‘if only’ list I left out an element that gives perspective and context – reality. So here is the list revised with a good dose of reality.

Sure it could be true that life without Cerebral Palsy in many ways would make my life easier. But I am still human and everyone has something they struggle with. Therefore the challenges faced would be different but not avoided altogether.

Sure Chronic Fatigue makes life more difficult but I am grateful that Chronic Fatigue is like a rollercoaster or a mountain when I hit lows (utterly exhausted) it sucks but when I hit highs (lots of energy) man it is awesome and I experience more highs than lows now compared to when I was first diagnosed.

Those surgeries and medical appointments helped me gain the quality of life I enjoy today. True I do have a lingering fear of needles but I have come a long way; I can now have blood tests without a numbing patch. Maybe one day I will be able to let go of my fear completely and get a tattoo, I have a few designs in mind.

That was a rough time in my life (High School) but I am no longer there and have had many more opportunities to make up for the few I missed. Plus the experience didn’t destroy me completely and I learnt valuable lessons such as the dangers of someone’s control over you.

I found it really tiring studying for my degree that I couldn’t physically give anymore and then after I completed my degree my anxiety did not help me at all. Not to mention I lacked the all-important experience.

Do you realise none of this surprises Jesus? He had my life planned out before the beginning of time. If Jesus wanted me to get a job I would only have to apply for one not thousands. Jesus has a plan for my life; sure I don’t fully understand His choices but I know ‘if only…’ is tearing me apart. If I always look at ‘if only’ I forget to look for what Jesus is doing despite them.

Love,

Cathryn

Just Breathe

Isaiah 45:9 – 10 “Woe to him who quarrels with his Maker, to him who is but a potsherd among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you making?’ Does your work say, ‘He has no hands?’ Woe to him who says to his father, ‘What have you begotten?’ or to his mother ‘What have you brought to birth?’

This week I just feel exhausted. The kind of exhaustion that makes me want to stay in bed but knowing if I do I will get a thumping headache – thanks Chronic Fatigue you are ever so kind – not! And I feel so sore where stretching doesn’t make much difference. I know that the highs and lows are all part of A Mountainous Journey which is Chronic Fatigue. It is so easy to become frustrated and hurt by the lows (exhaustion) that I can forget the highs (being full of energy) and that the lows do pass so I can enjoy the highs once again. This picture can be brought into all of life too.

I have made it no secret how hard I have found waiting to be (I hope I am not alone in this). In an effort to be honest and open with all of you here is some of what I am waiting for:

A husband

Children

Moving out of home

Travelling

Work

The first two are especially close to my heart. Yet here I am waiting. Jesus has told me it is not His perfect timing to have these desires realised yet, but He has told me Trust me I know your heart. I believe Jesus tenderly holds my heart but that does not mean I become superhuman and don’t feel when asked to wait, because at times it just hurts. Some things I have found helpful when trying to breathe through the frustration and hurt, to remain hopeful. These are:

Talk to Jesus how you are really feeling – He always calms my troubled heart

Give your desires to Jesus – if something is not meant for you then Jesus will have another dream for you to dream

Remind yourself of God’s perfect timing in your life before – read about some of mine in Unexpected Detour

Look out for stories of God’s perfect timing – Nick Vuijicic wrote Love Without Limits detailing his beautiful love story with his wife, Kanae. On Instagram I follow a woman who held onto God’s promise to her that one day she would be the mother of twins; she waited 10 years – but now she holds her promises, her baby boys. These stories give me hope, that despite the waiting, God is faithful to the promises He gives

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Photo credit: Amazon

 

Remember every season has a time limit, even the season of waiting – I am not in the same place I was 10 years ago and the same will be true for this season.

Be thankful – for what you have and where you are right now, God has placed so much beauty in this moment for you to enjoy.

