When Faith Seems Far Off

  Patience. The one thing that seems to elude me no matter how hard I try, no matter how I strive. I want what I want and I want it now. And thinking about it, I realize I’ve always been this way. I just never realized it.

This is especially hard when waiting on God. When I know He has something for me, but I just can’t have it yet. And when I have a desire I know God himself has laid on my heart, when I know that what I want more than anything is what He has called me to do, waiting is so hard. What exactly am I waiting on? I know His calling. What I don’t know is His timing. And, have mercy, is it hard to wait.

RIGHT NOW, THE ONE THING WE WANT MORE THAN ANYTHING IS ONLY POSSIBLE BY WAITING ON GOD AND HIS TIMING AND IT IS EXHAUSTING. But, we have asked Him for it. He has laid the desire for it on our hearts, and it is in line with His Word. So now what?

Now, I have to let go of what I want now and have  faith that what HE has planned in HIS timing is better than what I could do if I did it myself NOW.

I started a new Bible Study this week. Ironically, it focuses on faith. What do I believe in God? Do my actions back up those beliefs or do they show that I actually believe something else about Him? What I’ve found is that I seem to have all the faith in the world as long as it fits in my little box and I can control it. But God doesn’t work that way. He is so much bigger than my control issues and my need to know everything that’s going on.

Let’s explore a little about who God is. If God is everything He says he is, how can we not have faith in Him and His plan (and His timing!)?

Psalm 48:14 says, “For this God is our God forever and ever; He will be our guide even until death.” TRANSLATION: God is never going to leave you. He will ALWAYS guide you.

Psalm 54:4-7 says, “Behold, God is my helper and ally; the Lord is my upholder and is with them who uphold my life. He will pay back evil to my enemies; in Your faithfulness Lord put an end to them. With a freewill offering I will sacrifice to You; I will give thanks and praise Your name, O Lord, for it is good. For He has delivered me out of every trouble, and my eye has looked in triumph on my enemies.” TRANSLATION: God is your helper. God is with those who protect you. The name of the Lord is good. He is your deliverer.

Psalm 77:13-15 says, “Your way O God is in the sanctuary (in holiness away from sin and guilt). Who is a great God like our God? You are the God who does wonders; You have demonstrated Your power among the peoples. You have with Your mighty arm redeemed Your people, the sons of Jacob and Joseph. Selah!” TRANSLATION: God is mighty and powerful. He has redeemed us.

1 Corinthians 1:25 says, “This is because the foolish thing that has its source in God is wiser than men, and the weak things that springs from God is stronger than men.” TRANSLATION: Foolishness in God is wiser than any wisdom we could have. Any weakness in God is stronger than our strengths.

 

Ladies, if God is all these things: always with us guiding us, our helper, our protector, our deliverer, mighty redeemer, wise and strong, if He is all these things, shouldn’t we trust Him and His timing and His plan more than ours? It’s so hard when we can’t see it. SO. HARD. But if we push through and have faith in Him until we see it manifest, it will be so much more wonderful than anything we could have done on our own.

 

Love to my loves,

 

Cate

 

 

 

The Best Parenting Advice I Ever Got

  

Raising two little girls is quite an interesting thing. Especially when they are so completely different. Adeline, who is four, is ridiculously strong-willed and EXTREMELY smart. She has been headstrong and ready to roar since the very beginning. She is funny and witty and very quick on her feet. She was talking nonstop at 18 months and knew all her letters, shapes, body parts, and a jillion different songs by two.  Now, at four, she can write her name, is beginning to read, and this basically going on 30. Abigail is 18 months and very much the baby. She is a snuggler, always wants to be held and is very silly. She knows most body parts, but would rather play than learn them. She is saying a few words and is right on track with development in all areas. They couldn’t be more different.

Parenting children is not a one-size-fits-all kind of thing. Each child learns and behaves differently, so what works with one might not work with another. There was a point in time when Superman and I were at wit’s end trying to parent such a strong-willed child. We reached out to Pastor Marcus, who is the associate pastor and after giving us some really good ideas and advice, he gave us one sentence that has really stuck with me:

Rules without relationship breeds rebellion.

Now, Superman and I made a decision from the beginning that no matter what, our kids would know that they were loved unconditionally, no matter what they did, how they acted, or anything else. They would know they were loved by their parents and their God. They’d never have to search for love anywhere else. So many mistakes I made was because of searching for approval in the wrong places and it was important to me that our kids never had to do experience that.

