Day 31: On Kind Curiosity, and What I’m Going to Do Now

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Thursday evening finds me at Starbucks, sent here by my precious hubby to write this, my last. post. of my 31 Days series. I can hardly believe it’s over.

This, after having spontaneously shared a new song with you today, as a guest post on my friend Barbie’s blog. And y’all, Barbie’s hospitality and her community’s gracious receiving of my poured out heart in song there today (including those of you, my friends, who came over to sit with us a few minutes)– I’ve been simply undone by it. You guys. Just dismantled. Humbled as all get-out.

And if I weren’t at a Starbucks table right now, I would be physically on my face before Jesus all over again. As it is, I keep covering my face with my hands and deep unto deep sighing, and I’m fairly certain the girls at the table next to mine are questioning my sanity right about now.

Don’t mind me, y’all. Just a crazy, Jesus-loving artist over here.

****

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Today, I’ve done animal puzzles and frolicked on the trampoline and I’ve run crazy with my littles, teaching them to catch falling leaves as the Autumn wind gusts gradually render the Kansas City trees bare.

We’ve enjoyed perfect 60-something-degree fall weather, a pleasure I know will soon enough fade to a 30- and 40-degree chill that brings its own cozy excitement.

But we will soon be in Colorado, and we’ve gotta soak up every last moment of this right-now season.

Today also found me wrapped cozily in heart-conversation with my sweet friend Katie who came over with her baby girl. (And — ahem — with her homemade pumpkin spice creamer, which is bliss in my coffee mug, y’all. Sheer bliss.)

We talked humility and wisdom and diversity in the Body of Christ, and we changed diapers and giggled at the antics of our littles.

Katie is one of those incredibly present friends who draws out my depths just by entering the room, so she tends to get all. of. me. when she’s around. I ramble with her — something I don’t do easily with many people.

And one of the themes that keeps repeating itself in my conversations and in my reading these days is that theme precisely — of drawing one another out. This idea of a depth of humility that says with not so many words to the person of a different perspective, or a different skin color, or a different weight, or a different cultural background, or a different church background, or to the person of zero church background whatsoever:

I know you have insight and perspective and life experience that I need. I want to learn from you, to approach you with kind curiosity, because I genuinely believe Jesus can and will encounter me through you if I’m receptive to your heart and story.

Katie is this kind of friend to me, and she inspires me to friend others in the same way. Our conversation circled ’round this theme and I shared with her how passionate I am becoming to love people by making my heart a place of welcome and invitation for others’ stories and perspectives.

This is a concept that Jesus is most certainly still forming and solidifying in my depths, but let me tell you — I am so looking forward to having less and less to say, and more and more of a desire to simply, quietly receive from those Jesus puts before me — from those who are other – even the types of other that would normally make me uncomfortable.

Especially those types of other.

****

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So in light of the fact that October and this series are drawing to a close, the question has flown around a bit on the “31 Dayers” Facebook page: What are YOU going to do NOW? 

“I’m going to Disney World!”

But not really. In real life, I’m going to Colorado.

If all goes as planned, that is.

We should be moving in about 6 weeks — and we’ll be praying for miraculously spring-like weather as we load our moving truck smack dab between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

So while I’m dreaming of using all this time I’ve spent writing to learn to arm knit (and I still may, despite our upcoming move), the bulk of my time in the coming weeks will be spent packing, purging, and running loads to Goodwill as we prepare to downsize from 6 bedrooms to 2, or possibly 3.

Also? I think there will be more songs. And I know there will be silence and solitude.

There will be reflection upon the ways God has stretched and deepened me as an artist and a Jesus-worshiper and a human being as I’ve poured my soul into this series. As I’ve reached deeper into my core and a more authentic version of my self, of my soul, has surfaced — maybe more authentic than I’ve ever been able to access before.

There will be scribbling of my guts on journal pages. And occasionally, when I feel so inclined and when our moving season allows, there will be words spilled in this space.

Because — and I know I say this often, but please hear my heart, how fervently I mean it when I say — I so deeply value your companionship here, my friends. The way you receive my heart and reflect it back to me.