I want to encourage you to take a breath and focus on Jesus in order to regain peace and hopefulness for the future. Job 42:2 reassures us “I know you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted.” If something is a part of God’s greater plan for your life it will happen in His perfect timing. The hurt of waiting will fade to but a distant memory as you are filled with pure joy at a promise fulfilled and God’s amazing faithfulness.

Love,

Cathryn

Who Would Have Thought

2 Timothy 2:20 – 21 “In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.”

This week I have been preparing with Jesus to share a different part of my journey in life to a different live audience. This time I won’t be in my home church yet I will have familiar faces in the form of neighbours, friends and family. It has been three months since I last spoke and while Resurgence of the Shadows has come back again, in the form of anxiety, there has been another challenge this time around which I honestly wasn’t expecting. That is having Jesus and myself reintroduce ourselves to each other again. We have been going strong for months now; then I wasn’t sure who Jesus was anymore. I share about that experience in I Will Help You. Great timing I know. But through that experience Jesus and I grew closer and stronger. It reminds me of the journey I have been on to get to this place of sharing part of my story for the second time.

A lot of people have been encouraging by complimenting me on my speaking and writing ability. It is really sweet of them. My response, ‘I couldn’t have done it and continue to do so without Jesus.’ If you had told me five years ago I would be speaking and writing I would have laughed, thinking you had mistaken me for someone else. Don’t believe me? In grade four our class had to perform an end of year play. We got to choose our roles. Did I choose the role with the most lines to ensure I would have most of the limelight? No. I was the kid who came in at the end of the play and said two words. You read correctly TWO words. They were ‘I’m home’ I was so nervous I rushed on stage when it was time forgetting to wait for a microphone so no one probably even heard my two words! In case you are wondering I did spend time rehearsing my role, because you know two words have so much potential and possibility. Grade six proved to be my biggest speaking role (as a child) as one of the narrators of the school play. Some factors did impact the decision to give me such a large speaking part because I was in no way eager. Firstly bigger parts tended to go to people in higher grades, secondly I had recently had major surgery so was in a wheelchair and thirdly, everyone in the school had to have a part. High School was non-existent for speaking and writing as I struggled with really low self – esteem. Even in University I avoided extra writing and speaking. Anything I did do was required as part of the coursework. I remember one time, late in my degree, one of my lectures asked me if I would blog for the university. I was tempted to accept, mainly because my ego soared by the fact I was sort after. But the timing was all wrong; I was feeling burnt out emotionally and physically and I had no idea what to write. I ended up turning the blogging opportunity down.

Fast forward a year to 2016. Where I spent the year healing and changing by Letting Go of a lot of hurtful events in my past. It was the year I discovered I am truly lovable just as I am. These two things allowed me to gain a freedom I never thought I would have. In order to share my story whether written or spoken I had to come to a point that it was ok, excited even, to share my life with people even the hurtful parts. A place Jesus himself brought me to. A place I couldn’t have gotten to without him. A place I never believed possible, yet in 2017 it is a place I am living in.

I want to encourage you that Jesus has a unique purpose for each of you. Jesus can bring you to places in your life that you never imagined and help you do amazing things through Him.

Love,

Cathryn

I Will Help You

Isaiah 41: 11 – 14 “All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced; those who oppose you will be as nothing and perish. Though you search for your enemies, you will not find them. Those who wage war against you will be as nothing at all. For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. Do not be afraid, O worm Jacob, O little Israel, for I myself will help you,” declares the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.

Often when I blog or post quotes on Dandelion Dust & Honey’s Facebook page reading them provides a source of encouragement for me although I give them to you. For a couple of weeks I have been struggling with doubt and unbelief not only for the promises I have received yet to be fulfilled but also for my friend Jesus. I questioned whether my promises would even come true or even if Jesus was real. As soon as that seed was planted it began to invade my very being; my thoughts, my actions and my heart. I continued to talk to Jesus and Him with me but I couldn’t shake this cold feeling of doubt and unbelief. I felt very afraid I hadn’t experienced an accusing voice in my head picking at the thing that means the most to me – my relationship with Jesus. In a sneering voice it would taunt me ‘why do you believe what you believe?’ ‘what if Jesus isn’t real, I mean you can’t see Him so how can you be sure?’ ‘none of your promises will come true they are just too impossible’ and so it would continue.

