Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Loving what is ours.

Some of you asked for it...so here it is! Our Chaotic Cathcart Family Picture. Here we are. Messy. Happy. Real. Loving what is ours. This isn't anything I had in mind for our Christmas picture, but it seems to display exactly what it needed to. Real life. Now I realize most people might have had several good pictures along with the out takes. Most of ours were just...well this. It was a crazy day where I had no control. There were fits thrown and tears shed. But in the end the picture is just a picture. A small glimpse of our life. There are definitely many smiles, joy, and love in our home. There is also chaos, fits thrown, and struggles to endure. This year I can't give you a perfect picture. And I'm okay with that. I think this has reminded me to love what is ours. Imperfections and all. So as we celebrate Christmas, in those times where I want to control the chaos and make for a pretty picture, I'm going to try and relax and let it happen. And focus on what this season is really about. It's about love coming into a dark, chaotic place. And I'm so grateful for that love; God's gift that has been my joy, even in the midst of chaos and unknown.
Wishing you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Love, The Cathcarts

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Outside of The Pain

Outside of the pain I can see lovely things. I see two beautiful healthy boys so full of life. An amazing husband who works harder than anyone I know. That same man is a wonderful daddy to those two amazing little boys. I see family that will never give up on us. I see God's unending, unconditional love for me. I see a story of strength given, difficulties overcome, and eyes reopened to grace and provision.

Inside of the pain these wonderful things became so cloudy that I lost sight of them. I couldn't see a day in front of me. My mind was so overwhelmed with darkness that any joy felt so out of reach. As hard as I tried to see it as God's perfect plan and timing, I struggled; struggled hard.

It was a fight to get outside the pain. Overcoming my doubt that something was really wrong and seeking help. And putting in a conscience effort to focus on the positive things in my life once I was on the road to recovery.

As I wrote this, one of my best friends was in the hospital. I hurt for her and prayed every hour that God would heal her body. I found myself going back to asking God why. I didn't understand it. I knew she didn't. I can remember the helplessness of being stuck and not knowing why I was there. Wishing it would end and crying each day begging God that He could do that for me. I have no answer for why I went through postpartum depression. I don't have an answer for why Joni had to deal with her sickness. But I do know I made it through. And she did too. I remember telling her often that she would make it, and believing for her when she didn't have the strength to do that herself. Knowing God had brought me through something so awful and painful I knew He would do it for her too. And that's what I needed to know in the dark months I went through. I needed to hear that other people had been through the same thing and made it to the other side. The scriptures and prayers did help, but it was knowing others had been there before and were okay that gave me strength. What I couldn't see in the worst of it was real life again. I really thought I was going to be stuck there forever. I needed to be reminded, that in fact I wouldn't.

Outside of the pain I see the real me. An over comer. I see beauty in the strength that was made in me. I have a greater love for God. I know a greater trust in God. I'm living these truths while there are some in my life going through hard things. I have to take myself back to that place and realize what they need. What I needed. I needed to know it wasn't forever. I needed to know I was in their thoughts. I didn't need answers, just ears to listen. And sometimes I literally just wanted a warm body in the room while I cried. No words. Just warm tears and a friend that understood that them just being there was healing for me. It was painfully hard for me to reach out. The majority of the time I needed friends to come to me. Knowing that I was hurting, but not having the strength to tell them I needed it. No judgement of why I wasn't myself, I needed grace and love. I want to be that for other people. To get outside my selfishness and show others God's love when they can't find it for themselves. Pray for them when they can't find the faith to believe. In the midst of their why's and emotional draining they need one of us to be there for them. We can't get so consumed with our own life that we forget other people have pain too. And let's stop assuming someone else will do it.

I have a handful of faithful friends who consistently reach out when I'm going through a rough time. I'm so grateful for them. I want to be like them. Bring yourself back to a place where you needed it. Be aware of what is going on in others lives and do what you can. Don't wait. Those in pain don't always know how to ask. I didn't.

