Many Christians want an answer to the question "What does God want me to do with my life?" If you've been around churches for a while, there's a chance that you will have collected some ideas that make it harder, rather than easier, to answer that question. This episode explores some of those calling myths.
Rachel has done many things in her life. Including a career in the police force, running a dance school and working with horses. Now she works as a self employed cleaner and loves what she does. In this wide ranging conversation, she shares the wisdom she has gained from living with mental health challenges and her story of finding a job that works for her.
Beauty has a way of touching our souls very deeply and helping us to connect to the Divine. The beauty we discover in the world around us is an interesting angle from which to consider our calling. What is it that you find beautiful? That might just give you a clue as to what you're called to do in the world.
One of the things that's promised in the 'Christianity Starter Pack' is feeling unconditionally loved and welcomed by God but often it can be the work of years or decades to truly begin to find it. Not because it isn't there, but because some of the patterns and tools that we had already picked up in life, in early childhood, can get in the way of us seeing it. In this episode Catherine converses with Sean about attachment styles and the impact these can have on one's Christianity, and the Christianity they see in others.
Alanna has created a sacred space, a sanctuary in the Staffordshire countryside where people come to be heard, to take a breather from the challenges of their lives, to be cherished for an hour. Oh. And to get a really good haircut. Alanna has been a hairdresser since she was 16. She shares about how her faith, her love for people and her talent for hairdressing all come together.
Are you an introvert or an extrovert? It’s not always as obvious as you’d think. This is the second episode focusing on personality. Catherine and Polly discuss the difference between extraversion and introversion and how our preferences affect how we relax and restore our energy, the way we communicate with others and how our sensory environment affects us. There are clues here about how to understand yourself and the people around you.
There are two Cathys in this episode! Our host, Catherine Cowell, is joined by her friend Cathy, who shares her journey so far being Mum to her son Guy. A journey of small birth weight and inducement, of a traumatic birth story and the NICU. A story of breathing problems (bronchiolitis) and late night trips to hospital. Of metopic synostosis/fused sutures and major surgery. Of epilepsy and Autism. Of both mainstream and special school. And of family.
But also, a story of hope, fear, sorrow, much joy, of prayers answered, and of drama.
It's a long one, so settle in, but make sure you've got the tissues handy, because it's an emotional journey through the past 9 years. And it's a privilege to get to hear it.
In this episode we meet another podcaster! We hear his story about why he does what he does, how he feels about being on the listening end of other stories, and some of the challenges he's overcome along the way. Some heavy topics come up in this episode, including; suicide, alcoholism and gaming addiction. We discuss parental love, and parental rejection. The challenge of hypoglycaemia and how living with visual impairment is considerably easier than managing the barriers and prejudices that society creates . This is a tale of hope, resilience, courage, & adversity. In this episode, Catherine meets broadcaster Philip Francis Anderson.
If pregnancy, birth and motherhood are not living up to the ideals you imagined and you're experiencing way less sleep and way more difficulties than you bargained for, this episode is for you. Even if that's not your situation, there is lots to learn here.
In this episode Catherine interviews Sarah Page about the gruelling glory and redemption she experienced in the transition from monastic prayer warrior to severely sleep-deprived mother of a suffering baby, and then stepping into the balance between the two as they've grown up, with lessons learned and a call to the church to do it differently.
It's a story of when dreams and expectations don't end up lining up with reality, and the choice to either let them go, or live with them being ripped from you. The God who is there in both the bad and the good.
It's one woman's very personal, difficult story. And a universal story about finding -- and being found by -- God, during difficult times. Inside and outside of church.
Content warning for pregnancy/birth/breastfeeding, birth trauma, miscarriage, and a baby that would not stop screaming.
This is the third in our series on personality, users the lens of the Myers-Briggs model. This time, Catherine is joined by Sean Kennedy to discuss thinking and feeling. How do you process information? When faced with a situation, do you work out what you think about it before you decide what you feel about it? Or are you one of those people who doesn't know what they think about something until they've understood what they feel about it? What difference might that make to your life, your relationships with others and the way you like to work?
While studying theology, Katie discovered that there were women and women's movements in church history that she knew nothing about. Incredible, creative, humanitarians, writers and revolutionaries who have been largely forgotten. People like Julian of Norwich, whose writings only survived because they were hidden by nuns for centuries. Desert mothers, Marie D'Oignies and the Beguines. Katie shares her discoveries, the way her learning has given her insights into the lives of women today and her passion for supporting the women around her.
In this episode Catherine talks with Sally Bubbers, a psychotherapist, who answers all these questions and more as she explains the Parts Theory of Internal Family Systems. A slightly shorter episode, but dense with food for thought, delivered with Catherine's usual welcome, grace and good humour. Definitely one you do not want to miss!
