{re}fresh

The winds of faithfulness

by kerriebutterfield

Image by Aneurysm9_Flickr.com_2414232119_a9b48da21f_CC BY-ND 2.0

Image by Aneurysm9 Flickr.com_2414232119_a9b48da21f_CC BY-ND 2.0

Months ago, as I was walking, praying, and confessing my fear of failing to God, he reminded me of our history together; stories of His faithful love towards myself and my family through His provision, answered prayers and healing miracles. Gratitude and joy replaced my anxiety.

Humbled by how much He had done in me, through me, and for me, I stopped right then. Closing my eyes, I lifted my face towards heaven and began thanking Him for who He is and all He had done.

Suddenly, a loud wind began to blow. Startled by the sound, I opened my eyes and looked around me. Read the rest of this entry »

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Red letter day

by kerriebutterfield

Image by Nicole Hanusek
Flickr.com_174796703_46127aed66
CC BY-ND 2.0

Webster dictionary defines a “red letter day”  as a  “memorably important or happy occasion.”  A few years ago on what I would describe as the opposite of an important or happy day, I gave this phrase a new meaning and made it my own.

I was feeling forgotten and sad, and I found myself in Psalm 2.  The Psalmist writes:  “I will proclaim the Lord’s decree: He said to me, ‘You are my son today I have become your father. Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.'” Read the rest of this entry »

Roots and Fruit

by kerriebutterfield

My husband and I visit a bonsai guru, Victor, who appears to be about 170 years old, and his roadside garden store occasionally. The store looks like it will collapse on top of you if you sneeze. But, if you can get past the appearance, it’s magical inside.

As I walked inside recently, Victor called out to me. “Did you see those fruit trees I’m intentionally stressing?” The minute he spoke this, I felt Holy Spirit say, “Pay attention, this is important.”

Victor explained that he was intentionally stressing the plants by depriving them of water, causing increased flowering out of season and the result would be more fruit.  More flowers=more fruit

I asked Victor, “Won’t this harm the tree?” He smiled a big smile like he was about to share the best secret with me and said, “No, not if the tree’s roots are healthy and established. It won’t harm the tree. When you stress a healthy tree the result is greater fruit. Good roots = healthy trees

Papa God was giving me a framework to understand my own “dry season” and that He was at work in it, not absent from it. He didn’t create my hardships, but He is using them to train me and make more fruitful. Read the rest of this entry »

Floating is better than swimming

by kerriebutterfield

1f1962bd24d450b350e43b719d8e3a0aEver feel like you have tried your best, prayed the prayers, and although things are okay, they aren’t what you hoped for? You expected more.

About 6 years ago, feeling burnt from my own efforts, facing and bracing for a New Year, God gave me a dream.

I found myself in a home in the middle of a cranberry bog awaiting the arrival of a guest speaker. I was filled with expectation about what that speaker would teach, release, and demonstrate. He arrived with two other individuals and began speaking. After two minutes, he closed in prayer. He looked at my stunned and disappointed face and said, “What did you want?” I answered, “I want my inheritance.” He laughed, put his hand on my forehead, and said, “Everything I have, I give to you.”

He then walked out to the porch, jumped off into the cranberry bog, flipped onto his back and floated amidst the fruit. I stared at him in confusion. As I stood there, one of his companions came to me and said, “Do your children like swimming?” I said, “Yes, they love it.” She said,”Well, floating is better because it is swimming without effort.”

Waking from the dream, God spoke to me about resting in Him instead of striving for Him; teaching me to focus on what He wanted to be for me rather than what I could be/do for God.  It wasn’t that doing things for God was bad, it was that my doing had become more about performing for God’s love than enjoying and sharing His love.

I began a journey to rewire my thinking about what God expectations were of me and to align myself with Him instead of my unhealthy and ungodly expectaions of myself.

Matthew 6:5-13 (The Message) has been instrumental to helping me develop healthy expectations of myself and Papa God:

“And when you come before God, don’t turn that into a theatrical production either. All these people making a regular show out of their prayers, hoping for stardom! Do you think God sits in a box seat? “Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace. “The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They’re full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. Don’t fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply.