Three years ago I was unable see beyond the pain. In that situation where my mind was not right, the pain seemed forever. Pain I've gone through since then has been different. I've battled to pray God's word and remember He is faithful. Just as Proverbs 31:15 says "she rises while it is yet night...", I want to continue to strive to do just that. In the midst of hardship and pain I want to rise above the negative thoughts and doubt, and praise God through it remembering He is faithful and true to His word. And I want to be that friend who will stand in the gap for those who can't see beyond their pain to believe God will bring them through it.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

It doesn't always make sense....

There is nothing like cleaning out your closet and coming across old journals. The experience of being brought back in time is incredible. It's so neat to reflect on where I once was and what God has done since. I came upon one from Fall of 2008. It's crazy to look back at it now, 4 years later, and think about what God was up to. At the time Justin and I knew we would be leaving our church within the next year. It was an upcoming discussion that was going to happen. We were trying to have a baby, but had been unsuccessful for 6 months. I was confused, hurt, and questioning God; but at the same time still trying to trust Him. Kind of the cycle of my whole life; I asked God why a lot then too.

One thing that caught my heart was this entry on September 8th, 2008....
"I know you have the perfect plan and timing but I just can't see it right now. You know my desires and I feel so far away from my dream and I'm just discouraged. I don't understand your plan and why. Help me to have peace and patience in your perfect will. I know one day it will make sense, so in this time help me to trust you and lean on you as I hurt and am confused. I know you want great things for us."

And wow did it one day ever make sense! I know that's not true in every case. I don't think I can ever make sense of why my mother was murdered, why had to go through postpartum depression, or why Aiden is Autistic. In those situations I think we have a choice to make something good of it; allow God to make us better people out of the pain. But to think those kind of things might make sense is far off; at least for me.

The waiting and timeline of it all didn't make sense until Spring of 2010. When my mind was free from the depression I was able to see why. The timing couldn't have been more perfect. We left the church June 29th, 2009 and Ryan was born August 4th. At that time Aiden was almost too much for me to handle. He was receiving services with Easter Seals that were due to end on his third birthday, August 19th. He desperately needed therapy that I wasn't qualified to give. He started school just 8 days later (God knew with that birthday too). Justin didn't have a job for 4 months and as crazy as this sounds it was necessary. Dealing with the unknown depression, lack of sleep, the exhaustion when I went back to work when Ryan was 6 weeks old, it was a huge blessing he was home. As much as I didn't want to be patient while trying to conceive or be pregnant through the summer, the timing of everything is so beautiful now. I'm not overjoyed at the fact I went through the depression and that we dealt with little money and the temporary jobs Justin had, but the person I became after going through all of that is not someone I would have been without it. It is my story. So for that I would have to say I'm thankful.

The perfect job for Justin came 17 months after leaving our church. I definitely didn't understand the timing of that either, until the job came. The months of searching seemed unending and we wondered why it was taking so long. But where he is now is exactly where he needs and wants to be. So the fact that it took the time it did to bring him where he is, I'd say it was worth it.

Not everything will one day make sense. But some things will. And when there are questions I can always say to God, "I know you know what you are doing and I believe it will make sense one day." Even if it never does I will still choose to trust and praise Him anyway and let beauty come out of the ugliness life will bring.

When it doesn't make sense...I go to the word. It's the only thing that helps make sense of life, love, and God.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him and He will make your paths straight.

Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)
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.

What is it for you? Are you waiting for the perfect spouse? Are you trying to have children? Are you searching for a job? I believe we should do what we can and trust Him with the rest. He’s all knowing and loves us more than we can imagine. He truly wants the best for us. Trust Him.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Loaves and Fish

