Yesterday the team of students and leaders that will be going to England in July met for their first training. This group of over 30 people will be joining the Butler family, along with three former Heights Students who are now gap year workers, in York for a week. The team will spend the next three months training to prepare for the ministry they will be a part of in England. In honor of this, we wanted to share an update from the Butler family. Below Meredith Butler shares what the Lord has been teaching her in this journey. We hope you are encouraged and challenged by these words!
We recently celebrated our one year anniversary of being a part of the advancement of the Kingdom of God in York. Over last 14 months, the Lord has graciously taught me many things about who He is, while gently chiseling away at my fleshiness.
In the early months of living in the UK many faux anchors, or to say it bluntly, idols, were revealed in my heart. Yes, plural. A herd of weak golden calves battled for my allegiance, and still do. Comfort is the false god that I continually have to lay down at the feet of Jesus. Although we are not in a third world country, the UK is not my cozy spot back in Dallas. The sights, smells, and most obviously the sounds/accents, remind me each day that my new home is quite different. With this thought, God softly whispers to me that our true home is with Him. America (well, Texas ya’ll) is great and all, but it is not where I am headed in the end of all things.
Convenience is another prominent and persistent shrine where I find myself kneeling. In worldly terms, America has got it all. Quick access to food, brilliant road engineering, assorted options at the grocery store, and all the shopping one could dream of…this list could go on and on. When we first arrived in Britain, going to the grocery store, eating out, and life in general gave me some sort of anxiety. “Only one kind of mustard? But, what if I don’t like this kind?” “What do you mean the nearby restaurants are tiny and not stroller accessible?” “All coffee shops close at 4pm…what?!” I found myself quickly annoyed with all of it, and questioning “why this country couldn’t get it right, just like America.” Then, bam. God unveiled my arrogance surrounding my home country and my worship for convenience. The Father showed me that my hands were clamped on what I thought was sustaining. He continues to expose my allegiance when I try to fill up on cheap savior substitutes and reminds me that He is all I need. I am grateful for course corrections where the Holy Spirit regularly whispers (or shouts) to my soul. Although these moments have the ability to be quite painful, they are much needed to continue my pursuit of Jesus.
Following hard after Jesus is much different here in York than it was in Dallas. We aren’t constantly surrounded by friends/family/community on the sidelines passing out chugs of water and running alongside us when we feel like quitting. Our Gospel-centered lifestyle is foreign to the majority of the people we meet in the UK, and it’s not because we are from America. Living in response to the good news of the Gospel alters the way we do life and has been even more obvious since moving. Cory and I live each day with a clearer perspective of why we are here, really why we are alive. One step outside of our door and we are reminded that the entire city of York is our mission field. Every coffee shop visit is intentional, that we might be Jesus to the baristas we have befriended. Daily school runs are an opportunity to seek out the least, lost and lonely that we might share Jesus’ love with them. Even trips to the grocery store, with all of its strange food, have provided persons of peace.
Sadly, we should have been living with this same mindset in America, but our eyes seemed to have been a bit clouded and overrun by all the things. We daily find ourselves in a place of humble desperation for the Spirit of God to sustain us and move in the people we now love so deeply. The love of God has captivated us all the more. Our lives now may be more foreign than ever to the patterns of this world. A family living for the God of the Bible is truly strange in our post-modern, post-Christendom surroundings.
A fairly common question posed is, “How long do you think you will be in England?” Our answer usually ends with something from James 4: whatever the Lord wills. I don’t think I’ve said anything like that in my entire life. We live a surrendered life here in York. It is not an easy life by any shape of the imagination, but it is wild in obedience and free because of salvation in Jesus.
As a family, we long for a joy that is only made complete in Jesus. We need the power of the Holy Spirit which teaches us to cling to the Father as our hope and only true anchor – no matter where we live. We are grateful for God’s steadfast love in this season away from all that we know. We are desperate to be vessels for sharing that same love in any given moment. By His grace and truth, our heart for our new home will only continue to be fanned into flame. Our soul’s hunger is to love the city of York so well that we give them a brilliant picture of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is easily the most ridiculous season of my life thus far. The lessons from my first year in this place will continue to pile up. It might be the best education I will ever receive.
Join us in continuing to pray for Cory, Meredith, Liam and Noralee as they minister in York, England. We are proud to call them family and praise the Lord for how He’s moving in York and using the Butlers as an integral part in that!
Published on Apr 2017 @ 11:14 AM CDT