• Dana L. Butler

Day 14: On Fuel and Fodder For Awakened Art-Making

Monday dawns beautifully gray, chilly, and drizzly — and even before the sun is up I’m scrawling nearly illegibly in my morning pages journal. I can’t stop it lately — this outpouring of my heart to Jesus about who and how I want to be — and the effect I long for my life and my presence to have on others.

I want to be deeply grounded. Rooted. Secure in You, Jesus. And out of that groundedness, to offer myself to others with deep authenticity and true presence. To remain small before others so I can learn from them, receive the beauty they offer, draw it out and enfold it into myself. To whisper words of deep understanding and courageous unfolding life into tender, timid places.

I make my way downstairs earlier than normal because Stan needs to be out the door and on his way to work. I kiss him good day, ask him to be careful driving on the wet roads. I make oatmeal for my kiddos and they chow on it heartily, which is always a blessing to this mama-heart.

The rain keeps falling, and I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you this weather is my absolute fave. Makes me want to light candles and bake cookies, and I do both this morning while Maia is napping and Isaac is watching an episode of Chuggington.

The cookies won’t necessarily get eaten today, but there’s plenty of room for them in our freezer, and holidays are coming. Yep, they are. And the house? It needs to smell like Autumn this morning. It just does.

So, let there be cookies. Pumpkin oatmeal chocolate chip cookies of bliss.

Maia wakes up from her morning nap, and I know this weather means we need to find ways to run off some mega energy indoors. Isaac asks me to “come get” him, so I sweep Maia up in my arms and together we chase big brother around the kitchen. Lap after lap we run, Maia grinning ear-to-ear and Isaac laughing till he almost can’t control where he’s running.

He collapses and I tickle him, then we do it all over again.

And I realize somewhere between all the laps and giggles — that in what I’m doing this morning? In this wholehearted engaging of my right-now life? I’m (sometimes even unknowingly) gathering fodder for the creative fire that’s burning and growing in my belly these days. All of life is potential fuel for that flame, and the more awake and aware I am as I move through these limbo days, the more beauty will emerge on the other side of the fire.

More and more these days I’m noticing how my creativity is directly linked to my spirituality.

I don’t know how to live awake to Jesus’s pursuit of my heart in my everyday without simultaneously being awake to creative inspiration. I don’t know how to keep my eyes open for beauty, for creative fuel, without discovering Him all around me. Everywhere. In kid-smiles and crumbs and laundry, and in my marriage bed. In my husband’s poured out heart, and in soul-conversations with dear friends.

He is all around, and the more I allow Him to awaken me inside, the more awake I long to be. It’s this cycle of insatiable hunger for Him, this desire to create, this burning to make honest art in partnership with my Maker; and, far from distracting me from the “mundane” day-to-day, it actually propels me forward into my day-to-day with ever greater enthusiasm for loving and living, and this ever deepening, increasingly authentic presence to my family and others who are before me.

And yes, I call the hunger “insatiable,” but in this insanely sweet paradox of life with Christ resident inside me, my Hope of glory? I have also never been more satisfied or more alive. Ever. In my entire life.

And today, my sweet friends, my prayer for you is that you’d experientially, intimately know them both — this wild, insatiable hunger, and this paradoxically rich, pure satisfaction of aliveness in Him.

This is Day 14 of 31 in my series, Rooted: 31 Days of Authenticity (from my life in limbo). {We’re almost halfway through!} You can find the rest of the series here.

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