Growing up in church I’m sure I heard this story at least a hundred times. You know in Mark, when Jesus feeds the 5,000 with 5 loaves and 2 fish? So I’m not sure what made hearing it again this Sunday so different. I listened to the sermon, took notes, and kind of forgot about it.
Three days go by. It was 3:30 am and I was wide awake. I decided it would be crazy to get myself out of bed and do something productive. So I tried to go back to sleep. It took awhile; like two hours. I’m convinced in that time, if my mind could have put words down on a page, I could have written a whole book. Okay so maybe I should have dragged my butt out of bed, but I didn’t. So later this morning I had this story on my mind again and I headed to the computer as my mind raced.
Sometimes when I read the bible I have a hard time connecting with the stories of the miracles Jesus performed. I mean it’s hard to believe 5 loaves and 2 fish fed 5,000 people right? But when I started really examining the things God has done in my life I was amazed. He has literally multiplied when we were in need. For about a year and a half we were short anywhere from $500-$800 a month for basic needs. But we made it every time. On paper it was impossible, and we should have been completely broke. I’m blown away that it’s been 3 years since the start of that rough season and I’m just understanding how real this is. I mean, I knew God had provided it, but I wasn’t seeing the connection to His word. Like His followers over 2,000 years ago, I still find myself doubting when I can’t see the next step in front of me. He has not failed me once, but I still get scared and wonder how He will perform His next miracle.
Writing down and remembering those loaves and fish moments are a good start. Connecting with the things He has done for me in my life and remembering He sees a much bigger picture than I do. And although I don’t always understand why the plan isn’t going my way, He knows and wants the best for me. My job is to trust Him and take the next step. He has promised help along the way.
If it’s not money, it’s something. There are definitely things that I’m currently struggling with and scared to hand over to God. As if I could make these things happen on my own, but I still struggle with trusting that He can perform a miracle. Miracles that I’ve seen him do before. I have to make a daily effort to remember that He does want the best for me, He knows all things, and to be thankful for the grace He offers when I am having trouble trusting Him. My prayer has often been the same of the father in Mark 9:24, "I believe, but help me overcome my unbelief." Seriously I have uttered that more times than I can count.
So what is your next step? What is that miracle you feel is so far off or impossible? We often pray, “God if you can....”, but in Mark 9:23 Jesus says, “Anything is possible if you believe.” Anything! We forget that God is still doing miracles. Maybe you have had Him do some for you but not taken notice or really connected with the truth of it. Reflect on what He has done, trust that He will continue to do more, and take the next step.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Why the rush?

This morning, like many others, I find myself feeling like I have to rush to get ready and head out the door to do something. I don't really know what. But something. Obviously I'm not that convicted about it because here I sit, still in my pajamas playing Cars with Ryan and having a late breakfast. I don't really want to rush to get out of the house. So where does this nagging come from? To be like everyone else. To feel I have to get myself looking like I have it together and drag my son places he doesn't care to go. Because, happiness for him is sitting for hours playing with Lightning McQueen and all his friends recreating scenes and races, and showing me all the stuff he knows and loves.

No one has ever said to me, "I can't believe you don't do arts and crafts with your kids, or take them to the park each day." I think it's just one of those things where we look around and see what others are doing and think we are less than if we don't do the same things. But don't worry, we aren't at home every single day. We head to the park, when it's not 100 degrees and go fun places. :) But not to the point where I feel like I'm rushing around. When I start to feel that way, I stop and think to myself, why am I rushing? Usually, I realize it is because I feel like I have to be like someone else. So I allow my to world stop and remember what I'm really doing. I'm savoring these precious years with my son and so we play.

So many times I try to mold my life into what others are doing, but we are all so very different. There are mothers who work full time and make every moment they do have with their children count. And there are plenty of kids and moms that do enjoy that routine of getting up early and heading different places not feeling one bit rushed and that's wonderful. But I have to remember that's not me. I can stay here and let Ryan enjoy his little world that he loves so much.

So today, like most others, I'm going to lounge in my pjs and enjoy the moments I have with my precious 3 year old. We may head to the pet store or do something fun in the real world. But mostly I'm going to do what he loves most and not feel bad about that.