You are so much grace to me. Thanks for walking beside me here in these days.

 __________

This post is part of my 31 Days series, Rooted: 31 Days of Authenticity (from my life in limbo). You can find the entire series here.

Also, if you don’t want to miss future posts or song reveals, I invite you to subscribe to receive each post in your inbox.

Posted in 31 Days 2014, Community, Creativity, Learning Authenticity, Ministry, misc. walking with Jesus, Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Day 30: That Song Y’all Prayed Me Through the Other Night {a guest post at Barbie’s place}

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Happy (almost) Thursday, dear friends!

On this, the next-to-last day of my 31 Days, I am so excited (and I’ll confess: nervous!) to be sharing over in my sweet friend Barbie’s lovely space.

The original plan was for me to write a guest post for Barbie, but try as I might, I simply could not make the words flow. However, when I asked my friends for prayer, the immediate nudge from the Holy Spirit was, Hey girl, this burning in your bones tonight? This isn’t a blog post — it’s a song.

So with my sweet Facebook friends holding me before the Lord, I traded laptop for notebook and guitar… and out came the song I’m sharing via video today at Barbie’s place.

C’mon over and sit before Jesus with me for a few minutes? I’d be so blessed by your presence there, my friends.

___________

This post is part of my 31 Days series, Rooted: 31 Days of Authenticity (from my life in limbo). You can find the entire series here.

Also, if you don’t want to miss future posts or song reveals, I invite you to subscribe to receive each post in your inbox.

Posted in 31 Days 2014, Creativity, Guest Posts, Learning Authenticity, misc. walking with Jesus, Music, Writing | 10 Comments

Day 29: On Blinking Cursors and a Deeper Authenticity {and what I’m offering to you tomorrow}

Rooted Final 500 x 500The blank screen.

I come to this place this morning and find my mind is immediately stilled. My thoughts stop all their darting and flitting around, from this topic to the next, this post idea to the next–

–and they breathe.

The cursor’s rhythmic blinking feels like home. Predictable. Constant.

Steadying and almost grounding my heart, so I’m still enough to tap into the rivers flowing on my insides. Signifying the page’s readiness to receive whatever outpouring happens to make its way up and out this morning.

And I do mean “happens to make its way up.” Something I’m realizing about myself is that I have the hardest time writing if I’ve tried to think through an idea beforehand.

So this morning as I come to the blank screen, everything I thought I might say to you here today goes silent in my head. I sit a minute, watch the cursor, then close my eyes and breathe in the early morning stillness.

And then… tentatively… place fingers to keys and wait to see what happens.

It’s this mystical process for me lately, writing these blog posts, day, after day, after day. Mystical, because 31 Days has so stretched me to the outermost rim of myself — beyond it, really — that I feel unable to think in a logical manor about what I want to say.

So the words seem to eek out from someplace much deeper inside me than my brain, than even my emotions. Deeper, and honestly? More holy.

And I realize, even in this moment as my fingers slowly find their way across the keyboard, that this is what I prayed for. 

Some deeper accessing of my true self. That in these 31 Days of writing and writing and writing again, Jesus would teach me to sink deeper, deeper, deeper still, into where He dwells within me.

Where the Spirit of God and my own spirit are united, and my true, rooted, grounded, secure, peace-filled self resides. The Divine origin of my authenticity and my creativity — the holy union that’s the Head of these rivers of living water that will flow from my inmost being.

And not just a deeper accessing of that truest heart, but the skill to draw it to the surface, to find language for it, to bring it to life on the page that I may more intimately know it. More deeply find myself in Him.

And, as a byproduct, that you may know it too.

And wow — as I sit here this morning I question whether I’m making sense. And part of me honestly wishes I had something more concrete, more tangible for you to wrap fingers and mind around today.

But this is what I’ve got, friends — these deep unto deep revelations of what these 31 days of authenticity have accomplished on my insides. It is uncomfortable, raw, and most certainly not fully formed.

And I thank you from the bottom of my soul for your presence with me in this journey of whatever it is that the Lord is sculpting and birthing out of my heart and my art and all my mixed metaphors.