I knew one thing for sure I didn’t want to lose Jesus; He is my friend, my one consistent through thick and thin. I knew in my heart I wanted to fight for my relationship with Jesus despite being disadvantaged due to struggling with disbelief and doubt. I was reading in the Bible about the faith of the Centurion (Luke 7: 1 – 10) and how the Centurion believed in Jesus’ power before he got the miracle he hoped for – the healing of his sick servant. I talked to Jesus and said “I want faith like that Lord, to believe you before I get what I hope for. To trust in who you are, in your power and faithfulness. Please help me to have faith like the Centurion.”

My heart finds it easier to believe once again as Jesus showed me this:

It is dark and the moonlight doesn’t give adequate lighting but merely highlights eerie shadows. This time I am a small child clinging to Jesus’ robe as we walk in the dark. Jesus is a light in the dark glowing like a child’s night light. He walks purposefully despite the darkness. I am terrified as I sense monsters are lurking in the shadows wanting to harm me and separate me from Jesus. I begin to cry burying my face into Jesus’ robe feeling very afraid. Jesus stops momentarily and picks me up, His distressed child, and holds me close whispering against my hair “sh my darling it is alright, I am here, you are alright.” Gently rocking me as He speaks in a calm, confident and reassuring voice. The tears stop but I don’t want to let go I feel safe within Jesus’ arms despite the darkness around us. Jesus does not insist I walk but continues to hold me close and I cling to Him. Jesus continues to walk purposefully on our way as He Himself illuminates our path and we journey into the night.

Yet my head still struggled as it fought against the accusing, sneering voice that would not be silenced. I went to church but didn’t want to show the true extent to which I was struggling. On Sunday my pastor spoke about accusing, sneering voices and the power of praying in Jesus name. I also talked to a friend that said Jesus did want to talk to us on a regular basis. Now if only I could trust Jesus’ voice with all my heart and silence the critic who would love to destroy my relationship with Jesus.

That night I prayed in Jesus name and again in the morning and both times doubt and unbelief disappeared and the evil one fled. I believed that Jesus was for real as I couldn’t have done it without Him. These are a few sentences I repeated out loud:

In Jesus name I am a child of God

Jesus is mine and I am His

His promises will come true for He is faithful to His promises

Nothing can separate me from Jesus

I choose to believe in Jesus. I love Jesus. He has helped me through a whole lot

Evil one in the name of Jesus get out of my head, get out of my being and leave me alone

Without Jesus I couldn’t have won the battle for our relationship. I am reminded of my other instances throughout my life where Jesus has revealed Himself to me confirming His realness. I will share a few with you now.

In Marco Polo I wrote about how I had a terrible panic attack and my fears were crippling me to the point of suicide. I considered suiciding. Deep breathing wasn’t working, positive thoughts proved useless, I felt too paralysed by fear to go for a walk. Every technique I had been given wasn’t helping at all as the situation escalated out of control. My only solution left other than suiciding was to cry out to Jesus for help, for Him to rescue me. And Jesus showed up in the storm and carried me through and then quietened the storm so the fears lost their power and living was once again an enjoyable option, a hopeful one.

When I was a young child I was cross – eyed in two different directions (talented I know). The eye doctor said I would need two eye surgeries to correct the problems. My parents prayed for Jesus to intervene. When I went back to the eye doctor one of the directions was healed as a result I only needed one surgery. Without Jesus’ healing power I had no other option but to have the two surgeries.