So just like I shouldn't feel bad that I'm not "out in the world doing something" no working mother should feel bad for not being at home. The ones who enjoy being out all day should do it. We are all wired differently and in different seasons. I just have to remember to accept and love mine and be me. So let's enjoy being the mom's God created us to be and stop wasting time and energy thinking we have to be something else. Whatever brings you and your kids happiness; do it.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The ugly A word...

That day was rough...part of me was so excited for Aiden to try out a Tae Kwon Do class, but most of me was extremely nervous.  It was so different from anything he had tried before.  So I attempted to prep him with some videos to give him a good idea of what it would be like.  He was somewhat grumpy and just not having it, but eventually calmed down and we talked about it more.  He was warming up to the idea and on our way he seemed excited and ready to try.  I was another story.  Throughout this whole few hours I'm about to lose it....just holding in the tears.  Ridiculous?  Maybe.  But having a child with sensory sensitivity who has a difficult time showing self control in new surroundings will do that to you.
We arrive and he waits for his class to start.  He has the cutest little smile and you can tell he is excited and nervous.  He goes into the class and sits as instructed.  He responds when asked his name.   Then the time came to begin in lines and I had to walk away.  I wanted so badly to run in there and hug him and tell him he could do it.  He was getting embarrassed and covering his ears from the noise of the kids shouting "yes sir."  I had to walk away with Ryan and just let him be.
About five minutes later he came out and said he wasn't good at it and he was done.  My heart was broken and at that point I'm carefully putting on a happy face.  I ask him to watch the other kids through the glass.  He continues to say he isn't good at it.  We try to explain to him those things take time.
When we got home I had to go in my room to be alone.  I was sad.  Sad quickly turned to mad.  I was just plain mad.  Mad that Aiden has Autism.  I asked God why about a thousand times, told him it's not fair, and just cried.  I was not sure it was doing me any good, but it did something.  The healing that came from working through all the emotions, and realizing nothing changes when I ask God why.  I mean if he literally gave me an answer, as if there were one, would it make things better?
Once I pulled myself together it was like God was saying the why doesn't matter, but let's focus on the how.  I know I will have more of those days.  The imperfect me is going to have another struggle and get mad.
 I had to pick myself up and remember if I constantly think "if only this wasn't a part of my life, then..."  it's always going to be something.  Instead I know I need to let God be enough.  Allow Him to be my strength, and be thankful He chose me to show how His strength is enough, and bring glory to Him even in dark and ugly situations.

What is it for you?  Is it lack of finances, a physical or mental struggle, a sick family member,  dysfunctional family.  The thing where your mind continuously goes to why and why me?  For me, at this point in life,  it's Autism.  And I have to quit going to God asking why and start asking God how.  With His strength and help how can I make Aiden's life easier and better and let this be something positive for him and others.  Not something perfect, but do what I can do and trust God with the rest.

 God doesn't always give you the answers, and people don't always have the answers, but with them we know we are not alone.  What are you going through?  Talk about it so you can heal.  What are those closest to you going through?  Do they know you are there, supporting them, even if it's just to listen?  Be there, not just to give answers, but to give your ears to allow them to hurt out loud and through that they can heal and move on to find their how.

I love this song by Fee.  When I fall apart, His arms hold me together...Through financial struggles, depression, and Autism...even though I ask why, I always come back to God's promise.

Monday, July 23, 2012

So yummy!

As much as I'm in love with food, I can't believe I don't blog more about it.  I guess my Instagram account fulfills that role.  My followers may or may not hate that.  I have fallen in love with this recipe.  So full of flavor and super healthy.  It's become a favorite in our home, and one of those that I want to wait to eat until my boys are in bed.  You know, so I can eat slowly, with my eyes closed (yes I totally do this) and enjoy each and every bite and flavor. Thanks again to Pinterest for helping me plan our weekly meals.  Enjoy!

