We’re in the short rows now and I can feel it. The sun’s not planning to peek out from behind it’s clouds all week and today I’m grateful for the clouds. The clouds make the the hours move move slowly and I’m in need of more hours. Can you pray I move effortlessly from one thing to the next thing, beating back anxiety with an ugly stick? It’s trying mighty hard to well up from behind my chest.
This morning, you’re in for a treat! Dana Butler is guest posting for me today while I finish up some paper pinwheels. I met Dana through this blog several months ago. Her face faithfully makes an appearance in the comments portion of my page most every day and she’s a well of encouragement to this soul. She doesn’t know it, but she’s bold. She pursued me for relationship and sought to really know me, from the inside out and for that I’m grateful. Online relationships can be tricky and she took a risk on me. A few days before Christmas, I drove to Greensboro to meet her for coffee. We chatted for hours and she is about as real as they come.
And she writes exactly the way she converses in person. I know you will love her as much as I do.
My 3-year-old Little Mister and I head out this morning as the snow is beginning to fall, me with no makeup and him still half in pj’s with wild bedhead. We trek a few minutes down the road to the grocery store for baby food. And donuts, because on a snowy morning with the entire family at home, how can we resist?
The snow falls strangely, in tiny white pellets. It’s mixed with ice and just a few minutes into our storm, the roads are already growing slick.
I’m thankful we get to go home and hole up together for the day.
We’ve spent the last 7 days fighting sickness in our household, from a stomach bug that gripped our boy last weekend, to my husband’s worst-sinus-infection-in-the-history-of-the-world, to my borderline cold. Baby girl is the only one who’s stayed well.
But all the sickness has been a gift in disguise, right in line with what the Lord’s been pressing into my heart in these days.
In recent weeks, Stan My Man and I have stepped down from all our leadership responsibilities in our church family here in downtown Kansas City. While still engaged and present in our hearts, we are preparing for an impending transition, about which I need to leave you in suspense a little while longer.
But between our recently slowed pace and the sickness that’s invaded our home and slowed us down all the more, we’ve been savoring family time in abundance. Stan has kept his germs and aching head to his in-home office all week, so our days have been punctuated by Daddy hugs and kisses, hot tea, cuddle time, and extra movies.
In this season God has been drawing us to press inward. He’s wrapped His arms around our little family of 4, drawn us in close to His chest where we can hear His heartbeat for our family.
The idea of the four of us divinely woven together for the next couple of decades, Stan and I knitted till death do us part, has captured my heart with more depth and fury these days than ever before. I find myself ultra-passionate to do this dance with wholehearted excellence — this small outworking of God-given, Jesus-centered community, displayed by our nuclear family. This tiny cross section of His worldwide Body.
Stan’s and my weeks are marked by conversations about how much we love our marriage, how much we draw life from our communication. How we feel seen by each other. Enjoyed. Pursued. How we feel the Lord’s invitation to press in even closer, extend our intertwined roots even deeper into the soil of the One who has formed and bound the Butler family.
In addition to pressing into one another, I’m drawn to press into the Spirit’s movement in my own heart, hand-in-hand with Jesus as He highlights areas of fear and unhealth that He’s wanting to surgically remove.
I found myself in a counselor’s office the other night for the first time in nearly a decade, and it felt good to have help processing these deeper places where Jesus wants to bring healing.
And oh, He is so sweet. He counsels my heart, invites me into greater risk, deeper trust, new degrees of authenticity that are sometimes terrifying. He invites me to let go of my need to be seen, understood, approved of by others. To sink deep into His I see you, Dana. Through and through. To experience His complete understanding of my inner workings as more than enough.
So I’m learning surrender. Beginning to quit all my grasping for human approval and sit still, bathed in His affection. To let my roots go more deep and less wide and fall in love with this place of smallness before Him.
And if God is real, if He’s really as committed to my heart as He claims to be? Then He rejoices as I zone in on my people, the ones with whom I’ll do community for the rest of our lives. And His heart is moved as I accept His extended hand and let Him lead me into my recesses where He asks for my trusting surrender. And He is fiercely committed to revealing Himself to me in this season of drawing inward toward my family, drawing inward as His beloved daughter, and leaving the exterior how’s THIS thing going to happen? and how’re we gonna pull THAT off?! to Him.
We love a God who is wildly trustworthy and riskworthy and lay-it-all-down-worthy. A God who says, “Come to me, you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Whose yoke is easy, whose burden is light, who is passionate about ourbecoming. Our learning to fully, freely live out of our core in the joy He purchased for us with the blood of His Son.
So if God is real today, in my small life in downtown Kansas City, Missouri, my choice is to rest in His commitment to carry on to completion what He’s begun in me, and in our little family. To move forward in faith, not fear.
To live this radical internal Sabbath rest, this trusting of His process, a fragrant offering before Him.
Dana Butler is thrilled to be wife to her web-developing, gospel-proclaiming husband, Stan, and mama to 2 extravagantly enjoyed little people (one adopted, one bio). She is a worship leader, writer, and relentless authenticity pursuer. Her passion is to walk beside others on the journey of learning to live awake and responsive to God’s affection and pursuit.