Stolen Identity: Cate Ange
Stolen Identity: Cate Ange
I give thanks to Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength for my work, I thank him for considering me worthy, and appointed me to serve him, even though in the past I spoke evil of him and persecuted and insulted him. But God was merciful to me because I did not yet have faith and so did not know what I was doing. 1 Timothy 1:12-13
They say hindsight is 20/20. That you can only view history accurately through the lens of time. What’s in a name? Everything in my case. Truly.
Mary Catherine Cook Ange.
My history. My future. 4 words.
In ancient times, names given at birth told the story of your life. I know this still happens. I believe God chose my name because HE knew the arc my life would take. (For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD-Jeremiah 29:11)
Mary comes from the root word Marah. It means ‘wished for child; beloved’. It also means ‘bitter; rebellious’. A perfect description. I was an unexpected child. Much wished for, and much prayed for. Sadly though, bitterness and rebellion fit me like a second skin. They clung to my heart though I didn’t realize it. I was blind to the truth of myself, my life, and who I truly believed I was. Words spoken over me/to me at a 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, place 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 believed my enemy, he stole 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.
From the outside you never saw any of this. I was a ‘good’ person. Surrounded by friends with a beautiful family, and a great job. A churchgoer even! 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, “I told you 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.
I was beyond miserable. There was nothing good. I didn’t understand why things were so bad when believers I knew had such peace and joy. Was that not something I was supposed to have? Why didn’t I? What was wrong? What did I do? How could I get what they had? Was it even available to me? It seemed completely unattainable. So… things got even worse.
Until one day. I was 42.
I was done. I was completely broken and almost destroyed. My life was dark and I could see no way out of the mess I had made. My way wasn’t working. My way was only making it worse. At this point I wasn’t even sure HE was real since my life seemed so desolate.
I gave up.
In an act of desperation, I cried out to the LORD I claimed to know. That if HE was real, I needed Him to take over. My way didn’t satisfy…and I needed something that did. I admitted I needed help that I needed a Savior and that I had been wrong.
And there, on the floor of our den, HE met me. Jesus walked right in– into the middle of my mess. I can’t explain it but I knew…I felt..something was different. Nothing had changed in my situation (life/marriage/problems)…but something had changed in ME.
There was a peace and a comfort that I cannot explain. There are no words. But I knew. And it was good. Life was going to be different. Better. REAL. I had no idea how, but I understood. That was the day my real life started and the day HE renamed me.
My vision had been obstructed by bitterness and rebellion. I thought I knew HIM, but was absolutely enslaved to His enemy who deceptively had ruled my life. God opened my eyes to who I really am– HIS beloved daughter! HIS wished for child! Thankfully, because of His great mercy, I can now see that truth. HE had been pursuing me, trying to get my attention for years. Years I spent deceived thinking I knew HIM– but He never puts a bitter rebellious heart in any of His children. And I was very bitter. And very rebellious.
Since HE is a gentleman, we must choose to believe that He is who He says He is and has done what He says He has done. That Jesus died and rose again so that we can be united with our Father in true relationship and have the abundant life full of joy that He died to give us.
Until we believe in our hearts and confess with our mouth that Jesus is LORD, we are deceived. We are not HIS. We are blinded to His truth. My misery was, in fact, HIS relentless mercy.
I’m so glad He let me walk the path I chose. I know that not choosing Him leads to destruction. I almost destroyed me. And could have destroyed the ones I love. It’s hard to swallow that I believed a pack of lies all my life. Satan is called “the accuser” who roams the earth like a hungry lion seeking to devour those who take his bait. I ate what he offered for far too long. I’m so thankful for my loving Father, who not only forgave me for living such an unholy life..but who will also use my failures for HIS glory, to strengthen and draw others to Him as I share of His abundant mercy, redeeming love, and amazing grace. My mess= HIS message. By accepting Christ, my name went from bitter to beloved.
Catherine means pure, chaste, innocent, clear. I assure you that none applied to me. Ever. But now, not only has He declared me His beloved… He has declared me innocent! When I understood just how horribly I had lived in the presence of the Holy God; how I had broken all of HIS commandments while thinking I was doing fine and was ‘good’– words can’t describe my despair at the recognition of my total spiritual destitution or my absolute desperation for complete dependence. (Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.- Matthew 5:3)
As I recognized and confessed my sins to Him and asked for forgiveness, for Him to teach me– to lead me– to be my King…HE did! And He has forgotten all of them!! They don’t exist anymore– for His own sake He won’t remember! (Jeremiah 31:34) I am now pure, chaste, innocent– and my record is clear. He did not give me what I deserved; instead He was merciful and poured out His amazing grace. And loved me back to life.
Jesus paid the price for all the horrible things I did. His blood covered them. When I believed Him, it was Jesus’ blood that bought me back and brought me back. And now, it is not I that live, but Christ that lives in me. And He is transforming me daily to resemble Him more closely.
God revealed who I am in my first 2 names. In my last two? He showed me His plan and purpose.
My surnames are all about serving, keeping (‘keeper of an eating house’) and sharing (‘message’). Christ has taught me I am a keeper. He never gave up chasing me, and now He is keeping me and will keep me for all eternity. HE has given me a message that I am to share. As I keep Him as my guide, He has revealed that sharing of His loving kindness, His truth, His unfathomable mercy and grace is what I am called to do.
In ancient times, eating houses were places weary travelers rested and were served. I am now honored to serve Him by sharing His message of redemption, grace, mercy and love to those who are weary and need rest. To point others towards true rest and nourishment with my actions. To speak life and love into desperate, lost, hurting souls– just like I was. To share that it’s not too late! They’re not too far gone from Him. (Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28)
God is the provider of ALL things. Take His bread of life and it will fill you–that empty, never satisfied hole– will finally be content. Drink His living water and your thirst for satisfaction will be quenched. You will be refreshed and rejuvenated for it brings real life. It flows endlessly to provide for you. Come. Drink deeply. It is the only water that will put out the fire that rages deep within.
If He can change MY name and transform MY life– HE can and will do it for anyone. He wants to! He longs for us to come to Him. Even you.
Author~ Cate Ange
Cate is a Huntsville native with a passion for Jesus and a love of teaching and reaching others for Him any way she can. Cate has been called a “gatherer of women from all over the city”. She is active with the 29:11 Story, and is involved with Huntsville Night Life an outreach of For Life Ministries. In addition, she serves at Willowbrook Baptist Church in several areas. Cate works part-time for Hospice Family Care as a clinical marketing liaison, which merges her love of teaching and relationship building with her zeal for helping others. She and her husband, Jay, have two lively teens– life at their house is never dull!