Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Obliterating "Mommy-Martyr Syndrome" [From Running On Fumes to Living In Him]

As much as I try not to, I tend to "zone out" a little spiritually when I travel.  Getting out of our normal routine as a family almost always equates to little to no focused, intentional time with the Lord for me.

This is a bummer for lots of reasons.

I really felt the absence of my times with Him on this past trip to North Carolina.  I had a TON of fun, great times with family, and even had some really sweet moments of prayer in the midst of doing other things, or as I'd lie down to go to sleep at night.  

But I also found myself much more distracted than normal, less intentional about praying "leaning" prayers, and less aware and in tune with His nearness than I have been for the most part as of late.

The interesting thing was that I didn't noticeably feel the results of my lack of focus and intentionality with Him until toward the end of my trip.  I'll share with you my primary symptom.  Can anyone else out there identify with this?

It was "Mommy-Martyer Syndrome."  Oh, I HATE how this is what I "default" to when I'm short on intentional time with the Lord.  For me, "Mommy-Martyr Syndrome" begins with a few yucky internal conversations... like this:

"Yeah, sure, I'll just handle this whining kiddo all by myself while you walk off blissfully unaware that I could really use some HELP here..."  Or....

"No, I really don't mind doing ALL the work while you sit down and put your feet up."

Sound at all familiar?  The thing about these internal "mommy-martyr" conversations, is that when I take a step back mentally and look at the situation a little more objectively, my frustration is, most of the time, at least 80% unwarranted.  Stan probably did nothing, or very little, to "earn" my frustration toward him.  (And yes, it is almost ALWAYS directed toward him.)

While these internal conversations are happening, I am often somewhat aware of them and disappointed by the condition of my own heart.  I hate feeling like that inside... hate the absence of the fruit of the Spirit and a Kingdom atmosphere (righteousness, peace, and joy) in my heart in these moments. 

But in the moment I usually feel powerless to change.

The next step, after the yucky internal convos, is a more obvious irritability toward Stan.  I'm quieter, my responses to him might be short, and I tend to be noticeably bummed out.

So... by the time we were on the plane on Saturday evening, heading back to Kansas City, this was a pretty accurate picture of my condition.  I was irritable.  Short.  Easily stressed out.  Not lighthearted.  Stan felt the brunt of it... undeservingly, I might add.

It wasn't till I had a few minutes to think and pray during our first flight (somehow, miraculously, in the midst of all of Isaac's exhausted-2-year-old-stuck-in-car-seat-on-plane ridiculousness) that I realized: my shorter-than-normal fuse was a direct consequence of my lack of focused time with the Lord.  

I had stopped setting my heart before Him daily in such a way that He was resourcing me for every moment.  I had gradually crossed the line from living life in His strength, to dealing with life in my own strength.  

And I can only run on fumes for so long before I start taking it out on the one human being who lays his life down for me more than any other: my husband.  In those moments, I am subtly looking to him to fill a need in my heart that only the Father can fill.

Ugh.  I hate that I do that.  I hate how I am capable of hurting Stan's heart.  I hate the ugliness that comes out of my heart when I move into that "Mommy-Martyr" mode.  When I'm running on fumes instead of being supernaturally resourced and empowered by my ultimate Source.

So... I prayed.  I repented.  I shared my revelation with Stan, told him how I realized I had been running on empty and not being resourced by my Father and how my irritability had been a symptom of that.  

And I reached out and held Stan's hand, despite my [unreasonable] emotions to the contrary.  

And immediately, the ugly heaviness lifted off of me. My irritability toward Stan was replaced by a gracious, affectionate heart toward him.  I'm not kidding - the heart-change was instant.  

This was SO not something I could pull off in my own strength.  I had been powerless to "fix" myself on my own.  It was the grace of God, His kindness that leads to repentance (Romans 2:4), and the moment I repented for trying to walk on my own and intentionally, in my heart, leaned into Him again, trusting Him as my Source, the grace was there.  Everything I needed was there.  It's all found in dependence on Him.