In Beautiful Scars I shared how I prayed for healing so I could walk. Over and over I asked Jesus “please let me walk.” Jesus answered my request by doing the impossible. For my type and severity of Cerebral Palsy doctors told us, me and my parents, that I only had one option to end up in a wheelchair due to muscles not being able to keep up with growth (muscles become too tight). There were no other options. Jesus decided to show His power and realness by creating a previously non – existent option. To allow me to continue walking with a walking frame. Every day I have a tangible example of Jesus’ realness in my life.

I want to encourage you that Jesus is very real and loves you very much. He delights to take care of you and show His presence in your everyday life. Don’t pass things off as coincidence like a beautiful sunny day or that dress you wanted was on sale; these moments big and small shine Jesus’ love for you and His realness. Whatever storm you are facing Jesus will help you. Jesus was hurt I doubted Him and didn’t believe Him but that didn’t stop Jesus loving me and reassuring me of Himself again. Jesus is willing to do the same for you. Will you let Him?

Love,

Cathryn

In the Meantime…Be Thankful

Psalm 147:7-9 “Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; make music to our God on the harp. He covers the sky with clouds; he supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills. He provides food for the cattle and for the young ravens when they call.”

I have been challenged in the meantime… be thankful. When the waiting season for me first began I really struggled with people’s expectations (real and assumed) and my own. Who was I if I was no longer a university student? Why do I have to go back home (seems like a backward step to me)? Will I be stuck in this season?

Jesus knows exactly what my current situation is. He knows yours too. He knows how painful and frustrating it can be watching others around you getting what you desire. Like friends getting married while I remain single for example. Don’t get me wrong my heart is overflowing for happiness for them but I feel sad it hasn’t happened for me yet. When I go to Jesus to let him know; Jesus I am still living at home, Jesus I am still single, Jesus I still don’t have paid work, Jesus I haven’t travelled as much as I would like to. And the list goes on. He has whispered into my heart trust me, trust me, trust me which helps to quieten my anxious heart and restore peace for where I am right now. Lately Jesus has been encouraging me more and more to be grateful for the awesome place I am in right now in my life. Jesus is working on fulfilling the promises He has given me in His perfect timing but in the meantime [I need to] be thankful. It is about choosing to see the blessing in what you have right now rather than what you don’t have. So here are a few current situations I find myself in which I have consciously chosen to see what good there is in the midst of them.

I am still living at home: My parents haven’t kicked me out and I can savour time spent with my family before life changes.

Relationship status = single: During this waiting season I have gotten to work on me; to know my worth, to know I am truly loved, that being anxious doesn’t have to be a full time gig etc. to continue to grow and change to become a better person.

I have no abs: Some of you may laugh or roll your eyes, but this is serious, having abs is #bodygoals for me. At the moment though, I am in the best shape I have been in in a long time and more importantly I love my body. I can finally look in the mirror and like what I see.

No paid work: I had to realise my worth has nothing to do with what I accomplish. That I am lovable just for being me. I am back studying, which I am enjoying.

I went outside this afternoon. The sun was shining, the birds were chirping, everything looked and sounded so beautiful. I was thinking about singing the songs from The Sound of Music. The day just made me feel happy. As I looked down at the lush, green grass that felt amazing under my feet I couldn’t help but remember all my blessings even though the season I am in hasn’t changed.

I want to encourage you to look for the blessings Jesus has placed in your life – right where you are. To love your own adventure. I hope it doesn’t take you as long, as it did me, to realise it is ok to have uniqueness in your story – to not have the same steps as everyone else. Jesus has unique adventures for each of us.

Love,

Cathryn

Hard Work

Philippians 4:13 “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”

I have been a university student for seven weeks now, and it’s hard work. Surprised? I sure am. Somehow I thought studying for the second time would be easier. Not a chance! I have submitted two assignments so far, both were late by a few days. In hindsight there are three things I didn’t factor in which probably contributed to the lateness.

  • I underestimate how long it is going to take.
  • I find studying tiring: you can read about my ongoing battle with Chronic Fatigue in A Mountainous Journey.
  • My body is so sore: it is not used to sitting at a computer for many hours.