And although we always made that a priority, we struggled with finding a balance between discipline and love. We want our kids to know we discipline them BECAUSE we love them. So when Pastor Marcus told us that one sentence, everything started to make sense. Relationship is key. We had that. But what we struggled with was this: Rules are needed. They are key to raising functioning adults. And when rules are created they must be followed CONSISTENTLY. And when they aren’t, there must be consequences.

BUT, when we create rules for our children and strictly enforce them, but do not show them that they are loved NO MATTER WHAT and in spite of their performance, they can and will rebel. They need to know that they are loved despite their performance, but that specific performance IS expected.

 

What’s the best parenting advice you ever recieved?

 

Love to my loves,
Cate

My 5 Favorite Mommy/Lifestyle Blogs

5faveblogs

I never thought I’d be a writer. I’ve always been am avid reader, but the concept of actually putting my thoughts on paper was foreign and seemed like something for creative folks- not how I’d describe myself.

When I became a mom, which in the internet age is the single hardest thing EVER with all the pressure to be perfect, I sought out anything I could find or read to help me make it through the craziness of not living up to society’s standards.

Enter Mommy Bloggers. Now, some parenting bloggers are just hateful. If you don’t do it their way, you’re doing it wrong. Let me introduce you to some who are the exact opposite of that:

Disclaimer: These are in NO PARTICULAR order… I love you all equally.

1.) The Chic Site (Rachel Hollis) at www.thechicsite.com.

Rachel, oh, Rachel. Rachel has a heart of gold. She is always helping others and that is something to which I aspire. She is a boy mom, to which I cannot relate because I have only girls, but her momming is encouraging. (yep. I just used “momming” as a verb.) Rachel is adorably dorky, which is kind of my favorite thing. She is hilarious and always builds people up with her posts. I’ve never seen a post in which she was being the slightest bit judgmental or harsh. She is amazing. She includes recipes, crafty stuff, parenting, fitness, basically everything. And on Mondays she posts a video called RachTalk, which is just her talking about things. My husband LOVES RachTalk. It’s kind of our thing.

2.) Scissortail Silk (Becky Thompson) at www.beckythompson.com

Becky Thompson. This girl, y’all. She’s gorgeous. She’s real.  She posts so many wonderful insights into the Word of God and His mercy. It’s ridiculous. She hits my heart every time. She knows parenting isn’t always butterflies and rainbows and she’s real about it all while encouraging moms to hang in there.

She helped me through the hardest time of my life and I never even met or spoke with her. For those of you who have experienced the heartbreak of miscarriage, I beg of you, go visit Becky’s site. Her experience with it and her passion to help others heal from it is something I don’t  believe I could have survived those days without.

3.) Hope Filled Home (Mary Lindsey Blanton)

Let’s sum it up now: When I grow up,  I want to be Mary Lindsey. On her blog, you can walk with her through infertility, raising five kids (including a set of triplets) and the latest loss of their sweet baby Asa, whose story has been used to inspire and encourage. I literally could not have made it through parenting without  her. She is the most pure example I could possibly think of to explain the faith I pray to God I some day have. My aunt went to church with the Blantons and after the loss of our baby introduced me to her blog. Now, they live 45 minutes from me and I’ve considered multiple times going to their church just to tell her how much I have been affected by her faith. And I’m just enough of a stalker to follow through with it. LOL

4.) Hahas For Hoohas (Anna Lind Thomas & Contributors) at http://www.hahasforhoohas.com

STAHHP IT! This mess is HILARIOUS. Like, pee your pants, crying in public, people giving you weird looks funny. These girls are the ones whose posts I read when I’m in a sour mood and need to laugh. It’s that good. Don’t ask questions. Just go. NOW.

5.) Women Living Well (Multiple Contributors) at http://www.womenlivingwell.org.

When Cate doesn’t know what to do as far as Bible Study, Homemaking, Parenting, or pretty much anything else, Cate consults Women Living Well. (How weird that I just used third person. Odd.) They’re my go-to girls. See my post on my favorite Bible study method, which I found on their website. There is a direct link in that post! They’re encouraging , uplifting, and just pretty darn awesome!

There you have it! My five faves. What are your go-to sites?

Love to my loves,

Cate

When Days Are Dark- A Prayer For Paris

  

There are days in life when we all feel as if we cannot possible go on, when the burden is too great, when the road seems to go on and on.  Yesterday, the entire world was shaken by those feelings. Yesterday, a nation was brought to it’s knees by hatred and evil that most people cannot begin to even comprehend.

