Choosing courage in the storm

We all have a choice when it comes to how we face our storms.

And it’s not a matter of if storms will come, but when.

Storms can look like illness and deaths,

Personal struggles such as loneliness, shame or fear,

To others’ criticisms and disappointments,

As well as relationship issues.

Whatever they are, you have a choice.

You can brace yourself and try keep your head above the water,

Or you can let fear overtake you and drown in the midst of it.

I’ve found that often the choice to succumb to the storm is simply because we don’t know how to navigate it,

Or that we fear it will never end.

But storms don’t last forever.

We often find ourselves flailing,

And because we don’t know how we got there or when it’s going to end,

We give up and allow ourselves to be overtaken by the crashing waves and gail force winds.

I feel someone needs to hear this right now.

I remember a time in my own life when I was in between seasons.

I had finished up at a church and was awaiting the next door to open.

I remember feelings of loss, confusion, betrayal and a whole host of other emotions as I found myself processing the reality of what had just happened.

Discouragement can easily set in at these times.

And discouragement is the opposite of courage.

I remember writing in my journal this scripture,

‘And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.’  Romans 8:28

The funny thing about storms though, is that you can’t see the good that can possibly come out of one when you’re in one.

All you can see is chaos and monster waves,

No foreseeable way out or end to the madness.

But that’s part of what creates the atmosphere for change.

Something happens when we have to relinquish our control and let God take over.

Often it’s a process of simple surrender and allowing yourself to be carried by Him through the storm,

And not relying on yourself.

This process in itself changes you in one of the most profound ways.

Suddenly, you realise the deep care He has for your soul,

His supernatural ability to bring beauty out of ashes,

And the way He instructs you on how to learn the unforced rhythms of grace.

You see, going through a storm, you don’t come out the same.

It changes you and the trajectory of your life.

That particular storm reshaped parts of my identity that wouldn’t have otherwise been forged.

If I’d not gone through the storm, I’d be the same and that would have meant that many opportunities that I’ve been presented with following that time,

Simply would never have happened.

Storms prepare you for the coming season.

So chin up,

Hold fast to the promises you have received from God and navigate the storm the best you can.

Fight discouragement with big doses of worship and sinking yourself deep into the healing, restorative word of Christ,

And fight it with remembering who God has said you are and will become.

Don’t lose sight of the horizon.

Keep your eye on hope.

Look after yourself and find others who understand you and can support you in your storm, not judge you in it.

You don’t know what is happening in the midst of this crazy storm that is setting you up for your future,

Or that is changing the trajectory of your life for amazing things to come.

God is behind the scenes working everything together for your good.

Trust Him and His process.

Storms don’t last forever.

They pass.

And your storm shall also pass.

Much love today my friend,

Cate x

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What do we Do with the ‘During’ Seasons?

I read part of an article on my friend’s facebook wall a couple of days ago,

And the words I read have been echoing back and forth through my mind and around my head.

Glennon Doyle Melton, author of Love Warrior was recently interviewed by Oprah and part of what she said was this:

Lovely and easy and shiny people are really comfortable talking to people about their problems when they’re over…We’re not allowed to struggle until after we’ve done our victory lap.  That’s fine, but it’s less helpful than hearing from people in the trenches.  How do I show up in the during?  Maybe this all happened to me so I can go out there and be seen in the during.

And who among us isn’t in the during, in some form or another?

I think it struck such a deep chord because at the age I am now,

I’m highly aware that life is made up of Durings.

Befores and Afters, yes,

But also many Durings.

And often the Durings are the ugliest and the most awkward.  The darkest.

Truthfully,

Durings are often a time when most of us going into hiding.

That perennial flower that once bloomed bold and brightly,

Has now died and the work is going on underground.

The bulb is still alive but to the naked eye,

Above ground,

There is nothing left to see of what once stood tall and beautiful.

For now,

In the During,

It smells like dirt and brokenness.

It’s lost hope and is a shade of what it once was.