Friday, June 15, 2012

For Dad

"My Father didn't tell me how to live. He lived, and let me watch him do it." Clarence B Kelland

For having rules, staying true to your word, doing your best....Thank You

Thank you for....
the healthy meals I was forced to eat.
not allowing me to have the twenty dollars I begged for to go spend at the mall.
the road trips to Nebraska, even though John and I fought like cats and dogs.
not allowing fast food and other junk in our home.
telling me no when you knew it was best, and keeping your word.
pretending to love the dorky gifts we would get for you with your own money.
being so proud when I was in a beauty pageant.
being a huge supporter of me when I danced in high school.
letting me drive a piece of junk car.
allowing me to learn from my mistakes on my own.
making me sit at the table until I finished my broccoli.
being committed.
not giving in to my every whine and demand.
showing me what it looks like to be smart with money.
practicing self control.
all the vitamins I was forced to take, it meant doctor visits & sickness were rare.
letting me run to your room and hide under the covers during thunderstorms.
making mistakes and showing you are human too.
the twinkle in your eye and the giant smile when you see my sons.

Thank you for that. And thank you for understanding I didn't always mean what I said. I'm sorry for the many times I yelled I hate you. Hearing my son when he's mad say he doesn't love me hurts. Even though he is 5 and I know he doesn't mean it. Out of frustration I yelled a lot of things I didn't mean, rolled my eyes thinking I was right and you were wrong. I know now, you knew best.

And with mistakes there is grace. And I pray my kids give me that same grace because I surely need it. As parents we do the best we can at the time. We need lots of grace, lots of love, and lots of understanding. I find myself doing some of the same things you did. I'm so grateful I had a good example. Life wasn't easy but dad, you did good.

It's funny the phase we are in, so much of our kids antagonizing one another and I find myself sounding like you. I guess it happens to all of us. We get pay back, right? As I find myself super annoyed I laugh and remember when I was that age how horribly annoying I could be and you are probably laughing now knowing I'm getting my payback. I'm sure when the day comes that I have grandchildren I will be giggling thinking the same thing.

I see now that parents know better than young children. Yes, it's more work but it's worth it to be a person of your word. And to teach your children you don't have to give into every desire in the moment. Thank you for that.

"By the time a man realizes that maybe his father was right, he usually has a son who thinks he's wrong." -Charles Wadsworth

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Truth

You know the one or two, very rarely three, friends you can tell anything. They give you no judgement. Just love and the truth. Most importantly, the truth. Sure, we don’t always like to hear it but we need it. Although my very closest friends don’t live in the same city, I’m so grateful I can call them up in a second or email them with my raw emotions just so someone knows how I’m feeling. In return I don’t get a fluff answer. I get love, support, and the hard truth. In this season there’s been a lot of loneliness. No one ever tells you that when you become a stay at home mom you might struggle with loneliness. Add an amazing husband who works his butt off doing overtime to help pay off debt and that leaves you feeling even more lonely. That loneliness can turn into bitterness. "Doesn’t everyone know what I’m going through? They should be calling or coming over. After all, they do know my situation." So when it doesn’t happen I’m let down. And maybe I’m expecting too much of people. Others aren't in the same phase of life and don’t always respond in the same ways I would. And that can be hurtful. But if I’m putting all my worth in friends then I will continue to be let down. Yes, you need that support but they aren't there to fulfill you. I’m realizing after hearing back from a friend that I haven't been finding my whole worth in God. I have a long way to go. I've been focusing on what others aren't doing instead of looking to God to be enough. Yes I still think it’s hard if you don’t have friends supporting you like you would them, but it makes it so much better knowing God is really all you need anyway. I do still think friendships are very important. And having those few very close friends I can be totally open with is essential. We aren’t meant to do life alone, but they aren’t the foundation. I think I was looking more to people to fill the void instead of trusting God that He is enough. Just because some friends aren't there how I need them to be doesn't mean they don't care. It doesn't give me a reason slip into bitterness and depression. In those times I need to turn to God. So thank you Joni, for loving me enough to give me the truth. "Prayer may not change all things for you, but it sure changes you for all things." -John Mason

Thursday, March 29, 2012


As we were approaching this day I was feeling quite different than I thought I would. In the recent months I’ve noticed, more than normal, people talking and posting about how wonderful their marriage is and how in love they are. So naturally I begin to examine my own life. I began wondering what was wrong with us? I didn’t “feel” in love. What happened to the spark? How do we get it back? Life definitely didn’t seem so carefree as it did when we got married. Then I remembered how much has changed. We are older, we have kids, and God has brought us through some tough stuff, and we are in a difficult season of long hours of work for Justin and long days at home for me. Of course it’s different. But I was still stuck. How did I get that “feeling” back?

