I’m excited to introduce you to another amazing lady… Catherine Pedley. She is creative, encouraging, generous, prophetic, kind and a fun friend who sees the world in all its glorious multi colour. I love the way she notices the little things around her like the colour of a leaf as the wind blows on it and turns it over, the way the lines of a building catch her eye or the way she will stop talking as the rain catches the light as it falls. She is a joy to be around and I so appreciate the creative steps she has taken that make a way for others to move forward themselves in the creative.
So many! A while back I typed them all up and was reading through them regularly, I realised I haven’t done that in a long time! One of my favourites is a really simple picture of me as a child changing a car tyre: I had my hand on the wrench and was shifting those nuts, as the picture zoomed out you could see that Papa God had His hand over mine and was lending me His strength. Such a simple picture but so lovely. One of the most life changing was at a conference where a lady called out the name Olwyn. I’d not experienced a Word of Knowledge before, and Olwyn was a very significant name to me as it represented an abusive, controlling and unhealthy friendship I was in. Through that WOK, God revealed what was going on and He showed me clearly how to walk free. Up to that point my game plan for survival had been avoidance (pretty hard when you go to the same school and have the same friends!) but now I was free!
Have there been pivotal moments in your life that have changed your direction?
For sure! When I moved to Plymouth for Art College: as my Dad drove away, I realised that absolutely no one knew me in that city, and I could therefore be whoever I wanted to be. In the years leading up to me moving I’d been bullied at school and was pretty shy, going along with the crowd, making dumb decisions and now had a choice, do I continue in that way or do I go back to God? I knew I couldn’t live both lives and whichever I chose, I’d be fully in. THANKFULLY I chose God, I had a copy of His Utmost for His Highest and got up just a little bit earlier every day and started building a relationship with Him. My choice was tested a few nights later when I was at a party with loads of ‘cool art people’. A few spliffs were being handed around and I didn’t want to smoke but felt paralysed to say no – it got nearer and nearer – then amazingly one of the coolest guys said something along the lines of ‘hey man, I’ve realised this stuff isn’t great for me so I’m taking a break from it’. The spliff was passed on and everyone was all like ‘cool, cool, yeah man you go for it’. That was my Advance to Go card and I took it – I said similar and no one questioned it. That was it! I never went back to another ‘cool arty people party’ and joined the even more cool – Jesus loving artists group (not its real name).
Then deciding to do BSSM at Bethel. I’d been in Birmingham for 10 years, had a good job, well paid, had a decent pension in the making, friends, fun….I was totally bored! I was working with people recovering from addictions and I’d not seen one person healed of addiction and walking free. They’d get clean for a few years but always went back – I realised that my thinking was shifting to Heroin being greater than God and it scared me, I needed God to be God, I needed Him to be all powerful, I needed the God of the bible…….anyhoo, I started hearing crazy stories coming out of this place in America, ridiculous stories of healing, addictions being healed overnight and lives transformed. Then some of my friends started to go and essentially, I got FOMO (fear of missing out) so applied! I remember arriving not really knowing what I’d signed up for, there were people there who had read every book Bill Johnson, Kris Vallotton and Danny Silk had written and I’d only just heard of them. It was the best decision I ever made, I completed 1st and 2nd year in Redding and then did an intern year in Manchester. I ended up spending my Grandmothers inheritance to fund my 2nd year and I know hands down it was THE best investment made.
How do you hear from God?
Mostly in the quiet places, I really connect with Him in creation, so getting outside, sitting still and just watching, listening to what’s going on around me and then chatting to God about it. I love how the rhythm of creation just carries on independently of my life; spring will always come after winter, there will always be bright daffodils after a grey dark hunkered down time. I love watching the passing of time over the crop of a field or a beech tree being bare, then the bright lime green leaves unfolding out of some delicately created origami sleeve. He’ll draw my attention to something, and we’ll talk about it, or actually I usually ask Him questions like – “so, question – spiders! explain?”. He meets me in the breath, in the stillness of the morning and throughout the day I’ll get drawn aside by a beautiful bird or cloud formation. All of that is my love language really, and He knows it.
He also speaks to me through patterns and numbers and for years now I’ll pick up my phone or look at a digital clock and it’ll be 10:01 or 14:14 or any other double or mirrored numbers. Patterns will be either literal patterns, so the marks on a fir cone, seed or butterfly, or repeated things, for example the other day I saw 3 girls at different times throughout the day all wearing outfits in one colour – nooo idea what it means but I know He’s calling me to come close.
At other times I’ll listen to a Podcast or read some scripture, its less about quantity and more about quality for me, so I’ve been listening to the same talk by Pete Greig for months now and there are 3 by Bill Johnson that I keep going back to. I’ll find some scripture and just keep going back to it. Side note is that I find reading the bible pretty hard – I mean come on its a massive book! So, rather than freaking out about starting at the beginning again, or beating myself up because I’ve not kept to my Bible in a Year, I have familiar passages that I return to again and again that speak straight to my heart and anchor me in truth.