Just a thought for you today, friends: What are your personal "symptoms" of trying to do life in your own strength?  Of not intentionally positioning your heart to be empowered and resourced by the Father?  Maybe you could ask God to lovingly highlight these things to you?  To lead your heart back to a place of leaning into Him, of tapping, by faith, into the grace for each moment that He's already put within you through His Spirit?

He is so, so committed to doing this for us, my friends... and to walking intimately with us as we trust Him to be our Everything.

By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.
2 Peter 1:3 (NLT)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Sweet Moments

No comments:
Still in North Carolina....  Loving this time with family.  What a gift.  Just keeping track of memories today.  

Praying you and yours, friends, are experiencing the extravagant heart of Jesus toward you this week, manifested in all His good gifts.  You are loved.

Fun Cousin Play Time!  Many more pics to come,
I'm quite sure. :)

Been so fun breaking out my old toys from my childhood...
[and instagramming].

My grandpa made this train for my little brother in the 80's.

What happens when Stan and Dana get a chance to relax? Pure silliness.

Isaac loves "Mr. George," my parents' 80+-year-old neighbor.  Man... he was "old" when I was a kid!
 Super cool guy; really loves us.

Goofing off with Daddy

Checking out Grandpa's big truck! Pretty much the coolest
thing EVER, if you're Isaac.

Up in the truck!  Lots of horn honking. :)

Fun Grandpa time!

We love Gigi!
Visiting Isaac's Great Grandma and Grandpa Kiser
(AKA "Grandma Della" and "Papa Raymond,"
my grandparents.)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

One Of My Absolute Favorite Things About North Carolina

Hi, My Dear Friends!

This Thanksgiving week finds the KC Butlers in NC visiting my side of our family. We are so thankful to be able to be here with them! As time allows, I want to try to blog often this week... Just don't want to lose track of these sweet memories.

If you know me in real life, you know that Carolina barbecue is where it's at for me. Oh man... Not many foods in the WORLD are better than this. Stan and Isaac and I definitely hit up the BBQ place in the Charlotte airport within 5 minutes of deplaning. The perfect way to pass the time while waiting for my mom (a.k.a. "Gigi") to arrive to pick us up.

Carolina BBQ: One of the many ways God speaks His love to my heart. I'm not even joking.

Friday, November 16, 2012

My First 5-Minute Friday: "STAY"

So, Lisa-Jo Baker, the community manager for (in)Courage, hosts these "5-Minute Fridays" over at her blog.  This happens every single Friday and I've contemplated starting to participate in these for quite a while.  I've been a little busy and distracted lately and my writing has kind of fallen by the side and I really don't want it to, because it is so life-giving to me...and hopefully to a few others.

I find that when I write I am more in tune with what God's doing in my heart and how He's speaking to me in the midst of my circumstances and just my daily life.... and I find that I'm more able to articulate those things in spoken conversation as well...which I have really struggled with off and on.

And so... in an effort to give myself at least SOME "heart-regularity" (which is [not so] different than the type of regularity that's the opposite of constipation), I want to try joining up with the gals over at Lisa-Jo's site for a while.  

The rules are simple: Take the one-word prompt for the day, and write on it, whatever comes to mind, for 5 minutes.  No major editing, little to no analyzing... just write.

So... here's what happened when I did this today:


The prompt is "stay" and the first thing that comes to mind is the many moments I've spent rocking my son before bed.  I remember in his baby-hood, how I'd sit and try to come up with a song for him about staying here on my shoulder just a little longer before growing up.  No song ever came together really, but that longing of my heart has never subsided.  When I'm really living IN the moment, being present to him and present IN this season of my life, this word is so profound to me.  "Stay here on my lap just another minute, buddy." Reminding me to stay here and build this ridiculous tower with him one more time, so he can knock it down one more time, so I can hear his laugh one more time...to stay here a little longer, cuddling on the couch with my family, watching the Sound of Music.  So... I pray that I do.  I pray that I grab hold of each of these moments and stay present... stay in tune... stay engaged... just STAY.  I pray that I stay.  God, let me "stay" well.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Revisiting the Foundational Reasons For My Existence (And The Existence of Humanity in General?)

