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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 »

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A hope to hold onto

by kerriebutterfield

 

Image by Casa Thomas Jefferson
Flickr.com_handshake_6964013353_e7ec857740_o.jpg_CC BY NC ND-2.0

I’ve found in life that hope can be a slippery subject. Most often when you need it the most it’s difficult to hold onto, and can slip right out of your hand as you desperately seek to keep a hold of it. At least that has been my experience. I’m often driven by what I see, what I feel, and what I think I know.

Years ago, in a particularly discouraging season, as I was waking up on a Sunday morning, I had this thought run across my brain: “I’m so tired.” Not too surprising for a non-morning person like me. As I lay there, I began to agree with that feeling, and it seemed to gain strength. I mean I was tired, but as I lay there I got more tired. The next thought that skipped across my brain was, “You should sleep in. No one would even notice if you weren’t at church this morning.” Read the rest of this entry »

Focusing on first things

by kerriebutterfield

Focus by Kaila VanSumer
Flicker.photos/dioamato/5405697015/in/photolist-9eFBoF

Focus is defined by Merriam Webster’s dictionary  as, “directed attention.”  As I wracked my brain to write something meaningful about focus, ironically my brain went in all kinds of directions. Eventually, I felt God directing my attention to the creation story and focusing on what He focused on when He created Adam and Eve–blessings and co-reigning over the earth. 

In the record of  God creating , He focused on goodness. He created , stood back and declared what He created to be good. (With the exception of Adam himself, which He made complete by creating Eve and then declared it, “good”). God’s focus is on completeness/wholeness not perfection.  Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

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 »

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