****

Tomorrow, I will be guest posting at my sweet friend Barbie’s place. If we’re friends on Facebook, you may know that this guest post is one over which I have struggled and wrestled and not been able to make much, if any, headway.

So. Finally, last night, I gave in. I private messaged Barbie, explained to her how when I sat down to write the guest post, what came out instead was… a song.

And how every time subsequent to the writing of said song that I sat down to try yet again to write the post, I was unsuccessful, but “the song” kept running through my head. And how I wondered if maybe, just maybe, this was what the Lord was doing…?

She was gracious and excited at the thought, so… tomorrow I will be sharing my newest song with you. In Barbie’s beautiful space. I’ll post here and link you directly there so you’ll have no trouble tracking it down.

And this morning I’m requesting your prayers, friends, because this little bit of a cough that I’ve had? It’s made me somewhat hoarse and I’m not sure exactly how recording this song is going to go. We’ll see. But I so strongly feel Jesus’ presence woven through this process… so I’m going for it, I guess. And coveting your companionship at Barbie’s place tomorrow.

Come be before the Lord with me there?

I love y’all, my sweet friends.

Posted in 31 Days 2014, Creativity, Learning Authenticity, misc. walking with Jesus, Music, Writing | 1 Comment

Day 28: An Unconventional Birth Story {sort of}

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Morning comes too early yet again, annnnd yet again I find myself with no pre-written post to share today.

I sat down two different times yesterday, began typing words, trying to wrap language around some facet or another of the fire in my belly… and both times, I got 5 or 10 minutes in, and the dissonance, for lack of better terminology, was so strong that I needed to put the writing down and come back later.

Something was off.

I may sound crazy, y’all, and believe me — this whole 31 Days thing has stretched me beyond myself to the point where I have moments of wondering, too. But I knew that I knew that the words I was banging out onto the screen yesterday — they weren’t the right ones.

So last night when I sat down to write, again with fire in my bones that I knew needed to come out, yet continued to feel the same dissonance? I stopped. Prayed (again).

And then I did something I very, very rarely do. I asked for prayer over my process. I posted this on my personal Facebook wall:

“Hey, my friends. Writing tonight, and could use prayer that what needs to come out, will come. Stand with me?”

The response just about made me cry, y’all. “Like” after “like” poured in, along with comments of support and encouragement and yes, prayer.

I was undone by the number of my friends, and my acquaintances through this beautiful writing world, who liked or commented. I felt encircled. Covered in prayer and care as I continued to hunker down on my couch with my little laptop and my small words and this holy, burning love vibrating inside me, deep and furious.

And then…

The realization hit me. Actually, it was more like a divine whisper in my core:

Dana, this isn’t a blog post. Put down the computer. Grab your notebook, girl. This is a song.

Oh. A song. Well, that doesn’t give me a blog post for tomorrow morning, but… okay.

I kid you not — it was a mere 4 minutes, maybe, from the time you all began to pray, and the time I traded computer for notebook.

The lyrics came, y’all, like a river, complete with melody running through my head as I nearly illegibly scribbled verse, chorus, tag lines onto the page.

And I don’t talk like this often, but you guys? I felt like I birthed that song. The burning inside me — this deep, almost uncomfortable knowing that SOMEthing needed to come out — it settled, calmed even as I put pen to paper and scratched out those lyrics.

And you, my friends who prayed me through? I’ll just say it was incredible and perfect and so just like God, how you prayed, and then, bam – it all just flowed.

And I don’t have a lot else to say this morning as I sit here, propped up in bed while it’s still dark outside, just reveling in this small {but huge to my heart} manifestation of God’s sweetness to me.

I will share the song as soon as my voice is able (I’m a bit hoarse due to a cough). For now though? Just know, you guys, that I value your support, your care, your companionship in this space, so. much. more. than I can tell you in words.

I am so thankful we’re on this journey together.

___________

This post is part of my 31 Days series, Rooted: 31 Days of Authenticity (from my life in limbo). You can find the entire series here.

Also, if you don’t want to miss future posts or song reveals, I invite you to subscribe to receive each post in your inbox.

