• Dana L. Butler

Our Impending Transition [yes. more of it.]

Hey my friends,

There’s some transition on my life’s horizon that I’d like to share with you here.  It’s kind of a big deal, and kind of a gigantic question mark all at the same time.

I’ll explain.


But first, can I just say THANK YOU to all of you who expressed care and concern, either here or on Facebook, after my last post?  I was blessed by all your feedback.

Especially by those of you who simply gave me permission to have hard mom-days.

After waiting so long – aching and hoping and asking God – for Maia, it’s hard not to feel guilty admitting that some days are rough.

And those of you who, through your compassion and understanding, reminded me that admitting difficulty does not equate to being ungrateful or ungodly, blessed my heart.

So thank you.

Also?  I’ve felt your prayers.  I’m so thankful for them.

These last couple of days have been significantly better.  I think letting y’all in on the fact that I’d had a hard time for several days (though a big part of me wanted to keep it quiet) kind of broke the discouragement that had begun to set in.

I am taking advantage these days of my moments sitting and feeding or holding Maia – using many of them to break out my Bible app on my phone.  God’s living Word is feeding my spirit and my heart feels much more alive.

So again – thank you, my friends.

I know this season will likely continue to have its intense days.  I’m okay with that.  Hanging on for the ride, rolling with life as it comes my way, and trusting Jesus for grace for each moment.

Transition Is Coming.  More of it.

Okay.  About that whole transition thing.  As if my family hasn’t experienced enough transition in the last couple of months.

Enter more.

Stan and I are part of a church family that has for years been located in an inner city neighborhood of Kansas City, MO.

Until this past Sunday.

This might sound crazy, but our church is moving.  This past Sunday was our first week meeting in our new (possibly temporary) location.  We are basically renting space from another KC church.

My husband Stan (along with 3 other guys) is a part of the core eldership team for our church.  Several months ago each of the “eldership couples,” in different ways but all within similar time frames, began to feel a surprising nudge from the Lord.

And Ryan and Kortni – our point leaders – have experienced more than just a nudge.

I mean, y’all? If I had time to tell you the stories of how clearly God has spoken to their family about this whole moving thing, it would blow your mind.  I’m talking jaws on the floor.

God’s leadership and His over-and-over-again confirmation have been unreal.

And yet – very, very real.

And how all of this has come about is an incredibly long and crazy God-story.

God has realigned our hearts.  Re-worked our priorities.  Reminded us who we are and what we’re called to – both as individual families and as a church family.

In order for this communication to be the length of a blog post and not a couple of book-chapters, I’ll just say – we’re moving.  Our church, I mean.

Not abandoning our neighborhood – we still want to be in partnership with what God’s doing in the urban core of KC.  But God has made it ultra-clear that He’s broadening our focus as a church family – from neighborhood-only to much more city-wide.

And Now, It Gets More Personal

And then there’s our family.  My hubby and I, and our kiddos.

We’re moving too.  Or at least, putting our house on the market.  We’ll see what happens after that.

This feels so beyond nuts to me – the thought of moving out of our neighborhood.

All told, I’ve lived in this neighborhood for nearly 8 years.  (I’m only 32, so that’s kind of a large portion of my adulthood.)

And I have so had a heart for inner city KC.  Really felt called here.  Absolutely loved the diversity and the living-on-the-edge-for-Jesus-ness of being in this area.

(And if I’m honest, perhaps in the past I derived some of my identity from that last piece – the living-on-the-edge piece – in a wrong way.)

Okay – and then there’s the fact that I’ve also LOVED the older homes in my neighborhood, including my own.  Living in a 120-year-old house has its low points, but y’all – my house is gorgeous and so full of character.  I love it.

I so enjoy our home – I’ve loved putting my heart into making it my own.

To Steward Our Family Well

But as Isaac’s gotten older, and now that we have 2 kiddos instead of one, living in our neighborhood seems to have taken on a whole ‘nother level of intensity for me.

Isaac is older now and able to pick up on more of the crazy intensity around here.  I move more slowly with 2 kids now as I’m out and about, running errands.  A few times lately, I’ve actually been legitimately afraid.  I’ve felt like the kids and I were not safe.

And for months, it’s felt like the Lord may be lifting the grace that has previously been on our family – the grace to live in this inner city area that’s so – well, at the risk of overusing the word – intense.

So when Ryan and Kortni sensed God’s direction for our church family (and their own family as well) so clearly – and it SO lined up with what we’d already been sensing – it made complete sense to us that this was God’s leadership for our own family as well.

I’ve struggled a little with a sense of guilt as we’ve considered picking up and moving to a more suburban area.  Other families – good, hardworking, lower-income families – raise their children in this neighborhood.  They have no choice.

Or maybe they do, but for whatever reason, they’ve chosen to put down roots here.

Other people’s children are exposed to the intensity of where we live.  Day-in, day-out.

And who am I to think I should somehow be exempt from raising my kids with all of this pain and difficulty and crime and fear and darkness so incredibly in-their-face?

But when the doubts hit me, the Holy Spirit quickly whispers louder: “But I haven’t given you those families to steward.  I’ve given you yours.  Your children’s hearts.  Your children’s safety.  Not theirs.  I’ve got their families.  I’m protecting and pursuing their children’s hearts in the midst of the life-circumstances they’ve been handed.  Your job is to steward your family with the wisdom I’ve given you.”

So, while I sometimes feel a little schizophrenic, having swung from feeling so called to our neighborhood, to no longer feeling like it’s wise for us to be raising our family here – I also know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it’s the Lord that’s moving us on.

Waiting On God’s Best

Now.  Where we’ll go?  That’s a whole ‘nother question.  We know we want to stay in the Kansas City area, and we have a neighborhood or two in mind.  But how quickly our house will sell?  How much it’ll sell for?  Whether we’ll be able to buy another house or we’ll need to rent?  Those questions are all still very unanswered.

And as such, they require a LOT. of trust.

We have just come through a long, not-so-easy waiting season as a family.  And we have an incredible, sweet, beautiful baby girl to show for it.  And not only Maia, but an incredible open adoption relationship with her birth family.

God’s ultimate best for our family.  In His perfect time.

And now, yet again, we find ourselves waiting on God’s absolute best for our family.  Trusting His heart to give wild, extravagant goodness.  Not knowing yet what it will look like or what His timing will be.

His challenge and invitation in the waiting?  To choose contentment.  To look to Him for joy in this interim period.  To stay in faith.  To choose not to run ahead of Him, making rushed, fear-motivated decisions.

To trust.

SO.  We finalize Maia’s adoption on Friday.  (Insert loud cheering and applause here!)  And, if all goes as planned, within a few days, we’ll have a sign in our front yard.

After that?  Who knows?

Y’all, this is so bittersweet.

But His leadership is trustworthy.  So we’re hanging onto Him, excited to watch His provision roll in.

More transition?

[Gulp.]  Bring it on.

P.S. As always, if you have questions, I’ll answer them to the best of my ability.  Feel free to leave me a comment or shoot me an email at momentsandinvitations[AT]gmail[dot]com.

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