I think of the Durings.

They’re when you most want to hide and cover yourself until you come out the other side.

What do we do with those we know in the During seasons?

In the midst of separation, of betrayal, of despair, of illness, of unemployment, of depression, of panic attacks, of death, of suicide, of family crises?

We often don’t know what to do.

We find ourselves in the awkward place of having to fix it.

We find ourselves grappling for the right words.

We find ourselves turning away from the pain because it hurts too much to stare in the face of loss and failure and disappointment and hopelessness.

But Durings can’t be fixed and they can’t be worded eloquently and tied with neat bows.

They can only be lived through.

They’re not pretty and they’re not shiny and in the midst of them sometimes even your own reflection,

That person you thought you were,

Can get a bit contorted and you can lose yourself.

Or,

You can find yourself.

But the thing we all know is that no one wants to see you while you’re enduring your During.

Or do they?

Is this true?

Do we need more people showing up in their hardest, most painful seasons and daring to be seen,

Because when they do,

It tells us that though we thought we were,

We’re actually not alone.

It shows us that the During seasons have just as much validity,

And authority, at the table of life,

As much of a voice that speaks with it’s own distinct complimentary tune,

Than the victorious After seasons.

And that to be able to watch this process and to live through it with another,

Is actually akin to watching gold be wrought out of the ground.

What we know is that without a During,

You don’t get to experience hope, life, restoration, beauty, and redemption.

The Durings are the seed bed for the life that you will live victoriously.

Why is it then that nobody wants to look at it?

Is it because it can be ugly and messy and far from shiny?

I really want to be a person who can look at others in their Durings and be supportive rather than questioning how they got themselves there in the first place.

I’m not completely there yet but I’m trying.

Some During situations are complicated and too close to home sometimes.

But I’m trying.

I want to be someone who can look another’s During in the eye and say to them,

‘This During is going to make you become more resilient,

More beautiful,

More courageous,

More resolved to live a more powerful life…

Your roots are going to sink so much deeper into God because of it.

You are going to come out of this shining like pure gold if you let the During work its process.’

And with that perspective,

I hope to be found in the midst of more Durings with others so that when they find themselves in their victorious Afters,

I’ll be able to rejoice along with them from deep down in my own soul,

Because I know what it took to get there and that gives me permission to share in their victory lap.

Cate x

Cate is a mum, wife, singer, song writer, pastor, teacher and blogger.  She is the Founder of The Inspire Collective – a creative network for women in Perth and is one of the writers for Kinwomen and 98five Sonshine FM.

Cate singing

 

 

 

 

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What Room Does Fear Have?

What are you afraid of?

There was a time when I let this brutal emotion dictate who I was and who I thought I could become.

I would let it take the wheel of my imagination and steer me in a direction I inevitably regretted.

I used to be afraid of many things,

But mainly that my life would not live up to the expectation of what I wanted it to be.

That my dreams would remain unrealised.

That my voice wouldn’t count.

And many other things.

Fear can bind us to a tomorrow that we didn’t ask for.

It can lock us in a past we no longer want to identify ourselves by.

This morning, I watched a video that moved me to tears.

Perhaps you’ve seen it.

A dance team play out the words below in a basketball stadium before a game.

The words:

“What room does fear have?”

What room does fear have when I cling to trust?

What room does fear have when I lean on hope?

What room does fear have when I search for something more,

When I discover what’s good and when I stand in awe,

When I run for perseverance,

When I walk by faith and when I rest in comfort.

What room does fear have when I sing with praise?

When I take hold of inspiration, explore the possibilities and step in to freedom?

What room does fear have when I discover strength,

Embrace courage,

Remember peace,

Declare truth,

Choose joy,

Experience life and conquer death?

What room does fear have when I find perfection in the one place I never thought to look, in weakness.

When I’m saved by the most unlikely of heroes, by grace.

When I’m invited into a relationship more loving and intimate than I could ever imagine: as a child of God.