Then I realized that’s not really what I needed. I had been looking at it all wrong. Seeing it for what it’s not and not for what it is. So thinking back over the last 9 years I know what it is. It’s love, laughter, tears, strength, hurt feelings, respect, imperfections, understanding, forgiveness, and commitment.....For better or worse

Our days have gone like this...

Days of bliss- our wedding day, the first year, vacations, buying our home...

Days we didn’t like each other- when the newness wore off, lack of communication that lead to us shutting down, miscommunication, bitterness, loss of intimacy at times, harsh words; forgetting we are in this together...

Days we won’t forget- the birth of Aiden and Ryan, trusting God when Justin left his job of 11 years, surgeries, sickness, the arduous days of my depression, the challenging year and half job search, trusting God to be our provider when we didn’t have enough...

The simple days- everyday, sharing our home, watching our favorite show together, driving to church, playing with our sons. Just being together...

Anything in life, when we start comparing ourselves, we will always fall short. At the end of the day I will take what we have over just a feeling. What we have is deeper. And even though we are in a tough season, we will make it through like we always have and grown closer because of it. I’ll take simple. I'll take messy. I’ll take us.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


I sigh....What’s wrong. Absolutely nothing. But my soul is disturbed.

I am saved by grace. Justin has a great job & I am able to stay at home with our boys. We are paying off debt. We are healthy, we love our church, & we have great family and friends. We have made it through the hardest 2 years of our lives and come out stronger. We have enough. So what am I looking for? Am I even looking for something?
These were my exact thoughts and feelings a few weeks ago. I was fearing the depression was creeping back into my life. That could not happen. I beat it. That is over! So I asked one of the best prayer warriors I know, my mother in law, to pray. The next day her friend sent a devotion to her and said I needed to see it. Wow. There were no words, just tears and a squeal of joy over God’s perfect timing.
After reading this devotion it was very clear that this “sigh” I was feeling was a grieving. A grieving for those who don’t have God in their life.

“Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? . . . O my God, my soul is cast down within me” (Psalm 42:5-6).

In the devotional No Name Infirmity, David Wilkerson says “I believe this strange infirmity is “the sighing of the Holy Spirit” within us. He is letting us know what it feels like to be without God—to be on our own, without comfort, hope or guidance. He allows us to experience just a taste of such an awful, horrible condition!”

All the things we deal with in this world... It's not what he wanted for us. But we chose to kick Him out of our lives and He has politely stepped back and let us have free will. This depressed like feeling is “the sighing of the Holy Spirit." He is allowing me to have a taste of what it’s like to be without Jesus and it’s terrifying. Even when I have gone through the toughest of situations I can’t imagine walking away from God and trying to do it on my own. It doesn’t make sense at all. Especially those that have once walked with God then turned away. What is life like after that? Well, I have been there. It is completely miserable and I will never try to live life without God again. It’s constantly looking to things or people to satisfy us, and they never will. There is always that longing for something else. That longing that God put in us, but it was meant for Him. He lets us have just a taste of what He feels when the world chooses to walk away from Him. I see our world, myself included when I get off track, looking to money and friends to make us happy only to find it doesn’t last very long. When will we learn? When will I learn? For those that have never known that relationship with God, I am so disheartened. There is that longing to fill a void but they go to the world for things that will never satisfy. But I know God calls us to show them what His love really is really like.
I’m thankful that I know where to turn in these moments. I can trust in Him and cry out to Him for strength and just be in His presence.