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5 minutes with Catherine ...

Tell us a little about yourself I am a wife to Marty and a mum to 3 gorgeous children - Adam, Isaac and Kiara. I am a teacher and absolutely love my job. I love that I get to hopefully have a positive impact on the little lives that I get to see in my classroom. In my spare time I like to cook and read. But... I don't actually have a lot of time between my job and my family life. I look forward to these times of the year when I do have time for me to do the things that I enjoy. It does help that the kids are growing up and can entertain themselves. What's your favourite bible passage & why? I have loved Philippians 4:6-7 and 13 probably from the time I was a teenager. 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... I can do all this through Him who gives me strength. It is one of those verses that always pops into my head, not just when things are difficult, but also in everyday situations. As a perfectionist and (I hate to admit it), a bit of a control freak, I find that this verse always calms me down and gives me a bit of perspective. The last few years have been pretty tough as we have juggled jobs, family life, and a child with a chronic illness. But whenever life gets crazy or throws us those little rough patches these verses appear in all sorts of different places, reminding me to trust God in all things. How do you keep your eyes fixed on Jesus? There are the "expected ways" of reading the Bible, praying and music, but for me, I find that working in a Christian school, especially with 5 and 6 year olds is a lovely way of fixing my eyes on Him. The little ones are so innocent in their knowledge and understanding, and yet ask the most though- provoking questions. When I answer their questions or explain things to them, I often find myself reflecting on their questions and my explanations as well. What would you like the next generation of Christian women to know? 1. To always believe in yourself. 2. As circumstances change and we go through different stages in our lives, I think it is easy for us to become less focussed on looking after ourselves, because our focus is on everyone else. People will always say, "take time for you" and "you can't be all that you need to be if you are so focussed on everyone else and everything around you." I am honestly not the best person to be offering advice about the above 2 points. It is very easy to,say but very hard to do. I'm still learning! What's one thing that you love about your local church? The kids/youth programmes (above) and the fellowship we have both with our own group of friends, but also as a wider Church community eg regular Church lunches, community events. What did you learn about God at a time in your life you found hard? There have been a few times in my life where I have literally curled myself into a ball and cried until I could cry no more. Putting one foot in front of the other has been hard on multiple occasions. There have been times where I have questioned and "screamed" at God, asking "why me? I've had enough." Yet each time, He has been there and hasn't given up on me. It may be through a Bible verse, or a song or a letter from a friend, but He just waits until I'm ready again to trust in Him and get up and keep moving forwards. 6 years ago, one of our kids was diagnosed with chronic liver failure. Even at his sickest, my then 6 year old, would say to me, " it's ok mummy. This is a part of my life and I just deal with it." His comment has stayed with me for 6 years because he showed me Jesus that day - we deal with the things we do but Jesus dealt with so much more. We are never given things that we can't handle. But with God on our side, anything is possible. What are you passionate about? Kids - my own as well as the ones I teach. I often say to the parents of my class that I have 23 kids each year - 3 of my own, plus all of theirs as well! What do you enjoy doing when you rest? Reading - although I usually fall asleep after 4 pages these days!

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