No comments:
Image Credit: ilifejourney.wordpress.com

Mike Bickle once said that every couple of weeks, he has to intentionally revisit the foundational reason for his existence and all that he does: to love God.

Lately I've been realizing my own need for periodic "alignment checks" within my heart around this topic also.  Realizing how quickly and subtly my heart and focus can get just a little off track.  I'm picturing 2 (nearly) parallel lines and how as they start to diverge, the difference in direction is virtually undetectable...but the longer you follow one of the lines, the greater your distance from the other.  My heart sometimes goes down this seemingly ALMOST-correct path for a good while before I realize that I'm several yards (or miles?!) away from the path that I had originally intended to take: simply, purely being loved by God and loving Him in return.

Oh, how I want to have no other agenda but abandoning my life to sinking deeper into the ocean that is His love, and intimately knowing His heart, and loving Him with wild abandon in return... my most extravagant love, just a pale reflection of the way He's loved me.

I absolutely ache for this...to really deeply love Him like He's loved me.

So I've just been doing this lately... revisiting my own foundational reasons for existence.  And as God's realigned my heart yet again under this ultimate calling, I've been reminded that everything else, all that's needed, will flow out of this place... a natural product of intimacy and love.

And anything that doesn't come out of this love isn't worth hanging onto anyway....

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Investing In Adoption

1 comment:
Hola, friends!

I wanted to take a few minutes today to introduce you to 2 friends of mine who are also adopting kiddos. (In case you haven't heard yet, Stan and I are in the process of adopting domestically.)

Lisa Harmon and I grew up going to school together, worked our first jobs together, and have remained friends through the years and across the miles.  She and her family have just begun the process of adopting a son from China.  They are a precious, Jesus-loving family and I SO love that they are now on the road to adoption along with me!  Please check out their first fundraiser and their super cool Chinese picture/puzzle.  It's beautiful... and sponsoring a piece of their puzzle = investing in a precious little guy being brought into a family where he'll grow up being loved deeply and encountering Jesus.

Kelsey Kautzi and I have gotten to know each other this year through a mutual friend.  We initially connected because Stan and I were at the very beginning of our adoption process and I was desperate to talk with folks who were a bit ahead of me on the fundraising journey.... Hence, enter Kelsey and her husband Eric.  These guys have not only been a great support to us through our journey up to this point; they've really become dear friends.  God has taken them on a bit of a wild ride thus far through their adoption process and they've recently come to the decision to adopt a special needs kiddo from China.  Kelsey and Eric love Jesus and love people and are doing an incredible job parenting already and I SO cannot wait to see them love on their sweet new kiddo in addition to their almost-3-year-old daughter Lila, who, incidentally, has become a super fun buddy for Isaac.  (Whew, sorry, long sentence!) They're currently running an American Girl Doll fundraiser that they (and I) would love for you to be a part of.

Thanks so much for reading about these sweet friends of mine. They are dear to my heart and I love that I get to invest in their adoption journeys even while my own is still in progress.  If you're willing, would you prayerfully consider doing a little bit to help financially with these adoptions?  And if you're not able to contribute financially, would you pray for these 2 families and their future kiddos?

I believe adoption is so close to God's heart, and every financial gift, and every prayer, is a way to partner with Him in His heart for the fatherless.

Thank you so much for sharing in my heart, too, today.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Empty Wells, Broken Cisterns, and Finding Fulfillment in Jesus

Image Credit: saltandlightblog.com

You could've heard a pin drop.

On the women's retreat this past weekend, the lovely Jordan Sundberg spoke to our hearts, and Jesus' words through her pierced deep.