Posted in 31 Days 2014, Community, Creativity, Learning Authenticity, misc. walking with Jesus, Music, Writing | 11 Comments

Day 27: For When Your Soul Is in the Best Kind of Upheaval

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I fly home from Allume and spend Sunday evening adoring my beautiful family.

I frolic and cuddle and kiss and hug, hug, hug my littles. And in all our mom-ing and dad-ing, Stan and I stop repeatedly, mid-kitchen or mid-dining room, wherever our paths cross, and hold each other long.

I melt into him, and into our routines and our life together, because it’s this burning, joyful knowing in my gut – this is where I belong.

I loved Allume. Absolutely loved it. Most of the speakers resonated with me at least to some degree, and a few of the breakout sessions I attended made my insides vibrate because they wrapped yet-undiscovered (by me) language around God’s shaping of my deep places of late.

The words of those sweet speakers were enough to all at once press me into my seat under the weight of glory, and make me want to leap out of said seat, wave my arms in the air, and scream, THIS!  This is who I am! This is God’s process inside me!

To find pieces of yourself in the vulnerably poured out passion and story of another is a gift sweeter and more impactful than words.

****

I wake up Monday morning after the first good night of sleep I’ve had in several days, and today is the first day this month I’ve not had my 31 Days post completed the day before.

So my alarm goes off a little earlier than necessary, and I prop up some pillows, grab my computer, and contemplate what I can offer to you out of this heart that is very much still in the best kind of upheaval.

It’s the kind of churning that comes when Jesus gives gift after gift, makes deposit after deposit into your deep places, and said deposits are concentrated within such a compact period of time that they haven’t yet settled. Haven’t begun to find names or language or remotely coherent thoughts.

So you simply sit — or you get up, take a shower, feed your kids and keep on cuddling and kissing and whispering how much you missed them — and you let all the holiness — because that’s what it is — continue to wrap itself around your soul, even though it’s all too profound and too rich for words.

You let it marinate. You don’t try to excavate. Not yet.

You live your everyday, not-so-mundane life, and you trust that when it’s time, the Father will dip into your soul, draw to the surface this or that deposit that’s been swirling almost formless in your depths, and begin to reveal to you its shape. Its purpose. The language for it.

And it will shake you and rearrange your insides all over again as it comes up and out and finds its voice.

But for now, you sit. Rest in Him. Hug your people. And lean into the knowledge that He who began this good, good work is absolutely, fiercely, tenderly committed to its completion.

And His process of unveiling the shape of your soul and all you were created for? It’s utterly trustworthy.

__________

This post is part of my 31 Days series, Rooted: 31 Days of Authenticity (from my life in limbo). You can find the entire series here.

Also, if you don’t want to miss future posts or song reveals, I invite you to subscribe to receive each post in your inbox.

Posted in 31 Days 2014, Allume, Learning Authenticity, misc. walking with Jesus, Uncategorized, Writing | 4 Comments

Day 26: Sharing One More New Song with You {Jesus, I Love You}

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Hola my friends! Sunday has rolled around again — the last Sunday of the month!

Today as I’m traveling home from Allume, I’m revealing one final new song to you here.

I’ll leave it to the video to explain a bit about this song, and get right to sharing this piece of my heart with you (annnnd commence Dana wincing at every instrumental error).

Jesus I Love You

Jesus, I love you
Jesus, I love you
Let my worship be
A pleasing offering
Incense ascending
(repeat)

I will offer up my life
A fragrant sacrifice
Costly perfume poured out
At your feet, oh my love
And let my life’s cry be
Take over all of me
(repeat)

©Dana Butler 2014
Disclaimer/Copyright

{For clarity’s sake, the hymn I Surrender All was written by Judson W. Van DeVenter and Winfield S. Weeden.}

You can find all the songs I’ve shared in October here.

This post is part of my 31 Days series, Rooted: 31 Days of Authenticity (from my life in limbo). You can find the entire series here.

Also, if you don’t want to miss future posts or song reveals (of which there may continue to be a few post 31 Days), I invite you to subscribe to receive each post in your inbox.