I’ve learned:

  1.  To come to him as myself. Not as who I think he wants me to be, or even who I want to be, but the true me. That is exactly where and how I need to be loved. Not for the person I’m striving to be, but resting in the love of God for who I am today, failure and all. My  behaviour doesn’t change Him, but His love changes me.
  2. Prayer is paying attention to God. I need to be quiet, When I’m busy talking I can’t hear Him.
  3.  Quietly wait for Him. When I do, I sense His emotions ,His will towards me, and hear Him speak to me. I begin to float in an ocean of grace in which all of God feels  for me envelops and surrounds me. The heavy burdens of performance and self -proving behavior take on a weightlessness as I embrace His grace and I shift from focusing on my ability to His!
  4.  I need to feel connected to my Papa. It’s about bonding; creating connection. John 15 teaches us that those who are connected to the vine will bear much fruit.  He wants to be close to me. He has made His home in me and He’s wanting to enjoy co-habitation!
  5.  It’s simple. I need Him everyday, all day. I need Him  to be things for me I can’t be for myself.  He never intended for me to be a driven striver, a exhausted swimmer, or see myself as just His worker. He wants me to see myself as His beloved daughter who grows naturally to be like her Papa. He wants me to rest in His love and grace not preform for it. To make myself at home in Him, to rest in Him.

One of my favorite things about that cranberry bog dream is that cranberries grow on a vine and I know Papa was whispering a secret to me as I slept of how to produce fruit out of rest and connection to Him.  I pray you find deep connection to Papa as you rest in His love, acceptance  and grace.

 

Beautiful Confrontation

by kerriebutterfield

IMG_3197I had the opportunity to travel to Japan recently and had a confrontation with a beautiful piece of pottery. As we walked up an ancient road to visit a temple we popped into a pottery shop to escape the oppressive heat and enjoy the air conditioning. As I soaked up the cool air, a small corner of the shop caught my eye. It contained a series of shelves filled with pottery in the style of Kintsugi.

Wikipedia describes Kintsugi as, “the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with laquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold or platinum. As a philosophy, it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.”

This wasn’t the first time I had heard of Kintsugi, but it was the first time I saw it outside of a museum. This first time I could pick up the object and hold it in my hands and run my finger over the golden filled cracks, and investigate it thoroughly. And as I did, God took this opportunity to confront me and align my heart with His. Read the rest of this entry »

What’s the plan?

by kerriebutterfield

Image by lu_lu
Flickr.com 5334609541_6a33ded64f_CC BY-ND 2.0

So, what’s the plan for today?

I’ve had the opportunity to homeschool my daughter for the last two years. Most mornings she comes downstairs and asks me, “What’s the plan today Mom?” And we talk about what each of us wants to do and/or needs to accomplish that day, and then make our best attempts to get things done.

One morning a few months ago, this familiar scene replayed itself in my living room, and as it did, the Holy Spirit said, “I want you to be more like Hanna. Everyday she comes down and asks you what your plan is for the day and then she builds her schedule around that. That is such a beautiful demonstration of Jesus and God. I want this to be our daily interaction so I can astonish you with my desire to bless you and those around you.” Read the rest of this entry »

That Unforced Rhythm of Grace

by kerriebutterfield

First Dance
by Elizabeth Anne
Flickr.com_2666924472_c85810c260_CC BY_ND 2.0

I regularly pray that people would be embarrassed by God’s affection and goodness–become a billboard for the goodness of God. My heart is that people would see Papa God’s nature on display, and God would get the glory. When I pray this I often picture a teenager embarrassed by a public display of affection; enjoying the love but completely self- aware, and wondering what people watching might be thinking. My husband also prays daily for our family that any areas that are uncomfortable with Papa God’s love would be revealed and transformed by love. A few weeks ago these two prayers had a beautiful collision. Read the rest of this entry »

A Letter from Papa

by kerriebutterfield

Image-by-simplificamos-su-trabajo_flickr-com_9423763880_16d2ec4d79_CC BY-ND 2.0

Image-by-simplificamos-su-trabajo_flickr-com_9423763880_16d2ec4d79_CC BY-ND 2.0

Here’s what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.

Matthew 6:6

“My child,

I’m always glad to spend time with you, little one. I’m so proud of you. I’m writing to you today because I want to answer a prayer you pray often. You ask me what my will is for you, what I want from you. You sure do like to talk to me, but I thought I’d write to you to make certain you can see and hear my answer; to make sure you are listening.