I’ll ask you again, what room does fear have when I step out of the darkness and I bask in the light.

When I let the past be the past and the future has no limits, when they can talk all they want but their opinion doesn’t matter, and when failure is nothing more and nothing less than the road by which I walk my path to success.

I’ll ask you one last time – what room does fear have when in His Word He tells me 365 times, – depending on the translation – DO NOT BE AFRAID!

Watch it and be inspired.

Enjoy your weekend my beautiful friends.

Much love,

Cate x

 

What Room Does Fear Have?

 

 

 

 

 

Will you show up and be seen?

It takes audacity to create.

Sometimes I’m willing to take the risks it requires,

Putting my heart out there,

Bearing my soul,

Bathing the canvas in whatever hues the day has given me,

Whether they’re washed blue with soul or white with purity,

Pink with promise or black with despair…

Letting myself be seen for who I really am…

They’re all decisions that require some kind of audacity.

Bravery.

Vulnerability and courage.

Grit and poise to remain true to the call.

There are the days that I’d rather cover it all up and read a book or pretend like that pull on me isn’t there.

You know that pull?

The one that is always calling,

To make,

To dream,

To grow taller,

To be bigger,

To rip the webs of fear and timidity off and live more fearlessly.

It’s a conscious decision every time I create,

To give wings to the whisper that lives inside the dreamer…

You can give the dreamer a voice,

Or you can shut it down.

Last night,

I made a conscious decision to let the whisper become a shout,

As I held the first Inspire Collective.

Going into it,

My appetite waned,

My sweat glands got a decent work out,

There were many sleepless nights and a million questions.

Was I not trusting?

No.

But it felt like it.

Was I exercising my audacious muscles going into something unchartered?

I was desperately trying to.

Whoever said painting a blank canvas was easy?

There’s nothing there for goodness sake!

You create what you see and if what you’re seeing is all wrong,

Then,

Well,

You’re stuffed.

A while back,

I dreamed of something wonderful.

Since that time, it had been swirling around in my audacious dreamer,

Soaring between reality and imagination.

I’d been wrestling with wanting to expose the dream to others.

Last night I chose to own it and step into it,

Not knowing where it would go.

Sometimes to get to a new place,

We have to take a reckless first step,

Because that’s often the step that propels us into flight.

What if I fail?  Oh but Darling, what if you fly?

I have people around me who I have dreams for.

Eventually, if you give the dream room to breathe,

It becomes bigger than just you flying.

It becomes about the others around you who are desperately trying to get off the ground…

Audacity comes from owning your story

And then taking responsibility for helping others transform theirs,

Into something beautiful and metamorphic.

Charged with purpose,

These are women who know who they are and who walk in the fullness of their destiny.

Embellished with all sorts of beauty,

Shining and resplendent because they’ve believed in their own dreams and are living them.

Who am I?

I’m just Cate.

Owning audacity is my word right now.

Letting the colour and the form and the mood of it wash over me is what I’m about.

Who am I?

A self confessed introvert, melancholy most days, shy and many times definitely awkward in one on one conversations.

But who am I?

I’m audacious.

Passionate about seeing women become courageous enough to withstand the seasons of their life and come out the other side with a story of hope and courage.

Firey about not letting self doubt and fear rip into the fabric of their delicate souls,

But calling them to step up and into,

A fantastic,

Dreamy,

Unimaginably wild ride of a life.

To become their best selves.

The selves that God intended them to become.

Who are you?

Are you prepared to experiment with an audacious mindset,

And take some bold risks?

Stab some fears in the guts?

Step into a new season?

Kick off the restraints that have held you back?

I’m choosing to live an audacious life in this season.

Deliberate,

Minute by minute,

Risk taking.

Ridiculously in your face kinds of ‘take that’ decisions.

Conscious, intentional choices to show up and be seen.

Because I know that’s where the growth and the magic is.

Will you join me?