It's a story of welcome, of tears, of considered decisions and second chances. And a story of reading the times, knowing when to move forward and when to wait. It’s about the fact that calling is far more about who we are than what we do. Above all, it’s about love. There’s a lot to learn from Felicia in this episode!
Do you feel like your faith suddenly isn't making sense any more? Have the answers you've been relying on stopped making sense? Feeling like you've outgrown church...but you don't really want to abandon it? Like you're too far along and this should all be sorted by now? Where the worldview you formed from reading the Bible doesn't properly fit your actual real life, and, like having one foot each side on a cracking iceberg, you need to take a leap in order to be left with any hope at all? And, ever felt like you're all on your own with it?
As to the last, you are not on your own. In this episode, Catherine talks with Joe Davis from The Mid-Faith Crisis podcast, and they explore together common stages of Christian faith that look nothing like the previous ones -- and everything like it at the same time, and what growing up to maturity in the faith really looks like.
Howard is a baptist minister who chose to leave his successful church in the posh part of Birmingham to move with his wife, Iona, to Cobridge, one of the most deprived areas of Stoke on Trent. He no longer leads a church. Instead, working as part of Urban Expression, he and Iona seek simply to be a blessing to the community they have grown to love. He talks honestly about the challenges and joys of leaving behind his previous role and what he has learnt about the radical acceptance of Jesus.
Catherine is joined by Polly for our fourth conversation looking at personality through the lens of the Myers Briggs model. This time we’re discussing what Myers Briggs refers to as Sensing and Intuition - the S and the N for those who speak MBTI.
Are you practical, down to earth and good at remembering details? Do you like ideas and theories? Do you prefer to learn by thinking things through or experiencing them first hand? Do you love a good gossip or do you get bored by small talk? How many notebooks do you own?
We all have a preference for either sensing (focusing on details and practicalities) or intuition (seeing the big picture, looking for connections and possibilities). Catherine and Polly discuss the profound impact these differences have on the ways that we understand the world, communicate with one another and organise our lives. Even down to how many notebooks we might choose to own. Lots of information here to help you to understand yourself and other people a bit better and avoid some common causes of misunderstanding.
Do you like things planned, organised and decided, or do you prefer to keep possibilities open? Do you find structure and rules calming or constraining? Do you like the adrenaline of the unexpected? Or the opportunity to prepare properly?
We all have a preference for either what the MBTI calls 'judging' or for 'perceiving'. Understanding our own preferences and how they differ from those of other people can really help us to work more harmoniously and effectively with others.
"Window of Tolerance" might not be a term that you've heard before, but it's a really useful concept and in this episode, Sally Bubbers explains it beautifully. You know that there are good days, when you are in that zone where life has enough interest and excitement and challenge to keep you engaged, curious, grounded, emotionally stable and winning at life. That's when you're operating in your 'window of tolerance'. Sally explains what the window of tolerance is, how we can spot the signs that we've left our window of tolerance, how to get back into it again and how to support others who are struggling. Lots of really practical ideas, hints, tips and insights that will be useful for anyone but particularly helpful for parents of children who have experienced trauma - or for anyone who has experienced trauma or is supporting others who have.
What does it mean to have a love relationship with the divine? Christianity has at its core the concept that faith is about loving God and being loved by God. But what does that actually look like in practice? In this episode, Catherine shares some thoughts about that. The truth is that it's different for everyone...
Catherine talks with Maria Garvey who, twenty years ago, founded a L'Arche community in Northern Ireland. She describes her work as being about 'creating communities of belonging for people who find themselves marginalised. She says "Who I am really is a commitment to everyone knowing that they matter, no matter what." In this wide ranging conversation Maria talks about encountering people who experience themselves as marginalised and her understanding of God, of whom she says, "God is a space in which everyone and everything has its place. Everything and everyone belongs."
96% of the people in prison are men which means that the 4% of women in prison in the UK often find themselves overlooked in a system that was designed for men. Eight years ago, Tracy Sickel, a free church prison chaplain, started Imago Dei and since then she and her team have been ministering to women in prison, helping them to feel loved and valued, to know their worth, improve their self respect and invest in who they are. You can find out more about Imago Dei and how to support their work at
Catherine is marrying the podcast editor next week [their transcriptionist wishes them well!]. In this episode Catherine recounts to Hannah Lambert the tale of finding her wedding dress, which then segues beautifully into a conversation about finding God in the details...or not, sometimes. If you like girly wedding talk, you'll enjoy this one, but even if you don't, there's definitely still something for you here.
For the first time Catherine has two guests in this episode, married couple Gill and John. They are both waterways chaplains, driving their boat through Britain's canals and helping the people they meet along the way. We start out meeting them and finding out a bit more about what they do, but the conversation quickly shifts and blossoms into learning more about God's grace, from people who have been walking with Jesus for over 40 years.