What is your mission field/passion?
I guess we’re talking about where I feel called to be me, living life and introducing people to Jesus. So, I’ve not really ever felt called to a specific people group, country, nation or demographic. I used to find that quite hard as I’d see others have a strong calling on their life for Africa or the poor, or… you name it. What I’ve realised is that the things God has put in me, that shape me, motivate me, inspire me or I’m just really good at – those become my mission field and passion. So right now, that would be health/fitness. I work out at a gym once a fortnight and really enjoy just catching a few minutes to chat with some of the Personal Trainers or other clients. I am regularly amazed at how a simple encouragement, acknowledgement or just saying hi, really opens up opportunities to get to know people and encourage them in their day. The other area would be my workplace. I’m just about to change jobs and am hoping to be in a role that is very front facing, bringing support to people in times of need, the possibility of bringing the Kingdom into each situation is pretty exciting and will definitely be a new mission field for me.
What do you do whilst waiting for promises to be fulfilled?
Waiting for promises to be fulfilled I reckon, is about 10% end goal and 90% journey. Waiting for me doesn’t look like ‘waiting for a bus’, I’d say waiting is always an opportunity to grow in trusting God. Sometimes I think we can be quick to have an answer or an explanation ready, I’d like to be more comfortable in the silence the now and not yet – in the gap. This is quite timely for me as I’m waiting for a job to come through. The journey that got me to the point of applying and even the opportunity opening up was very clearly God. If I lay out the facts, I heard Him clearly, had prophetic confirmation, I followed what He said and now I’m in that gap resting in the truth that He will provide, and even if He doesn’t in the way I’m expecting, He’ll still provide. You see, He’s always up to something, He hasn’t forgotten me, I haven’t slipped His mind – if it’s important to me then it’s important to Him. There is always something to learn in the journey and what I’ve realised is that if you don’t learn it the first time, you can be sure He’ll provide another opportunity.
Practically when I feel like I’ve been waiting longer than I hoped or I’ve started listening to the ‘what if’s, buts and maybe’s’, I’ll go back, give my hopes and fears to Him again (this could be daily sometimes hourly). I’ll check that the conversation hasn’t changed and give Him an out – sounds funny I know – what I mean is something like this “Papa, I really want this, I’ve followed You as best I know how and I’m now waiting for You to be You and for something to shift and bring change – I just want to let you know that whatever happens, even if You change the game plan, change your mind, I’m still following You, I’m still on your team, because relationship with You is of greater value to me than anything else”
How have you coped with any disappointments?
Great question! Until hearing Wendy Mann‘s talk on dealing with disappointment, I don’t think I did cope with it, I just buried them and got angry!! It’s a difficult shift to be talking and worshipping a God who heals, when a friend is dying of cancer, or a God who provides when there is lack. I used to believe the lie that declaring my faith in Jehovah Raffa – the God who heals, was a deposit in some sort of faith bank account, and that in some way being emotionally authentic this disempowered my faith putting me into debt (such a dumb lie). Now I know that processing my disappointment, getting it aaalllll out then means when God comes in for a hug, I’m not all prickly and hard hearted.
I journal, I just write. sometimes it makes sense, often it doesn’t. I find it difficult to get what is inside out, sometimes to even recognise what I’m feeling, and journaling helps with that. Exercise also helps, cycling really fast, going for a run – both of those help me deal with and get out my anger. Sometimes I’ll go for a drive, get away and shout, swear, punch, kick, scream – never blaming God but with Him there in the processing – I also need Holy Spirit to keep wandering around my heart just checking there’s nothing hiding or hidden away. And then I let Him love me, I usually go off into an encounter with Him. I have a sea and a hill I regularly go back to where it’s just me and the Trinity hanging out.
Just a little side note – as a steady person, I struggle to know how I am emotionally, so I’ve learnt to watch for red flags – how’s my language, both self-talk and day to day. What am I watching on TV, am I living in colour or am I dulled? How’s my eating – ooh that’s a big red flag, if I’m not making great decisions with my eating, I’ve probably got something I need to chat to God about.
What do you think is the key to breakthrough?
Being thankful! 100%!! What you are thankful for doesn’t need to be linked to where you need breakthrough but being thankful for the small things, in my experience, brings breakthrough. When I was at Bethel and needed provision in a very practical way, I didn’t have enough money to pay each months rent. I’d bring my needs to God and then because He’s my Father I knew He’d provide, so I looked for it – it may have been someone buying me a coffee, or giving me an apple, a lift to school or a good night sleep – all were His provision, and as I built a habit of celebrating them, not only did I know His provision but my relationship grew deeper.
What do you want to see God do in your life?