PS. I will be sharing this post with my friends in Lisha and Kelli’s communities.

Posted in 31 Days 2014, Allume, Creativity, Give Me Grace, Learning Authenticity, Ministry, misc. walking with Jesus, Music, Uncategorized, Unforced Rhythms, Writing | 10 Comments

Day 25: My Heart for You this Weekend

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This weekend as you move toward situations that scare you,
may you do it leaning into Christ who is your strength.

May He meet you tenderly, unexpectedly,
and may you experience His holding you up, His steadying of your heart.

May He inhabit your weak places so fully that He flows out freely through them.

And may you stand captivated by the sweetness of His love.

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P.S. Tomorrow is the last Sunday of October, and though I’m away at Allume as you’re reading this, I do have one more song ready to share with you tomorrow. Excited to offer to you this piece of who I am again. Thank you all for your receiving of my heart here. You are so loved.

This post is part of my 31 Days series, Rooted: 31 Days of Authenticity (from my life in limbo). You can find the entire series here.

Also, if you don’t want to miss future posts or song reveals, I invite you to subscribe to receive each post in your inbox.

Posted in 31 Days 2014, Allume, Learning Authenticity, misc. walking with Jesus, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Day 24: An Open Letter from a Mom of Littles [Why I Need You To Just Come Over]

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So it’s no secret that I’m a mom of 2 amazing small people.

And even though I feel like my heart is fully alive (most days) and I’m embracing this season in all its fun and intensity?  Parenting a baby with acid reflux plus trying to consistently parent a sweet, all-boy almost-3-year-old is one heck. of a lot of work.

Getting out of the house takes more energy and get-it-all-together-ness than I feel like I possess some days.

So I’m blessed when my friends who are also in this Raising Littles season come over (or I pull my crew together and head to their place) and we combine our respective chaoses.

We rarely get to complete a sentence during those times.  But listening to our kids belly laugh as they learn to play together makes our hearts swell, and stopping to referee the occasional (okay, frequent) toddler-throw-down makes us shake our heads, smile, and enjoy one another all the more.

love it.  It’s a sweet season these days with my fellow moms-of-littles.

BUT-

I need you, too.

You who are maybe in your late teens or 20′s or 30′s or 40′s or 50′s and livin’ the single life.

OR – You who are married but don’t yet have children.

OR – You whose children are older and in school or have completely grown and flown.

Yup – I need you.

And I know I don’t say it often enough, but I want you in my life.

Now.  Before I come off sounding lonely, I’ll just come out and say it – I’m for sure not.  I’m an introvert.  An outgoing one, but definitely an introvert.  I really like my alone time.

But more and more these days, I’m realizing that I need you.

I so love our home - I've put my heart into making it my own.

I want you to come sit in the big puffy chair in my living room and chat with me every once in a while, during these long days while my hubby’s at work.

[Or, more realistically, to not sit - but to follow me around and talk to me while I sweep up toddler crumbs and pour milk into plastic cups with twisty straws.]

I want you to laugh with me at my kids’ quirks and enjoy them maybe, for a minute, almost as much as I do.

[And possibly to laugh at with me when I stick my cell phone in the fridge or put the milk in the pantry.  Not saying I ever do stuff like that.  But, hypothetically - you know.]

I want you to drink iced coffee with me and share your heart and life and victories and struggles- in the midst of my messy/noisy/beautiful-but-mundane days.

Please Understand

And please don’t be offended or feel un-cared-for when I have to say, “Sorry – just a second,” and deal with the needs of a kiddo 12 times in about as many minutes.

Or when I leave to change a diaper and come back having completely forgotten what we were talking about.

[And when I do forget?  Please remind me.  You can even smile and say, "Sooooo, back to ME," and I'll love you for it because it means you're confident that I genuinely desire to hear your heart even though my focus is pulled in a thousand directions all at once.]

Thanks for being patient with me.  Thanks for taking the time to know me – and let me know you – in this season of my life. Thanks for asking me questions and waiting while I wrangle my sleep-deprived brain and mouth to form the words of an answer.