It’s times like this when we really find out what we are made of as people, as humans. But most of all, we find out what we are called for as Christians. We are called to love above all else. As we reel in shock from the events of yesterday in Paris, where over a hundred lives were taken and millions of lives were affected, we must somehow find the courage to stand and say, “This. Is. Enough.”

It’s enough hatred. It’s enough division. It’s enough evil. And it’s time to fight. But from thousands of miles away and when most of us don’t even know anyone in France, how do we fight? We fight the only way we can- with the Word of God. HIS LOVE WILL PREVAIL. It always has. It always will. In the midst of tears, in the midst of sorrow, we must stand on the Word of God.

This is my prayer of Peace for Parisians and for the world in the midst of such tragedy, please take some time and pray with me:

 

Father God,

When our heart is overwhelmed, lead us to the rock that is higher than we. Show us your face. Heal the hurting, Lord, and turn their eyes to you. In our darkest hours, it’s so hard to see you. It’s so hard to WANT to see you. We question you. We ask, “Why?” But, Father, show us the good that you will bring of this. Your word says that what Satan intends for evil you will use for your glory.  Show it to us, Lord. Show us your Glory. Send your disciples out to minister to these families that have lost loved ones. Send them your people and cover them in your love. Give them YOUR PEACE, God. I pray that hearts are not hardened to you, Lord, but softened. I pray that you lead France, as a nation, to show the world your goodness and your strength. I pray that you will show those in leadership how to handle this horrifying situation and give them the wisdom that only you can give. And most of all, Lord, I pray that your will be done here on Earth as it is in Heaven. We know from your Word that your will is to save the lost and bring them into a relationship with you, God. I pray that through the fog, they will see the light of the world calling them to give their lives over to You. And I thank you that we recieve the things for which we ask in the Holy name of Jesus.

Amen.

My loves, Phillipians 4:4 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Join me in prayer for the city of Paris, the country of France, and the World. Let’s shine the light of God.

 

Love to my loves,

Cate

 

 

 

My FAVORITE Bible Study Method

bible study

See the Bible in the picture? Yea, the pink one. That’s the actual Bible I have. And I love it. It’s The Everyday Life Bible and it is in the Amplified version, which is my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE VERSION of the Bible to read. I like words and wordiness because I’m a nerd. It’s my “Joyce Meyer” Bible because, well, I bought it from her website. You can purchase the latest version of it here.

Onward, Bible Studiers!!!!!!

I first came across this method of Bible study on Pinterest. No, I didn’t come up with it on my own- I’m really not that creative. I was checking out the Women Living Well Pinterest boards (which I’m obsessed with) and a bunch of different colors caught my eye. What can I say? I’m a colorful person. So I clicked on it.

Y’all! This changed everything for me.

I’ve always been a good student. It’s never been hard for me to comprehend things, but in order for that to happen I’ve always had to hand write the material. I know, right? Can you imagine me in college trying to handwrite 3 chapters out of the Anatomy and Physiology textbook? So it’s no wonder that picking up the Bible has always been like reading it in the original Greek or Hebrew- I had no idea what I was reading or how it pertained to me in the least.

Enter the Good Morning Girls.

When you finish reading this, I want you to immediately go to http://www.goodmorninggirls.org. Twenty bucks says you’ll fall in love with them. They do a thing they call “Blogging throught the Bible” and Oh My Gracious. The revelation is SO GOOD. I might have a girl crush on all of them. Can I just be them when I grow up?

SO HERE’S THE STUDY METHOD THEY TAUGHT ME.

What you Need:

A Bible

Color Pencils.

That’s it.

Now, as you read your Bible, you color. That’s it. It’s not technically “Bible Journaling” or whatever the cool kids call it these days. Although it is pretty similar. I can’t “Bible Journal” because it would look like my four year old had been coloring in my Bible. HOWEVER, in this method, each color coordinates with specific topics. So if I want to go back and see what the Bible says on a certain topic, I just flip through and look at the colors. Mine isn’t pretty, but it works.

  
See? Told ya! Not pretty. 

Here are the colors and corresponding topics according to the Good Morning Girls:

PURPLE- God, Jesus, Holy Spirit, Savior, Messiah

PINK- women of the Bible, family, marriage, parenting, friendship, relationships

RED- love, kindness, mercy, compassion, peace, grace

GREEN- faith, obedience, growth, fruit, salvation, fellowship, repentance

YELLOW- worship, prayer, praise, doctrine, angels, miracles, power of God, blessings

BLUE- wisdom, teaching, instruction, commands

ORANGE- prophecy, history, times, places, kings, genealogies, people, numbers, covenants, vows, visions, oaths, future

BROWN/GRAY- Satan, sin, death, hell, evil, idols, false teachers, hypocrisy, temptation

That’s it, guys. I color as I read and it somehow all makes sense to me. It’s just nuts and I am in love.