Cate x

 

It’s time to Choose: Courage or Comfort

You can choose courage or you can choose comfort, but you cannot choose both.  Brene Brown

Why not?

Honestly, right now, I don’t like this quote.

I want both.

Audacity is too hard a lot of the time.

It requires constantly facing fears and picking myself up by the bootstraps and lots of self talk and prayer.

Lots of remembering what God said and meditating on His promises over my life.

Are you being asked to go in a direction you’ve never taken before?

Are you feeling uncomfortable with the stretch?

Are you being asked to be audacious?

To exercise courage?

Without stretch, I’m learning there’s little growth.

We find comfort and we like it there.

We find a place to settle and things can potentially get musty and stale.

Being uncomfortable is part of living an audacious life.

You are constantly on the cusp of movement,

Of progression,

Of change,

Of leaving the old tasting wine for the new.

New wine needs a new wine skin.

It means risk and sometimes letting people down and all sorts of other hard things.

But I find that God likes change.

He is the creator of innovation.

Yes, there’s nothing new under the sun,

But man are there new frontiers that we haven’t explored yet!

God is constantly offering us to taste the new wine.

He loves partnering with His kids,

As they dive into a new landscape,

In complete faith and trust,

And watching their response as they realise He was in it and He got them there.

Abandoned trust.

An audacious spirit.

As a musician,

As a worshipper,

I’m being challenged to explore new frontiers in what this looks like.

But I remember praying years ago that I wanted to reach people,

That I wanted to go where He wanted to send me.

I wanted to reach people beyond the walls of the church.

To be audacious means to have a willingness to take surprisingly bold risks.

To some it looks like recklessness.

I wonder if people thought Moses was being reckless when he took a gazillion Israelites into the middle of the desert with no food.

Or when they got to the Sea and didn’t know where to go from there.

I’m sure he was packing himself.

It was a place he hadn’t been before.

He didn’t know what this looked like.

But it gave God a massive, most history making opportunity to show up.

I wonder if Abraham stressed out when God asked him to pack up and leave everything he had established

And move out into a land he’d never been to before.

I wonder if Peter freaked out when he got out of the boat to walk on water.

None of these men had even done these things before.

But God commanded them to go,

To be audacious,

To be a little reckless,

To ‘fear not’,

To take courage,

Because God was with them.

Sometimes, God asks you to leave the shores of certainty,

And dive into the waters of bold risk.

I want to reach the hearts of those who need God,

Who need His love and His peace

And His patchworking skills that mend up all the holes in their broken hearts.

Music reaches the heart.

When music is coupled with an outflow of the spirit of God,

It has the power to bring transformation to hearts.

I believe this with my whole heart.

Always have.

Music can heal.

It can restore and set free.

It’s a vehicle that God has used throughout history to bring down walls,

Literally,

(See Jericho)

To set enemies to flight,

To release people from demons.

King David sang and played and Saul got delivered.

When partnering with the Holy Spirit,

Music and the words we speak bring deep transformation.

They can touch a world.

As an audacious musician,

As a lyricist,

As a song writer desiring to touch the heart of this generation,

To tap into the rhythms of their heart,

And give them a taste of a life giving, life altering God,

I feel like I am increasingly being asked by God to stretch my perception of what this partnership with Him looks like.

I feel like David,

Having to encourage himself in the Lord.

I am completely out of my depth.

I am in way over my head.

But I am trusting and pursuing and praying like never before.

And that is all I can do.

Cate x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When it Rains in my House

When It Rains in My House https://cateywilliams.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/beautiful-rain-flowers-girl-storm-umbrella.jpg?w=300

I used to love the sound of rain.

It would rain and the soft pad of it hitting the leaves in the garden outside my window would soothe and heal the day’s stresses and woes.

But when it rained hard,

That’s when my body would tense up and hope that it would end quickly,

Because the rain would come through my windows and into my living area.

I remember the first time it happened.

I was counselling a girl in my lounge room about some of the choices she was making,

It was getting pretty serious.