The idea was of "empty wells," or broken cisterns (Jer. 2:13).  Her challenge (or one of her challenges) to us was to identify these places we go to try to find identity, life, satisfaction outside of Jesus.  The things that, on a surface level, appear to bring satisfaction and fulfillment to our hearts, but in reality, satisfy only shallowly and temporarily.  

Empty wells leave us empty... aching for more.

Relationships.  Chocolate.  Spouses.  Pleasing people.  Facebook.  Food.  Popularity.  Influence.  Hoping in a desire yet unfulfilled.  Control.  Coffee.  (Oops, did I really just write that?!  (Coffee may or may not occasionally be one of my personal empty wells.))

None of these things are "bad" in and of themselves... but when they become the things we run to before seeking deep fulfillment and peace and strength and satisfaction in the Lord, they become "empty wells."  They don't ultimately satisfy.

I sat with those awesome ladies in the mountains and we listened and the presence of God was tangible and I would bet you money that there was not a single woman in the place that wasn't experiencing the tender, bittersweet finger of the Holy Spirit, revealing, leading, uncovering these empty wells in our hearts.

Aaaahhh.... it hurts so good.  Good, because He is so tenderly, fiercely committed to His process inside of us.  Committed to drawing us into Him until we find our everything in that Place alone.

Why do I find myself so often grasping at lesser sources of satisfaction?  Isn't the satisfaction I find in Him sweeter?  More fulfilling?  Eternal instead of temporary?  Yes.  Absolutely.  But... at the gut level... do I really believe it?  

Do I really trust His heart and His ability to satisfy me in my deep places more than anyone or anything else ever could?  When I turn to empty wells for satisfaction, the clear (and unfortunate) answer to the question... is no.  I don't trust Him. I don't trust Him to be enough, to really satisfy and breathe life into the deepest corners of my heart.


Again and again, God comes and reveals to my heart that the sources of "life" that we can easily see and feel and quickly access in the natural realm are the ones that can ultimately leave us the most empty... the least fulfilled.

And He has set it up this way. 

All our efforts outside of Him leave us longing for what can only be found in Him.  He hems us in on every side.  Everywhere we turn we run smack into the reality that nothing else satisfies.  

It's incredibly frustrating.  And it's His gift to us.  

Our inability to find the satisfaction that we so desperately seek in all of these other places, is actually evidence of His commitment to our ultimate fulfillment...which can only be found in Him.

Oh God... Reveal to me the places in my heart where I have "empty wells."  Forgive me for searching for fulfillment outside of You... for not trusting Your extravagant heart toward me, Your commitment to satisfy me completely, deeply, through and through.  Show me all of my broken cisterns, my empty wells, these hollow sources of false life... Reveal them to me, Father, so that You can come in and bring true satisfaction where all my running around has left my heart empty and broken.

John 4:13-14
Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Colorado Beauty: Nature and JESUS and Precious Friends

1 comment:
My dear friends!

I just returned home a couple of days ago from the place that captured my heart years ago and will forever hold a piece of me... Colorado.  This past weekend the precious ladies of the Littleton Vineyard Church had a women's retreat up in Allenspark, CO (near Estes)... and they invited me out to lead worship for them for the weekend.  Can I just say that I was SO, SO blessed to be a part of it?  Because I was.  Profoundly.

The drive up was snowy (though the roads were clear) and absolutely gorgeous.  The retreat center was fabulous....and the views were stunning.  But even more stunning were the sweetness of community among the ladies, and the sweetness of the tangible presence of Jesus... His commitment to tenderly encounter and bring healing to the hearts of each woman there.

I loved every raw, beautiful, healing minute.

(Thanks to Nicole and Jordan for several of these pics!)

The retreat weekend was sandwiched with sweet moments with dear friends.  Gotta love these Brits.  We miss them so.

Coach Ian teaches Isaac some soccer skillz.

Sue and Dana are LOOOOOPY after the retreat.
And tired.  But happy.
Blessings to you today, friends.  Juicy Jesus/heart stuff to come in the next couple of days... :)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...