What’s better? I’m actually LEARNING what the Bible says instead of just READING what the Bible says.

Thanks, Good Morning Girls, if you ever see this. (And HI!!!!!!)

Love to my loves,

Cate

To Our Veterans

  

Today, I took my four year old to preschool, where she is taught the love of Jesus and the Pledge of Allegiance. If it weren’t for you and your sacrifice, I would have to be afraid for her life.

Today, I will read my Bible and drink my coffee in the privacy of my own home. If you hadn’t fought to free our country, I could have been put to death if I were found.

Today, I kissed my husband goodbye as he left for work. Your husband or wife didn’t get to kiss your lips for over a year.

Today, I will have a hot meal at dinnertime. You ate MRE’s for weeks on end.

Today, I will hold my baby when she cries, but because of your sacrifice, you missed your baby’s birth.

Today, I will take medicine to help me deal with postpartum depression. Yet you still face PTSD everyday because you aren’t receiving the help you so desperately deserve.

Today, I am cold. You spent months in the desert praying it would be less than 110 degrees that day.

Today, I know my husband will walk through the door at 7:45. You weren’t sure you’d ever make it home.

Today, I will be appreciated. You came home and were spat on.

Today, I will talk to my friend. You will talk to a headstone.

My dearest veteran, words cannot express the gratitude I feel toward you for your selflessness and your service. Because of you, I am free. Because of you, my babies know Jesus. And because of you, I will ALWAYS have everything I need. Nothing, NOTHING, in the United States of America would be possible without you. Your sacrifice, your dedication, and your courage has made possible the dreams of millions of people. I cannot say thank you enough.

John 15:3 says, “Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”

Love to my loves,
Cate

Taking Better Care of My Man

  

Just like everyone else, when I married Superman, I vowed to love him and stand by his side for better or worse. For five years, it has been mostly for better. We have, of course, had our less-than-stellar times, but for the most part, it’s been pretty easy. Last night, however, I saw my husband at his most vulnerable. I saw his innermost self. His rawness. His pain and his love. 

For the first time, I REALLY saw my husband. 

And it was heartbreaking. 

I’m married to the most amazing man in the world, no doubt. His love for his girls (myself included) is beautiful. I’ve always known he would do anything for us. I’ve always known how much he cares and his undying loyalty. What I didn’t know is how afraid he is to be himself. How he is constantly thinking about what is best for us with absolutely no regard for himself or his feelings or thoughts. How he is constantly putting himself aside for others. He is exhausted. And I never saw it. 

I’ve always said I know him better than he knows himself. And it’s true. More so now than ever. 

I don’t think he realizes how exhausted he is from not taking care of himself. From not having  friends because he constantly gives all of himself to his job and his family. From not having someone on the outside looking in to confide in. 

Yes. I am his best friend and he is mine. But I really think he needs someone else. A man who he can relate to and will help build him up. 

I realized last night that I’ve not been doing my job as his wife, either. This man gives us everything. Everything. He never considers himself. And I’ve been so wrapped up in what I’ve had going on that I left my partner behind. The man I swore to love and protect. The man I promised to take care of when he couldn’t (or wouldn’t) take care of himself. And it stops now. 

Ladies, chances are, he isn’t going to tell you when he is exhausted. He isn’t going to tell you what HE needs because he is busy taking care of what you need. What the kids need. But we have to be able to see past that and into the man we know better than anyone. SEE HIM. And take care of him. PRAY FOR HIM. HE NEEDS IT. AND HE NEEDS YOU. 

Love to my loves, 

Cate

Lies I Believed About Marriage….And the man who showed me The Truth

Lies I Believed

 When I got into high school, I had a ridiculously low self-esteem. I had boyfriend after boyfriend who treated me like I wasn’t worth much and only wanted one thing. When I refused to give it up, I was cast aside for the next girl. As I went through my teenage years, I saw many examples of how sex was equated with love and I eventually gave in hoping that someone would love me the way I wanted to be loved. And it broke me. Luckily, I was smart- a straight-A student, so I had at least one way of gaining everyone’s approval, right?

As I fell in love with relationships like Noah and Allie from The Notebook, that was what I sought after. I wanted a man who would chase after me, who would go through every effort to make endless romantic gestures, and kiss me in the rain. That was the epitome of “true love” to me. But it was a lie.