Then bang,

The rain stormed through the tops of my living room windows,

And the conversation was over,

Suddenly and without any warning.

And all we could do was race and grab towels and mop puddles of water and wonder at what had just happened.

I remember that my face was flushed red and hot,

Awash with feelings of shock and vulnerability and disbelief.

It had rained inside my house.

I wasn’t prepared for this,

Nor had I invited or solicited it in any way…

When the rain subsided,

I distinctly remember feeling like I had been assaulted.

Much like a victim,

I felt open and exposed

And I questioned my safety

And I wondered if I would ever be able to feel the beauty of rain again in the same way.

This shouldn’t have happened, I remember thinking to myself.

This is wrong.

I didn’t ask for this,

Nor have I done anything to deserve having ‘the house that gets the rain inside it!’

I’ve ended up on the wrong side of justice, I thought.

And of safety and peace.

While rain belting down on my roof may not sound too bad,

It has now become the sound of intrusion and invasion,

No longer serenity and soothing.

My once familiar, calming soundscape has changed forever,

Well, for as long as I live in this house.

I had to grapple with the newness of rain suddenly becoming a threat.

My gut reaction,

After shock,

Was anger.

I got angry every time it rained,

Because I knew that it was unsettling the equilibrium of my home.

It was an unwelcome foe.

The rain was no longer my companion.

You see, my roof is so large that the gutters can’t contain it on this particular side of the house,

So it has nowhere else to go but inside.

After countless visits from roof carpenters etc

There were temporary fixes but nothing substantial,

I realised that I would have to live with this problem,

And that made me mad.

I didn’t want to.

I got angry.

I started blaming.

Roof carpenters, builders, the previous owners,

Anyone I could for my problem.

I wanted to sell up and run away.

Buy another house.

I got scared.

Scared every time it would rain that it would cause chaos.

I felt ripped off,

Because my ability to enjoy what was once one of my favourite things had been stripped away.

Now, it was a burden and had become nightmarish,

Associated with fear and annoyance, sadness and inconvenience.

When we are forced to live with problems out of our control,

Like our rebellious teen,

Like infertility,

Miscarriage,

Like rheumatoid arthritis,

Or the refugee crisis,

Like alzheimers

Or spouses who have found another one,

Other than you,

Like a faulty roof,

Like all the things we can’t get a quick fix for,

Or any fix for that matter,

We learn to develop strategies that lessen the impact of the problem.

We also learn to embrace the rain, and realise that even if it is falling inside your house, rather than outside,

It’s ok.

You have grown because of it,

You have overcome because of it,

You have developed resilience,

Courage.

Having lived with this issue for the most part of 7 years,

I now have a strategy.

As soon as I hear the rain start to pour that bit harder,

I run to the linen cupboard,

Gather about 6 towels and toss them at the base of where the rain comes in.

I leave them there and let them soak up the puddles.

When its done, I put them in the wash.

And its over.

I know, I’d rather I didn’t have to do this,

But really, it’s ok.

It could be worse.

Much worse.

It’s an inconvenience that I have had to learn to manage.

No I don’t like it,

But there are many things in our lives that we don’t like,

But have no power over.

The best we can do is be resourceful,

Embrace the journey,

Not let it overwhelm us or control us,

Or most importantly,

Steal our joy.

We must understand that the intrusion of rain on our roof from time to time,

Will happen,

But it doesn’t constitute anything more than that.

It is something that will come,

And go,

And being the incredible women we are,

We will manage it.

Tomorrow, I have another roof carpenter coming to look at my roof.

I’ll keep you posted. 🙂

Peace x

Cate x

Creativity, Courage and Finding my Tribe: SPARC 2015

Off the back of the SPARC conference in Sydney this weekend,

(A national conference for christian creatives for those unversed),

I have been devouring all that has been penned by Erwin Raphael McManus.

