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Beautiful Surprises

Oh it is most definitely time for an update. What an awful lot has happened! I actually don’t really know where to begin. Daddy has been so good to me and has blessed me with so many beautiful surprises.

I suppose there’s two main things and I’m going to talk about one of them in detail here.

The first thing is the Lord opening up an avenue into relationship that I didn’t expect at this stage, but it is truly wonderful and I’m learning so much. However this is still moving and shaping and I want to wait a while before going into further detail. I just love how it’s teaching me to grow though and I think you’ll see a lot of this through my blog.

What I want to talk about here is the second thing that’s happened recently. I’m going to be going to Mozambique this summer for Harvest School. This is a two month long evangelistic missions school founded and run by Heidi and Rolland Baker and is followed by an extended outreach to another nation. I’ll arrive in Mozambique at the beginning of June and come home in September. I can’t wait to go. The Lord was so clear as to whether I should apply and I got my acceptance just a few days ago. Those emails have started a crazy cascade of events and there is a huge amount for me to do between now and June, but I know that God has things in hand and so it’ll all get done when it needs to get done. I have to organise visas, flights, vaccinations, applications, reading lists, fundraising…. the list goes on! I’m just so excited to be starting this process again and know that I’ll grow so much more over this time period.

Honestly, I think the journey never ends. There isn’t a point where you can stop and say “This is it, I have become who I was made to be”. It’s a shifting, changing, molding process and I’m so thankful to the Father for pursuing me and taking me further down the narrow path.

So I want to make a plea here. You can find out all about what I’ll be doing this summer here:

https://www.irisglobal.org/missions/harvest/about

If you feel like you can, please take time out to read about what I’ll be doing and then ask the Lord whether you should support me either in prayer or in finance. If you decide you’d like to give may the Lord bless you and your finances in that. I have to raise at the very least $3000, but it’s likely to be almost double that if I get a place on the outreach I have applied for.

So if you feel able you have a couple of options for giving. The first is to use the donate button on the side of my blog. The second is to donate through the website:

https://www.irisglobal.org/giving-center/harvest

If you choose to use this method please make sure to enter my name (Catherine Ward) under the ‘Tuition Payment’ column.

Iris has also requested this:

1. Send us an email notifying us of your payment to tuition@irisglobal.org 


2. On the Subject Line write: HS20 Tuition Payment from [your name] 


3. Your full name, address, phone and email address. 


4. In the Message Body, state the following:

HS20 – Deposit, Tuition, or Extended Outreach code.

Include all details of how your payment was made (check, money order, credit card, wire transfer), any transaction numbers or special information, name of sending bank.

If someone other than the student is making a payment on their behalf, it is very important that they clearly state in the transaction and by email, who the student is and the session number and other personal details as outlined in the email notification instructions above. Only the student will be notified of the payment and the student will receive a payment receipt by email after the payment has been fully processed. This can take 1-2 weeks.”

This helps them to ensure payments are coming from and going to the right places.

I want to thank you so much for reading this and partnering with me in this exciting movement of God. If you have any questions please feel free to email me or contact me by other means. May the Lord bless you as you prayerfully consider whether you should support me and what form that should take.

 

Prodigal Son

It’s been the longest time since I wrote anything here. That’s not because nothing has happened. I’m not really sure why I haven’t written actually. I think the main reason is I’m just so busy all the time that blogging has taken a back seat. It’s a shame because I love to write and I hope that through this blog I’ve been able to encourage people, whoever my readers are. I think also though, I’m at this weird stage in my life where things are either incredibly good or really tough and when things are good I feel like I want to just sit back and enjoy that, but when they’re tough I obviously don’t want to publicise all that here.

But you know, I’m slowly learning who I am in Christ and the more secure I become in my identity the less I find my emotions affect everything I do. And so when I swing from good to bad I can remain anchored in Christ which is possibly the best thing I have ever learned ever. Even if I did learn it the hard way.

 

So 2014. Yes. That did happen. It’s interesting. The last two years in January I had a world renowned prophet speak incredible words over me, calling my destiny out of me. This year that didn’t happen and I spent the first hour of my new year realising I didn’t need a prophet any more because since the last time he spoke over me I have grown into this person who I hardly recognise anymore, who can actually hear God clearly for herself. It’s weird watching me grow. Sometimes I take a step back and look at who I’m becoming and it both surprises and amazes me.

I don’t mean that in an arrogant way. I mean I can’t believe that God has taken who I was and is making me so much better. I know the person I used to be and I’m so different now it’s crazy. The arrogance is taken out of those last few sentences when you realise two things:

1. I am not changing myself. He is changing me.

2. I am not changing from myself to another person. I am changing from another person to me.

What I mean is, He’s transforming me into the person He created me to be in the first place. That’s identity. That’s sonship. Isn’t that cool?

At some point I heard freedom call my name and as soon as I let Him, He let me respond.