When I met my husband, I was in the middle of low self-esteem and desperately trying to fit in. I wanted to be wanted. I just knew I’d marry a country boy my family would love. He would be a hopeless romantic, a football fanatic, and he would certainly play the guitar and dedicate songs to me because he’d love me so much. Will was nothing like that guy. Will was a city boy from way back. He’d rather have worn dress shoes and a suit than boots. He could not have cared less about sports and had no interest in music AT ALL. And I married him.

This man. He has taught me so much about life and love and God. He’s taught me what it truly means to be loved and accepted. Here are some of the lies I believed and what I’ve since learned.

IF YOU DON’T FIGHT THERE IS NO PASSION.

Not. True. I grew up in a family that yells. A LOT. My parents would get in screaming matches and slam doors growing up. It was normal for me. Then, as I watched movies and listened to music, I saw women pining for PASSION. Apparently, if he cared enough to fight and yell with you, he was passionate about you and your relationship. Fast forward to our first year of marriage. I was a BIG yeller. I still can be. I’m working on it. This man REFUSED to argue with me. REFUSED. I mean would leave the room quietly and say,”We will talk when you can act like an adult.” It infuriated me. Wasn’t he passionate about me? Didn’t he care?

Then, as he led me closer to God, I realized why this was a lie: Ephesians 5: 25-29 says, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her. So that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the Word. That He might present the church to Himself in glorious splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such things (that she might be holy and faultless.) Eve so husbands should love their wives as their own bodies He who loves his own wife loves himself. For no man ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, as Christ does the Church.”

IF HE WON’T CHASE AFTER YOU, HE DOESN’T REALLY CARE.

When we first got married, we’d get in a fight and I’d walk out and slam the door- then wait outside to see if he was coming after me. HE WAS NOT. Then, I’d be upset that he wasn’t coming after me. Didn’t he care if I left? He must not or he’d beg me not to go. He’d come running after me if he REALLY wanted me to stay. THAT IS A LIE.

Here’s what the Bible says: 1 Peter 3:1 “In like manner, you married women be submissive to your own husbands (subordinate yourselves as being secondary to and dependent on them, and adapt yourselves to them), so that even if any do not obey the Word of God, they may be won over, not by discussion, but by the Godly lives of their wives.”

I was NOT being submissive. I was being manipulative. And he was not going to be manipulated.

IF HE LOVES YOU, HE WILL BE VERY ROMANTIC.

HA! This could be the biggest lie I’ve learned. Listen, Superman wouldn’t know “romance” if it wore a name tag and punched him in the face. And you know what? I’m still learning to let go of that one. Society tells us that a man who loves us will show up to our job with a bouquet of roses, a guitar, and self-written song declaring his undying love that he does not love us. It’s not that he doesn’t WANT to be romantic. I swear, he would do anything I asked him to. It’s just that he literally hass no idea where to start or what to do to be romantic. Now, I will say that on occasion he brings home flowers. He texts me multiple time throughout the day to tell me he is thinking about me and he loves me. That in itself is AMAZING. What I’m talking about in reference to “romance” is a nice, romantic date. His idea of a romantic date is Applebee’s and a Superhero movie. Now, don’t get me wrong. I LOVE THAT DATE! And I love doing that with my best friend. But, it simply will not suffice for our wedding anniversary. And despite what the world says about romance and love, I have NEVER even had a chance to question his love for me because he shows me everyday when he goes to work to take care of us, when he comes straight home to spend time with us, when he snuggles up to me on the couch after the girls are in bed, when he texts me during the day, when he forgives me after I act a fool.

Here’s why this rumor is a BIG FAT LIE:

“He exclaimed, O my love, how beautiful you are! There is no flaw in you!” Song Of Solomon 4:7

(The author believed the best in his love. He saw her as the most beautiful of women, though she was not what society considered beautiful. He loved her. He saw the good in her. He just showed her repeatedly how he loved her and thought well of her. It doesn’t have to be a relationship like the movies. They’re movies, after all.)

Superman, thank you for being that man. Thank you for loving me in spite of my crazy and through it. Thank you for making me feel worthy and showing me that through Christ, I am worthy. Thank you for being the man I needed and still need and the man our girls need. I love you.

Ladies, especially young ladies, listen. Don’t let the world tell you what to look for in a man. Somehow, God saw fit to send me a husband to show me how much He loved me despite my flaws. He sent me a man who truly knew how to love like Jesus. And I count myself lucky everyday. Don’t settle. Don’t settle for worldly “romance” or sex or what society calls “passion.” Wait for the man who will show you the love of God. It’s amazing.