His latest offering, The Artisan Soul has sparked some seriously life changing thought processes,

Which I see as the beginning of yet another chapter in this amazing journey I’m finding myself on.

Over the weekend I found myself engaged in conversations with the brave ones,

Artists, painters, singers, authors, actors, visual artists, activists, and more.

Why brave?

These courageous and soulful individuals have made art and creativity their home,

And by virtue of that fact have faced their own inadequacies and fears and have in many ways paved new frontiers,

And stood boldly on precipices and cliffs,

Shouting passionate declarations of truth and beauty,

Of God’s redemptive nature and His love into these voids.

I have realised that this is my tribe.

The Artisan Souls

The ones who have had the courage to be their truest selves.

I also came to a realisation by the time the weekend ended,

That I, and all these others, are bridges.

The way I see it,

We make a way through our own vulnerability, authenticity, God musings and life journeys,

For others to find confidence in their own.

We are bridges.

We make it safe to cross over from places of loneliness, isolation, misunderstanding and often sorrow,

To broad places of joy, hope, deliverance, life and restoration.

Through our God given creativity and the expression of it,

Our lives seek to make a way for those who need to make sense of it all

And who need the love and hope that only Christ can provide.

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But living the life of the artisan is not for the faint hearted.

It’s not for the ones who like to live in the shadows or seek to simply exist,

To watch, to play it safe.

Artisan Souls share their bed with risk and failure.

They live simply, but intentionally,

They craft beauty out of rawness and coat canvases in colour wrought from their own vulnerability.

They are the ‘sure in their own skin ones’,

Not because they have it all together,

But because they are (and continue to be) willing to go through the rigorous and often painful process of staring at their souls,

Of looking at their identity under a microscope and dissecting it with a scalpel

Until they have peeled away all the fluff,

The ‘not real’ and ‘hiding’ in the shadows of safe,

So that they can then make a way for others to understand who they are,

To risk their sacred so that it becomes a secure, steely railing for others to walk over.

They are comfortable with their imperfection because they know that Christ covered it all when He died on the cross,

And they exhibit courage in the face of life because they have found what they are here on this earth to do.

They are the ones who dream and having dreamt,

Risk, and having risked,

Create,

Knowing that their art is an expression of themselves.

And it is in this place that their art becomes profound and moving and life transforming for God’s glory.

As McManus says,

There may be no virtue more admired by those who understand themselves as artists than authenticity.

It takes guts to be authentic and real.

And I have found a tribe of real ones,

Of ones who dare to put their heart and soul on the line

So that others may find their own explanation

Their own inspiration

Their own purpose.

Over the weekend,

My conversations with these Artisan Souls

Broached subjects like failings, victories, fears, misunderstandings and judgements from others,

Identity, beauty, redemption, brokenness, wholeness,

Hope, bright futures, reformation in the church, social justice,

Courageous decisions, bold artistic choices, and so many other things…

These braves ones,

These ones who dare to explore themselves,

To risk in front so that others may find peace and understanding and God,

These are the ones I am running with and am honoured to call my tribe.

It was only a year ago I was asking God to show me what this drawing to the creative sphere in the church and to artists,

To the ones whose frequency is 52 hertz,

And asking why He had called me to be a bridge between the disillusioned and God,

To those on the fringes and God,

To the ones who had a calling to exhibit His beauty in ways not experienced or seen before in the church…..

I am in awe of where I am just one year later and of how I am seeing the pieces of His puzzle coming together.

We are in for a reformation in all things creative in the church

And I feel giddy as I consider the implications of what I learned this weekend,

Of what was imparted and envisioned.

Of who I met and what they are bringing to the table.

New meals, varieties of delicacies and wonderful, exhilarating, never before seen dishes to feast upon.

A creative renaissance is on the horizon.

We carry the DNA of the Creator Himself.

How can we not live lives that are extraordinary and where everything we create reflects beauty and breathes life

And that brings transformation into every sphere we are called to influence,

Not least the creative world!

Cate x