 

Two weeks or so ago a team from Bethel came to my little church in Holborn. (I love my church by the way – we ministered to people today and there were healings and all sorts. Wonderful.) Anyway, long story short I spent almost the whole night on the floor being delivered and redeemed and made new and all good things. I’ve never known Jesus in that way before, never known such intimacy. I’m tearing up now writing about it because I’m remembering again just how sweet and gentle He was, how He took me through things that should have been scary but they weren’t and oh how He loves me. For a few days after I walked in such joy, authority and peace it was ridiculous. And then I started to feel old thought patterns coming back and I found myself crying out to God, asking Him why I was back in that place. You know what He told me? He said “Just because you’re My child doesn’t mean things are automatically easy for you. It doesn’t mean you won’t see hardship. It does mean that when things are hard you will know who you are in Me and THAT is what counts”.

Friends, it’s not wrong to have feelings. It’s not wrong to have negative feelings.

But remember you do have the authority to tell them to go away. You do have authority to make them submit to your Daddy. Perfect love casts out fear. I truly know that now for the first time in my life and that is what brings the most freedom.

Ask Him to show you…

Dreaming Again

I’ve been dreaming again.

I have a journal. Blank, unlined pages. Loads of them. And lists of dreams on the pages that aren’t blank.

It’s good for the heart you know. To merge your mind with the mind of the Creator and let yourself DREAM.

One of my dreams is for this blog to go global. It’s funny because I logged in today and next to my blog title in the top left is a little globe. That was never there before. And I’ve reached 700 views. I know that isn’t a lot really, but that’s 700 times that someone has read something I’ve written. Isn’t that crazy?

I’m a nations girl. On my wall are these huge maps that my best friend gave me and there’s fairy lights above them. In fact, my new background on the blog is a picture of them.

I want to get on a plane again.

Hey, you who’s reading this. You’re beautiful. You are unique and you make the world a better place.

You’re just so gloriously like the Father. A reflection of Him. Wonderful being.

Transformation

I can’t sleep. I was looking through old Instagram photos and tracking my progress (in reverse order) from me to America to different me. Now I just miss my family. My heart aches for the places I went and the people I met. I hope I can go back one day.

The Lord is doing amazing things here though. There is a burn close by that I’ve been able to get involved with; most recently joining in the 1:30 am set with two wonderful friends and two of their friends (who I feel are shortly to become my friends too – if they haven’t already). Truly, I have never gelled so well with a band before, especially given that half the people involved I met after we had done our set. The whole thing seemed so natural though, and from what people were saying afterwards, we appeared as though we had played together for ages. Which in fairness, 80% of the group have. But still. I had the best time imaginable and more importantly was given the incredible privilege of worshipping Abba alongside four of the most passionate people I’ve ever met and also fifty or so glorious English burners.

I’ve got involved with a wonderful church who have a really lively student community. A lot of what I’m seeing there is exactly where my heart is at, and so will encourage growth in my faith. Hopefully I can encourage growth in theirs too. I know there is already street ministry and outreach going on which is absolutely brilliant because I can join in with that and not have to pioneer it.

There are some things on my heart though that I would like to pioneer.
First is seeing some kind of open mic event established that’s run by Christian Union or church or burn or even all three together. I loved what my small group had going back in Nettleham and would love to see that happen here.
The second is a little more crazy but it really excites me. I know I’ve blogged about it before but it’s still burning on my heart to see a burn in Guy’s Campus Bar. I really need some people to strategise with for that as it’s not achievable alone.

Other than all that craziness, I’ve just started triathlon training (awesome) and I can’t wait to really get into that. I swam last night and it was just brilliant. I’m also starting to get into the swing of studying and I’m finding the course really interesting so far.

In between all the amazing things I’m doing, I’ve been having some beautiful times with Papa. He’s taking me on a journey of listening to Him and being faithful even through trials. He’s put some truly wonderful people in my life who have been a great encouragement to me and alongside this He is increasing my hunger for Him. A year ago it would have been a push for me to spend 15 minutes a day in His presence. Now it seems strange if I spend any less than an hour gazing at Him. That transformation has by no means been achieved in my own strength and I’m so grateful to Jesus for hearing my prayers for hunger years ago and responding by, well, making me hungry!

Isn’t He just beautiful? I’m seeing such breakthrough in the promises over my life. I’m so excited to see where we go next.

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I’ve A Feeling We’re Not In Kansas Anymore…

At this present moment I am sat in a Starbucks on Fleet Street. I’ve just come from enrolling on my course and am now officially a medical student. Hurrah.

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That’s not why I’m in Starbucks though. I’m in Starbucks for my first Christian Union meeting. This is something almost entirely new to me as I haven’t been part of a CU since about year 7. This was a long time ago. 7 years ago.Oh wow I feel old now. Goodness.