Thanks for digging and inquiring and mining the deep things God’s put in my heart.  For believing they’re still in there even when they get buried under piles of dirty laundry. Thanks for loving me well in this season.

Because I Care Deeply

And about this season: it will pass. All-too-quickly, actually.

And one day I’ll once again be able to meet you for coffee at an actual coffee shop and we’ll have conversations that aren’t constantly interrupted. I’ll be able to really zone in on your heart and ask you all the profoundly insightful questions that I always wish I’d thought to ask when you were here, sitting in my puffy chair [or following me around - bless your heart].

But for now? Please come over to my house.  And please sit in that chair and talk to me, and let me talk to you while I fold laundry and feed bottles and change poopy diapers.

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And know that I absolutely will come across as distracted at times while we’re together. And that I really don’t like that, because I hate the thought of communicating a lack of value for your words.  Your life.  Your heart. Your friendship.

But please know that my distractedness does not – NOT – mean you’re not dear to me.  That I don’t love you. That I don’t enjoy spending time with you.

Or that I don’t really want you to say “Soooo, back to ME” 23 times per hour if necessary, when the oven timer goes off and my little guy needs a snack and baby girl spits up, and whatever we’d previously been talking about falls right out the back of my brain.

I care about you.  Deeply.

So come over, please.

Because This Is Sacred

And really?  This season of mommying little ones?  Of wiping noses and spit-up?  Of singing the ABC’s and roaring around the house like a dino?

It’s sacred.  A crazy, chaotic, awe-inspiring, character-building gift from God. A place of Divine encounter.  Grace.

But it so often goes unseen by anyone but Him.

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And can I just tell you – it means so very much to me when you come into my house and my life and really see.  When you acknowledge- either with words or just by your attentive presence- that this season’s hard, and that I’m living it well before Him – failures and all.

And this compassionate witnessing of my life?  And your talking and asking and reminding me that I’m still me and all that’s inside me hasn’t been lost in this season of crazy? It’s sacred too.  Just you being here.  Being a blip of community for me in the midst of my days.

I’m not always aware of how much I need it. But I do. So please come.

Invite yourself if I don’t invite you.  Please.

Be with me for a little while in the crazy-beautiful chaos that is my life as a mom of littles.

In case I’ve forgotten to say it to you personally- you are so much more than welcome in my world.

Oh – one more thing: I don’t hate Starbucks, and I don’t often get to darken the door of one.

Sooooo, if you happened to swing by there on your way to my place and grab me a grande-one-pump-peppermint-white-mocha?  I might kiss your feet upon your arrival.

Maybe.

Just sayin’.

BUT- Starbucks or no – please just come over.

I so want you in my life.

~Dana

PS - I wrote this from my heart and out of my own life-circumstances.  Obviously. :)  But I’m genuinely hoping that it speaks to, and from, the hearts of other mamas in similar life stages to mine.

If this resonates with you, why not pass it on?  People need to know – to be outright told - that we need them.

***Resurrecting this post from the archives today because it is one of my all-time favorites – and it rings true for me in this season as much as it did a little over a year ago. Thanks for grace while I’m away at Allume.***

Posted in Community, Home and Family Management, Learning Authenticity, misc. walking with Jesus, Parenting, Uncategorized | 25 Comments

Day 23: How ’bout You Be Still?

Hola, my beloved friends!

Today finds me on a plane, flying to South Carolina for Allume! I’ve been looking forward to this for over a year, and am so thankful for my always-supportive hubby who’s parenting solo for a few days while I’m gone. I covet your prayers for Stan and for my kiddos while I’m away, and that Jesus would divinely orchestrate conversations and details for me at the conference.

While I travel today, I’m bringing you words I wrote a few days ago (and… ahem… a total photo dump), and this might be one of my favorite posts I’ve written in quite a long time.

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It’s 4:15 in the afternoon.

The kids and I load up Isaac’s roller skates, our picnic blanket, sandwiches, chips, and bananas. We head out to Liberty Memorial, quite possibly our family’s numero uno fave spot to hang in the entirety of Kansas City.

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The trees are every shade of yellow, orange, and red imaginable, and I struggle to stop photographing their brightness. The ground around several of them is already carpeted with beauty, and the expansive lawn stretches out before us, just begging to be frolicked on.