I am definitely feeling it returning to study: physically, emotionally and mentally. When I studied my first degree it was not all smooth sailing, which initially surprised me, as everyone had great stories of the social life university brings. For me it remains the highlight of my first experience. But they conveniently left out how hard gaining a degree is, to be fair, I honestly never thought to ask them. What I wasn’t expecting was the three things above but also the heavy workload, crippling anxiety (for which I went home every weekend just to cope) and having to accept that carers and an electric wheelchair were just part of my new life. Up to that point year 12 was my biggest workload (which I completed over two years). Most of this time was spent ignoring how dominant my anxiety was and refusing to deal with events from my past. My parents took care of me and I protested against using an electric wheelchair. The last one might surprise you so let me explain. Here are five reasons I protested getting an electric wheelchair.

  1. Electric wheelchairs aren’t small by any stretch of the imagination, there is no blending into the crowd when you are in it. For a girl who has always wanted to fit in this was a no go. When I eventually HAD to get one (otherwise I would be very late to class, wreck a ton of shoes because of the way I walk and probably collapse walking that far all the time) I got the slimmest model I could find and it was STILL massive.
  2. An OT once told me “you will have so much freedom”. Let’s ponder that for a moment. Electric wheelchairs can’t go up and down curbs, stairs and even gutters that are too deep. Due to their large mass, electric wheelchairs struggle to move around stores (knocking things off shelves and they can’t fit into most change rooms) and in restaurants (fitting under tables and moving past other customers). I will save you from visualising every situation, but you get the idea. An electric wheelchair doesn’t offer me more freedom because I still have options in the form of a walking frame and a manual wheel chair. For people that don’t have those options I am sure it does provide freedom. I just wish that OT’s didn’t say such a flippant broad statement like that, because the reality just hurts.
  3. It is never fast enough. It may cost as much as a small car (that’s just the base model without any bells and whistles) but it sure doesn’t have the speed of one. I much prefer Fast & Furious to Driving Miss Daisy. My family and friends will joke about putting in a better motor among other things. May be one of these days we will try… could be fun!
  4. Until I went to university it was never seen as a necessity. The only reason I have a walking frame is because I need it, without it I would fall down and get nowhere, literally. The same goes for an electric wheelchair for a long time I didn’t need one. I have a manual wheelchair for longer distances that people I am with can push and help me get around stores etc.
  5. My electric wheelchair only just fits, disassembled, in my parents Ford Territory that is with nothing else in the boot. This means I am less inclined to take it anywhere considering the walking frame and manual wheelchair are much more compact in comparison.

A friend of mine recently decided to change direction with her study. She was travelling more hours than she was sitting in class for. Her decision made me question my own to Just Jump. I thought to myself studying is hard, should I really be doing it? From previous experience I knew that just because something is hard doesn’t mean it is not worth it. And Jesus had asked me to study again. I think of it this way, a few months ago I started lifting weights. I had been previously unsure about it as I didn’t want to become bulky. Once I found the answer ‘you will not become like the Hulk from lifting weights’ I was happy to take up the exercise. I didn’t realise when I started how hard it is to lift weights. I have always had pretty good upper body strength, but I could really feel the burn. For me it has been worth it; I have increasingly toned arms despite how hard it is.

If you are finding something hard work and you’re wondering whether you should continue ask Jesus about it. If He says “stop”, stop. If He says “keep going”, don’t give up. Jesus will help you.

Love,

Cathryn

 

Worth It

John 3:16 -17 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

I hope all of you had a wonderful Easter. Two words that echoed in my thoughts during the Easter period was worth it. That Jesus thought I was worth it. That you were indeed worth it. Despite being flawed and despite being broken. Jesus always planned to restore our relationship.

