• Dana L. Butler

Day 8: Extending Our Roots and Expanding Our Hearts

I grab my notebook off my nightstand (because now that we’re home, I actually know where it is first thing in the morning again), and fill my 3 morning pages with disjointed thoughts, fears and insecurities around my writing abilities, and prayers to Jesus.

I desperately invite Him to continue to have His way, excavating my depths, expanding His rule and reign, His wild aliveness on my insides till I’m utterly taken over.

I shower, listen to a few Psalms on my audio Bible because I can’t tear myself away from the Psalms these days. Particularly Psalm 139. I read it and pray it and listen to it and it wraps around my heart, becomes even more deeply engrained in my identity.

It shapes and forms me inside — this truth that His thoughts toward me are more numerous than the grains of sand on the sea shore. I am seen and known, understood through and through, and there is safety here. A deep steadfastness, despite the storms of opinions and questions and being misunderstood.

This truth of my value to my King — it’s the soil into which my roots can run deeper, deeper, infinitely deeper. It’s where I draw life and sustenance, where I grow in security and confidence, in living to the beat of His heart toward me.

I pull on stay-home-and-take-it-easy clothes and make my way downstairs. I feed my kiddos breakfast, drink coffee in my Colorado mug, and systematically sweep through the main floor of my house, cleaning up toys and dishes and crumbs and mail and a hundred other signs of a family life that’s being lived to the messiest fullest.

I’m surprised and encouraged this morning to hear from a couple of readers who’ve never reached out to me before, and I think back to my many questions about my writing as they spilled out unfiltered in my journal this morning.

Is it any good? Am I saying the same things over and over? Do I really have wisdom worth mining?

Gosh, writing those questions here in this space feels so terrifyingly naked, I almost physically shiver as I type. But there are 31 days of authenticity happening around these parts, so I guess I’m rolling with the vulnerability.

At any rate, pressing into Jesus’s all-seeing embrace of my heart this morning becomes a blanket to cover my questions, becomes peace over my insecure wondering.

And encouragement from readers who reach out from the quiet is God’s whispered confirmation that yes, in fact, people are inspired and awakened and provoked by all this digging and wrangling and wrapping of words.

And y’all, I’m thankful. So thankful.

And this post isn’t at all turning out the way I expected it to, to be honest. I’d planned to tell you about our neighborhood, about how coming back into it after a week in suburban Greensboro, NC feels this weird combination of gut-wrenching and intriguing and beautiful.

About how it feels knowing that in our hearts, our season here is more than up, yet physically, here we sit for another 2 months or so while we wait for our buyers’ buyers’ loan to be processed.

The process is painfully slow, and said pain is made even more acute by the losses of this season as they pile up, one on top of another.

He stretches us beyond what we’ve thought we could handle, but the intimacy with Him that’s forged in all the stretching — it runs deeper than the pain.

He is expanding our hearts, and I so deeply believe what I said yesterday — that beauty will spring up from these dry, stretched thin places. That there is light at the end of this tunnel. That what He is accomplishing in this season includes a deepening of the reach of my roots, and an eventual expanding of the reach of my fruit, though I don’t know what it’ll look like.

But really, the intimacy with Him in quiet places along the way? The leaning into His heart, experiencing fellowship with Him, knowing His tender nearness?  That’s what makes all this painful stretching and expanding and detaching so much more than worth it, y’all.

So much more.

This is Day 8 of a 31-Day series. You can find the rest of the series here.

Also, if you’d like to make sure you don’t miss any of my 31 Days posts, I invite you to subscribe to receive each post in your inbox.

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