• Dana L. Butler

Day 6: Because This Is Really About an Awakening


Other times, you’re more acutely aware of your need for the Creator to meet you in your creating. To breathe life.

Holy Spirit, I confess my utter dependence on you in this moment. Come. Breathe. Fill my heart and my words tonight.

The prayer of my heart comes out more like a groan tonight, if I’m honest.

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This morning, Sunday, we pack up our clothes and our baby gear and our littles, hug Gigi and Grandpa (my mom and dad), thank them for allowing us to invade them with all of our not-quietness. My parents love seeing their grandkids, but I know when we leave, all they want to do is put their feet up and sleep for 36 hours or so.

Today though, they aren’t able to rest. Because stretching out before them for days on end is the daunting task of sorting through all my grandparents’ possessions, emptying out the apartment into which Grandpa and Grandma downsized 4 years ago.

My Grandpa is in assisted living now that my Grandma is no longer around to care for him. He will never live on his own again.

The weight of that fact — it rests physically on my chest.

I feel my parents’ and my aunt and uncle’s burden too, and as we roll on away from Greensboro and up into the North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia mountains, I find myself sinking emotionally.

Being away from home and spending time loved ones you don’t see frequently provide a welcome softening of grief’s blow.

Conversely, as we leave our extended family to return home, the combination of my grief over my Grandma’s passing and the already-painful season we’ve been walking through in the last several months — they form a heavy cloud that settles in thick, palpable.



We do find joy together as we drive today, though. We split the trip this time into 2 9-ish-hour days, and the last couple of hours find the kids utterly strung out. (Because, hello, NO ONE is napping today. Not even a little bit.) So how do the Mama and Daddy cope? Well, by singing our brains out, of course.

We belt out the most annoying songs imaginable, complete with opera voices and southern twangs and elaborate drum beats on the dashboard. We match the kids’ tired crankiness with our own exhausted hilarity, and whining gradually turns to giggling and singing along.

Upon arriving at the hotel, we are mysteriously upgraded to a huge suite (which I accidentally started to spell s-w-e-e-t just now — and indeed, it is). We finish up our Wendy’s salads and chicken nuggets, prep the kiddos for bed, and they both fall asleep without so much as a whimper.

Thankful ain’t the word, y’all.

So I sit in our blissfully quiet hotel room just west of Louisville, Stan next to me on the bed, and I contemplate what this 31-Day commitment has been like for me thus far. I didn’t expect the first several days to document the death of my sweet Grandma and a spontaneous road trip to be with family.



And truly? I didn’t expect writing every day to feel quite as hard as it’s felt in the last few days.

If I’m honest, I’ll tell you it’s increased with each day — the temptation to come under pressure to perform. To say the profound thing, the poetic thing, the thing that will touch hearts and resonate at deep levels.

And in the name of authenticity, I want to share this with you tonight, friends: I long to live for an Audience of One, but even as I write this sentence I am thinking of how it’ll be received by you who read.

Some days require more intentionality than others in remembering that this 31-Day journey — and heck, this whole writing thing in general — is primarily about spiraling deeper, hand-in-hand with Him, allowing Him to excavate my core, and learning to live fully alive out of that place.

That this is about an awakening. About allowing His Spirit within me to gradually enlighten and overtake every inch, every interior cavern, so I become the fullest, freest version of His vision for me.

And I am so very thankful for whatever ways Jesus chooses to use my wrangling and wrapping of words around my awakening to unlock and poke other hearts awake — but primarily, this hashing out of my exterior life and my interior world here? It’s for Him. And me. And me-in-Him.

For His glory.

So tonight I whisper these reminders to my own soul:

Blinders, Dana. Look to the path ahead. Further up. Deeper in. Steady on, hand-in-hand with the One Whose eyes have searched and seen you through and through. The One who invites you on a journey into knowing Him even as you are known, into seeing your truest self the way He does.

Keep your eyes on the goal:

Further up with Him, to see this road with Heavenly perspective. Deeper into your core, to live and create, wild and unhindered, out of that deepest, truest, place. To know Him and make Him known.

Know someone who'd appreciate this?



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