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Isaac plays his 4 year old version of hide-n-seek behind the trees — yells, Mom, come find me!” as he races from the backside of one tree to the backside of the next, pretending I can’t see exactly where he’s going.

Maia and I run after him, sneak around trees and “find” him. Tickles and laughter explode, and passersby grin at our wild mirth.

We make our way up toward the monument itself, and it seems like every conversation we pass is about one subject: THE ROYALS. 

Twelve plus years of my adult life I’ve lived in this city, and we have never come close to a World Series. Not remotely. And I marvel a little at how fun it is that in our last few months here in KC, our baseball team is kicking some serious tale.

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I set Maia free from her stroller and she toddles around, climbing up stairs, exploring the monument, which I imagine must look absolutely, otherworldly gargantuan to my 34-inch-tall little bean.

And I can’t quite make out what he’s saying, but I hear Isaac quietly encouraging Maia as she makes her way up a set of stairs to where he’s standing. “…..because you’re my baby sister.” Funny how easy it is to utterly melt my mama heart.

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Stan gets off work and drives to meet us after an hour and fifteen minutes or so. We spread a blanket out on the grass, and when Isaac sees Stan coming he does a happy dance right there in the midst of our picnic, then takes off running across the grass to be swept up in his daddy’s embrace.

Stan’s smile is visible from afar, approaching the 3 people who will always be more ecstatic to see him than anyone else in the world.

We chow on turkey and cheese sandwiches, hear about each others’ days, and relish the sunset and the perfect temperatures.

I help Isaac pad up and practice skating with his new birthday roller skates, and then we pack up and head back home for baths and bed. With Maia snoozing soundly, Stan sits down in the rocker in Isaac’s room to read him a few Bible stories.

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For a minute, my brain is buzzing with all the things I could be getting done during the 5 or 6 minutes they’ll spend reading. I very nearly jump up and run downstairs to be productive, but — and this has really never happened to me before in this way, at this time of day — Jesus stops me in my would-be tracks.

Dana? How ’bout you be still a few minutes?

The prompting is so strong that time almost feels suspended and His presence is suddenly palpable.

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Holy. The moment is holy.

So I sit there, on the carpet, back against the wall of my son’s room, and I listen.

And it takes a minute or so for it to dawn on me exactly what I’m hearing from the rocking chair where my boy sits on his daddy’s lap:

Jesus told Martha, “Mary has chosen what is better, and it won’t be taken from her.”

The words land heavy on my heart — the kind of heavy that comes when I know in my gut that God is drawing my attention to something. That He’s connecting truths and experiences in my soul.

Remember, Dana. Mary. The heart of Mary.

Yes, Lord. Yes.

The heart of the one who chose to sit at her Master’s feet when protocol would have dictated that she run crazy and do, do, do. Mary was countercultural, even offensive, in her determination to be near Him. To sit at His feet and hear His heart.

While Stan and Isaac keep reading, a hush falls over my own heart. I close my eyes on Isaac’s bedroom floor, and I whisper to Him my yes.

Yes, Jesus. Keep my heart. Slow me down — just keep drawing me to your feet — and I’ll consider all else a loss for the sake of knowing You.

_________

This post is part of my 31 Days series, Rooted: 31 Days of Authenticity (from my life in limbo). You can find the entire series here.

If you don’t want to miss future posts or song reveals, I invite you to subscribe to receive each post in your inbox.

Posted in 31 Days 2014, Attending to His Presence, Encountering God in the Beautiful, Family Moments, Learning Authenticity, misc. walking with Jesus, Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Day 22: When Jesus Invades Your Ordinary Motherhood {a story that’s beyond precious to my heart}

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These are ordinary days. Days of nose wiping and grilled cheese making and sibling spat refereeing.

Days of giggles and cuddles, kisses and correction. Of heart shepherding and soul shaping.

As a Jesus-loving mom, you try and you try to rightly reflect the heart of the Father to these precious souls that’ve been entrusted to you, because you long for their hearts to grasp how long and high and wide and deep — how extravagant is His love for them.

