Cate Ange first made it on my radar through an email she sent a friend. I was so moved by her words in that email that I asked her to share on the blog. I hope you enjoy today’s guest post by Cate.
“Just share what makes you unique”, Bobi Ann said. Seriously? I have no idea. Then God showed me, but I didn’t understand–at first. My uniqueness was my name. My given name. And it is uniquely, God’s summation of my entire life.
Mary comes from the root word Marah.
It means wished for child; beloved. It also means bitter.
Marah was the first watering hole the Lord brought the His beloved people to after delivering them at the Red Sea. Just 3 days into their journey they were complaining. They didn’t have water.
Mary also means rebellious.
At Marah, the Israelites were already rebelling against God and doubting His provision. They had water that wasn’t drinkable. It was polluted. It was deadly. Bitter. It was only after Moses obeyed God and placed a piece of wood in the water that it became pure and sweet. Clean. Belief in Christ’s cross is what makes us pure. Sweet. Clean. Each meaning describes me.
I am a wished for child. My parents couldn’t get pregnant, my older sister is adopted. I was a happy accident. We are equally beloved children of our parents. Equally treasured. Equal in our parents eyes. She is my sister, blood is irrelevant. They chose her. They were stuck with me. 😉
Sadly, the other meanings of bitterness and rebellion fit me like a 2nd skin. They clung in my heart even when I didn’t realize it. I was blind to the truth of myself, my life, and who I truly believed I was. And this is where my name and His story turns…
Words spoken over me/to me at young age gave Satan ground to work. Believing the lies that I was no good, unwanted, unloved, unworthy, and would always be alone- I chose his path of deception.
I violated every one of HIS holy commandments as I walked away from truth.
Literally and figuratively. Desperate to be loved and worthy, I would do anything. And I did. The Liar whispered that I would find love, security, and worth in people, places and things. That relationships and money would fill me. That these would make me worthwhile and lovable. Lies. All lies. But I believed. And kept walking. Only to find death and destruction. Of relationships. Of security. Of worth. Of trust. Of honor. Of integrity. Of life. Of love. Of respect. As I trusted my enemy, he wrecked who I was at my core.
Every action I took brought unending accusations, torture, and condemnation. Things I believed would bring life and fulfillment he used against me. To leverage his view. To shame me and propel me even further from the truth.
If you looked at me you would never have seen any of this. I was a ‘good’ person. Surrounded by friends with a beautiful family, and a great job. Even a churchgoer! My heart, so desperate for love, recognized desperation in others. I was the ‘go to’ girl for many when they were hurting and needing the comforting true words I was able to speak into them. But I had no truth in me and no one to go to. The times I tried, I was rebuffed. And my accuser would gleefully cackle he told me so.
So I fortified my walls of protection. I lived in self-preservation mode for years. Whatever it took to put one foot in front of the other and walk the path I had been ‘given’. I didn’t realize I had chosen it or that this selfish path was killing me. I grew emptier. My expectations of life and love from others were never met. Each time, I broke a little more. Until finally, I was completely broken, and almost destroyed. My life was dark and I could see no way out.
In my small faith, I cried out to the Lord I claimed to know. There was silence. Complete silence. And my accuser rejoiced. Thank God I’m stubborn! I couldn’t give up. For 3 days there was nothing. HE let me see just what all I had done in the presence of a Holy God. I was devastated. I was too far gone.
In spite of everything-He came anyway. In His loving kindness, He had mercy on me and rescued me from myself. God himself uncovered the lies. Showed me HIS truth. HIS love.
And He loved me back to life.
Catherine means pure, chaste, innocent, clear.
I assure you that none applied to me. But now, not only has He declared me His beloved, He has declared me innocent! As I confessed, repented my sins and asked Him to forgive me–He did! AND He has forgotten all of them!! They don’t exist anymore–for His own sake He won’t remember!
Just like the prodigal son whose father rushed to meet him and placed the best robe on his beloved son (his own, btw), Jesus has placed HIS robe of righteousness on me! When I came home, He took my life and covered it. I am hidden in Him. I am now pure, chaste, innocent, and my record is clear! God no longer sees me, but Christ who lives in me. And He is transforming me daily to resemble him more closely. He placed in me His spirit and a message to share.
He has taken me from bitter rebel to beloved, pure daughter. HE washed me clean of my past through a piece of wood drenched in His innocent blood. He gave me a future full of hope.
To display His character with my life.
To live His love.
To demonstrate His grace and mercy to all.
To speak life and love into desperate, lost, hurting souls–His children!- just like me.
If He can change my name, transform my life, and use me …oh sister! God only knows what He can do for YOU! He has a unique purpose for you! He called me, by name…do you hear him calling you?
Question: What does your name say about you? How has the meaning of your name shaped your story?