It was an interesting experience getting here. I took the District line, which is one I’ve never been on before and is quite different to my previous experience of the underground, in that there’s two tracks side by side! And I didn’t know I was on the right one until it pulled away. Which is a tad on the late side. When I arrived I exited the station and looked at the wonderfully vague instructions I had written earlier for the walk to Starbucks (right, right, left – no street names. Nothing.) and realised I didn’t know how to get there. So figuring Fleet … someone just walked in and said ‘heeeeey’ and I said ‘hello!’ very happily and she wasn’t talking to me please ground swallow me upswallowmeupswallowmeup … Street should be pretty obvious I just kept walking. Eventually I found a big road and was too embarrassed to ask if it was Fleet Street because it’s even on a Monopoly board so I should have known.
Anyway. Long story short I’m here now and need to go be social.
Bye love you.

Burn At The Bar

It’s happened. I’m at university.

Photo on 17-09-2013 at 14.16 #2

I moved in on Sunday and since then have been meeting people, organising my room, drinking tea and buying various things I needed. Today is my first day where I’ve just been able to stay in the halls and relax a little. I went out this morning and bought a few things, like some fruit from the fruit market (fruit market!!). I also got a temporary Oyster Card, which I then failed epically at topping up, resulting in spending more money on it than I really needed to. But never mind; it’s not a mistake I’ll make again! I’m also getting my head round having a budget to stick to. I quite like it, but probably won’t so much when I realise I’ve suddenly gone over…

 

Last night I ventured out to Guy’s Bar for an event, knowing it wasn’t my thing but realising that I wanted to try something new seeing as Freshers’ Week will be over soon. I did hate it really and left after about an hour. But once back at halls I sat in bed and asked the Lord what His dreams were for Guy’s over the coming years. And He gave me this vision of worship in the bar which as I started to dream about it developed into ‘Burn at the Bar’. It seems completely out of the question right now. Worship in a bar?! But actually, why not? The atmosphere shift in that place would be incredible if we could start burning there and who knows what further impact there might be. I’ve seen some of the stuff that goes on there, but what if we started worshipping?

Wow.

And it’s not like I’m short of time. I have five years on that campus.

This is very exciting.

I’ll Tell It To You Backwards

I had a good day today.

Really, really good.

Days like today remind me that I do like people after all, that there are kind souls out there who really genuinely care.
I’ve actually met a lot of those kinds of people recently, and I’m so grateful for that. Having them around me these last few weeks has pulled me out of a bit of a hole I had somewhat accidentally fallen into following my trip to the States, and I will never stop being thankful for that.
Many of these people I actually met in the States. Some I’ve known for a while, and some I’ve got to know since getting home. But regardless of what continent I met them on or when, the truth still remains that I like people, even when my mood dictates otherwise. And it’s thanks to my companions that I’ve realised this again.

That was actually not what I wanted to write about, but it did make a nice aside.

I only really wanted to write about today (and last night). Lets be logical and start with last night… Actually lets not. I’ll tell it to you backwards, just for kicks.

I went for a swim at 17:30 this evening. At the end I was chatting to this lovely guy who shared my lane, who had quite a unique style but some real pace about him. I didn’t get to ask his name, but I think he’s swimming on Friday and I might too so maybe I can ask him then. I know it seems pointless making friends when I’m about to leave for London (that happens on Sunday, by the way), but I get such a high from talking to people that I just can’t help myself.
Before I met him I did 2000m in the pool, in under an hour which I was thrilled with. I feel like I’m starting to see some improvement in my fitness level despite not being able to run (another story I haven’t told you yet: I’m very behind). It’s exciting to see progress at last. I even did 900m with very few rest stops, which is unusual for me, as well as a 50, 100, 150, 200 pyramid. Plus warm up.
Prior to swimming I spontaneously got asked to help out at a secondary school with some year 7 sports, something I thoroughly enjoyed. I love kids, sport and spontaneity. And it was another example of the kindness of people, the fact that I was asked and everything else. Meant a lot.
Lunch was great too, as I met with a lovely friend from church and we chatted and she was a direct answer to my prayers for The Lord’s provision, which I feel very emotional about right now. I went straight from meeting with her to the school, so ended up having a busy afternoon.
This morning before going to lunch I did an awesome workout at home, which was very arms heavy and therefore meant I was tired before my swim. But it felt amazing. I love feeling like I’m toning my body all over and slowly but surely getting more fit, which was proven by my swim tonight.
I finished reading the Psalms after I woke up this morning. I already miss reading them, so might just start again and read on a never ending loop. They’re just so wonderful and full of the glory of The Lord.
Last night I met with Emily for a final late night McDonald’s session and we had a really nice time talking to each other about the stuff we are dealing with right now and other things. And then we chatted to this Polish guy who I think was homeless. He couldn’t understand us and we couldn’t understand him so unfortunately we couldn’t help him much, but we were able to show we cared just by chatting with him and praying after. I realised how much talking to people like him makes me come alive. I know I’ll work with the homeless in the future.

Wow. Long account there. I usually don’t like those kinds of posts because they’re so unimaginative, but the events of the last few days called for one I think.
It was fun writing it backwards too.

God is good.

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