You teach and instruct and guide, and you hug away a zillion tears.

Then you grow frustrated because they’re once again ignoring the words that are comin’ out of your mouth, and the words that come out land harsher than you planned.

Some days you love well. Other days you fail epically.

Most often, you do both — multiple times in the same day.

And you confess and confess and confess your need for Jesus to empower your parenting because there is no. way. on. earth. you can do even a halfway decent job stewarding these sweet, fierce little people apart from His supernatural help.

Some days you feel His empowerment. Other days feel more like mere skin-of-your-teeth survival, and part of you wonders how your ordinary motherhood is really going to accomplish much of eternal value.

And then….

And then there are the moments when the Holy Spirit just breaks right in. When He tangibly invades and inhabits all your trying and failing and getting back up and trying again.

When you’ve disciplined your son and you’re sitting on the couch talking with him about how important it is to be kind to his little sister–

And out of nowhere he wails, “I NEED Jesus to forgive my sins!”

And you’re dumbfounded, because although you’ve shared pieces of the Gospel with him in many and varied openhearted moments, that topic hadn’t been on your radar in this particular conversation. Not remotely.

So you throw up a silent cry for the Holy Spirit’s help, and you try, however haltingly, to guide this wide open 4-year-old heart into a deeper understanding that yes, in fact, he does need Jesus to forgive his sin.

That he needs a Savior, that Jesus died to save him from the ultimate consequences of his sins, that he gave his life so we wouldn’t have to be separated from God by our sin, so that he could come and make his home in our hearts and we could be with him forever and ever.

He listens, asks questions, sobs out, “I need Jesus to forgive me,” and the Spirit’s movement on his heart is tender and apparent.

So you ask him, “Buddy, do you want to pray and ask Jesus to forgive your sins, to come in and be in charge of your heart?”

And he nods this teary-eyed yes, says he wants to pray on. his. own, and with eyes looking toward the ceiling, weeps this prayer of Jesus, please forgive me for my sin. Please forgive me, Jesus! Thank you for dying so I could be close to you… Please be in charge of my heart and be my Savior….”

And you hug your boy and marvel at the holiness of the moment, at the commitment of Jesus to your little one’s heart. At the Holy Spirit’s tender power to soften a heart and bring gentle conviction and understanding to one so young.

And you grin and rejoice and tell your boy that Jesus is inside his heart now, that Jesus will never leave him, that he is his best friend forever and ever.

That He wants to help him do what’s right, help him be kind to his baby sister, that there’s forgiveness now for every wrong thing because that’s what Jesus died for — to make his little heart clean.

Tears turn to smiles, and then to outright excitement that his heart belongs to Jesus now.

So you call Daddy and you call Gigi and Grandpa, and Nana and Grandpa, and your little mister tells them all this excited, jumbled version of how Jesus died on the cross so we could be close to Him and how he asked Jesus to forgive his sins and be in charge of his heart.

Family members rejoice — his daddy most of all — and you breathe prayers of profound awe because your son, in this mystical exchange of death for life, is now somehow your spiritual brother too, and this door has been opened for the Holy Spirit to come in and shape and mold and introduce Himself facet by facet for eternity to the heart of this small, budding God-lover that you so wildly adore.

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And you shake your head in wonder at how great is this Father who moves in and takes right over, who captures your child’s heart in the midst of your imperfect, ordinary motherhood.

And you thank Him, because despite all your falling short in your shepherding of your boy’s heart, the Good Shepherd is wholeheartedly committed to his deep-unto-deep process of shaping your son.

And you can rest in that Divine commitment. Ordinary-ness and imperfection and all.

________

This post is part of my 31 Days series, Rooted: 31 Days of Authenticity (from my life in limbo). You can find the entire series here.

Also, if you don’t want to miss future posts or song reveals, I invite you to subscribe to receive each post in your inbox.

Posted in 31 Days 2014, Encountering God in the Beautiful, Family Moments, Freedom From Perfectionism, Home and Family Management, Learning Authenticity, Motherhood is Funny, Parenting, Uncategorized | 14 Comments