I want to be alone with you and for you to be completely yourself and know that whatever you say, whatever you do, I will always love you. I want you to be as honest with me as you are able, and you know I don’t lie or pretend. Don’t be afraid to tell me how you are really feeling; not just what you think I want to hear. Don’t pretend with me. I don’t like that and it hurts me to see how hard you try to be something I never asked you to be. It wears you out and makes you anxious to know if you are playing the role well enough. You don’t need to do that. Just be you. I love when you are you.

I’m your Papa and I am here for you. There is so much I long to be for you. Would you let me? Will you allow me to help you and provide for you like a good Papa? Sometimes you get so busy telling me about your needs and how hard you are trying that our time together comes to an end before I can tell you what I want to be for you. I’m sad to see you leave as heavy burdened as you came.

Next time we talk, can we try something different? I want you to come just as you are. Be yourself. You already know I love that. But, this time, crawl up on my lap, put your head upon my chest and listen for my heartbeat. Just listen. Sit for awhile and listen in the quiet. Wait for me to speak to you. When I know you are listening, I will begin to speak to you. I’ll tell you of my love for you and remind you how much I value you. I’ll make a list of all the things I like about you and fill your heart with courage.

This is when I get to be myself to you. Your Abba, your Papa. I begin to tell you who I am and all I long to be for you. Anxiety, worry ,and shame become silenced and grace and mercy wash over you until you are refreshed and renewed and receive from me. You leave feeling care-free because you have been cared for.

I wonder if you would give me permission to be gracious to you. I long to lavish you with my love and mercy. I’ll be waiting for you.”

Ever yours,

Papa

A Promise: as good as the Promise Maker

by kerriebutterfield

pinky-promise-by-kennysarmy_flickr-com_5723186334_d6d7728e0c_CC BY-ND 2.0

pinky-promise-by-kennysarmy_flickr-com_5723186334_d6d7728e0c_CC BY-ND 2.0

I had a spiritual breakdown eight years ago. Riddled with disappointment and anger with God for not doing what He promised,  I became  weary of waiting for God’s goodness. I couldn’t pray, or if I did, my prayers were filled with bitterness, sadness, and despair.

In the midst of teaching  others that God spoke, healed and saved, we witnessed our friends die of cancer and we struggled financially. I was  doing the “right stuff’ but things weren’t  working out “right”. It wasn’t until after a traumatic event that  I realized all this and I found myself losing hope.

A few weeks later, home alone with my miserable self, I  heard Papa God say to me, “A promise is  as good as the person who makes it. You believe I am good for others, but you don’t believe I am good for you. I want to give you unshakeable faith in my goodness. I am going to astound you with my goodness so that you truly know that I am good.” Read the rest of this entry »

Trust trumps control

by kerriebutterfield

packed-suitcases-by-kc481rlis-dambrc481ns-www-flickr-comphotosjanitors14939447207-cc-by-nd-2-0

packed-suitcases-by-kc481rlis-dambrc481ns-www-flickr-comphotosjanitors14939447207-cc-by-nd-2-0

  “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3

Over the past few years God has graciously offered me gifts of faith that have been wrapped in difficult packages. This has often looked like opportunities to trust Him and allow Him to be things for me I hadn’t allowed Him to be for me before, and it meant surrendering my control over my own circumstances.

A few years ago we left our church jobs, sold our house, and were moving overseas with our two teenage children because God asked us to trust Him and walk with Him into an unknown future. As we finished up our jobs we had six weeks in which we would essentially live homeless.  I began to tackle this housing problem by praying and asking for God’s help. As I prayed, God said, “Don’t make reservations and don’t tell anyone you are in need. I will supply all your needs.”

We had already taken a giant leap of faith, so this felt like a huge stretch for me. I liked security. I liked knowing what the plan was and I was okay with doing this with my husband, but it pressed my buttons to essentially choose homelessness with two kids in tow. But, we were learning to hear and respond to God in obedience, and  although I knew this was going to be challenging, we needed to obey.

I drove to my husband’s office and said, “You aren’t going to believe this, Read the rest of this entry »

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