For a long time I held two contradictory images of Jesus simultaneously in my head. On one hand I thought Jesus was angry with me all the time. On the other hand I thought He was my rock in the storms of life. The way I viewed Jesus was evident in my actions. I asked Jesus into my heart like I was taking out an insurance policy each year because I never felt secure in the relationship and yet I would cling to Jesus when I needed comfort and strength like when I had surgeries. It was not until 18th July 2016 when I knew in my heart that Jesus truly loved me that everything changed for me. If I were to describe it in two words it would be Set free. I wonder if Jesus was to describe it in two words would worth it be on His lips, I like to think so.

As my relationship with Jesus deepens it seems to hurt more when I disappoint Him, despite asking for forgiveness. In Set Free I wrote:

Jesus crouched in front of me and with compassion asked why the chains were back in place. I told Him about the morning at the market saying this is who I was – a slave. Jesus said “I paid the price for you to set you free” with that He removed the chains once again.

If I walked toward Jesus in a paddock, in the golden sunlight, He wouldn’t be meeting me to spear tackle me to the ground proceeding to list all the things I have ever done wrong. For Isaiah 43:25 says “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.” Instead He would cup my face with His hands looking lovingly into my eyes say ‘You my darling were worth it’. For Exodus 19:5b says “You will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine.” Jesus was motivated by love to restore the relationship with us that we broke. Do you know how much Jesus loves you? A way that has helped me to try and grasp understanding of this love and rescue was to make John 3:16 – 17 personal:

John 3:16 -17 “For God so loved the world Cathryn that he gave his one and only Son, that [if] whoever Cathryn believes in him Cathryn shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world Cathryn, but to save the world Cathryn through him.”

I encourage you to put your own name in these verses, it was meant for you too. What Jesus did for me and for you on the cross doesn’t mean we become super human and perfect because that just isn’t real. It means though that if we choose to we can accept Jesus’ gift of a restored relationship and be with Him forever. When I stuff up (which is regularly) I can ask for forgiveness and Jesus can help me change to become a better person because, even though Jesus hates sin, He loves me with reckless abandonment. To Jesus it was always worth it.

Love,

Cathryn

Under the Apple Tree

Song of Songs 2:6 “His left arm is under my head, and his right arm embraces me.”

To be honest I wasn’t going to write this week but I like talking to all of you each week. I have an assignment due 5pm tomorrow that I haven’t finished yet. Part of me is like I have plenty of time she’ll be right the other part is must not panic… I am panicking! It is exhausting with the constant swing of emotions. Before you relabel this blog post as ‘procrastination at its finest’ hear me out; I am writing this to encourage you that Jesus is in the midst of your busyness – you might not be a university student but I am sure you have things in your life that just make it busy.

Jesus wants to help us with our busy lives. He also wants to take us to quiet places. Quiet places where we can shut out the noise for a while. Quiet places where we can hear and enjoy His voice in the stillness because He is no longer competing. Quiet places where we can relax, become peaceful and rejuvenated.

In Be Still I mentioned two quiet places Jesus and I go despite never leaving my house. I imagine we meet at a beautiful beach or a field of wild flowers because I feel the most free and happy to be me in those places. Recently Jesus introduced another quiet place, we meet – under an apple tree. This is what He showed me:

Jesus and I are sitting under an apple tree, it is a beautiful day. I am in His arms, He lovingly touches my hair smiling at me. Jesus reaches up and picks an apple handing it to me with a kiss on my cheek – it is delicious. After a few moments we get up to dance, both of us smiling and laughing as I twirl around.

This beautiful imagery sums up our, Jesus and my, time spent together – peaceful, joyful and strengthening. I miss it if I forget or get too busy to catch up; much the same way with my other friends.

It is ok to take time out of your schedule to find quiet places with Jesus; there will always be something vying for your attention. My tip is to add seeking quiet places with Jesus (I put it down as quiet time – the label doesn’t matter) to your ‘to do list’ that way it just becomes a part of your day.

Love,

Cathryn