• Dana L. Butler

Cracking the windows open a little wider {in which I fill y’all in a bit more on what’s

The Colorado air is nothing short of perfection tonight. Maybe 67-ish degrees out here, and I may not have felt the need to roll my sleeves down quite yet had I not just consumed an iced chai latte “with maybe kind of a lot of whip.” I’m chilly now, but I couldn’t be happier about it.

Summer’s felt on the long side to me this year, and while I could wait an even LONGER time for winter to show its snowy Colorado face this year, I do adore me some fall.

Which, if you’ve read my writing for any length of time, you already know. Autumn’s approach is cool, fresh air to my soul, inspiration to my inner artist, new life to my weary places.

And y’all? If I’m honest? I’m weary more than not these days.

We are in an unprecedentedly tough season as a family, and I’ve hinted at the difficulty of it here and there in my few-and-far-between blog posts over the last couple of months. But mostly I’ve not felt ready yet to share what’s up.

There’s a process and an order to things, it feels like, and I’ve needed to take it slow — this public cracking open of windows into our very uncharted, very vulnerable season — though y’all who so faithfully walk beside me here have never shown yourselves to be anything other than kind and dear and so very trustworthy in your receiving of my story.

Over the last week or so, though, the desire has risen in my heart to share just a little bit more with you all here, though some details will still need to wait a little longer.

So I’m rolling with my gut here tonight, trusting what I hope is the Spirit’s nudging inside me, and opening these windows just a little wider.

And there isn’t an easy way to say what I want to say tonight, so I’m gonna come straight on out with it, I think.

We are in the process of having our sweet, brilliant boy, Isaac, evaluated for some specific developmental challenges, and a series of struggles that amount to what many would call “special needs.”

The details that I want to wait on sharing with you here are exactly what those needs and challenges are, partially because we don’t have a complete understanding yet of everything that’s going on with our boy, and partially because saying my concerns and predictions of likely diagnoses “out loud” here feels way more vulnerable than my heart can handle just yet.

And given the nature of what I’m sharing with you tonight, I’m hoping I can interject briefly to make a gentle, quiet request of you here, my friends. Could I ask you to wait on giving any advice for the time being?

We are working with a great team of therapists, and we have the sweetest gift of a support system here locally in Littleton, including our church family, Isaac’s pre-K teachers (he’s there 3 mornings per week), a couple of our more frequent babysitters, our local extended family, and other friends, too, who’re dear beyond words.

We are leaning into all of these incredible peeps in this season, pressing into each other, and falling upon the grace of God as we research, seek counsel from therapists and friends who’re experienced with special needs kiddos, and try and put (but not force) all these puzzle pieces together to form a more complete picture of our son’s unique strengths and needs.

The hopeful facet of all of this is that once there are diagnoses, there will be resources, therapies for Isaac, and more education for Stan and me as we commit all the more wholeheartedly to learn to shepherd our gift of a boy into the fullness of all his God-given aptitude.

The flip side of the same coin, though, is that to be honest, y’all — I am so tired. Weary more often than not, like I said above, at every level. Physically, mentally, emotionally. And Stan would say the same, bless his heart. On many days, I think if we were both to keep it real, we would say this season is kicking our you-know-whats.

Stan and I are trying to practice good self-care. We get as much sleep as our littles will allow. We give each other frequent-ish blocks of time away to decompress. We are trying to intentionally carve out times to connect with one another. We take turns managing Isaac as often as possible when his challenges and behaviors bring one or the other of us to what feels like the end of our internal resources… which honestly, lately, is pretty much a daily occurrence.

And the sweetest thing, you guys, in alllllll of this hard, is that we find ourselves somehow sustained by Him. In all the exhaustion and the unanswered questions and the fear. In all the frustration and the utter wrung-out-ness.

He is fiercely committed to intimately, intentionally forming Himself inside us in the midst of these circumstances, and that reality, y’all? It’s enough for my soul.

Even when I can’t pinpoint or remotely begin to wrap words around exactly what He’s carving or shaping or purifying on my insides because I’m too wiped out and stretched thin to think straight. Even when I break down and I cry and I question how we’re going to keep putting one foot in front of another through the pain and exhaustion of this season.

His work inside us is deeply tender and wholly trustworthy. And the intimacy with Him that comes when I know that I know that not only is He extravagantly committed to Isaac and to our family, but He is also somehow conforming my heart to His in all of this — it is the place I fix my eyes and the One Thing that holds me me up, that keeps me wholly devoted to walking lockstep beside Him, one day, one hour, one breath at a time.

Oh, and hey, my friends? One last thought tonight:

I know I said I’m not at a place where I want advice right now, but can I tell you what would bless me and Stan and our fam more than words? Your prayers, particularly for peace to reign in each of our hearts. Your dropping an occasional line or vox or text or whatever to let us know we’re on your heart and you’re holding us before Jesus.

Your support means the world to me. To all of us.

I love y’all more than I can say. Thanks for reading, for being present. Thanks for waiting for details and for loving us well. You are a gift, each of you. Peace to you tonight, my friends.

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