Assuming that we’ve got all the usual bases covered, I’m gonna go a little wild and say I’d really like to meet God more in Creation – it’s all about relationship right? Well I’d say I most connect with Him in creation, and I’d like to really connect. I had some pretty cool experiences around intercession and creation a few years back and I’d love to go there again. Yes I’m talking about communicating with animals and weather and now 90% of you are weirded out – but you know it’d be pretty cool if an owl woke you up with a prophetic word! Or you were at a BBQ, the lighter doesn’t work and you’re all like “hey, I’ve got this – Catherine to thunder cloud, mini lightning bolt requested at BBQ, over”.
My family sometimes remind me of when we got stuck in the snow on our way to my Grandparents. A heavy Grandfather clock in the trailer of a yellow Metro, tiny country roads, a hill and heavy snow meant we were stuck. We all got out of the car to lighten the load and seeing that my Dad needed help, six year old Catherine called to all the deer in the woods to come and help – they didn’t come and I do remember being surprised at the lack of turn out. I guess the God of creation sowed a seed even then…
How do you pass on what you have? How will you leave a legacy?
Answering from the perspective of my job, this is a very poignant question as I am about to hand over management of a business I’ve helped build up.
Being open handed, the people following you are going to be amazing or you wouldn’t be handing it over to them.
Holding it loosely so that when changes are made that you are not offended.
Keeping your heart connected, staying emotionally available, leaving well which looks like not disconnecting and rushing off.
Keeping it simple – a simple lesson is way easier to remember than an intricate one.
What have been your biggest obstacles? How have you overcome them?
I’ve been pondering this question a lot – I’d say my biggest obstacle has been loving Catherine Pedley (and I REALLY do now! I’m the only me in this entire universe, why would I want to be someone else!!) I don’t know when it started or why but up until I was 32, my life was dominated with comparison and performance. I was extremely critical of myself, big bum, weird toes, crooked nose – all the usual. I hid in oversized clothes and attitude. Fear and control were pretty good friends too. I used fear as a protection and my world got smaller and smaller. I started picking up bad routines, patterns, ways to bring control. My self-care wasn’t great, I would binge eat regularly, I didn’t invest in myself – what’s the point, I’d never match up to anyone else. Around 2007 God brought the first lot to the surface, through a series of events God lovingly revealed my fears to close friends and family. They fought for me, prayed with me and counselled me through it – a member of my church would phone me every night and read scripture to me before I went to bed. The coolest thing about this is that I know I carry peace, where I go, peace comes with me – it is often one of the first things people will say about me, that I’m calm or peaceful, that they feel safe when I’m there. I don’t DO any of that, it’s what I carry, what God put in my and what fear, control and comparison were robbing me of.
Then when I went to Bethel for BSSM, God put the nail in the coffin. My experience of first year at BSSM was a greenhouse of positivity and love. I had people I’d never met coming up and saying how beautiful I was, or how they loved my style. Initially I found it really difficult and sharp to my ears, but after crying for a week, I softened (shocker) and started to receive it. I then went through a process of apologising to my body (our words our powerful, life and death is in the power of the tongue). I thanked my bottom for being a great support, my legs for carrying me, my arms…..just worked my way through recognising and thanking God for how He chose to make me. If you’ve never done it, I’d thoroughly recommend spending time thanking God for all of you. And now I can confidently say that I love me! I’m really rather amazing, I’m the only Catherine Ruth Pedley in the whole world – I’ve been created AND formed by my heavenly Father. I’m exactly as He made me to be and don’t know if you’ve noticed but He makes GREAT decisions! Essentially, I’m playing a key part in the success of this universe – you’re welcome!
How did you start/realise that you could paint prophetically? What is your process in producing a painting?
The short answer is at Bethel. In my 1st year, students would arrive early and queue to get the best seats, and whilst waiting 2nd year students offered Prophetic Paintings. You would sit opposite them and they would simply draw or paint a picture for you. It had to be quick and effective as the queue was long, so skill and technique didn’t really come into it. I was so impacted by the pictures I received that I signed up for the team the following year. That then opened up for me the opportunity to paint during worship at conferences and in some of the main services.
In the week coming up to me painting, I’ll be chatting to God about what He wants me to paint. Sometimes it’ll be super clear, I’ll have an image or an idea to follow, other times its more about a feeling or emotion. Often times it’ll be a theme that Gods been speaking to me about or I’ve noticed a pattern forming. For a good while I couldn’t get away from REST and BREATHE, those words just kept coming back and there’s only so many ways you can paint it! At the moment I’m trying to find me in my art, what do I enjoy painting, what materials do I like using. It’s all about layers and shapes right now, building up textures, patterns, covering up pieces of a picture to highlight a specific part. I really enjoy simple ideas either oversized or tiny. The hardest part for me is finishing. During worship you get about 30 – 40 mins of good painting time, well I work fast, so come second service I’m often further ahead than I need to be and rather than keep on going I like to stop and then return at a later date.
Here are a few examples of Catherine’s art.
Catherine has recently set up a website so if you would like to see more of her art and/or you would like to purchase a piece then click on the link.
If you have enjoyed this blog you may want to read my first ‘Inspired By’ series. You can link to previous posts below.
Inspired By Series 2