{re}fresh

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 »

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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

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 »

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 »

I’m His daughter, not His worker

by kerriebutterfield

I Have a Dream by Elvert Barnes Flickr.com_31921789_53cdaa2154_z.jpg_CC BY ND 2.0

I Have a Dream by Elvert Barnes
Flickr.com_31921789_53cdaa2154_z.jpg_CC BY ND 2.0

We had been living in Australia for 6 months when we visited a lawyer to facilitate buying a house. When we arrived, it was slightly unusual for us, because it wasn’t an “office”. We drove up a long, windy driveway to home perched in beautiful wine country. We knocked on the front door and for the next hour got a tour of a beautiful and amazing working ranch that also functioned as a lawyer’s office. He invited us to sit and have a “cuppa” with him and as he did I could feel my anxiety growing as I was distracted by how much time this was taking. All we needed was to sign 3 documents, but this was taking forever.
As I sat, mentally hurrying him along, the Holy Spirit said to me, “What’s your rush? You need to shift gears and slow down because you are missing out on my agenda.” In that moment, I realized He was talking about this specific situation, but He was also talking about the way I was operating daily. I had become so task oriented that I was missing out on His agenda to love people because I was focused on my “to do” list, not His “to love” or “to enjoy” list. Read the rest of this entry »

Waiting with God

by kerriebutterfield

Waiting Time by Craig Sunter flickr.com/20199477206_ce5b2885f1_z.jpg CC BY - ND 4.0

Waiting Time by Craig Sunter _flickr.com/20199477206_ce5b2885f1_z.jpg
CC BY – ND 4.0

Here’s what I’ve learned through it all: Don’t give up, don’t be impatient; Be entwined as one with the Lord. Be brave, courageous, and never lose hope. Yes, keep waiting— For He will never disappoint you!” Psalm 27:14
As I sat in the chair, mouth gaped wide open, and the dentist drilling away, Papa God began to speak to me. He said, “Kerrie, disappointment has caused cavities in your heart. I’m going to drill into your heart and fill them with goodness and hope and heal your heart.” The funny thing was I had been living with disappointment for so long, it had become familiar and normal, and I wasn’t even aware my heart was in decay.

Disappointment is when you stop believing in God’s ability to work things out for our good. You have underestimated the bigness of His goodness towards you because you have become heartsick and weary in waiting for goodness to appear.

I’ve spent some time in “disappointment-ville”. We’ve sold everything we own twice in our lives as we tried to obey and follow God. Read the rest of this entry »

Liar, liar! Pants on fire.

by kerriebutterfield

Lie Ct by Daniel Olnes Flickr.com_8124959044_798a18ebb6_z.jpg CC BY -ND 4.0

Lie Ct by Daniel Olnes_Flickr.com_8124959044_798a18ebb6_z.jpg_CC BY -ND 4.0

You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor. Exodus 20:16

Do not bear false witness against your neighbor? I had never thought of myself as a liar. I mean, I value truth telling. I’ve always thought this commandment was for children, court cases, or people who struggle to tell the truth. Imagine my chagrin, when I realized it applied to me! I had been lying to myself… about other people!

During the retelling of a conflict I can sometimes create a narrative in which I’m the victim (right) and they are the villain (wrong). We all do it at times. This is bearing false witness. I know I’ve done this at times in interpersonal conflicts. I gave myself the benefit of having the best of intentions, and distrusted the intent of others.

Can you relate? I think we all may have done this at least once. But, whether our intentions are good or not, and if we want to grow honor in our culture, a necessary ingredient is believing the best about people even when they show us their worst. This is how “You shall not bear false testimony…” moves from the court room into the family room and gets real.

I’ve had to learn to exercise self-control in my thinking when I have been hurt by someone so that I don’t think and behave dishonorably. I’ve developed a few principles to guard my heart against bearing false witness against others.

1. There are no villains or victims in conflict among friends/family. I trust the person loves me, and is for me, and I reassure them that I love them, and I am for them. We are on the same team. When someone hurts/offends me, I don’t tell a story of why they did what they did, and I refuse to build a case against them, or make accusations about their motives.

2. Apologize first. Because being right ISN’T more important than relationship.

3. Never do conflict via email, phone , or text. Facing one another allows us to hear and understand each other, say we love each other, and hug afterwards. I endeavor wrap my communication up in love and show mercy, not judgement.

4. Break the cycle of sensitivity and insensitivity. What does that mean? Rather than becoming offended when someone hurts me or insensitive when I hurt someone, I chose to listen empathetically. Ask, “How does my behavior impact others?” and engage in healthy conflict resolution. This can also look like be easily offended by others, or being offended when they tell me, my actions hurt them. I choose to stay “unoffended” to protect the relationship, and LISTEN.

Jesus knew we’d mess up in our relationships. He actually said it’s unavoidable. He instructs us to be relentless forgivers. In Luke 17:4, Jesus says, ‘and if he sins against you seven times in the day and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”

He invites us into healthy relationships. Not by being sin-free, but by being relentless forgivers. May we become a family of love-filled truth tellers who forgive often.

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